School for the Performing Arts
and Theatre Company Thrives
Stage Right began in 1998 as a school
performing arts. Located across from the Westmoreland County
Courthouse in downtown Greensburg, PA, Stage Right teaches young
performers the arts of acting, voice, tap, jazz, ballet, and musical
theatre. From 12 students six years ago, Stage Right has grown
dramatically, today boasting an enrollment of over 180. Their eight
week courses have proven popular, with classes divided into age
groups of 4 to 7, 8 to 12, and 13 to 18.
One year after opening the school, Stage Right launched a theatre
company. A complement to the school, Stage Right's theater
productions are professional grade, featuring Equity actors, many of
the same talented faces you would see at the Benedum, or on the CLO
stage. Of course, Stage Right's up and coming young talents often
find a place in these productions, with the best of the best first
strutting their stuff on a Stage Right stage. Plays in 2004-2005
include Grease, Seussical the Musical, Cabaret, 42nd Street, and the
Rocky Horror Show. You can enjoy Stage Right productions at The
Palace Theatre in Greensburg and the Ferguson Theatre at the
University of Pittsburgh, Greensburg.
The theatre company employs local, professional actors and hires
from the Western Pennsylvania area exclusively, occasionally hiring
New York actors with ties to the region. These actors also serve as
guest instructors in the school for the performing arts. Through its
school and its plays, Stage Right has become a powerful champion of
the arts and creativity in Westmoreland county.
Stage Right is the dream of the brother and sister team of Christine
Rizk and Anthony Marino. Children of a local musician, Angelo
Marino, they grew up amid the joys of music and theater, with a love
of performance instilled in them from their earliest days. After
years working as a manager of medical practices, and at a time when
she found herself out of work, Chris enrolled in a state funded
program meant to train new entrepreneurs in the ins and outs of
starting a business. Instead of going back to the medical world,
Chris decided to start over and work with her brother Tony, whose
extensive experience in theatre brought business planning and
practical capability together. The end result was Stage Right.
Stage Right's School for the Performing Arts provides young
performers with professional instruction from actors who make their
living on the stage. There are no competitions, no performance fees,
and students can change their classes every eight weeks, learning
new facets of stage performance. All training is kept age
appropriate, with students from the three different age groups
working with their peers. The focus is on providing an instructive
and comfortable learning environment, and classes are generally
non-performance. The only exception is the musical theatre class,
which rehearses a mini-musical every eight weeks.
community outreach programs from Stage
Right have proven popular.
- Stage Right Sensations. This
audition group of 45 students
performs all over the area, including Christmas parties, local
events, and they have even appeared at Disney World.
- Books Come Alive. In conjunction with the Greensburg
Hempfield Library, Stage Right actors take best loved children's
books and produce them with music, sets, and sounds. These
popular 40 minute productions have been seen from New Kensington
to New Florence.
- Kids Take a Stand. This anti-bully program is offered to
schools. Children in grades K through 3 can see the Bully Twins;
superheroes who help kids overcome bullying behavior.
Some of Stage Right's first students can now be found working
toward theater degrees at NYU, Penn State, Bucknell, and Point Park
College. Stage Right students have been chosen to attend the
Pennsylvania Governor's School for the Arts, and have been finalists
and winners of the Pittsburgh Public Theatre's Shakespeare monologue
"When we began the school," said Chris Rizk, "our hopes were to give
our students a comfortable place to experience the beginnings of
theatre. It would be worthwhile, we thought, if they became less
self-conscious and fearful when giving presentations in front of
others, or could participate more fully in school productions. We
have been rewarded beyond our dreams with some of the talent we have
seen from these young students." The future is likely to prove that
the seeds of some impressive careers have been planted at Stage
"What makes Stage Right unique," Chris continued, "is that it is a
different level of instruction. We treat the children as
professionals. When some fifty of our kids appeared in Seussical
this year, there was no "recital" feel to the performance. The
children were impressive by all measure. Every single one acted as a
professional. They were fearless."
In order to foster even more creativity in the county, Stage Right
has begun a program of working with young playwrights. The First
annual Young Playwright's Festival is set for the Spring of 2005. In
conjunction with the Greensburg Hempfield Area Library, Stage
Right's Young Playwright's Festival features two categories: 8 to 12
year old and 13 to 18 year olds. Entries will be accepted starting
in November 2004. The top three entries in each category will be
given a public reading with the best entry in each category given a
full performance in conjunction with the Stage Right Student Company
in May 2005. Submitted entries must center around the theme of
"Friends and School."
If you love the thrill of live performance, or have a child whose
irrepressible talent deserves both an outlet and some professional
guidance, you should give Stage Right! a try. Stage Right is located
at 100 North Main Street, across from the Westmoreland County Court
House, in the same block as the Palace Theatre.
affordable, high quality arts education and
entertainment to Westmoreland County.
For more information call 724-832-7464,
or visit the website at