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Penn State Love Stories: A Chance Meeting Through No Refund Theatre

Even at a school as large as Penn State, there are plenty of ways to make the Happy Valley community smaller. When Stacy Zanca met Matt Klein after joining No Refund Theatre, she knew she had found a great friend with whom she shared a lot in common — but as the story often goes, it’s the best friendships that often turn into something more.

It was Zanca’s senior year at Penn State, and she and her friend decided to go to the Involvement Fair just for kicks. She decided joining No Refund Theatre would be a fun way to end her college career. After NRT cast her for a part in one of the club’s shows, she immediately clicked with a lot of the cast members — including Klein.

“I was cast in a show ‘The Goonies’ and Matt was the assistant director of the show,” Zanca said. “We met at the first rehearsal in a classroom in the Willard Building.”

From then on, the cast would often get together and hang out outside of rehearsal. The group was discussing potential Halloween costumes one night when Zanca realized she had a lot more in common with Klein than their love for theatre. Their friendship quickly blossomed from their love for the same film genre.

“I mentioned that I was going to be Freddy Krueger and Matt was immediately excited, because he was also planning to be Freddy Krueger,” Zanca said. “We then realized we had a common love for horror movies/the horror genre, so we started talking more.”

The two students thought it would be fun to get a big group together one evening to see the movie “Zombieland” as one of the cast’s hangouts. But when the rest of the group flaked on the plans, Zanca and Klein still decided to check out the film for themselves. It was this accidental date that made Zanca realize she and Klein might be a good match as more than just friends.

“Then everyone bailed except for us two, and that became our first unofficial date,” Zanca said. “We officially started dating on Halloween that year, and have been inseparable ever since.”

The couple finished their Penn State careers together and have now been together for more than seven years. When they took a trip back to State College together last March, Klein took the next step in the relationship and proposed in the same classroom in Willard where they met one fateful night years ago. They officially plan to hold a horror-themed wedding.

“We will be married next October on Friday the 13th, as any horror fans would do, of course!” Zanca said.

About the Author

Claire Fountas

Claire Fountas is the student life editor for Onward State, as well as a junior pursuing a double major in journalism and psychology. She lives in a suburb of Chicago and strongly disagrees with anyone who hates the Cubs or the Blackhawks (so, pretty much anyone at Penn State). You can follow her @ClaireFountas or email her at [email protected]

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