Stage Right kicks off 20th season with ‘Shrek’
Stage Right Artistic Director Tony Marino heads into his theater company’s 20th anniversary season feeling proud of how far the Greensburg-based professional theater and performing arts school has come.
“Still being here 20 years later is an enormous accomplishment,” he says. “Arts organizations come and go all the time. If you’ve made it to 20 and are still growing, then it’s a testimony to your mission, your staff, your board and the ideals behind all of them.”
On the educational side, Stage Right has made an impact in Westmoreland County for its innovative programming with its Books Come Alive program with local libraries, its partnership with Adelphoi to create theater programs for kids in group homes, its cyberschool program and its Spectrum Theatre Initiative for students with special needs.
On the performance side, the theater company is committed to staging original works. Besides bringing in 15 professional actors a year to work and teach, Stage Right has produced nine shows a year – six professional and three student company shows – for a long time.
“We truly believe what we’re doing is important and can make our world a better place,” Marino says.
Fun being green
Stage Right’s 20th season starts off with “Shrek the Musical” filling its traditional family friendly slot in September. Performances are Sept. 21-23 at the Palace Theatre.
Equity actor and Greensburg native J. Alex Noble looks forward to taking on the title role.
“Last time I did the show I knew I’d really want to play Shrek at some point,” he says. “He has great moments and songs and the arc of going from angry to ﬁnding the tender side of him that Fiona (Kiley Caughey) and Donkey (Jason Shavers) bring out is a lot of fun as an actor – plus, you get to be green!”
“Shrek” also features Renata Marino as the Dragon and Tony Marino directing and playing Papa Ogre. The show will be musically directed by Christopher McAllister and choreographed by Renata Marino.
‘Rocky Horror’ returns
Next up on Oct. 19-20 and 26-27 is an annual Stage Right favorite, “The Rocky Horror Show,” back after a one-year hiatus. The campy musical will be staged at The Lamp Theatre in Irwin Oct. 19-20 and a new venue for the company, Westmoreland County Community College’s Science Hall Theatre, Oct. 26-27.
On Nov. 16-18, Stage Right heads back to the Palace Theatre for “Mamma Mia!” followed by “A Christmas Story” Dec. 7-9, and “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown” Feb. 22-24, at the Lamp Theatre in Irwin, then back to the Palace for “Jesus Christ Superstar” April 12-14.
Stage Right Board President and longtime supporter Dani Womack will be honored Oct. 5 at its Heart of the Arts Gala at Rizzo’s, and Marino says their annual Volunteer of the Year award will be renamed for his sister, Chris Orosz, who passed away July 4.
“We will also be dedicating, in her name, our costume room,” her brother says. “Chris had an office where she ran Stage Right, but the place she loved was in the stacks and stacks of fabric and costumes downstairs.”
Chris is always going to be a part of Stage Right, Marino says, and “it still feels as if a piece of us is missing, but we’ll carry her with us in all we do this season and beyond.”
Candy Williams is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.