July 2002 ~ Ashtabula Arts Center News -- your source for information on the Ashtabula Arts Center
Footloose - a review

by Roger Smith

Oh, my! What a tent full of talent is singing and dancing on the Straw Hat Theatre stage in �Footloose�, the 2nd summer production on the grounds of the Ashtabula Arts Center. The story takes place in Beaumont, Texas, amid a town full of Bible thumping �Bubbas� and one apparent city slicker, smart alec kid from Chicago.

The church involvement leads to choristers singing out their praises on a regular basis. Good stuff to hear.

In a town where dancing is banned, teenagers look for something to do other than church-going. But somewhere along the line, Mama Hewitt must have said that laws can be changed. Therein lies the plot of the play - finding God�s intended joy in what we do.

I was particularly impressed (�overwhelmed� is a better word) by the voice of Robert Godfrey. Godfrey, cast in the role of Reverend Shaw Moore, delivered what I consider to be the best song in the show, �I Confess�. Godfrey often performs with the Cleveland Opera and has recorded 3 CD�s. On hearing his vocal performance in a song about leading with love, one is not surprised by his other accomplishments.

In the best impressions column I also would like to include the names of Melinda Smith and Adam Kapis. Smith, as the title singer for Irene & her Country Kickers, was so Tammy Wynette, Reba McIntyre and Loretta Lynn rolled into one that listeners could think they were at the Opry in Nashville or waiting for a postcard from the edge. Kapis, in the role of the town�s biggest �Bubba�, was absolutely delightful in his character portrayal and even more applause demanding with his rendition of �Mama Says�, probably the overall vocal hit of the show.

The Straw Hat Theatre advertises its auditions over a large geographic area; this summer three students from the greater Cleveland snagged leading roles in this production. Wes Wilson as Ren, the city slicker from the Windy City, had the looks, the attitude, the energy and the moves to carry off this role. He was a crowd pleaser. Meryl Murman, preacher�s daughter Ariel, was cast opposite Wilson - sort of Romeo and Juliet with a twang and a happy ending. The two complemented each other�s role to perfection, with Murman mirroring the enthusiasm, energy and talent of Wilson.

Another Murman Clevelander appeared in this production of �Footloose�. Eryn Murman played the role of Rusty, and played it with every part of her being. This young lady, too, embodies a multitude of talents and they were always evident on stage. Jim Hunter as Chuck Cranston, the boy mothers warn their daughters about, was evil from the beginning and held that pose throughout the entire evening. Martha Sorohan as the wife of the Reverend, and Anne Anne Kelly as Ren�s mother deserve mentions for their performances in their respective roles. Each was believable and steady as a woman singing about �Learning to be silent�.

The entire cast of this show was right on the money every moment, whether singing or executing the excellent choreography or just being a part of the crowd. The orchestra, under the direction of youthful Alex Lowe, was an absolute integral part of the show - and it performed well.

The lighting for this production was realistic; that is to say, evening looked like evening rather than looking like someone dimmed the lights. Special effect lighting for some dance numbers enhanced, enhanced and enhanced.

�Footloose� runs weekends through July. It�s a show well worth seeing. Call the Ashtabula Arts Center box office at 440-964-3396 for tickets.

Posted on 7/18/2002 — Read More

Upcoming Volunteer Opportunities

Straw Hat Theatre


July 5-7, 11-14, 18-21, 25-27

"Do Black Patent Leather Shoes Reflect Up?"

August 2-4, 8-11, 15-17

Needed: Ushers, Concessions Workers,

50/50 Raffle Ticket Sellers,Box Office Help.

Sign up sheets are located at the front desk

of the Arts Center.

Exhibit Openings/Receptions

Wayne Mazorow - July 12

Needed: Cheese Ball & Crackers, Fruit Platters, Veggie Tray & Dips, Brownies, Small Hors D’eovres

(Please make enough for about 50 people)


Saturday, August 10

10 a.m. - 2 p.m.

