5 reasons to see this version of ‘Rocky Horror Show’

Published: Tuesday, October 31, 2017 @ 7:03 AM

The 2015 cast of “The Rocky Horror Show” presented at Timothy's Bar near the University of Dayton's campus. CONTRIBUTED
The 2015 cast of “The Rocky Horror Show” presented at Timothy's Bar near the University of Dayton's campus. CONTRIBUTED

Babies, don’t you panic. The “Sweet Transvestite” and his kooky cronies are back as Dayton’s Annual Transylvanian Convention stages its 10th anniversary presentation of Richard O’Brien’s 1973 cult classic rock musical “The Rocky Horror Show” Nov. 1-4 at Timothy’s Bar on Brown Street. 

Here are five reasons why you should spend time this week with Frank and Co.

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Darren Brown as Dr. Frank N. Furter in the 2008 production of “The Rocky Horror Show.” CONTRIBUTED



In 2008, this labor of love was set in motion by Darren Brown, a 2009 University of Dayton graduate who recently received his M.F.A.in acting from the University of Connecticut. 

A longtime “Rocky Horror” fan, Brown felt the urge to bring his favorite show to Dayton in some capacity having been a part of a student production during his brief time at Ohio University. 

“I really felt UD needed this show and Tim’s was a dive bar with a stripper pole,” Brown exclaimed. “The first year was like ‘garage band theater.’ We did everything from the ground up. We put in the sweat equity. We did all we could to make it happen, and it was a huge success. Ten years later, I’m glad this show has become a staple in the UD community. The spirit of the show and the community within the troupe and the greater Dayton area all of us had hoped to foster 10 years ago is still there and still thriving. To be celebrating the 10th anniversary is absolutely awesome.” 

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The original 2008 cast of “The Rocky Horror Show” by University of Dayton students and presented at Timothy's Bar. CONTRIBUTED



O’Brien’s silly and risqué sci-fi romp tells the tale of Brad Majors and Janet Weiss, straight-laced sweethearts who stumble upon the castle of mad scientist Dr. Frank N. Furter. 

As the duo tries to cope within their strange surroundings, Frank (fixated on creating life, which arises in the form of the hunky Rocky) and his followers take them on an unforgettable journey. 

The timeless score features the exuberantly iconic “Time Warp” in addition to terrific ballads such as “Science Fiction Double Feature,” “Over at the Frankenstein Place” and “Super Heroes.” 

“I really feel this production is one of the best productions of ‘Rocky Horror’ in the region,” said Brown, who serves as producer. “We try to capture the spirit of both “Rocky Horror Show’ and ‘Rocky Horror Picture Show.’ I love this ‘Rocky’ hybrid we’ve created. ‘Rocky Horror’ overall is a modern masterpiece.” 



Under the direction of Laura Porcelli, this year’s incarnation features principals Patrick Bernauer as Dr. Frank N. Furter, Thomas Pedrotti as Brad Majors, Alexa Rojas as Janet Weiss, Max Shafer as Riff-Raff, Belle Mochrie as Magenta, Jordan Hightower as Columbia, Thomas Blevins as Rocky, Sam Gyenes as Eddie, Ben McMillen as Dr. Scott, Aaron Eversole as The Criminologist, and Betsy Mazza as Lips. 

“Being in “Rocky’ is definitely one of the highlights of my year,” said Pedrotti, who delivered a breakthrough performance earlier this season as Jud Fry in Brookville Community Theatre’s production of “Oklahoma!” “I think part of what makes it so special is how unique it is. The culture that’s grown up around it over the years is incredible. I think it’s great how the show encourages confidence.” In addition, Saturday’s performance is considered Alumni Night. 

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The audience enjoys the 2015 incarnation of “The Rocky Horror Show” at Timothy's Bar near the University of Dayton. CONTRIBUTED



The fun of any “Rocky Horror” experience is the audience participatory “callbacks,” allowing the audience to interject throughout the evening. Brown doesn’t want you to hold back. 

“My biggest passion about ‘Rocky Horror’ is community,” he said. “The most culturally accepted taboo in America is ‘Rocky Horror.’ You can shout terrible, derogatory things and nobody cares. It’s incredible that it’s still that way in 2017 since we are so culturally sensitive about everything. There is no censorship here. ‘Rocky Horror’ is a completely inclusive community. Just show up and whoever you are and whoever you want to be is accepted.” 

