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‘Music Man’ will delight fan base

Published: Sun, May 10, 2009 @ 12:00 a.m.

By Milan Paurich

YOUNGSTOWN — Slicker than the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill and so sugary sweet it might cause tooth decay, Easy Street’s bejeweled production of Meredith Willson’s 1957 classic “The Music Man” should have no trouble appealing to its fan base. Since Easy Street has been playing to large, appreciative audiences for more than two decades now, reviewing one of its musical soirees is pretty much irrelevant at this point.

If you’re the type of person who goes to Disney World more for the live entertainment than a ride on Space Mountain, Easy Street king and queen Todd Hancock and Maureen Collins are probably already on your Twitter friend list.

For anyone else, the Oakland Center for the Arts’ kicky current tenant, “Reefer Madness,” is the musical to see in downtown Youngstown.

Easy Street aficionados know what to expect from director/star Hancock, and “Music Man” — which opened Friday night to an enthusiastic crowd at Edward W. Powers Auditorium — doesn’t disappoint. There are the folksy, familiar show tunes (“Seventy-six Trombones,” “Trouble,” “’Til There Was You,” etc.); Renee Rogers’ exuberant, athletic choreography; some cute tykes culled from the “Little Rascals” youth program; and family values galore. Although Willson’s show predates the relatively recent phenomenon of theme-park musicals, you’d never know it from Easy Street’s “bigger-is-better” version.

The elaborate, extravagant sets and costumes (borrowed from Pittsburgh’s Civic Light Opera and Costume World Theatrical of Deerfield Beach, Fla., respectively) are Broadway touring show caliber, and Jeff Sanders’ musical direction is predictably top-notch. All that’s missing is the heart and soul to go along with all of that technical savvy and largesse.

“’Til There Was You” is one of the most gorgeous love songs ever written for an American musical, yet neither of the two renditions performed here — by Amanda Beagle’s Marian the librarian and Hancock’s Professor Harold Hill — delivers the goose-bumpy charge I’d hoped for. Beagle is a more naturally gifted singer than actor, and her portrayal of strait-laced bibliophile Marian Paroo feels too textbook and mechanical to truly engage the audience emotionally.

Hancock’s Hill suffers from a similar flaw. The common mistake most actors make when taking on such an iconographic role is to do an imitation of Robert Preston, the most famous Harold Hill of them all. Though Hancock has no trouble duplicating Preston vocally — he even sounds a bit like Preston in the dialogue scenes — capturing the legendary Preston charm soundly defeats him. And a “Music Man” without a roguishly charming Hill is an empty vessel sailing into stormy waters.

On “American Idol,” Simon Cowell likes to knock contestants by comparing their vocal skills to cruise ship and/or cabaret entertainers. At Easy Street, Cowell’s standard diss must sound like the ultimate compliment. With Cheez-Whiz-y performances pitched to the rafters, there’s nothing remotely subtle about this “Music Man.” But since “over-the-top” — and consistent over-milking — is how their devotees seem to like it, it’s understandable why Hancock and company have resisted tampering with such a time-tested formula.

Though Hancock and Beagle make wan romantic leads, a few members of the bustling supporting cast acquit themselves nicely. Community theater veteran David Jendre does such a splendid job as River City’s henpecked Mayor Shinn that it’s a shame his role isn’t larger. Plus, Craig Raymaley has a few bright spots in the second act as anvil salesman Charlie Cowell who serves as the plot’s deus ex machina. Otherwise, too many of the performances (particularly Brendan Boyle’s Marcellus Washburn and Ellen Reed’s Mrs. Paroo) suffer from overstatement when a little restraint would have worked wonders.

The single most distracting feature of the evening was a loquacious lightboard operator in back of the theater who spoke at a conversational volume throughout the entire show. Not even a complaint filed with an usher could stifle her incessant chatter. Pshaw!

X“The Music Man” plays its final performance at 2:30 this afternoon at Edward W. Powers Auditorium. For tickets call (330) 744-0264.


