THE ACTORS FUND PRESENTS “RAGTIME” IN A ONE-NIGHT ONLY BENEFIT CONCERT ON BROADWAY WITH AUDRA MCDONALD & BRIAN STOKES MITCHELL – MON, 4/27
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, PLEASE
A ONE-NIGHT ONLY CONCERT OF THE MUSICAL SENSATION
WILL RETURN TO BROADWAY TO BENEFIT
THE ACTORS FUND
ORIGINAL AWARD-WINNING BROADWAY STARS SCHEDULED TO APPEAR
AUDRA MCDONALD &
BRIAN STOKES MITCHELL
MONDAY, APRIL 27, 2020
AT THE MINSKOFF THEATRE
DEDICATED TO MARIN MAZZIE
New York, NY (December 18, 2019) – The Actors Fund announced today that the unforgettable music of the Tony Award®-winning sensation Ragtime will once again be heard on Broadway in a one-night only benefit concert on Monday, April 27, 2020, at the Minskoff Theatre (200 West 45th St.). This celebratory benefit concert will star original cast members, with six-time Tony Award-winner Audra McDonald (“Sarah”) and two-time Tony Award-winner, Brian Stokes Mitchell (“Coalhouse Walker, Jr.”) scheduled to appear. Further casting will be announced and tickets will go on sale at a later date. All proceeds from this one-night only benefit concert will support The Actors Fund.
Based on the classic American novel by E.L. Doctorow, Ragtime has a score by Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty (Once on this Island, Anastasia, Seussical) and a book by Terrence McNally (Master Class, Love! Valour! Compassion!).
The evening will be Directed by Stafford Arima, with David Loud as Music Supervisor and James Moore as Music Director and Conductor. On the original Broadway production, Mr. Arima served as Associate Resident Director, Mr. Loud as Musical Director and Conductor, and Mr. Moore as Associate Conductor.
“Our community was heartbroken at the loss of one of Broadway’s great stars, my good friend and original Ragtime cast member Marin Mazzie,” said Actors Fund Chairman Brian Stokes Mitchell. “Marin’s courage and grace inspired everyone who knew her as well as her countless fans and generations of theater professionals. She was a true original and our cast, creative team and The Actors Fund are proud to dedicate this evening to her memory.” Mazzie received one of three Tony Award-nominations for her portrayal of “Mother” in the original 1998 production.
“Ragtime is a quintessential American story—it’s about the struggles of immigrants seeking a better life in America, it’s about the reality of racism in our society, and it’s about income inequality, juxtaposing these struggles against the incredible wealth of the 1 percent,” said Actors Fund CEO Joe Benincasa. “Although the story takes place a hundred years ago, the issues it presents are relevant in today’s society and the current civil discourse. We’re honored that Stokes, Audra, Lynn, Stephen, Terrence and so many in this original cast are bringing back this beloved musical to help The Fund continue our ongoing work of providing a supportive safety net to everyone in the performing arts and entertainment in times of need.”
The original production of Ragtime opened on January 18, 1998 at the Ford Center for the Performing Arts (now the Lyric Theatre) and played for 834 performances. The show received 14 Tony Award-nominations and won for Best Book of a Musical (Terrence McNally), Best Original Score (Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens), Best Featured Actress in a Musical (Audra McDonald) and Best Orchestrations (William David Brohn).
Tickets will go on sale at a later date. To sign up for email updates on The Actors Fund’s Ragtime Benefit Concert and other news from The Fund, visit actorsfund.org/SignUp.
The Actors Fund is a national human services organization that fosters stability and resiliency, and provides a safety net for performing arts and entertainment professionals over their lifespan. Through offices in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago, The Fund serves everyone in film, theater, television, music, opera, radio and dance with programs including social services and emergency financial assistance, health care and insurance counseling, housing, and secondary employment and training services. Visit actorsfund.org.