“I think UD’s take on this show is great because how into it the cast gets,” Pedrotti added. “We really become a family and the culture is really a great thing to be a part of. It’s wonderful to be able to cut loose on stage and just have a good time.” 



All proceeds from the production benefit The Greater Dayton LGBT Center. 

“We love partnering with the local community,” Brown said. “We want to do good by supporting our community. Our production encapsulates community, theater, sexuality, inclusion, and service. This is why this show has become a mainstay.” 



What: “The Rocky Horror Show: A Decade of Decadence” 

When: Nov. 1-4; 9 p.m. Wednesday-Friday; 8 p.m. Saturday; Doors open 1 hour prior 

Where: Timothy’s Bar, 1818 Brown St., Dayton 

Cost: $6 Wednesday; $8 Thursday-Saturday 

FYI: Must be 18 or older to attend; Must be 21 or older to drink

A few of our favorite things about ‘The Sound of Music’

Published: Wednesday, February 14, 2018 @ 4:49 PM

“The Sound of Music” is based on a true story about the Trapp Family Singers. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY MATTHEW MURPHY
Staff Writer
“The Sound of Music” is based on a true story about the Trapp Family Singers. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY MATTHEW MURPHY(Staff Writer)

When his family gathered around the television each holiday season to watch “The Sound of Music,” Randy Charleville could never have imagined that some day he’d be entertaining audiences across the country with the Broadway musical he’d grown to love.

“Ever since I was a little kid I was always captivated by watching movies and musicals,” says the Hamilton native, who attended both Wright State University and the musical theater program at the University of Cincinnati’s College Conservatory of Music.

“The movie with Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer was a standard we watched every year. The story touches your heart and I got wrapped up in the amazing songs.”

Randy Charleville, who will appear in “Sound of Music,” grew up in Hamilton. CONTRIBUTED(Staff Writer)

Charleville will be on stage in the national touring production of the classic Rodgers and Hammerstein musical when it comes to the Schuster Center Feb. 13-18.

Based on real-life story of the famous Von Trapp Family singers, the musical is set in 1938 and centers around a young and spirited Maria, who is studying to become a nun in her native Austria. When she’s sent by the Mother Abbess to be a governess for the seven children of retired naval officer, Capt. Georg von Trapp, Maria teaches all of them to sing, a skill that ultimately leads to the family’s escape from the Nazis.

Popular songs from the show include “Do-Re-Mi,” “The Sound of Music” “Sixteen Going On Seventeen,” “Edelweiss,” “So Long, Farewell” and “My Favorite Things.”

One of Charleville’s favorite things is the song “Climb Every Mountain.” He says that song has an important message: “No matter what struggles and difficulties life brings, if we just keep following out hearts and dreams we can achieve whatever we hope to do. Never give up!”

That philosophy has enabled Randy Charleville to achieve his own dreams of a stage career. Area audiences have also seen him in “Wizard of Oz,” “Flashdance” and “Elf.”

“The Schuster Center is an incredible facility with wonderful acoustics and design,” says the actor who will portray Baron Elberfeld, a neighbor of the Von Trapps who is opposed to the takeover of his beloved Austria by Nazi Germany.

The characters of Liesl and Rolf sing “Sixteen Going on Seventeen” in the Broadway musical, “The Sound of Music. CONTRIBUTED(Staff Writer)

The road to acting

Charleville made his stage debut at the age of 5 in “The Three Little Pigs” at Van Buren Elementary School in Hamilton. “I was the pig with the brick house,” he remembers. “We had little squiggly tails we attached to our backside and we made pig faces from brown paper bags. “

That kindergarten experience changed his life. “I’ll never forget having that live audience in front of me and hearing them cheer and laugh and enjoy themselves so much,” he says now. “I got bitten by the theater bug and have been acting ever since.”

Between his year at Wright State and his years at CCM, Charleville spent a year performing at Opryland in Nashville. Although he also performs in television and film, he insists there’s nothing like live theater where there’s immediate audience reaction. “One of the things that’s so beautiful about performing is that it felt like my way of giving back in some small way,” he explains. “You never know what effect you’ll have on people.”

