By Kayla Duley
The University Theatre is marking its 58th season by bringing back live audiences. Last season’s performances could only be viewed online because of the pandemic.
YSU COVID-19 protocols are still in place, with masks required upon entry of the building and throughout the show. However, attendance at the theater is at a 25% decrease in capacity to maintain social distancing.
Stephanie Smith, chair of the department of visual and dramatic arts, said additional cleaning procedures are in place as well.
“Our incredible colleagues in Janitorial Services will be cleaning surfaces between each performance,” she said.
Matthew Mazuroski, associate professor of acting and directing, is directing the play “Almost, Maine.” He said everyone he’s spoken to is excited about the theater reopening and having a live audience again.
“This is like a little gift — a little early Valentine’s Day gift, if you will — for our audience. Saying welcome back to live theater,” he said.
Mazuroski said “Almost, Maine,” which is being performed in Bliss Hall’s Spotlight Theater at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 1 and 2 and at 2 p.m Oct. 3, is about exploring the many complexities of love. He believes this play will inspire love, something he said the country needs right now.
“If you’ve ever been in a relationship before, you may see situations that feel similarly,” Mazuroski said. “The play at its core has a message about what happens when we’re open to love and what happens when we’re closed off from that.”
Hannah Rosser is a senior musical theater major, and plays the roles of Sandrine, Marci and Rhonda.
“Every scene revolves around love in some way, shape or form — falling into it, falling out of it or somewhere in between. What’s really cool is that while each scene only has two or three characters in it, there are mentions of other characters in the show, because in a small town like [this] almost everybody knows each other. At its base, ‘Almost, Maine’ is about love and the many ways people experience it,” Rosser said.
Being able to offer performances is beneficial to the campus community, Smith said.
“The season that we offer provides incredible value to both our patrons and to our students who are preparing for professional careers in the theater industry,” she said.
The theater season continues with:
- “Little Shop of Horrors”: Oct. 29-31, Nov. 5-7
- “The Music Man” (Concert Version): Feb. 25-27
- “Puffs, or Seven Increasingly Eventful Years at a Certain School of Magic and Magic”: April 1-3, 8-10.
All of the shows are located at the Ford Theater in Bliss Hall.
YSU students can attend for free with their school ID. YSU faculty/staff tickets are $8. General admission tickets are $16. Tickets can be purchased at ysu.tix.com. Tickets can be picked up at the Box Office in Bliss Hall.