1YtownTheaterVet(1 comment)posted 7 years, 2 months ago

To suggest that anything the Oakland could ever do would rival an Easy Street production is ludicrus. Easy Street has the esteem of being the area's only professional theater company whilst the Oakland is a sub par community theater that caters to liberal low lifes and attracts acting and directing wannabes. It wasn't always that way. The Oakland has been racing steadily downhill since Sandy Vansuch left. The latest crop of Oakand enthusiasts lead by the classless Robert Joki and Brooke Slanina and the like are severely lacking in talent and seemingly void of morality. Shows about drugs, violence, sexual deviance, gender confusion. I would much prefer to watch The Music Man or The Miracle Worker than anything Robert Joki would come up with. Where is the world going to? If you are a responsible citizen like myself, I implore you to support Easy Street and boycott Joki and the Oakland.

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2yahoo(7 comments)posted 7 years, 2 months ago

The Oakland Center for the Arts has been turning out increasingly strong work these days. "Reefer Madness," "Driving Miss Daisy," even their wonderful Halloween trifle "Night of the Living Dead" were all splendidly realized productions.
Easy Street hasn't had an original thought in its head since the days of "Pump Boys and Dinettes" at the long-shuttered Uptown Theater.
Question: is Easy Street even necessary anymore? It's not remotely relevant to the concerns or interests of 21st century theater mavens.
There's wonderful musical theater in the area thanks to Brian Palumbo's Top Hat, Michael Cavalier at New Castle Playhouse and, if "Reefer Madness" is an example, great potential for future terrific, NEW musicals at the Oakland Center. (Their "Full Monty" last season, however, was pretty terrible.)
While it's tragic that the John Holt era at the Y'town Playhouse has now passed (bravo "Sweeney Todd" and "Titanic"!), there's still enough terrific work being done locally (or semi-locally) that the musty old warhorses Easy Street routinely churns out for the delectation of gaseous old windbags like "YtownTheaterVet" are beside the point.
And since when does "professional" mean good? Easy Street may have the war chest to rent professional props and costumes, but production values don't necessarily make a good show.
To quote Mr. Paurich's review, "Pshaw!"
Hancock and Collins have gotten a free pass for too long. It's about time somebody calls them on their dreary, cornball "theme park musicales."

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3lucy(135 comments)posted 7 years, 2 months ago

Stop. Just stop. We are fortunate to have the talents of the hard-working people at both Easy Street and the Oakland. In this city, in these times, two successful theatrical productions were playing downtown over the weekend. I for one think that's pretty great.

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4whycantwebefriends(1 comment)posted 7 years, 2 months ago

these two musicals are two completely seperate shows advertised to complete diffrent audiences. both the oakland and easy street are vital to the preservation of the arts in our town. both should be commended for their attributions to the community. these petty attacks on not only the theatre companies but also their patrons and volunteers is disgusting childish behavior. easy street alows our area to enjoy semi-professional shows without having to drive 1 hour and a half away and gives our valleys children their first opportunity at live performance. the oakland's productions are edgy and give college students an opportunity to perform shows pertaining to their current life situations. rob joky is a wonderful person who has given so many in the gay community the opportunity to express themselves and not be afraid of who they are. please delete all remarks bashing any and all parties of the oakland and easy street.

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5snowflake13(1 comment)posted 7 years, 2 months ago

Bashing Rob Joki on a personal level in a hurtful, malicious manner does nothing to get your opinion across about theatre in youngstown. It just serves to make both commenters look immature and foolish. And as to comparing The Oakland to Easy Street, well its like comparing alternative rock with opera. Both have completely different purposes, styles, and fan bases. If one is not your cup of tea, at least have the common decency to agree to disagree, and respect the artistic choices made. Personal attacks are out of place in this type of forum.

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6DeviantTheory(1 comment)posted 7 years, 2 months ago

In response to youngstowng2009...

Posting something about someone's physical attributes to try and solidify your opinion on a show simply reflects your inablility to even have reputable commentary on this site. Shame on you and the people around you for ever making you believe that you would be a decent critic...much less a human being.

I personally saw the show and it was brilliant. Of course, every show I have seen at The Oakland has been a great experience for me and the rest of the community.

I would highly suggest that in the future, you choose your words carefully. Deformation of someone just to compensate for your own "small" insecurities because you're probably living in your mommy's basement...is no reason to take it out on others. Grow some. Get some. Reassess your mindset and get a serious reality check; where you can learn that your opinion only matters...when it is valid. Pig.

