Summer film series set for Circle Park

Assorted ramblings from the world of entertainment:

l A free movie and family entertainment series is planned this summer at Circle Park on Central Parkway SE, Warren.

The Meet Me at the Park Outdoor Movie Series will feature four events through October, with funding provided by a Neighborhood Success Grant through the Wean Foundation.

The first program June 8 will feature the 2009 Oscar-winning Pixar animated feature “Up,” with a pre-show performance by Dr. Awesome, a “bubbleologist” who holds the world record for the biggest free-floating bubble.

The 2019 version of Disney’s “Dumbo” will be shown July 13 with a pre-show featuring a fire-breather and stilt walker. The movie is dependent upon its availability on DVD by the scheduled date.

Magician / comedian Eric Thompson will perform before DreamWorks Animation’s “Trolls” Aug. 10, and Jungle Terry and animals will entertain before Disney’s “Zootopia” Oct. 12.

All of the programs start at 7:45 p.m. except for the October event, which begins at 7 p.m. Each program will be preceded by a community kickball game for children and adults.

• Youngstown Playhouse is bringing “Mamma Mia!” back for an encore.

The musical built around the music of ABBA sold out its December 2018 run at the Playhouse, making it the biggest hit in recent history for the community theater.

Most of the cast from that production will be returning, although Brandy Johnntges will be taking the role of Donna, the mother of the bride and the leader of Donna and the Dynamos. Playhouse operations manager James McClellan will supervise the production, originally directed by Donna Smith Downie, and he will be joined by the original music director (Matthew White) and choreographer (Lori George).

New dates are 7:30 p.m. July 12, 13, 18, 19 and 20 and 2:30 p.m. July 14 and 21. Tickets are on sale now at www.theyoungstown and by calling 330-788-8739.

In other Playhouse news, the theater is canceling the musical revue “Broadway in Color,” which was scheduled next month in the Moyer Room as part of the Griffith-Adler Actors Series.

Ticket buyers and flex pass holder can exchange their tickets or redeem their passes for “Mamma Mia.”

• Lit Youngstown has announced the lineup for its third Fall Literary Festival Oct. 4 and 5.

This year’s theme is cultural identity in writing and publishing, and writers participating in panels and readings will include Philip Metres, author of 10 books and a recipient of two NEA and six Ohio Arts Council grants; Erica N. Cardwell, whose work has appeared in such publications as The Believer, Hyperallergic, Rewire and The Feminist Wire and who specializes in writing about black women and black artists; and George Ella Lyon, former poet laureate of Kentucky and the author of several poetry collections.

Other visiting writers are poet Nin Andrews, speculative fiction writer Christopher Barzak, memoirist Jill Christman, fiction writer Michael Croley and poet Philip Memmer.

Daytime programs will take place at Youngstown State University’s Kilcawley Center with evening readings at St. John’s Episcopal Church.

Evening sessions are free. Those who register by July 31 can get access to all daytime sessions for $40. For more information, go to

• With the biofilm “Rocketman” opening Friday, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame will be highlighting the career of Elton John this weekend.

Footage from John’s appearances at past induction ceremonies will be screened Friday through Sunday in the hall’s Foster Theater. It includes performances from 1988, Axl Rose’s induction speech for John and his acceptance speech from 1994 and John’s performance with Leon Russell from 2011.

A jumpsuit John wore in 1984 is part of the “Right Here, Right Now” exhibit, and a Captain Fantastic pinball machine is among those visitors can play as part of the exhibition “Part of the Machine: Rock & Pinball.”

The screening and other items are included with Rock Hall admission.

Andy Gray is the entertainment writer for the Tribune Chronicle. Write to him at