3/12: Speech and Debate opens at Dobama

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Thirty-year-old playwright Stephen Karam has a reputation for knowing how kids talk — specifically, how they talk on the Internet. His most popular play, Speech and Debate, tells the story of high-school outcasts who meet in a chat room after being tied together in a sex scandal involving one of their teachers. After premiering in 2006 at Karam’s alma mater, Brown University’s Brown/Trinity Playwrights Repertory Theatre, Speech and Debate ran for two years off-Broadway and is now under development as a feature film. In the meantime, it’s getting picked up by theaters across the country, including Dobama, where Scott Plate directs the local premiere, which stars Shelby Bartelstein, Nick Pankuch, Nick Varricchio and Elizabeth Ann Townsend. It opens at 8 tonight with performances through April 4 at Dobama Theatre (2340 Lee Rd., Cleveland Hts., 216.932.3396). Tickets: $10-$22. — Michael Gill

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