The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

Community

July 21, 2007

Center Stage

Actors break in Thieltheater

GREENVILLE — When Thiel College professor William A. Robinson found out that the school was naming its new theater building for him, he was beyond thrilled.

“I thought we were going to have to call it a ‘memorial’ theater, he was that excited,” said Barbara Long-Cooper, a Thiel administrative assistant and member of the Greenville Area Community Theater troupe that Robinson directs.

Robinson said he was surprised at the honor but everyone who knows him says he deserves it.

“He’s absolutely by far the best teacher I’ve ever had,” said Kris Reeher.

The first show in the new theater — “Theatrically Yours: 30 Years of GACT” — opens Thursday and plays through the weekend.

And the William A. Robinson Theater, which is behind Passavant Center on Thiel’s campus, will be a permanent home for the community theater.

Over the years, the group has performed in many places including Greenville High School, the country club, the former Schuster’s Restaurant, various church halls and several venues at Thiel, most recently in Bly Lecture Hall. The new building offers a lot more space and is tailored to the performing arts.

This summer’s production is an overview of the last three decades of Greenville’s community theater performances and includes singing, dancing and snippets from dramas and comedies put on by more than 100 people since the group’s inception in 1977.

Actors in the show range from folks who’ve been involved since the beginning to first-timer Kelsey Cousley, who turns 18 on opening night.

Robinson, who has been directing GACT shows for 15 years, called it a “merry mix” of people.

Jo-An Wentling reprises her role from the 1977 production of “Guys and Dolls” in the revue and several other cast members tackle tunes and pieces from past years.

A half dozen ladies also sing and slink through “Cell Block Tango” from “Chicago,” a hit for the group in the 1990s.

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