Needed: Helpers for craft tables

(NO art experience necessary - we will explain all crafts before the program)

Posted on 7/16/2002 — Read More



After what seems like endless months of cold Ohio winter weather, summer has finally hit us here on the Northcoast! But is it just me, or do these summer months just seem to fly past us entirely too quickly? It seems like we’re all trying to cram 1,000 activities into these few "nice" months we have in the summer. Between graduations, open houses, weddings and vacations, it seems everyone’s schedule gets a little tighter around this time of year.

Which is why we so greatly appreciate the extra time our volunteers have given us thus far this summer. Summer theater at Straw Hat has already returned in full force, with Oliver bringing out large crowds for three weekends in June. Our thanks go out to you, and we look forward to seeing your smiling faces again throughout the coming months!

Because the same type of turnout is expected for the remaining two shows of the season, we appreciate all the volunteers who have already signed up to help out for "Footloose" and "Black Patent Leather Shoes." What a great way to help out within your community, while also getting to see these wonderful shows for free! Rest assured, however - the volunteer opportunities are far from filled for the remainder of the season, so if you’re interested, please give us a call or stop in to check out the sign up sheets.

In August, Meeghan will again run her annual Kidsfest event on the grounds of the Arts Center. Many, many volunteers are needed to ensure that this day runs smoothly. Please be sure to check your calendars and see if you available on Saturday, August 10. We would very much appreciate the helping hands.

As always, the staff at the Arts Center wishes everyone a very safe and fun summer. Get out there and enjoy that wonderful weather!

Posted on 7/16/2002 — Read More

Kidsfest 2002

"American Spirit Day"

Our annual Kidsfest will be held on Saturday, August 10, from 10a.m. until 2 p.m. This year’s event will feature four full hours of activities and entertainment with a patriotic theme.

Each year Kidsfest offers over a dozen hands-on activities for children of all ages. This year’s event will offer a chance to make such crafts as patriotic pinwheels, fireworks paintings and a star whirler. Kids can make their own star stamp to use and take home - and, if you bring a white t-shirt with you to the event, you can use your stamp to decorate it while you are here!

We will also make traditional crafts from American history such as a wallpaper box, spatterwork picture, shadow puppet and much more. There will also be a games and play area where a games leader will be available to teach children some traditional early American games. We will have stilts available for kids to try, and, of course, the bubble pool will be back.

There will also be entertainment for the kids during the festival. Plan to come early and take advantage of all the crafts and shows.

Best of all, the whole event is FREE! Yes, all the crafts and entertainment are free of charge.

Our concession stand will be open during the event offering hot dogs and popcorn for 50 cents each and pop for $1 per bottle. Or you are welcome to pack a picnic lunch to enjoy on our grounds during the event. Bring your whole family and enjoy the time together!

Posted on 7/16/2002 — Read More

Women's Service League Awards Scholarships

The Women’s Service League of Ashtabula County, Inc., has awarded scholarships to four Ashtabula Arts Center drama students. These scholarships are in the amount of $200 each, and are to be used by the students toward college tuition and expenses this fall.

Scholarships this year have been given to Grand Valley High School graduates Stephanie Figer, Ben Gates and Kim Weston, and Lakeside High School graduate Phillip Werman.

Stephanie Figer has been involved in theater since the seventh grade. While she has only been performing at the Arts Center for about a year, she has been active in other area theatrical organizations, including the Grand Valley Little Theatre, and the Geauga Lyric Theater Guild. She also performed in productions at Grand Valley High School. Stephanie will study theatre education at Point Park College in Pittsburgh, PA, in the fall.

Joining Stephanie at Point Park College this fall will be Kim Weston. Kim began her theater career as "Lamb I" in "Charlotte’s Web" in 1994. She has since been in numerous productions at the Arts Center, including "Secret Garden," "Zombie Prom," and "Peter Pan." Kim says she enjoys theater because it’s the thing she’s "most passionate about ... it will never get old." Kim will major in music theater.

The desire to make people laugh is part of what first got Ben Gates involved in the theater. Ben has been involved with theater productions since his fourth grade appearance in the play "Rainbow Fish." He has been seen in the AAC productions of "Zombie Prom," "Brighton Beach Memoirs," and "Yearbook," as well as the D’Itri Productions comedy "Tony and Tina’s Wedding." Ben will attend Cleveland State University in the fall, where he will study drama.

