The big Broadway shows coming to Dayton we’re pretty excited about

Published: Monday, February 27, 2017 @ 9:00 PM

“An American in Paris” will come to the Schuster Center this fall. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY MATTHEW MURPHY
“An American in Paris” will come to the Schuster Center this fall. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY MATTHEW MURPHY

Some of Broadway’s hottest musicals will be coming to Dayton as part of the Victoria Theatre Association’s 2017-18 season.

Included in the lineup announced Monday evening are “An American in Paris,” “Beautiful: The Carole King Musical,” and “Something Rotten.” Also on tap: a new production of “Phantom of the Opera,” a new revival of “The Sound of Music” and “In the Heights,” the musical that earned “Hamilton’s” Lin-Manuel Miranda his first Tony award.

>> PHOTOS: 6 Broadway shows we can’t wait to see in Dayton

THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA: April 11-22, 2018, Schuster Center: Cameron Mackintosh’s new production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s classic comes to Dayton as part of a brand new North American tour with a brand new set design. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY ALASTAIR MUIR(Staff Writer)

A treat for the kids of all ages this summer is Disney’s “A Little Mermaid” as part of the Star Attractions Aug. 8-13.

Find the complete lineup online at https://victoriatheatre.com/

More than 650 theater enthusiasts — season ticket-holders, sponsors and Victoria Theatre Association friends — gathered at the Benjamin & Marian Schuster Performing Arts Center at 5:30 p.m. in anticipation of the announcement made by VTA staff, Wright State University students and special guest performers.

The surprise appearances included Sarah Bockel, understudy for the Carole King role in “Beautiful” on Broadway, and Nick Rashad Burroughs from the national tour of “Something Rotten.”

Bockel performed two songs from “Beautiful”; Burroughs shared stories about “Something Rotten” and helped sling T-shirts into the crowd.

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A few things to know about some of these shows:

  • Dance lovers were delighted to learn that the Tony-Award winning musical, “An American in Paris,” is on the schedule. The plot centers around an American soldier and a mysterious French girl in the aftermath of war and features songs by George and Ira Gershwin. The show earned more awards than any other musical in the 2015 season.
  • Something Rotten” garnered 10 Tony Award nominations including Best Musical. Set in the 1590s, the comic production is the tale of Nick and Nigel Bottom, two brothers desperate to write their own hit play while the “rock star” Shakespeare keeps getting all the hits. When a local soothsayer foretells that the future of theatre involves singing, dancing and acting at the same time, Nick and Nigel set out to write the world’s very first musical.
  • “Beautiful” is the story of Carole King’s rise to stardom — from being part of a hit songwriting team with her husband Gerry Goffin, to her relationship with fellow writers and best friends — Cynthia Weil and Barry Mann — to becoming one of the most successful solo acts in popular music history. King was only 16 years old when she sold her first song.

SOMETHING ROTTEN: March 20-25, 2018, Schuster Center: Set in the ‘90s — the 1590s — this hilarious smash tells the story of Nick and Nigel Bottom, two brothers who are desperate to write their own hit play while the “rock star” Shakespeare keeps getting all the hits. When a local soothsayer foretells that the future of theater involves singing, dancing and acting at the same time, Nick and Nigel set out to write the world’s very first musical. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY JEREMY DANIEL(Staff Writer)

HOW TO GET TICKETS

Renewal packets for all of current Premier Health Broadway Seriesseason ticket holders will mail Feb. 28. The deadline for current season ticket holders to request changes to Broadway Season ticket packages is March 13. The deadline to renew 2017-2018 Broadway Season Ticket packages is March 20. Season ticket sales for the Morris Furniture Company Family Series and National Geographic Live Series begin later in the spring, as well as new packages for the Projects Unlimited Star Attractions.

Season tickets for the 2017-2018 Premier Health Broadway Series are on sale now via Ticket Center Stage – the official ticket outlet for Victoria Theatre Association presentations. New season ticket holderswill be seated once current season ticket holders’renewals are fulfilled. For season tickets, visit the Ticket Center Stage Box Office, located in the Wintergarden of the Benjamin and Marian Schuster Performing Arts Center or by calling ( 937) 228-3630 or toll-free 888-228-3630.

