Top 14 Picks for the 2010-11 Local Theater Season
Shane Anderson & David Brush
So there is all this talk about how great the arts are in Dayton. You keep hearing how that for a city of it’s size, Dayton is like numero uno for arts organizations, but you never know quite for sure what show you should attend…something that you know you’ll like and it won’t be a waste of time and money for you. Well, here you go, this is a guide to the local theater season, but we’ve narrowed it down a bit.
Whether your a regular theatre-goer, a novice, or just hate musicals (how could you!), there is something on this list for everyone. So rather than overwhelming you with the more than 85 plays and musicals that will grace area stages this season, Shane and Dave have compiled our most-anticipated Top 14 highlights of the season complete with pop cultural references to help you navigate! But we don’t want you to just take OUR word for it – so we’ve included the website links to the OTHER offerings for each organization for those of you who dare venture away from the path. (PS – We encourage such venturing!)
Dave’s Top 7 Picks
by Tracy Letts
Human Race Theatre Company and Wright State University
Stellar Cast. Amazing venue. First regional production since Broadway. This has the makings of setting the bar high right away in the fall. People can’t seem to get enough of this darkly comic play about family dysfunction. This is not a light evening at the theatre but it IS a rewarding one.
If you like O’Neill’s ‘Long Day’s Journey Into Night’, you’ll LOVE ‘August: Osage County’
Book by Jeffrey Lane
Music & Lyrics by David Yazbek
based on the film by Frank Oz
La Comedia Dinner Theatre
It had a successful Broadway run and a troubled national tour. But it’s post-Broadway life is seeing some light primarily thanks to the hilarious original source material (the fantastic film starring Steve Martin) and a smart composer in David Yazbek who has a flare for comedy. The comedy centers on a pair of con-men competing for the affections (and money) of Beumont Sur Mer’s upper crust. When the con goes on a little long, hilarity and chaos ensue. There’s a great twist at the end (I won’t spoil it for you) and the entire show is really very smart. It should be fascinating to see it in a more intimate setting like La Comedia.
September 8-October 31, 2010 – www.LaComedia.com
If you like ‘The Full Monty’, you’ll LOVE ‘Dirty Rotten Scoundrels’
Romeo & Juliet
by William Shakespeare
Shakespeare in South Park
Huh? “Gone with the Wind”? “Romeo & Juliet”? Yes, the Shakespeare in South Park troupe has decided to return to their original concept of setting W.S. classics in a post-war setting, this time in a border state in the years following the Civil War. Everyone is still wearing their uniforms and bent out of shape about loyalties brought about by war. We hear that the scenic elements will include an actual historic carriage house neighboring the park where the show will be performed. (hmmm? Balcony scene????)…and the good news is…this show is FREE- but I’m sure donations will be gratefully accepted!
September 17-19, 2010 – www.HistoricSouthPark.org
If you like ‘Gone with the Wind’, you’ll LOVE ‘Romeo & Juliet’
Music and Book by James Valcq
Lyrics and Book by Fred Alley
Based on the film by Lee David Zlotoff
Beavercreek Community Theatre
You may remember this quiet little brilliant film from the 90’s about a young female ex-con who discovers a new life in a small town. The film was powerful and darkly heartwarming and seemed unlikely material for a musical. But Valcq and Alley do a gorgeous job of capturing the heart of the film with a colorful transcendent country-flavored score. One of my personal favorite nights at the theater. I’d been hoping to see it produced again since I first saw it some years ago and I’m even more pleased to see it under the direction of of one the areas most respected directors – Doug Lloyd.
September 17-26, 2010 – www.BCTheatre.org
If you like redemption stories like ‘Eat. Pray. Love.’, you’ll LOVE ‘’The Spitfire Grill’
Book by Doug Wright
Music by Scott Frankel
Lyrics by Michael Korie
Based on the 1975 documentary by Albert & David Maysles
SEED Theatre Project
When you think of the list of most unlikely source material for a musical, it’s hard to not move Grey Gardens to the top. On the surface, the true story of an aged recluse and her daughter living in squalor in an East Hampton mansion (where the cat population far outweighs the human one) seems like the stuff of reality TV. But when you consider that these two were once at the height of New York City’s most exclusive circles of wealth and prestige, it is even more shocking. Oh yeah – and did I mention they are related to Jackie Kennedy Onassis? This is the ultimate “black sheep in the family” story and like any good train wreck, you just can’t turn away.
