The arts enrich us all

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.