Theater in Youngstown returns for 2021 season after pandemic

Local News

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – After a year away because of the pandemic, the Hopewell Theatre in Youngstown is getting ready to kick off its 2021-2022 season.

“I am just excited to see this house filled with patrons and people enjoying live theater,” said theater director Regina Rees.

The company is hosting a total of six shows this season.

The theater will open September 3 with the show “20th Century Blues.” It’s a story about women of a certain age and their trials, tribulations, where they’ve been and where they’re going.

The next show, “I’ll See You Before Midnight,” opens October 30 — just in time for Halloween.

Then in November, Youngstown theater legend Lynn Nelson Rafferty will be there to talk about her experiences.

There are some major renovations going on right now. In the basement, they’re working on finishing some dressing rooms, and an area for actors and guests to relax during intermissions or rehearsals.

If you want to be a part of the Hopewell Theatre community, one way to do that is through its “New Voices” shows. The shows are performed on stage as a table read, which is normally the first step in producing and directing a play. The actors just read the scripts without memorization.

“Right now, we are sitting there with over 700 plays in our inbox from all over the country that playwrights have sent us,” Rees said.

This allows new actors, directors and playwrights to have a chance to try the roles out without the pressure of a full-blown production.

You can get involved by auditioning for upcoming shows, or volunteering to direct shows or build the sets.

Anyone can audition for the shows, except for the final one — “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance.”

“The show was cast, and the cast sat down and had their initial table reading,” said. “The very next day, that’s it — we were done.”

The final show was supposed to run last year but was postponed until this season because of the pandemic.

If backstage work is more your calling, there is plenty of demand for those positions. If you’re a handyman, Rees said they could use help finishing up the final details before opening night.

The company is also looking to women artists to lend art for their upcoming production in September. Each artist is asked to submit to pieces of art.

You can find out more about the company and buy tickets on Hopewell Theatre’s website.

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