Niagara Gazette

Night & Day

December 12, 2013

Local star Michele Ragusa joining BPO at Kleinhans


Night & Day — “I met Brother Augustine and he gave me a tour of the theater department, and we walked into the theatre and I felt like I was home. I knew it was the place I had to be. I am very head strong, I am a Sicilian Leo, and so I decided I was going. I only had like three classes to go at Erie Community College.”

That laid the groundwork for her acting career, but before she relocated from Buffalo to New York City she had a stroke of good fortune.

“I got a teaching job at Studio Arena and they were doing a production that called for a couple of 10 year olds and the director asked me if I wanted to do both parts and then I would have my Equity Card. So when I did move to New York in 1989 I already had my Equity Card.”

For an aspiring actor, an Equity Card opens doors to “Equity-Only” auditions, and a host of other benefits not available to actors that are not members of a union.

In spite of the demands of her career, Ragusa always finds time to come home, and each homecoming is special and brings back fond memories of her parents who passed away in 2006. Ragusa cited her mother as a huge supporter.

Ragusa also loves to share the stage with the BPO. “Since I have done six shows recently with the BPO everyone is so nice and we are all happy to see each other. I adore JoAnn, there aren’t many female conductors out there and you get us two Italian girls onstage together and it’s pretty special.”

There are four performances of The Holiday Pops at Kelinhans Music Hall, 10:30 a.m. and 8 p.m. on Friday; 8 p.m. on Saturday and 2:30 p.m. on Sunday. Tickets are available at They will also be collecting new unwrapped toys for the Toys for Tots program.

Thom Jennings covers the local music scene for Night and Day.

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