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7Torpidguy(1 comment)posted 7 years, 2 months ago

YtownTheaterVet.. for the record there is nothing professional about Easy Street Productions, Neither Todd, Maureen, nor any of the actors they employ are members of Actor's Equity the union for professional actors. Aside from the fact that they've been lining their pockets with bloated ticket prices since they've been at the Uptown, they're really just another community theater company looking to make a buck. Though I must say Todd Hancock as Harold Hill is quite possibly the single most ironical bit of casting the Valley has seen in quite some time. That being said there is nothing wrong with theater produced merely for financial gratification and if you're looking to not be challenged by anything and merely want to be entertained - good on you.

However, if you insist maintaining that theater is about morality and has no business dealing with issues such as sexual deviance, drugs, gender confusion, etc. then you simply have no sense for the history of theater and you'd be better served removing your provincial attitude to the burbs where you can perform Lil' Abner till your heart is content.

Youngstowng2009. It's always a treat to know that when the mental acuity slips we can always fall back on fat jokes and the denigration of the things we can't understand. If you've no stomach for the theater go be an accountant.

lucy. I don't know who you are, but bless your reasonable, rational, little soul.


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8krishc(3 comments)posted 7 years, 2 months ago

As a member of the Oakland's Board of Directors, I'd like to clarify that there is no rivalry between the Oakland and Easy Street. Dear friends of mine were in the Music Man over the weekend, and my own daughter had a wonderful experience in one of Maureen Collins's classes. We support Easy Street, and we hope that local theater-goers attend both shows!

Vindy.com editors, I ask you to please remove the comment by youngstowng2009, which clearly goes too far in its attacks against Rob Joki.

Kris Harrington-Canacci

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9ricpanning(5 comments)posted 7 years, 2 months ago

this back and forth, line in the sand bullsh*t makes me ashamed i ever got on a stage to begin with. i hope that you are all proud of yourselves. i hope it makes you feel better making fun of people that are differant or obese or gay. hi my name is ric panning. i was the LEAD in the full monty. i am also in reefer madness. i got on that stage to have a good time. to be a part of somthing differant from the usual 9 to 5 grind i die in daily. i have not had any training as an actor. i do not have any dreams or delusions of being famous. i just wanted to have fun. its been a crazy year since i first got on that stage. i had no idea the insanity the parade of egos i would encounter would amass to. it really makes me sick. i love what i do. i love being on a stage. i love being a part of art that isnt just cut and paste garbage. i have been picked on and made fun of my whole life for being differant. for not fitting in. for not being a part of the norm. i am here to say i am proud of it. i am proud of what i am and what i have been a part of. i would rather believe in what i do despite praise or recognition or notoriaty, than be some faceless hater getting his jollies off pointing his invisible finger.

hi my name is ric panning. i write in all caps...i feature myself in plays that start riots. i think rob joki and brooke slanina are great people...and i do not involve myself in theater to please you.

now...have fun ripping apart my spelling and diction, or my lack of talent or my skinny body. im gonna keep on having fun on a stage...

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10CharacterIV(1 comment)posted 7 years, 2 months ago

To youngstowng2009: if you're here to deride the quality of artistry put forth by Rob Joki and the Oakland crew (which doesn't really make sense, considering this is a review for an Easy Street show) then we can have that debate. You'd best be prepared, though, because I'll defend the Oakland's ideals, goals and the quality of their productions all night. If you're here to level churlish insults at Rob Joki, then just leave.

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11ricpanning(5 comments)posted 7 years, 2 months ago

also i meant to say i write in all lower case...please feel free to hate on that too...

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12monica42902(1 comment)posted 7 years, 2 months ago

i have to say after reading some of these comments i feel a personal attack myself. i havent done any kind of theater work since i was in high school which was 10 years ago and so when one of my friends asked me to audition for a show with her so we could spend more time together before she moves i said sure and that show that i auditioned for was 'Reefer Madness' at the Oakland. For being my first show since high school, i had a blast working with the cast and crew and am so proud of the success we have had with it and we definately couldnt have done such a wonderful job without the talented Robert Joki there to guide us. I met Rob for the first time this year at the auditions and i knew then that he would be a blast to work with and that he was a great person. you should get to know someone based on their personality and not whats on the outside. i dont see an obese man I see a humorous, outgoing man who will do anything for you if u ask and who does all he can for the community. so youngstown2009 who r u to make comments about other people, certain comments should be left to yourself and the comments you made about Rob are such comments. I think your comment needs to be removed from this article and you should think twice before leaving anymore comments, would u like it if someone made a comment about you in that manner, if not then you shouldnt make such comments about others.

