On Stage Dayton
In the mood to embrace the fantastical?
Step right up as the Victoria Theatre Association concludes its 2016-2017 Premier Health Broadway Series with a crowd-pleasing Midwest premiere of “Circus 1903” at the Schuster Center.
A nostalgic ode to P.T. Barnum’s legacy and influence, “Circus 1903,” which premiered in Australia last year and had its American debut in Los Angeles in February, is not a play or musical. Arriving in town mere days after the 71st annual Tony Awards, the show may feel jarringly out of place to theatergoers accustomed to traditional Broadway Series programming. Nonetheless, it is a very entertaining and flashy theatrical depiction of a traveling circus, showcasing marvelous international talent fully prepared to amaze and astound with vibrant, death-defying displays under the direction of Neil Dorward (“The Illusionists”).
Act One standouts include dynamically jaw-dropping contortionist Senayet Assefa Amara (The Elastic Dislocationist) and lovely aerialist Elena Gatilova (Lucky Moon).
In the far stronger and better paced Act Two, exuberant speed juggler Francois Borie (The Great Gaston), skillful acrobats Anny Laplante and Andrei Kalesnikau (Les Incredibles), and handsome foot jugglers Alejandro and Ricardo Rossi (Fratelli Rossi) notably provide breathtaking, encore-worthy routines of astounding athleticism and showmanship.
The entire proceeding is admirably guided by the grandfatherly charm, narrative magnetism and quick wit of David Williamson as Ringmaster Willy Whipsnade. Williamson’s pleasant banter with impressionable youngsters bolsters the show’s heartwarming nature.
By and large, a lack of story structure is an issue and the show-within-a-show concept would be better served in a one-act format. Even so, the superb talent, mostly derived of generations of circus families from Mexico to Russia, and unique puppetry, under the direction of Mervyn Millar, are worth the price of admission. In fact, the show’s two puppet elephants are the brainchild of London-based Significant Object, the creative puppeteers behind acclaimed drama “War Horse.” Todd Edward Ivins’ eye-catching set, Angela Aaron’s attractively colorful turn of the century costumes, Paul Smith’s dazzlingly evocative lighting, and composer Evan Jolly’s dramatic score are added benefits fueling the captivating look and feel of a bygone era.
It can be argued “Circus 1903” is a programming option more inclined to suit a Las Vegas hotel than a Broadway touring house, but it’s certainly a worthwhile, family-friendly, thrill-inducing spectacle.
“Circus 1903: The Golden Age of Circus” continues through June 18 at the Schuster Center, Second and Main Streets, Dayton. Performances are Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 2 and 8 p.m., and Sunday at 2 and 7:30 pm. Act One: 50 minutes; Act Two: 45 minutes. Tickets are $30-$97. For tickets or more information, call Ticket Center Stage (937) 228-3630 or visit ticketcenterstage.com.
Jay D. Hanagan’s wonderfully endearing two-hander “First Kisses,” a humorous and touching love story spanning 60 years and a memorable finalist in the 2003 Dayton Playhouse FutureFest, receives a terrific staging courtesy of the senior-themed theater troupe Young at Heart Players at the Dayton Playhouse.
Annie Pesch and J. Gary Thompson are delightfully cast as Mary and John, childhood friends who blossom into spouses while sharing the intimacy of a shack in the woods where they converse and reflect. Portraying a range of ages from 11 to 72 would appear to be a challenging or daunting task, but not for this talented and compatible duo. In fact, Pesch’s ability to vibrantly tap into her inner child with exuberant precociousness and playful spunk certainly aids in setting the correct tone in the opening minutes. Still, both actors bring impressive nuance and versatility to the proceedings, deftly directed by Young at Heart founder Fran Pesch. Thompson is particularly great in a scene which finds the emotionally reserved John finally expressing his love for Mary while hilariously tipsy. Annie, who memorably originated the role of Mary in the FutureFest staged reading also directed by Fran, notably ages gracefully throughout. She finds multiple opportunities to convey meaningful depth whether interpreting Mary’s uncertainties as a spouse or quietly absorbing a life well lived in her golden years. More importantly, Pesch and Thompson are equally captivating in the show’s finest and most dramatic scene involving Mary and John discussing the shakiness in their marriage centered on John’s desire to catch up with his ex-fiancé.
