A Broadway musical is coming to Sewickley this weekend with three veteran performers from The Erie Community Playhouse ready to deliver on stage.
“The Story of My Life” will be presented on the sanctuary stage of The Sewickley United Methodist Church, also known as the clock tower church, at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and at 2:30 p.m. Saturday.
"It's a wonderful musical about friendship and it has a lot of good reviews," said Barry Lewis, retired pastor of the United Methodist Church, who organized the event.
Based on a book by Brian Hill and with music and lyrics by Neil Bartram, “The Story of My Life,” is being produced by Center For Hope, a faith-based mission in Ambridge which is supported by congregations in Sewickley, Beaver, and Butler counties.
Proceeds from the show will go to the Center For Hope's building fund now located in the recently purchased former Ambridge Area School District administration building on Park Road in Ambridge.
Lewis said the community center began in 2004 as a mission of the United Methodist Conference of Western Pennsylvania and has grown to become an ecumenical, community mission run by a board of people from various local congregations.
At the end of August, the board purchased the former Ambridge administrative office building on Park Road and now owns the building.
Lewis said the program is continuously growing. The center offers assistance to the poor and seniors, provides youth programs, and partnerships with other organizations are planned. Lewis said they would like to eventually offer dental and medical clinics on second floor of building.
“It’s a very influential program in Ambridge,” said Lewis, who also serves on the board at the center.
One of the actors in the musical, Patrick Thiem, now 40, is a former confirmation student of Lewis's. Lewis said he sawThiem perform in the musical at Gannon University in Erie last summer.
“I think anybody who comes to see it will really enjoy it," Lewis said. "I saw it once and look forward to seeing it again.”
The musical is about the friendship between a writer, Thomas Weaver, played by Thiem, and a bookseller, Alvin Kelby, played by the Rev. Shawn Clerkin, an associate professor of theatre at Gannon University.
The writer, Tom, struggles to write a eulogy of his deceased friend. The subject of his thoughts, Alvin, appears on stage to help with the eulogy. The two revisit ordinary moments of their lives beginning when they met in first grade. The story reveals how what seem to be ordinary moments affect relationships.
Thiem has a bachelor's degree in music education from Penn State University. His credits include the Bishop of Digne in The Erie Playhouse production of Les Miserables, among others.
Clerkin played Val Jean in The Erie Playhouse production of Les Miserables, and other roles including Sweeney Todd, The Producers and Hairspray. He is an Episcopal priest in the Diocese of Northwestern Pennsylvania.
The music director and pianist is Kate Amatuzzo who has a bachelor's in vocal performance and a master's of music degree in classical voice. She played Fantine in The Erie Playhouse production of Les Mis. She also played Bell in Beauty and the Beast. She currently is on the adjunct piano faculty at Mercyhurst University and is music director of St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Erie.
If You Go:
Show Times: 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday; 2:30 p.m. Sunday
Location: Sewickley United Methodist Church at the corner of Broad and Thorn streets.
Tickets: Ticket donations are $15 each and are available at Sewickley United Methodist Church, The Presbyterian Church of Sewickley, St. James Roman Catholic Church, and Center For Hope by calling 724-251-4899. Tickets will also be available at the door.
“The Story of My Life” is presented through special arrangement with Music Theatre International (MTI). All authorized performance materials are also supplied by MTI.