Soaring music, lavish costumes, epic storytelling, tremendous talent! Ragtime returns to Venice Theatre’s MainStage for a four-week run

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Soaring music, lavish costumes, epic storytelling, tremendous talent! Ragtime returns to Venice Theatre’s MainStage for a four-week run
Kristofer Geddie returns as Coalhouse Walker
Venice, FL, Feb. 16, 2016 – Venice Theatre is delighted to present the Tony Award winning musical Ragtime on its MainStage Feb. 16 – March 13, 2016. The theatre last produced the show in November of 2010 to rave reviews and sold-out houses. Executive/Artistic Director Murray Chase decided to bring the show back during the height of season so more people could enjoy what the Herald-Tribune called, “powerful,” “forceful and engaging.” Adapted from E.L. Doctorow’s historical novel, Ragtime is set in the early 1900s and weaves together the stories of three families experiencing wealth and poverty, freedom and prejudice, hope and despair, and what it means to live in America. Performances are Tuesday through Saturday evenings at 8 p.m. and Sunday afternoons at 2 p.m. A weekday performance being offered for area schools on Feb. 26 at 10:30 a.m. has a select number of $20 seats available to the general public. Tickets are on sale now at or by calling 941-488-1115.  Regular prices are $32 for adults, $15 for college students, and $13 for children through 12th grade. Discounted rates are available for groups of 20 or more.
The three American subcultures depicted in Ragtime’s story are represented by Coalhouse Walker Jr., a charismatic Harlem musician-turned-revolutionary; Mother, the matriarch of an affluent family in New Rochelle, NY; and Tateh, a Latvian Jewish immigrant. Historical figures such as escape artist Harry Houdini, showgirl Evelyn Nesbit, educator and community leader Booker T. Washington, industrialists J. P. Morgan and Henry Ford, and anarchist Emma Goldman also appear.
Kristofer Geddie is playing Coalhouse Walker, the role that first brought him from New York to Venice Theatre where he has continued to work as a performer and the Director of Diversity. Other returning cast members from 2010 include Joseph Giglia as Tateh, Bennet Gross as Grandfather, Marla Oppenheim as Emma Goldman, and Carroll Hunter as Booker T. Washington. Stepping into the roles of Mother and Father are two well-known local talents: Eve Caballero and Ken Basque.
Brad Wages is once again directing and choreographing. Music direction is by Michelle Kasanofsky. Nicholas Hartman has returned to design costumes, some brand-new, others updated from 2010.
Now a favorite of theatres around the country, the original Broadway production of Ragtime swept the 1998 Tony Awards with 13 nominations. Only The Lion King could beat it for Best Musical. The New York Times exclaimed in its review of the original production that Ragtime is, “a spectacular feast for the eyes” … “blessed with beauty, ambition and a social conscience.” The 2009 Broadway revival was also well-received, garnering seven Tony nominations. The award-winning score by Stephen Flaherty includes marches, cakewalks and gospel, with variations on the rag form woven throughout.
Again, Ragtime opens Feb. 16 and will run through March 13, 2016. The theatre is located at 140 W. Tampa Ave. on the island in Venice. Box Office hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday and one hour before all performances.
Book by Terrence McNally
Music by Stephen Flaherty
Lyrics by Lynn Ahrens
Based on the novel Ragtime by E.L. Doctorow
Director and Choreographer – Brad Wages
Music Director – Michelle Kasanofsky
Stage Manager – Sue Brennan
Scenic and Lighting Designer- John Andzulis
Sound Designer – Dorian Boyd
Costume Designer – Nicholas Hartman
Assistant Stage Manager – Nicholas O’Conner
Edgar – Addison Ruscoe
Mother – Eve Marie Caballero
Father – Ken Basque
Younger Brother – Jeffrey Sadler
Granddad – Bennett Gross
Coalhouse Walker – Kristofer Geddie
Sarah – DaNiesha Carr
Sarah’s Friend – Lisa Richardson
Booker T. Washington – Carroll Hunter
Tateh – Joseph Giglia
Little Girl – Ava Podewitz
Emma Goldman – Marla Oppenheim
Evelyn Nesbitt – Allison Pickens
Houdini – Patrick Tancey
Henry Ford – Joe Hunter
J.P. Morgan – Paul Andis
Kathleen – Kristi Hibschman
Willie Conklin – Mark Richardson
Harlem Pastor – Demitrus Carter
Coalhouse Walker III – Will Pierre and Ki Brown will be alternating in the role.
RESIDENTS OF NEW ROCHELLE: Kari Solum, Gary Grossman, Rachael Henry, Dakota Murrell, Joi Chapman, Bill Atz, Hollie Mowry, Allie Campbell, Mirra MacDonald
RESIDENTS OF HARLEM: Beatrice Fletcher-Miller, Khamor Lyons, Kat Sallet, Kevin Johnson, Nethaneel Williams, Michelle Benghtt
THE IMMIGRANTS: Leatha Pfanmiller, Joseph Visaggi, Pinky Stewart, Elicia Sacco, Anna Sand-Lambert, Chloe Marchand, Beckett Pfanmiller, Melyssa Dawson
Venice Theatre is a 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to making a dramatic impact on all stages of life. The second-largest of 10,000 community theatres in the United States, it is located at 140 W. Tampa Ave. in Venice, FL. Its MainStage offers seating for 432 patrons and features musicals, plays, concerts and special events.  Its Yvonne Pinkerton Theatre seats 90 patrons and is home to the theatre’s “Generations,” Stage II and Cabaret Series. In addition to providing entertainment to the community, Venice Theatre offers a wide range of education and outreach programs for children and adults.
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