New Castle News

Local News

July 19, 2013

Re-creating Ruby: New Castle man plays the killer of JFK assassin in original play on Youngstown stage

NEW CASTLE — It is one of the most iconic and shocking moments in American history.

It was witnessed live by millions of people as they watched their TVs. It is preserved in shocking, close-up detail in one of the most famous photographs ever.

Just a day after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, as the alleged assassin was being transferred, Dallas nightclub owner Jack Ruby steps from a crowd of police officers, fires one shot and murders the young man as the world watched on TV.

Why? Was it the act of a vengeful man to protect the first lady, as has been said? Or was it a mob or CIA hit ordered to silence Lee Harvey Oswald and keep him from sharing what he knew of a conspiracy to murder the president?

A new play making its world debut tonight at the Victorian Players Theatre in Youngstown attempts to answer some of those questions while introducing us much more to the man who pulled the trigger.

The production, “Sparky ... from Chicago,”  is the second show in the Vic’s JFK Assassination Trilogy this season, meant to honor the 50th anniversary of Kennedy’s slaying. The script was written and directed by J.E. “Jack” Ballantine, whose many theatrical credits include directing several shows at the New Castle Playhouse. Ballantine understands that Ruby is an unusual subject for a stage production, but it was born out of his decades of research into the Kennedy assassination.

“When we decided to do this trilogy, I thought this would be an interesting second step. Very little is known about Jack Ruby,” Ballantine said.

Starring in the infamous lead role is New Castle resident and New Castle Playhouse veteran Brady Flamino. He says he was drawn to playing Ruby because the assassination of JFK and the events surrounding it were the first major event in his life that he remembers.

Flamino says playing such a character is not easy, but he has drawn on his own knowledge and research to bring Ruby to life.

“All that I’ve read or known over the years, whether it was a book, movie, documentary, all that I know, whatever I’ve heard, everything I feel, I try to funnel down inside me and bring across on stage,” he said.

One of the men who greatly influences Ruby’s actions, directly or indirectly in the play and in real life, was Mafia kingpin Carlos Marcello.

That role is played by another New Castle resident, and stage veteran Tom Ewen. Ewen says he finds playing the Mafioso to be a unique experience.

“Revenge is an important part of Marcello’s life,” he said. “When he is crossed, he wants to get even.

“That is what motivates his hatred of the Kennedys.”

Flamino says the show is based in fact, but there is some speculation because no one can be sure exactly what took place.

“The audience is left to determine the veracity of the information presented,” he said. “The show is meant to inform the audience on one hand, and yet leave you wondering on the other.”

Ewen adds: “This is more than a play, this is American history. Many segments of this story are still alive and affecting us yet today.

Other Lawrence County residents involved in the show include Sam Luptak Jr., who plays Franko, and Sylvia Ewen, who is helping with props.

If You’re Going ...

•“Sparky, from Chicago” opens tonight and  runs weekends through Aug. 4.

•Friday and Saturday performances are at 7:30 p.m., and Sundays are at 2 p.m.

•Tickets are $10 and reservations can be made by calling the Victorian Players Reservation Line at (330) 746-5455.



Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News
  • PipeDreams.jpg Concert to feature sounds of ’60s

    This week’s Friday Night Live at Riverwalk Amphitheater will feature a 1960s theme. Entertainment will be provided by Pipe Dreams. The group performs a tribute to the British Invasion and American rock ’n roll with music from The Beatles, Stones, Doors, Monkees and hits from Motown and Philly.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • well.jpg Environmental groups oppose forced pooling

    An effort by local landowners to have forced pooling declared unconstitutional is getting some outside support. Two environmental groups — Delaware Riverkeeper Network and Mountain Watershed Association — have filed a friend of the court brief with Commonwealth Court. They are asking that the court review forced pooling, which is part of a 1961 Oil and Gas Conservation Law, before scheduled hearings take place.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • CashMob.jpg Cash Mob returns Saturday to downtown

    The New Visions Destination Downtown Action Team will host a cash mob Saturday in downtown New Castle.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • wampum_gazebo.jpg Wampum Homecoming draws near

    The 22nd annual Wampum Homecoming Weekend is scheduled for this weekend. It is sponsored by the Wampum Area Business Association.


    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • money.jpg City imposing new regulations for vendors

    The city of New Castle is tightening regulations and imposing new ones for mobile food and transient vendors.


    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • money.jpg New recreation fees adopted

    New Castle City Council has adopted a new fee schedule for Cascade and Darlington parks. The new schedule runs from 2014 through 2016.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • HolidayInn.jpg Union Township getting another hotel

    Union Township is getting a Holiday Inn Express. John McClure, owner of McClure Realty, said he had closed a transaction Thursday on 3.8 acres on West State Street for the venture, a couple hundred yards west of the Hampton Inn.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • audit.jpg Shenango pension fund audit due ‘this summer’

    The audit report of the Shenango Township pension funds are expected to be released this summer.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • HIShands.jpg Local youths team up with His Hands Ministries to do home repair for those who can’t afford it

    Area youth from various Lawrence County churches started lending a helping hand Wednesday to residents in need. The annual Lawrence County Youth Ministries service event brings together students and adults for three days of volunteering. It is part of His Hands Ministries, an initiative involving local churches and volunteers who split into work groups to perform  home improvement tasks for elderly and low-income homeowners in the community.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Blight.jpg Funds would target Lower East Side demolition

    The Lawrence County planning department and New Castle officials are partnering to wipe out neighborhood blight. They plan to start with the city’s Lower East Side.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo