Sold-out crowd sees comedy, drag and science

The wide-array of artistic offerings even included a drag performance.
YOUNGSTOWN -- A myriad of local performers played to a sold-out audience at the Oakland Center for the Arts on Tuesday, as part of the theater's open-mic night, "Stage Fright."
One of the coordinators, Brooke Slanina, said the event was a chance to give people who aren't generally interested in theater exposure to the Oakland.
Slanina served as the emcee for "Stage Fright," which featured a wide cast of performers, covering a large portion of the artistic spectrum.
For instance, the evening began with Youngstown State University professors Dr. Ray Beiersdorfer and Rick Pirko. Beiersdorfer laid on a bed of nails and Pirko broke a cinder block with a sledge hammer, part of an entertaining way of explaining several basic principles of science.
Slanina said the Oakland was the perfect place for such a night because of its welcoming atmosphere. And Tuesday was a good example of just how welcoming it could be:
* Two novelists, Lori Lyden and Chris Barzak, read portions of larger works.
* Brandon Martin performed a tap dance to music he created himself.
* Harold Davis, a board member for the Oakland, performed a song on an acoustic guitar and harmonica.
* Comedians Murad Shorrab and Ryan Clausen performed short monologues.
* Four bands performed different genres of music.
The night even included a drag performance by Starlett O'Hara to promote an upcoming performance at the Oakland, written by local actor Robert Dennick Joki. "How the Drag Queens Stole Christmas" was described as a risqu & eacute; show that will play at the Oakland Dec. 16.
"Stage Fright" was a chance for performers with little experience to have a chance to showcase their talents. But for those familiar with the local music scene, it was a chance to see a few familiar faces experimenting.
Khaled Tabbara, lead singer from The Zou, performed a song with Kendra Herron, clad as Jack and Meg White of the White Stripes. Herron said it was her first experience drumming in front of a crowd, having just learned.
Adam Mamula, drummer for The Zou, performed Leonard Cohen's "Famous Blue Raincoat." Mamula was also in a band, The Leonard Cohen Ensemble broke up just a few months ago. However, during "Stage Fright," it was announced that the Ensemble would be playing together again as soon as late December.
Meanwhile, former Zou member Brendan Gauntner performed with other popular Youngstown musicians Sam Goodwill and Matt Thomas.
The night closed with a showing of "Zombie Land," a short film by's Steven Andrew.
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