Phillip Werman made his first stage appearance at the age of five, in the show "Babes in Toyland." He has since played many roles in many different shows at the AAC over the years, and lists his favorite shows as "Secret Garden," "Children of Eden," and "Yearbook." Phillip will study music education at Bowling Green State University beginning this fall.

You can catch Stephanie, Kim and Phillip this July in the Straw Hat production of "Footloose." Ben’s next stage appearance is as Christopher Ren in the Cleveland State production of "The Mousetrap."

The Arts Center staff wishes the best of luck to these talented young actors!

Posted on 7/16/2002 — Read More


Brown Bag Concerts Return for Summer

Grab your lunch and head outdoors this summer, as the Ashtabula Arts Center teams up with the Star Beacon and Gazette Publications to bring the Brown Bag Theatre concerts back to the Northcoast. Brown Bag Concerts are held every Wednesday at the North Park Gazebo in downtown Ashtabula, and every Thursday at Village Park on East Jefferson Street in Jefferson. All concerts begin at noon and last about one hour, and are free to the public.

This summer’s lineup promises new faces as well as returning performers from last year and years past.

Kicking off the series in Ashtabula will be singer/songwriter Alex Bevan of Madison. Best known for his 1970s hit "Skinny Little Boy (from Cleveland Ohio)," Bevan has been in the music business for almost 30 years, during which time he has recorded 12 albums.

In the 1970’s, Bevan began traveling the "coffeehouse circuit," and also was seen as the opening act for such headliners as The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Livingston Taylor, Billy Joel, Jerry Jeff Walker and Jimmy Buffett. Many of these influences combined to help Bevan develop the lyrical "folk/rock" style for which he has become best known. In recent years he has shied away from more "electrical" songs, and more turned towards the art of storytelling within his music.

A native of Northeastern Ohio, Bevan has always kept this area a part of his music. He has performed solo shows at several clubs in the Cleveland area, and, in 1997, he recorded a live solo acoustic album at the Grand River Winery. He has also written over 100 radio and television commercials, and won an Emmy for his postscore of NBC’s "American Promise" documentary segment "The Rustbelt Blues." He has also produced children’s albums for Lake Metroparks and the Cuyahoga Valley Environmental Education Center.

Bevan will perform on the Ashtabula stage July 10, and again for the final concert of the season, in Jefferson on August 15.

Among the returning favorites from last year’s concerts are keyboard player Gloria DiFabio, gospel singer Monique Dudley and "Polka in the Park" King Bill Orquist.

Gloria DiFabio, a piano player since age four, has been entertaining hundreds of audiences since her musical debut on the Wilkens Amateur Hour in Pittsburgh in 1954. From 1955 to 1959, the "Gloria Jean Trio" entertained in the Silver Lounge of the Twin Coaches Supper Club in Pittsburgh, and it was in this nightclub that she got the opportunity to meet several musical greats, such as Nat King Cole, Johnny Mathis, the Four Lads, Tony Martin, Bill Haley and the Comets, and the McGuire Sisters. She has since recorded several albums, the most recent of which was completed and released in April, 2001. In 1998, an album entitled "Let the Sunshine In," which she recorded with the Del Sinchak Band of Youngstown, was nominated for a Grammy award. She has also performed piano-keyboard backup for the Eddie Vallus Band II on two of their albums. She lives in Geneva-on-the-Lake with her husband.

DiFabio will appear on the Jefferson stage on July 18. She will also perform on the Ashtabula stage on July 31.

When most people think of polka, they probably think of Lawrence Welk or Frankie Yankovic. But polka lovers in northeastern Ohio may also think of their own Bill Orquist. An Ashtabula native, Orquist has been playing the accordion since he was six years old. He heard his first "Yankovic Polka" on the radio when he was only 11 years old, and decided that he wanted to play that type of music. Although he has played other styles of music, the polka is his "true love," and he has performed professionally in both Ohio and Pennsylvania. According to Orquist, he "has performed in 99 percent of the nightclubs in Ashtabula at one time or another, and for over 500 wedding receptions."

The highlight of Orquist’s career came in the 1970’s, when "America’s Polka King," Frankie Yankovic, asked him to fill in for him at the Yankovic Nightclub on Euclid Avenue while Frankie toured the country.