2017-18 Victoria Theatre Association Broadway Series

  • In the Heights: Oct. 3-8, 2017, Schuster Center
  • An American in Paris: Nov. 7-12, 2017, Schuster Center
  • The Sound of Music: Feb. 13-18, 2018, Schuster Center
  • Something Rotten: March 20-25, 2018, Schuster Center
  • Phantom of the Opera: April 22-22, 2018, Schuster Center
  • Beautiful (Carole King): May 22-27, 2018, Schuster Center

IN THE HEIGHTS: Oct. 3-8,2017, Schuster Center: See another hit production from the mastermind behind “Hamilton: An American Musical.” This four-time Tony Award-winning musical tells the story of a vibrant community in a New York neighborhood. It’s a community on the brink of change, full of hopes, dreams and pressures, where the biggest struggles can be deciding which traditions to take with you and which ones you leave behind. SUBMITTED(Staff Writer)

Explore Brahms, Bernstein and more with DPO

Published: Saturday, January 13, 2018 @ 12:00 AM


            Mezzo-soprano Layna Chianakas, professor of voice and director of Opera Theater at San Jose University in California, joins the DPO for Leonard Bernstein s Jeremiah Jan. 19-21. She has previously performed several leading roles with Dayton Opera.
Mezzo-soprano Layna Chianakas, professor of voice and director of Opera Theater at San Jose University in California, joins the DPO for Leonard Bernstein s Jeremiah Jan. 19-21. She has previously performed several leading roles with Dayton Opera.

The Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra gets the new year under way with a special look at three landmark first symphonies as it presents “Brahms: First and Foremost” on its Masterworks Series Friday, Jan.19, and Saturday, Jan. 20, at the Schuster Center.

Under the leadership of DPO Artistic Director and Conductor Neal Gittleman, the program salutes the ambitious works of Joseph Haydn, Leonard Bernstein and Johannes Brahms. In particular, Brahms’ majestic, intense and epic piece has been touted as “the greatest first symphony in the history of music” complete with an homage to Beethoven. In fact, the symphony’s finale resembles “Ode to Joy.”

“Brahms’ ‘Symphony No. 1’ was a vitally important piece in the story of the symphony as a fundamental musical form,” Gittleman noted. “When it premiered, after many years in the making, Brahms established that it was, indeed, possible to write a symphony in the post-Beethoven environment. He essentially followed Beethoven’s model, without chorus, but using a more up-to-date musical language. Had there been no ‘Symphony No. 1’ we may have never had any of the great late romantic symphonies from Bruckner, Mahler and everyone else who followed.”

In 1942, Bernstein composed “Symphony No. 1,” which premiered the following year performed by the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra which he conducted. Written in three emotional movements and also known as “Jeremiah,” the work is a biblical-themed account based on the Old Testament books of Jeremiah and Lamentations. The movements are titled “Prophecy,” “Profanation” and “Lamentation.”

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Specifically, the first movement has a pleading sensibility, the second portrays the corruption and ensuing destruction of Jerusalem, and the third suggests the mournful cry of Jeremiah. Hebrew texts from the Book of Lamentations are used in the finale as well. Mezzo-soprano Layna Chianakas, professor of voice and director of Opera Theater at San Jose University in California, joins the DPO for this unique piece. She has previously performed several leading roles with Dayton Opera.

In addition, “Jeremiah” will be notably performed and profiled Sunday, Jan. 21, on the DPO’s Classical Connections Series. Cantor Jenna Greenberg, director of the Intergenerational Dayton Jewish Chorale, joins Gittleman on the first half of the program, helping trace the liturgical sources of the melodies Bernstein used in the work. The concert, fittingly celebrating the Bernstein Centennial, will open with Bernstein’s marvelously spirited “Candide Overture.”

“The Bernstein repertoire is split into the so-called ‘serious pieces’ such as ‘Jeremiah’ and ‘A Quiet Place’ and the so-called ‘popular pieces’ like ‘West Side Story,”” Gittleman explained. “I’m a big fan of everything Bernstein wrote, but there’s no doubt his ‘serious pieces’ get less love than the others. That’s one reason I wanted ‘Jeremiah’ to be the first Bernstein piece that we play during his birthday year. ‘Jeremiah’ represents Bernstein showing to the world he had something significant to say as a composer. And, indeed, he did.”

Haydn’s “Symphony No. 1” is the first of more than 100 symphonies he wrote. Although he is often called the “Father of the Symphony,” he did not actually invent the form, although he did establish a standard form for the symphony.

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“I love the idea of this program,” Gittleman added. “These are three first symphonies by three very different composers from three very different eras that reveal a lot about the symphony as a musical medium.”

World of Wonder

The Dayton Performing Arts Alliance offers a community outreach for families as dancers from the Dayton Ballet, vocalists from the Dayton Opera and musicians of the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra participate in a “World of Wonder” Saturday, Jan. 20 at the Schuster Center.

