Community Theatre League offers heart-warming hilarity

WILLIAMSPORT — The Community Theatre League, 100 W. Third St., will present the touching comedy “Over the Tavern” by Tom Dudzick.

In that most idealized period of 20th-century America, the Eisenhower years of the 1950s, the Pazinski family has a lot going on in their cramped Buffalo apartment. The youngest of the bunch, 12-year-old Rudy, is a smart, wise-cracking kid who’s starting to question family values and the Roman Catholic Church. When Rudy goes up against the ruler-wielding Sister Clarissa and announces that, instead of being confirmed, he’d rather shop around for a more “fun” religion, all hell breaks loose, literally.

The play has been called a warm and hilarious look at family, God, and growing up.

“Over the Tavern” premiered at the Studio Arena Theatre in Buffalo, N.Y. in 1994. Since then, it has enjoyed more than 200 performances nationwide, running for more than a year in Chicago where it was called “a little bit of heaven.” The playwright calls this play “semi-autobiographical” about growing up Catholic in Buffalo.

“Tom Dudzick has woven religion into a family’s struggle in such a hilarious, but respectable way,” said director Sandie Fairman. Fairman returns to CTL as a director this season, after directing “Belles” in 2016 and “The Best Man” in 2014.

“People will see their own family dynamics in this wonderful story,” the director said. “It has been heartwarming to see this cast come together as a family on and off stage. They make me laugh every night!”

Aidan Connor, a seventh-grade student at C.E. McCall Middle School in Montoursville, plays Rudy, the play’s protagonist.

“I hope audiences will get six unique characters with different personalities and an interesting story that unfolds,” Connor said. “I think this story is important because it’s based on the author’s life, and it’s about growing up, and I think everyone can relate to it in some way. This cast has been very encouraging as I’ve been working on this part.”

The cast of “Over the Tavern” features familiar Community Theatre League performers, as well as cast members brand new to the company. The cast also includes Tara Deljanovan as Sister Clarissa, and Danielle Velkoff, Jason Kriner, Nicholas Fischer, Jaycie Neubauer, and Adam Fox as the Pazinski family.

The Production Staff includes Heather Myers, Sara Jones, Brenda Nichols, Missy Black and Tom Wilson.

This production is sponsored by the Holtzman family in memory of Donald G. Holtzman.

Performances will be Friday and Saturday, Jan. 19 and 20, and for a second weekend, Thursday through Sunday, Jan. 25 to 28. All shows are at 7:30 p.m. except on Sunday, Jan. 28 when the show will be presented at 2 p.m.

Tickets can be purchased online at, in person at the box office, or by phone at 570-327-1777. They are $18 for adults and $10 for students and children. Group rates are available.

Founded in 1976 with the vision of creating a community-driven organization focused on making, promoting and supporting the performing arts, the Community Theatre League has presented more than 200 mainstage productions. CTL regularly produces at least 10 plays or musicals throughout the year, as well as special concert events and the Sprouts children’s series. CTL holds a variety of summer camps for students of all ages, organizes the annual Ray of Light Awards for high school theatre and drama programs, and is the home of the Community Academy of Stage and Theatre.