Saluting Dayton’s 2012-13 Theater Season

AVENUE Q production pic

James Oblak with “Princeton” and Annie Kalahurka, Brett Travis and Andrew Ian Adams in Avenue Q.
Photo by Scott J. Kimmins

From a glamorous Berlin hotel to a den of blood-thirsty vampires, Dayton’s 2012-13 theater season contained a slew of high quality, entertaining components.
Currently enjoying great success with the hilariously naughty “Avenue Q,” the Human Race Theatre Company impeccably produced a splendidly character and ensemble-driven, marvelously choreographed “Oliver!,” a wonderfully transformative  journey that absolutely typified the joy of embracing musical theater anew.  The organization’s decision to promote and encourage new plays was also evident, specifically its Midwest premiere of Janece Shaffer’s funny and poignant relationship comedy “Managing Maxine” which could be a huge hit in regional theaters across the country. The Victoria Theatre Association’s Premier Health Broadway Series deserves praise as well for delivering first-rate national tours of “The Addams Family,” “American Idiot,” “Dreamgirls” and “Rock of Ages”  to name a few. Interestingly, the Victoria’s brief engagement of the delightfully risqué “Spank! The Fifty Shades Parody” was a bold move that paid off tremendously.
Within community theaters, the Dayton Playhouse had a very commendable season bookended by two strong Sondheim presentations (“Side by Side by Sondheim” and “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum”) and heightened by the totally refreshing, delectably spooky thrill ride that was “Dracula.”  The Dayton Theatre Guild, a haven for eclectic premieres, gathered fine ensembles for its engrossing productions of “100 Saints You Should Know,” “Ghosts” and “The Pillowman.” Playhouse South continued its pleasant upswing with “Legally Blonde” and “Little Shop of Horrors.” The consistently imaginative Zoot Theatre Company particularly excelled with “The Hobbit.”
On collegiate stages, Wright State University effortlessly restored “1913: The Great Dayton Flood” and pulled out the stops for an absolutely elegant, vocally striking production of “Grand Hotel: The Musical.” Sinclair Community College primarily scored with a very touching local premiere of “Intimate Apparel” and a cohesively joyful “Godpsell.” The University of Dayton supplied an impressive, fascinating look at Edward Albee’s “The American Dream” and “Zoo Story.”
On Saturday, August 3 at Sinclair Community College’s Charity Early Room, Dayton’s theater community will gather for the 10th annual DayTony Awards, honoring the achievements of designers, performers and productions across the area as voted on by 10 participating collegiate and community theaters. The event will be held in conjunction with the 12th annual Dayton Theatre Hall of Fame induction celebrating scenic and lighting designer Darrell Anderson, actor/designer/director Chris Harmon, producer John Kenley and director Kay Frances Wean. Kenley and Wean will be posthumously inducted.
Assessing the 75 shows I saw over the past 12 months, here are my picks (winners are in bold) for the season’s outstanding artists and productions.

RACE

l to r) Bruce Cromer, Richard B. Watson, Alan Bomar Jones and Julia Pace Mitchell in Race
Photo by Scott J. Kimmins


BEST PROFESSIONAL PRODUCTION OF A PLAY
Lombardi, Human Race Theatre Company
Managing Maxine, Human Race Theatre Company
Race, Human Race Theatre Company

BEST LOCALLY-PRODUCED PROFESSIONAL MUSICAL
Avenue Q, Human Race Theatre Company
Next to Normal, Human Race Theatre Company/Victoria Theatre Association
Oliver!, Human Race Theatre Company

BEST PROFESSIONAL TOURING MUSICAL
The Addams Family, Victoria Theatre Association
Dreamgirls, Victoria Theatre Association
Hair, Springfield Arts Council
Mary Poppins, Victoria Theatre Association
Rock of Ages, Victoria Theatre Association

dracula

Jared Mola in Dracula
Photo by Art Fabian

BEST COMMUNITY THEATER PRODUCTION OF A PLAY
100 Saints You Should Know, Dayton Theatre Guild
Dracula, Dayton Playhouse
Ghosts, Dayton Theatre Guild
The Hobbit, Zoot Theatre Company
The Pillowman, Dayton Theatre Guild

BEST COMMUNITY THEATER PRODUCTION OF A MUSICAL
A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Dayton Playhouse
Legally Blonde, Playhouse South
Little Shop of Horrors, Playhouse South
Side by Side by Sondheim, Dayton Playhouse
Thoroughly Modern Millie, Dayton Playhouse

BEST COLLEGIATE PRODUCTION OF A PLAY
1913: The Great Dayton Flood, Wright State University
The American Dream/Zoo Story, University of Dayton
Intimate Apparel, Sinclair Community College
The Miracle Worker, Wright State University

