According to Playbill.com:
The era of Ragtime has run out. The critically acclaimed new staging of the 1998 Tony Award winner will close Jan. 3, 2010, at the Neil Simon Theatre after 28 previews and 57 regular performances.
The company was told the news on Dec. 28 shortly before the evening performance. Producer Kevin McCollum said in a statement, “While we’re saddened and disappointed to announce that Ragtimemust close, bringing this beautiful and powerful production to Broadway has been a joyous experience. We couldn’t have asked for a more talented and dedicated company and creative team or a more passionate team of producers.”
Ragtime returned to Broadway just 11 years after its lavish first run, but this time in a critically acclaimed somewhat minimalist staging by director-choreographer Marcia Milgrom Dodge. With her designers, she helped emphasize character and story by stripping away scenic elements. She got solid reviews.
When this 40-actor production bowed earlier this year at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, producers huddled to bring it to Broadway. It opened Nov. 15 after previews from Oct. 23.
The musical based on the novel by E.L. Doctorow brings to life both the historical sweep and intimate human stories of the broad-strokes book. Christiane Noll, Robert Petkoff and Quentin Earl Darrington star as the leaders of three tribes that collide in 1906 New York City.
Ragtime has a Tony Award-winning book by Terrence McNally and Tony-winning score by Lynn Ahrens (lyrics) and Stephen Flaherty (music). William David Brohn’s original Tony-winning orchestrations were utilized.
A big cast plus a big orchestra made for a not small weekly running cost. There had been rumors in recent weeks that the show would not be able to survive into early 2010; there was apparently not enough of an advance sale to encourage the producers.
The show was overshadowed 11 years ago in a season that also saw the opening of The Lion King (which is still running).
The scenically lean, actor-driven production at the Kennedy Center was critically acclaimed. The ever-transforming skeletal, multi-tiered set helps accentuate the characters and the storytelling over design spectacle. (The 1998 production was lavish and often literal.)
The new Broadway cast is a mix of holdovers from DC (including Noll as the privileged white matron known as Mother, and Darrington as African-American musician Coalhouse Walker Jr.) and newcomers (including Petkoff, as Jewish patriarch Tateh).
The 28-piece orchestra is led by musical director James Moore. There are some trims and revisions to the original score, which was preserved on a two-disc cast album in 1998. The show now runs under three hours.