“First Kisses,” nicely accented by Fran Pesch’s set design, Sandy Lemming and Pesch’s costumes, and John A. Falkenbach’s lighting design, is a simple yet charming look at the power of love and the dedicated commitment it takes to make a relationship work and endure. By and large, Mary and John heartwarmingly prove first kisses can last a lifetime.
“First Kisses” continues through Sunday, June 11 at the Dayton Playhouse, 1301 E. Siebenthaler Ave., Dayton. Performances are Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. Act One: 40 minutes; Act Two: 50 minutes. Tickets are $15 for adults and $12 for seniors and students. Tickets may be purchased at the door. Reservations can be made by calling Fran Pesch at (937) 654-0400. For additional information, visit www.youngatheartplayers.com. Patrons are advised the production contains some adult language.
Here’s your chance to win a fabulous time in the Windy City and to see one of the greatest theatrical events of our time while supporting Dayton’s official professional theatre company.
The raffle package includes
Four tickets to a performance of Hamilton at Chicago’s PrivateBank Theatre
Two rooms for two nights at the 5-star Gwen Hotel, compliments of Huffman Travel
A $150 gift card for dinner at Petterino’s– classic Italian dining, prime steaks and fresh seafood.
Raffle ticket prices
One ticket for $50
Four tickets for $150
(No more than 1,000 tickets will be sold.)
To purchase your raffle tickets:
Or, in person in the Loft lobby before every performance of On Golden Pond and Family Ties.
The drawing will be held June 25, 2017 following the final matinee performance of Family Ties. Winner need not be present.
The fine print:
The winner must redeem their ticket between August 1, and December 31, 2017.
Ticket stub and valid ID must be presented to The Human Race to redeem.
One month’s prior notice to The Human Race is required in order to make ticket and hotel reservations.
The price of raffle tickets is not tax deductible.
No refunds or exchanges. Prize cannot be returned for cash payment.
The Human Race Theatre Company employees, contractors or their family members are not eligible to enter.
Participants must be 18 years of age to enter.
Let’s talk TV. In case you hadn’t heard, reboots are the latest nostalgic trend taking pop culture by storm. In fact, a resurrected “Twin Peaks” is currently spooking Showtime, the Disney Channel repackages “That’s So Raven” as “Raven’s Home” next month, deliciously glamourous “Dynasty” will be rebranded for a new generation this fall on the CW, and plans are ongoing for Emmy Award-winning “Roseanne” to return next year to ABC or Netflix. At a time when investing in the untested comes with sizable risk, it is apparent producers are more willing to embrace tried and true projects, particularly derived from titles engrained in the psyche for decades.
One of those ready-made titles hoping to make big theatrical waves in the future is “Family Ties,” the popular sitcom (1982-1989) concerning the lovable and intellectual Keaton family from Columbus, Ohio. Starring Michael J. Fox, who won three Emmys for his portrayal of Alex P. Keaton, the show, created by Gary David Goldberg, brought relatable wholesomeness and humor to the table with entertaining political and cultural bite. Whenever he wasn’t perturbing his sisters Mallory and Jennifer, conservative Alex enjoyed a battle of wills with his ex-hippie, liberal parents Steven and Elyse. But at the end of the day, their bond always remained heartwarmingly intact.
“Family Ties” is the most recent TV property (now in the hands of CBS) being translated to the stage following a laundry list of classics such as “Cheers,” “Happy Days” and “I Love Lucy” among others. It has received a world premiere courtesy of the Human Race Theatre Company at the Loft Theatre produced by special arrangement with Araca Media & Entertainment. Written by Daniel Goldstein, who helmed an exhilarating and underrated 2011 Broadway revival of “Godspell,” the one-act play borrows certain episodes from the series (most notably “The Real Thing” in which Alex meets his future girlfriend Ellen Reed) as the foundation to tell a fresh story of reunion, forgiveness and heartbreak. Set 20 years later at the Keaton residence circa 2008 (minus little brother Andy Keaton serving overseas in the Peace Corps), the tale centers on Alex’s homecoming detailing exciting news of a run for Congress as well as the announcement he’ll soon be a father. However, laughter and reminiscing ultimately gives way to tragedy, a pivotal component Goldstein doesn’t have a tight grip on. Alex’s arrival contains a great deal of odd insensitivity which seems illogical considering the play’s trajectory toward bereavement. In turn, a series of flashbacks doesn’t necessarily help set the proper groundwork for the play’s plot twist, leaving portions of the dizzying action confusing and perplexing. In many respects, Goldstein wants “Family Ties” to feel emotionally akin to “Next to Normal,” another tale of close-knit family dynamics and underlying sorrow, but it’s a precarious notion. After all, no one wants to feel cheated by conceptual trickery so a better grasp of how this show navigates its time traveling structure is imperative.