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13alicenwdw(1 comment)posted 7 years, 2 months ago

the comment regarding Rob is crass; ignorance of that level is laughable. It takes true courage to tell the world your story and to ridicule that takes only cowardice. I would hope the vindicator feels compelled to remove the offensive comment.

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14tellemthetruth(3 comments)posted 7 years, 2 months ago

I am appalled. How you could treat someone like Robert Joki, someone who has given so much back to the community, so horribly is beyond my understanding.

Let me tell you something about Robert. He busted his ass to get Reefer Madness on its feet. We rehearsed for less than a month because the business manager at the Oakland neglected to order the scripts on time. Rob still pulled the show together. He was at the Oakland until 4 am every night of tech week trying to pick up where others had dropped the ball. Five minutes before we opened he was backstage, frantically painting set pieces that were not finished by the set designer. That's what good directors do. They make the show happen. Also, I'd like to point out that this is not the first time someone has written something nasty about him on these message boards and it won't be the last. And he knows this. But he continues to do the amazing work that he does. I admire his courage and dedication.

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15BrandonSmith(7 comments)posted 7 years, 2 months ago

Wow, is this really happening again? Well, at least this means my work is already done, due to the fact that I can just copy sections from my comment on the Titanic review and quote them here.

"I think the fact that this board has so readily turned to simple name calling and not debate shows how it is the topic that has become infantile."

"The very perception of competition between any of the local venues (community, semi-professional, or professional) is ludicrous, completely unnecessary, and utterly damaging.......These two theaters could not be more unalike in their budget, facilities, choice of season, and the type of audience that they "normally" attract. Meaning any comparison made between the fare produced by these two parties is like comparing apples to oranges. The only thing they share is being fruit, much like the only thing these two venues share is the art of theater. Furthermore any competition for audience is rendered even more ridiculous by the fact that these two venues could easily reconcile their schedules as there are plenty of open weekends throughout the year. In fact I think it would be a remarkable idea as it would spread the Youngstown theater season out a bit more, letting the residents of this city attend a bit of theater any weekend during said theater production season. Of course, I doubt this will happen, as this idea requires the application of logic and goodwill. Something which, for some strange reason, seems to be lacking in our area lately."

"Finally I will make a call for the readers of this message board (who are obviously, with maybe a handful of exceptions, participants in local theater)to stop reveling in something that Youngstown seems to do so well....eating its potential alive from the inside out."

Theatre is a collaborative art form that embraces people of all walks of life, and caters to people of all interests. Also, to echo an earlier post, to say that any subject is taboo to the world of theatre shows a lack of it's history. Theatre has always been a place to express both reverence and irreverence. Just look at the ritualistic and religious nature of Grecian tragedy, and the ribald nature of Grecian comedy as one classical example.

With that, good night.

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16tellemthetruth(3 comments)posted 7 years, 2 months ago

Also, I agree that it is pointless to compare Easy Street to The Oakland. They are two completely different theaters that cater to completely different fan bases.

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17dahveed(3 comments)posted 7 years, 2 months ago

There's nothing I can say that hasn't really already been said except that I have worked pretty extensively as an actor in the area and outside of it as well and still the only two people I hold in absolute authority in my field outside of academia are Rob Joki and Anthony Ruggerio.

Who is "youngstowng2009"? There's no basis for anything that was said by them.

If you want to have an adult conversation, "youngstowng2009" about the arts and theater talk to me. As yourself, in person.

There's no honor in what you did. There's no validity to your disgusting attitude. If you want to make such baseless claims, prove that you have what it takes to back them up, because I'm pretty sure you don't.

In fact, I dare you to show who you are. Tell us.

Though I bet you won't because you're a coward.

David Munnell

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18typhoidpat(19 comments)posted 7 years, 2 months ago

As a friend of Rob Joki's I am personally offended by the comment made by youngstowng2009. I hope it will be removed so that this discussion board can remain a reasonable, albeit contentious, forum for debating the article at hand and the topic of theatre in Youngstown.

And since it is relevant I would like to address youngstowng2009's consternation that Rob gets so much work doing theatre in the Youngstown area. He does this by working very, very hard (see the comment by tellmethetruth, above). He always has, and I know he will continue to do so. From our time in high school when he revived the long-dead annual musical, through his years at YSU and beyond at the Oakland, Rob has rarely rested in his pursuit to bring the best performances and performance opportunities to those in his community. He should be commended for this. And he is not alone. There are many like him who work, or volunteer, to see that theatre stays alive in Youngstown. That a shrinking city in such economic despair has as many active theatre companies as it does is a blessing, one that should not be taken for granted. Thanks are owed to Rob and others, who spend their time being creative and supportive, even of their competitors.

