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Reidel Rips 'Ragtime' a New One

Christiane Noll as Mother by Joan Marcus 1059 MED
In today's Post, Michael Reidel slams into the Ragtime revival which is shuttering on Sunday, a week later than its original closing date. He seems to take particularly nasty delight in the dashed dreams of the cast and swipes at regional theatre in general. The show originated in Washington D.C, and Reidel paints a portrait of struggling local actors achieving their big break on Broadway only to have it abrubtly ended following a short run. He blasts this Ragtime as a regional production which has no business on the Great White Way. The fact is many of the cast have solid Broadway credits and award nominations including Christiane Noll (Jekyll & Hyde), Robert Petkoff (Spamalot), Ron Bohmer (Phantom of the Opera), Michael X. Martin (9 to 5, Curtains), and Bobby Steggert. 

Reidel singles out Steggert who will be going into the York Theatre Company's production of Yank, making it seem as if he's some "cute, little" chorus boy plucked from obscurity by a smitten NY Times reporter. "He's not going back to Maryland anytime soon," Reidel writes. Steggert has been on Broadway before--garnering an Outer Critics Circle nomination for 110 in the Shade with Audra McDonald. He also was nominated for a Drama Desk Award for the Off-Broadway production of The Slug Bearers of Kayrol Island. He is from Maryland originally, but he's a 1999 NYU graduate, and has numerous regional credits and was on All My Children for a year. I checked with the Ragtime PR people and they informed me Steggert lives in NYC and his career is fairly solid. So I don't think he had any plans to go back to Maryland if he didn't get another job right away after the Ragtime closing.

Apart from this incorrect assumption, Reidel blasts regional theatre and regional actors in general. He forgets many hit shows have been transplants from the regions including August: Osage County with two of the original cast--Deanna Dunagan and Rondi Reed--winning Tonys.

--David Sheward

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excellent piece, david!
like many, i was puzzled by the mean-spirited tone of reidel's column. doesn't he seems determined to become a bus & truck version of j.j. hunsecker in "sweet smell?" it's interesting that like many shrill naysayers, he has not seen this lovely production, nor would he do so although repeatedly invited.

not seeing RAGTIME is his loss; RAGTIME'S early shuttering is a loss for us all.

thank you for setting the record straight and thank you for speaking on behalf of regional theatres across the country.

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