Nevertheless, director Kevin Moore, fluidly helming with an excellent awareness of sitcom sensibilities, assembles an enjoyably cohesive sextet paying fine homage to the essence of their familiar characters. Immensely charming Jim Stanek (who gave a definitive rendition of “Love, I Hear” as Hero in the 1996 Tony Award-nominated revival of “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum”) is a thoroughly engaging focal point as Alex, particularly embodying Fox’s quirky persona with energetic glee (notice the way he bounces atop the kitchen counter in true Fox fashion). As Elyse, sitcom icon Eve Plumb, the unforgettable Jan Brady of “The Brady Bunch,” skillfully interprets the speech patterns and tenderly authoritative spirit of Meredith Baxter-Birney while offering a solidly endearing portrayal all her own. One of Plumb’s finest dramatic moments occurs opposite Stanek in flashback when Elyse and Alex debate Alex’s decision to celebrate his 18th birthday with his buddies in West Virginia, a firm reminder of the importance of checks and balances between parents and children. Lawrence Redmond lovingly conveys sincerity and gentleness as Steven and is especially strong in a scene detailing how Steven’s views of fatherhood were affected by his emotionally detached dad. Thea Brooks (whiny Mallory) and Sara Mackie (lively Jennifer) establish an appealing sisterhood. Maggie Lou Rader, mesmerizing in three flashbacks opposite Stanek at his most charismatic, truly delights as Ellen, Alex’s eventual wife.
In addition, set designer Tamara L. Honesty impeccably recreates the Keaton home from the stained glass front door to the linoleum kitchen floor. Janet G. Powell’s contemporary and period attire admirably accent the play’s tone despite the script unfortunately not allowing many costume changes. John Rensel’s lighting design and Jay Brunner’s sound design are expertly rendered, particularly Brunner marvelously turning back the hands of time with radio-inspired finesse. The production also effectively incorporates “Without Us,” the beautifully melodic “Family Ties” theme song, and Billy Vera and The Beaters’ romantic ballad “At This Moment.”
Personally, I’d be head over heels if someone decided to dramatize “Little House on the Prairie,” “Felicity,” “Sex and the City” or “Downton Abbey” to name only a few. So, if you’re a longtime fan of “Family Ties,” I totally understand why you would want to take advantage of catching up with characters who feel like old friends. Just be aware the play is in need of a hiatus in order to determine a clearer, more focused path on the road to substantively fulfilling resonance.
“Family Ties” continues through June 25 at the Loft Theatre of the Metropolitan Arts Center, 126 N. Main St., Dayton. Performances are Thursdays-Saturdays at 8 p.m., Tuesday and Wednesday at 7 p.m., and Sundays at 2 p.m. The production is performed in 80 minutes without intermission. Tickets are $12-$40. There are discounts for select side-area seats available for $12 and $25 for all performances. For group sales, contact Betty Gould at (937) 461-8295 or e-mail [email protected]. For tickets or more information, call (937) 228-3630 or visit www.humanracetheatre.org or ticketcenterstage.com. In addition, there will be a post-show talk-back following the Sunday, June 11 performance.
A frustrated and sheltered wife’s decision to turn over a new leaf reaches exciting, shocking, hilarious, and absurd proportions in David Lindsay-Abaire’s whimsical 2001 off-Broadway comedy “Wonder of the World,” excellently produced in its local premiere by the Dayton Theatre Guild.
