Youngstown Playhouse is getting a new tenant

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) — What started out as dream is now a reality for one Youngstown organization.

Purple Cat Productions is moving into the Youngstown Playhouse Jan. 5.

“We will have about 30 adults with disabilities that are here Monday through Friday, ” said Jimmy Sutman, Director of Operations for Isle and the Purple Cat said.

Purple Cat has between 150-160 clients, Sutman said everyone is excited about the move.

“There are way more people than we anticipated that want to come here,  so we do anticipate some rotation and we’ll have more than 30 in the production,” he said.

Purple Cat Productions has two plays under its belt, and is rehearsing for its third. Crew members have been working at Southwoods in Boardman, but out grew the space. Sutman said right away he thought of the Youngstown Playhouse, and  made a call.

“When Jim Sutman reached out  to me about a collaboration, there was no hesitation on my part, no hesitations on the playhouse’s part,” said Bernie Appugliese, Operations Manager, Youngstown Playhouse.

Purple Cat clients will move their equipment and things into a room at the beginning of the year.

“We were just about to start construction on  a new rehearsal  office space/ art gallery that we have invited the organization  from the Purple Cat to use on a daily basis,” said Appugliese.

Purple Cat Productions will start rehearsals for its July production of Wily Wonka and the Chocolate Factory once it moves into the playhouse. Appugliese said he wants his staff to work side by side with Purple Cat’s crew.

“I want actors and actresses from the Youngstown Playhouse to be a part of it,” said Appugliese. “I want our technicians to be involved, I want our set builders and our set painters and our lighting and sound technicians to help them. They’re not just going to be here and perform and create their own thing, we want to mentor them.”

Purple Cat clients will also help out at the theater doing a number of jobs.

“We’re excited to be helping the play house with their sets, with their clerical duties, with their janitorial, their maintenance,” said Sutman.

Both organizations see this collaboration as positive partnership. The Playhouse added it’s the perfect time to reintroduce its facility to all of the Mahoning Valley.

“We need to invite as much  of the community here as possible, and that means getting other parts of the community here from the East Side to the West Side, from the suburbs,” said Appugliese.

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