RAGTIME Comes to Axelrod PAC in March; Luis Salgado of In The Heights To Direct

RAGTIME Comes to Axelrod PAC in March; Luis Salgado of In The Heights  To Direct The Axelrod Performing Arts Center (APAC) in Deal Park, NJ, in cooperation with Salgado Productions, will bring "Ragtime, The Musical" to the stage from March 3-25, in a new production directed and choreographed by Luis Salgado, who is returning to the theater after last year's successful production of "In the Heights."

"Ragtime," by the team of Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens, with a book by Terrence McNally, has been widely regarded as one of the best new musicals of the past quarter century, having won the Tony Awards for Best Score and Book. The thought-provoking musical is based on a best-selling novel and has been described by critics as both "dazzling" and brimming with "theatrical eloquence."

Twenty years have passed since "Ragtime" originally created a stir on Broadway, but APAC Artistic Director Andrew DePrisco believes that the show is both "timeless and timely" as reinvented by director-choreographer Salgado and his team.

The musical, like the novel, intertwines historical and fictional characters into a theatrical diorama and shows the conflict of the upper white classes with the black underclass and the straining flow of immigrants into America at the turn of the century.

Salgado says his view of the production is triggered by "The journey of each character who believes a new door is opening for his or her life, and the idea that it could all just be an illusion." After auditioning over 200 actors in New York City for this production, he says he is ready to, "get started with the actors, get deep into the material, debate the boundaries of freedom and justice, and explore the parallels and differences of the early 1900s and today."

DePrisco, who helped Salgado conceive the production, is confident that "Ragtime" will resonate with APAC audiences. "It is Salgado's vision of 'Ragtime' and the talent and dedication of this cast that will make this musical the most talked-about theatrical event in New Jersey this winter."

Salgado is one of the few emerging Latino directors on Broadway, and recently won Broadway World's 2018 award for Best Director and Best Choreographer for his work on the first Spanish-language production of "In the Heights" at the GALA Theater in Washington, DC.

In the APAC cast are Alex Gibbs, born in Memphis and currently living in Los Angeles, is "... truly looking forward to embodying Coalhouse Walker, Jr., and depicting the raw emotions of this brave, passionate man." Gibbs, whose stage name is FortyWest, is an internationally known R&B singer who has worked with Jennifer Hudson, Debbie Allen, Gladys Knight and many others. Playing the role of Mother, Northern California native Molly Samson is "thrilled and honored to be taking part in this production with Salgado." Samson, who has toured the U.S. as a singing actress and currently lives in New York City, is "confident that, with Luis Salgado at the helm, these stories will be shared with the emotional honesty and respect that they deserve."

Jacob S. Louccheim, from Tucson, Arizona, a recent SITI conservatory graduate in dramatic studies and operatic performance, will play the role of the immigrant Tateh. Other leading roles include Marion Grey as Sarah, Noel Haule-von Behren as Younger Brother, Jonmichael Tarleton as Father, Ashley Edler as Evelyn Nesbit, Julie Galorenzo as Emma Goldman, Richard Coleman as Booker T. Washington, Matt Aaron as Henry Ford, Yan Carlos Diaz as Houdini and Grace Sweeney as The Little Girl. The ensemble includes: Jonte Culpepper, Benjamin Haupt, Mariana Herrera Jury, Whitney Hickman, Pranjaal Luna' Rai, Jessica Lynn McCuish, Matt Oster, Khadija Sallet, Nicole Sartor, Joshua Schirtzinger, Evan Simone, Samantha Lee Stoltzfus, William Taitel and Garth West.

The production team working with director-choreographer Luis Salgado includes musical director David Maglione, associate director Valeria Cossu, production coordinator Heather Hogan, set designer Fred Sorrentino, lighting designer Erik Herskowitz, sound designer Kevin Johnson, projections designer Manuel de la Potilla, costume designer Robert Croghan and prop designer Susan Bloir. The orchestrations for this production are by Kim Scharnberg, courtesy of the Fords Theater.

Show dates are March 3, 10, 17, 24 at 8 PM, March 4, 11, 18, 25 at 3 PM. Tickets can be purchased at www.axelrodartscenter.com and range from $35 to $42.

About the Axelrod Performing Arts Center

The Axelrod Performing Arts Center fosters artistic excellence by showcasing varied and distinct cultural programs that enrich the imaginative, intellectual, and creative soul, while cultivating an appreciation of diverse communities through the pursuit of the arts. For more information, please visit www.axelrodartscenter.com.

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