Teacher turned humorist charms McKeesport College Club

| Monday, Feb. 25, 2013, 5:06 a.m.

Breaking the gray of winter with an afternoon of colorful comedy, McKeesport College Club hosted Janet Robb for “A Potpourri of Women's Humor.”

“It's the last week of February and a very dreary day,” Robb said before entertaining about 50 of the club's members at Jacktown Ride and Hunt Club in North Huntingdon Township on Saturday. “I thought this could make for a brighter day.”

Members laughed and reminisced as Robb shared the insights of famous characters and comediennes.

“I don't try to imitate,” Robb said. “I'm just sharing their thoughts.”

She offered advice from the Hallmark greeting card character Maxine, television and commercial reviews from Ellen Degeneres, social commentary from Rita Rudner and mom-isms from Anita Renfroe.

“She's such a dynamic actress,” said McKeesport College Club president Elizabeth Jones said of Robb. “She's fantastic, warm and funny. We needed to laugh.”

Club members were happy to have Robb, not only for the show, but to keep in touch with a strong, local woman.

“Her resume is simply awesome,” entertainment chairwoman JoAnne Rodgers said as she prepared to read Robb's biography. “We're very fortunate to have here.”

At McKeesport Area School District, Robb was a teacher, director of children's theater and forensics coach who qualified more than 200 students for state and national speech tournaments. Her students include five state champions, 22 state finalists and 26 state semi-finalists.

Robb's teaching awards include a Five Diamond Coach for the National Forensic League, Leading Chapter Award for the National Forensic League. Students selected her three times for the University of Pittsburgh's All-Star Educator Award.

As a performer, Robb has been active in McKeesport Little Theater, Little Lake Dinner Theater, South Park Conservatory Theater, Robert Morris Colonial Theater, Greensburg Civic Theater, Apple Hill Playhouse and the Cabaret Theater. She has won McKeesport Little Theater awards for the best actress in a leading role and supporting role, as well as director of a top show.

Robb continues in her passion for theater through writing and performing. She has performed her original “Tea with the First Ladies,” for audiences including the McKeesport College Club. She also volunteers at the National Aviary as a guide, program host and children's show performer.

The club was founded April 12, 1921, to unite college women of the community for educational work and sociability.

The club will meet March 25 at Faith Lutheran Church, White Oak. Member Ellen Show will present “Western Pennsylvania's Impact on the World.”

Jennifer R. Vertullo is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1956, or jvertullo@tribweb.com.

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