BEST COLLEGIATE PRODUCTION OF A MUSICAL
Funny Girl, Wright State University
Godspell, Sinclair Community College
Grand Hotel:  The Musical, Wright State University
Spring Awakening, Wright State University

American Idiot

(l to r) Jenna Rubaii and Thomas Hettrick in American Idiot
Photo by John Daughtry

BEST NEW WORK
Gingerbread Children, Human Race Theatre Company
Managing Maxine, Human Race Theatre Company
Nureyev’s Eyes, Dayton Playhouse FutureFest
Spank! The Fifty Shades Parody, Victoria Theatre Association
Under a Red Moon, Human Race Theatre Company

BEST SPECIAL THEATRICAL EVENT
Ain’t Misbehavin,’ Central State University, Dayton Contemporary Dance Company and Zoot Theatre Company
American Idiot, Victoria Theatre Association
Crazy for You, Muse Machine
Into the Woods, Wright State University Senior Class
Spank! The Fifty Shades Parody, Victoria Theatre Association

BEST LEADING ACTOR IN A PLAY
Alex Carmichal as Count Dracula, Dracula
Alexander Chilton as Jerry, Zoo Story
Edward Furs as Vincent Lombardi, Lombardi
Patrick Hayes as Katurian K. Katurian, The Pillowman
Jared Mola as Osvald Alving, Ghosts
Richard B. Watson as Jack Lawson, Race

Miracle Worker

(l to r) Kate Mueller and Cyndii Johnson in The Miracle Worker
Contributed photo

BEST LEADING ACTRESS IN A PLAY
Cassandra Engber as Anna Reardon, And Miss Reardon Drinks a Little (Dayton Theatre Guild)
Lisa Howard-Welch as Helene Alving, Ghosts
Cyndii Johnson as Anne Sullivan, The Miracle Worker
Marcy McGuian as Marie Lombardi, Lombardi
Jana Robbins as Maxine Levine, Managing Maxine
Marva M.B. Williams as Esther Mills, Intimate Apparel

BEST LEADING ACTOR IN A MUSICAL
Brad Mattingly as Pseudolus, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum
Con O’Shea-Creal as Bert, Mary Poppins
James Oblak as Princeton and Rod, Avenue Q
Jesse Sharp as Gomez Addams, The Addams Family
Desmond Thomas as Seymour, Little Shop of Horrors
Gary Troy as Fagin, Oliver!

BEST LEADING ACTRESS IN A MUSICAL
Charity Dawson as Effie Melody White, Dreamgirls
Melissa Hall as Fanny Brice, Funny Girl
Katie Pees as Kate Monster and Lucy T. Slut, Avenue Q
Trisha Rapier as Diana Goodman, Next to Normal
Sara Sheperd as Nancy, Oliver!
Carly Snyder as Polly Baker, Crazy for You

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A PLAY
Bruce Cromer as Charles Strickland, Race
Alan Bomar Jones as Henry Brown, Race
Sean Jones as John H. Patterson, 1913: The Great Dayton Flood
Charles Larkowski as Pastor Manders, Ghosts
Jared Mola as Robert Renfield, Dracula
Matthew W. Smith as Eliot, Opus (Dayton Theatre Guild)

100Saints

(l to r) Barbara Jorgensen, Maximillian Santucci, Alex Carmichal, Katrina Kittle and Corinne Engber in 100 Saints You Should Know
Photo by Craig Roberts

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A PLAY
Catherine Collins as Mrs. Dickson, Intimate Apparel
Jenna Gomes as Grandma, The American Dream
Barbara Jorgensen as Coleen, 100 Saints You Should Know
Caitlin Larsen as Mother, Frau Graf and Kathryn, Gingerbread Children
Julia Pace Mitchell as Susan, Race
Sherri Sutter as Dotty Otley and Mrs. Clackett, Noises Off (Brookville Community Theatre)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A MUSICAL
Ian DeVine as Jack, Into the Woods
Drew Helton as Moritz Stiefel, Spring Awakening
Joseph Medeiros as the Artful Dodger and Widow Corney, Oliver!
JoNathan Michael as James “Thunder” Early, Dreamgirls
Christopher G. Smith as Ken Page, Ain’t Misbehavin’
Justin Talkington as Eddie Ryan, Funny Girl

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A MUSICAL
Michelle Liu Coughlin as Christmas Eve, Avenue Q
Elana D. Elmore as Muzzy Van Hossmere, Thoroughly Modern Millie
Jennifer Fogarty as Wednesday Addams, The Addams Family
Kelli Locker as Herself, Godspell
Shawn Storms as Gary Coleman, Avenue Q
Michelle Weiser as Rose Brice, Funny Girl

