Original Broadway cast member Eric Jordan Young 93 returns to direct the Tony Award-winning musical, Ragtime.

Posted by Benjamin Tiber on Sunday, November 4, 2018

Critically acclaimed actor and Ithaca College alumnus Eric Jordan Young ’93 will direct Ithaca College Theatre’s production of “Ragtime,” opening Oct. 30 in the Hoerner Theatre. Young was an ensemble member of the show’s cast during its original run on Broadway in 1998, and later played Booker T. Washington during its 2009 revival.

Based on E.L. Doctorow’s best-selling novel and written by Terrence McNally, with music by Stephen Flaherty and lyrics by Lynn Ahrens, “Ragtime” won the Tony Award for Best Book and Best Original Score in 1998. The musical explores themes like race and socioeconomic class through the interconnected stories of a resilient white upper-class wife, a hopeful Jewish immigrant, and a bold, black Harlem musician at the dawn of the 20th century. As their paths cross, they begin to discover the complexities of the American Dream and learn about the limits of justice in an era of the famous and the faceless.

“Many of the issues explored in this musical still resonate in our society,” said Young. “Perhaps by listening to the ragtime music of our history we can be inspired to face the era of profound change America finds itself in.”

Theatre studies majors Emma Rothstein ’19 and Emily Martin ’20 are working alongside Young as assistant directors. “Hearing Eric talk about his personal connection to the show has given me an understanding of how the play’s themes of justice and privilege transcend time,” said Rothstein.

In addition to “Ragtime,” Young’s musical theatre acting credits include “Chicago,” “Seussical” and “The Look of Love,” as well as his own one-man tribute to Sammy Davis Jr., “Sammy & Me.” In 2003 he was recognized by Ithaca College with the Outstanding Young Alumni Award.

Unlike the Broadway original, Ithaca College’s production of “Ragtime” will be performed on a revolving stage to help change scenes, a technique popularized by the musical “Hamilton.” Scenic designer Jesse Harron ’19 uses the dynamic stage in concert with the play’s score to convey the passage of time and emphasize the chaos that takes place each time the music stops.

Cast and Crew

The leading cast features:

  • Erik Martenson ’21 as “Father”
  • Anastasia Remoundos ’19 as “Mother”
  • Jack Richardson ’21 as “Younger Brother”
  • Caleb Robbins ’20 as “Grandfather”
  • Joel Oliver ’20 as “Coalhouse Walker”
  • Mariah Lyttle ’19 as “Sarah”
  • Ben DeMarco ’19 as “Tateh”
  • Dakarai Brown ’20 as “Booker T. Washington”
  • Zachary Calderon ’19 as “Harry Houdini”
  • Kimmi Neuschultz ’20 as “Emma Goldman”
  • Bretana Turkon ’19 as “Evelyn Nesbit”

The remainder of the cast comprises Elias Husiak ’19, Josh Wilde ’19, Hunter Kovacs ’22, Aiden Ankli ’19, Devynn Pedell ’19, Keara Byron ’19, Dharon Jones ’20, Jaden Boyd ’21, Jeremy Noel ’21, Moyo Odulaja ’21, Nicole Morris ’20, Courtney Long ’21, Audrey Fisher ’22, Adam Kluge ’22, Christian Obert ’21, Anthony Garcia ’22, Rhys Kauffman ’22, Tessa Coleman ’22, Alexandra Leitner ’21, Madison Alexander ’20, Grace Tiso ’20, Amber Ward ’20, Kellik Dawson ’20, and Eric Leigh ’22. Three child actors from the local Ithaca community — Danielle Drozd, Charlotte McClintic and Henry O’Toole — also appear in the show.

The creative team includes:

  • Scenic design by Jesse Harron ’19
  • Lighting design by Indigo Shea ’19
  • Sound design by Evan Morrison ’19
  • Costume design by Graham Lessard-Brandt ’19
  • Stage manager Kate Carolan ’19
  • Dramaturg Sarah Powel ’19