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Article published February 23, 2013
Broadway hits Zelie
It felt like Broadway, but it happened on Main Street in Zelienople on Feb. 8: The powerful voices of stage star Dana Meller and a dozen others filled the Strand Theater with music from “Les Miserables” and “Miss Saigon.” The event was the first in this year’s Strand Broadway Concert Series. Dana, who was cast in a leading role in “Les Mis” on Broadway while still in college, entertained the audience with humorous stories about her career, and belted out a rousing rendition of a “Funny Girl” solo in Russian. She praised her fellow singers, pointing out, “These are your neighbors.” Among the talented vocalists were natives or residents of Zelienople, Cranberry, Beaver County, Grove City, Natrona Heights, Crafton, Carnegie and Mount Lebanon. They included professional performers, teachers, music instructors and volunteers who help stage school plays. In charge of instrumentals was Bruce Smith of Zelienople, musical director for the Broadway Series and local icon as a performer and conductor. How lucky we are that Ron Carter of Cranberry formed the nonprofit Strand Theater Initiative that preserved a 1914 Zelie landmark and provides the community with a beautiful venue for live theater, concerts and films.