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Modesto High theater to be named in Tischer's honor

Modesto High School’s auditorium will be renamed the Paul F. Tischer Theatre, the Modesto City Schools Board has decided in a unanimous vote.

Tischer has taught at the school 43 years and is the founding director of Modesto Performing Arts, which performs most of its shows in the Modesto High auditorium. Formerly called Modesto Youth Theater, the 40-year-old company recently staged “The Music Man.” Tischer will be honored with a plaque before the Sept. 22 evening performance of Modesto Performing Arts’ next show “Peter Pan.”

Modesto Performing Arts recently honored Tischer with a 40th-anniversary celebration at the State Theatre, where past performers will sang numbers from the musicals in which they starred. Some of those former Modesto stars have gone onto professional acting careers.

"That has been the most rewarding thing for me," Tischer told The Bee in May. "Knowing that people who are professional actors got their start with us."

Every summer, MPA produces two musicals, and Tischer strives to give the productions a level of quality that audiences would expect to see in a big city, or even on Broadway. MPA typically hires professional actors to play some lead roles.

In 2003, MPA received a number of awards from the Sacramento Area Regional Theatre Alliance for its production of "42nd Street," including best community-theater musical and best choreography.

Tischer started Modesto Youth Theater to give local high school students and graduates something to do over the summer. As time passed, he began to include older actors to be age-appropriate for their parts and changed the name to Modesto Performing Arts.