Rags the Musical in Concert – the musical written by Joseph Stein, Charles Strouse and Stephen Schwartz – will be presented for one night only on Monday 28 April at London’s Lyric Theatre. All proceeds from the performance go to Centrepoint – the UK’s leading charity for homeless young people.
Produced on Broadway in 1986, Rags ran only a short while, but developed a passionate following – as well as a Tony Award nomination for Best Musical, a cast recording, and many subsequent productions across the USA and the UK.
Charles Strouse (Annie, Bye Bye Birdie, Applause), Stephen Schwartz (Wicked, Godspell, Pippin) and Joseph Stein (Fiddler On the Roof, Zorba, Take Me Along) present a musical where America does not live up to the dreams of the immigrants as they fight for labour equality and experience disappointment and tragedy even while finding romance.
A young Russian mother, arriving in America in 1910 with her son, is forced to work in a sweatshop while she searches for her husband. Her joy when she finds him, however, soon turns to anguish as she discovers that he has rejected much of his ethnic culture, changing his name and distancing himself from the Jewish community. Together, they must try to find a way to reconcile their differences and embrace their new life.
The score of Rags has a multicultural element with a strong jazz and ragtime style and influences from Klesmer, Irish folk, American honky-tonk, Greek and Middle Eastern music.
Directing the concert is Bronagh Lagan who is joined by musical director Caroline Humphris, assistant musical director Matt Ramplin and choreographer Grant Murphy.