Arts & Entertainment

Livingston High School Alumni and West Orange Residents to be Featured in Community Theatre Production of Ragtime

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Pictured (L to R) are crew chief Frank Sheehan, producer Howie Tilkin, stage manager Joanna Muhlfelder, assistant stage manager Samantha Brown, cast members Gina Montalto, Marisa Gershwin, Juliana Fidler, crew member Jon Aronoff, and production manager Ryan Barckley. Credits: Pleasant Valley Productions
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Pictured here are cast members: Danielle Ignacio, James Ignacio, Patrick Cullins, and Emma Saccone, who will be featured in Pleasant Valley Productions' upcoming presentation of Ragtime. Credits: Pleasant Valley Productions
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WEST ORANGE, NJ – The Community theatre company Pleasant Valley Productions is presenting the epic historical musical Ragtime from February 8-15, at The Theatre at Roosevelt Middle School in West Orange, which is located at 36 Gilbert Place. Performances will occur on: Saturday, February 8 at 7 p.m., Sunday, February 9 at 2 p.m., Thursday, February 13, Friday, February 14, and Saturday, February 15 at 7 p.m. As part of Black History Month and New Jersey’s 350th Anniversary celebration, a special educational talkback will follow the February 9 performance discussing the show’s themes and historic elements. For tickets and more information, please click here or call 1-800-838-3006.

The production is being directed by Camille Vecchio-DiLorenzo, with music direction by Livingston resident Ilene Greenbaum and choreography by Marcel Coleman. Livingston native, Howie Tilkin is serving as producer.

This production serves as a reunion of sorts for a number of Livingston High School Alumni. Crew chief Frank Sheehan, producer Howie Tilkin, stage manager Joanna Muhlfelder, assistant stage manager Samantha Brown, cast members Gina Montalto, Marisa Gershwin, Juliana Fidler, crew member Jon Aronoff, and production manager Ryan Barckley, were all heavily involved in the LHS theatre program throughout their times at the high school, and will again be sharing the stage and their passion for theatre. Other Livingston residents involved in the production are co-set designer and scenic artist Hugh Mahon, music director Ilene Greenbaum, and electrician Josh Samuels.

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In addition, Cullins joins Pleasant Valley Productions to star in Ragtime as Younger Brother.  Danielle and James Ignacio have been frequent collaborators with Pleasant Valley Productions, last appearing onstage in the company’s production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat last year.

And, some of the West Orange residents that will be performing in the show include: Nia Sorbino, Erin Arnold, Christina Boateng, Laura Landrieu, Sharon Litwinoff and Lauren Karu.

Ragtime is an epic musical that paints a nostalgic and powerful portrait of life in turn of the century America. Based on the 1975 E.L. Doctorow novel, and enhanced by a beautiful and lush score by Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty and a compelling book by Terrence McNally, Ragtime is a modern classic of American musical theatre. Three distinct stories intertwine to depict life in the early 1900’s for three drastically different classes of Americans–the new immigrants from Italy and Eastern Europe, the African-American working class of Harlem and the already established and affluent Anglo-Americans. The memorable score combines the haunting music of the European immigrants with the exciting Ragtime music of the Harlem jazz clubs to result in an award-winning score that delights audiences.

Pleasant Valley Productions was formed in 2012 by long-time friends and colleagues, Livingston resident Ilene Greenbaum, Camille Vecchio-DiLorenzo, and Livingston native Howie Tilkin. The company’s mission is to create a professional theatre experience for local area performers, audience members, students and volunteers, while providing a broad range of musical theatre works with the highest possible production value. After presenting their inaugural production, the critically acclaimed Songs for a New World in March 2012, they presented the family favorite Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat this past February, a sold-out production of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee this past July, and most recently, a special concert event—Celebrating Stephen: The Music of Sondheim and Schwartz in October. They have continued to grow their company’s presence in the community by offering free concerts at the West Orange Public Library as well as an after-school musical theatre enrichment program at Roosevelt Middle School.

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