YSU Theatre Presents ‘Harry Potter’ Spoof ‘Puffs’

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — Youngstown State University Theatre will close its season with “Puffs, Or Seven Increasingly Eventful Years at a Certain School of Magic and Magic.”

The comic play, which spoofs the “Harry Potter” series, will be performed April 1-3 and 8-10 in Ford Theater, on the lower level of Bliss Hall, on the YSU campus.

Written by New York playwright Matt Cox, “Puffs” premiered in 2015 and moved to the Off-Broadway New World Stages theater the following year. It was nominated for the Off-Broadway Alliance Award for “Best Unique Theatrical Experience” in 2017.

The story follows the young adult novels written by J.K. Rowling, but from the perspective of the Puffs. It takes place at a wizard school, but it’s not the story of the main character of Rowling’s books. Rather, it’s about the Puffs – who just happened to be there, too.

It is a tale for “anyone who has never been destined to save the world,” according to the press material.

Todd Dicken, faculty in the Department of Visual & Dramatic Arts, is the director. He also serves as the scenic designer and properties designer.  

Dicken crafted individual wooden wands for each of the cast reflective of the role’s personality.

“After a global pandemic and recent world events, we deserve a chance to unwind, an opportunity to laugh alongside others as we see the humor in ourselves. This may explain why I was drawn to a spoof of that famous series of books and movies about wizards, magic, villains and youthful heroes. A tongue-in-cheek revisionist tale that focuses on the loyal supporting cast, the overlooked social outcasts, the losers…the Puffs,” said Dicken.

Cast members include Elise Vargo, Samantha Gurd, Mallory Erhart, Mitchell Sharp, Aidan Holderfield, Nicholas Figiel, Amberlynn Zuccarell, Gunnar Carwile, Dalton Dykes, Hunter Lombard and Cyrus Dzikowski.

Meredith Pallo is responsible for sound design, working with the professional staff, including Ryan Fitzpatrick, production manager; Katherine N. Garlick, costume, wig and makeup designer; and James Oakry, lighting designer.  

Performances will be at 7:30 p.m. April 1, 2, 8 and 9; and 2 p.m. April 3 and 10.

Adult tickets are $16 ($8 for non-YSU students, YSU faculty and staff with valid ID, YSU alumni, senior citizens, Penguin Club members and groups of eight or more). YSU student tickets are free with valid ID. Call 330 941 3105 or go to YSU.tix.com to purchase show tickets. All seats are general admission.

Middle school and high school teachers are invited to bring student groups to one of the shows. Special pricing, assistance with group parking and reserved seating is available. Questions about group attendance should be directed to lafactor@ysu.edu.

Pictured: Amberlynn Zuccarell, Nicholas Figiel and Aidan Holderfield play student wizards in University Theatre’s production of “Puffs.”

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.