Film series, discussions accompany drama

Staff report


The Youngstown Playhouse will examine two major aspects of the city’s past – steelmaking and organized crime – in a series of panel discussions that complement its production of the play “Harry’s Friendly Service.”

Dubbed “Forged in Steel,” the series will include films and expert discussions Tuesday, Wednesday and March 9 at the Playhouse, off Glenwood Avenue.

“Harry’s Friendly Service” takes place in a gas station in downtown Youngstown in 1977, as the steel mill era was starting to come to a devastating end.

The three “Forged in Steel” events are grouped into themes and are as follows:

Tuesday: Steel. The 1935 documentary film “Steel Town,” which is about Youngstown; and the 2010 documentary “Youngstown: Still Standing,” written and directed by John Chechitelli, will be screened. The films will be accompanied by a live panel discussion with local history experts, including H. William Lawson, president of the Mahoning Valley Historical Society.

Wednesday: Organized crime. “Traficant: Congressman of Crimetown” (2015), by filmmaker Eric Murphy; and a WKBN-TV report by former news anchor Tom Holden titled “Gangsters,” will be screened. A panel discussion with Murphy, Chechitelli, former mayor Pat Ungaro and others will follow the films.

March 9: Renaissance. Short films about the Idora neighborhood and Mill Creek Park will be screened, and there will be a panel discussion featuring “Harry’s” playwright Rob Zellers, among others.

Admission to each event is $5. Doors will open at 6 p.m, with the films starting at 7 p.m.

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