Winners of 16 2010 Youngstown Area Community Theatre Marquee Awards—including best direction and best play—The Victorian Players present plays written in and inspired by the Victorian era. The company is dedicated to presenting family-friendly theater, eschewing stagefare that includes profanity, violence, or graphic onstage depictions of drunken robots. The Madwoman of Chaillot tells the story of the titular character, a quirky aristocrat who gathers an army of café-goers, performers, and fellow madwomen to halt the machinations of an evil coterie of businessmen planning to dig up Paris for its underground stores of oil. Shows take place in a restored 1890s Victorian church, imparting a period-appropriate architectural flavor to the dramatic proceedings.
Arena's Performing Arts Centre offers a variety of classes for inner and outer children alike. Adults can choose fitness ($8 for a drop-in class) and 10-week dance classes (starting at $110 for 45-minute classes) from a summer schedule that includes zumba, tap aerobics, ballet tech, pointe, pre-pointe, and kickboxing. For kids, summer camps such as Camp Rock and Blues ($100) and Arena's Best Dance Crew ($125) teach boogie-ready anklebiters the joy and discipline of dance. Or surprise your mini-me with a themed birthday party at Arena's. Monthly tuition for gymnastics and musical-theater classes starts at $40. The friendly instructors at Arena's are experienced, patient, and willing to work with all age and skill levels.
With a lineup of scary ghouls devoted to frightening the hearts of visitors, The ScareHouse will open its doors to reveal a masterful collection of spine-freezing horrors that will make hairs stand on end as if possessed by extra-hold raspberry jam. General admission gets visitors access to three separate haunts, designed with high-tech special effects and ultra-convincing props and prosthetics.
In 1949, Charles “Chick” and Elda Mae Bruckman founded Bruckman School of Dance as a center of education for dancers of all ages and skill levels. A lifelong devotee of dance, Chick began his career at 6 years old and remains the school’s artistic director to this day. Along with a team of instructors, the Bruckmans introduce students to dance styles including tap, ballet, jazz, pointe, and hip-hop. As they lead students in mastering choreographed routines, they also teach dance history, imparting the origins of ballet and how NASA scientists made the moonwalk a dance craze in the early '70s. In addition to conventional dance classes, they host dance-inspired fitness classes, such as the Hip Hop Hustle and Turbo Kick, to get cardiovascular systems pumping.
The cloak of sparkling newness belies Benedum Center’s deep history in the theatrical world. Opened to regal fanfare and a holographic performance by Tupac in 1928, the theater then waded through the downs and ups of history until a $43 million restoration buffed its surfaces back to their former glory in 1984. Today, the 90 chandeliers dangling from the ceiling, the Grand Lobby’s mirrors and marble, and most of the 1,500 feet of brass rail throughout are all original. The centerpiece is the main chandelier, a 4,700-pound, 20-foot-high, 12-foot-wide behemoth that sparkles to remind visitors of the theater’s glory days.
Though having only recently celebrated its second birthday, the August Wilson Center commands a striking architectural confidence. Its two-story steel-and-glass sail juts into the night sky with the bravado of a toddler who just lassoed his first neighborhood cat. Within the steal and glass, a 486-seat theater hosts plays, dance performances, and lectures while multiple exhibition galleries display art and cultural treasures for the community. The center draws on the legacy and culture of African Americans from Western Pennsylvania, infusing each curation with a celebration of rich history.