Buffalo native and Broadway star Michele Ragusa performs at Kleinhans Music Hall this Friday for a cabaret-style show. She returns to her home-town performance after recently starring in Hello Dolly in Vero Beach, Florida. WBFO's Eileen Buckley talked with Ragusa ahead of this week's performance learning about a special song she will sing to honor the legacy of her father's musical work.
Ragusa will be conducting songs and storytelling about growing up in Buffalo and then starring on Broadway. It will feature many musical selections, from the classics, Judy Garland to Broadway standards.
"To be able to focus my evening on growing up in Buffalo, experiences I had in Buffalo who made me who I am today. Moving through to getting to New York and all of my Broadway shows and meeting my husband -- and all of that," said Ragusa. "It's just going to be a lovely evening of storytelling and great, terrific songs that fit within the themes I'm going to be telling."
Ragusa said she is very excited about the show, but admits this is the first time she's written her own show and is a bit nervous. "It is a little nerve racking because I have never done this before, but I couldn't think of a better place to try this out than Buffalo," explained Ragusa.
Ragusa selected all of the music and the stories to tell. "It's really all on me," said Ragusa. The dinner-concert begins at 6 p.m. with dinner and the performance starts at 8 p.m. Friday.
One of the songs will include a tribute to her father, a music arranger. "I'm going to be doing song that my dad had arranged for the BPO when I was eight years old," Ragusa said.
The piece is the theme song from the Summer of '42. "And he did this beautiful arrangement for the BPO. He took his little girl and I got to go and sit in the audience with him and then they put him in a spotlight when it was done and it was magically to me, absolutely magically," recalls Ragusa.