This integration of ballet, opera and orchestra begins before the concert at 3 p.m. Audiences are invited backstage for a lesson from Dayton Opera singers, a walk across the Schuster stage to sample the DPO in rehearsal, and a peek upstairs to touch pointe shoes and get a ballet tutorial from a Dayton Ballet company member. Audiences are also invited to the Wintergarden for crafts and coloring or to see how it feels to conduct an orchestra on the DP&L Stage with members of the DPO Youth Orchestra.

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“I’m really looking forward to this fun and exciting program,” said Dayton Ballet Artistic Director Karen Russo Burke. “The ballet will have a pointe-shoe table, where people can see how the dancer prepares her shoes, a makeup table showing how to put on theater makeup, some costumed mannequins, and a few dancers will help anyone that would like to try to do some easy ballet positions.”

The concert will feature selections from Cole Porter’s “Kiss Me, Kate,” Leonard Bernstein’s “Candide” and “Divertimento for Orchestra,” Dumisani Maraire’s “Mai Nozipo,” Beethoven’s “Fidelio,” and contemporary composer Roberto Sierra’s “Imaginary Creatures” and “We’ve Got Rhythm.”

WANT TO GO?

What: “Brahms: First and Foremost” (Masterworks Series)

Where: Schuster Center, Second and Main Streets, Dayton

When: Jan. 19 and 20; 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday

Cost: $16-$65

Tickets: Call (937) 228-3630 or visit www.ticketcenterstage.com

What: “World of Wonder” (Family Series)

Where: Schuster Center, Second and Main Streets, Dayton

When: Jan. 20; 1:30 p.m. (pre-concert activities); 3 p.m. (concert) Saturday

Cost: $14-$22

Tickets: Call (937) 228-3630 or visit www.ticketcenterstage.com

What: “Jeremiah: Fire in the Heart” (Classical Connections Series)

Where: Schuster Center, Second and Main Streets, Dayton

When: Jan. 21; 3 p.m. Sunday

Cost: $15-$43

Tickets: Call (937) 228-3630 or visit www.ticketcenterstage.com

African-American identity explored through children’s picture-book art

Published: Wednesday, January 10, 2018 @ 12:00 AM


            Curator of Exhibitions Jason Shaiman of Miami University Art Museum has his own collection of classic Curious George. He is pictured standing in his office with the collection of picture books and other Curious George memorabilia. CONTRIBUTED
Curator of Exhibitions Jason Shaiman of Miami University Art Museum has his own collection of classic Curious George. He is pictured standing in his office with the collection of picture books and other Curious George memorabilia. CONTRIBUTED

Miami University Art Museum and Sculpture Park is gearing up for its latest exhibition, “Telling A People’s Story: African-American Children’s Illustrated Literature,” which will open on Tuesday, Jan. 30.

The exhibition “looks at African-American cultural and historical identity through the lens of children’s picture books, particularly looking at the illustrations,” said Jason Shaiman, curator of exhibitions, Miami University Art Museum.

The spring 2018 show will feature about 130 original artworks from African-American children’s illustrated literature, produced by some of the biggest names in the field. A few of the well-known illustrators represented include Ashley Bryan, Jerry Pinkney, Jan Spivey-Gilchrist, E.B. Lewis and Kadir Nelson, among others.

“We are doing something positive. We’re doing something that is bringing attention to a world of multi-culturalism in a specific area that has been long neglected for attention,” Shaiman said.

The collection in the exhibition represents 33 different featured illustrators, and the illustrations on display were selected from more than 90 different books. Many of the books will be on display alongside each illustration.

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“The way we organized the exhibition was to look at a chronology of African-American culture and history, and identified books that focused on certain historical time periods, events, and specific people,” Shaiman said.

He and the team that worked on the exhibition originally identified about 600 books to consider for the exhibition, which represented about 14,000 possible works of art.

“We felt that because this is an art exhibit, the artwork needed to come from the visualization of African-American illustrators, and as often as we could, books that were written by African Americans,” said Shaiman.

Works in the exhibition address chronological and historical topics such as slavery, the Underground Railroad with figures like Harriet Tubman, the Civil War and its aftermath, segregation, the civil rights era, and more.

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“But we don’t want to focus that this is all about doom and gloom of the history of African Americans. There’s a lot of attention to the great things that African Americans have done to offer a diverse American identity. It looks at people like Rosa Parks and Dr. King. It looks at people that were involved in innovations…” Shaiman said.

