St. Petersburg, FL – American Stage’s outdoor musicals in Demens Landing Park are by far the city's most highly attended theatrical event each year.
This year, American Stage is producing Ragtime - the Musical in the Park with a nine-piece live band, and 23 actors - 16 of which are local.
A cast list of this size, where more than half of the production are local, is a way of making the park show feel like a truly uplifting event for Tampa Bayt artists and audiences.
"Our annual Park show is one of the most impactful services that we offer the City of St. Pete and the Tampa Bay area,” Producing Artistic Director Helen R. Murray said. “It is a beautiful intersection of our city and our art. We look forward to welcoming audiences from far and wide as they grab their picnic blankets or get a couple chairs, enjoy some tasty treats, and watch great theatre under the stars."
This cast is a group of both community members and seasoned actors. Perhaps a little of both, St. Pete resident and Broadway veteran Larry Alexander is playing “Father” in Ragtime. Alexander was a part of the original cast of Les Misérables and is no stranger to American Stage, audiences may recognize him from 2019’s Mamma Mia in the Park.
“American Stage’s park shows are always a big deal in the theatre world, and the St. Pete community as well,” Alexander said. “It’s something everyone should experience.”
Ragtime’s “Houdini” - Anthony Gervais most recently starred in several local productions and is making his American Stage debut at park. He also balances his acting career with a full-time position as a theatre instructor at Dunedin High School.
“It’s important for me to be involved in all aspects of theatre art and creativity,” Gervais said.
For the first time, American Stage will have child actors performing on stage at park. Nigel Bailey and Noah Jordan are youth students in American Stage’s educational programs and are eager to make their debut on the stage.
Finite art lovers may recognize Beth Gelman (playing Emma Goldman) as the senior director of Arts and Cultural Programming at Creative Pinellas.
Local musical director and “Sarah’s Friend” in Ragtime Siobhan Monique is the official spokesperson for local St. Pete non-profit RaceWithoutIsm. Regarding the racial tensions in the show, her activism is an important tie to the bigger message in this year’s park production.
Sarah Middough who plays “Mother” is one of the few actors who is making their American Stage debut. The Jacksonville actor is thrilled for the chance to tell this story, especially one that was created by a St. Pete native, playwright Terrance McNally.
“I was first introduced to Ragtime in college; I thought the story was both hopeful and heartbreaking, with an incredible score,” Middough said. “My hope is that audiences leave the show with that song in their heads and a commitment to that dream in their hearts.”
American Stage hopes so too.
“Our production at Demens Landing Park is our largest annual effort to support local artists here in Tampa Bay,” said Patrick A. Jackson, associate artistic director at American Stage. “Ragtime will be a new experience for many of our recent park audiences - in the storyline and size of the production.”
Want to be a part of our colorful local theatre scene? Come to a show.
Ragtime - the Musical runs April 12-May 14, Wednesday-Sunday starting at 7:30 p.m. each night.
Full Cast List:
Sarah Middough* she/hers (Mother)
Larry Alexander* he/his (Father)
Matthew Harper Stevenson he/his (Younger Brother)
Laura McKenna she/her (Evelyn Nesbit)
Mona Lim* (she/her) Grandmother
Cody Taylor* he/his (Willie Conklin/Henry Ford)
Derek Baxter he/his (JP Morgan)
Martin Powers all pronouns (Little Boy)
Billy Goldstein he/him (Tateh)
Anthony Gervais he/him (Harry Houdini)
Beth Gelman*she/her (Emma Goldman) Elizabeth Gelman
We're here, we're queer, and we're in the park having a local beer. American Stage's Pride in the Park night is your chance to wear your best rainbow, pack a picnic, and enjoy "Ragtime - the Musical" in a fun, safe, place. And what's more LGBTQ+ than musical theatre? Start time is at 7:30 p.m. Come early to enjoy the rainbow before the show kicks off.
Wagtime in the Park- April 30, 2023
Does your fur baby love theatre as much as we do? "Wagtime" in the Park is your chance to bring your pet to our outdoor showing of "Ragtime the Musical"! Bring your dogs, cats, chickens, ferrets - we don't judge - to watch this turn-of-the-century classic musical in Demens Landing. Start time is at 7:30 p.m. Pets are encouraged, but not required for entry.