Thursday, January 20, 2011

Telling Youngstown's Stories on Stage

One of the pleasures of talking with Rob Zellers, beyond the fact that he’s such a great storyteller, is hearing the story of his own reinventions. As he notes in our interview, he came to playwrighting late in life, and it’s really his third career – teacher, non-profit staffer (though still with a focus on education), and now writer. Perhaps it’s because playwrighting is still a relatively new endeavor for him, but his passion for his work is palpable, and he seems almost surprised to have had so much success.

The two plays he’s had produced so far, The Chief, a one-person play about the life of Pittsburgh Steelers owner Art Rooney, and Harry’s Friendly Service, set in Youngstown in the late 70s, should both appeal to local audiences. Many of us missed the Pittsburgh Public Theater’s staging of Harry’s Friendly Service last year, but you can still get a look at The Chief. It’s been made into a film, and you can read about it and order a copy online.

Zellers has written a third play with local connections, The Happiness They Seek, set in Youngstown in the 90s. Wouldn’t it be great to see one of our local theater companies do a play about Youngstown?

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