The absolutely splendid Kari Carter, delivering a knockout Guild debut, impressively drives this kooky if uneven vehicle as the disillusioned yet determined Cass Harris, a free-spirited and conflicted soul longing for adventure and renewed purpose after leaving her husband Kip. Bound for Niagara Falls with a notepad detailing over 280 goals from learning Swedish to wearing velvet, Cass ventures forth to correct mistakes in her life with the hope of finding opportunities to explore possibilities in an attempt to live to the fullest. As is typical in the bizarre and dysfunctional Lindsay-Abaire universe, Cass comes in contact with an assortment of funny eccentrics such as a suicidal alcoholic, goofy private investigators and a clown therapist. His roadmap ultimately grows disjointed (an overlong group therapy scene within the framework of “The Newlywed Game” deflates Act 2), but he appealingly injects great promise into Cass’ journey of self-discovery nonetheless by the end of the play. In fact, the action wonderfully culminates on the rushing waters of Niagara Falls imaginatively staged by director Saul Caplan with black-clad stagehands (the Invisibles) in full view of the audience assisting the action (per the Kabuki tradition of Kuroko).
Vividly executing her passionate portrayal with bubbly ease, Carter thrillingly conjures the sitcom-esque vivacity and chatty effervescence of such contemporary comediennes as Sarah Jessica Parker (the original Cass), Lena Dunham, Julie Bowen, and Tracee Ellis Ross. She notably masters the tricky nuances and rhythms enabling the script to remain snappy, witty and conversational while ensuring Cass’ emotional vulnerabilities are evident. As clingy Kip, coping as best as possible with his Barbie fetish, Ian Manuel, in a welcomed return to the Guild, lends very endearing support. He firmly balances Kip’s devotion for Cass with darker undertones giving credence to her choice to seek a new love. Kerry Simpson, in a refreshing principal capacity, is equally winning as Cass’ troubled sidekick Lois Coleman, the aforementioned alcoholic on a mission to become the next Annie Edson Taylor complete with barrel in tow. Marcella Balin and Richard Young are delightfully unified as oddballs Karla and Glen, hired by Kip to track down Cass. Scott Madden is enjoyably pleasant as Maid of the Mist’s Captain Mike, Cass’ desired flame. Debra Strauss is a versatile hoot in multiple zany roles including a helicopter pilot, three waitresses, and a clown. Doug Lowe, Bekki Madden, Carly Risenhoover-Peterson, and Tori T. Tuccillo complete the cast as the dutiful Invisibles, effectively handling the varied moving parts of Richard Lee Waldeck’s efficient set pieces. Linda Sellers’ costumes, Jason Vogel’s lighting design, Ryan Shannon’s sound design, and N. Lynn Brown’s properties and set dressing nicely complement the action.
Lindsay-Abaire’s plays include his splendid and heartbreaking 2007 Pulitzer Prize-winning drama “Rabbit Hole” in addition to “Fuddy Meers,” “Good People,” “Kimberly Akimbo,” and “Ripcord.” He also wrote the book and lyrics for “Shrek: The Musical” and the book for the musical “High Fidelity.” “Wonder of the World” isn’t a representation of his best work, but Carter’s wondrously wonderful performance specifically resonates as an affirming reminder to always choose to go on when life gets messy.
“Wonder of the World” concludes Sunday, May 28 at 3 p.m. at the Dayton Theatre Guild, 430 Wayne Ave., Dayton. Act 1 and Act 2 are performed in 60 minutes. Tickets are $20 for adults, $18 for seniors and $13 for students. For tickets or more information, call (937) 278-5993 or visit daytontheatreguild.org. Patrons are advised the production contains adult language, fog effects and the sound of gunshots.
Librettist Harvey Fierstein and composer Cyndi Lauper’s delightfully feel-good 2013 Tony Award-winning Best Musical “Kinky Boots” receives an outstanding local premiere at the Schuster Center courtesy of the Victoria Theatre Association’s Premier Health Broadway Series.
Based on the 2005 British film of the same name, this upbeat musical comedy of friendship, acceptance and empowerment primarily concerns the economic woes of Price and Son, a shoe manufacturing company in Northhampton, England in dire need of a new target market. Succeeding his deceased father, frequently frustrated Charlie (passionate understudy Ciarán McCarthy) doesn’t have a clue as to what would really spark a turnaround. However, salvation ultimately arrives at the foot of flamboyant drag queen Lola (dynamically fierce Timothy Ware). Lola’s savvy eye for fashion and Charlie’s desire to tap into a niche market and create sexy women’s boots for men provides the lighthearted, opposites attract-driven fuel which keeps the action endlessly entertaining. Still, by no means is this a show without depth or heart-tugging sincerity. After all, Charlie and Lola’s relationship particularly evolves to a better understanding of each other’s faults and similarities, resulting in impactful moments filled with tender respect and occasionally explosive disrespect.
