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Perrysville church members to perform 'Every Little Crook and Nanny'

| Wednesday, May 8, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Randy Jarosz | For the McKnight Journal
Austin Myers, 12, of Cranberry, playing Sam Sims, cracks open a briefcase with stolen money during a rehearsal Wednesday, May 1, 2013, for St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church's production of 'Every Little Crook and Nanny.'
Randy Jarosz | For the McKnight Journal
Kerry Anderson of Franklin Park, playing Mrs. Sims, pulls away Austin Myers, 12, of Cranberry, playing her son, Sam, while he yells for his reward money for catching the bank robber during a rehearsal Wednesday, May 1, 2013, for St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church's production of 'Every Little Crook and Nanny.'
Randy Jarosz | For the McKnight Journal
Abigail Lieb, 16, of West View, (left), playing nanny Carmella Dundee; Jillian Zwierszynski of Ohio Township, playing nanny Jocelyn Minnow; and Maklayne Vitovich, 15, of West View, playing nanny Lillie Scones dance during a rehearsal Wednesday, May 1, 2013, of the final scene of St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church's production of 'Every Little Crook and Nanny.'
Randy Jarosz | For the McKnight Journal
John Pfaff of Ross Township, playing small-time crook Stu Benchley (left), listens as Tom Sparke of Ross Township, playing Pat Turgesson, Benchley' assistant, whispers during a rehearsal Wednesday, May 1, 2013, for St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church's production of 'Every Little Crook and Nanny.'
Randy Jarosz | For the McKnight Journal
John Halley of Ross Township (right), playing police Chief Dan Collins, handcuffs Mark Anderson of Franklin Park, playing Teddy Hitchell during a rehearsal Wednesday, May 1, 2013, for St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church's production of 'Every Little Crook and Nanny.'

Frances Halley and her cast of 10 have been busy since February, when rehearsals for “Every Little Crook and Nanny” began.

From Friday through Sunday, they'll bring this farce under Halley's direction to the stage at St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church in Ross Township's Perrysville neighborhood.

She also directed “That's the Spirit” last year, but she considers herself an amateur with years of experience with Sunday school and Christmas plays.

She found this year's play, by Pat Cook, on the Internet.

“I wanted something doable by a bunch of talented amateurs,” the Ross Township resident said. “We have a child in the cast, but he's a natural.”

Austin Myers, 12, a sixth-grader at Haine Middle School in Cranberry, is eager to perform again.

He made his talents known when he became the first boy to volunteer to sing a solo in the Christmas play. In eight years, Halley never saw that before.

“I play Sam, a boy who is gangster-like,” said Austin, of Cranberry. “I make a lot of trouble for the nannies and the crooks.”

His time on stage “is a rush” in a play that's like the movie “Home Alone.”

But being bad and causing trouble is unlike the real Austin.

“I'm just a big brat in the play — not if you meet me in person,” he said.

The play caught Halley's attention because the playwright's wife had challenged him to write a play around one of her twisted sayings.

The congregation is doing three performances of its play this year because the one performance last year sold out, and people who couldn't get tickets were disappointed, Halley said.

“Every Little Crook and Nanny” is a play “with lots of twists and turns and funny dialogue about a bank robbery,” she said.

The play is set in the 1990s, and it's just right for a family audience, Halley, 58, promises.

It also has lots of surprises, she said.

Because the three lead characters are old-fashioned nannies, the play also is “a nice nod to the elderly and what they're capable of,” she said. “It's a ‘hats off' to the elderly in our congregation.”

And Austin can't wait until opening night.

“Acting is the funnest thing I've done,” he said.

Dona S. Dreeland is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-772-6353 or ddreeland@tribweb.com.

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