In conjunction with the Oakland's 25th anniversary, Ticket asked some of the people who've worked at the theater to share their favorite memory there:
''After 'Pump Boys' closed, the Oakland moved to a new space on Fifth Avenue, and we moved the show to the Uptown Theatre, where it continued to for another two years. I know we would never have had the courage to do all of that without first having the success and support that the Oakland provided us in the very beginning. It is safe to say there would be no Easy Street Productions without the Oakland Center for the Arts. In 1999 we came full circle by moving back into the original Mahoning Avenue space where it all started for the Oakland and Easy Street. There is something very special about this building and as far as Youngstown's theatrical history goes, I consider it hallowed ground.''
''My favorite part of being an Oakland board member is always being in the audience. I just get to let go and look at the end result of weeks of rehearsal. Knowing all the backstage drama and seeing a polished, genuine piece of art on that stage is an amazing feeling. I always cry like a baby during final bows, no matter if the show is funny or sad or scary ... I just cry with this surge of pride and awe that I am part of something so special. When you put months of your life into a show and it is successful, it's just a wonderful feeling.
''After 10 years at the Oakland, narrowing down a few memories is so difficult. The drag shows, the sold-out runs, the shows with 10 people in the audience, the crazy PR stunts we've pulled, being on-stage, back stage, in the tech booth or box office... When I am at the Oakland I feel like I'm home. A lot of people think I'm crazy for having volunteered so much time there, but no one criticizes people for making sacrifices for their family, and that's what it's like. You do what you have to do to make it a successful part of the community. That's what makes the Oakland special the people who have poured literal blood, sweat, and tears into keeping a dream alive.''
''In this production, I played a very small part, Aunt Martha. I knew I had plenty of time before my first entrance so I would go outside and smoke. One night, I was outside and looked through the doors to see Sandy running down the hallway towards the door shouting (in a loud whisper), 'Joyce, get your a- out on that stage!' Here the actors onstage before me skipped a whole page of dialogue and the scene was over earlier than expected. Needless to say that experience taught me to always pay attention to what is going on onstage because you never know. I think I apologized to Sandy for a year and i quit smoking!''
'' It was a wonderful experience and began a long appreciation for all things Sondheim from that point. The Oakland was and is the Off-Broadway center of all things theatrical in the area and our show was the first 'Sweeney' in the Valley as far as I know. Everyone involved with theater at any level will tell you there's no better way to meet people and get close to them. As proof in this instance, my father died at age 83, right after the run of the play (but he was able to see the show its opening weekend due to the help of a friend), and not being a churchgoer locally, I asked Eric Williams, a Lutheran minister and the terrific lead actor who played Sweeney, to preside at my father's funeral services. It was a great relief to have his help during such a trying time, and a month earlier I didn't even know him. My dad wasn't even Lutheran. It didn't matter. My theater family connection carried us through.
''I always liked theater, but I owe my fixation with Sondheim to The Oakland and Sandy Vansuch, Anthony Rogers, Mark Izzo, and every single castmate of that 1993 production, especially Eric Williams, whose help I'll never forget.''