McCarthy and Ware compellingly lead this fantastic tour which rivals the original Broadway production in tone and vivacity while retaining Jerry Mitchell’s expert original direction and choreography. McCarthy doesn’t receive the best musical material (in a lopsided decision, Lauper wrote multiple knockouts for Lola), but brings equal amounts of agitation, determination and introspective vulnerability to the forefront nonetheless. He supplies a first-rate performance giving credence to Charlie’s mission to pave his own trail no matter how far it strayed from his father’s vision. The exceptional Ware, the Broadway Lola standby who performed the role 186 times, attacks the Mead Theatre stage as if it were his personal runway with marvelously magnetic flair. In every saunter, swish, sashay, strut, finger snap, and head twirl, Ware thrillingly breathes vivacious life into Lola’s charming aura, particularly in the super sassy “Land of Lola” and “Sex Is in the Heel.” Both disco-flavored numbers are notably heightened by the mesmerizing talents and athleticism of Lola’s Angels (her fellow drag queens) splendidly portrayed by Joseph Anthony Byrd, Tony d’Alelio, John J. Dempsey, Ian Gallagher Fitzgerald, Xavier Reyes, and Andy Richardson. In addition to showcasing Lola’s natural ability to unify those around her as only she can, Ware’s heartfelt interpretation of “Not My Father’s Son” and roof-raising “Hold Me in Your Heart” endearingly explores Lola’s emotional baggage stemming from being raised by an intolerant father.
Elsewhere, excellent featured portrayals are delivered by perky understudy Erica Peck (offering a very playful rendition of “The History of Wrong Guys” in the role of Lauren, a Price and Son employee with a huge crush on Charlie), Katerina Papacostas as Charlie’s fiancé Nicola, Jim J. Bullock as overseer George, Aaron Walpole as bigoted Don, Madge Dietrich as loyal Pat, and Dan Tracy as Charlie’s longtime friend Harry.
The uniformly terrific creative team includes scenic designer David Rockwell, costumer Gregg Barnes (supplying specifically striking attire for Lola and her Angels), lighting designer Kenneth Posner, sound designer John Shivers, hair designer Josh Marquette, and make-up designer Randy Houston Mercer. Music director Roberto Sinha leads a solid orchestra.
If you need a proud and strong reminder that it’s okay to love who you are, let “Kinky Boots” bolster your declaration to just be.
“Kinky Boots” continues through May 28 in the Mead Theatre of the Schuster Center, Second and Main Streets, Dayton. Performances are Thursday and Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 2 and 8 p.m., and Sunday at 2 and 7:30 pm. Act One: 70 minutes; Act Two: 40 minutes. Tickets are $30-$97. For tickets or more information, call Ticket Center Stage (937) 228-3630 or visit ticketcenterstage.com.
One of the most beloved television families of the 1980s is set to make a long awaited return in the world premiere of Family Ties, written by Daniel Goldstein (The Song of Songs, Unknown Soldier and Row), based on the classic television series, directed by The Human Race’s President & Artistic Director Kevin Moore and produced by special arrangement by Araca Media & Entertainment.
Twenty years have passed and Alex P. Keaton, now running for Congress, returns to his parents’ Columbus home with his sisters, Mallory and Jennifer, who are parents of their own. Gathered together once again, they relive some of the most important moments from their childhood – the growing pains, heartbreaks and reconciliations – with fondness and appreciation for simpler times that defined a generation. The preview performance of Family Ties is Thursday, June 1. Opening night is Friday, June 2, and the production runs through June 25 at The Human Race’s home at downtown Dayton’s Loft Theatre.
Responsible for shepherding Goldstein’s play through development, New York City-based Araca Media & Entertainment believed the stage version of Family Ties—a series about a family living in central Ohio—should make its debut in the Buckeye State when it brought the property to The Human Race’s Kevin Moore in 2016. “To be hand selected as the theatre to bring this show to life is a huge honor, and speaks to our national reputation,” beams Moore, who has directed and produced dozens of new plays and musicals over the past thirty years. “Developing new works has become a vital part of our mission,” explains Moore, “and working with playwright Danny Goldstein has been a joy and privilege. Theatre is never more exciting than when you are creating something for the first time.”