While youngstowng2009 and YtownTheaterVet may think they have the city's best interests at heart, their destructive words and territorial ambition, if allowed to influence others, would drive people away from the theatre that they seem to care about. I can only take solace in the fact that they are outnumbered by those who crave a variety of good shows, the traditional treats of Easy Street, and thought-provoking Oakland offerings. Let's hope the small-mindedness and character assassination stop now, or everyone will lose in the Youngstown theatre scene. I would rather see everybody win.

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19shawnlockaton(2 comments)posted 7 years, 2 months ago

Ok guys...this is just completely ridiculous at this point.
Hi, I'm Shawn Lockaton, and I guess you could call me a "youngstown theater vet" as well. I have sat back in ironic anticipation for many years just WAITING to read what ignorance and stupidity would pop up on here next. I have managed to keep myself out of many disputes on vindy.com for the past few years. Really, its been entertaining, I must say. But this has really managed to make its way to the top of my "to-do" list. I can't just sit back and laugh at this one. Not anymore. Because lines have been crossed, and somebody's integrity has been threatened. And I can't, of course, let you say ugly and vile things about my friends, now can I youngstowng2009?
I have performed at pretty much any theatre in the youngstown area. Youngstown Playhouse, The Oakland, YSU, Kent, TNT, Salem, and yes, even Easy Street. While I might prefer to do shows at select theatres moreso than others, I do love each of these theatres for different reasons. Which is what draws me to what this argument is really about...preference.
If you don't prefer the type of show the Oakland produces...then don't come. Period. It's that simple. I for one feel very honored and blessed to have so many local theatres in our dreadful little area that are willing to offer you their talents and passions--for free nonetheless. What's wrong with having such a broad range of theatre? That's what its really about isn't it? The celebration of diversity?
Continued below...

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20shawnlockaton(2 comments)posted 7 years, 2 months ago

I should and would hope that this passed weekend's production of The Music Man was as succesful as it could be. I wish I could have gone to see it, but I did get to see bits and parts on the early morning news. I have worked with Todd and Maureen in the past, and they are both very talented, well respected people. The Music Man is a great, classy piece, and I'm sure the cast did everything they could to full potential. However, they're stage and means are much larger than the Oakland, and would most definitly look like a Broadway production on a stage of that size.
Being part of the cast of Reefer Madness, I will say that its the type of show that wouldn't necesarily translate as well on larger stage. Reefer Madness, along with many other shows the Oakland offers, are way better off in a smaller, more intimate setting. To even compare the two types of shows and their theatre setting is just plain dumb. It is scarily obvious that we have two completely different places advertising two completely different things. I hope we're all smart enough to get that, yes?
As for the choice words about my friend and director Rob Joki, whom I have known for a little over ten years now...take it somewhere else. Rob is highly thought of around these parts, so you better watch your words. I've worked on many shows with many directors, and Rob is BY FAR one of the hardest working directors I have ever met, having costumed and had the show up on its feet in a little under a month. Rob also has some of the better vision I've seen in a long time in Youngstown. But that's just my opinion. If you agree with me, great! Rob has done his job. If you disagree, great as well! Rob has also done his job here. Getting your reaction, whether good or bad, is what the theatre is all about, or it was supposed to be.
I suggest we leave physicalities out of the matter. Jokes about weight, sexual identity, race, color, religion, whatever...are a big NO in my book. Don't let it happen again, children.

And do I feel that any mention of Reefer Madness in a review about The Music Man was needed and neccesary? Really...no.

This isn't a contest people. We're all in this together.


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21boyinakage(20 comments)posted 7 years, 2 months ago

so we're now in the business of taking someone's personal struggles and making fun of them?

the person that made these comments is obviously a lower lifeform.

as for Robert Joki...i wasn't even IN "Reefer Madness". But I will say it, I'm Kage Coven and I'm proud to call Robert Joki friend. He's an incredibly beautiful soul. And for Rob, myself and the other members of "When I Knew..." to get up on stage and reveal very personal things to people we may not have even known takes true strength, courage and self-worth. To youngstowng2009: obviously you'd like to share your inner most demons with us on a stage....alone...with nobody to support you.

and fat comments? apparently you're still in junior high. looks like somebody didn't get the memo: we are only as adult as we present ourselves.