Orquist will perform in Ashtabula on July 24, and again on the Jefferson stage on August 1.

Ashtabula County resident Monique Dudley has been singing in Ashtabula County as well as throughout Ohio and many other states for over 18 years. She has also been a soloist at many weddings over the years. In addition, Monique writes her own music, and is always willing to share her talents with others.

By day, she works as a computer operator at the Ashtabula County Joint Vocational School, where she has been employed for over 13 years. But her first love has always been music, and her desire is to travel and share the gift the Lord has given her with as many people as He allows her to touch. Dudley is active in the music ministry at Rock Creek United Methodist Church. She lives in Rock Creek with her husband and three daughters.

Dudley will open the Jefferson series with a concert on July 11, and will close the Ashtabula series on August 14.

Once again traveling from their home in the Adirondacks to perform for Brown Bag audiences are the husband and wife musical team of Tim and Peggy Behrendt. The pair performed in the area in 2000, and will return this summer for two shows, August 7 and 8. Their program, entitled "Harp and Harmony," will include Celtic and American folk songs, which feature Peggy on the Celtic harp, keyboard and recorder, and Tim on harmonica and percussion. Some of their pieces are also accompanied by discrete woodland sounds recorded at their home in the Shawangunk Nature Preserve.

Tim, an Ashtabula native, holds degrees from Ohio University, Garrett Theological Seminary, Indiana University, and Colgate University. He is presently the part-time minister at the Salisbury Center Universalist Society in New York, and a guest speaker at UU churches around the state. Peggy, a native of Utica, NY, holds a Bachelor’s of Music Education degree from SUNY Fredonia School of Music. She has taught music in schools and privately since 1971.

The Behrendts have recorded four albums, and music from these recordings have been aired on NPR affiliates in Syracuse and Binghamton, NY.

"Harp and Harmony" can be heard on the Ashtabula stage August 7, and in Jefferson on August 8.

All Brown Bag shows are free and open to the public. You may want to bring along a chair or blanket to sit on, and you are welcome to bring a lunch to enjoy during the show. Bring a friend and enjoy the beautiful summer weather together!

Posted on 7/16/2002 — Read More

Beautiful Day for Racing

15th Annual Regatta for the Arts Held June 23

Regatta for the Arts, the annual Ashtabula Yacht Club Sailing Club fund-raiser for the Arts Center, this year netted more than $5,000 for the Ashtabula Arts Center.

The 15th Regatta for the Arts on Lake Erie had 30 boats registered for the race, which runs from Ashtabula to Geneva-on-the- Lake and back. Weather conditions on Sunday were a bit on the warm side, but otherwise great for the race. The event was originally scheduled for June 16, but was postponed for one week due to weather conditions on that day. Area businesses and individuals made monetary pledges to sponsor boats in the race. The proceeds wholly benefit the Arts Center.

Overall winner of the event was "Ten Spot," skippered by Terry Persily and sponsored by Ten Spot Syndicate.

Winners and their divisions were:

Performance Handicapped Racing Fleet A:

1st place, "Ten Spot," skippered by Terry Persily and sponsored by Ten Spot Syndicate.

2nd place, "Whistle,"skippered by Jim Laird and sponsored by Harbor Realty.

3rd place, "Kahuna," skippered by Bob Anderson and sponsored by Sutherland Marine.

Performance Handicapped Racing Fleet B:

1st place, "Cardhu," skippered by Mike Blama and sponsored by S.R. Snodgrass

2nd place, "Pinafore," skippered by Carl Anderson and sponsored by Miller Realty.

JAM (Jib and Main) - Fleet A:

1st place, "Epiphysis," skippered by Jeff Brodsky and sponsored by Ashtabula Orthopedics.

2nd place, "Tombac," skippered by Bill Bobulsky and sponsored by Bill & Kathy Bobulsky.

3rd place, "Talisman," skippered by Candy Allds and sponsored by Stouffer-Herzog.

JAM (Jib and Main) - Fleet B:

1st place, "Renegade," skippered by Pat Steadman and sponsored by Fagnilli’s Automotive.

