Stage Left youth troupe will make a scene at the Butler

The Stage Left Youth Players are involved in a case of art imitating art.

A cast of 36 kids in grades one through eight have been working on an original one-act musical titled “Snap the Whip!” Performances will be at 7 p.m. Oct. 26 and 27 and 2 p.m. Oct. 28 at Stage Left’s Trinity Playhouse in downtown Lisbon.

“Snap the Whip!” was written by Stage Left director Kandace Cleland, and it’s inspired by the famed Homer Winslow painting, which is the signature piece of the Butler Institute of American Art. The painting depicts a group of children at play in a rural setting in the late 1800s.

On Sunday at 2 p.m., the costumed cast and Cleland will visit the museum, where they will perform a couple of songs from their musical and “meet” the painting that inspired it.

Cleland calls it a “random act of culture” and views it as part of the acting process for her young cast.

“Snap the Whip!” (the musical, not the painting) is set in 1850s rural Ohio and follows a group of children through a full year of pioneer living — summer heat, fall harvest, winter storms and sickness and spring thaw.

Its the ninth one-act musical written by Cleland, who is also the theater instructor at Canfield Village Middle School.

She started writing them 10 years ago because she couldn’t find material that fit the kids who were coming to Stage Left, and the result has been an explosion in youth participation at the theater.

Cleland has been going to art museums since she was a student in public schools in New Jersey, and recalls soaking in the paintings at Philadelphia museums.

“Each one of them had a story to tell, and my imagination led me to create many tales over the years,” she said. “Homer Winslow’s ‘Snap the Whip’ has fascinated me for years. The energy of the boys whirling across that sunny landscape hurled me into a story that I finally found the time to discover and write.”

Tickets to the musical are $8 ($6 for students and seniors). For information or reservations, call 330-831-7249, or email


Toward the end of Monday night’s Rob Zombie concert at Covelli Centre, the band’s guitarist reeled off the opening riffs of Alice Cooper’s “School’s Out.”

It was just for a few seconds as another song was winding down.

But it perked up my ears, and it was like he read my mind.

The last time Zombie brought his Halloween-season rock show through Youngstown, he was teamed up with Cooper.

And as Monday’s concert wore on, Cooper songs such as “Be My Lover” started playing in my head.

Cooper — the founder and perfecter of the horror-theater rock show — was magnificent in that 2010 concert.

Monday’s show could have used him. And Zombie, who enlisted Marilyn Manson for this go-round, probably knew it.

Not that Manson wasn’t a great choice for a running mate on the Twins of Evil Tour. He definitely fit the bill of evil rock star, with his embrace of the satanic, pseudo-Nazi imagery and the eternal sneer of a dis-affected teen.

But I kept thinking back to that 2010 show with The Coop.

As for Zombie’s set — it was pretty much the same show as last time, complete with the giant robot, strutting devil and a steampunk locomotive on which he cavorted. He also briefly plugged his upcoming film, “The Lords of Salem,” due next year.

The hard-driving Zombie is always worth seeing, as the packed house at Covelli — which seemed to come from beyond Youngstown — would attest.

And his Halloween show (it’s more of a show than a concert; when it’s over, it’s over, so don’t wait for an encore) is becoming a holiday tradition — the Trans-Siberian Orchestra of Halloween.

If only Alice Cooper was there.


The Harlem Globetrotters have been doing their thing for a long time, but they keep it fresh by constantly introducing new gimmicks.

The clown princes of basketball will return to Youngstown’s Covelli Centre on Jan. 30 with a fresh wrinkle aimed at getting the audience involved.

On the Globetrotters’ 2013 “You Write the Rules” World Tour, fans will decide on certain rules for the game — anything from playing with two basketballs at once to getting double the points for each basket.

Parents and their kids can vote at — and buy tickets there as well.


Mahoning Valley hip-hop duo DaBoondox will bring back Bridge the Gap, an eclectic evening of music, Oct. 27 at Sammy’s Great American Bar in Austintown.

DaBoondox will headline the event, which will also includes Super Cheef, Trevor Quillan, Reznik, Kraze and Danny Hedrix. It will be Halloween weekend, and there will be a costume contest with cash prizes. Tickets are $3 in advance from any band member and $6 at the door.

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