OKLAHOMA CITY, OK- Lyric Theatre is staging Ragtime, the powerful American journey on the Civic Center stage on July 19 through 23.  Lyric’s new production of Ragtime brings a powerful 35-person cast and 21-person orchestra onto the Civic Center stage!

Ragtime, written by Terrence McNally, lyrics by Lynn Ahrens, and music by Stephen Flaherty, is called by TIME Magazine “A triumph for the stage.”  This Tony Award-winning musical is both a powerful portrait of life in turn-of-the-century America and a moving, relevant story for today.  Based on E.L Doctorow’s distinguished novel, the musical intertwines the stories of three groups of Americans - Coalhouse Walker, a Harlem musician; Mother, the matriarch of a WASP family in New York; and Tateh, a Latvian Jewish immigrant.

Watch these three extraordinary families as they confront history’s timeless contradictions of wealth and poverty, freedom and prejudice, hope and despair.  Become entranced with songs like “Journey On,” “Wheels of a Dream,” “Back to Before” and “Our Children.”  This modern American musical theatre masterpiece will fill you with pride and make your spirit soar.

This classic musical is under the direction of Lyric’s own Artistic Director, Michael Baron.  Baron, director of Lyric’s past 2010 productions of The Rocky Horror Show and December Divas as well as Lyric’s 2011 Season shows, Always…Patsy Cline, Boeing Boeing, and Oliver! feels that everyone, no matter their race, heritage or religion, can relate to the production of Ragtime.

“We have all struggled and rejoiced while trying to reach the American Dream and Ragtime shares how difficult it is to achieve the ideas of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” says Baron.  “Many people continue today to fear newly arrived immigrants and people who do not look or act like themselves.  It is these irrational fears which Ragtime addresses and ultimately overcomes through powerful storytelling and glorious music.  It is honest, emotional, and ultimately inspiring- the true hallmarks of great theatre.”

Derrick Cobey, recently seen as Andy Wright in the 2010 Tony-nominated Scottsboro Boys on Broadway, is performing his Lyric debut performance as Coalhouse Walker in Ragtime.  Cobey’s national tours include Rent and Forever Swing. His regional credits include Into the Woods, Little Shop of  Horrors, Jesus Christ Superstar, Hair, The Buddy Holly Story, Pacific Overtures, Oklahoma!, Brigadoon, Jesus Christ Superstar, Damn Yankees, Wizard of OzFootloose, A Little Night Music, Once on this Island and Smokey Joe’s Café.

“A Flaherty and Ahrens show is packed with so much truth and heart, it is incredibly rewarding to perform the material every chance one gets,” says Cobey.  “That's what I'm most excited about, living the world of Ragtime and going on that deeply human journey with the audience each and every night.”  “I also cannot wait to work with the team at Lyric – about whom I have heard nothing but the most wonderful things!”
            Joining Cobey on the Civic Center stage this summer as Coulhouse’s estranged love, Sarah is Adrianna Hicks
.  Hicks, who received her BFA in Musical Theatre at the University of Oklahoma, has performed in past productions such as Lyric’s 2009 production of Little Shop of Horrors.  Hicks’ university and regional credits include Rent, How To Succeed in Business, Chicago, Tommy and The Adventures of Pinocchio

Kristy Cates, appearing as Susan in Lyric’s 2010 production of Snapshots: A Musical Scrapbook, and more recently, as the hilarious Gloria in Lyric’s 2011 production of Boeing Boeing, is coming back to Lyric Theatre this summer as Mother in Ragtime.

            Cates’ Broadway and national tour credits include the original Broadway Cast of Wicked as well as Elphaba in the first National Tour and Chicago productions of Wicked. Cates’ Off-Broadway credits include Jerry Springer the Opera, Click Clack MooBoobs!, The Music of Ruth Wallis, and Princess Ida.  

            Playing Father in Lyric’s production of Ragtime is Thomas E. Cunningham.  Last seen as Judge Turpin in Lyric 2009 Plaza Theater production of Sweeney Todd, Cunningham has performed on Broadway and on National Tours of The Phantom of the Opera and Evita.  His regional credits include The Fantasticks, Scrooge, Oliver!, and Julius Caesar.

Lyric’s 2011 Season Title Sponsor is Chesapeake Energy Corporation. Presenting Sponsor is The Oklahoman.  Ragtime is sponsored by Great Plains Coca Cola, BancFirst and C.H. Guernsey.  Additional season support provided by American Airlines, Kirkpatrick Foundation, Inasmuch Foundation, Allied Arts and the Oklahoma Arts Council. 

Performances for Ragtime are on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday nights at 7:30pm; Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 p.m. and Saturday afternoon at 2:00 p.m.  To purchase tickets go to www.LyricTheatreOKC.com, call (405) 524-9312, come by Lyric Theatre’s ticket office located on 1727 NW 16 St., Oklahoma City, Okla, or call the Civic Center Box office at (405) 297-2264 or 1-800-364-7111.

Lyric will continue its 2011 Season at the Civic Center Music Hall in downtown Oklahoma City with A Chorus Line, and finish up back at the Plaza Theater with Altar Boyz and Lyric’s A Christmas Carol presented by Devon Energy.

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If you would like more information about this performance, to acquire publicity photos or to schedule an interview, please email Cristen Shepherd at cristen@lyrictheatreokc.com or call Cristen at (405) 524-9310.