Sunday, February 20, 2011

Actor with Down syndrome stars in Rochester production of "Over the Tavern"


ROCHESTER, N.Y. – Andrew Rondeau (pictured) plays Georgie in Geva Theatre’s production of “Over the Tavern.”

Georgie has Down syndrome. So does Andrew.

Initially, the play’s director, Skip Greer, went out looking for a person to “act” the part, but then Susan Ware, his assistant director, who has worked with actors with disabilities, chimed in.

“And I thought, ‘Well, yes, but wouldn’t it be wonderful if it were somebody with Down syndrome,’” Ware said.

That’s when they found 16-year-old Andrew Rondeau, who is a member of a Rochester-area theater group.

“Mr. Andrew has been here day in and day out for quite a while and is going to be doing eight shows a week for a month,” she said.

Rondeau is tickled to perform on stage at Geva.

“It’s really great,” Rondeau said. “I make people laugh.”

Greer has been more than impressed.

“Andrew is a remarkable specific active listener in a scene which is something I’m always looking forward to as a director,” he said. “Combining his ability to listen and the integrity, truth and honesty that he brings to the role, helps transform the family around him.”

What’s more, Rondeau has used his role to become a role model.

“I think it’s important to give this opportunity to Andrew and others hopefully to rise to this occasion,” Ware said.

“From a kid to an adult that has special needs like me,” Rondeau said.

“Over the Tavern” runs until March 13.