There are works of art featuring Congressman John Lewis from his youth, and other works about Satchel Paige, Dizzy Gillespie, Muhammad Ali, Billie Holiday and many more. There’s even a work pertaining to Oprah Winfrey when she was a child.

The earliest book in the exhibition, “Stevie,” written and illustrated by John Steptoe, was published in 1969.

“It really represents the first book written or illustrated by an African American on an African-American theme that garnered any attention within mainstream publishing and readership,” Shaiman said.

“Telling A People’s Story: African-American Children’s Illustrated Literature” will be on display through Saturday, June 30.

“This is the first time any museum has ever attempted an exhibition of this nature. No one else has ventured to create an exhibit focused on African-American identity using children’s literature and the pictures. My colleagues and I, and everyone who worked on this realized that this is groundbreaking, and it’s so important, especially today,” Shaiman said.

WANT TO GO?

What: “Telling A People’s Story: African-American Children’s Illustrated Literature”

When: Gallery hours are Tuesday through Friday, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Saturday, from noon to 5 p.m. The exhibition will be on display through Saturday, June 30. Closed on Sundays, Mondays and University holidays.

Where: Miami University Art Museum and Sculpture Park, 801 S. Patterson Ave., Oxford.

Admission: Free and open to the public. Parking passes are available at the museum.

More info: (513) 529-2232 or www.MiamiOH.edu/ArtMuseum

This Hamilton band will have its album released — 46 years later

Published: Sunday, December 31, 2018 @ 11:13 AM

3 Labels On 2 Continents Working On It

Impressed with the “raw quality and sincerity of the sound” of an album Hamilton band The Brotherhood released in 1972, a Spanish record label plans to release a new edition of it in January.

Alex Carretero of Guerssen records, which plans to release the album and CD on Jan. 26, said that as with other self-produced music of that time, The Brotherhood’s album “Stavia” lets listeners “hear the band playing the music they really liked without any interference from a major label or a producer.”

AUDIO RECORDING: Click here to hear “Tragedy” by The Revised Brotherhood

“We especially like the fusion of the soulful voice of John Hurd with the psychedelic/acid-rock instrumentation, where it also shines the superb guitar playing of Jeff Hanson, who was very young at the time,” Carretero added.

The Spanish record label joins two others — Tramp Records in Germany and Shake It Records in Cincinnati’s Northside neighborhood — in releasing the recording. The album, which was on local jukeboxes but never won radio play, for years has been a cult classic worldwide, and has been bootlegged.

Also reissued this year was the single, Tragedy, which was released by a slightly different lineup of the band, called The Revised Brotherhood.

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Band members of The Brotherhood included, from left, Donny Hoskins on drums; Jeff Hanson guitar and vocals; John Hurd on Hammond organ, electric piano and vocals; MJ Coe on flute, guitar and vocals; and Bill Fairbanks on bass guitar piano and vocals. The 1972 album, “Stavia,” is being re-released.(Staff Writer)

The Carretero said he believes “a legit, nicely done reissue of ‘Stavia’ was something that somebody had to do it, knowing that the original album is very hard to find.”

“There was a previous bootleg vinyl reissue which was atrocious: They eliminated two songs from the original album and added two other tracks from an unrelated band,” Carretero said. “No wonder John Hurd and the band were really heartbroken about this. So when I contacted John about the possibility of doing a legit Vinyl/ CD/Digital reissue, he was delighted with the idea.”

The recording can be obtained by digital and streaming now, but the official LP/CD release date is Jan 26. Pre-orders can be made via www.guerssen.com. People in this country also can order through their exclusive distributor, Forced Exposure, at www.forcedexposure.com.

Meanwhile, 2017 was a big year for Hamilton music.

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Among developments this year, Eric Nally recorded a music video in town. And thanks to a music reviewer’s idea, Hamilton was christened Jam!lton.

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Last chance to see this Art Nouveau exhibit in Dayton

Published: Saturday, December 30, 2017 @ 6:00 AM

Alphonse Mucha was a Czechoslovakian artist and a leader of the Art Nouveau movement.

Courtesy of Dayton Art Institute and the Dhawan Collection.
HANDOUT
Alphonse Mucha was a Czechoslovakian artist and a leader of the Art Nouveau movement. Courtesy of Dayton Art Institute and the Dhawan Collection.(HANDOUT)

It’s the perfect weekend for indoor fun.

It’s also your last chance to see this special exhibition at the Dayton Art Institute.

The exhibit “Alphonse Mucha: Master of Art Nouveau” will be on view through Dec. 31. This is the only Midwest stop for the exhibit.

