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WRITER: Andy Gray

River Rock cancels season

WARREN — Less than 50 hours before the gates were supposed to open for the first River Rock at the Amp concert of the summer at Warren Community Amphitheatre, Sunrise Entertainment canceled the entire 2020 season. Directives from the Ohio Department of Health due to the COVID-19 pandemic led to the decision. John May, deputy health commissioner of the Warren City Health District, said he participated in a ...

Don’t social distance from ‘Quarantine’ the musical

The old expression goes, when life gives you lemons, make lemonade. Robert Dennick Joki makes better lemonade than any homophobic fast food chain. The founder of Rust Belt Theater Company wrote a 15-song musical revue during the COVID-19 pandemic called “Quarantine: A Socially Distant Musical,” which debuted Friday on Rust Belt’s Facebook page. They range from heartfelt to hilarious and rank with ...

Artist’s large-scale work opens at Butler

“Life Examined: The Impressionistic Realism of Sam Rosenthal” was supposed to open in March at the Butler Institute of American Art, until the museum — and most of the country — was shut down by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Chicago artist’s large-scale paintings will be on the gallery walls when the Butler reopens Tuesday and now will be on display through Aug. 16. But the coronavirus was only the ...

‘United We Eat’

Capri S. Cafaro knows the unifying power of food. As an Ohio state senator from 2007 to 2016, she often would celebrate legislative accomplishments on bipartisan bills by baking a pie to share with her colleagues from both parties. The Youngstown native, who lived in Hubbard when she was in the Senate, said she believes the need for a little culinary bonding is even greater today. “At a time when the ...

MTC announces plan to perform online musical

With its 2020 season at the Robins Theatre canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Millennial Theatre Company is planning an online production of the musical “Songs for the New World.” MTC Director Joe Asente said they have wanted to do something online since the shutdown started, but the publishing companies weren’t licensing their shows for online staging. “In the last two weeks, they have ...

Valley arts groups get $22,000 in virus funds

Four Mahoning Valley arts and cultural organizations will receive more than $22,000 in federal funds to help with expenses during the shutdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. In Mahoning County, the Mahoning Valley Historical Society received $5,231, and Lit Youngstown received $3,800. In Trumbull County, the National Packard Museum received $9,959, and the Upton Association received $3,613. Dave ...

Actor’s career ranges from doctor to Ewok

Gary Friedkin wanted to be a drummer. He ended up being an Ewok, a futuristic biker, a ’50s diner cook and a young doctor in love — all within a couple years of each other. The Rayen High School and Youngstown State University graduate spent nearly 40 years in southern California, working as an actor when there was work and a mortgage broker when there wasn’t. Before moving to Niles a dozen years ago, ...

Get out and do something

Many families are canceling summer vacation plans due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. For those looking for something to do closer to home, many of the regional attractions between Cleveland and Pittsburgh are starting to reopen with new policies and restrictions to keep employees and visitors safe. Here are some of the museums, science centers and zoos located within 90 minutes or so of the Mahoning ...

Gray Areas: Robins offers ‘Godfather,’ ‘Goonies’ this weekend

Assorted rambling from the world of entertainment: • The Robins Theatre will follow up its first weekend of movies with an offer its hopes viewers can’t refuse and an ’80s favorite with a local connection. “The Godfather,” the 1972 Mafia epic that won three Oscars including best picture, will be shown at 7 p.m. Saturday. The 1985 Gen-X favorite “The Goonies” will be shown at 2 p.m. Sunday. ...

Rust Belt hosts ‘Quarantine’ the musical online

What did you do while quarantined by the COVID-19 pandemic? Robert Dennick Joki made more than a thousands masks and wrote a musical. Those face masks kept the bills paid for Rust Belt Theater Company as it was forced to cancel several productions, and “Quarantine: A Socially Distant Musical” will allow Joki and his friends to perform for a virtual audience, if not a live audience at the Calvin Center. ...