Over the 37-year history of Salem Community Theatre, there has been a plethora of talented actors, actresses, singers and dancers who began their career development on its stage. And now some of those performers are ready to display their talent, and at the same time support and benefit the "theatrical home" they grew that talent in.
At 8 p.m. July 19 and 20, 10 young entertainers will present "Look What SCT Has Done for Me," a musical cabaret by SCT alumni, with proceeds to benefit the theater.
The show is being directed by Salem native Connor Bezeredi (and now a junior in the Youngstown State University Musical Theater Department), who explained that all of the actors and actresses involved have appreciated the opportunities and support the theater provided in their earlier years.
"We all see this as a way to give back to SCT, and help ensure that the institution continues its reputation and history of providing a great venue for future talented entertainers," he said. "Plus it's going to be a great time for us, with everyone performing songs, together and separately, from shows we originally were involved in when we were just starting up at SCT."
The past six to eight years have produced a particularly large number of talented youth from the SCT performing environment. In addition to Bezeredi, included in the Cabaret cast will be: Cassie Utt, a recent graduate from Bowling Green University with a dual degree in vocal performance and computer science who is now working in Pittsburgh at the Eaton Corporation and also with a company in New York City, Mainstreet Musicals; Carly Magnuson of Canfield, a junior in the YSU Musical Theatre Department; Tyler Stouffer of Salem, who just completed his freshman year at the Bowling Green State University Musical Theatre Department; Lauren Teminsky of Canfield, entering her junior year at Chicago College of Performing Arts; Kathie Steeb of Columbiana, entering her junior year at YSU's Musical Theatre Department; Niki Slaven of Leetonia, who is starting her college education at Belmont University in Nashville, as a commercial voice major; Nathan Pecchia of Canfield, entering his freshman year as a theater major at Wright State University; Alli Dolphin of Salem, who is a junior theater studies major at YSU; and Natalie Sprouse of Columbiana, who, besides tending to her blossoming performance career, is pursuing a degree in recording technology in Cleveland.
All of these actors and actresses have contributed to the success of countless shows at Salem Community Theatre. In return are they are contributing their own talent to stage this particularly unique event.
Accompanying the cast is pianist Alex Marr, originally of Poland and a student at Kent State University. Marr was active at Salem Community Theatre last season as music director for the critically acclaimed production of "The Last Five Years" as well of accompanying Nathan Pecchia and Carly Magnuson in their two-person cabaret concert "An Accident Waiting to Happen." His long list of music credentials reach from concert stages to cabaret clubs to recording studios.
All of these performers have agreed to come together at the request of Bezeredi, who began his acting pursuit at SCT when he was 12 years old in the Youth Theatre production of "Charlotte's Web." Since that debut in 2004, he estimates he has been involved in at least a dozen shows at the theater, as well as productions at Stage Left in Lisbon (including its recent staging of "Godspell") and The Oakland Center for the Arts in Youngstown, in addition to his continuous work at YSU. He has also agreed to serve at SCT as director for this season's Youth Theatre production of "Once On This Island, Jr." next spring, one of the many shows that he has also acted in there.
To Bezeredi and to many others, this group of actors represents a culmination of the many benefits of participation in community theater to area youth, not just in developing talent and stage abilities, but also building self-confidence, teamwork, responsibility, dedication, and an appreciation for all the arts. This performance is sure to reflect all of those qualities, in an opportunity to see and hear them all together.
"Watching all these talented singer/actors develop on our stage has been a real joy," SCT managing director Gary Kekel. "When you see their individual natural abilities combined with maturing entertainment instincts and training, you can sense that they are certainly headed for making an impact in the world of theater. We're excited that we are able to bring them all together, at this moment in time, here on our stage. Who knows when that could ever happen again?"
With proceeds of these two performances benefiting the theater, there will also be gift baskets for raffle during the evening, helping to support Salem Community Theatre's continuing operation.
Tickets for "Look What SCT Has Done for Me" are on sale now, $10 in advance and $12 at the door, at the Salem Community Theatre, 490 E. State St. For tickets and more information call the SCT box office at 330-332-9688, go to salemcommunitytheatre.org or find them on Facebook.
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