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Gray areas: Youngstown Playhouse seeks past performers, crew

Entertainment Editor Andy Gray

Assorted rambling from the world of entertainment:

• The Youngstown Playhouse is searching for past performers and crew members as its 100th anniversary approaches.

The 2024-25 season will mark the Playhouse’s centennial as one of the oldest community theaters in the United States. As part of this celebration, the Playhouse Archive Committee is trying to find all actors, technicians, office personnel, board members, volunteers, Youth Theater participants and anyone else who worked or volunteered at the theater in its history.

The theater has its share of illustrious alumni. Elizabeth “Biff” Hartman was nominated for an Academy Award for best supporting actress playing opposite Sidney Poitier in “A Patch of Blue” and won two Golden Globes (best actress-drama and most promising newcomer) for her work in that film.

Ed O’Neill starred in two long-running sitcoms (“Married with Children” and “Modern Family,” each with at least 250 episodes) and he has four SAG Awards, three Emmy nominations and a star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame.

Michael J. Moritz Jr., who served as music director on many Playhouse productions, is a 2019 Tony Award winner as one of the producers of “Hadestown.” Joe Flynn starred on “McHale’s Navy” and appeared in many Disney films during his career. Billy Saluga was a successful comedian who appeared on shows ranging from “Murphy Brown” to “Curb Your Enthusiasm.”

Those who contact the Playhouse will be notified when its 100th Anniversary calendar is established.

To be included, email archivist J.E. Ballantyne Jr. at jandbproductionarts@yahoo.com with the subject line “Archives” and include contact information. For more information, call 330-799-6176.

• Tickets go on sale 10 a.m. Friday at the Southwoods Health box office and through Ticketmaster for Trans-Siberian Orchestra’s return to the Covelli Centre for two shows at 3 and 8 p.m. Nov. 20.

Tickets range from $53.50 to $103.50 for “The Ghosts of Christmas Eve — The Best of TSO and More,” but for the first week only a limited number of tickets will be available for $29.

Since Paul O’Neill founded the holiday rock ensemble, about $18 million has been donated to various charities in each city where the tour plays. O’Neill died in 2017, but his widow, Desi, continues the tradition.

A portion of the proceeds from the two Youngstown show will benefit Akron Children’s Hospital Mahoning Valley and Sight for All United.

• The National Comedy Center in Jamestown, N.Y., is only a two- to three-hour drive from the Mahoning Valley, and Betty White fans may want to make the trek this fall.

Items from the estate of White, who died last New Year’s Eve less than three weeks before her 100th birthday, have been donated to center’s permanent collection.

The items include her five Emmy statues won for her work on “Life with Elizabeth” (1962), “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” (1975 and 1976), “The Golden Girls” (1986) and as guest host of “Saturday Night Live” (2010); costumes she wore on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” “The Golden Girls” and “Hot in Cleveland”; and scripts containing White’s handwritten notes.

Many of the items are on display now.

Andy Gray is the entertainment editor of Ticket. Write to him at agray@tribtoday.com.

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