DEBORA SHAULIS | On the Scene There's no age limit in talent
At age 7, Lisandra Stebner is already learning to play piano, guitar and hand bells and loving the opportunity to sing solo.
Who knows how fall she'll go, if she's blessed with the longevity of 84-year-old tap dancer Bonnie Ball of Youngstown.
They represent a wide range of ages and talents in "A Vaudeville Revue," the summer fund-raiser by Move Over Broadway Productions community theater group.
Ball was even younger than Lisandra when she had her first tap lessons. Her teacher, Mary Louise Galvin, lived in Ball's neighborhood on the city's East Side. Ball also remembers practicing with an older man, Pat Riley, who used to visit her family. "I used to scratch up a lot of floors at home," Ball remembers.
That is, until she became an adult. "After I got married, I didn't do any dancing," she said. She worked in the shipping department of Youngstown Sheet & amp; Tube for 30 years.
Her husband died in 1992. Friends encouraged her to enroll in choreographer Tony Romeo's senior dance class. So she did, at age 73, and still takes lessons. "If you don't keep up on it, you're going to be lost," she said.
Ball has been performing with All That Jazz, a 10-member tap group, for the last few years. They perform at veterans' assemblies, nursing homes and birthday and anniversary parties.
Ball wanted to do more. She read the notice for "A Vaudeville Revue" in the newspaper and, for the first time, decided to audition.
She chose two numbers, "Yankee Doodle Dandy" and "Five Foot Two, Eyes of Blue," for her audition with Move Over Broadway director Marlene Menaldi Strollo. "I said, 'Which one would you like?' She said, 'Both.'" So Ball performs one in each half of the show.
Asked if her doctor appreciates the cardiovascular workout she gets from tap dancing, "To tell you the truth, I don't have a doctor, and I take no medication at all," Ball said. She's also proud of her ability to care for her 13-room house in Brownlee Woods.
Lisandra got her start with Easy Street Productions in Youngstown, where co-founder Maureen Collins taught her in a workshop and selected her to be a Little Rascal in the annual "Miracle on Easy Street" holiday show. Since then, Lisandra has been singing at her church, in school at Willow Creek Learning Center in Boardman and in another Move Over Broadway show, "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs."
Lisandra was treated for a hearing and speech problem. "Once we got those straightened around, it just kind of fell into place," said her mother, Cherie Stebner, of performing.
Standing alone on a stage is the last thing many 7-year-olds want to do, but not Lisandra. "She doesn't get nervous," Stebner said. "I don't know what it is. She's very laid-back about the whole thing. She kind of seems real comfortable."
Lisandra's song in "A Vaudeville Revue" is "Three Little Fishies," and she dances to it, too. "I think it's really fun. I like singing it," she said.
She may not be a budding Broadway star -- "I always wanted to be a veterinarian," she said -- but a performer's poise is an asset in any career.
Bonnie Ball, Lisandra Stebner and the cast of "A Vaudeville Revue" will perform tonight and one last time at 6:45 p.m. Sunday at A La Cart Catering, 429 Lisbon St., Canfield. Price is $25, including dinner and gratuity. Reservations are required; call (330) 533-8789 between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m.
In other news, Moscow Ballet will again make room for local children in its production of "Great Russian Nutcracker." The performance will be at 6 p.m. Nov. 28 (a Sunday) at Stambaugh Auditorium, 1000 Fifth Ave., Youngstown. Ticketmaster is selling tickets.
Dancer Boris Baskakov will supervise auditions for children ages 8 to early teens at 6 p.m. Aug. 20 in center court of Eastwood Mall, U.S. Route 422, Niles. Available roles are as party guests, mice, angels, snowflakes, pages and junior corps de ballet. Children should have tights, leotards, ballet slippers and pointe shoes, if applicable. Moscow Ballet chooses as many as 60 children in each city it visits for its shows.
One final note is for those who have tuned in to "In the Jury Room," the new ABC series that focuses on the jury process in actual homicide trials. The series began Tuesday and continued Wednesday with State of Ohio vs. Mark Ducic, a Cleveland man who was accused of giving lethal doses of drugs to his common-law wife and a friend.
A prosecutor in the case, Dan Kasaris, is a 1981 graduate of Poland Seminary High School. His parents, Manuel and Pat Kasaris, still live in Poland. Pat Kasaris said her son attended Youngstown State University, then Ohio Northern University and was law director for the city of Norwalk, near Sandusky, before he joined the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's Office.
Ducic, by the way, was found guilty of the murders. The jury recommended life imprisonment over lethal injection as his punishment.
XDebora Shaulis is entertainment editor. Write her at email@example.com.