Lauren Kidwell plays The Mother Abbess and Jill-Christine Wiley is Maria in the production that will come to the Schuster Center. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY MATTHEW MURPHY(Staff Writer)

It isn’t unusual, he says, for people to approach him at Starbucks or at a restaurant to tell him how much they’ve enjoyed the show. “They might have a sick child or be going through hardships so if they were able to escape or laugh or cry for a short period of time, it’s fulfilling to think you’ve made a difference. I’m blessed to do what I love to do.”

Charleville labels this fresh version of “The Sound of Music” a “magical experience.”

“It’s very similar to the film,” he says. “Everyone thinks because it’s an older show it’s not relevant today, but that’s not the case. In addition to the beautiful songs and all of the children singing and dancing, the story-line reflects a lot of political struggles that continue to exist in our world. It demonstrates how a society can overcome difficulties.”


What: National touring production of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “The Sound of Music”

When: Feb. 13-18

Where: Schuster Center, 1 W. Second St., Dayton

Tickets: $30 and up. Available online at www.TicketCenterStage.com, at the Wintergarden Box Office, or call (937) 228-3630 or 888-228-3630. Group, military and student discounts available!

For information: www.SoundOfMusicOnTour.com.

This famous female comedian is headed to Dayton this weekend

Published: Wednesday, February 07, 2018 @ 12:00 PM

Comedian Paula Poundstone, who is currently developing the new podcast, Nobody Listens to Paula Poundstone, performs at Victoria Theatre in Dayton on Saturday, Feb. 10. CONTRIBUTED
Contributing Writer
Comedian Paula Poundstone, who is currently developing the new podcast, Nobody Listens to Paula Poundstone, performs at Victoria Theatre in Dayton on Saturday, Feb. 10. CONTRIBUTED(Contributing Writer)

As the mother of children ages 19, 23 and 27, Paula Poundstone knows how difficult it can be for young adults to find their place in the world. The stand-up comic, performing at the Victoria Theatre in Dayton on Saturday, Feb. 10, admits she was lucky to discover her calling at the beginning of the stand-up comedy boom of the early 1980s.

“My kids are all trying to figure out their lives,” Poundstone said. “Everybody talks about how awful the teenage years are for the kids, but the young-adult years are horrendous. It was the same in my own life. When I was a kid I wanted to be Carol Burnett, Lily Tomlin and Gilda Radner but I didn’t know how to go about doing that. I didn’t always entertain the possibility I’d be a comic.

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“I didn’t know how,” she continued. “Do you just start talking on a bus? I was lucky because I happened to be living in Boston and busing tables in ’78 or ’79. At the time somebody started producing stand-up comedy shows, so I had a path. Even though I was a screw up that did stuff wrong and I was miserable lots of times, I still had this North Star. I knew stand-up comedy was the goal so when in doubt, I deferred to that.”

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Comedian Paula Poundstone, who is currently developing the new podcast, Nobody Listens to Paula Poundstone, performs at Victoria Theatre in Dayton on Saturday, Feb. 10. CONTRIBUTED(Contributing Writer)

Poundstone has a curious mind and is always on a quest to learn more. She’s a regular panelist on the NPR’s popular news-based quiz show, “Wait Wait … Don’t Tell Me!” In May 2017, her book, “The Totally Unscientific Study of the Search for Human Kindness,” was published. Earlier this year, she hosted the short-lived NPR podcast “Live from the Poundstone Institute.”

“I like an information-based show, both as an audience member and as a performer, so I really enjoyed the podcast,” she said. “Sadly, we only did 10 episodes before the institute’s endowment ran out. My partner on that show was Adam Felber, who I met on ‘Wait Wait … Don’t Tell Me.’ Adam was head of research and he’s become a great friend of our family.

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While the program was cancelled, the experience gave Poundstone the itch to try another podcast. She and Felber are currently developing the new podcast, “Nobody Listens to Paula Poundstone.”

“It’s a comedy advice show and Adam is my cohort again,” she said. “We had so much fun doing ‘The Institute’ we decided to do this ourselves without the power of NPR behind us. We’re hoping it will be available to listeners in a month or two.”