Unlike most new works, Family Ties has the added benefit of nostalgia for Moore, and likely much of the country. “Being a TV show that I watched faithfully, I am thrilled to be able to continue the Keatons’ story,” he says, “and to find out how life played out for these characters who I, and America, loved for seven seasons.” While preparing for rehearsals on the play, which revisits many poignant moments in the characters’ lives twenty years earlier, Moore spent time watching and reviewing episodes from the television series. “The research—if I may call binge watching ‘research’—was refreshing.” He explains, “I was reminded how many tough and timeless issues are tackled in Family Ties, and how smart the writing of the TV show is. Yes, it is a comedy, but good comedy comes from good drama. And that’s what we’re really all about at The Human Race.”
CAST AND DESIGN TEAM
The six-member cast features Jim Stanek (Fun Home, Lestat, The Rivals on Broadway) as “Alex,” Eve Plumb (TV’s The Brady Bunch, Dawn: Portrait of a Teenage Runaway and Fudge, Unbroken Circle Off-Broadway) as “Elyse” and Lawrence Redmond (Intelligence at Arena Stage, A Prayer for Owen Meany at Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, Elmer Gantry at Signature Theatre) as “Steven.” Thea Brooks (Dirty Dancing 1st national tour, I Love Lucy, Live on Stage national tour) plays “Mallory,” Sara Mackie (Hands on a Hardbody and Other Desert Cities at Ensemble Theatre of Cincinnati, Green Gables for HRTC) is the youngest daughter, “Jennifer.” Maggie Lou Rader (Heavier Than… at Know Theatre Cincinnati, Emma and Little Women at Cincinnati Shakespeare Company) rounds out the ensemble as Alex’s love interest, “Ellen.”
The creative team includes Tamara L. Honesty (Other Desert Cities, Becky’s New Car and Lombardi at HRTC), scenic design; Janet G. Powell (Sweeney Todd, The Full Monty and the world premiere of Family Shots at HRTC), costume design; Human Race Resident Artist John Rensel (The Glass Menagerie, Crowns and Next to Normal for HRTC), lighting design; Human Race Resident Artist Jay Brunner (the world premiere of 26 Pebbles, The Glass Menagerie and Hail Mary! at HRTC) sound design; and Lexi Muller, production stage manager.
Family Ties reunites audiences with one of the most beloved television families of the 1980s. Twenty years have passed and Alex P. Keaton, now running for Congress, returns to his parents’ Columbus home with his sisters, Mallory and Jennifer, who are parents of their own. Gathered together once again, they relive some of the most important moments from their childhood—the growing pains, heartbreaks and reconciliations—with fondness and appreciation for simpler times that defined a generation.
Performance and special event information
Tickets for the preview performance of Family Ties on June 1 start at $35 for adults, $32 for seniors and $17.50 for students. For all performances June 2 – 25, single ticket prices start at $40 for adults, $37 for seniors and $20 for students. Prices vary depending on the day of the week and seating location. Group discounts are available for parties of 10 or more. The Human Race is offering a pair of discount ticket opportunities during the run of the show. A limited number of $12 and $25 side-area seats are available in advance for all performances. The Sunday, June 4 7:00 p.m. performance is “Sawbuck Sunday,” when any available seat can be purchased in person for just $10 at the Loft Theatre box office two hours prior to the show. Discounts are subject to availability and some restrictions apply.
All performances are at The Human Race’s home in the Metropolitan Art Center’s Loft Theatre, located at 126 North Main Street in downtown Dayton, Ohio. Show times for Family Ties are 8:00 p.m. on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings. Performances on Sunday, Tuesday and Wednesday evenings begin at 7:00 p.m., and at 2:00 p.m. on Sunday matinees.
Tickets and performance information for Family Ties are available at www.humanracetheatre.org or by calling Ticket Center Stage at (937) 228-3630, and at the Schuster Center box office.
|From FreakShow Deluxe – Hollywood’s own & ONLY carnival-style sideshow comes THE FREAKSHOW FAMILY SHOW!
