‘Footloose’ is a real family affair for Little Theater production

Little Theater of Tuscarawas County’s summer musical, “Footloose” will be a true family affair for six of its cast members. Jane Mannweiler, 74, her daughters, Jennifer Simmelink, 49, and Stephanie Price, 45, Son-in-law, Ty Simmelink, 43 and granddaughters, Ireland Thurston, 25, and Kaylee Simmelink, 15, will take the stage together when the show opens Thursday.

Originally from Massillon, the family moved to New Philadelphia where father, Bill, was the pastor of the Kurios Non-Denominational church for 38 years. Jane and her sisters, Kay and Elaine grew up singing and performing, thus, Jennifer and Stephanie experienced the same.

“We thought everyone went around singing in three-part harmony,” Jennifer said. “It was simple for Ireland and Kaylee to fit right into the music.

“When Ireland was four, we formed the Shoman Family Performers. Our mom and her sisters, Stephanie, Ireland and I sang and performed little costumed skits at birthday parties, banquets and meetings. Ireland stepped right up and sang solos. Most of us have been clogging for 25 years, so we thew in a little dance for variety. Dad was our sound man. We are still doing shows today, except that Mom’s sister, Elain, and Dad, have passed away. “

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