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'Sugar Ridge Rag' With LAB Theater Project To Open April 28

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TAMPA, FL — LAB Theater Project will present its production of award-winning Miami playwright Philip Middleton Williams’ new work, “The Sugar Ridge Rag,” a drama that looks at the bonds that unite a family through difficult times.

This timely play explores how war can ravage a tight-knit family and how love can truly overcome that darkness.

Running April 28 through May 15 (Thursday through Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m.), at 812 E Henderson Ave. in Ybor City. Options for viewing include in person and on-demand. On-demand viewing will also be available May 12-26.

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Directed by Caroline Jett, with Peter Zaliniak as assistant director, “The Sugar Ridge Rag” features local actors Heather Cole, Nathan Juliano, Ricardo Fernandez and Tyler Wood.

The set and lighting design is by Owen Robertson, with set dressing, scenic artistry and stage management by Beth Tepe-Robertson. Sound Design is by Catherine Hagner with costumes and prop design by Vanessa Reynolds. Videography is by Kristy Pike.

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“From the moment I first read ‘The Sugar Ridge Rag,’ I was completely taken in by the Granger family,” Jett said. “Living in the tumultuous ’70s, with Kent State, peace marches, Vietnam and Watergate, Pete and Dave make choices that affect the course of their own lives and those of the entire family, the consequences of which threaten their relationships, safety and freedom.”

Dave and Pete Granger, age 17, are twin brothers in rural Ohio in 1970. Dave enlists in the Army as a combat medic and is sent to Vietnam. Pete, a piano prodigy who is gay, goes to Canada to pursue his education in music and avoids the draft. Their parents, Hal, a veteran of the Korean War, and Deb, a nurse, are left to deal with the consequences of their sons’ actions and their future as a family. Over the next five years, their lives are changed forever by the war and the choices each of them has made.

“And although ‘The Sugar Ridge Rag’ takes place 50 years ago, I saw strong parallels in the world we live in today with protests, civil unrest, war and political division,” Jett said. “And still we make choices that strongly impact family and friends, having profound consequences on our lives. It is my hope that the audience will see that, like the Grangers, we all march to a different beat, syncopated as it were, and that with love and understanding we can reconcile and transcend our many differences, creating a beautiful rhythm together.”

For the on-demand option, audience members will be emailed a link for home viewing.

LAB reserves the right to adjust the number of seats available in response to CDC guidance, to protect the health and wellbeing of the audience, cast and crew. Full health and safety procedures may be found here.

Tickets are $28 and are available online through LAB’s website. In-person tickets can only be purchased in advance, not at the door.

LAB Theater Project is a nonprofit 501(c) 3 production company that produces new works in the Tampa Bay community.

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