Fresno State’s University Theatre will present “Tar Beach” Oct. 28 through Nov. 5 (excluding Oct. 31) with daily show times at 7:30 p.m. and a 2 p.m. Sunday matinee in the Dennis and Cheryl Woods Theatre in the Speech Arts Building.

This semi-autobiographical play, written by Tammy Ryan, is an exploration into marriage, family dynamics and adolescence, as two girls (portrayed by Fresno State theatre arts majors Emily Kearns and Lia Dewey) hatch a plan to stay out all night, only to have their plans derailed. The play will be directed by theatre arts professor J. Daniel Herring, who also directed Ryan’s “The Music Lesson” for StageWorks Fresno. The play is set in the sweltering summer of 1977 in New York City and features a cast of five Fresno State theatre arts majors.

Told through the voice of the younger daughter, Reenie, (portrayed by Fresno State theatre arts major Kindle Cowger) the play examines the tension brewing in a crumbling household (Jacob Sherwood and Cecily Callahan, Fresno State theatre arts majors, portray the struggling parents), as a heatwave overtakes the city, the Son of Sam lurks and a power grid nears failure. All this, while three girls hope to escape and experience a wild night out.

“When I first read ‘Tar Beach,’ I was reminded that there are those times in our lives that we are on a collision course with the self, with family and with the entire world,” Herring said. “These times are so intense that the only thing we have to hold onto is hope, and it is this sense of hope that drew me toward staging this sharply-written script.”

“Tar Beach” is suitable for mature audiences due to strong language and mature themes.

Tickets are $17 for adults; $15 for Fresno State faculty, staff, alumni and military; and $10 for students. Group rates, as well as season subscriptions are available. Box office hours are noon to 4 p.m. on weekdays and one hour before each performance.

Parking is free for shows on Friday through Sunday night. For shows on Tuesday through Thursday night, parking permits are required and can be purchased at dispensers in parking lots on campus.

For more information, contact the box office at 559.278.2216 or