BREAKTHROUGH MALE PERFORMANCE
Darren Brown as Rudolf Nureyev, Nureyev’s Eyes
Jon Hacker as Melchoir Gabor, Spring Awakening
Mathys Herbert as Otto Kringelin, Grand Hotel: The Musical
Joseph Risner as Michael, The Pillowman
Maximillian Santucci as Garrett, 100 Saints You Should Know
David Thomas as Jimmy Smith, Thoroughly Modern Millie

BREAKTHROUGH FEMALE PERFORMANCE
Taryn Lemmons as Elizaveta Grushinskaya, Grand Hotel: The Musical
Katie McCarthy as Elle Woods, Legally Blonde
Abby McLean as Millie Dillmount, Thoroughly Modern Millie
Cari Meixner as Audrey, Little Shop of Horrors
Kate Mueller as Helen Keller, The Miracle Worker
Hayley Penchoff as Katherina, The Taming of the Shrew (Sinclair Community College)

OLIVER

(l to r) Joseph Medeiros and Blaise Bouschard in Oliver!
Photo by Scott J. Kimmins.

BEST DIRECTION OF A PLAY
D. Tristan Cupp and J. Gary Thompson, The Hobbit
Tony Dallas, The American Dream/Zoo Story
Richard E. Hess, Race
Natasha Randall, The Pillowman
David Shough, Dracula

BEST DIRECTION OF A MUSICAL
Kimberly Borst, Godspell
Marya Spring Cordes, Grand Hotel:  The Musical
Joe Deer, Avenue Q
Alan Souza, Oliver!
Scott Stoney, Next to Normal

BEST CHOREOGRAPHY
Debbie Blunden-Diggs, Ain’t Misbehavin’
Lula Elzy, Crazy for You
Spencer Liff, Oliver!
Robert Longbottom and Shane Sparks, Dreamgirls
Suzanne Winland, Grand Hotel: The Musical

BEST SCENIC DESIGN OF A PLAY
Michael Amico, The Miracle Worker
Chris Harmon, Intimate Apparel
Josh Hollister, Ghosts
David Shough, Dracula
Terry Stump, The Taming of the Shrew (Sinclair Community College)

BEST SCENIC DESIGN OF A MUSICAL
Dick Block, Avenue Q
David A. Centers, Oliver!
D. Tristan Cupp, Ain’t Misbehavin’
Pam Knauert Lavarnway, Grand Hotel: The Musical
Terry Stump, Godspell

BEST COSTUME DESIGN OF A PLAY
Carol Finley and Robin Farinet, Ghosts
Kathleen Hotmer, The Taming of the Shrew (Sinclair Community College)
Mary Beth McLaughlin, The Miracle Worker
Barbara Pontecorvo, Dracula
Shirley P. Wasser, The Hobbit

BEST COSTUME DESIGN OF A MUSICAL
D. Bartlett Blair, Grand Hotel: The Musical
William Ivey Long, Dreamgirls
Carrie Robbins, Irving Berlin’s White Christmas (Victoria Theatre Association)
Molly Walz, Oliver!
Ayn K. Wood, Ain’t Misbehavin’

BEST LIGHTING DESIGN OF A PLAY
Anita Bachman and David Shough, Dracula
Andy Balmert, The Hobbit
John Falkenbach, Ghosts
Danielle Ferguson, The Miracle Worker
John Rensel, Under a Red Moon

BEST LIGHTING DESIGN OF A MUSICAL
Matthew P. Benjamin, Grand Hotel: The Musical
Robert L. Clements, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (Cedarville University)
Erin Jones, Spring Awakening
Natasha Katz, Mary Poppins
John Rensel, Oliver!

Funny-Thing

(l to r) Jamie McQuinn, Brad Bishop, Brad Mattingly and Saul Caplan in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum
Photo by Art Fabian

BEST SOUND DESIGN OF A PLAY
Ben Borton, Kyle Himsworth and Matthew J. Evans, The American Dream/Zoo Story
Bob Kovach and David Shough, Dracula
James Dunlap, The Miracle Worker
John Lamm, The Hobbit
Andrew Stroud, 1913: The Great Dayton Flood

BEST SOUND DESIGN OF A MUSICAL
Craig Cassidy, The Addams Family
James Dunlap, Grand Hotel: The Musical
Kyle Himsworth, bare: a pop opera (University of Dayton)
Brian Retterer, Oliver!
Brian Ronan, American Idiot

BEST VIDEO/PROJECTION DESIGN OF A PLAY
Shaunn Baker, Lombardi
Danielle Ferguson, 1913: The Great Dayton Flood
Stephanie Lefeld, The American Dream/Zoo Story

Dreamgirls

(l to r) Tonyia Myrie Rue, Jasmin Richardson and Charity Dawson in Dreamgirls
Contributed photo

