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'Twas the Night Before Christmas' is a family affair for the Shireys

| Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017, 9:00 p.m.
Greensburg Civic Theatre presents the holiday production of Ken Ludwig’s “Twas the Night Before Christmas” at Greensburg Garden & Civic Center.
Greensburg Civic Theatre presents the holiday production of Ken Ludwig’s “Twas the Night Before Christmas” at Greensburg Garden & Civic Center.

Director Becky Ziegler-Shirey has some advice for families planning to attend Greensburg Civic Theatre's holiday production of Ken Ludwig's “Twas the Night Before Christmas”:

“Be prepared to laugh,” she says. “We have some silly characters that I know they will love. There are two separate silly Christmas raps and sword fighting. It's a classic story where the heroes save Christmas.”

The play being performed at Greensburg Garden and Civic Center tells the tale of a mouse named Amos (portrayed by Tanner Shirey), an elf named Calliope (Ryann Shirey) and a determined little girl named Emily (Isabella Lathom) who head out together on a mission to find out why Santa missed their house last year.

Additional roles feature Andy Hayes, Sage Blair, Jace Baldassare, Ciara Giron and Callie Shirey, with an ensemble comprised of Nate Dziewvlski, Charlotte Mankovich, Damian Puccio, Bethani Binduga, Paighton Yekel, Liam Mitchell, Katelyn Herbert, Ryleigh Herbert and John Herber.

The three young Shireys in the show are Becky's kids — Tanner, 10; Callie, 11, and Ryann, 13 — that she says have been doing theater with her since they were born.

Ziegler-Shirey of Greensburg enjoys directing them but admits it can be a challenge at times.

“Being the parent of a child actor is stressful enough making sure they memorize lines, get costume pieces together and juggle schedules,” she says. “Add on to that all my director duties and it can sometimes be a bit much. Still, I love that we can all do theater together as a family. We always have a good time.”

Now that her children are older, Ziegler-Shirey likes the fact that they are stepping into leadership positions during shows.

“They like to help choreograph and they will run lights and help paint sets,” she says. “It's fabulous to have a built-in team — even if some days it comes with the normal whining and complaining. I do always give them the choice of participating, though. I also welcome opportunities for them to do shows for other people. Children need a variety of people to learn from and they take something different away from each experience.”

This is her first time directing a show for Greensburg Civic Theatre.

“Teaching is my passion and watching (children) grow as actors right in front of my eyes is one of the biggest blessings of theater for me,” she says. “Helping them to get over their fears and create characters different from themselves, to be brave and creative – there isn't anything like it.”

Candy Williams is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.

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