2nd place, "Hanalei," skippered by Bill Shinskey and sponsored by Bill & Sharon Shinskey.

3rd place, "Ballisage," skippered by Jim LaPierre and sponsored by Raymond Builders.

Other boats registered in the regatta and their sponsors included: "Eleanor Rigby," skippered by Bob Lee and sponsored by Deli & The Rye; "Liberte," skippered by Patricia Gillette and sponsored by D.L. Hausman & Co. & NEO Psychological; "Heaven’s Daughter," skippered by Don Stark and sponsored by Andrews & Pontius; "Revolution II," skippered by Jim Lengyl and sponsored by Curry & Pasqualone; "Naturally," skippered by Ron Melaragno and sponsored by Parker Hunter; "Mistral," skippered by Pat Martin and sponsored by Kister Construction; "MacCallum," skippered by Bruce Robson and sponsored by Bruce & Judy Robson; "Entropy III," skippered by Bob & Becky Gilmore and sponsored by Buckeye Title; "Antares," skippered by Richard Crockford and sponsored by Grand River Rubber; "Sail Cat," skippered by Ed Milspaw and sponsored by Koski Construction; "Batella," skippered and sponsored by Joe Licate; "Fat Lady," skippered by Gary Englehart and sponsored by Hughes-Roller; "Knot Much," skippered by Mark Millberg and sponsored by Second National Bank; "Free At Last," skippered by Ed Shelley and sponsored by Conneaut Savings and Loan; "Howie’s Dream," skippered by Howie & Sandy and sponsored by Smith & Miller; "Quest," skippered by Leroy Chalker and sponsored by True North Auto; "Sea Jib," skippered by Seigfried Horne and sponsored by Geneva Ford.

A party for sponsors, skippers and crew members was held at the AYC following the regatta, and was sponsored by Dave & Marie Rowley.

On behalf of the Arts Center, Executive Director Beth Koski extended special thanks to donors and volunteers, including Kyle Smith, Zelda Altman, Charlotte Kline, Sally VanAllen, Debbie LaPierre, Judy Robson, Scot Sinkler, the Ashtabula Sail Club, the Committee Boat and Dave Hamilton.

Posted on 7/13/2002 — Read More

Auditions for "Godspell"

The Ashtabula Arts Center will hold auditions for the musical "Godspell," to be performed this fall as part of the G.B. Community Theatre's 2002-2003 season.

Auditions will be held July 17 at 7 p.m., July 20 at 1 p.m., and July 21 at 6 p.m.

"Godspell" is a contemporary hit musical based on the Gospel according to St. Matthew. The arts center will perform a new version of the show, complete with new music and high-tech effects.

Rehearsals for the musical will take place throughout August, with a light schedule of only a couple rehearsals per week. The show will take the stage in September, with performances held only on Saturdays and Sundays, Sept. 14, 15, 21, 22, 27, and 28.

Those wishing to audition for "Godspell" should bring with them an upbeat Broadway song to sing, piano accompaniment and a three to 40 second monologue. People of all ages are welcome to audition for the show.

For more information about auditions, please contact Theatre Coordinator Darrell Lowe at 964-9696.

Posted on 7/13/2002 — Read More

Photographs by Wayne Mazorow

Photographs of landscapes and images of protected areas of Northeastern Ohio will highlight the July exhibit by area photographer Wayne Mazorow.

An adhesives chemist with a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry from Miami University, Mazorow taught himself photography while in college, and continued his education by taking workshops with several well-known area photographers after leaving school. He has exhibited in one-man shows at the Lightkeepers Gallery in Lakewood, the Big Creek Metropark in Geauga County, Akron General Hospital in Akron, and the Cleveland Museum of Natural History in Cleveland. Mazorow's photographs were also named Best Color Award in the 29th Cleveland JCC Photography Show in 1998, and Best of Show in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park Show in 2000.

Most of his works focus on protected areas of northeastern Ohio, using light, form and color to present an otherwise ordinary scene in a manner in which audiences may not have seen or will ever see again. Mazorow hopes that through his works, people will realize the importance of protecting these spaces for future generations. As he states, "It is hoped that from these images people will be introduced to the geographic and biodiversity of northeast Ohio's protected areas, from the well known to t he hidden. And get a glimpse of what is beyond the roadside, and why the areas have been preserved."

