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TNT to present comedy ‘Looking’

Canadian play to run for four performances

Brian Suchora, left, and Herb Everman play friends awaiting the arrival of their blind dates in the comedy "Looking," which opens May 13 at Trumbull New Theatre. (Staff photo / Andy Gray)

Norm Foster is Canada’s most produced playwright, but he’s not nearly as well known in the United States.

Ben Gavitt is doing his part to change that, at least in the Mahoning Valley. Gavitt will direct Foster’s 2005 romantic comedy “Looking” at Trumbull New Theatre starting May 13 for a four-performance run.

“(In 2006) the first show I directed at TNT was Foster’s ‘Here on the Flight Path,'” Gavitt said. “It’s a show my wife and I saw on our honeymoon, and I fell in love with it.”

He directed it again a couple years ago at Theatre 8:15 in Green, a production that won several Ohio Community Theatre Association awards. Gavitt started reading some of Foster’s other plays and looking for clips from past productions when he came across “Looking.”

“I was looking at clips on YouTube and thought, ‘We could do this. It’s a small set, small cast, no big special effects or anything,'” he said. “It definitely would be good for Trumbull New Theatre to do.”

And except for American-izing a couple of the Canadian references, Gavitt said the show should have universal appeal.

“Looking” is the story of four people in search of romance. Nina, a police officer, replies to a personal ad placed by Andy, a radio DJ. They bring their friends Nina and Matt along on the first date for support, and the two couples try to forge a connection.

The cast features Brian Suchora, Roz Blystone, Herb Everman and Joy Schuyler.

“I knew I needed two strong guys and two strong girls,” Gavitt said. “Brian Suchora I’ve worked with before, acting alongside and directing several times. There’s a good chemistry there, and I’m glad he’s part of the show. This is my first time directing Herb, but he’s done a lot a lot of shows at TNT.

“Roz Blystone has done a lot at the (Youngstown) Playhouse and Hopewell, and she’s majorly into improv. She brought a really good energy to auditions. And Joy Schuyler and I go way back. This is her second show ever, and her first show was ‘You Can’t Beat the House,’ where she played a crazy psychic genie character for me. She got out of theater for a while, but I’m glad I got her back.”

TNT originally planned to stage “Looking” at the Robins Theatre in downtown Warren, but the show now will be staged at TNT’s Niles performance space. Due to COVID-19, only 40 tickets will be available for each performance.

“I was excited to get to do something at the Robins,” Gavitt said. “It looks beautiful and I’ve seen several things there. I was excited to produce a show for them, but it just didn’t work out … Forty people in the Robins would look empty. Forty people won’t look bad at TNT.”

If you go …

WHAT: “Looking”

WHEN: 7:30 p.m. May 13 to 15 and 2 p.m. May 16

WHERE: Trumbull New Theatre, 5883 Youngstown Warren Road, Niles

HOW MUCH: $15. Tickets can be purchased online any time at trumbullnewtheatre.tix.com and by calling the TNT box office between 7 and 9 p.m. weekdays at 330-652-1103.

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