Theater season blossoms with ‘Cherry Orchard’


Youngstown State University Theater practices during dress rehearsal for their season opener, Anton Chekhov’s “Cherry Orchard.” The show premieres Thursday in Bliss Hall’s Spotlight Theater. Photo by Justin Carissimo/ The Jambar.

Rebecca Anderson, a Cortland native who started performing on the stage as a fifth grader, will assume the role of Charlotte Ivanovna in Youngstown State University Theater’s season opener, Anton Chekhov’s bittersweet comedy/drama “Cherry Orchard.”

A senior theater major, Anderson said she is excited about this opportunity to perform.

“This has always been my passion. I never knew I’d be performing at YSU, but it’s definitely been a great fit for me,” Anderson said.

Although the play is set in a different era, Anderson said a lot of the issues can be applied to modern times.

“‘Cherry Orchard’ has a very interesting balance of comedy and tragedy. It also represents a change of time and change in the country of itself. It reflects how modern America is currently changing as a whole,” Anderson said.

The storyline features a family who is about to lose all of their wealth along with their family estate. The family is then presented with an ultimatum: to cut and sell their beloved cherry orchard.

“I’m excited about my character,” Anderson said. “I even get to use a little ventriloquism. It’s been a challenge, but I’ve done tons of research to pull it off.”

Tony Genovese, another senior theater major, will portray Yermolay Lopakhin, a businessman who presents the aristocratic family with solutions to save their estate.

“This is the story of the have-ers and the have-nots. … It shows that the have-nots will always find a way [to] strive,” Genovese said. “If you were expecting to see some dry piece, you’d definitely be mistaken.”

Matthew Mazuroski, an assistant professor of theater, is the director of “Cherry Orchard.”

Although it was written more than 100 years ago, the play remains culturally relevant, Mazuroski said.

“‘Cherry Orchard’ takes the idea of someone with the life of Paris Hilton, losing all of their money and how that person would survive,” he said. “The audience should certainly laugh, think about their lives and most importantly have a good time.”

The production features students filling the roles of dance choreographer, sound and light designer, and music composer.

“This work is usually done by faculty,” Mazuroski said. “It’s a great chance to bring students’ different disciplines to the floor that the staff usually handles.”

“Cherry Orchard” premieres Thursday in Bliss Hall’s Spotlight Arena Theater; it runs through Oct. 14. Thursday through Saturday performances begin at 7:30 p.m., while Sunday matinees begin at 3 p.m. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for seniors, YSU faculty and staff, high school students, college students from other universities, Penguin Club members and YSU alumni.

They’re free for YSU students with valid ID.

For more information, call 330-941-3105.