University Theater latest production opens this week


Portraying a scene from “Gemini” are, from the left, Cameron Beebe, John Cruz and Carly Magnuson.

University Theater presents Albert Innaurato’s dramatic comedy Gemini April 4 to 7 and 12 to 14 in Spotlight Arena Theater in Bliss Hall on the campus of Youngstown State University.

Thursday through Saturday performances begin at 7:30 p.m., while the Sunday matinee performances are at 3 p.m. All seats in Spotlight Theater are general admission, so patrons are encouraged to make reservations early. The production contains adult situations and coarse language and is not suitable for children.

Set in the mid-1970’s, the play takes place in the backyard of adjoining houses in South Philadelphia: one house occupied by Fran Geminiani, a laborer, and his son, Francis, a Harvard student; the other by a boisterous, earthy divorcee named Bunny and her fat, asthmatic son, Herschel. It is the eve of Francis’ twenty-first birthday, and suddenly he is paid a surprise visit by two friends from college, a brother and sister named Hastings, who set up a tent in the backyard. The friends, Randy and Judith, are wealthy, attractive and from an elevated social background that contrasts with Francis’ own humble circumstances. In addition, while Judith is in love with Francis, he is infatuated with Randy (or thinks he is) and it is from this unsettling discovery that the plot proceeds.

W. Rick Schilling, associate staff designer in the YSU Department of Theater and Dance, directs the show. “Situation comedies of the 1970’s such as “All in the Family” and “The Jeffersons” introduced TV audiences to provocative and taboo themes,” Schilling said. “In a similar way, Innaurato’s play utilizes many different theatrical styles ranging from slapstick physical comedy to intimate dramatic scenes played out like a soap opera. Today, audiences have parodies of those shows such as “Family Guy” and “American Dad” which served as inspiration for this production.”

The cast, of which the roles of Bunny Weinberger and Lucille Pompi are double-cast, includes Cameron Beebe of Cortland, Ohio, as Randy Hastings; Stacie Campbell of East Liverpool, Ohio, as Lucille Pompi; John Cruz of Mineral Ridge, Ohio, as Francis Geminiani; Rebecca Anderson of Cortland, Ohio, as Bunny Weinberger; Anna Steeb of Columbiana, Ohio, as Bunny Weinberger; Carly Magnuson of Canfield, Ohio, as Judith Hastings; Alex Samuels of Worthington, Ohio, as Herschel Weinberger; Josh Fleming of Canfield, Ohio, as Fran Geminiani; Natalie Martzial of Youngstown, Ohio, as Lucille Pompi.

For tickets, call 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 and high school and college students from other universities, Penguin Club members and YSU alumni. Parking is available for a nominal fee in the Wick Avenue deck.