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Ragtime - The musical movie

"What a lovely movie it all makes!!!" ~ Tateh

A sweeping musical portrait of early-twentieth-century America tells the story of three families in the pursuit of the American Dream.


Ragtime is a project beloved across the globe; originating as a lauded novel in 1975 from E.L. Doctorow (TIME Magazine top 100), being adapted in 1981 into a 8x Oscar nominated film (not a musical) and premiering on Broadway as a musical in 1998 becoming a 12x Tony nominee and 4x Tony winner. The enveloping music, heart wrenching story, proven track record, extremely marketable demographics and a relevant, pertinent political commentary would make for a wonderful movie adaptation of the musical play!

I'm proposing that we put together a team to adapt this wonderful project into a musical film that would be destined for further glory.

 The musical play has been produced hundreds of times in high-schools, colleges, tours and theaters across the country and world.
With the story focusing on the black, white and immigrant communities, the marketing campaign would be able to reach many corners of the country and world!

Proof of Concept

Pre-visualized movie scene "Sarah Brown Eyes"


At the dawn of the 20th century, everything is changing... and anything is possible. Set in the volatile melting pot of turn-of-the-century New York, three distinctly American tales are woven together – that of a stifled upper-class wife, a determined Jewish immigrant and a daring young Harlem musician – united by their courage, compassion and belief in the promise of the future. Together, they confront history's timeless contradictions of wealth and poverty, freedom and prejudice, hope and despair... and what it means to live in America.

Women and Men, 18-35

Black, White and Immigrant (Jewish focus) communities

Music and musical lovers
$40-80 million

Potential CAST

Market Demo

Mother - The consummate wife and mother. A kind woman with incredible moral fiber and the epitome of elegance and social conditioning She very much represents the rapidly changing ideals and cultural norms at-play within the country during this era. She both witnesses and is equally changed by the times in which she lives.

Mother - Catherine Zeta Jones.jpg
Mother - Anne Hathaway.jpg
Mother - Emma Thompson.jpg
Mother - Jane Krakowski2.jpg

Catherine Zeta-Jones
(Chicago, A Little
Night Music, Oceans

Anne Hathaway
(Les Miserables, 
Dark Knight Rises, 
Princess Diaries)

Emma Thompson
(Sweeney Todd, Men
Black: Int., Beauty & 
The Beast)

Jane Krakowski
(Nine, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, 

Guys and Dolls)

Father - Mother’s professionally successful husband. Fancying himself an amateur explorer, he is commanding and enjoys being the family breadwinner. His sense of nostalgia and connection for the past prevents him from adapting to the changing realities of the world in which he exists.

Father - Scott Bakula.jpg
Father - Jude Law.jpg
Father - Hugh Jackman.jpg
Father - Neil Patrick Harris2.jpg
father - Jason Alexander.jpg
Father - Michael Ball.jpg

Scott Bakula
(Star Trek: Enterprise, NCIS, Quantum Leap)

Jude Law
(Henry V, Captain Marvel, Anna Karenina)

Hugh Jackman
(Les Miserables, Greatest Showman, Oklahoma, X-Men)

Neil Patrick Harris
(Hedwig & the Angry Inch, Sweeney Todd, How I Met Your Mother)

Jason Alexander
(The Producers, Seinfeld, Everybody Hates Chris)

Michael Ball
(Les Miserables, Sweeney Todd, Hairspray)

Younger Brother - Mother’s younger brother. With his wiry frame and obsessive personality, he is an erratic soul. Influenced greatly by Goldman’s teachings.

Little Brother - Zac Efron.jpg

Zac Efron
(Greatest Showman, Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates, High School Musical)

Little Brother - Joseph Gordon

Joseph Gordon-Levitt
(Inception, Dark Knight Rises)

Evelyn Nesbitt - Beautiful vaudeville performer. Thrust into the limelight after the high profile murder of her lover, the entire world is her stage.

Mother - Anne Hathaway.jpg
Evelyn Nesbitt.jpg

Anne Hathaway
(Les Miserables, Serenity, Children and Art) 

Anna Kendrick
(Pitch Perfect, Into The Woods, High Society)

Edgar - Mother and Father’s son. He is open-hearted and curious with inexplicable clairvoyance. Never passes judgement on others.

