''Gloria Birnbaum's Broadway Debut'' promises something old and something new.
The one-act play makes has its premiere Friday at the Oakland Center for the Arts, but writer-director Bernie Appugliese said his new script is a throwback to the classic stage comedies.
''It takes place in one room, it's one act, it moves very quickly,'' Appugliese said. ''I wouldn't call it a farce. It doesn't have all of the elements of farce. It's just a big old-fashioned comedy. It's my tribute to Ken Ludwig's 'Lend Me a Tenor,' which was his tribute to (the playwriting duo) Kaufman and Hart.''
The play takes place backstage at a Broadway theater in 1955 where the cast is getting ready for opening night of a new musical called ''Why Not Love.'' But, as it often happens in theater-set comedies, an assortment of events conspire to threaten the success of the show and one actor's Broadway debut.
Appugliese, a local theater regular in the 1980s and '90s, relocated to the area to concentrate on his writing after spending spending more than a decade in Chicago.
He has several completed scripts and he presented two staged readings of his play ''Speaker of the House'' for invited audiences earlier this year at the Youngstown Playhouse. ''Gloria Birnbaum's Broadway Debut'' became the first of his plays to get a full production in part because of the response from others.
''Leslie Brown really liked the script and did something with it at Kent-Trumbull in her (theater) class and championed it from the beginning,'' Appugliese said. ''And Mike Morley, who's producing it, said it's commercial, it's fun and it's ready for actors and an audience.''
Getting Maureen Collins, co-founder of Easy Street Productions, to agree to play the title character also was instrumental.
''Once Maureen came on board, that was it,'' he said. ''I lucked out when I was thinking of casting it locally. Everyone I sent it to is in it.''
And once Appugliese had his cast, he found himself tweaking the script to play to the strengths of the actors - Josh Lewis, Carla D. Gipson, Chuck Simon and Tom O'Donnell. Brown is doing the set and lighting design, and sound design is by John Pecano.
''What you'll hear on stage is what I saw in my head,'' Appugliese said. ''This one was 95 percent there, and with these actors we've found that last five percent.''
''Gloria Birnbaum's Broadway Debut'' will be staged at 8 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Aug. to and 2:30 p.m. Aug. 26 at the Oakland Center for the Arts, 220 W. Boardman St., Youngstown. Tickets are $12 For reservations or more information, call 330-272-7200.