Ragtime Analysis Essay

1165 Words 5 Pages
Premiering in 1997, the musical Ragtime, written by the trio of Terrence McNally (Book/Script), Stephen Flaherty (Music), and Lynn Ahrens (Lyrics) was something along the lines of a smash hit. Featuring a star studded cast, with such luminaries as Brian Stokes Mitchell, Marin Mazzie, and Audra McDonald, the musical won four Tony Awards and was nominated for 14, including Best Musical. The musical is based on E.L. Doctorow’s 1974 novel Ragtime, a work of historical fiction that has various characters of Doctorow’s creation meeting and interacting with historical figures such as Henry Ford, Booker T. Washington, and Harry Houdini. The main thrust of the novel has to do with a family living in New Rochelle, New York, a wealthy suburb of New York City in the early 1910s or thereabouts and their interactions with various subplots, both real (Evelyn Nesbit’s stardom, Robert Peary’s expedition to the North Pole, and World War I, to name a few) and fake (various characters representing groups such as immigrants and African-Americans). The musical provides more story time to the stories that seemed to be subplots in Doctorow’s work, which we can presume partially comes from the fact that they cast some amazing singers and actors in the subplot roles (the immigrants and the African-Americans). The song “Prologue” is written as to introduce all …show more content…
The character of Coalhouse Walker, Jr., the ragtime pianist, as noted in a later song (“His Name was Coalhouse Walker”), was inspired to play ragtime after hearing the music of Scott Joplin. It would make sense, then, if the ragtime music in the show was based off of Joplin’s style as a stand-in and inspiration for Walker’s

Related Documents