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THE MOST FAMOUS NEGRO IN THE COUNTRY: Excaliber Shakespeare Company of Chicago Founder and Los Angeles-based Theatre Artist Darryl Maximilian Robinson earned a 2013 Los Angeles Marcom Masque Theatre Award Nomination as Best Actor In A Major Supporting Role for his critically-praised performance as the historic black educator and orator Booker T. Washington in the 2013 Kentwood Players revival production of "RAGTIME" the musical at The Westchester Playhouse of Los Angeles, Ca. Photo by Shari Barrett.

Ragtime 1

Jennifer Sperry as Mother, Rocky Miller as Father and Logan Gould as the Little Boy ( Edgar ) in the 2013 Kentwood Players' revival production of the musical "Ragtime" at The Westchester Playhouse in Los Angeles. Photo by Shari Barrett.

Booker 2.

Excaliber Shakespeare Company of Chicago Founder and Los Angeles-based Theatre Artist Darryl Maximilian Robinson appeared as the historic black educator and orator Booker T. Washington in the 2013 Kentwood Players' revival production of the musical "Ragtime" at The Westchester Playhouse in Los Angeles. Photo by Shari Barrett.

Amanda Majkrzak as Evelyn Nesbitt in the 2013 musical revival of Ragtime at The Westchester Playhouse in Los Angeles.

Amanda Majkrzak appeared as Evelyn Nesbit, the famed entertainer at the heart of "The Crime of The Century" in the 2013 Kentwood Players' revival production of the musical "Ragtime" at The Westchester Playhouse in Los Angeles. Photo by Shari Barrett.

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Darryl Maximilian Robinson as Booker T. Washington and Deus Xavier Scott as Coalhouse Walker, Jr. in the 2013 Kentwood Players' revival of the musical "Ragtime" at The Westchester Playhouse in Los Angeles. Photo by Shari Barrett.

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"In 1902 father built a house at the crest of the Broadview Avenue hill in New Rochelle, New York, and it seemed, for some years thereafter, that all the family's days would be warm and fair"
—"Prologue: Ragtime" (from The Musical)

Ragtime is a 1975 historical fiction novel by E. L. Doctorow. It takes place in and around New York City between 1900 and 1917, and follows three fictional American families whose lives intersect with those of various major historical figures from the time, such as Evelyn Nesbit, Harry Houdini, Emma Goldman, Booker T. Washington, Henry Ford and J.P. Morgan. The three families are: an upper-class WASP family from New Rochelle, consisting of a grandfather, a father, a mother, their son, and the mother's younger brother; a talented young black pianist Coalhouse Walker Jr., his girlfriend Sarah, and their son; and a Jewish Eastern European immigrant and his young daughter. It is written with a ridiculous amount of detail, approaching JRR Tolkien levels.

In 1981 it was adapted into a film version, written by Michael Weller and Bo Goldman and directed by Milos Foreman. The film, which featured Howard E. Rollins Jr., Mandy Patinkin, and James Cagney (among others), was nominated for eight Academy Awards.

It was further adapted into a musical with a book by Terrence McNally, lyrics by Lynn Ahrens and music by Stephen Flaherty. The original cast included Brian Stokes Mitchell, Audra McDonald and Marin Mazzie. It was nominated for twelve Tony awards, and won four: Best Featured Actress (McDonald), Original Score, Book, and Orchestrations. A revival of the musical opened on Broadway on November 15, 2009 after transferring from a successful regional production located in the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. It closed January 15, 2010.


Includes examples of:

  "Warn the duke!"

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