Spotlight Players to mark 10th year with Moon performance

| Wednesday, April 24, 2013, 9:01 p.m.

The Spotlight Players, an over-55 performance group, is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year as members prepare for “Remember When?” May 5 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel on Thorn Run Road in Moon Township.

Marta Zak of Ambridge, music director and accompanist, said this year's production is full of music that will take the audience on a trip down memory lane.

The show encompasses songs starting in the 1920s and continuing throughout the decades from radio and television, including tunes made famous by Jimmy Durante, George Burns and Gracie Allen, Fibber McGee and Molly, “The Addams Family” and “The Brady Bunch.”

Also featured will be songs from the TV shows of Red Skelton, Ed Sullivan and Lawrence Welk, complete with bubbles for the finale.

Producer-director Esther Pavlis of Sewickley said she especially likes the segment featuring the colorful 1920s.

Members, who will wear formal dresses and tuxedos, will enhance the segments by using various accessories, such as boas for the women and sombreros for the men for a Mexican number.

Each year, she and Zak, music teacher at Quigley Catholic High School in Baden, put together a different show, often similar to a cabaret, which then is approved by the 10 members of the group.

Spotlight Players, which officially will celebrate a decade in the fall, began after the closing of Robert Morris University's theater, the former performance site of Robert Morris Independents, where some Spotlight members performed.

Members of the group have known each other for about 15 years and perform a new show each year three times a month at nursing homes, assisted-living facilities and churches in Allegheny, Beaver and Westmoreland counties. By request, Pavlis said, the group also will perform Christmas songs.

Group members come from Sewickley, Aleppo, McCandless, Marshall, Mt. Lebanon, Moon, Ambridge and Carnegie.

Harry Muders of Aleppo, also is a member of the local band, Shy Guys, and there also are two members in their 80s. Gloria Calkins of Carnegie is the “star dancer,” Pavlis said, and Jean Hills of Marshall Township is one of the singers. Zak said she loves being a part of the group.

“They are a delightful group of performers who enjoy making the audience happy through music, dance and comedy,” she said.

“Being a part of this group keeps us all young or at least young at heart. Their dedication to rehearsing and performing is inspiring to me. Our goal is to bring joy to others through the gift of music.”

Joanne Barron is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-324-1406 or

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