Rhythms and Rhymes of "Ragtime" Come to
MCCC's Kelsey Theatre June 4-13


West Windsor, N.J. -- It's the turn of the 20th century. The world is changing and anything is possible. "Ragtime," set in the volatile melting pot of New York City, weaves together three distinctly American stories -- that of a stifled upper-class wife, a determined Jewish immigrant, and a daring African-American musician.

The Pennington Players presents this haunting and powerful musical on Fridays and Saturdays, June 4, 5, 11 and 12 at 7:30 p.m.; and Sundays, June 6 and 13 at 2 p.m. at Mercer County Community College's Kelsey Theatre. Kelsey Theatre is conveniently located on the college's West Windsor campus, 1200 Old Trenton Road. A reception with the cast and crew follows the opening night show on June 4.

Based on the 1975 novel by E.L. Doctorow and the Tony Award-winning book for the musical by Terrence McNally, "Ragtime" provides a tapestry of Americana, fusing historical figures such as J. P. Morgan, Henry Ford, Emma Goldman and Harry Houdini with the interconnected, fictional tales of three very different families. Mother is the matriarch of a wealthy Protestant family in New Rochelle, NY; Tateh is a Latvian Jewish immigrant; and Coalhouse Walker, Jr. is a young musician from Harlem. Brought together by circumstance, these characters find themselves united by courage, compassion and a belief in the promise of the future.

Opening on Broadway in 1998, "Ragtime" ran for two years and recently enjoyed a critically acclaimed Broadway revival. The Tony Award-winning musical score, by Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens, skillfully mixes the genres of ragtime, marches, gospel, and more, captured in such exuberant numbers as the title song, "Ragtime," the vaudeville number "Crime of the Century," the powerful "Wheels of a Dream," and the touching "Sarah Brown Eyes."

Featuring a vibrant cast of 37, the show stars Vicky Czarnik as Mother, Brian Meltzer as Tateh, and Kyrus as Coalhouse Walker, Jr. Also starring are Michael Schiumo as Father, William Kamps as Younger Brother, Matthew Blazejewski as Little Boy, Salena Qureshi as Tateh's Little Girl and Cathryn Hardy as Sarah.

Lynn Baskin, left, as Booker T. Washington and
Kyrus as Coalhouse Walker.
Michaela Alyse Tomcho as Evelyn Nesbitt
Salena Qureshi and Matt Blazejewski with Vicky Czarnik
as Mother in background.
From left, William Kamps as Younger Brother, Wayne Irons
as Grandfather, and Michael Schiumo as Father.

Other featured cast members include Wayne Irons as Grandfather, Michaela Alyse Tomcho as Evelyn Nesbitt, Shawn Doremus as Harry Houdini, Laurie Gougher as Emma Goldman, Lynn Baskin as Booker T. Washington, Alan Naidoff as J.P. Morgan, Christopher Kamps as Henry Ford, and Tom Bessellieu as Willie Conklin. Members of the ensemble play various roles throughout the production including Admiral Peary, Matthew Henson, firemen, policemen, factory workers, immigrants, vaudeville dancers, and more.

The production is directed by Frank Ferrara, with musical direction by Shannon Ferrara and choreography by Nicole Farina-Machin.

Tickets are $16 for adults; $14 for seniors, and $12 for students and children. Free parking is available next to the theater. Tickets may be purchased online or by calling the Kelsey Box Office at 609-570-3333. Kelsey Theatre is wheelchair accessible. For a complete listing of adult and children's events, visit the Kelsey website.

For more on events at Kelsey Theatre visit:

Kelsey Season 2009-2010
Ticket Information
Audition Information
Tomato Patch Visual and Performing Arts Workshops

Directions to MCCC

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