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Like father, like daughter

Post Independent/Kara K. PearsonJoseph Sustar, as Grandpa, Secia Klocke, as Signora Dipnnia, Aaron Roberts-Gray, as Paul, Caitlin Melby, as Edna, Cassidy Willey, as Penny, Mandy Frale, as Essie, and Molly Dwyer, as Natasha, rehearse the play "You Can't Take It With You."
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Bob Willey has directed his daughter, Cassidy, through many stages of her life.When she was small, he helped her learn to ride a bike.As she matured, he taught her to cross country and downhill ski.This month, Bob will direct his youngest daughter – a senior at Glenwood Springs High School – on stage. The GSHS spring production, “You Can’t Take It With You,” will be the last play the two will participate in together before Cassidy heads to college and Bob retires.”I started producing plays on this stage in 1979,” said Bob, a GSHS counselor. “I wanted to do my last one as a father-daughter swan song.”In the Pulitzer Prize-winning comedy, which opens Thursday night, Cassidy plays the role of Penny, the mother of a wacky New York City family in the 1930s.”I’ve directed two plays while she’s been in school, ‘The Shame of Tombstone,’ a melodrama, and this one,” said Bob, who came to Glenwood in the late ’70s after teaching at Aspen High School. “One of the greatest things I feel I’ve done as a dad is worked with Cassidy in ‘Annie,’ ‘Cinderella,’ ‘Oliver,’ and now this.”

Bob and Cassidy aren’t the only members of the Willey family drawn to drama. Bob’s wife and Cassidy’s mom, Michele, helps behind the scenes.”My wife does the lights,” Bob said. “It’s just been a real family thing as Cassidy has grown up.”The play’s producer, Gayla Rowe, also knows what it’s like to work with Bob on theater projects. Bob taught Rowe drama when she was a middle school student.”When he came here when I was in the eighth grade, he started doing melodramas,” said Rowe, a GSHS drama teacher. “(This spring) we struggled to find a good show, and I think this is a perfect fit for him to end on.”Through the years, Bob has acted in and directed a variety of plays. He has played many roles, including one of the step-sisters in “Cinderella.””He’s just a wonderful actor, a wonderful director,” Rowe said. “And he’s great at physical comedy and directing.”Although he’s retiring from GSHS this May, Bob plans to continue working in theater. He will join Rowe and GSHS senior Mandy Frale – who plays Essie in “You Can’t Take It With You” – in a show of one-act plays May 5-6.”I love acting. It’s something I’ve really enjoyed,” Bob said. “I’ll stay active with CMC Theatre and Defiance (Community Theatre).”

For GSHS senior Secia Klocke, who plays Signora Dipnnia in this week’s play, Bob is a role model on stage – and off.”He has a great personality,” said Klocke, who is pursuing a career in the arts next year in college. “He brings a lot of energy to the whole cast.”Klocke said she has enjoyed watching Bob and Cassidy interact during the five-week preparation for the play.”It’s interesting because they don’t really work like father and daughter,” she said. “They treat the positions like they’re not related. They’re very professional.”Bob said he’s just thrilled for the opportunity to work with his daughter one last time before she graduates. “It’s a great father-daughter thing, and I get to do something I love,” he said. “It’s a memory I’m sure I’ll cherish.”Teenage Drama



• What: “You Can’t Take It With You”• Who: Glenwood Springs High School drama students; director Bob Willey; producer Gayla Rowe• When: 7 p.m. March 16-18• Where: GSHS auditorium• Tickets: $8/adult, $5/seniors, students and childrenBy The NumbersThe cast of Glenwood Springs High School’s “You Can’t Take It With You” spring production features:

• 10 seniors• 5 juniors• 1 sophomore• 2 freshmen• 1 teacher (Joseph Sustar, a first-year GSHS math teacher from New York who holds a bachelor’s degree in music and a master’s in math. The trombone player likes to write musicals in his spare time).Contact April E. Clark: 945-8515, ext. 518aclark@postindependent.com


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