Every new theater season in Dayton seems to be ripe with variety. It’s one of the great joys of the Dayton theatre scene that the ‘something for everyone’ cliche actually rings true. 2011-2012 is already proving to be among the most eclectic yet. This season promises……
- parents behaving badly (God Of Carnage) AND children behaving badly (Spring Awakening)
- romance of the sweet and fun kind (Hairspray) and of the creepy kind (The Phantom of the Opera)
- true stories of tragedy (The Laramie Project) and of triumph (Jersey Boys)
- journeys down familar roads (The Wizard of Oz) and unexpected ones (Caroline, Or Change)
- wistful nostalgia (Lost in Yonkers) and celebratory joy (In The Heights)
- even swashbuckling adventure (How I Became A Pirate) and cartwheels on Austrian mountainsides (The Sound of Music)
Below you’ll find On Stage Dayton’s picks for the most anticipated offerings for the 2011-2012 Dayton Theatre Season. It’s just a small sampling of a very full year of stage work. And with this official launch, you can count on OSD to be there all season long.
Caroline, or Change
The Human Race Theatre Company offers the overdue local premiere of this dynamic 2004 Tony Award-nominated musical from librettist/Pulitzer Prize winner Tony Kushner (“Angels in America”) and composer Jeanine Tesori (“Thoroughly Modern Millie”). A potent study of race relations set in 1963 Louisiana, “Caroline, or Change” chronicles the testy yet engaging relationship between a headstrong African-American maid and her Jewish employers. Tesori’s sublime music encompasses klezmer, opera and Motown.
The local premiere of “Jersey Boys,” the sleek, sharp and surprisingly tender story of pop legends Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, is the hallmark of the Victoria Theatre Association’s Good Samaritan and Miami Valley Hospitals Broadway Series. One of the most popular jukebox musicals of the last decade and the recipient of the 2006 Tony Award for Best Musical, “Jersey Boys” features such timeless numbers as “Sherry,” “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” “Walk Like a Man” and “Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You.”
Dividing the Estate
Academy Award and Pulitzer Prize winner Horton Foote’s authentic, relevant 2009 Tony Award-nominated portrait of a Texas clan at odds will receive its local premiere courtesy of the Dayton Theatre Guild. Centered on a tough traditionalist matriarch and her squabbling children, “Dividing the Estate” uncovers the harsh realities that arise when economics and legacy threaten to tear a family apart.
Dirty Rotten Scoundrels
Clark State Community College provides the local collegiate premiere of librettist Jeffrey Lane and composer David Yazbek’s 2005 Tony Award-nominated musical based on the 1988 film of the same name. Yazbek, an outstanding songwriter, had great success with his critically acclaimed adaptation of “The Full Monty,” co-created by Terrence McNally, and the con artist-driven “Scoundrels” shares an appealingly naughty kinship. The “Scoundrels” national tour failed to connect four years ago at the Schuster Center, but perhaps Clark State will give the hilarious material the solid treatment it deserves.
The Wizard of Oz
Dorothy’s ruby slippers will sparkle once more thanks to the Muse Machine, Dayton’s premier arts education organization celebrating its 30th year. The memories of Muse’s 1996 “Oz” production remain indelibly etched in my mind (the Broadway caliber performances of Tyler Maynard as the Scarecrow and Tory Ross as the Wicked Witch of the West were particularly extraordinary), but it will be refreshing to see a new generation tackle the iconic musical. Expect another Muse hit you will not want to miss.