Who: Paula Poundstone

Where: Victoria Theatre, 138 N. Main St., Dayton

When: 8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 10

Cost: $39-$49

More info: 937-228-3630, Facebook or www.ticketcenterstage.com

Artist info: www.paulapoundstone.com

A few reasons to see this ‘House of Cards’ writer’s steamy play now showing in Dayton

Published: Tuesday, February 06, 2018 @ 6:00 AM

Jennifer Johansen and Ben Palacios star in the Human Race Theatre Company’s local premiere of Laura Eason’s steamy relationship drama “Sex with Strangers” slated Feb. 1-18 at the Loft Theatre. (Photos by Scott J. Kimmins)
Jennifer Johansen and Ben Palacios star in the Human Race Theatre Company’s local premiere of Laura Eason’s steamy relationship drama “Sex with Strangers” slated Feb. 1-18 at the Loft Theatre. (Photos by Scott J. Kimmins)

The palpable attraction and dueling ambition between a failed novelist and a younger, celebrated writer serves as the hot and heavy foundation of Laura Eason’s steamy 2014 off-Broadway drama “Sex with Strangers,” which receives its local premiere at the Loft Theatre courtesy of the Human Race Theatre Company and is running through Sunday, Feb. 18.

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As a writer of the second and third seasons of the Emmy-winning Netflix political drama “House of Cards,” Eason is well-versed in filling mature relationships with substantial heat, fascinating complexity and absorbing intellect. Here, she crafts an intriguing two-hander concerning Olivia and Ethan, snowbound at a writer’s bed and breakfast retreat in Michigan. Their weekend tryst evolves into a long-term romance but at an emotional and professional cost, particularly as Ethan attempts to shed his bad-boy reputation and Olivia seeks the fame Ethan can offer her.

“When I first saw this show in New York, I was intrigued by the cat-and-mouse, sexually charged relationship, and believed it would speak to our modern audience,” said Kevin Moore, Human Race President and Artistic Director. “In this digitally dominated age, knowing a person’s true identity can be tricky.”

“This play is more compelling, deep and emotional than you would imagine at face value,” added Ben Palacios, who portrays Ethan. “The script is wonderful but there are still things I’m discovering in it that gets to me.”

“And at the same rate, there is a lot of humor, playfulness and sexiness, which is great,” echoed Jennifer Johansen, who portrays Olivia. “This is a full evening of well-rounded, language-driven storytelling that will appeal to anyone.”

Jennifer Johansen and Ben Palacios star in the Human Race Theatre Company’s local premiere of Laura Eason’s steamy relationship drama “Sex with Strangers” slated Feb. 1-18 at the Loft Theatre. (Photos by Scott J. Kimmins)(Contributing Writer)


The visceral, physical and intimate nature of the play requires considerable chemistry, commitment and trust from the actors, last seen in the Race’s hilarious 2015 production of “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike” at the Victoria Theatre. Both have taken their responsibilities in stride as they attempt to convey intense intimacy under the guidance of director Greg Hellems, who staged the Race’s lovely 2016 production of “The Glass Menagerie” at the Loft.

“From the beginning, it’s been about context, communication, consent and choreography,” Johansen said. “Choreographing the intimacy is like choreographing a dance or a fight. In the stage directions, there are four scenes which end mentioning clothes come off and sex is intimate.”

“The intimacy in the scenes is very emotional, but while we’re creating intimacy we’re also able to separate it from its emotionality,” Palacios added. “I don’t know how we would have done it otherwise. It would have been too daunting or too dangerous. But the sexuality of this play is its own character.”

“Besides both being exceptional actors, they already had experienced a degree of intimacy on stage,” Moore reminded. “Their characters, the self-absorbed Masha and her hunky boy-toy Spike, where continually pawing at each other.”

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Jennifer Johansen and Ben Palacios star in the Human Race Theatre Company s local premiere of Laura Eason s steamy relationship drama Sex with Strangers slated Feb. 1-18 at the Loft Theatre. (Photos by Scott J. Kimmins)


When “Sex with Strangers” premiered, Harvey Weinstein was still a major Hollywood power-player and Matt Lauer brought morning joy to NBC’s “The Today Show.” With the #MeToo movement shaking the social and political landscape across the country, Johansen and Palacios are fully aware that current views of sexual harassment and the treatment of women will factor into how the play is perceived.

