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Holiday spectacular returns for 22nd year, but it wasn’t always a sure thing



Published: Thu, December 16, 2010 @ 12:10 a.m.

IF YOU GO

What: “Miracle on Easy Street”

When: 8 p.m. Friday; 2:30 p.m. and 8 p.m. Saturday; and 2:30 p.m. Sunday.

Where: Powers Auditorium, 260 W. Federal St., Youngstown

Tickets: $25 ($20 for seniors/students, and $12 for children 12 and under). Children of  active servicemen and women will be admitted free.

Call: The DeYor Centre box office at 330-744-0264 for reservations. Tickets will also be available at the door.

Place:De Yor Performing Arts Center

260 Federal Plaza W, Youngstown

By GUY D’ASTOLFO

dastolfo@vindy.com

YOUNGSTOWN

In one scene in the holiday musical revue “Miracle on Easy Street,” Todd Hancock takes it on the chin from a young boxer.

One can’t help but parallel the scene to the real-life blows that Hancock and his Easy Street Productions faced in the past year.

Slumping sales, a rough economy, huge production costs and mounting debt left the theater company reeling. Then Hancock suffered a minor stroke last December and required surgery on an artery in his throat, near his vocal cords.

It appeared to be the knockout punch.

But Hancock and theater partner Maureen Collins went to their corner between rounds and have come out swinging.

They’ve released a holiday CD of songs from “Miracle” and put their troupe back in the spotlight with other appearances.

And, yes, “Miracle on Easy Street” will return this weekend for the 22nd straight year. It will mark the troupe’s first foray to the stage since last year’s “Miracle.”

Hancock isn’t taking it for granted.

”I guess if I had to sum up in one word the way I feel this Christmas, it would have to be ‘fortunate’,” he said. “Obviously I don’t mean in the monetary sense of the word. My surgery and the subsequent bills and show cancellations that followed pretty much stopped Easy Street in its tracks, and I’ve spent the last year recovering both physically and financially.

“I mean fortunate in that things could be so much worse. I could have no voice, I could have been completely debilitated and Easy Street could have easily been closed permanently. But thankfully none of those things happened and somehow we’re still here.”

This year’s “Miracle” has a cast of more than 100 singers, dancers and Little Rascals youth entertainers. Jeff Sanders is musical director and Renee Rogers is choreographer.

Easy Street added 12 new songs and dances to the show last year, and a few more this year, with new costumes.

“The show has a fresh new feeling [this year], and much for our returning fans to enjoy,” said Hancock.

The holiday CD, “Believe In Miracles,” will be available for purchase at the shows and also online at easystreetshows.com.

“We are by no means out of the woods, but this year I feel like I should be quoting Lou Gehrig by saying ‘today I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of this earth’,” said Hancock. “There is a lot to be thankful for.”


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