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Manteca High performances tonight, Saturday
MHS PLAY1-4-12-13
Lauren Turner plays the role of Tateh onstage Thursday during the opening night of the Manteca High Thespians performance of their spring musical, Ragtime. - photo by HIME ROMERO

The performance of ‘Ragtime: The Musical’ at the Mulvihill Theatre was a fitting conclusion to Day of the Arts at Manteca High on Thursday.

The MHS Thespians coupled with some special performers – included were math teacher Doug Obrigawitch (Grandfather / Vice Presidential candidate), Patrick Finley (Little Boy), Jezzica Llavore (Little Girl) and Christian Mitchell (Little Coalhouse) – make up this talented cast under the direction of Dawn Coyan.

‘Ragtime: The Musical’ is scheduled to run tonight at 7 p.m. and Saturday at the same time. Cost is $8 for adults and $6 for students.

Coyan warns that due to strong language and violence this play may not be suitable for children under 13.

The musical takes place in early 20th century America – specifically, 1906 – where the country is divided by three groups: upper class, African Americans, and Eastern European immigrants.

The New Rochelle family is led by Mother as played by Natalie Stoflet. She’s joined by William Preston as Father, Obrigawitch and young Finley.

Coalhouse Walker Jr., a Harlem musician, as played by Michael Huckaby, represents the discriminated-upon African Americans.

The immigrants have Tateh (Laurence Turner), Emma Goldman (Jessica Munoz) and Harry Houdini (Roman Romero).

Goldman and Houdini aren’t the only historical character in ‘Ragtime: The Musical.’ Others are Booker T. Washington (Erick McCoy), J.P. Morgan (Dakota Donaldson), Henry Ford (Jordan Garcia), and Admiral Peary (Nathanial Fox).

As Mother, Stoflet comes across an abandon newborn. She soon discovers that the baby’s mother is Sara Brown as played by Kay McCann.

Stoflet and McCann highlight several of the musical numbers. Included is Stoflet’s “Back to Before” in Act II of the book by Terrence McNally – based on the novel ‘Ragtime’ by E.L. Doctorow – music by Stephen Flaherty and lyrics by Lynn Ahrens.

McCann and Huckaby also perform several duets, including “The Wheels of a Dream” in Act I. Turner and Stoflet get together on “Our Children.”

The musical opens and closes with “Ragtime” featuring the entire cast. The New Rochelle people are Donaldson, Garcia, Stephanie Ellis, Makaela Hofer, Mia Holbrook, Eryka Rubio, Tony Padilla, and Autumn Rumple.

The Harlem group is made up of Javier Avila, Lauren Dedmon, DeVaunte Hightower, Kaneja Hightower, Colin Jones, Shardae Jones, Ashley Lopez, Ja Kia Sims, Christian Trotter, and Michelle Turner.

The Immigrants consisted of Daniela Barba, Davya Costa, Juliana Fragoso, Chris Gonzalez, Bri Hansen Moreno, Joenna Llavore, Vanessa Rasmusson, Andrea Rodriguez, Elena Souza, Ruby Talavera, and Ashley Tejada.

But it’s the actual musicians who provide the driving force of the play. They are Tom Coyan on keyboards; Bob Stover on drums; Edgar Herrera and Isabella Garcia-Mendez on clarinet; Mario Gaytan on tuba; Michael Stubbings and Clayton Williams on trumpet; Cassidy Jones and Cindy Cortez on flute; and Alex Vazquez on trombone.

The cast, in addition, was back by music director / vocal coach Mary Monaghan, stage manager Darryl Asuncion, stage crew Sam Parnham, costumer Madisyn Ramirez, light tech Anthony Gonzalez and spotlight tech Allison Paul.

For more information, e-mail director Coyan at