Show Choir Festival will feature Broadway performer

HANOVERTON – Students in five local show choirs will be getting a helping hand in showmanship when they convene for their annual show choir festival at United Local Saturday night.

The show choirs from United Local, Carrollton, Malvern, East Canton and Struthers will be working with Broadway performer Timothy Shew, whose New York stage credits include “Evita,” “Bye Bye Birdie” and “Guys and Dolls.”

According to United Choir Director Cindy Neiswanger, she met Shew when he presented a Broadway critique that the show choir attended during a tour of New York City last April, then again following a performance in Pittsburgh in July.

“He was the chef in ‘The Little Mermaid,’ and he met with [the 35 choir students who attended] at the stage door following the performance,” she said.

When she found out that he conducted workshops, Neiswanger said she didn’t hesitate.

“All schools do musicals, to be able to see a Broadway actor, watch him perform and tell them what to do better, is something we can gain from,” she explained.

The students will complete a workshop with the actor Saturday afternoon then present their annual concert at 7 p.m. that night in the high school auditorium.

Tickets for the concert are $5 at the door. Performances will include 20-minute sets from each choir, a 20-minute set from Shew and a finale featuring everyone.

A veteran of the stage, Shew is also a philanthropist and educator-for the past 15 years he has produced “Broadway Sings on Park Avenue,” a concert to benefit children affected and infected with HIV and AIDS, and works extensively to educate and assist at-risk children. He lives in New York City with his wife, Jane, and their adult son, Jonathan, both of whom are currently performing together in the national tour of “Wicked.”