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The arts enrich us all

Published: Thu, March 21, 2013 @ 12:00 a.m.

The arts enrich us all

Even with 50 years of experi- ence in both local and professional theater I have never spent a more emotional night in the theater than that spent seeing “Death of Salesman” at the Youngstown Playhouse. And I can say that including some emotional scripts I have written and directed about the Holocaust.

The Youngtown Playhouse production, expertly directed by Joe Scarvell, was a landmark in community theater not often seen in the past 40 years. Chuck Simon as Willy and Molly Galano as Linda were, by themselves, worth far more than the price of admission. Other members of the cast: Matt DeBattiste as Happy, Cheney Morgan as Biff (his best performance ever), Joey Pascarella as Bernard, Stephanie Cambro as the Woman, Dave Wolford as Charley, Terry Shears as Ben, Brian Dew as Howard and Frank Martin as Howard were all stellar. Four roles that sometimes get thrown under the bus as mere “minor” characters — Jenny, Letta, Miss Forsythe and Steven (played by Lauren May Wenick, Kate Starling and Donny Wolford respectively) — were on an equal par with each and every one of the leads and supports.

The most upsetting part of the entire evening was that there were only about 40 people in attendance for this performance. What a disgrace for a city that claims it is trying to re-invent itself into something better than it has been over the past many years. The Youngstown Playhouse has risen from what was certain disaster and is making every effort to return to their former position in the community.

If we want this area to rise above the problems we now have it is everyone’s responsibility to either take part in the arts or support them and that includes our local and regional politicians who have for years given the arts mere lip service.

Get off your couch, turn off the garbage on TV and get out to a local theater.

J.E. Ballantyne Jr., Youngstown

The writer is president of the Youngstown Area Community Theatre Alliance.


1poland21(105 comments)posted 2 years, 3 months ago

To the author of this letter, I would like to make a few suggestions that may increase attendance at all of our local theater venues.

1) Have a consolidated Performance list either on a website or Facebook page that includes all the local theaters.

I thought MV Theatre Buzz would do this, but it focuses more on auditions. And your YACTA website only lists a few performances that are mostly over. I want to know what is planned for next month, not last month.

2) Include info on how to purchase tickets, driving directions, etc with the events

3) Look into a services like Eventbrite to allow online tickets sales. If all the theaters collaborated and used this together the costs would be minimal compared to increased sales

4) Post production dates well in advance

5) Advertise. If the theaters do this as a group, again the costs would be reduced for all... And Facebook is free! The City of Youngstown account has a huge following and shares events and pages for local groups all the time

I would love to attend the theater more often. But I do not have time to check multiple theaters to find upcoming performances... and then play phone tag in order to buy/reserve tickets... and then scramble to find a babysitter at the last minute...

Use the power of the internet to your advantage - it is cheap, fast and effective!

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2jojuggie(1607 comments)posted 2 years, 3 months ago

"The Arts Enrich us all," especially the crucifix in a bottle of urine. Remember that? They called that Art Enrichment.

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