Historical Epic RAGTIME Opens At The Croswell Opera House

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Historical Epic RAGTIME Opens At The Croswell Opera House

A historical epic that was nominated for 13 Tony Awards will come to Adrian on Sept. 21 when the Croswell Opera House opens its production of the musical "Ragtime."

The show is directed by Deb Calabrese, who said "Ragtime" is a "bucket list" show that she has loved ever since she first saw it on Broadway.

"It's a show of many fabrics, and you stitch them all together and it's this beautiful crazy quilt of a musical," she said. "It's a beautiful production, it has a great storyline, the cast is stupendous, and you walk away feeling uplifted."

"Ragtime" tells the story of life in early 20th-century America through the eyes of three people. Mother, the matriarch of an upper-class suburban family, is played by Erin Wiley of Maumee. Coalhouse Walker Jr., an African-American musician in Harlem, is played by Nickolas Brown of Ypsilanti. Tateh, an immigrant from Latvia, is played by Jared Hoffert of Ann Arbor.

Mother's adventuring husband is played by D. Ward Ensign of Toledo. Their son is played by Luke Barden of Clinton, Mother's idealistic younger brother is Jarrod Alexander of Toledo, and her grouchy father is William E. McCloskey of Monroe.

Bryana Hall of Ann Arbor plays Coalhouse's love interest, Sarah, and her friend is played by Crystal Lynn of Toledo. Tateh's young daughter is played by Abby Karakas of Toledo.

The show also depicts a number of historical characters. Charles Crockett of Toledo is civil rights leader Booker T. Washington; Jamie Lynn Buechele of Ottawa Lake is anarchist Emma Goldman; Dara Pardon of New Boston is model and actress Evelyn Nesbit; Christopher J. Smith of Toledo is Henry Ford; Mikey Del Vecchio of Toledo is escape artist Harry Houdini; John Baccarella of Monroe is financier J.P. Morgan; and Jim Butler of Toledo is explorer Admiral Robert Peary.

The stories of the three communities and the various historical figures are woven together in what Calabrese calls "probably the most intricate show I've ever done."

"Everything overlaps," she said. "There's no stopping."

The music director is Todd Schreiber and the choreographer is Domonique Glover, who is also in the cast.

The 53-person cast also includes Erica Buechele, Rachel Cheng, Anthony Contreras, Riolana Doyle, Tyler Irwin, Jasmine Jones, Dylan Masters, Payton Perry-Radcliffe, Lisa Schrock-Ohlinger, and Ja'Vaughn White, all of Adrian; Jackie Cano and Sarah Hoffert of Ann Arbor; Mitchell LaRoy of Blissfield; Dee Morrison of Canton; Lisa Cryderman of Jackson; Debra Nichols and Aden Nichols of Milan; Joanna Baccarella and Olivia Baccarella of Monroe; Adam Lenhart of Ottawa Lake; Abby Dotz and Austin Terris of Saline; Steven Owsley of Stockbridge; Donna Andre and Mark Hyre of Tecumseh; and David Bousonville, Cyndy Brookover, Sabriyah Davis, Megan Del Vecchio, Nadja Garland, Brian D. Jones, Sarah Pettee, Michael Rywalski, and Corionn Taylor, all of Toledo.

With themes that include immigration, racism and labor rights, Calabrese said "Ragtime" continues to be relevant.

"You could take this show and set it in 2018 and it would all ring true," she said. "The appeal is so universal."

"Ragtime" runs the weekends of Sept. 21-23 and Sept. 27-30. Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 2:30 p.m. Sundays, with an additional evening performance on the second Thursday and an additional matinee on the second Saturday. Tickets range from $15 to $35 and may be ordered online at croswell.org or by calling 517-264-7469.

The Croswell is at 129 E. Maumee St., Adrian.

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