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Has the Youngstown Playhouse seen its final curtain?

To the community of Youngstown- Yes, Youngstown has a number of theatrical venues. Not one of them offers family entertainment at the quality the Playhouse does. Also, understandably, everyone seems to be looking at it from an audience point of view. Do not forget about actors, directors, stage managers, lighting designers... The Playhouse offered them great facilities to work in. As I state above, some of the other theatres in Youngstown do not offer the same acting opportunities of the Playhouse. Easy Street and YSU do not hold open auditions. Also, do not think for a moment that the Playhouse's closure will be the last. All other theatres are facing hard times. Eventually, without unanimous community support, their fates will be the same as the Playhouse's. The Playhouse's closing affects other theeatres also because the Playhouse always supplied other theatres with costuming, lighting, actors, props, and sets. Now, with each theatre having to make their own completely, we have upped the cost of production.

If you don't support the Playhouse, fine. But please then get out of the way for progress. People want the Playhouse to succeed.

January 11, 2009 at 11:29 a.m. suggest removal

Has the Youngstown Playhouse seen its final curtain?

Enter Easy Street- Yes, they sometimes do great work. However, it is not a community theatre. People accuse the Playhouse to be a clique, yet I am wondering how Easy Street has not been criticized for the same. Todd Hancock, Maureen Collins, Jimmy McClellan (saw him in Doubt, one hell of an actor), among others have been in every single Easy Street show. They do not offer the community a chance to perform roles with them. Yes, you can go ahead and audition, but the shows have always had the leads pre-cast. What does this offer the community? Laughable ticket prices to see a bad Elvis impersonation in everything.

Stambaugh Auditorium is the same as Powers with their inaffordable rental costs. Also, if you can find the dough to rent Stambaugh, unlike Powers where you are getting experienced union members to work lights, soung, and staging type things, at Stambaugh you get a group of unprofessional, unexperienced kids (aka Rising Sun Productions). Also, Stambaugh is a concert hall, not a theatre. They do not have a fly system, wing space, or a theatrical lighting system.

YSU is educational theatre and therefore does not have open auditions. Also, the quality of shows have dramatically decreased since I started attending a number of years ago. It is always nice to see the young talent in this area, but because it is educaitonal theatre, do you really want to see a 22 year old attempting to play a 57 year old? The reality of theatre is lost. They also do not cater to a family audience

January 11, 2009 at 11:28 a.m. suggest removal

Has the Youngstown Playhouse seen its final curtain?

Dear Seriously,
The loss of the Playhouse may not be the complete loss of theatre in the Mahoning Valley, but it will certainly have a major impact. Every other theatre simply does not do the type of work or offer the community what the Playhouse does. Shall we go step by step.

The Oakland was founded to produce off-beat, avant garde theatre. Theatre that may not always be considered "family entertainment". Producing shows like Equus (which they did a number of years ago), The Full Monty, and Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead (both well-done).

TNT simply does not have the facilites to do what the Playhouse does. Though they have done some great productions recently, for the past couple years, they have tried to produce shows that simply cannot be produced in their space.

Salem's work has also been inconsistent. They as well are facing financial difficulties currently and sometimes, their volunteers are not the most reliable (example Beauty and the Beast which had to be cancelled for a number of reasons, one being the loss of a director).

Powers Auditorium- Well, Powers very rarely produces shows of their own. The last one I can remember was Tony N' Tina's Wedding (which was a blast!). Powers, though it has beautiful facilities (though like backstagediva mentioned, no wingspace of dressing rooms) is unbelievably expensive to rent. For this reason, Ballet Western Reserve and Easy Street have had to consider different venues in the past. Yes, even Easy Street tried to do a show at Boardman Performing Arts Center (Fiddler on the Roof). Also, the union fees to rent it out have become ridicously high. Also, Powers is suffering more and more each year financially. They even had to cut their Broadway series for lack in income and attendance. So what do they do? They go get a local theatre clique to put on shows there.

January 11, 2009 at 11:28 a.m. suggest removal

Has the Youngstown Playhouse seen its final curtain?

Boy Dr. Goo, for a recent college graduate, you certainly seem to have a naive view of this situation. "I think the playhouse should be saved." What a fascinating conclusion to come to! Luckily we have people in Youngstown with your brains to help us out.

On your blog you were asked what you would have done to help the Playhouse out. Unfortunately, you did not answer the question. You responded, "But what was I willing to do? A lot, I have done a lot for the playhouse, and I'm not the only one who has done things. I'm sure if there are many people that would have stepped in if they knew the playhouse needed help, myself included." The question was not what have you done in the past, it was what would you have done. You have not been seen on the Playhouse stage for quite some time if my memory serves me correctly. As well as you have not worked backstage in a number of years. I would also like to say that a number of people did come in and try to help the Playhouse out. They put in long hours volunteering, they made cold calls asking for money, helped crew shows, came in and worked in the box office, cleaned the bathrooms, theatre, and the lobby. For everyone saying that they didn't know the Playhouse was in financial difficulty, this is simply a lie. It is not new news that the Playhouse has always faced challenging times, as well as every theatre in our area (Powers and Stambaugh included).

All I can say is that hopefully the Youngstown area will understand the importance the Playhouse has on the culture and arts in the area. The Youth Theatre has serviced thousands of children and has proved to be an invaluable community resource. This area has no other theatre like the Playhouse. No other theatre could do the type of shows the Playhouse does, simply because of their facilities or audience base. Youngstown cannot afford to lose this community landmark.

January 10, 2009 at 12:19 p.m. suggest removal


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