Edgar-Little boy - Iain Armitage.jpg

Iain Armitage 
(Big Bang Theory, Young Sheldon)

Coalhouse Walker Jr. - A proud and talented pianist. He is sophisticated, with a romantic demeanor and conveys strength, polish, and intelligence. However, internally, he also reflects the unbridled rage experienced by vast numbers of African Americans at the hands of an oft unjust society

Coalhouse - Jesse L. Martin (Rent, The F

Jesse L. Martin
(Rent, The Flash)

Coalhouse Walker - Leslie Odom Jr. - Coa
Coalhouse Walker - Taye Diggs.jpg
Coalhouse - L. Stephen Taylor (Lion King
Coalhouse Walker - Cavin Cornwall.jpg

Leslie Odum Jr.
(Rent, Dreamgirls,
Hamilton, CSI:Miami)

Taye Diggs
(Rent, Hedwig and the 
Angry Inch, Chicago)

L. Stephen Taylor 
(Lion King)

Cavin Cornwall
(Les Miserables, Aladdin,
Chicago, Porgy & Bess)

Sarah - A washwoman. Sarah initially experiences extreme anguish and depression, but eventually becomes filled with a strong will to live fueled by an innocent spirit. She falls deeply in love with Coalhouse after much resistance. She is young, passionately idealistic, naïve and beautiful.

Sarah - Cynthia Erivo (Lead in the Color
Sara - Renee Elise Goldsberry (Hamilton)
Sarah - Loren Lott.jpg
Sarah - Tomi Townsend.jpg

Cynthia Erivo

(Color Purple)

Denee Benton


Renee Elise Goldsberry

Loren Lott
(Once On This Island,
American Idol, Young
and the Restless)

Tomi Townsend
(Colony, Underground, Battlefield America)

Sarah - Syndee Winters (Nala in The Lion
Sarah - Kelsey Scott2.jpg

Syndee Winters

(Lion King)

Kelsey Scott

(12 years a slave, Walking Dead: Passage, How to Get Away with Murder)

Sarah - Andrea Lewis.jpg

Andrea Lewis
(Urinetown, Water

Coolers, For Colored Girls)

Sarah - Sheila Bette Jones.jpg

Sheila Bette Jones
(Jesus Christ Superstar, Oklahoma, Dreamgirls)

Booker T. Washington - Polished and educated. He embodies and provides the voice of restraint and wisdom for his people in the face the injustices and unimaginably trying circumstances they face.

Booker T Washington - Brian Stokes Mitch
Booker T Washington - Norm Lewis.jpg

Brian Stokes Mitchell

(Ragtime, Kiss Me Kate)

Norm Lewis

(Porgy and Bess, Les Mis, Ragtime)

Tateh - The haggard artist and father. He wears the trials and tribulations of his past on his sleeve, but remains optimistic. Full of genuine drive and heart. He displays the struggles of the newly arrived to this country during the turn of the century. Tateh is an imaginably devoted and loving father to his daughter

Tetah - Sasha Baren Cohen.jpg
Tetah - Tony Shalhoub.jpg

Sasha Baren Cohen

(Sweeney Todd, Les Mis)

Tony Shalhoub

(The Band's Visit, Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Monk)

Tetah - Zachery Levi.jpg

Zachary Levi

(Shazam, Chuck, First Date, Thor)

Houdini - Embodies the story of an immigrant’s success in America.

Houdini - Adrien Brody.jpg

Adrian Brody

(The Pianist, Grand Budapest Hotel, Predators)

Emma Goldman - Social activist. With an unapologetically demanding presence, she is a leader and powerful woman. A staunch anarchist, Goldman’s verbalized political zeal is palpable.

Emma Goldaman - meryl streep.jpg

Meryl Streep

(Into The Woods, Iron Lady, Mama Mia)

Emma Goldman - Helena Bonam Carter.jpg

Helena Bonham Carter

(Les Mis, Sweeney Todd)

JP Morgan - Represents the upper .0013% of the country at this time in American history.

JP Morgan - Tom Hanks.jpg

Tom Hanks

(Forrest Bump, Saving Private Ryan)

Henry Ford - an innovator. His passion for his business is felt and reflected in every waking second of his life

Henry Ford - John C. Reilly.jpg

John C. Reilly

(Chicago, Walk Hard, Step Brothers)

Willie Conklin - The epitome of racial intolerance. Brash, brazen, abrasive, offensive, and just plain ugly.

Willie Conklin - John_Goodman_by_Gage_Sk

John Goodman

(Rosanne, Argo)

Sarah's Friend - Fiercely supportive of Sarah. She gets Coalhouse in line and mourns Sarah at her funeral.

