Top Hat Productions, Mangia

Top Hat Productions Presents ‘Mangia’ Dinner-Theater Show

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – After a two-year hiatus, Top Hat Productions will return to action this weekend with the return of its hit dinner-theater show “Mangia.” The season also includes the Broadway smash “Kinky Boots.”

Performances of “Mangia” will be May 13-15 and 20-22. Friday and Saturday shows begin with dinner at 6:30 p.m.; Sunday shows begin with dinner at 4 p.m. The full traditional Italian dinner starts with antipasti, followed by pasta, chicken parmesan, salad and dessert. The theater is at 4220 Youngstown-Poland Road.

“Mangia” is a comedy about Camilla, an Italian-American woman, who is feuding with Irma, the mother of her son’s wife.

The feud began when Camilla brought her own sauce and meatballs to the rehearsal dinner for the wedding.

Ten years later, Camilla and Irma have called a truce to throw an anniversary dinner, but tempers get the better of them.

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“We thought it fitting to get back into the swing of things with ‘Mangia,’ since it is about bringing family back together,” said Brian Palumbo, Top Hat director. “’Mangia’ is also lighthearted and we feel that everyone needs a laugh.”

“Mangia” will be followed in July by “The Play that Goes Wrong,” a comedy whodunnit that is equal parts Monty Python and Sherlock Holmes. Exact dates have not been set and tickets are not on sale yet.

“I know that it is not a usual time for us to do theater,” Palumbo said. “However, it’s a test run on a special project.”

The show will bring together students from Struthers, Lowellville and Campbell. Of those three school districts, only Lowellville has an active drama club.

“If this goes well, and we are confident that it will, we will be doing a larger stage project annually each fall,” Palumbo said.

The season will continue in the fall with “Kinky Boots,” which won the 2013 Tony Award for Best Musical. “Kinky Boots” was written by Harvey Fierstein with music and lyrics by Cyindi Lauper. Performances will be Sept. 23-Oct. 8. Tickets are not on sale yet.

Palumbo said the Top Hat board had a lot of conversation about whether to stage the musical. Some might think that the playfully risqué show is not appropriate for the Christian-based theater but Palumbo said he believes it’s perfect for it.

“We love the message and feel that the show is truly about spreading love not being ashamed of who you are,” he said. “Sometimes people say they are welcoming to everyone but don’t always mean it. Our mission is bridge building. We want to stand by the statement that truly all are welcome.”
Palumbo said the show will make “a statement” for Top Hat productions.

The theater’s stated goals include recognizing cultural diversity and bringing different social and economic groups together in a nonthreatening and nondiscriminatory way.
“We can’t make a statement like that and not live by it,” he said. “I am looking forward to directing ‘Kinky Boots’ as well as seeing some new people that it might bring through our doors.”

The season will end with “Nativity,” Dec. 2-3, a musical retelling of the Christmas story. Tickets are not on sale yet.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.