A show full of sideshow stunts, comedy, western arts, mentalism, magic, and more – ALL LIVE! ALL REAL! This is their ONLY scheduled Dayton, Ohio appearance. If you miss the chance to see this LIVE – you’ll have to wait until they are on TV again.
The Dayton Playhouse will hold auditions for its annual “FutureFest” new play festival on the following dates: May 29 & 30 at 7 p.m. Fully staged plays will audition on Monday and staged readings on Tuesday.
FutureFest is a festival of previously unproduced plays, which have been submitted by playwrights across the United States. Hundreds of submissions are read and the top six are selected to be performed at the festival. Playwrights of these plays will attend the festival, as will five professional adjudicators from across the country. Three plays will be performed as staged readings and three will be fully staged over the 3-day festival. Feedback will be given by adjudicators and audience members and a festival winner will be selected. This year marks the 27th FutureFest, which is the largest new play festival in the country sponsored by a community theatre.
The finalists in this year’s “FutureFest” include:
First, Do No Harm by J. Thalia Cunningham of Delmar, NY (staged reading)
Synopsis: Our recent election galvanized a tsunami of concerns about race and healthcare.
The CDC reported black Americans suffer higher rates of disability and preventable diseases than non-minorities. While blatant discrimination is no longer rampant, stereotyping persists. Hospitals emphasize the need for cultural diversity but, perhaps, have fallen short. Inspired by a real case, FIRST, DO NO HARM is the story of two African American mothers journeying along parallel paths of grief and guilt. It doesn’t attempt to answer the questions raised. There are no easy answers, and no single clinical guideline is useful in unraveling the spectrum of human physical, mental, and emotional response to illness.
5 actors (4F, 1 M) with doubling
- ELISSA KERRY – 40s, African-American, surgeon and mother.
- ALISON TAYLOR – 40s, Caucasian, Elissa’s wife, a family physician.
MATTIE CLESTER – 50s, African-American woman, uneducated but street smart.
DWAYNE HATCHER – 50s, Hospital CEO, African-American. Comes from a Ben Carson background, but has a
Donald Trump attitude (also plays various other small parts).
FEMALE ACTOR – Scrub nurse, Valerie, Patient Advocate, Medical Board Nurse.
The Spanish Prayer Book by Angela J Davis of Los Angeles, CA (staged reading)
Synopsis: In 2007, a committed atheist inherits a collection of rare and extremely valuable illustrated Hebrew manuscripts, including a prayer book from fourteenth-century Spain. Financial struggles and a child’s recent hospitalization favor an initial plan to auction the books. A moral dilemma, historical mystery, and matters of the heart converge, however, following the discovery that the books, which bear witness to overlapping Jewish and Islamic traditions, were stolen, some six-hundred years after their creation, from a library in Berlin. Inspired by true events and a late twentieth-century court case, and using images from the books themselves, the play explores the allure of sacred manuscripts, the ethical issues generated by cultural treasures displaced during wartime, and the power of art to forge human connections.
6 actors (3 F, 3 M) with doubling
JACOB ADLER – 80s; beloved emeritus history professor and progressive rabbi. Gentle and understated, a man of Talmudic wisdom and agonizing secrets.
JOAN ADLER – 70s; Jacob’s wife, raised in London. Cosmopolitan and frank, especially when it comes to the
patriarchies of academia and organized religion.
MICHAELA ADLER – 40s; Jacob and Joan’s daughter. A long-time atheist who has abandoned a legal career to
teach inner city kids. Attractive and reasonably well presented, but also divorced, exhausted, and broke.
JULIEN NAZIR – 40s; Jacob’s protégé, a non-practicing Muslim, born in the Middle East and educated in the
West. Handsome, accomplished, and socially conscious; a tenured historian at Berkeley, currently
guest teaching in London.
ALEXANDER ADLER – 60s; a rabbi born in Budapest, but a mystic of many times and places. Well-versed in
Jewish texts, but favoring life and humanity above all. The same actor plays CHRISTOPHER HOWELL,
a British newspaper reporter.
CHANNA WILD – 30s; reserved, highly intelligent, and beautiful librarian at the Hebrew Institute of Berlin.