Sara - Audra McDonald.jpg

Audra McDonald

(Ragtime, Porgy & Bess)

Much of the story takes place in New Rochelle, New York (early 1900s)
New York State - 30% tax credit + 10% for shooting in upstate NYC (75% of expenses before post production must be in NY)

Georgia - 30% tax credit (min of $500K spend)
November - January (December limited release for Oscar consideration)

As seen below, there is a clear trend of successful musicals opening around the Christmas/New Year holiday. Some successful musicals opened up in the middle of the Summer (Mama Mia, Hairspray, Moulin Rouge), but that was before the modern summer "tentpole" era.

The occasional film would open around November (Rent, Black Nativity), but I could not find any examples of that being a successful opening date for a musical. That could be due to competition with Black Friday and the beginning of the shopping season. Christmas/New Years is the most desirable release window.

Shooting Locations
Release Date

Similar films - Success!
Release dates - Box office results

Les Miserables3.jpg

Les Miserables

$61m - Production Budget

$148m - Domestic

$441m - Worldwide

Opening Weekend - 12/25/12

2814 theatres, $9,695 per screen

$83m - Disc Sales


$45m - Production Budget

$170m - Domestic

$306m - Worldwide
Opening weekend - 1/24/03
616 theatres, $13,375 per screen

n/a - Dom. Video Sales

Lala Land.jpg

Lala Land

$30m - Production Budget

$151m - Domestic

$446m - Worldwide

Opening Weekend - 12/25/16

734 theaters, $12,942 per screen

n/a - Dom. Video Sales

mamma mia horizontal3.jpg

Mamma Mia
$52m - Production Budget

$144m - Domestic

$609m - Worldwide

Opening Weekend - 7/18/08

2976 theatres, $9,325 per screen

n/a - Dom. Video Sales

Hairspray Horizontal.jpg

$75m - Production Budget

$118m - Domestic

$202m - Worldwide

Opening Weekend - 07/20/07

3,121 theatres, $8,803 per screen
$104m - Dom. Video Sales


Greatest Showman

$84m - Production Budget

$174m - Domestic

$434m - Worldwide

Opening Weekend - 12/20/17

3006 theatres, $2,929 per screen

$70m - Dom. Video Sales

Sweeney Todd horizontal.jpg

Sweeney Todd

$50m - Production Budget

$52m - Domestic

$152m - Worldwide

Opening Weekend - 12/21/07

1,249 theatres, $7,446 per screen
$41m - Dom. Video Sales


Moulin Rougue

$50m - Production Budget

$57m - Domestic

$179m - Worldwide

Opening Weekend - 06/01/01

2,279 theatres, $6,019 per screen

n/a - Dom. Video Sales

Evita poster.jpg

Into The Woods
$50m - Production Budget

$128m - Domestic

$213m - Worldwide

Opening Weekend - 12/25/14

2440 theatres, $12,726 per screen

$27m - Dom. Video Sales

Phantom of the Opera - horizontal.jpg

Phantom of the Opera

$70m - Production Budget

$51m - Domestic

$154m - Worldwide

Opening Weekend - 12/22/04

622 theatres, $6,433 per screen

n/a - Dom. Video Sales

$70m - Production Budget

$103m - Domestic

$154m - Worldwide

Opening Weekend - 12/25/06

852 theatres, $16,549 per screen
$95m - Dom. Video Sales

Annie Horizontal.jpg


$65m - Production Budget

$85m - Domestic

$133m - Worldwide

Opening Weekend - 12/19/14

3,116 theatres, $5,090 per screen

$18m - Dom. Video Sales


$55m - Production Budget

$50m - Domestic

$141m - Worldwide

Opening Weekend - 12/25/96

704 theatres, $11,904 per screen
n/a - Dom. Video Sales

Rent horizontal.jpg


$40m - Production Budget

$29m - Domestic

$31m - Worldwide

Opening Weekend - 11/23/05

2,433 theatres, $4,116 per screen

$31m - Dom. Video Sales

Producers Horizontal.jpeg

The Producers

$45m - Production Budget

$19m - Domestic

$38m - Worldwide

Opening Weekend - 01/16/05

975 theatres, $3,388 per screen

$5m - Dom. Video Sales

Similar films - UNSuccessful
Release dates - Box office results

Black Nativity poster.jpg

Black Nativity

$17.5m - Production Budget

$7m - Domestic

$7.4m - Worldwide

Opening Weekend - 11/27/13

1516 theatres, $2,421 per screen

$126k - Dom. Video Sales


Rock of Ages

$75m - Production Budget

$38m - Domestic

$59m - Worldwide

Opening Weekend - 06/15/12

3,470 theatres, $4,161 per screen
$17m - Dom. Video Sales

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