BEST VIDEO/PROJECTION DESIGN OF A MUSICAL
Darrel Maloney, American Idiot
Zach Rosing and Ben Phillippe, Avenue Q
Howard Werner, Dreamgirls

BEST ORCHESTRA
Ain’t Misbehavin,’ Musical Director: Ramon Key
Crazy for You, Musical Director: Timothy Olt
Dreamgirls, Musical Director: Jon Balcourt
Funny Girl, Musical Director: Scot Woolley
Grand Hotel: The Musical, Musical Director: Scot Woolley

BEST PROPERTIES
Sarah Gomes, The Hobbit
Jennifer Kramer, Intimate Apparel
John Lavarnway, The Miracle Worker
Wendi Michael, Stefanie Pratt and Deidre Root, And Miss Reardon Drinks a Little (Dayton Theatre Guild)
Heather Powell, Oliver!

SPECIAL ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

 

  • Andrew Ian Adams and Annie Kalahurka as the Bad Idea Bears in Avenue Q
  • Amanda Barker, Gabe Bowling and Alice Moran in Spank! The Fifty Shades Parody
  • Director Joe Beumer, lighting designer David Corson, musical director Ben Spalding’s orchestra and the cast of Centerville High School’s production of Sweeney Todd
  • Jim Brown as Audrey II (Voice), Little Shop of Horrors
  • Kathy Clark and Laura Dell’s vocal interpretations in Side by Side by Sondheim
  • D. Tristan Cupp’s puppet design for A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Zoot Theatre Company), Avenue Q and The Hobbit
  • Scenic designer Gion DeFrancesco, puppet designer Patrick Hayes and Maximillian Jansen as Rapunzel’s Prince for Miami University’s production of Into the Woods
  • Bryon Dobbs and Nancy Perrin’s piano accompaniment for Side by Side by Sondheim
  • The cast of Gingerbread Children: Andrew Ian Adams, Kay Bosse, Jamie Cordes, Charity Farrell, Caitlin Larsen, Jacob McGlaun, Robin Post, Matthew W. Smith, Scott Stoney and K.L. Storer
  • Bob Crowley’s Tony Award-winning sets for Mary Poppins
  • Geoffrey Garratt’s recreation of Matthew Bourne’s choreography for Mary Poppins
  • Stacy Gear’s choreography for A Chorus Line (Beavercreek Community Theatre)
  • Helen Gregory’s music direction for Oliver!
  • Patrick Hayes’ makeup effects for 100 Saints You Should Know
  • E. Cameron Holsinger’s recreation of Jerry Zaks’ direction for The Addams Family
  • Adam John Hunter’s recreation of Kristin Hanggi’s direction for Rock of Ages
  • Michael Mayer’s direction, Steven Hoggett’s choreography, Christine Jones’ Tony Award-winning set design and Kevin Adams’ Tony Award-winning lighting design for American Idiot
  • W. Stuart McDowell’s recreation of his staging for1913: The Great Dayton Flood
  • Gregory Meeh’s special effects for “The Addams Family”
  • Jared Mola’s makeup effects for Dracula
  • Director Fran Pesch and the cast of Love, Loss, and What I Wore: Amy Askins, Barbara Jorgensen, Elena Monigold, Annie Pesch and Gayle Smith (Young at Heart Players)
  • The male ensemble of Oliver!: Nicholas Belton, Blaise Bouschard, Ian Devine, Adam Lendermon, Joseph Medeiros, Chris Shea, Jonah Sorscher, Scott Stoney and Gary Troy
  • Chris Newman’s prologue illustrations for Dracula
  • Stephen Schwartz, Debbie Gravitte and Scott Coulter in Stephen Schwartz & Friends (Wright State University CELIA Distinguished Visiting Artist Series)
  • The Rock of Ages band under the musical direction of Brandon Ethridge
  • Ben Riddlebarger’s artwork for The Pillowman
  • Stivers School for the Arts’ productions of Godspell and Teach Me How to Cry
  • J. Gary Thompson’s original music for The Hobbit
  • Earnest Tremble’s piano accompaniment for Ain’t Misbehavin’
  • Basil Twist’s puppetry for The Addams Family
  • Shirley P. Wasser’s contributions as puppet artisan for Avenue Q
Print Friendly


avatar About Russell Florence, Jr.

Russell Florence, Jr. is a member of The American Theatre Critics Association and The Drama League. In addition to his role as arts and culture editor of Dayton City Paper and theater critic for Dayton City Paper and Impact Weekly, he served as a Dayton Daily News freelance writer and editorial page contributor. He has also written features for such theater publications as Spotlight Ohio and The Sondheim Review.


Comments

Comments