Warner theater restoration project takes a big step

The project to reconstruct the historic Warner Cascade Theater in downtown New Castle, Pa., as a cultural attraction is making steady progress.

The project committee reached an agreement this month with Eckles Architects and Engineering to develop final architectural drawings and specifications for the theater, which is at 18 S. Mill St.

The original nickelodeon auditoriums of the Cascade will be recreated, using original drawings from Eckles’ archives, photographs and the memories of folks who were there.

“Our end goal is to transport visitors to the Cascade Theater back in time to 1907 when it originally opened,” said Jack Oberleitner, Warner trustee and project development director. “Everything the visitor sees, hears, touches and even smells will be as close to the 1907 original as possible.”

When complete, the theater will include replicas of the original 5-cent and 25-cent auditoriums, a documentary screening room and a gift shop. The lobby area will be adorned with old movie posters, theater projection equipment, photographs and artifacts from the dozen or so theaters that once existed in New Castle.

The Warner Bros. movie empire began in New Castle and Youngstown, when the brothers opened theaters more than a century ago.

Architectural plans should be finalized by May, and construction will begin shortly after. The Cascade Theater is expected to hold a grand opening Feb. 2, 2015 — exactly 108 years from the date of the original opening

Visitors will be able to munch popcorn from the souvenir shop while watching short silent films from the turn of the 20th century and a full-length documentary film about the origins and growth of the Warner entertainment empire.

There also will be lectures and ever-changing attractions and exhibitions.

To learn more, go to warnerfilmcenter.org.


Kevin Costner and his band Modern West will come to Warren on Tuesday for a concert at Packard Music Hall (story on page 6).

But Costner isn’t the only film star with a rock band who is heading our way.

On July 23, the Bacon Brothers, with Kevin Bacon, will come to Kent Stage in Kent. Tickets are $42.50 to $77.50 and go on sale at 10 a.m. today at ticketfly.com.

Ticket sales are strong for Costner’s show at Packard, which is about four times bigger than Kent Stage. But seats do remain available. Go to packardmusichall.com, or call 330-841-2931.

Costner’s camp will be filming the Warren concert for an unpecified future project, according to Ken Haidaris, who is promoting the show.

Incidentally, Haidaris will soon announce an exciting series of touring Broadway musicals that will visit Packard hall.

Here are some other actors who front bands, or at least used to (band name is in parentheses): Johnny Depp (The Kids), Jared Leto (30 Seconds to Mars), Hugh Laurie (pianist), Juliette Lewis (Juliette and the Licks), Tim Robbins (Rogues Gallery), Russell Crowe (30 Odd Foot of Grunts), Steven Seagal (Thunderbox), Bruce Willis (the Accelerators), Zooey Deschanel (She and Him), Billy Bob Thornton (the Boxmasters), Jada Pinkett Smith (Wicked Wisdom), Steve Martin (Steep Canyon Rangers), Bill Paxton (Martini Ranch), Dennis Quaid (the Sharks), Jack Black (Tenacious D), Ryan Gosling (Dead Man’s Bones), Michael Cera (Mister Heavenly), Gary Sinise (Lt. Dan Band) and Jeff Bridges (the Abiders — as in “the Dude abides”).


The Community Supported Arts program will reveal the nine artists that were selected at an event at 7 p.m. April 24 at Suzie’s Dogs and Drafts on North Phelps Street, downtown.

More than 30 local artists applied for the inaugural CSArts program, which is sponsored by the Legal Creative. Each of the artists will receive a stipend and will create a work of art that will be reproduced 50 times.

A copy of each will go to the 50 “shareholders” who buy shares at $300. In other words, shareholders will receive nine original and very limited works of art for $300.

If interested in buying a share, go to the event at Suzie’s or go to legalcreative.org.


In the world of colorful characters that is WWE wrestling, Mick Foley stood out with his sock hand-puppet Socko.

But that was then. The once-sloppy-yet-fearless wrassler is now doing stand-up comedy.

He will make his Mahoning Valley debut May 29 when he comes to the Funny Farm comedy club for two shows — 7:30 and 10 p.m.

Tickets are $25, and a dinner-show package is available for $40 per person (beverage, tax and tip not included). For reservations, call 330-793-6656, or go to funnyfarmcomedyclub.com. The Funny Farm is on the lower level of Mojo’s Pub, 6292 Mahoning Ave., Austintown.


Ryes, the new downtown bar that specializes in craft beer and whiskey has quietly opened.

It’s located on the second floor, above Imbibe Martini Bar. Co-owner Jeff Kurz, whose group also owns Imbibe, said a grand opening will be announced soon.

New lighted signs for both Imbibe and Ryes were mounted on the front of the building a couple weeks ago. The eye-catching custom-made signs — one looks like a barrel lid and the other a martini glass — are perpendicular to West Federal Street and look great day and night.

All of the downtown bars should do the same. It would really add visual pizzazz to the entertainment district.

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