State honor for Taravella drama department’s ‘Ragtime’

“Ragtime,” a JP Taravella Drama Department production, has been chosen as one of five full-length musicals to be presented mainstage at the Florida State Thespians Festival 2015 in Tampa this April. The school, which has received the honor three times in previous years, is the only one in the tri-county area to be selected this year.

“Ragtime” is directed by Lori Sessions, who was inducted into the Broward Education Foundation Hall of Fame in 2012, and has music by Michael Larsen, professional music director. The school’s drama department has been recognized with this honor for “Les Miserables,” Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast,” and “On the Town.”

In addition to the honors “Ragtime” received, the school drama department also earned 21 Superior Ratings and 6 Critic’s Choices at the District 7 Thespian Competition. Melissa Lawrence was selected to represent the district at the State Festival opening ceremony with her performance of “And I’m Telling You I’m Not Going” from the Broadway musical “Dream Girls.”

Sessions estimates that it will cost $28,000 to remount the show and transport the production to Tampa. In addition, students must pay about $500 each to fund transportation, accommodations and registration fees.

As part of the efforts to raise funds, the school is organizing two benefit performances at 7 p.m. on March 19 and 20 at the school. Tickets to the benefit performances are $25 and can be purchased at

Those who would like to sponsor the production or a student in need should email Visit for details.

Copyright © 2015, Sun Sentinel

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