November 5-6, 2010 – www.SEEDTheatreProject.org
If you like the TLC’s Hoarders, you’ll LOVE ‘Grey Gardens’
by Margaret Edson
Anyone whose life has been touched in some way by cancer (and whose hasn’t?) will be moved by this tour-de-force. HBO loved it so much they cast Emma Thompson in the film several years ago. Dayton Playhouse is coming off a fabulous season and no doubt this will be a welcome addition.
November 12-21, 2010 – www.DaytonPlayhouse.org
If you like Showtime’s new series THE BIG C, you’ll LOVE Wit
Book by Bob Martin & Don McKeller
Music & Lyrics by Lisa Lambert & Greg Morrison
Victoria Theatre Association & Human Race Theatre Company
There is something at once nostalgic and contemporary about this Tony-Winner from a few years back. Basically – here it is in a nutshell: A musical theatre fan plays his favorite cast album (yes – album!) and the characters, story and shenanigans come to life right in his one-room apartment. PLUS – produced under the care of The Human Race makes this is both a surefire hit AND a Dayton Original.
If you like ‘The Carol Burnett Show’, you’ll LOVE ‘The Drowsy Chaperone’
Shane’s Top 7 Picks
by David Mamet
It won the Pulitzer. It won the Tony. The playwright is legendary. and still this 1982 play about the illegal and unethical activities of a Chicago real estate outfit remains vital and edgy -particularly in our current economic climate. Fair warning: Mamet’s favorite word is four letters and starts with an ‘F’ – SO MUCH SO that during the making of the film adaptation, the cast affectionately subtitled the play, Death of a “F*&^*& Salesman.”
September 2-11, 2010 – www.SpringfieldStageWorks.org
If you like AMC’s ‘’Mad Men’, you’ll LOVE ‘Glengarry Glen Ross’
Music by Stephen Flaherty
Book & Lyrics by Lynn Ahrens
A Caribbean-flavored romance where two star-crossed lovers – one lower class native and one French upper class – must find a way to be together despite the pressures of their feuding families, Once On This Island uses dance, music, and folklore to spin this timeless tale. This show will likely be a joyful, colorful event for the whole family. The music for the show – from the creators of Ragtime and Seussical – is spirited and melodic and the themes of survival amidst peril feel contemporary again in light of recent tragedies in Haiti.
October 15-23, 2010 – www.Sinclair.edu
If you like ‘Pippin’ and ‘Romeo & Juliet’, you’ll LOVE ‘Once On This Island’
Victoria Theatre Association
With an alumni list that includes Alan Alda, Dan Akroyd, Chris Farley, Jim & John Belushi, Tina Fey and Stephen Colbert…who can resist a night of “LMAO” comedy? While the touring cast does not include any of these big stars, you never know if there might just be a future Gilda Radnor on stage (We’re not sure if there is any relation, but there is a young Belushi listed in the cast of this ensemble). You never know, you might just witness comedy history on the stage of the Victoria in October!
October 23, 2010 – www.VictoriaTheatre.com
If you like Saturday Night Live, you’ll LOVE ‘The Second City: Fair & Unbalanced’
Flash: A New Musical
book, music & lyrics by Dan Hunt
Clark State Community College
Honestly, we know very little about this new show about to premiere at Clark State, but we LOVE the fact that they are willing to take a chance on a brand new musical! The premise is that Ed, a seemingly normal guy revisits his past (in a musical form) during a horrific moment when all of the highs and lows of his life flash before his eyes. The show was conceived, written & directed by Springfield resident Dan Hunt, technical director and theatre professor at Clark State.