Mazorow’s photographs will be on display in the gallery of the Arts Center from July 2 - 31. An opening reception will be held on Friday, July 12, from 7:00 - 8:30 p.m. Admission to the gallery is free.

Posted on 7/12/2002 — Read More

August Exhibit

How the Quilter was Born

Traditional pieced quilts by Rosemary Humphrey will be on display at the Ashtabula Arts Center from August 3 – September 4.

Many people will remember Rosemary from her years working for the Arts Center. Now happily retired, she has had time to explore her own creative direction. Viewers of this exhibit will be treated to a visual feast of pattern and color.

Rosemary has this to say about how she came to make quilts:

"I once made an apron in Home Ec. Class, didn’t like the apron – didn’t like sewing and didn’t sew again for years.

"I came late in life to quilt making. At the urging of my youngest son, I made my first quilt and presented it to him when he graduated from Hunter College with his MFA. The year was 1999. I’ve never planned to make a second quilt but I had so much fabric left over that it seemed a reasonable way to use it up. The second quilt was a little easier. The star points were more precise, the quarter inch seams

more uniform and, during the process, I realized that I was enjoying the multiple ways color, patterns and textures played off each other to create different effects. Having then two quilts and three children, it seemed logical to make one more quilt – each child would be wrapped in love from Mom. I forget why the fourth quilt got made - but by then I was a ‘quilter’.

"The quilt itself is not special; it’s the process of creating that stimulates, intrigues and challenges me. Quilts can be any size, any color, any shape - and like friends you can never have too many. Quilt #37 is next. To quote Judy Martin: ‘Your scrap quilt is made using bits and pieces from your daily life, and it reflects you and the people and the things meaningful to you. It has a beauty from within; it pulls at the heartstrings; it warms both body and soul’."

Posted on 7/12/2002 — Read More

"Oliver" Kicks Off Season; Two Shows Remain

The return of warmer weather and sunny days here on the Northcoast also marks the return of live summer theater outdoors in the tent at Straw Hat Theatre.

The 36th season is off to a fantastic start, as the family musical "Oliver" kicked off this summer�s lineup with a three weekend run in June. The show, which closed June 29th, brought out crowds of children and adults as both audience members and cast participants. Over 30 area children appeared in the show, filling the roles of street urchins, workhouse orphans and members of Fagin�s notorious gang of young pickpockets.

"Oliver" featured Heather Helms in the title role, with Larry Gasch as Mr. Bumble, Rita Werman as the Widow Corney, Rich Werman as Mr. Sowerberry, Pat Betteley as Mrs. Sowerberry, Jordan Malin as Nancy, Therese Scarf as Bet, Adam Jackson as Bill Sykes, and Nick Meloro as the Artful Dodger. Mark Pendelton pulled double duty in "Oliver,"filling not only the role of the show�s director, but also that of main character Fagin.

If you missed "Oliver," you still have a chance to catch a show at Straw Hat this summer, as two exciting and fun shows round out the lineup. Coming in July is "Footloose," the stage version of the hit movie which opened to rave reviews on Broadway in 1998. Directed by Darrell Lowe, this musical will feature large group dance numbers set to a Top 40 soundtrack with such memorable songs as "Let�s Hear It For The Boy," "Footloose," "Heaven Help Me," and "Almost Paradise."

The story is that of Ren McCormack, a teenager from Chicago who moves with his mother to a small farming town in Iowa. Ren is prepared for the transition to a new high school and way of life ... but what he is not ready for are the strict laws of the conservative town, including a ban on such "sinful" things as rock music and dancing. These laws are the brainchild of a preacher determined to exercise control over the town youth that he cannot command in his own home. When the reverend�s own daughter, Ariel, falls for Ren, many of her roughneck friends set out to sabotage his reputation and get the locals to believe the worst about this "new kid."

Wes Wilson will be featured in the role of Ren, with Anne Kelley playing his mother, Ethel. Meryl Murman and Kim Weston will share the role of Ariel, and Kristen Wojciechowski and Eryn Murman will share the role of Rusty. The role of Reverend Shaw Moore will be played by Robert Godfrey, and Principal Clark will be played by Tom Udell.

