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Auxiliary to present musical whodunit at Mon Valley Hospital

About Ron Paglia

By Ron Paglia

Published: Sunday, March 4, 2012

The auxiliary of Mon-Vale Health Resources Inc. will team with Musical Mysteries and More of Pittsburgh to present "Thugs, Mugs and .38 Slugs," a dinner mystery theater March 17 at 4:30 p.m.

"We are very pleased to present this popular show that features an experienced cast of actors," said Ruth Antonelli, president of the auxiliary. "They offer a healthy mixture of mystery, music and comedy that involves audience participation. It's a combination designed to make you laugh, sing and put on your thinking caps as you try to figure out 'whodunit.'"

The play focuses on Carmine Capellini, a deceased organized-crime lord, and three gangsters who meet under a flag of truce to fight for a piece of the action left behind by his death. Each has a legitimate claim to Capellini's empire -- the old ball and chain, the trusted right-hand man and the elusive adversary.

But who will gain control of the syndicate• That's the question to be posed to the audience.

Comprising the troupe's cast are Kristin S. Buccilli, Lani Cataldi, Johnny Gallagher, Jamie Harper, Suzanne Koble, Joe Moeller, Michelle Rivas, Bob Roberts and Ivy Steinberg.

Joe Cannito is the group's artistic director and Michelle Cannito is the producing director. Both also work as actors.

All of the performers have extensive stage and dinner theater experience as well as other such other facets of the business as writing and designing. All are improvisational artists.

They write their own comedy shows to specifically tailor the performer's strengths as well as to the audience base.

"They are a tight ensemble of professional actors who have worked with one another a lot," Antonelli said. "And as they say, in comedy nothing beats the chemistry of a strong ensemble."

Proceeds from the March 17 show will be used by the auxiliary for programs and services it sponsors to benefit patients and visitors at the hospital and the community.

The auxiliary traces its genesis to the turn of the last century with the formation of volunteer units at the former Memorial Hospital of Monongahela in New Eagle and Charleroi-Monessen Hospital in North Charleroi in 1902 and 1909, respectively.

Monongahela Valley Hospital was formed in 1972 as the result of a full consolidation of the former hospitals, and the MVHR auxiliary was created in 1978 when the new hospital opened in Carroll Township.

The auxiliary's annual monetary gifts to the health system since that time totals more than $3 million.

The volunteers' many fund-raisers include but are not limited to the annual Strawberry Festival and Fall Festival; jewelry, book and bake sales; spaghetti dinners, and fashion shows.

"We have always been deeply grateful to the community for its support of our fund-raising efforts," Antonelli said. "And the Auxiliary appreciates the continued support of everyone at the hospital."



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