"Adventurous theater in Astoria"

-- The New York Times

Book by Terrence McNally
Music by Stephen Flaherty
Lyrics by Lynn Ahrens
Based on the novel Ragtime by E. L. Doctorow

“Tom Wojtunik’s revival, ingeniously staged in the transformed gym of a Queens church, makes what was distant and didactic on Broadway seem wonderfully intimate…Listen closer, you’ll hear Ragtime reborn.”Leonard Jacobs, Backstage

Outstanding Set Design (Michael P. Kramer)
Outstanding Stage Manager (Jillian Zeman)

Outstanding Production of a Musical


February 5 – 22, 2009


This epic musical by the award-winning composer/lyricist team Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens (Lucky Stiff, My Favorite Year, Once On This Island, Seussical) paints a nostalgic and powerful portrait of life in turn of the century America. Based on E.L. Doctorow’s distinguished novel, Ragtime intertwines three distinct stories that poignantly illustrate history’s timeless contradictions of wealth and poverty, freedom and prejudice, hope and despair, and love and hate.

Flaherty’s score is just as diverse as the Melting Pot of America that it seeks to recreate. It draws upon traditional Jewish folk sounds to color the haunting music of the immigrants, Vaudeville’s outrageous style to capture the spectacle of Evelyn Nesbit, and Joplin and Jazz to invoke the enlivened spirit of Harlem. With a book by Terrance McNally (Kiss of the Spider Woman, Master Class), this 1998 Tony award winning show for best score, book, and orchestrations, features such show stopping songs as “Getting Ready Rag,” “Your Daddy’s Son,” “Wheels of a Dream,” “Till We Reach That Day,” “Back To Before,” and “Make Them Hear You.”

Supported by Council Member Peter Vallone Jr., the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs, NYSCA through the Queens Community Arts Fund, and the Edith Lutyens & Norman Bel Geddes Foundation.


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Broadway World Announcement

Playbill.com Casting Announcement

Off the Cuff: Astoria Performing Arts Center (interview with director Tom Wojtunik)

Tom Wojtunik Takes Astoria by Storm (interview on nytheatremike.com)


“I did see a concert version at the White Plains Performing Arts Center which was terrific and then last February a very stream lined inventive and inspired version at The Astoria Performing Arts Center.” -Oscar E. Moore

“The timing couldn’t be better to revisit Ragtime, and thanks to the limitless imagination of director (and new APAC artistic director) Tom Wojtunik, the show brings history right up under your nose…Change, it seems, whether we believe in it or not, is always rumbling beneath the surface, and this Ragtime doesn’t just encourage us to look for it. It compels us to see it.” -Amy Krivohlavek, Curtain Up

“I strongly suggest you get to see it any way you can – by car or by subway. Even if you have to walk, it would be worth it. What an incredible achievement. It’s a triumph on every level. If their production of Ragtime is any indication of the level of their artistry, and I am sure that it is, they will put Astoria on equal footing with Manhattan.” –Oscar Moore, Talk Entertainment

GRADE: A-. “Edged out at the Tonys by Lion King and overshadowed by Livent’s financial problems, the epic 1998 Broadway musical Ragtime roars back to NYC in this scrappy outer-borough production, and most critics are overjoyed to see it in such fine trim. They hail the inventive staging of Tom Wojtunik, the versatility of the cast, and the timeliness of its story of racial injustice and the American dream.” Critic-O-Meter

Ragtime‘s creative team seamlessly conjures the spirit of early twentieth-century America. Set designer Michael P. Kramer has transformed the church’s small proscenium stage into a modified thrust, allowing Wojtunik to extend the action of the play into the audience. The simple set – a sky-high construction of doorways, stairs, and curio-like cubby-holes filled with antiques – towers in front of a huge, faded American flag. Travis Walker creates striking effects with his lighting design, notably a moody back-room in Harlem and a live-action rendering of a segment of a silent film. The costumes, designed by David Withrow, are beautiful and clearly delineate the many ethnic and social groups jostling for their piece of the American dream.” Shari Perkins, theatreonline.com

“Imagine all the elements of a great Broadway play: the finest actors, singers, dancers, musicians, costumes, set, choreography, lighting, and direction; now imagine it in Astoria, within walking distance of your house. This was my experience last night, attending the Astoria Performing Arts Center’s stunning production of Ragtime.” Georgina Young-Ellis, The Queens Gazette

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