I caught Rags in Fri night as well. It was always one of those shows that I heard had a great score but a problematic book and was a flop on Bway. So I was happy to catch this reworked version (based on the Goodspeed update) at NYU.
Overall I enjoyed but it is a mixed bag. I think some were specific to the show itself and some to this production. The score has lots of highlights but also some of it seems too similar to Ragtime and other shows. The book could still use more tightening - especially some of the old fashioned portrayal of the older Jewish characters. I appreciate it was a very different time and situation but they are so broad and lack nuance. I think you don’t feel all the emotion - the fear, sadness as well as hope - they are experiencing.
Performances by the women , especially the lead, were generally strong and more successful than the men. I thought some of the elements were more impactful than others. I really liked the two “Americans” characters (guys in tan suits with straw) and would like more of that darker element to be strengthened to give the show more layers.
With some further work on the book I would like to see a production of this off Broadway. I’d like to see it keep a bit of an intimate feel. The journey of the Jewish immigrant early in the century is still a powerful and emotional one. And one that is universal and also very relevant today .