Local retired news director, Charles Calabrese, dies at age 69


On Thursday, March 25, 2021, Charles F. Calabrese, 69, of Wintersville, Ohio passed away peacefully at his home. Born to the late Felix and Ann Golec Calabrese on June 3, 1951 in Steubenville, Ohio, he had a full and rich life here in the Ohio Valley. A retired news director, broadcaster, and movie and theater critic for the WEIR/WSTV Radio, Calabrese wore many hats, as he was also known for his work as a voice-over artist and dedicated member of the Brooke Hills Playhouse, in both spheres of acting as well as directing; he was also the Public Relations Master of the facility. In “one role or another,” he supported and filled the Playhouse with his talent and light for over 40 successive years. He also held the position of Vice President for the Brooke County Arts Council. He was an active member of the Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church, where he served as a cantor for many years, as well.

Beginning in the 1970s, Calabrese found a home at Brooke Hills Playhouse, acting as a whirlwind of support and talent as he maneuvered through countless positions within the facility and community; there, he could act, he could direct, and he could critique. In his role as Public Relations Master, and with his experience in journalism and broadcasting, Calabrese would reel in countless members and patrons of the arts of the Brooke Hills community with tantalizing articles announcing the Playhouse’s upcoming shows and performances; acting in many of these shows himself over the years “and offering actors his best directorial guidance to ensure their best performance,” Calabrese was known as a bit of a stickler for details, but he simply wanted to see the Playhouse succeed to the best of its ability – and that’s exactly what he did.

Even in dealing with diabetes later on in life, Calabrese would not let the disease hamper his involvement with the Playhouse or inhibit his love for theater; “he introduced Readers’ Theater” to the community so he could ensure his contributions would be kept alive and well. Throughout COVID-19, he was separated from the theater, and lamented only the fact that he could not review the only performed show in the Playhouse’s 49th season; but recently spoke with the President of the Brooke County Arts Council, Julia Barnhart, about when he would be able to announce the upcoming auditions for the Playhouse’s 50th season.

In a memorializing tribute to Calabrese, it was said that he “was the epitome of dependability… His laughter, as he sat in the audience enjoying the performance, always inspired the actors.”

Although Calabrese is survived by no children of his own, he took an active role in his God children’s lives, Harper and Tara Mruk, and is therefore remembered dearly in their hearts. He will be missed by his friends, family, and church community; may he rest in peace.

This article was constructed from information provided by Charles Calabrese’s obituary within the Herald-Star as well as a memorial piece posted by the Brooke Hills Playhouse.