Valley Seniors in Step for Annual Variety Show

By Paglia, Ron | Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, September 23, 2007 | Go to article overview

Valley Seniors in Step for Annual Variety Show


Paglia, Ron, Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review


Music by Alan Jackson and Frankie Avalon filled the Monongahela Senior Community Center on a recent Friday afternoon.

The occasion was an impromptu rehearsal by cast members of the 21st annual Mon Valley Seniors Variety Show.

"We've been very busy preparing for the show over the past several months," said Betty R. Frick, of Rostraver Township, director and producer of the event. "Everyone, cast and behind-the- scenes personnel, has been working long and hard to bring it all together."

"All Aboard" will be the theme of the program, also traditionally known as Showboat, which will be presented at 7 p.m. Oct. 13 and 3 p.m. Oct. 14 in the Ringgold High School auditorium.

Tickets are $6 and can be purchased from cast members or at senior citizen centers in the area. They also will be sold at the door. A light dinner will be available before the Oct. 13 performance for an additional $2.

Proceeds will benefit the Home Delivered Meals Program provided by Area Agency on Aging affiliate of Southwestern Pennsylvania Human Services.

Florence Neil, of Donora, publicity coordinator, said the emphasis on variety will be symbolized by chorus songs, solo performances, comic skits, line dancing, instrumentalists and feature dances.

Among those displaying their talents will be Russell Welsh, of West Elizabeth, and line dancers Marie Gardner, of Donora, Mary Zuraw, of Charleroi, and Peggy Savadeck, Fran Vavasori and Shirley Neill, all of Monongahela.

Welsh is wearing several hats, and costumes, for the production. As an entertainer for the eighth straight year, he will present impressions of Jackson and Avalon. He also is working as music and production coordinator with Frick and Lois Phillips, stage manager, choreographer and stage director with Phillips.

"It's a lot of fun, I really enjoying working with this group," said Welsh, who entertains at senior centers and other sites and at benefit shows throughout the region.

Welsh's impersonation of Elvis Presley was a big hit at last year's Showboat.

"(Audience) really gets into it," he said of his performances that feature his singing with the background music of the artists. "There's a good mixture of music -- something to please the tastes of everyone."

Songs by Jackson, one of country music's major stars, also will provide the beat for the line dancers.

"This is great," Savadeck, an energetic veteran of numerous variety shows, said as she and the other line dancers took a break from their drills. "We're putting it all together and we will be ready when the curtain goes up. …

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