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Salem native to helm YSU show

From left, Halla Henry as Diwata, Tristan Kile as Howie and Matthew Ellis as Solomon in Youngstown State University’s presentation of “Speech & Debate.” (Submitted photo)

YOUNGSTOWN — University Theatre will present its opening main stage performance “Speech & Debate” by Stephen Karam, opening Friday, Sept. 27 in Spotlight Theater.

YSU alumnus Connor Bezeredi is the director. In 2015, he earned aBFA in Musical Theatre. Originally from Salem, Bezeredi moved to New York City to pursue acting, singing and art as a full-time career. His professional credits include Theatre Now New York’s “Sound Bites 4.0,” The Imbible’s “Christmas Carol Cocktails” (Off-Broadway) and “420: The Musical: The Xmas Special” (The Kraine Theatre). Other favorite roles include CB in “Dog Sees God,” Audrey II in “Little Shop of Horrors” and Sheriff Joe Sutter in “The Spitfire Grill.” He also worked as a back-up vocalist for international recording artist Sariah.

Following an injury in the city, Bezeredi returned to Northeast Ohio and became a teaching artist. Since returning, he has worked as a Director and Assistant Director/Acting Coach on three productions at Salem High School; teaches musical theater voice at The Stage Door in Poland; and was the head acting instructor for the Summer Musical Theatre Youth Intensive at The Youngstown Playhouse.

“Speech & Debate”is about three teenage misfits in Salem, Ore., who discover they are linked by a sex scandal that has rocked their town. When one of them sets out to expose the truth, secrets become currency, the stakes get higher, and the trio’s connection grows deeper in this searching, fiercely funny dark comedy with music. Patrons are advised that the show contains strong language and adult themes.

The show’s run is scheduled for Sept. 27, 28, 29 and Oct. 4, 5, 6 in Bliss Hall’s Spotlight Theater. Friday and Saturday performances begin at 7:30 p.m. while the Sunday matinee performances are at 2 p.m. All seats are general admission.

Adult tickets are $16. Special rate tickets are: $8 for non-YSU students, YSU faculty and staff with valid ID, YSU alumni, senior citizens, Penguin Club members and groups of eight or more. YSU student tickets are free with valid ID. Call 330-941-3105 or go to www.ysu.tix.comto purchase show tickets. Season tickets are available in advance of the show and will be available for purchase during the run of the show. Season tickets offer a better value than individual tickets.

Parking is available in the M30 Wick Avenue parking deck for a nominal fee. More information is available by calling the Office of Community Engagement and Events at 330-941-2307.

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