Gannon professor stars in local show

staff writer

Mystery lies on the Nile in an Erie event starring Gannon University faculty and alumni with All An Act theater.
In “Murder on the Nile,” Kay Ridgeway and her newlywed husband decide to spend their honeymoon on a journey down the Nile.
The production is based on Agatha Christie’s 1937 book, “Death on the Nile.”
Her new husband’s ex makes a surprise appearance on their trip, and a happy honeymoon turns into a murder investigation.
It’s up to Canon Ambrose Pennefather, Kay’s uncle — played by Gannon biology professor Steve Ropski, Ph.D. — to solve the mystery on the ship.
Ropski, a Gannon graduate and current biology professor at the school, stars in one of his biggest roles in the All An Acts production.
While having no theater background in high school or college, Ropski got his start at his first teaching position at Elk County Christian High School, with his one line in the school’s production of “You Can’t Take it with You.”
His journey continued when he attended an Erie Playhouse show, during which he looked to his wife and said, “You know, I bet I can do this.”
With that, he auditioned and won a short role in the Playhouse’s production of “To Kill a Mockingbird.”
His one line was “I’ll get you,” with which he rehearsed endlessly thinking of the perfect tone and way of saying his line. He was excited for his first big production.
Afterward, he continued to do theatrical shows at the Playhouse, Gannon’s Schuster Theatre and All An Act, this being his first production there.
In addition to his acting roles, Ropski also works for The Comedy Troupe: In All Seriousness.
He works in their murder division and travels to parties, hotels and events performing murder mysteries.
“It’s a loose script with a lot of improv,” Ropski said.
“I like it. You don’t have to stick to a script.”
Intertwining acting with his career, Ropski acknowledged theater is doable even if you are not a theater major, stating the qualities learned on stage can help with a variety of careers.
“I always say teachers are like one degree away from being a stand-up comic,” he said. “Or entertainers if they are good at what they do.”
All An Act’s production of “Murder on the Nile” continues on select dates until Feb. 25.
One dollar from every production benefits Community Shelter Services and Erie’s homeless, and select show dates help benefit Gannon’s Fringe Fest.


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