CNR Drama Presents 'Ragtime' in Celebration of New Rochelle's 325th Anniversary


CNR Drama's production of the musical "Ragtime" this November hits close to home in more ways than one.

Based on the landmark novel by E.L. Doctorow, "Ragtime" tells the story of three families at the start of the American Century, including well-to-do residents of Broadview Avenue in New Rochelle; a brilliant Harlem pianist and the mother of his child; and an immigrant artist and his daughter.

Fusing Doctorow's fictional characters with historical celebrities such as Henry Ford, Emma Goldman, Harry Houdini, and Booker T. Washington, the show examines the mythology of the American Dream through rising tensions of race, immigration, a burgeoning world war, and the future of America's national identity.

"This show couldn't be more perfect for us in 2013," says director Laurie Peterson Castaldo. "Along with the city's celebration, our dramatic society, CNR Drama, was established in 1906, the year in which the play first takes place."  More importantly, she added, "as a college, this is a teaching moment. 'Ragtime' reminds us of how we got to where we are."

Performances are at 8 p.m. on November 15, 16, 21, 22, and 23; and at 2 p.m. on November 16, 17, 23, and 24. The shows take place at Romita Auditorium in Mooney Center, on the Main Campus of The College of New Rochelle, 29 Castle Place, New Rochelle, NY 10805.

The artistic team includes music director Kurt Kelley, choreographer Juan Borona, scenic designer Raffaele A. Castaldo, costume designer Brooke Cohen and lighting designer Cecilia Durbin. A cast of 36 is drawn from New York City and environs as well as The College of New Rochelle community, and features Erich McMillan-McCall as Coalhouse Walker Jr., Hanna Burke as Mother, and David Gautschy as Tateh.

General admission tickets are $25; $20 for seniors and students. Tickets are available through SmartTix at (212) 868-444 or Additional information is available through CNR Drama's website,, and on Facebook.

(Photo Credit: All photos by Joseph Torres)