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Smith: Montgomery teacher hopes her pupil gets his Tony

High-school drama productions can't win Tony Awards.

So why does Susane Byrne, the performing arts guru at Montgomery High, seem like someone whose name was just pulled from a fancy envelope?

Her elation springs from word that the play drawing the most Tony nominations this year is the comic operetta, "A Gentleman's Guide to Love & Murder."

And the production's music director is one of her 2001 graduates, Paul Staroba. For "A Gentleman's Guide," he plays the keyboard while he conducts the orchestra.

His beaming former teacher, Byrne, went to New York's Walter Kerr Theatre, on West 48th Street, to see the play, described by "Variety" as a "a deliciously dark, elegant and playful musical comedy about a distant heir who facilitates the demise of eight icky kin who stand in his way to a Downton Abbey-sized fortune."

Byrne's opinion: "It is by far the most clever, smart and entertaining musical currently on Broadway."

For some reason, she especially liked the music.

AMID THE CHAOS at the scene of a crash on Highway 12 in east Santa Rosa a week ago, at least a couple of people saw what the driver of a Wheelchair Express transport van did.

He pulled up mere seconds after an eastbound Ford Mustang driven by a 20-year-old woman suspected of DUI slammed into a westbound Nissan Sentra carrying two women and a child in a car seat, causing the Sentra to roll onto its roof.

Witnesses say one passer-by stopped to help the 4-year-old. And the wheelchair transport driver, seeing that two women dangled upside down in the Sentra, ran over and strained to lift it enough to relieve the pressure on one of the victim's head and neck.

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