What do you do if you have a love of music and a love of helping others?
If you’re Meri Ziev, you channel those loves into performing for people who don’t otherwise have access to entertainment.
The Ocean Ridge resident, a speech pathologist by profession, sings and dances as
part of KP Productions’ senior outreach program, which coordinates performances
to stimulate the minds and memories of the residents of assisted living and
adult day-care centers in Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade counties.
“It’s very rewarding to bring the theater experience to people who can’t get out to
see theater,” Ziev says. “It brings happy memories, so it’s a rewarding
Ziev will join 10 or so other performers Nov. 13-14 in Turkey & Tinsel, a fundraiser for KP Productions at Old School
Square’s Crest Theatre in downtown Delray Beach. The Deerfield Beach troupe has
a dozen or so members, plus guest artists for the fundraiser.
She came into theatrical performance by accident.
“I always loved music and singing. Our children wanted to audition at the Delray Beach Playhouse,” Ziev says.
While waiting through kids’ auditions, Ziev realized performing was something she could do, too. She auditioned and won a role in Mr. Scrooge. Since then, the whole family has been involved.
Her husband, Arthur, has run the spotlight for shows, and her teenage son and
daughter both have appeared in productions (sometimes with Mom) in Delray Beach
and at the Lake Worth Playhouse.
When she is not doing theater, Ziev works part-time as a speech-language pathologist
in the Palm Beach County School District.
She has done that two years now, and before that, had worked at Bethesda
Memorial Hospital in Boynton Beach.
Ziev has lived in Florida since the early 1970s, and has lived in Ocean Ridge for about seven years.
“We moved to Ocean Ridge to be near the beach,” she says, adding that they moved to
their home the day before Thanksgiving, and celebrated with a picnic feast on
But she says she acquired her love of nature growing up in New York.
“It’s really gone to the forefront, now that I’m working with students who have only
been in Boynton Beach,” she says. “It’s broadened my experience. I know what
hills are, and have seen little creeks,” while her students may not have had
opportunities to see those things.
— Scott Simmons
Q: Where did you grow up?
A: I grew up in Pearl River, N.Y., but we would go to Florida (North Miami Beach) every winter.
Q: What careers have you had? What were the highlights?
A: I am a speech-language pathologist part-time for the Palm Beach County School
District, and am going on two years with them. I took time off to be with my
children after working nearly 15 years at Bethesda Memorial Hospital.
Highlights include developing speech-language pathology in the hospital’s neo-natal unit. I also was selected to be on a committee for ASHA ( www.asha.org/).
Q: What advice do you have for a young person pursuing a career today?
A: Really think hard about what to do to have fun and differentiate between that and what you want to do to make a difference in other people’s lives.
Q: How did you choose to make your home in Ocean Ridge?
A: We liked the proximity to the beach and the small-town feel and the diversity of the people. There are people from all walks of life.
Q: What book are you reading now?
A: I recently finished The Lacuna, by Barbara Kingsolver.
Q: What music do you listen to when you need inspiration? When you want to relax?
A: To relax, I listen to some sort of instrumental. One of the CDs I reach for
when I want to relax is the soundtrack to Chocolat.
I also like classic rock and the singer-songwriters.
Q: Do you have a favorite quote that inspires your decisions?
A: “Do what you love and love what you do.” — from the Life is Good logo
Q: Have you had mentors in your life? Individuals who inspired your decisions?
A: In my career, all the clinical supervisors I’ve had. Personally, my parents. My
mom inspired me to be healthy, and my dad inspired me in the arts. As for life
decisions … I met a girl with a hearing impairment who led me to my career. Her
name: Edwina Charisse Hine.
Q: If your life story were made into a move, who would you want to play you?
A: Sandra Bullock
Q: Who or what makes you laugh?
A: My husband, my kids and my dogs. I love corny jokes that use wordplay, and
watching re-runs of Friends, which is
definitely a laugh-out-loud program.
Turkey & Tinsel: A Musical Holiday Extravaganza — 2 and 7:30 p.m. Nov. 13 and 2 p.m. Nov. 14, Crest Theatre, Old School Square, downtown Delray Beach. Tickets for those performances are $24-$27 and may be purchased by calling 954-426-3525.