On Stage Dayton

‘Once On This Island’ Review – Epiphany Lutheran Church – Vibrant Storytellers

(L to R) Back Row: Desmond Thomas, Kathy Meyer, Kandis Wean, Bryan Burckle. Front Row: Brianna Russ in Epiphany Lutheran Church's production of "Once On This Island" 
(Contributed photo by Charles Woodward)

The Epiphany Players Drama Ministry of Centerville’s Epiphany Lutheran Church delivers a wonderfully heartfelt, joyously sung production of the1990 Tony Award-nominated musical “Once On This Island.” Composed by Tony winners Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty (“Ragtime”) and adapted from Rosa Guy’s 1985 novel “My Love, My Love,” this Caribbean-immersed show inherently appeals with its straightforward, touching emphasis on a young peasant girl’s coming-of-age. The effervescent yet strong-willed Ti Moune (sprightly portrayed by the winsome Brianna Russ) adores the wealthy Daniel (a charming, … [Read more...]

Saluting Dayton’s 2013-14 Theater Season

les mis wsu

Looking back on Dayton’s commendable 2013-14 theater season, appealing stories reflecting cries of revolution, love and forgiveness, identity and family, and relationships beyond repair gave audiences thought-provoking, richly rewarding memories. Wright State University certainly triumphed with an exceptional Les Misérables which catapulted its musical theater component to astonishing degrees from performance to design. The beautiful complexity of The Magic Fire, the wonderful earthiness of Oklahoma!, and the dynamic electricity within The Wild Party also gave the organization cause to … [Read more...]

‘Play it By Heart’ Review – Human Race Theatre Company – Sing Out, Jeannine!

play it by heart

Three generations of strong Southern women feud and reconcile against the backdrop of changing dynamics within the country music industry in “Play it By Heart,” a promising new musical still navigating its path as evidenced in its Human Race Theatre Company regional premiere at the Loft Theatre. In this sweet but predictable tale, the legendary Jeannine Jasper (Trisha Rapier), a Grammy and Country Music Association winner with a spot in the Grand Ole Opry on the horizon, yearns for retirement to the chagrin of her overbearing, ruthless stage mom Naomi (Sharva Maynard). As mother and daughter … [Read more...]

‘Million Dollar Quartet’ Review – Victoria Theatre Association – That Old Time Rock & Roll


There’s a whole lotta shakin’ goin’ on at the Schuster Center as the outstanding national tour of “Million Dollar Quartet,” nominated for the 2010 Tony Award for Best Musical and based on a true event, lets loose with feel-good exuberance courtesy of the Victoria Theatre Association’s Premier Health Broadway Series. A jukebox musical written by Colin Escott and Floyd Mutrux unabashedly concerned with tone and era instead of plot or storyline, “Million Dollar Quartet” captures a glimpse of rock and roll history in 100 breezy minutes under Eric Schaeffer’s crisp direction. On Dec. 4, 1956 … [Read more...]

Master of the personal, embarrassing tale- Mike Birbiglia Brings Tour To Dayton

Mike Birbiglia's My Girlfriend's BoyfriendBarrow Street Theatre

Award-winning comedian, author, and filmmaker MIKE BIRBIGLIA returns to the stage with more painfully awkward stories in a show about jokes, and how they can get you in trouble. Join Birbiglia as he he gets arrested in New Jersey, screamed at by a famous director, heckled by Statler and Waldorf, and attacked by zombie rodents. Ira Glass of public radio's "This American Life" writes"Birbiglia's stories are even funnier live than they are on the radio." Time Magazine calls Birbiglia "master of the personal, embarrassing tale." The New York Times describes him as a "supremely enjoyable … [Read more...]

From Elvis Tribute Shows To Touring Elvis


It sounds like the beginning of a joke, or some impossible showbiz fairy tale: “Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Carl Perkins walk into a recording studio…”   And yet, on December 4, 1956, at Sun Records in Memphis, it happened, and they jammed on record together for the first and only time. Perkins, riding the success of "Blue Suede Shoes," was in with his band to cut some new material. Cash, a fellow Sun artist and a fan of Perkins, dropped by to listen. Sun's owner, Sam Philips ("The Father of Rock and Roll"), added Lewis to Perkins' session in search of a more … [Read more...]

Million Dollar Quartet Opens June 17th **Ticket Contest**


The national tour of the Broadway musical MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET,inspired by the electrifying true story, will make its DAYTON premiere June 17-22 at The Benjamin and Marian Schuster Performing Arts Center as part of Victoria Theatre Association’s Premier Health Broadway Series. Tickets are on sale now at Ticket Center Stage, by calling 937-228-3630, 888-228-3630 or online atwww.ticketcenterstage.com.   The international Tony® Award-Winning musical, MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET is set on December 4, 1956, when an auspicious twist of fate brought Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins … [Read more...]

The Human Race Goes Country with PLAY IT BY HEART **Ticket Contest**

PIBH Press Photo 1

The Human Race Theatre Company wraps up its 27th season with a long-awaited four-week run of the country musical Play It by Heart.  This fully produced regional premiere is the culmination of a four-year collaboration with The Human Race that began with a residency for the writers in 2009 and a reading in the theatre’s summer 2010 Musical Theatre Workshops program. An early version of the musical premiere at Village Theatre in Washington state in 2005. Composer/lyricist David Spangler brought the script to the attention of Producing Artistic Director Kevin Moore. “After their production at … [Read more...]

‘The Dead Guy’ Review – Dayton Theatre Guild – Reality Bites

dead guy

Would you kill yourself on live TV in a manner determined by viewers for the luxury of spending $1 million in a week?  Eldon Phelps ponders this intriguing notion hastily in the local premiere of Eric Coble’s fascinating 2005 dark comedy “The Dead Guy,” currently receiving a thoroughly engaging and thought-provoking presentation at the Dayton Theatre Guild deftly directed by Saul Caplan. At a nondescript bar in the nondescript town of Leadville, unemployed and aloof Eldon (a first-rate, credibly impulsive Christopher Hahn) is persuaded to become the Dead Guy, the focal point of a new … [Read more...]

‘Beauty and the Beast’ Review – Victoria Theatre Association – Delightful Disney Magic


A top-notch national tour of Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast,” the recipient of nine 1994 Tony Award nominations including Best Musical, has arrived at the Schuster Center as part of the Victoria Theatre Association’s Premier Health Broadway Series.   Based on the beloved 1991 Academy Award-winning film, one of the best animated movies containing one of the best cinematic scores courtesy of Alan Menken and Howard Ashman, “Beauty and the Beast” wholeheartedly succeeds on the wonderfully relatable portrayals of Hilary Maiberger as bookworm Belle and Darick Pead as the troubled Beast. … [Read more...]