Two schoolteachers accused of lesbianism at an all-girls boarding school cannot escape the onslaught of lies encircling them in Lillian Hellman’s provocative, rarely staged 1934 drama “The Children’s Hour,” excellently presented by Wright State University under the delicately firm direction of Marya Spring Cordes. Karen Wright (Katie Post) and Martha Dobie (Haley Knuth) are shocked to the core when troublesome 12-year-old student Mary Tilford (Dana Bixler) tells her stern yet doting grandmother Amelia (Megan Valle) what she thinks she heard about their behavior behind closed doors. As … [Read more...] about ‘The Children’s Hour’ Review – Wright State University – Alternative Facts Run Amok
On Stage Dayton Reviews
The tragic December 14, 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, which took the lives of 20 children and six adults, is examined with relatable earnestness and resilience in Eric Ulloa’s touching if uneven new play “26 Pebbles,” currently receiving its professional premiere from the Human Race Theatre Company. Six months after the incident, Ulloa, a New York actor and playwright recently featured in the entertaining new Gloria and Emilio Estefan bio- musical “On Your Feet!,” traveled to Newtown for answers. Angry and frustrated, he sought solace in … [Read more...] about ’26 Pebbles’ Review – Human Race Theatre Company – Healing in the Aftermath
The battle for custody of a 6-month-old baby girl entices with compelling magnetism in Rebecca Gilman’s 2014 contemporary drama “Luna Gale,” currently receiving an outstanding local premiere at the Dayton Theatre Guild and directed with superb, true-to-life delicacy by Debra Kent. Misunderstanding, confusion, regret, and hope bolsters this fascinating tale fueled by Caroline, a veteran social worker in Cedar Rapids, Iowa trying to place the title character, neglected by her drug addicted teen parents Karlie and Peter, in the best environment. Fully invested in her job almost to her … [Read more...] about ‘Luna Gale’ Review – Dayton Theatre Guild – Little Girl Lost
Aaaahhh, the doldrums of late January, early February. What to do, and where to go.....how about 'A place where nobody dared to go....The love that we came to know...They call it XANADU!!' The tongue-in-cheek tribute to the 1980 movie of the same title, has skated into the Dayton Playhouse through February 5th. "It's a small musical, with a cast 9 people, yet it has everything you expect from the show!" says Amy Askins, one of the show's cast members. "There is roller-skating, great sets (by Chris Newman), fabulous wigs (by Steve Burton) and of course the music!" (For ELO fans, welcome back … [Read more...] about X Marks THE Spot….in XANADU!
Life got you down? Head over to the Dayton Playhouse for a delightful dose of feel-good nostalgia in the form of “Xanadu,” the hilarious 2008 Tony Award-nominated musical comedy continuing its local premiere through Feb. 5. Based on the campy 1980 movie musical of the same name starring Olivia Newton-John and breezily directed by Tina McPhearson, “Xanadu” brings Greek mythology to Los Angeles circa 1980. Beautiful muse Clio attempts to rejuvenate the creative impulses within struggling chalk artist Sonny Malone, whose artistic dream is to open a roller disco. Disguised as an Australian … [Read more...] about ‘Xanadu’ Review – Dayton Playhouse – Fun Frivolity
Marc Shaiman, Scott Wittman, Mark O’Donnell and Thomas Meehan’s 2002 Tony Award-winning musical comedy “Hairspray” is a glorious hit all over again thanks to the Muse Machine’s truly delightful, impressively cast and genuinely crowd-pleasing production continuing through Sunday, Jan. 15 at the Victoria Theatre. “Hairspray” is the arts education organization’s 33rd annual student musical and features 170 Muse students from across the Miami Valley. Based on the 1988 John Waters film of the same name, the show cleverly uses humor and cultural/societal attitudes to examine important and … [Read more...] about ‘Hairspray’ Review – Muse Machine – You Can’t Stop the Joy!
The "Bee" is back and charming as ever thanks to Dare to Defy Productions. Composer William Finn, librettist Rachel Sheinkin and conceiver Rebecca Feldman’s entertaining and tuneful 2005 Tony Award-winning musical comedy “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” has been a popular, ensemble-driven choice for many area theaters over the years. After all, the witty material’s clever brew of zaniness, eccentricity and tenderness is innately appealing in a kooky fashion. So, it’s no surprise Dare to Defy is the latest troupe to provide their own take, a firm, fast-paced, excellently … [Read more...] about ‘The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee’ – Dare to Defy Productions – A Very Nice Beginning
Every day is Saturday. This no holds barred philosophy seems to suit 15-year-old sophomores Emmy and Claire, a naive duo on the prowl for unassuming older men in Deirdre O’Connor’s riveting contemporary dramedy “Jailbait,” which receives an outstanding local premiere in the Mathile Theatre of the Schuster Center courtesy of millennial-centric Playground Theatre. Instead of clinging to the innocence of youth, the reticent Claire (an expertly cautious and emotionally wounded Jenna Gomes) and confidently sly Emmy (magnetically effervescent Lisa Glover) dress up in their sexiest attire (the … [Read more...] about ‘Jailbait’ Review – Playground Theatre – Dangerous Game
Mary Wytkowski, a feisty novice unashamed to ruffle feathers in a climate built on long-standing ideologies and rigid structure, is a truly fascinating brew of complexity, boldness and hope in Tom Dudzick’s surprisingly engrossing comedy “Hail Mary!,” currently receiving a terrific local premiere courtesy of the Human Race Theatre Company at the Loft Theatre. Set in 2003 at Saint Aloysius Catholic Elementary School in upstate New York, “Hail Mary!” is a smart and savvy reminder of how consequential words can be especially when addressed to impressionable third-graders. When Mary tells one … [Read more...] about ‘Hail Mary!’ Review – Human Race Theatre Company – An Education
Forget June. Silly, feel-good fun is bustin’ out all over Wright State University’s outstanding presentation of the rarely staged 1971 revision of the 1925 musical comedy “No, No, Nanette” in the Festival Playhouse of the Creative Arts Center. Amusingly adapted by Burt Shevelove (“A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum”), “No, No, Nanette” is an old-fashioned confection about blossoming romance and kooky shenanigans predominately set in Atlantic City circa 1925. Spunky Nanette loves her chipper boyfriend Tom Trainor, but matters grow complicated through various … [Read more...] about ‘No, No, Nanette’ Review – Wright State University – Nifty Nostalgia