On Stage Dayton Reviews

‘Memphis’ Review – Victoria Theatre Association – Music of the Soul


The current national tour of Joe DiPietro and David Bryan’s “Memphis,” recipient of the 2010 Tony Award for Best Musical, vigorously thrills with potency and heart in its firm local premiere at the Schuster Center courtesy of the Victoria Theatre Association’s Premier Health Broadway Series. Set in the 1950s and based on a concept by George W. George, “Memphis” centers on the forbidden interracial romance between kooky DJ Huey Calhoun (an immensely amiable Joey Elrose) and R&B nightclub singer Felicia Farrell (a radiant Jasmin Richardson). Huey, an uneducated outcast who feels a deep … [Read more...]

Cautiously Optimistic Step in the Right Direction


As I arrived at the Victoria Theatre on spring-like Sunday afternoon, I was curious to see how this season would end for this venerable troupe. While there were a few surprises, the final spring concert of the Dayton Ballet season ended on a quiet note. The concert began with former artistic director Dermott Burke’s Fete des Courtiers; a swirling confection of neoclassical formalism, it was perfectly perfunctory in form and execution as couples moved through formations that hinted at a noble engagement. While Fete Des Courtiers broke no new ground choreographically, it nevertheless engaged … [Read more...]

‘Other Desert Cities’ Review – The Cost of Thriving **Ticket Contest**

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Painful lies and political allegiances consume the dysfunctional Wyeth family of Palm Springs in Jon Robin Baitz’s compelling 2011 Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize-nominated drama “Other Desert Cities,” commendably staged by Margarett Perry in its local premiere by the Human Race Theatre Company. On Christmas Eve 2004, envisioned within beautifully stylish surroundings by set designer Tamara L. Honesty, the Wyeths are far from merry and bright. Republican hotshots Polly and Lyman fiercely clash with their liberal, emotionally scarred daughter Brooke, a novelist who plans to publish her … [Read more...]

‘Les Misérables’ Review – Wright State University – Stunning Success

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Wright State University delivers an outstanding local collegiate premiere of Alain Boublil, Claude-Michel Schönberg and Herbert Kretzmer’s “Les Misérables,” the popular, unabashedly sentimental 1987 Tony Award-winning pop opera based on Victor Hugo’s legendary 1862 novel exploring the human condition through plight and promise within turbulent France. Inspired by the harrowing June revolt of 1832 (the French Revolution concluded 33 years prior), “Les Miz” hasn’t lost one morsel of its angst-ridden, melodramatic urgency under W. Stuart McDowell’s excellently firm, fluid and inventive … [Read more...]

‘I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change’ Review – Dare to Defy Productions – Love Is In The Air


It can be extremely challenging for emerging troupes to stake their claim within Dayton’s continuously expansive theater scene. However, Dare to Defy Productions has done so with highly entertaining ease as evidenced in its very charming production of “I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change,” Joe DiPietro and Jimmy Roberts’ hit 1996 off-Broadway musical revue. Presented in the Mathile Theatre of the Schuster Center fashioned in a colorful 1950s, Roy Lichtenstein–inspired decor by set designer Ray Zupp, “I Love You...” paints an amusing, appealing portrait of the relatable ups and downs of … [Read more...]

A couple of sublime moments at the ballet


With the “Diversity in Dance” concert, Dayton Ballet highlighted what works well for this regional ballet company. Once again the tantalizing prospects for a full fledged renaissance  are on display.  From the work of legendary  choreographer and co-founder of the Joffrey Ballet to the rich and tantalizing movement construction of Susie Payne, This was a concert of bountiful returns. I have to impress upon the Dayton  arts community what a rarity it is to see classical and or neoclassical ballet repertory being presented with a live orchestra. This symbiosis of elements adds a third … [Read more...]

‘Expecting Isabel’ Review – Dayton Theatre Guild – Whatever It Takes


Lisa Loomer tackles the very delicate subject of infertility with humor and tenderness in her eye-opening 1998 contemporary comedy “Expecting Isabel,” breezily directed by Robb Willoughby at the Dayton Theatre Guild. Down-to-earth Manhattan couple Nick and Miranda, respectively relatable as an aspiring sculptor and greeting card writer, eagerly endeavor to have a child, but face continuous obstacles along the way. In addition to coping with colorful input from Nick’s larger-than-life Italian family and Miranda’s tipsy mother, the duo attempts everything from marriage counseling and support … [Read more...]

A Triumph of the Will and Artistry: DCDC Returns to the Victoria Theatre Stage


As a diverse cross-section of concert-goers filled the Victoria Theatre there was a palpable buzz that vibrated through the space. Seasoned lovers of dance and neophytes alike, eagerly awaited the concert of “world” premieres to begin. Seeing this many patrons still clamoring for artistic offerings of this Dayton institution, one cannot help imagining one angel in particular is smiling from heaven. To make the case for being a world class dance troupe, it requires that the talents and skills of the dancers and choreographers be showcased and presented to maximum effect. Performing at the … [Read more...]

‘The Magic Fire’ Review – Wright State University – Our Private World


Wright State University returns to sophisticated fare with a beautifully executed regional premiere of Lillian Groag’s semi-autobiographical, thought-provoking Argentinean drama “The Magic Fire.” Commissioned and originally produced in 1997 by the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, the engrossing, highbrow “Magic Fire” concerns a close-knit family of European immigrants living in Buenos Aires circa 1952 during the divisive Juan Peron regime. As chaos consumes the streets with ever-present military force, the argumentative, opinionated, opera-adoring Bergs are reticent to join the fray, opting … [Read more...]

‘Working’ Review – Dayton Playhouse – It’s a Living


The Dayton Playhouse delivers an admirable, often touching production of Stephen Schwartz and Nina Faso’s 1978 musical “Working,” based on Studs Terkel’s 1974 book “Working: People Talk About What They Do and How They Feel About What They Do.” Nearly 30 wide-ranging occupations from a publicist and project manager to a community organizer and fundraiser are the lifeblood of this meaningful, intermissionless outing insightfully conceived from a series of interviews. The allure of the material, including additional contributions by Gordon Greenberg, rests in its endearing simplicity reminding … [Read more...]