University Theater opens season with premiere of alum’s play

University Theater opens the 2013-14 season this week with the world premiere of Youngstown State University alumna Mark Milo Kessler’s original play, Tribunal, in Spotlight Theater in Bliss Hall on the campus of YSU.


YSU students Carly Magnuson and Mark Warchol are among the cast members in University Theater’s production of “Tribunal,” which opens this week.

The show’s run is scheduled for Friday, Oct. 18, Saturday, Oct. 19, Sunday, Oct. 20, Friday, Oct. 25, Saturday, Oct. 26 and Sunday, Oct. 27.

Friday and Saturday performances begin at 7:30 p.m. while the Sunday matinee performances are at 2 p.m. The guest director is YSU alumna Tracy Schuler Vivo, visual and performing arts coordinator for the Youngstown City Schools Chaney VPA/ STEM Campus and VPA at Discovery.

All seats in Spotlight Theater are general admission. Early reservations are encouraged.

Tribunal focuses on Hannelore Schneider, who, with her defeated leaders on trial, struggles to escape postwar Nuremberg for a Nazi safe haven in South America. She meets a translator for the trial, their fates become intertwined, and his kindness forces her to confront the consequences of her unquestioned ideology. Yet the true horror doesn’t emerge until years later, when it becomes clear that she and her generation will never face judgment; they shattered worlds, and they got away with it.

Kessler studied acting with Stella Adler and earned a bachelor’s degree in Theatre from YSU and a master’s of fine arts degree in Playwriting from Carnegie Mellon University. He is currently an associate professor of English and Literature at a small community college in southeast Ohio.

Vivo is a professional performer, choreographer, director and producer who has been affiliated with national and international television, film and stage productions. Regionally, she has directed, choreographed and performed with numerous theaters, including the Cleveland Playhouse, Carousel Dinner Theatre, Youngstown Playhouse, BWR and YSU.  She is a graduate of YSU’s College of Creative Arts and Communication with a degree in Theater/Telecommunications. She is master’s certified in dance education and a member of the College of Creative Arts and Communication Community Advisory Board.

A member of the Screen Actors Guild, the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists and Actors Equity Association, she owns her production company, TLS Productions Inc. She is currently the Visual and Performing Arts coordinator for the Youngstown City Schools Chaney VPA/ STEM Campus and VPA at Discovery.

Students cast in the play include: Mark Warchol, Poland, Ohio, Theater Studies; Carly Magnuson, Canfield, Ohio, Theater, Musical Theater; Connor Bezeredi, Salem, Ohio, Theater, Musical Theater; Matthew Malloy, Beaver, Pa., Theater, Musical Theater; Cameron Beebe, Cortland, Ohio, Theater Studies; Eric Shonk, Canal Winchester, Ohio, Theater, Musical Theater; Zara Markman, Amherst, Wis., Theater, Musical Theater; Natalie Martzial, Youngstown, Ohio, Theater, Musical Theater.

The Sunday, Oct. 27, performance will include a reception and post-show discussion with the playwright, director, cast and faculty designers. The moderator will be Ellen Jones, assistant professor in the Department of Theater and Dance, and set designer for this show. Sponsored by the Department of Theater and Dance in the College of Creative Arts and Communication, YSU’s Judaic and Holocaust Committee, the Jewish Community Relations Council, and the Jewish Community Center, the event is by reservation only. The cost is $5 per person, which includes the show ticket. Reservations must be made by calling the Jewish Community Center at 330-746-3250 Ext. 195.

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