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Siblings from West Long Branch to star in 'Ragtime' - centraljersey.com
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Siblings from West Long Branch to star in ‘Ragtime’

Siblings Grace and Jack Sweeney will be featured cast members in an upcoming production of “Ragtime, The Musical.”

Grace, 10, will make her Axelrod Performing Arts Center debut on March 3, cast as The Little Girl.

“I’m so happy to be performing with such an amazingly talented cast,” Grace said in a statement provided by the Axelrod Performing Arts Center, which is located in Deal. “When I’m at rehearsals we learn a lot, and [Director] Luis Salgado is a great teacher. It’s interesting to learn about different cultures and it will be fun to put all of what we learn on stage. Musical theater is my one true passion, and what’s going to be even more exciting is sharing this with my brother.”

Grace is a student at Betty McElmon Elementary School in West Long Branch.

This past summer, Grace made her Off-Broadway debut at Signature Theatre with KOTA Productions as Tessie in “Annie Warbucks” and participated in the Lyrics for Life music video, raising awareness for suicide prevention. She also performed in the world premiere of “Dance Divas Nutcracker” as Jackie at Theatre Row in New York, and was involved with the making of the cast recording at Premier Studios, according to the statement.

Grace takes classes at the Count Basie Performing Arts Academy and has performed in “Beauty and the Beast Jr.” as the silly girl, “Aladdin Jr.” as the narrator and the children’s opera “Brundibar.” Her other credits include “Evita,” “Annie,” “Lion King Jr.,” “The Little Mermaid” and “A Christmas Story.”

Jack, who is cast as Edgar, is in sixth grade at Frank Antonides School in West Long Branch. His previous shows on the Axelrod stage include the newsboy in “Gypsy” and Rising Stars’ “Mary Poppins.”

“I’m so excited to be playing the role of Edgar in ‘Ragtime.’ Working with Luis and the production team is a lot of fun, but also hard work,” Jack said in the statement. “My favorite subject is history, and it is great to learn about the time period with such a talented cast and director. This is going to be a great learning experience for me, and what makes it even better, is that I will be performing alongside my sister.”

Jack has performed with several theater companies in Monmouth County including the Count Basie Performing Arts Academy, Phoenix Productions, Algonquin Arts, Spring Lake Theatre Company, Shore Players, Cabaret for Life and Seashore Theatre Camp.

His other credits include Ralphie in “A Christmas Story Musical,” Oz in “Wizard of Oz, Jr.,” Sebastian in “Little Mermaid, Jr.,” Winthrop Paroo in “The Music Man,” Tiny Tim in “A Christmas Carol,” Schroeder in “You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown,” Michael Darling in “Peter Pan,” “Evita,” Michael Banks in “Mary Poppins,” Who in “Seussical the Musical,” young Simba in “The Lion King,” Jaq in “Cinderella” and Barron Trump in “Housewives of Monmouth County: Jamaica!”

The production will be directed and choreographed by Luis Salgado, who is returning to the theater after last year’s production of “In the Heights.”

Show dates are Saturdays, March 3, 10, 17 and 24 at 8 p.m., and Sundays, March 4, 11, 18 and 25 at 3 p.m.

Tickets range from $35-$42 and can be purchased at www.axelrodartscenter.com.

The theater is located at 100 Grant Ave., Deal.


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