Other cast members include Martha Sorohan, Ellie Portman, Tom Davis, Nick Boyd, Douglas Eric Anderson, Kimberly Godfrey, Caitlin Dubsky, Jim Hunter, Phillip Werman, Danny Henning, Jordan Malin, Adam Kapis, Justin Nigro, Eric Rutherford, Neil Meloro, and Mindy Smith. Alex Lowe will provide musical direction for the show.

The final show of the season will be the musical comedy "Do Black Patent Leather Shoes Really Reflect Up?" Based on the book by the same name, this show is sure to tickle the funny bone of anyone who has ever attended school - Catholic or otherwise. The show begins with Eddie Ryan, who has returned to his old school - St. Bastien�s Roman Catholic Academy - in an attempt to find his boyhood love, Becky. While he waits to see the principal, the events of his growing up flash through his mind, from his first day in elementary school to the night of his senior prom. In his reminisces, the audience gets an affectionate look at growing up Catholic 30-some years ago, with references to parochial school rituals such as embarrassing moments in the confessional, hands slapped with rulers, and nuns patrolling dance floors with yardsticks to ensure the proper space between dancing couples.

"Patent Leater Shoes" will be directed by Debra Greene-Lowe, with musical direction provided by Joy Leirer.

Tickets for both "Footloose" and "Do Black Patent Leather Shoes Really Reflect Up?" are available by calling the Arts Center at (440) 964-3396. Great seats are still available for most all performances.

We look forward to seeing you at the theater this summer!

Posted on 7/11/2002 — Read More


Yipe – it’s gotten awful hot in the last week! Summer’s upon us BIG time! It almost sneaks up on us every year – we’re in sweaters one day and shorts the next before we realize what’s happened. I love Northeast Ohio – it's never dull!! Just like what we have in store for you at the Arts Center – I think you’ll always be amazed and surprised. The talent in this area is unbelievable. Recently I traveled to a well-established Cleveland theatre to see a production of a play we had produced in the recent past and was awed by the absolute fact that the version we had produced was sooooooo much better (and THAT’S LOCAL people) - we do wonderful things right here in our own community - PLEASE come and enjoy!!

I just came back from Columbus where I chaired a panel for the Ohio Arts Council, and as always I’m amazed at the amount and scope of offerings we give to our region - as is the entire state. They revere the Ashtabula Arts Center as a model for all to see. Why don’t we in this community revere the Center as well? I often wonder in my simple brain if I just make it look too easy – believe it or not I’ve had people ask me what I do for my real job! I know the Arts Center is my passion, and therefore, in some ways, I do the Arts Center a disservice by being so involved. Just recently I had a friend of mine call me and tell me he was worried about me because everything I do involves the Center. But I told him If I didn’t love it, I wouldn't do it!

And I’m not alone in my passion. The Arts Center’s staff is amazing – our patrons do really not see the hours and hours of work, creation and dedication. Often many of us are at the Center or doing its work seven days a week – true, you may not always be able to reach a staff member by simply calling the Center during what most would believe to be "regular" business hours – but all of us have received many phone calls at our homes during odd hours and off days. I can never say enough how much I appreciate our Arts Center team and all they do!!

We’re still plugging away at the Annual Membership/Fund Drive for our fiscal year 2002-2003 which began July 1st. To date we have pledges totaling about 65% of our budgeted amount. Many of you have already responded, but there are still several we have not yet heard from. Please – we need your support!! Also, if you have never contributed to the Center, I encourage you to do so now. The Center generates about 60% of our annual income budget – far higher than most not for profits - and something of which to be very proud. But we hang in a very delicate balance of requiring your support to enable us to continue full programming. I realize this is a particularly difficult time in our country and the world, and you are most likely feeling this uncertainty, but the Arts Center is a local entity – your dollars stay here and work for our community.

We hope you will join us this summer as we offer many, many entertaining and enriching experiences both on the Center’s grounds and around our community at large. A large part of our reward as Arts Center staff members is hearing someone say they really enjoyed a production, a class and/or a performance. Won’t you please join us?!

Posted on 7/10/2002 — Read More