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Indiana Twp. woman plays key role in community theater

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Elizabeth 'Beth' Spatz

Name: Elizabeth “Beth” Spatz

Hometown: Indiana Township

Family: Husband, Jonathan; adult children, Amy and Ian, living in London, and Malcolm and Alastair, living in the Lower Valley

Hobby: Flower arranging

Community effort: American Red Cross Indiana Township Emergency Shelter committee

By Sharon Drake
Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

As Boyd Community Center in O'Hara plans to host Stage Right's production of “Don't Dress for Dinner” this weekend, Beth Spatz says she is proud of all the work she has down with the community theater group.

During her 10 years with Stage Right, Beth has worn a number of hats.

She is one of the many backstage volunteers who are key to each show's success.

She also works in the box office.

And she appeared as an actress in one play.

The lithe woman portrayed a senior citizen, a stretch for someone blessed with clear skin and a honed physique, a result of practicing Pilates and yoga regularly.

She would take another part, but until one comes along, she will help the group's newest effort — working to have a stage included in plans for a new community center in O'Hara.

The plans for the center do call for space for Stage Right in a multipurpose room, but a stage, which is estimated to cost as much as $350,000, is not included.

“This community has quality (nonprofessional) theater that we believe belongs in a community center,” Beth said.

She said Stage Right volunteers are proud of each production and put their emphasis on intensive rehearsal.

“We want to create an income-producing space for the community center,” Beth said.

She foresees the chances for ballet, dance and musical performances, along with classes for youngsters, especially when the new community center will be air-conditioned for summer use.

Beth is not afraid of a little heat, though.

A longtime vegetarian, she puts in about four hours a day in her garden, and part of her daily routine includes milking the goats.

But you can't keep her down on the farm because there is always another production just around the corner.

Colleagues in the group compliment Beth's eye for color.

She uses it for set design and coordinating costumes that stand out.

Her Indiana Township farmhouse has become the costume shop where Stage Right stores items.

Beth has become a resale-shop connoisseur and estate-sale savant as she searches to find costumes with perfect hues in the actor's size. And she always is on the lookout for props.

She even created pillows with cows on one and chickens on the other for the group's current production.

Beth reads the scripts thoroughly to get all the costumes and props coordinated.

Cooperation is the name of the game for putting on a play, she said.

“It encompasses a tremendous effort of so many skill sets,” Beth said.

She has lots of those skills, which work well with the rest of the group.

Beth was a dancer when she was younger.

“Like many people, I have fond feelings from doing this in high school,” she said.

However, it was working with costumes when her children were involved at both Shady Side Academy and Fox Chapel Area High School that got her back into the theater.

Then, her husband, a notable voice with a British accent, was asked to take a role in a Stage Right play.

The next thing she knew, Beth was part of the hard-working group.

Sharon Drake is a freelance writer for Trib Total Media.

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