It’s Ragtime time

Feb 15 2015 | By More

A-Team hit the Pleasance this week

Ragtime, the multi-genre musical set in early 20th century New York, opens at the Pleasance on Wednesday for a four-night run from A-Team Productions.

This is the second production from the local amateur youth musical company, who staged Sweeney Todd at the St Bride’s Centre last year.

Ifro Thomas who is playing Coalhouse. Photo: A-Team

Ifro Thomas who is playing Coalhouse. Photo: A-Team

Mostly sung-through, Ragtime the Musical is based on E. L. Doctorow’s 1975 novel. It has book by Terrence McNally, lyrics by Lynn Ahrens and music by Stephen Flaherty.

Director Katie Stephen gave Æ a taste of the show. She said: “Opening in 1902, at the dawn of a new century, anything is possible. Set in the melting pot of turn-of-the-century America, the lives of three families intertwine to confront history’s eternal struggle with poverty, prejudice, freedom and what it truly means to live in America.”

There are three families – African Americans, represented by Coalhouse Walker Jr., a Harlem musician; a white upper-class family in New Rochelle, New York; and Eastern European immigrants, represented by Tateh, a Jewish immigrant from Latvia. As it winds through time, historical characters as diverse as contortionist Harry Houdini, industrialist Henry Ford and feminist anarchist Emma Goldman are also introduced.

A cast of 30 has been rehearsing the show for the last four months, with a squad of 20 volunteers who have experience in the theatre industry working behind the scenes. Founded in 2013 by Sean Quinn, Hayley Gillies and Dominic Falconer, A-Team Productions offers young people ages 11-18 the chance to take part in a musical production.

emotional roller coaster

Sean Quinn, the company chair, said “Ragtime is an emotional roller coaster and the cast capture the characters, the narrative and the landscape perfectly.

“When I visit rehearsals I am astonished by what they can do. It is incredible how people of such a young age can replicate characters with such depth and historical significance.”

In rehearsal: Erin Bowden as Emma Goldman. Photo: A-Team

In rehearsal: Erin Bowden as Emma Goldman. Photo: A-Team

Speaking of the musical side of the production, Katie Stephen added: “The Tony Award-winning score is as varied as the characters. It ranges from Tin-Pan Alley to lyrical waltzes; Jewish klezmer music to bold anthems; and brass band marches to the iconic ragtime rhythms this musical is named after. The score is bursting with a range of incredible music, played by a live 21 piece orchestra, that is sure to inspire and excite the audience.”


Ragtime the Musical
Pleasance Theatre, Pleasance Courtyard, 60 Pleasance EH8 9TJ
Wedneday 18 – Saturday 21 February 2015
Evenings: 7.30pm; matinee Saturday: 2.30pm.
Tickets from
Event facebook page:

Purchase the OCR; vocal selections; or the original novel on Amazon:


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