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Ragtime: The Musical
Original Broadway Cast Recording (Vinyl)


Music: Stephen Flaherty
Lyrics: Lynn Ahrens
Book: Terrence McNally
Performed by: Brian Stokes Mitchell, Audra McDonald, Marin Mazzie, Peter Friedman, Mark Jacoby, Steven Sutcliffe, Judy Kaye and Lea Michele
Label: Masterworks Broadway
Release Date: 05 April 2022

In its first appearance on vinyl, the acclaimed Original Broadway Cast Recording of Ragtime – featuring the Tony Award-winning score by composer Stephen Flaherty and lyricist Lynn Ahrens – is celebrated in a commemorative “red, white and blue” collectors limited edition. A 20-page booklet includes a new essay from Ahrens and Flaherty, a complete recording libretto and a track-by-track appreciation of the score by the composer and lyricist. Also included are a new, in-depth interview with the original production’s Coalhouse Walker, Brian Stokes Mitchell as well as original recording session and production photos...

This vinyl release of Ragtime: The Musical celebrates the 25th anniversary of the musical’s first U.S. performances in Los Angeles, ahead of its Broadway premiere. The original cast recording preserves the unforgettable performances of the extraordinary original cast.

A Grammy nominee in its original release, the Ragtime recording has become a musical-theater classic, as the show itself has transcended its spectacular original production to evolve into an ever-more relevant symbol of the multicultural drama of 20th-century American history. “Ragtime was before its time, ahead of its time and right on time,” Mitchell tells Lyons, in the interview for this release. “Fortunately, and unfortunately… Ragtime is needed. I think it will always be needed.”

Listened to today some of the language may shock and offend audiences. That was the point at the time and remains relevant today. If you're not shocked and appalled by history then you've learnt nothing and civil rights movements have failed to educate you in how wrong society has been for so many for far too long.

Musically and lyrically, however, I wasn't overly captivated. A lot of the songs appear to go nowhere, while other revisit the same themes time and time again - which is used as a story telling device. However there were few songs here I came away thinking were classics, or pieces I'd want to listen to again. The exceptions (which I have enjoyed enough to add to my musicals play list) include 'New Music', 'Wheels of a Dream', 'The Night that Goldman Spoke at Union Square', 'Till We Reach That Day', 'Back to Before', 'Make Them Hear You' and 'Wheels of a Dream (Reprise)'.

There's also a bonus track, 'The Ragtime Symphonic Suite' (8 min, 20 sec) which was a wonderful surprise and certainly a highlight for me.

When listening to 'Wheels of a Dream' there was a very short segment of music and I must have spent 20 minutes trying to remember what it reminded me of. I finally figured it out... It's very similar to a segment in the 1980 musical movie Popeye. It would so warm my heart if Flaherty was paying homage to that musical movie... but I seriously doubt it.

I don't know if I can fully recommend this release to anyone other than vinyl musical collectors. The CD and MP3 release is much cheaper. However this is a wonderfully packaged release for serious fans of the musical who want to spoil themselves... or someone close to them.

Track listing:

LP 1:
Side A
1. “Prologue: Ragtime”
2. “Goodbye, My Love”
3. “Journey On”
4. “The Crime of the Century”
5. “What Kind of Woman”

LP 1:
Side B
1. “A Shtetl Iz Amereke”
2. “Success”
3. “His Name Was Coalhouse Walker”
4. “Gettin' Ready Rag”
5. “Henry Ford”
6. “Nothing Like the City”
7. “Your Daddy's Son”
8. “The Courtship”
9. “New Music”

LP 2:
Side A
1. “Wheels of a Dream”
2. “The Night that Goldman Spoke at Union Square”
3. “Gliding”
4. “The Trashing of the Car”
5. “Justice”
6. “President”
7. “Till We Reach That Day”

LP 2:
Side B
1. “Entr'acte”
2. “Harry Houdini, Master Escapist”
3. “Coalhouse's Soliloquy”
4. “Coalhouse Demands”
5. “What a Game”
6. “Fire in the City”
7. “Atlantic City”

LP 3:
Side A
1. “Buffalo Nickel Photoplay, Inc."
2. “Our Children”
3. “Harlem Nightclub”
4. “Sarah Brown Eyes”
5. “He Wanted to Say”
6. “Back to Before”

LP 3:
Side B
1. “Look What You've Done”
2. “Make Them Hear You”
3. “Epilogue: Ragtime” (Reprise) / “Wheels of a Dream” (Reprise)
4. “The Ragtime Symphonic Suite” (Bonus Track)


Darren Rea

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