AUDRA MCDONALD is unparalleled in the breadth and versatility of her artistry as both a singer and an actor. The winner of a record-breaking six Tony Awards, two Grammy Awards and an Emmy Award, she received a 2015 National Medal of Arts from President Barack Obama and was also named one of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people that year. Tony-winning performances include Carousel, Master Class, Ragtime, A Raisin in the Sun, The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess and Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill–which served as the vehicle for her Olivier-nominated 2017 West End debut. On television, McDonald is known for her roles in ABC’s “Private Practice” and NBC’s “The Sound of Music Live!”, and she won an Emmy as the official host of PBS’s “Live From Lincoln Center”. She can currently be seen as Liz Lawrence on CBS All Access’ “The Good Fight”, which launches its fourth season in spring 2020. Recent film credits include Ricki and the Flash, Disney’s live-action Beauty and the Beast and movie-musical Hello Again. The Juilliard-trained soprano also maintains a major career as a concert and recording artist. Her latest solo album, Sing Happy, was recorded live with the New York Philharmonic for Decca Gold. Of all her many roles, her favorites are the ones performed offstage: passionate advocate for equal rights and homeless youth, wife to actor Will Swenson, and mother.
BRIAN STOKES MITCHELL Dubbed “the last leading man” by The New York Times, Tony Award-winner Brian Stokes Mitchell has enjoyed a career that spans Broadway, television, film, and concert appearances with the country’s finest conductors and orchestras. He received Tony, Drama Desk, and Outer Critics Circle awards for his star turn in Kiss Me, Kate. He also gave Tony-nominated performances in Man of La Mancha, August Wilson’s King Hedley II and Ragtime. Other notable Broadway shows include Kiss of the Spider Woman, Jelly’s Last Jam, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown and Shuffle Along. In 2016 he was awarded his second Tony Award, the prestigious Isabelle Stevenson Tony for his Charitable work with The Actors Fund. That same year Stokes was inducted into the Theatre Hall of Fame. An extremely versatile and in-demand singer, Stokes has performed at venues spanning jazz, opera, pops, country and musical theater worlds. He has worked with John Williams, Marvin Hamlisch, Gustavo Dudamel, Keith Lockhart, Michael Tilson Thomas, The Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Big Band, The Mormon Tabernacle choir and the Muppets. Stokes has made multiple appearances at Carnegie Hall beginning with his debut with the San Francisco Symphony through his televised performance in South Pacific opposite Reba McEntire to his sold-out solo concert, which he continues to perform throughout the U.S. He has been invited twice to perform at the White House (both times aired on PBS’s Great Performances) and has performed multiple times for Presidents Clinton and Obama. Stokes has delved deeply into various music disciplines. In addition to singing he began piano studies at the age of 6. A self-professed autodidact, his musical curiosity lead him to teach himself composing, arranging and orchestration, starting in his teens. He later studied, film scoring, orchestration and conducting both privately and through UCLA and subsequently scored and conducted a number of Trapper John, MD episodes, a series on which he was also a regular cast member. His musical talent has extended to the present day as producer, arranger and orchestrator on his three solo albums including his last recording, Simply Broadway and his newest recording Plays With Music, which just released this fall. Stokes has appeared on more than 20 albums. His extensive screen credits began with a guest starring role on Roots:The next Generations, followed by a 7-year stint on “Trapper John, MD” and have continued with memorable appearances on everything from PBS’s “Great Performances” to “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air”, “Frasier”, “Glee”, “Jumping the Broom” and his most recent recurring roles on “Madam Secretary”, “Mr. Robot”, “The Path”, “Billions” and “The Good Fight”. Other recent TV appearances include “The Blacklist”, “Elementary” and “Bull”. As a voice-over artist he has played dozens of characters on animated TV episodes including performing Through Heaven’s Eyes in Dreamwork’s The Prince of Egypt. As a writer Stokes has contributed to the book Hirschfeld’s Harlem, wrote the preface to At This Theatre and co-authored the children’s book Lights on Broadway. For fun he has been known to fly planes and jump out of them (usually not at the same time), and he can ride a bicycle on a high wire. Stokes has enjoyed working with numerous charitable organizations from the March of Dimes to the USO. He is on the board of Americans For the Arts and is serving his 14th term as Chairman of the Board of The Actors Fund.