To the patrons,friends and volunteers of both The Oakland and Easy Street...congratulations on putting out two very different products...and doing a good job at it! You are what keeps this community alive.

To vindy.com: I would like to place a formal request that the lewd comments about Mr. Joki be removed (if not for their content: for the sheer fact that a good man's name is being dragged through the mud.)

oh, and one last thing: youngstowng2009: karma is a nasty mistress to the company we keep.

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22yahoo(7 comments)posted 7 years, 2 months ago

Wow. I can't believe this is happening again.
An innocent "apples and oranges" comment in a stage review has turned into YtownTheaterVet1's right wing crusade bashing
Rob Joki, Brooke Slanina and the Oaklanders for staging shows that appeal to "liberal low lifes." Pretty funny; pretty wacko; pretty sad.
And the personal attacks against Joki--while mean-spirited and undeserved in this instance--are ironic considering the passion with which Joki himself has enjoyed waging childish public vendettas against the Vindicator theater critic in the past.
(It's in the public record on Vindy.com; not to mention Joki's online blogging and Twittering accounts.) Guess you could say that the chickens have come home to roost.
I haven't seen an Easy Street production in years, and don't feel the need to rush out the next time they put on a show at Powers. The Vindy "Music Man" review nicely summed up the company's middle-brow appeal/fanbase, and it's simply not for me.
Some people like Vegas and/or Danny Gokey; others prefer more cutting-edge fare and/or Adam Lambert.

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23greentree77(2 comments)posted 7 years, 2 months ago

To everyone who reads this whole thread like I have, it seems clear that those who have made ludicrous and rude comments are completely out done by those who have kind and wonderful things to say about Rob Joki. I have spent many hours reading terrible comments like this over the years on different topics. There will always be hateful people in the world who do not understand art and it's beauty like many of us do. But as I said before, it is evident that for every disrespectful citizen talking ignorantly of the oakland and Rob, there are ten credible and artisticly beautiful citizens to stand up for what's right. The Oakland has taken me into their family and home this past year and I am undenyably appriciative of it! Everyone there is wonderfully talented, open, loving and amazing. I have worked with easy street before and I will say the same for them. Local theater competition is good, it means that theater is doing well in the area and that's what matters, but when it comes down to making low and hurtful comments like above, theater is disgraced. I am sorry for whoever this youngstowng2009 person is, I am sorry that they are so ignorant and reprsent everything that is close minded and rediulous in this area and the world. But I am happy, I am happy that there are so many people to come out and refute them and tell them what they need to hear. It gives me hope for humanity actually. That there are people who can coincide in a world of liberals, conservatives, gays, straights, blacks and whites. Unfortunately things like this will happen again and have happened many times in the past, but as long as we all ban together like I have seen above we can fight the injustices in the world and we can figure out a way to love eachother...

- a concerned citizen and an overwhelmingly optomistic hippie

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24CleverMoniker(26 comments)posted 7 years, 2 months ago

I have no need to step up and defend Rob's honor, because 1) his outstanding character speaks for itself and he's a better man than to let some lone commenter bother him too much, I'm sure-
2) everybody else here who has his back!

You've all stated my own sentiment and beyond, and it's good to see support from the community and the theatre members in such full force.

Rob, it's undeniable: this town loves you!
I still make mention that you're one of the best male performers(your voice is amazing!) I've ever heard, the VERY best I've heard locally.

As an aside, I am not a theatre member or actress in anyway really, but I do support the community theatres as a patron(ess?). I do remember Rob from many a late night when I was serving coffee(or Diet Coke, hehe) at Denny's as a midnight waitress, or just as a friend sitting in a big group discussing philosophy, society, life in general...

He's good people. Ignore that jerk who obviously had a chip on his shoulder, and only saw this as an opportunity to bash Rob in a public forum where his chickensh*t butt didn't have to face the consequences.

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25lucy(135 comments)posted 7 years, 2 months ago

yahoo, it seems that you're very close to Mr. Paurich, and I'm sure he appreciates your support of his writing, both on this thread and last year's Titanic thread as well.

