Speech and Debate
by Sam Bass Community Theatre

Apr. 07 - Apr. 16, 2017

When the Republican mayor of Salem, Oregon, is caught in a sex scandal involving underage boys and the Internet, a local high school student sits up and takes notice. Intelligent and aggressive Solomon, a nerdy, single-minded teen with ambitions of journalism, wants to investigate homophobic closeted men in positions of power in the state capitol… whether or not they are actually politicians. 

Howie, a gay high school senior who has transferred from Portland, is disgusted by the comparatively Puritan culture of Salem, in which he can’t get a Gay-Straight Alliance sponsored at school... but he can get picked up by a teacher in a chat room. And dramatic, determined Diwata, a frumpy young diva with adult burdens and a grudge against the Drama teacher who refuses to cast her, is the nervous witness to an illicit student/teacher encounter. 

When the three students realize that they each have a piece of the same scandalous puzzle, purposes are double and triple crossed, conversations explode, secrets are bartered, and ultimately, and in spite of themselves, an alliance is formed. Tony Award-winner Stephen Karam’s Speech and Debate is a snappy dark comedy, sarcastic yet sincere, a, genuinely hilarious and genuinely emotional story of misfit teens who explore sexuality, identity, and personal power, as they learn to deal with misunderstanding and dismissal from the adult world.

Sam Bass Theatre is excited to present Speech and Debate as part of our inaugural “Select Series” which is focused on bringing new and unusual theatre to the greater Austin area.

This production of Speech and Debate will be directed by Laura Vohs who has been a part of Sam Bass Theatre for many years now, directing many of our theatre for young audiences and family shows including The Secret Garden, The Complete Works of William Shakespeare Abridged, and Twas The Night Before Christmas (which was named Best Play in Round Rock in 2015). Mrs. Vohs has been involved in every aspect of running Sam Bass Theatre for the past 10 years, doing everything from costume design, to running the box office, as well as serving as President of the organization. When asked about why Mrs. Vohs took on this particular show she said “I love this show not just for the outward storyline, but for what is going on underneath. Karam is a brilliant writer who really has a grasp of how adolescents talk and interact with one another. I can read through this script and hear my own teens, or the youth guild kids I work with, talking to each other. I also love this play for the brilliance of how it shows that period between childhood and becoming an adult. The teens in this show are determined to handle an extremely adult matter on their own, and they do it with all the heroism children still have, while learning the ins and outs of adulthood.”

Laura Vohs is passionate about empowering young people to reach for the stars and to grow as artists, that is one of the reasons she felt drawn to this opportunity. Mrs Vohs explained that “We are still battling prejudice in this world, including that against homosexuality. All people should be free to be themselves and not worry about the repercussions from society.”  This shows is filled with great opportunities to open up a dialogue that will allow people to discuss the coming of age, and current events in a new way.  Director Vohs encourages audiences to see this show because “The important subject matter itself, is reason enough to see the show. Plus, this play has been made into a movie that opens April 7 as well, and Lin-Manuel Miranda has been cast in the film adaptation. Just as it is best to read the book before seeing a movie, it is best to see the play before seeing the movie.”

The Show Stars

  • Jackie McKenna - Diwata

  • Logan Vohs - Howie (BroadwayWorld Austin, Best Young Actor 2015)

  • Brandon Coy - Solomon

  • Heather Rosen - Teacher/Reporter


  • Director:  Laura Vohs

  • Assistant Director: Sara DeSoto

  • Stage Manager:  John Paul Guerra

  • Set/Lighting design:  Eric Nelson


Speech and Debate is directed by LAURA VOHS  and SARA DESOTO as Assistant Director with Technical Direction by ERIC NELSON. The production features Scenic Designs by LAURA VOHS With SARA DESOTO as Costume Designer with JOHN PAUL GUERRA as Stage Manager. SPEECH AND DEBATE IS PRODUCED WITH SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT BY DRAMATISTS  PLAY SERVICE. 

Recommendation: This show is rated PG13 for some adult language and mature themes

Run Time: Approximately two hours including one intermission


Special events in celebration of SPEECH AND DEBATE, include:



Speech and Debate
by Stephen Karam
Sam Bass Community Theatre

April 07 - April 16, 2017
Sam Bass Community Theatre
600 North Lee Street
Round Rock, TX, 78664

Tickets start at $20 and are available online www.sambasstheatre.org  by phone at 512-763-7228, or in person at the SAM BASS THEATRE Box Office, 600 N. Lee Street (Located inside Memorial Park Round Rock) Thursday through Saturday, 7:00-9:00pm Sundays 2:00-4:00pm.  SAM BASS THEATRE is wheelchair accessible. 

The City Of Round Rock, and Round Rock Arts are the Leading Sponsors for SPEECH AND DEBATE



[image via stageagent.com]