Drawn from one of the finest private collections of Mucha’s work in the United States, this exhibition features 75 works by the celebrated Czech master, whose varied, expressive, and seductive imagery helped form and later shape the aesthetics of French Art Nouveau at the turn of the 20th century.

A traveling exhibit, “Art Nouveau designs of Alphonse Mucha,” will come to the Dayton Art Institute in September. Photo credit: Alphonse Mucha, JOB.(Staff Writer)

We asked Katherine Ryckman Siegwarth, the Dayton Art Institute’s Kettering Assistant Curator of Collections and Exhibitions, to tell us more about an artist she’s admired since childhood.

Q: Who was Alphonse Mucha?

Siegwarth: Mucha was a Czechoslovakian artist who lived from 1860 to 1939 and became known for a distinctive style that established him as a leader of the Art Nouveau movement. His work ranged from paintings, posters and advertisements to jewelry, carpet and wallpaper designs. Mucha’s works frequently featured beautiful young women in flowing, vaguely Neoclassical-looking robes, often surrounded by lush flowers which sometimes formed halos behind their heads. In contrast with contemporary poster-makers he used pale pastel colors.

Q: What is Art Nouveau and how does one recognize it?

Siegwarth: Art Nouveau was a visual, decorative and architectural art style popular from the late 1880’s until the First World War when the Art Deco style gained popularity. Art Nouveau can be recognized by its highly-stylized forms inspired by natural elements. You’ll see a lot of long, curving plants and other sinuous line details. And within the visual arts, you will note beautiful women, or femme fatales, with long, flowing hair and seductive glances — a trademark style of Alphonse Mucha.

Mucha was also interested in spiritualism and Masonic philosophy. He later became a Grand Master of the Freemasons of Czechoslovakia which also influenced many of his later designs. At that point in his career he was trying to elevate the meaning and influence of his designs — no longer seductive women, but figures who represented virtrues such as “truth” and “peace.” There are other symbols within designs that are associated with the Freemasons. Some of the works towards the end of our exhibit demonstrate this change.

Q: What materials did Mucha use in his art?

Siegwarth: As a principal designer for advertisements as well as book and journal illustrations, Mucha made a significant number of lithographs. There were several advancements in printing and color lithography techniques during his time, making it an exciting medium for experimentation.

Mucha’s lithographs reflect the rich texture of modern life in Paris at the turn of the century — this is the opulent Belle Époque and fin-de-siècle. His subject matter ranges from biscuits, perfumes and liqueurs to exhibitions and expositions locations. He also did publicity for leading theatrical celebrities of the era.

Mucho’s advertisement presented actress Sarah Bernhardt in her feature role and was wildly popular. CREDIT: Alphonse Mucha, color lithograph on paper mounted on linen, 1895. Courtesy of Dayton Art Institute and the Dhawan Collection.(Staff Writer)

Q: How is he best known?

Siegwarth: Mucha is perhaps best known for the “Slav Epic,” his series of twenty monumental paintings depicting Czech and Slovak history. He was an ardent supporter of Czech independence and gifted this series of paintings in 1928 to Czechoslovakia on the 10th anniversary of its independence from the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Also, in 1919, he designed the first Czech bank notes, which will be on view in the exhibition.

Q: What would you hope visitors take away from the exhibition?

Siegwarth: With any exhibition, I hope visitors are able to see how the artworks on view were influenced by the time and events surrounding its creation, but also how the visual arts in turn influenced the world around it.

This exhibition is a great example of that. Mucha created singular works that shaped an artistic style, changed advertising campaign strategies, while also showed audiences today the opulent world of turn of the twentieth century Paris.

But most importantly, I wish for visitors to have fun!

WANT TO GO? 

What: “Alphonse Mucha: Master of Art Nouveau, ” an exhibit featuring 75 works from the Dhawan Collection  

When: Through Dec. 31, 2017 

Where: Dayton Art Institute, 456 Belmonte Park North, Dayton 

Admission: $14 adults; $11 seniors (60+), students (18+ w/ID), active military and groups (10 or more); $6 youth (ages 7-17); and free for children (ages 6 & under) and members.

Hours: 

  • Wednesdays, 11:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. 
  • Thursdays, 11:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m. 
  • Fridays/Saturdays, 11:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. 
  • Sundays, Noon - 5:00 p.m. (including Christmas Eve & New Year's Eve) 
  • Closed Mondays & Tuesdays

More info: Visit daytonartinstitute.org/mucha. Use the hashtag #MuchaDAI to join the conversation on social media.