In fact, the play’s title refers to Ethan’s website stemming from his tell-all sexcapades of sleeping with a hundred random women over the course of a year.

“I hope everybody sees themselves in Ethan and Olivia,” Palacios said. “There will be times when the audience feels they have to choose sides, but to understand both sides is important. I believe Ethan is haunted by his past and what he’s done, but he wants to change and is changing. He is seeking redemption.”

“This play presents two very strong, dynamic human beings who are vulnerable, strong and bullish,” Johansen said. “Olivia stands up for women. Olivia is not someone who is weak. I hope women will see Olivia as a strong, complicated woman who resonates with various parts of their own lives and their own obstacles.”

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What: “Sex with Strangers”

Where: Loft Theatre of the Metropolitan Arts Center, 126 N. Main St., Dayton

When: Feb. 1-18; 8 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings; 7 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesdays evenings; and 2 p.m. Sunday matinees. There will be a post-show talkback after the Feb. 11 performance.

Cost: $35-$50 for adults; $32-$46 for seniors; and $17.50-$25 for students. Prices vary depending on performance date and seating location.

Discounts: There are a limited number of $12 and $25 side area seats available for each performance. Tickets: Call (937) 228-3630 or visit www.humanracetheatre.org or ticketcenterstage.com.

FYI: The play contains partial nudity, strong language and adult themes.

Diavolo to dazzle Springfield with architecture in motion

Published: Thursday, February 01, 2018 @ 12:00 PM

            Diavolo/Architecture in Motion will bring the energy that stunned audiences on “America’s Got Talent” to the Clark State Performing Arts Center. CONTRIBUTED
Diavolo/Architecture in Motion will bring the energy that stunned audiences on “America’s Got Talent” to the Clark State Performing Arts Center. CONTRIBUTED

Even if you are the world’s most talented dancer, to join Diavolo/Architecture in Motion, you’d need more than just the right moves.

Diavolo isn’t just modern dance, it’s half-creation and half-outreach.

“We’re not your normal dance company. We’re looking for someone who can do more than dance and do cool tricks,” said Connor Senning, Diavolo dancer and associate rehearsal director. “We’re looking for a specific breed — a scientist, a construction worker, somebody who can teach and you can trust.”

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The group that thrilled audiences on “America’s Got Talent” by taking the Judges’ Choice Award and appearing in the finals, will have audiences “L.O.S.T. “ in its creativity at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 9, at the Clark State Performing Arts Center.

Diavolo is presented by the Clark State Performing Arts Center as part of its Club Kuss Series.

While Diavolo is known for its risky acrobatics and movements, Senning stresses this isn’t a circus variation. It’s a combination of modern dance, hip-hop and ballet with layers that come on top of each other.

“L.O.S.T.,” or Losing One’s Self Temporarily, consists of two 30-minute pieces, both performed on “America’s Got Talent” last summer in three-minute versions. The first piece, “Passenger,” represents prisoners or refugees who are trying to escape the system or being part of the machine.

“It’s about hope, pain and the many layers about going to unknown destinations that can be interpreted in many ways,” Senning said.

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The second piece, “Trajectoire,” is what Senning describes as an “extra cool wow piece.” It also brings the architecture in motion part to life.

“Trajectoire” incorporates a 3,000-pound boat of steel and wood that rocks back and forth and finds the dancers launching themselves off of it as part of an abstract narrative.

It’s that element that separates Diavolo’s 12 dancers — six men and six women — and bonds them at the same time as they need to trust each other to make it work.

“When you put people in danger, it brings them closer together,” Senning said.

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Diavolo is also bringing people together with The Veterans Project, working with actual military veterans in the performance as a form of a way of giving back and helping these heroes get recognition.

They will do special shows in February at Washington, D.C.’s Kennedy Center with this theme.

Senning added that part of the fun is performing in new places, such as Springfield.

“We’re always excited to go to a new city and discovering it and the people,” he said.


What: Diavolo/Architecture in Motion

Where: Clark State Performing Arts Center, 300 S. Fountain Ave., Springfield

When: Friday, Feb. 9, 7:30 p.m.

Admission: $30 and $40 (plus ticket and facility fees)

More info: 937-328-3874 or go to http://pac.clarkstate.edu/events/calendar/diavolo-lost-club-kuss/