Oakland Open House

For local readers:

The Oakland Center for the Arts announces its third annual Free Open House and Season Announcement Party on Saturday, August 29, from 6:00-9:00 pm. Hosted by the Oakland Board, the Open House is a chance for the community to get to know their community theater better. Free food, wine, punch, and beverages will be offered in the Star Gallery, where a retrospective of posters from 23 years of past productions will be highlighted. Attendees will also be treated to a preview of show selections highlighting the upcoming season.

The Oakland is celebrating their tenth season at the Boardman Street location with a bang! The 2009-2010 Season will be previewed live on stage, featuring local actors and a roster of up and coming directors including Robert Dennick Joki, Alexandra “Sandy” Vansuch, Christopher Fidram, Dr. John Cox, Shawn Lockaton, and Nathan Beagle. Local actor and media personality Brandy Johanntges will host.

The cast of The Great American Trailer Park Musical will reprise a selection from its recent sold-out smash hit production. Also making an appearance will be the cast of Rent, Jr., which will mark the premiere of the much-loved musical in the Mahoning Valley. Other plays which will be highlighted include Sandy Vansuch’s original one-woman show Love, Ludmilla; The Rocky Horror Show, which returns to the Oakland stage with a totally new look; the Oakland’s annual holiday fundraiser How The Drag Queen Stole Christmas; Dinner with Friends; An Adult Evening with Shel Silverstein; Wit; and Back of the Throat.

Never been to the Oakland but dying to find out what all the fuss is about? Stayed away for years and ready to come back? Been a loyal supporter since the Oakland was on Mahoning? The Open House is our way of welcoming, renewing, and saying thanks to our friends and family who keep us afloat. Stop by, grab a bite, take in a show, and meet some new friends. Flexpasses will be for sale all night with drawings for free tickets occurring on the hour.

The Oakland is located at 220 W. Boardman St. in downtown Youngstown. For more information, please visit oaklandcenter.com or follow oaklandcenter on twitter, facebook, or myspace.

C’est Moi


I rarely post pics like I did all the time in Japan, since it was like, you know, another country and all that.  But my friend Jan took a pic of me tonight at a board meeting for the Oakland Center for the Arts, and I didn’t realize it.

I always like the candid photos better than the ones I actually know people are taking.  Somehow, as soon as I know a photo is being shot, I turn into ice.  But I like this one.  It’s in the artist’s gallery in the Oakland, one of my “places” here in Youngstown, where I give my time and energy and thought and all that good stuff.  If you’re around this weekend (as in tomorrow, Friday, as well as Saturday) you should come down to see Robert Dennick Joki’s show, I’m Not that Girl, at 7PM.  I’ll be there Friday evening.  And since Rob’s doing it, it promises to be a good show.

Dog Sees God, and so should you!


DOG SEES GOD: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead

The Oakland Center for the Arts will present Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead on March 14, 15, 20, 21, 22, 28, and 29 at 8 pm, and March 16 at 2 pm.


This is an “unauthorized parody” that features the Peanuts gang – all grown up! Written by Bert V. Royal, this dark comedy takes place ten years after the events in the fifty-year-running comic strip. It begins with CB’s account of the day he had Snoopy put to sleep…and goes down hill from there!



Cast members include Gary Shackleford, Alecia Sarkis, Brooke Slanina, Denise Glinatsis, Suzanne Shorrab, Ric Panning, Greg Mocker, and Amato D’Apolito. The production is directed by Robert Dennick Joki. This show contains mature language and adult situations.



The Oakland is located at 220 West Boardman Street in downtown Youngstown. For more information about the Oakland, visit oaklandcenter.com. Reservations can be made by calling 330-746-0404.

Come to The Colored Museum

The Oakland Center for the Arts is presenting the timeless play The Colored Museum, written by George C. Wolfe, director of the Broadway smash, Angels in America. The Colored Museum takes a satirical look at what “color” is in America today.

Coupling irreverent wit with deep compassion, Wolfe’s play tackles and topples the myths and stereotypes of black culture, from slavery and Ebony magazine to hairstyles and Lorraine Hansberry’s play A Raisin in the Sun. All the sketches revolve around identity issues: the loss of it, the escape from it, the search for it, and the humor in it. The audience will be taken on a journey that parodies preoccupations with image, hair, class, culture and fame.

Directed by Johnny R. Herbert, the outstanding cast consists of Kim Adkins, Kenneth Brown, Dixie Crystals, Samantha Daisher, Thomas Fields, Carla Gipson, Brandon Martin, and Lois Thornton with choreography by Nikita Jones. Gallery artist Fred “the Count” Molten will display his work in the Star Gallery throughout the run of the show.

Produced by special arrangements with Broadway Play Publishing and underwritten by Michael Morley. Performances are February 15, 16, 21, 22, and 23 at 8pm and February 17 at 2pm.

For ticket information, call the Oakland Center for the Arts, 220 West Boardman St, Youngstown, Ohio, at (330) 746-0404, or visit www.oaklandcenter.com for more information.

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Warren Tribune-Chronicle Preview

Home again

I am back home from New York City, a bit bedraggled but thoroughly enjoyed myself. Saw Aimee Mann in concert, the anniversary reproduction of Harold Pinter’s “The Homecoming”, Southland Tales, shopped in open air markets, was a guest on the Hour of the Wolf, which you can listen to here, and ate lots and lots of good food. Gave a reading at the KGB Bar last night with Naomi Novik. The place was packed. My friend and colleague from YSU, Phil Brady, was in town and came, so we had another Youngstowner in attendance. Afterwards I had dinner with everyone at an amazing Chinese place nearby. The actress Helen Mirren was there, too. I stared unabashedly once this was brought to my attention. Luckily I was outside the restaurant when that happened, finished with my meal, and could stare through the restaurant window at the second floor at her, without her noticing and feeling like she had a stalker. I barely slept last night, got up at 5 AM this morning to get ready and catch a taxi to the airport in time for my way-too-early flight to Pittsburgh. On the way, my driver made it clear to me over and over that he had only just arrived in America recently, and kept asking me for directions to LaGuardia as he took me further and further out of the city. On one exit he asked if it said LaGuardia. I was totally out of it and sort of looked up and said yes anyway, even though after we passed into that exit and into a tunnel I immediately wasn’t sure if I had just said yes as an automatic response or if the sign really had said LaGuardia. Getting ready to go into another entrance ramp lane, he pulled up beside another cabbie, rolled down his window, and said in a hysterical voice, “LaGuardia!? LaGuardia!?” and the other driver looked back at him in puzzlement, concern and panic, shaking his hand as he drove, a gesture that said, “I don’t know what the hell you’re saying!” I rolled down my window at that point and said, “Which exit is LaGuardia?” and he told the other driver to follow him. It was the most ridiculous taxi ride I have ever experienced outside of Tijuana and Bangkok. New York, oh, New York, how the mighty have fallen.

My eyes are dry and puffy from lack of sleep. I have a cough that came with a cold two weeks ago, but didn’t leave when the cold left. My body feels heavy and fatigued. I am going to make tonkatsu for dinner, because tonkatsu makes everything better. Always, always.

Thank you for a great week, New York and its denizens. I hope everyone has a great holiday season. Now I’m off to settle down into bed for a cold winter’s night.