If you look at my comment on the Titanic thread, you'll see that I pointed out Mr. Paurich's unnecessary references to other local theaters in his review of the Playhouse production. He's done it again here. Unless his goal is to foster animosity between local theater venues, there is no solid journalistic reason to pit one theater company against another the way that Mr. Paurich consistently has. Mr. Paurich knows his way around a paragraph, and I don't believe that the comparison was an "innocent" "apples and oranges" one. I find it disappointing that Mr. Paurich hasn't taken a step back and rethought this particular approach to reviewing local theater.

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26pugsr4me(2 comments)posted 7 years, 2 months ago

I still find it hard to believe that people like youngstowng2009 are out there in society. Emotional parasites breeding hate and jealousy. I have known Rob Joki for a short time and damn am I fortunate and blessed to call him my friend! Rob's talents are endless from acting, singing, directing, costumes, the list could go on and on.
Rob is a beautiful, giving, selfless man who asks for nothing from his hard work other than to see the joy people get from it. I was appalled to see that youngstowng2009 made a joke of being molested! You are a disgusting, loathsome piece of trash for even putting that in your comment. Karma is waiting for you with a smirk on it's face!


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27Asarkis28(1 comment)posted 7 years, 2 months ago

I would first like to send a congrats to both productions. You both have done wonderful things for this town and I applaud you all for giving your time and effort to make both shows the best they can be. Regardless of reviews and applause you worked your butts off to put up a show and thats not something that can be done without a great deal of passion. I was not able to see Music Man but I am sure it was fantastic and fun just like Music Man is. Being in the cast and a choreographer of Reefer Madness we have all worked very hard in the 3 weeks to make a the production kick all sortsa ass-but thats to me and me only-so everyone who would like to disagree can shove it cuz again its my own opinion on a show I have given a lot to-I am proud of each and everyone of you guys. Now to the jack off that is youngstown2009-I truly hope that they take the many suggestions to have your comments about Rob Joki removed. Not only is it immature and completely uncalled for its just plain rude. You want to bash someones style and look go right ahead but to actually make fun of someone's personal experience especially one that you obviously have no clue on is absolutely uncalled for. There truly are not any words that can describe the feelings that I have while reading your comments. Really who makes fun of someone who has been through what Rob or the others have been through. Why did you even come to the show? Did you really feel the need to spend money to then make fun of people who were being themselves and putting themselves out there for everyone to see? And to the others who chose to boycott the Oakland or Rob or Brooke-you go right on ahead sunshines...we already had one sold out show and I dont think there will be room for you in the theatre this weekend :)
Alecia Sarkis

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28krishc(3 comments)posted 7 years, 2 months ago

I would like to thank Vindy.com for responding to our collective call for decency. Well done.

Kris Harrington-Canacci

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29ASciola(1 comment)posted 7 years, 2 months ago

Well, I have seen many performances at the Oakland and from Easy Street Productions over the years. I have enjoyed both companies immensely. I do have to say, from attending the Music Man this past weekend, and attending the Music Man Easy Street performed over 10 years over, they have certainly grown a lot as a company. The directing, performances, professionalism, and choreography have come so far and I was very impressed with Saturday night's performance.
Their shows are always enjoyable to watch. I always leave their productions with an overwhelming appreciation for the talent that is on stage.

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30bridgetg_13(3 comments)posted 7 years, 2 months ago

I must say that I've only read the first comment on this article because I have what some call a life. However, I do find it funny that a person who is obviously lacking in class and courage (no doubt in not leaving his/her name) would leave such an insulting and false comment about Miss Slanina, one of the sweetest, kindest people in this town. Mr. YtownTheaterVet, I think you need to pull your bifocals out of your bum if you really think that Brooke Slanina is a classless individual. You write these remarks, then probably sit in dark corner of the Oakland, stroking your cane, imagining your next anonymous attack at the Oakland, Brooke, and Rob.

You, my friend, are an idiot.

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31kathidgc(1 comment)posted 7 years, 2 months ago

I have so much respect for anyone who is willing to give their talent, time and energy into entertaining our Valley. It is sad to think of the venues that have suffered financial failure and it is appalling that our energies are directed to ridicule and place bias judgment on others instead of supporting and commending all that is put into these performances. Easy Street has done amazing things for this community and has given hundreds of children the opportunity to perform. It delivers entertaining performances year after year by many talented people. I marvel at the voices, the choreography and the talent of so many young adults and children that adorn the stage. So many involved are so gifted and entertaining. Hats off to Maureen and Todd for all they do to make these shows happen. To even compare Easy Street and Oakland is pretty ridiculous. They are like apples and oranges, and that is wonderful gift to our community. We don't have much left locally in the arts and is time to embrace and support them so that these treasures are not lost. Giving honest reviews are one thing, THIS - is something else. Do we really think profits are so outlandish? I've been on that side of the stage production, sometimes you just pray to break even and that certainly isn't always the case. The expense of putting on a production like Easy Street is beyond anyone's imagination. Bravo to all this weekend!