LYNN AHRENS & STEPHEN FLAHERTY have been called the foremost theatrical writing team of their generation. For Broadway’s Ragtime, they won Tony, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards, and were nominated for two Academy Awards and two Golden Globes for Twentieth Century Fox’s animated feature Anastasia, which they also adapted for Broadway. Their musical Once On This Island won London’s Olivier Award for Best Musical and recently won the 2018 Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical. Ahrens and Flaherty have received four Grammy nominations, the Oscar Hammerstein Award for Lifetime Achievement, and in 2015 were inducted into the Theater Hall of Fame. Additional Broadway and off-Broadway credits include: Seussical; Rocky; My Favorite Year; Chita Rivera:The Dancer’s Life; Lincoln Center Theater’s Dessa Rose; A Man of No Importance and The Glorious Ones; Lucky Stiff; Marie; and Knoxville. Individually, Ms. Ahrens wrote book and lyrics for Madison Square Garden’s ten-year run of “A Christmas Carol.” She is an Emmy Award winner and four-time Emmy nominee, a Lilly Award recipient and a mainstay songwriter for “Schoolhouse Rock” (ABC-TV). Mr. Flaherty composed the score of the new dance play In Your Arms (Old Globe), incidental music for Neil Simon’s Proposals (Broadway) and the score for Loving Repeating: A Musical Of Gertrude Stein (Joseph Jefferson Award, Best New Musical.) They are Council members of the Dramatists Guild of America and co-founders of the Dramatists Guild Fellows Program for Emerging Writers. www.ahrensandflaherty.com
TERRENCE MCNALLY was born in 1939 and grew up in Corpus Christi, Texas, listening to radio broadcasts of The Green Hornet and the Metropolitan Opera. McNally’s love of the opera and especially of the famous diva Maria Callas would surface in his work, most notably in his Tony award-winning Master Class (1996). His love of music also inspired him to collaborate on several musicals, including The Rink (1984), Kiss of the Spider Woman (1993) and Ragtime (1996). Graduating Phi Beta Kappa from Columbia in 1960 with a degree in English, McNally enjoyed a fellowship in Mexico where he wrote a play that earned the attention of the Actors Studio and got him a job as a stage manager, allowing him to acquire some practical theatre experience. In 1961, he enjoyed bonding with John Steinbeck and his family, on tour with them through Europe as the Steinbeck children’s tutor. After McNally’s first Broadway play And Things That Go Bump in the Night flopped, gaining notoriety for being 1964’s most scandalous play, he went forward working odd jobs until his subsequent and successful play Next elevated him to full-time playwright status. From the macabre to the farcical, the range of McNally’s satire and drama borrows from his personal life and his personal understanding of the world. McNally’s plays about homophobia, love, fear, and AIDS, among other things, illuminate the dominant theme of how people connect and fail to connect. McNally has no fear of offending as he explores new territories with his pen. His controversial 1999 play Corpus Christi dramatized a homosexual version of Jesus Christ, drawing mobs of angry protesters to his home theater at the Manhattan Theatre Club, and inciting a fatwa or death sentence from a Muslim group in England. Despite the controversy surrounding some of his plays, Terrence McNally is one of the most beloved and prolific modern-day playwrights. Besides the afore-mentioned, some of his other notable credits include: The Ritz (1975), Frankie and Johnny at the Claire de Lune (1987), The Lisbon Traviata (1989), Andre’s Mother (1990), Lips Together, Teeth Apart (1991) and Love! Valour! Compassion! (1994). In addition to four Tony Awards, McNally has received two Guggenheim Fellowships, a Rockefeller Grant, the Lucille Lortel Award, the Hull-Warriner Award and a citation from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
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