YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – The Youngstown Playhouse is the oldest continuously operating community theater in the country and has been around for 91 years.
To keep the playhouse running, a new man was put in charge this week.
Jim McClellan is the new operations manager at the playhouse. He is a familiar face and a familiar voice to people involved with theater and entertainment around the Youngstown area. McClellan knows what he is getting into by accepting the job.
“I know fully what I’m getting into. It’s a big job, but I’m ready for it. I’m up for it,” McClellan said.
Though he is ready, the job is not one that he had been wanting for a while.
“I wouldn’t say that, necessarily. I was observing Bernie Apolese who is my predecessor for the past two years. Volunteering a lot around here, I saw what he was doing and what a good job he was doing and what was involved and being friends with him. Hearing, you know, hearing much from him, so I got a sense of what the job was. And when Bernie, who’s such a local person, decided to leave and go to Chicago, I thought maybe a local person should take his place, and it just seemed like maybe I could be that person,” McClellan said.
McClellan is local. He is a graduate of Chaney High School and went to YSU. He said he has been in Youngstown his whole life.
He also believes that Bernie Apolese did a good job with the playhouse so he is not considering changing much.
“Um, I wouldn’t necessarily say changes. Bernie got this place on a good path. You know, it’s had its ups and downs through the years, the playhouse, but Bernie did really get it on track. I want to keep it on track. Really, the only changes I can see are improvements to the building, which have to be done anyway. Also, some fresh titles for our seasons. Um, some of the older plays weren’t doing as well as the newer musicals, you know, that we’ve programmed here. I want to continue in that direction, offering new titles to Youngstown,” McClellan said.
McClellan also said that he believes the job is one he hopes to hold onto for a while. He said that directors come and go at the Playhouse at an alarming rate as people get other opportunities. He said he wants his job as operations manager to be his opportunity for some time to come. Being a local man with no intentions of moving, he believes he is a good fit.