The same actor plays an icy auction house ASSISTANT and a nervous male LAW CLERK
Wake by Vince Gatton of New York, NY (staged reading)
Synopsis: Dan and Eric have a new marriage license, a new baby, and a new house in the country. As they settle into this new life, Dan is having what seem to be sleepwalking episodes. A ghost story told by a young visitor leads Eric to suspect that Dan’s sleepwalking is actually something far more sinister — but is it what he thinks it is? Or are there other forces at work? WAKE is a ghost story for the post-AIDS generation, a play about marriage, expectations, and the power of narrative to both heal and harm.
5 actors (1 F, 4 M)
DAN – 45 – 50, Caucasian, married to ERIC.
ERIC – 30 – ish, Caucasian, married to DAN.
TERRELL – 45 – 50, African – American, friend of DAN.
ESME- 20s, African – American, niece of TERRELL.
CHARLIE – 30-ish, friend of ERIC.
Magnificent Hubba Hubba by Olga Humphrey of New York, NY (fully staged)
Synopsis: A teenage boy tracks down his downtrodden, fiery, and foulmouthed idol –“The Magnificent Hubba Hubba” – an old-time woman wrestler now over 70 and working as a greeter at a hotel casino. He aims to set up the rematch of the century between her and her arch rival of years gone by. But what he really wants is to win the love of her estranged granddaughter, a high school wrestling star who hates his guts. A comedy about how true passion never grows old, and sometimes the best partnerships are the most unlikely ones.
7 actors (5 F, 2 M) with doubling
LUCILLE – 70s
ROY – 16
ALICE – 70s
LULU – 16
ZANE – 70s, ANNOUNCER
WANDA, NADYA, YOUNG LUCILLE, REFEREE (20s-50s)
TEDDY, NURSE, YOUNG ALICE, HOSTESS (20s-30s)
On Pine Knoll Street by Mark Cornell of Chapel Hill, NC (fully staged)
Synopsis: Thelma is a colorful and quick-witted 87-year old woman struggling with her memory. Her devoted daughter Marilyn, with whom she now lives, is trying to make the best of the situation. When Marilyn asks her neighbor Curtis, a struggling writer and stay-at-home father, to care for her mother and her beloved cats while she is at the beach, it sets in motion a friendship that tethers two families. Funny and heartbreaking, On Pine Knoll Street is an intimate look at the joy and fragility of life, the meaning of home, and the things we do for love.
5 actors (3 F, 1 M, 1 boy)
THELMA – 87, F
MARILYN – 52, F
CURTIS – 40, M
KRISTIE – 38, F
MITCHELL – 8, M
The Puppeteer by Desiree York of Rancho Santa Margarita, CA (fully staged)
Synopsis: When Constance, a 1920’s jazz singer, chooses to stand on her own, not only is her name carried on through multiple generations, but so is her determination to find an identity in an ever changing world. Spanning five generations, starting in the Harlem Renaissance and ending in present day, the women from one African-American family struggle to overcome the roles assigned to them by society in order to find their way home.
7 actors (5 F, 2 M)
CONSTANCE/CONNIE (played by the same actress) – 20s – mid 30s, African – American woman ROBERT/CHRISTOPHER (played by the same actor) – role spans 20s -late 40s, Caucasian man
ERNIE/MR. HOTCHKISS (played by the same actor )- 30s – 40s, Caucasian man
MISS DUNSTON – 20, Caucasian woman
MRS. COVINGTON – Early – mid 20s, Caucasian woman
- JENKINS – Early – mid 30s, Caucasian woman
- EVANS – role spans early 50s – early 70s, Caucasian woman.
Auditions will consist of cold readings from the scripts. Full cast information is also available at www.daytonplayhouse.com.
Auditions will be held at the Dayton Playhouse, 1301 E. Siebenthaler Ave., Dayton, OH 45414. Those auditioning should bring a list of any scheduling conflicts through July 23. Rehearsals are typically in the evening, or on weekends.
FutureFest performances will be July 21-23. Weekend passes are $100 and will be available soon by calling the box office at 937-424-8477. The box office is staffed Mondays and Wednesdays from 1:30 – 3:30 p.m., however messages may be left at any time and calls will be returned. Tickets to individual performances will be $18.
The Dayton Playhouse is a community theatre providing outstanding theatrical productions to Miami Valley audiences of all ages for more than fifty years. The Playhouse is nationally recognized for “FutureFest,” a festival of new plays.