Stage Right to celebrate life of beloved executive director
Christine Rizk Orosz of Irwin loved her family, her community and the actors, students and parents she worked with as founding executive director emeritus of Stage Right Professional Theater Company and School for the Performing Arts in Greensburg.
That was the last title she held in a busy career that also included working for a medical office and later managing several medical practices.
Her son, Tarek Rizk - one of her three grown children along with daughters Stephanie Rizk and Alia Gray - called her work that helped establish a successful theater and performing arts school in Westmoreland County the “Act 3” in her life, perhaps the most important part because her dream of establishing a theater company had come true.
On July 4, the curtain fell on her “third act” when Chris passed away sooner than expected after major health issues in the past two years led to renal and heart failure.
A celebration in song
Before she passed, her son said she made her last wishes known.
She wanted her family and her brother, Tony Marino, Stage Right artistic director, to organize a celebration of her life that would bring together past and current students, many of whom are now working on stages or behind the scenes for performing arts organizations.
The celebration will take place at 1 p.m. Aug. 19 at Stage Right studios in Greensburg.
Tarek said the program will consist of special remembrances and several of his mother’s favorite songs performed by family members and former and current Stage Right students.
“We haven’t quite sorted out who will sing which song from mom’s original list, but the list she dictated includes ‘Imagine,’ ‘Hallelujah’ and ‘Let There Be Peace on Earth,’ among others,” he said. “She was a producer right to the end.”
Beloved ‘Aunt Sissy’
Among the performers will be Katie Adams, formerly of Irwin, now living in New York, who knew Chris as “Aunt Sissy” because her late mom, Marietta Adams, a voice and piano teacher, and Chris were best friends.
“My mom passed in 1997 and she was as close as being with my own mom,” she said.
Katie studied musical theater at Boston Conservatory and performed on Broadway and on tour in the musical “Wicked” as a stand-in for the character Glinda for four years before retiring from performing to be a stay-at-home mom to her two children, Ellie, 5, and Gracie, 9 months.
She will sing a duet of the touching farewell song, “For Good” from “Wicked,” with Gia Marino, a Stage Right student who is the daughter of Tony and Renata Marino and Chris’s niece.
Also expected to perform at the celebration will be Chris’s nephew Anthony Marino, Tony and Renata Marino, and members of the Stage Right Sensations.
“Chris made this mecca in Greensburg and was always about seeing the good in kids,” Katie says. “She and my mom talked about opening a performing arts school and she made it all happen. She was an amazing woman and raised amazing children.”
Katie said she is glad to be a part of the celebration of her life.
“It will be nice to be around everyone again,” she said. “You can’t imagine how many people’s lives Chris touched.”