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32tellemthetruth(3 comments)posted 7 years, 2 months ago

in response to YAHOO: Say what you want about Rob Joki, but I respect him for speaking his mind. To imply that he deserves the hateful comments people like youngstowng2009 leave on here, just because he doesn't agree with Milan Paurich's reviews, is down right silly. Rob and Milan both have very public jobs. Criticism comes with the territory. Milan doesn't like Rob's directing. Rob doesn't agree with Milan's reviews. These two individuals don't agree. And that is ok. Welcome to the world. I think a little rivalry in a small town is healthy. But when we get to very personal attacks like the one that was left on here last evening, I think a line needs to be drawn. Thank you Vindy.com for removing the post.

I have worked with Rob on several productions now. I've watched him manage to come up with a cast of thirty when only six people turned out for auditions, costume full scale musicals on a fifty dollar budget, pull showstopping performances out of people who've never stepped foot on a stage before, and raise thousands of dollars for local charity. The guy is brilliant. Anyone who has worked with him knows that.

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33backstagediva1(17 comments)posted 7 years, 2 months ago

WOW! I made it to this site too late to read the comment posted by youngstowng2009, but from what I can read, it was pretty horrible. Kudos to all of the people who have defended Rob Joki, The Oakland and Easy Street as well. I have had the honor and privilage to be a part of community theater for almost thirty years now and there are never two theaters alike...and there shouldnt be. I will continue to support all theaters, all the time and congratulate each theater in this community for letting the creative juices flow, no mater what the subject matter is. You cant please all of the people all of the time! It doesnt matter, because in the world of theater, there is always something out there for somebody. Continue to do what you do and don't let the obvious ingorance of a few people bring you down! My name is Joyce A. Jones, and I am a continued supporter of the ARTS!

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34nzayas(1 comment)posted 7 years, 2 months ago

It's pretty terrible that this review was supposed to be about Easy Street and it turned into the annual Oakland-bash. Rob has the cojones to open up to an audience about very personal matters and "ytown" doesn't have the courage to give his name in a direct attack. Kudos to Rob, my friend, for standing up for those who are not capable of speaking out for themselves. You made it possible for people to tell their story, to help our city grow in diversity and acceptance. Keep up the good work. As for the comments regarding Brooke, I can say for the both of them that they work themselves sick all for the greater good of the Youngstown Community. To the other character, you will never promote change or anything positive in this town. You should remove "ytown" from your username because you are really not welcomed or deserving to represent yourself with that title.

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35lucy(135 comments)posted 7 years, 2 months ago

yahoo and movieman, the two of you seem to have a great deal in common. You're both adamant defenders of Mr. Paurich's reviewing approaches, you both refer to Mr. Joki's past criticisms of Mr. Paurich, and apparently, you both keep close tabs on what Mr. Joki is saying on twitter. There is also a striking similarity between your syntax and diction.

All that aside, many posters here have pointed out that slamming one community theater in order to promote another is just in bad form. My grandma used to say that if three people tell you that you have a tail, you'd better turn around and look. Perhaps Mr. Paurich should do a tail check.

Tyler Clark on his Youngstown Renaissance blog makes some insightful and articulate points about what constitutes constructive criticism and what constitutes snark. I recommend that everyone give it a read. http://blog.tylersclark.com/2009/05/e...

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36Ken(153 comments)posted 7 years, 2 months ago

We very much enjoyed the Friday night production!!
What did bother me a little was the $7.00 extra fee attached to the price of the tickets...we went to the theater box office and picked the tickets up,. What kind of fee should there be for that!

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37LB(22 comments)posted 7 years, 2 months ago

Did anyone see Tylor Clark's letter to the editor in Sunday's (05/17/09) Vindicator? I can't seem to locate it anywhere on Vindy.com...

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38MRN(6 comments)posted 7 years, 2 months ago

All plays and musicals are horrible. But whatever Brooke Slanina puts together, i'm sure is great. She's extremely entertaining.

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