PALATKA – America, including three families in pursuit of the American dream, is coming to the Florida School of the Arts (FloArts) by way of the School’s Musical Theatre Project: “Ragtime the Musical” in Concert” at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 18 to Saturday, Oct. 20, and at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 21. The concert will be performed on FloArts’ main stage, which is located on the Palatka campus of St. Johns River State College. Admission is $5.
Director Kandie Smith said, “Ragtime is such a wonderful musical. It takes us right into the heart of New York City at the beginning of the 20th century. We experience the sights and sounds, and the passion and the drama through the eyes of three different groups: upper-class New Rochelle residents, African-American Harlem citizens and immigrants from various parts of Europe and Haiti. These three diverse groups are brought together throughout the show by various figures taken from history: Harry Houdini, Evelyn Nesbit, J.P. Morgan, Henry Ford, Booker T. Washington, among others. The audience is going to love the music, and be powerfully moved by the drama,” Smith continued. “The story contains timeless themes of love and hate, darkness and light, and forgiveness and redemption that resonate powerfully in us all.”
Smith also explained that this production of “Ragtime” is being presented in a semi-staged concert format, so some of the elements normally seen in a fully-staged production will be missing. However, she added that the set, lighting, costumes, fight scenes and dances will transport the audience directly into each scene in visually stunning ways. “It’s going to be a very exciting production,” she said.
In addition to Smith’s director role, the artistic design team consists of Music Director Noah Peacock, second-year musical theatre major; Faculty Costume Designer Emily Schafer; Faculty Scenic Designer and Technical Director Mark Exline; Lighting Designer and Sound Faculty Supervisor Chandler Caroccio; Choreographer Torie D’Alessandro, also a second-year musical theatre major; and Faculty Fight Director Patricia Crotty.
The cast, in order of appearance, includes Nicholas Williams as the little boy; Noah Peacock as the father; Ariel LeMerle-Mousset as the mother; Chad Boyd as the younger brother; Vincent Ward as the grandfather; Robert Allen III as Coalhouse Walker; Carine St. Juste as Sarah; Dante Jones Soto as Booker T. Washington; Facia Lee as Sarah’s friend; Mitchel Burns as Tateh; Olivia Willis as the little girl; Alberto Blanco as Harry Houdini; Christopher Toombs as J.P. Morgan; Wyatt Matlock as Henry Ford; Rebekah Herskovitz (Thursday and Saturday) and Anna Guzman (Friday and Sunday) as Emma Godman; Ashley Leake as Evelyn Nesbit; Neal Baker as Admiral Peary/Willie Conklin; Elijah Richardson-Grant as Mr. Henson; Amaani Grant and Alantae Jackson as Harlem Pas de Deux dancers; and Aiden Jackson as the Young Coalhouse.
The Ensemble includes: Baker, Blanco, Jid Charles, Logen Cheatham, Anastasia Costas, D’Alessandro, Grant, Guzman, Herskovitz, Alantae Jackson, Hannah Johnson, Leake, Matlock, Melissa Moore, Emily Poehlman, Richardson-Grant, Hayley Smith, Soto, Toombs and Samuel Williams IV.
The production staff includes Artistic Consultant Crotty; Choreography Consultants Jessica Mayhew and Mary Love Ward; Stage Manager Brandy Ramos; Assistant Director Guzman; Costume Shop Manager Tiffany Jordan; Scene Shop Manager Caroccio; Assistant Stage Manager Sophia Delgado; Production Assistants Costas and Maddison McBride; Master Carpenter Andrew Stevens; Master Electrician Brittany Posso; Props Team: Jadon Beck and McBride; Scenic Charge Katrina Babitzke; Sound Board Operators Savannah Flathmann and Loudise Ortiz-Hernandez; Light Board Operator Fermin Llosa; Wardrobe Head Marissa Mendez; Dressers: Kati Blankenship and Danielle Brownfield; Costume Construction Crew, Blankenship, Brownfield, Crystal Cruz, Danielle DuBois, Tatiyana Firth, Hannah Johnson, Mendez, Ortiz-Hernandez, Jeff Parmenter and Vincent Ward; Carpenters, Painters, Electricians: Babitzke, Baker, Boyd, Flathmann, Herskovitz, Moore, Richardson-Grant, Kirsten Rude and Williams IV; Understudies Charles, Cheatham, Smith, Toombs and Ward.
Celebrating its 20th anniversary, “Ragtime the Musical” is based on the novel “Ragtime” By E.L. Doctorow; the book is by Terrence McNally. The concert’s music is by Stephen Flaherty with lyrics by Lynn Ahrens.
The FloArts chapter of Delta Psi Omega (a national theatre honor society) will collect non-perishable, nutritious foods at each performance. Donations will assist the Feed the Need of Putnam County program. Encouraged food items are ones that can be easily prepared/cooked by young children. A donation box will be located in the lobby for the duration of the production.
Florida School of the Arts, which serves the entire state of Florida, is part of the academic and administrative structure of SJR State and awards the two-year associate degree. For more information, call 386-312-4300 or visit online at floarts.org.