YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – It was 1924 when The Youngstown Playhouse staged its first performance in a converted barn on Arlington Street on the North Side.
In 1949, The Playhouse moved to Glenwood Avenue, where Friday night, the 98th season opened with a new look outside and plans for the inside.
In February, Stambaugh Auditorium announced it would be taking over management of The Playhouse.
On this opening night, the $200,000 renovation to the outside was noticeable.
“New stucco was put on the building. Lots of repointing, tuckpointing, paint, that sort of thing. So the exterior of the building has a nice, clean, sharp look to it now,” said Matt Pagac, general manager.
Up next, the inside. The seats and rigging are original from when the building opened in 1949. It could also use updated electrical and plumbing work. For that, there will be a major fundraising campaign, which has yet to be finalized.
“But you know, every now and then, you just need to take a holistic look at things and figure out what really needs done to make it last another 50-60 years,” Pagac said.
The opening show of the 98th season is “Sister Act.” Nikita Jones is playing Deloris, the part made famous by Whoopie Goldberg in the 1992 movie.
The Playhouse will do eight shows between now and June of next year.
“Full first season since the pandemic so we’re very excited. The director this evening, Emma [Wason], it’s her first time directing here and there are a number of cast members that it is their first time,” said Dani Dier, chief business officer.
“It’s just great to get back to the swing of shows and that sort of thing,” Pagac said.
Among the other productions this season is “Excalibur High,” which is a youth production on October 29 and 30. “The Day They Shot John Lennon” will be on the weekends of November 11 and 20. “Newsies, Jr.” will be May 19-21 of next year. “The 39 Steps” will be on the weekends of June 16 and 25.