Charlie Corritore leaves Erie Playhouse after 48 years


For nearly five decades, Charlie Corritore has been the heart and soul of the Erie Playhouse. Now he’s retired, the latest in a string of community theater’s most talented leaders to move on.

In typical Corritore style, he refuses to discuss his reasons for leaving, only pointing out that he had a good 48 years with the Playhouse. He started out in local theater as business manager/choreographer at the Village Dinner Theater before moving to the Playhouse in 1974.

After:Erie Playhouse steps down as director; 3 staff, Chairman of the Board leaves for various reasons

Charlie, who was the Playhouse’s business manager for decades, is also a gifted writer and performer. Many Playhouse alumni credit him with sparking their passion for acting.

I doubt Corritore will quietly retire. He’s already written 15 interactive mysteries for performance company Mayhem, Inc., and he’s partnered with Michael Malthaner to write numerous original musicals, many of which have been performed nationwide.

Yes, the future is bright for Corritore and Malthaner, but I join many local theatergoers who wish Charlie had stayed a little longer at the Erie Playhouse.

● Congratulations to Erie native Joseph Cacchione, MD, for his appointment as CEO of Jefferson Health and Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia. It’s one of the most prestigious hospitals in the East, and Cacchione’s hiring made headlines for the Philadelphia Inquirer.

After many years as executive vice president of Erie’s Saint Vincent Hospital, Cacchione spent eight years at the Cleveland Clinic where he served as president of operations and strategy for its Heart and Vascular Institute. Cacchione is a world-class cardiologist and administrator who has risen to the top of his profession. His family must be so proud.

● Fred Biletnikoff of Erie write a nice letter to Cliff Branch, his former Oakland Raiders teammate, congratulating him on his election to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Search online for the letter that will warm your heart, even if you never liked the Raiders.

● Lou Richards’ documentary film “Landmark,” about the Erie Bicentennial Tower, will premiere at the Hirt Auditorium, next to the Blasco Library, on September 1 at 7 p.m. It will also air on WQLN TV on September 8 at 8 p.m. the premiere is free and open to the public and I heard it was a great movie.

US Senator Chuck Schumer secured $7.5 million to complete repairs and fully restore the USS Sullivans, a treasured vessel in the Buffalo WWII Naval Museum. She started sinking earlier this year after a serious hull breach. The ship has become a beloved landmark on the waterfront there, and it wouldn’t be surprising if Donjon Shipbuilding & Repair in Erie were hired to complete the repairs.

The vintage battleship USS The Sullivans pulls over to one side after taking on water at the Buffalo and Erie County Naval & Military Park in Buffalo, New York on Thursday, April 14, 2022.

Donjon did similar work on Cleveland’s USS Cod earlier this year.

● Joel Natalie says TalkErie Radio has added the nationally acclaimed Ron Seggi Show to its lineup. Seggi, who grew up here and started his career at local radio stations, plans to head to Erie later this month to promote the show. With his bright personality and gift for small talk, he still entertains on local radio.

● Sorry to see that Jill McCormick has signed on as Co-Anchor of Evening News on WJET-TV. Jill teamed up with Sean Lafferty for years and they always did well in the rankings. No word on what McCormick will attempt next, but she’s a real pro who will have her pick of new jobs.

Jerry Crissman, 25, left, of Erie, reaches out to touch the hand of the Virgin Mary statue outside St. Paul's Center after the Virgin Mary statue procession in Erie, on August 11, 2013, during the St Paul's Italian Festival.

● St. Paul’s Italian Festival, which begins Friday and continues through Sunday on the grounds of the Catholic Church at 1617 Walnut St., is always the highlight of Erie’s ethnic celebrations. How can you go wrong by starting with a pasta and fagioli dinner at 5 p.m. on your first night?

I used to see dollar bills pinned to the dress of the Blessed Mother statue as she paraded through the streets. It was similar to what you would see at so many other Italian festivals across North America, but the late Catholic Bishop Donald Trautman thought it was disrespectful and the custom was discontinued. But now, with a friendly Italian bishop, Lawrence Persico, at work, perhaps the custom can be restored.

● The Cathedral Prep class of 1973 lost another valuable member when Jim Steber died last week at age 67. Soft-spoken but extremely bright, Jim was a great guy.

Obituary:James A. Steber, 67

● The Friends of the Almost Isle Lighthouse are having a fundraiser on August 13 from 6-9pm that sounds like a lot of fun. Billed as a red, white and blue event, it will feature music from Tennessee Backporch, plus plenty of food and beer.

Taco Bell’s Mexican pizza is finally back after three months of absence. The food selection is set to return on September 15. Mexican pizza returned to Taco Bell menus earlier this year after a two-year hiatus, but demand was higher than the chain expected and it ran out of ingredients after about two weeks.

Supply chain challenges have apparently been resolved and the popular crispy tortilla will be back for good, Taco Bell executives said.

Kevin Cuneo can be reached at [email protected].


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