October 29-November 7, 2010 – www.ClarkState.edu
If you like J.J. Abrams’ shows, you’ll LOVE ‘Flash: A New Musical’
accompanied by Michael Rafter
Springfield Arts Council
How can one even begin to explain the joy that IS Sutton Foster? Foster first claimed her fame as the chorus girl plucked out of obscurity to save the show and become the star…which led to her infamous 2002 Tony-winning run on Broadway in “Thoroughly Modern Millie.” She has been compared to three comediennes/actresses listed below, and her natural goofiness combined with an incredible vocal talent has made Sutton Foster into the “it girl of Broadway.” You won’t want to miss this simple evening of Foster and a pianist giving you some “melt your face off” belts and rolling in the aisle laughter.
November 13, 2010 – www.SpringfieldArtsCouncil.org
If you like ‘Mary Tyler Moore, Carol Burnett or Julie Andrews’, you’ll LOVE ‘An Evening with Sutton Foster’
by Theresa Rebeck
Dayton Theatre Guild
Cincinnati native Rebeck’s play, “Maurititius” is often described as a comedy thriller dealing with suspense, lies, deceit, greed, mystery, intrigue and….stamps. It centers around the rivalry of two sisters faced with dividing up their recently deceased mother’s belongings and the discovery of two rare stamps from the nation of Mauritius and unscrupulous dealers pursuing them. While you might question going to the theatre to watch a philatelic thriller, the play has been a hit all over America since it’s debut on Broadway in 2007.
May 13-29, 2011 – www.DaytonTheatreGuild.org
If you like Bogart’s ‘The Maltese Falcon’, you’ll LOVE ‘Mauritius’
book,music & lyrics by Gregg Coffin
The Human Race Theatre Company
Dayton’s Human Race Theatre Company, under the leadership of Kevin Moore & Marsha Hanna has been raising the bar for several years in a national movement to develop new works of musical theatre. Through their unique programs of workshops, residencies and collaboration with composers, Dayton theatre audiences have been fortunate to see pieces like Convenience, Was, Fetching Water and many more. This season, they tell a NEW story from Greg Coffin – the creator of Convenience- A story about the distance between people and the space love leaves behind when it goes.
May 26-June 12, 2011 – www.HumanRaceTheatre.org
If you like ‘We Were Soldiers’, you’ll LOVE ‘right next to me’
…& keep watch for exciting news about:
ZOOT Theatre Company. They haven’t announced their season yet, but this innovative puppet & mask troupe consistently puts together cutting-edge productions of classic tales. www.ZootTheatreCompany.org
Encore Theater Company. We’ve got some exciting things in the works as well, including our Litehouse New Musical Reading Series, our Summer 2011 MainStage Series, MusicalWorld podcast and a new Concert Series that will premiere this fall! www.EncoreTheaterCompany.com
Idina Menzel in Concert with the Cincinnati Pops. Yes! The almighty green one will be flying into southwest Ohio at the end of September (fresh from her stint on GLEE)…and YOU just might get a chance to go watch this icon of the Broadway stage defy gravity! onStageDayton, MusicalWorld & DaytonMostMetro.com are teaming up with an opportunity for you to win a pair of tickets to this concert (valued at $100!). Keep watching onStageDayton on DaytonMostMetro.com for details!
onStageDayton. We will be introducing you to another contributor to onStageDayton on DaytonMostMetro.com. Katherine Nelson, a senior theatre major at Cedarville University, will be posting a weekly update of shows opening or closing that weekend, along with audition notices and other notices. Watch onStageDayton for Katherine’s first post soon!
Shane Anderson & David Brush work with locally based Encore Theater Company. ETC recently moved into the new arts collective space in the Oregon District, along with Zoot Theatre Co. & Rhythm in Shoes. Anderson, Brush & ETC just concluded their summer season of new musicals in downtown Dayton, which featured Johnathan Larson’s RENT, [title of show] & the new musical in development Next Thing You Know.
Would you like to submit theater news for DaytonMostMetro.com’s onStageDayton features? Email Shane & Dave at onStageDayton@gmail.com