University Theater opens Twelfth Night in 2014 this week

Cast members, from the left, Connor Bezeredi, Natalie Martzial and Ashley Whited prepare for the University Theater production of "Twelfth Night in 2014."

Cast members, from the left, Connor Bezeredi, Natalie Martzial and Ashley Whited prepare for the University Theater production of “Twelfth Night in 2014.”

Youngstown State University Theater  presents “Twelfth Night in 2014,” a newly devised production based on works by William Shakespeare, opening Friday, Feb. 28.

The show will run Feb. 28, March 1, 2, 7, 8 and 9, in Spotlight Theater in Bliss Hall on the YSU campus. 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, so patrons are encouraged to make reservations early.

This production is a unique re-imagining of “Twelfth Night,” one of Shakespeare’s most beloved comedies. This contemporary version is set on a Caribbean island. It’s a mad-dash, contemporary mash-up of Shakespeare and Carnival where shipwrecked Viola disguises her gender to join the entourage of Orsinio, a hip-hop music mogul.

“In this re-imagining of Shakespeare’s comedy, the designers, cast, crew and I have placed the play in today’s world – complete with updated language and references throughout,” said Matthew Mazuroski, assistant professor and director. “In my 30 years as a theater artist I have watched dozens of productions of Shakespeare’s plays, where, in order to make them ‘relevant,’ directors have placed the plays in settings ranging from the American west in the late 1800’s, to post World War II, to a future post-apocalypse world. In each of these productions, no matter how inventive or random the setting, the directors have remained bound to Shakespeare’s original text. I hope that by using today’s language and sensibilities, patrons will reclaim ‘Twelfth Night’ as a rollicking comedy that will tickle our collective funny-bones and delight the senses.”

Cast members include: Ronald Aulet, (Sebastian), Mineral Ridge, Ohio, Sophomore, BM Music Education; Connor Bezeredi, (Orsino), Salem, Ohio, Sophomore, BFA Musical Theater; John Cruz, (Fabian/Captain), Mineral Ridge, Ohio, Senior, BFA Musical Theater; Josh Fleming, (Toby Belch), Canfield, Ohio, Sophomore, BFA Musical Theater; Michael Free, (Antonio), Greenville, Pa., Freshman, BFA Musical Theater; Stefon Funderburke, (Curio/1st Officer), Hermitage, Ohio, Freshman, BA Theater Studies; Kathryn Jerome, (Feste), Westlake, Ohio, Freshman, BFA Musical Theater; Matthew Malloy, (Andrew Aguecheek), Beaver, Pa., Sophomore, BFA Musical Theater; Zara Markman, (Malvolio), Amherst, WI, Freshman, BFA Musical Theater; Natalie Martzial, (Olivia);Youngstown, Ohio, Junior, BFA Musical Theater; Alexander Samuels, (Valentine/2nd officer/Priest), Worthington, Ohio, Junior, BFA Theater; Kelly Sullivan, (Maria), Youngstown, Ohio, Senior, BFA Musical Theater; Ashley Whited, (Viola), Struthers, Ohio, Sophomore, Theater.

Show tickets may be purchased by calling the University Theater Box Office at 330-941-3105. Tickets are free for YSU students with ID; $10 for adults; and $5 for senior citizens, YSU faculty and staff, high school students, college students from other universities, Penguin Club members and YSU alumni. Parking is available in the Wick Avenue parking deck for all shows for a nominal fee.