The Youngstown University Theater treats spectacle-seeking audiences to scholarly thespians bringing musicals, tragedies, and dramedies to the kind of vibrant life that will have most mad scientists cackling with glee. The 2011–2012 season's two centerpieces are A Streetcar Named Desire and Medea, both timeless explorations of human nature, disintegrating familial bonds, and quirky names. But the company also raises the profile on lesser-known works such as Neil LaBute's Reasons to be Pretty—a paradoxical love story about the impossible expectations of love—and Lawrence Fishburne's intense, gritty Riff Raff. At the other end of the emotional spectrum is The 1940s Radio Hour, a delightful all-ages affair that hearkens back to a bygone era of big bands, live radio broadcasts from the Algonquin, and FDR's famous fireside raves. The schedule also includes two one-act operas and a performance by the YSU Dance Ensemble.
Renters of the Vault Lounge saunter past Imbibe Martini Bar's open-to-the-public service area, through a fortified door, and into the converted 100-year-old First Federal Bank saferoom, where they can kick off the most exclusive of festivities. Pop a bottle of bubbly surrounded by classic woodwork and wine racks, toasting to both the classy confines and the newfound knowledge of how it feels to be a million bucks.
The Lemon Grove is a multi-purpose meeting spot that combines food, coffee, brews, and entertainment. Open until 4 a.m., the kitchen serves a medley of mouth inspiration, including veggie quesadillas ($6.50), Italian beef sandwiches ($8.25), bacon cheeseburgers ($7.50), and pancakes ($4.50), which, along with other breakfast items, are served all day. The menu incorporates fresh, local produce, and meats from Catullo and Boar's Head, purveyors of prime proteins. Meanwhile, the coffee bar serves caffeinated elixirs made from organic, Fair Trade beans that are roasted weekly in Cleveland, and the bar serves a rotating tap of local, import, and craft beers.
Housed inside the Old B&O Train Station, Rust Belt brews nine craft beers, with a handful more scheduled for release early next year. Each Saturday from noon to 5 p.m., fans of yeast and hops can gather 'round head brewer Lee Gidley as he guides them on a tour of the brewery, showing them equipment, explaining the brewing process, and doling out samples of the luscious liquid gold. When the half-hour tour concludes, everyone receives a commemorative Rust Belt Brewery T-shirt, a souvenir pint glass, and a jolly memory to overtake the brain space currently inhabited by knowledge of the Gigli plot. If the tour inspires a powerful thirst for more, Rust Belt sells growlers of their guzzleables to take home, and the neighboring Boxcar Lounge has Rust Belt on tap.
After five years away from American stages, the immutable hard-rock juggernaut Guns N’ Roses reuses its illusions to whip crowds into a frenzy during a notoriously raucous live show. Enigmatic siren Axl Rose, beloved for his punk-rock stance against prolificacy, leads his wrecking crew of Roses through a two-hour tour of greatest hits culled from the band's groundbreaking debut album, Appetite for Destruction, the long-awaited Chinese Democracy, and everything in between. The group soars and shines throughout a marathon performance, ranging from turbo-charged rockers such as “Welcome to the Jungle” and “Sweet Child O’ Mine” through ballads such as “November Rain.” With hatless new axeman Dj Ashba stepping into the shoes of Slash, and The Replacements’ Tommy Stinson replacing Duff McKagan, Guns N’ Roses is recharged and ready to quench destructive appetites with pure organic rock wrung from handpicked bandanas.
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.