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Published: Sunday, October 01, 2017 @ 6:00 AM
— Here are 10 can’t-miss stage shows this month.
IN THE HEIGHTS
Oct. 3-8, Schuster Center
“Hamilton” creator Lin-Manuel Miranda won a 2008 Tony Award for writing the score for this diverse showcase of hip-hop and Latin rhythms centered on the universal hopes and dreams of the Washington Heights community in New York City.
Tuesday-Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 2 and 8 p.m., and Sunday at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. at the Schuster Center, Second and Main Streets, Dayton. Tickets are $25-$98. Call (937) 228-3630 or visit ticketcenterstage.com.
Oct. 6-22, Dayton Theatre Guild
Dayton Theatre Guild presents the local premiere of Jordan Harrison’s 2015 Pulitzer Prize-nominated drama. Set in the age of artificial intelligence, the play examines loss, memory, identity and technology as an 85-year-old widow copes with the death of her husband through the use of a computer program known as a prime.
Fridays at 8 p.m., Saturdays at 5 p.m. (with exception of Oct. 7 at 8 p.m.), and Sunday at 3 p.m. at the Dayton Theatre Guild, 430 Wayne Ave., Dayton. Call (937) 278-5993 or visit daytontheatreguild.org.
Oct. 17, Centerville High School
The Miami Valley Community Concert Association presents the eclectic sounds of this internationally renowned and award-winning recording artist. The Toronto native, born to Greek parents, considers his musical aesthetic to be a blend of Greek, flamenco, Latin, and Balkan influences meshed into contemporary pop.
Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. at Centerville High School, 500 E. Franklin St., Centerville. Tickets are $30 for adults and $5 for students (first grade through college). Call Carol Heine at (937) 938-1109 or Gwen Brubaker at (937) 297-0463 or visit mvcconcert.org.
Oct. 19-22, Schuster Center
Millennial-driven Playground Theatre, one of the most progressive troupes in town, opens its season with Stephen Belber’s dark drama concerning motive and truth centered on old friends coming to terms with the past.
Thursday at 7 p.m., Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 2 and 8 p.m., and Sunday at 2 p.m. inside the Mathile Theatre of the Schuster Center, Second and Main Streets, Dayton. Tickets are $15-$20. Call (937) 228-3630 or visit ticketcenterstage.com.
Oct. 20 and 22, Schuster Center
Dayton Opera presents the company premiere of Gian Carlo Menotti’s thought-provoking 1950 Pulitzer Prize-winning work concerning “the struggle for freedom against oppression and the maddening nature of unrelenting bureaucracy.” Sung in English with English surtitles.
Friday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m. at the Schuster Center, Second and Main Streets, Dayton. Tickets are $28-$94. Call (937) 228-3630 or visit ticketcenterstage.com.
MYSTIC INDIA: WORLD TOUR
Oct. 26, Schuster Center
Hooray for Bollywood! This colorful extravaganza, a special Star Attractions courtesy of the Victoria Theatre Association, features an assortment of dancers, musicians, aerialists, and acrobats in a display of authentic Indian and modern styles.
Thursday at 7 p.m. at the Schuster Center, Second and Main Streets, Dayton. Tickets are $25-$60. Call (937) 228-3630 or visit ticketcenterstage.com.
THE GREAT GATSBY
Oct. 26-29, Victoria Theatre
Dayton Ballet’s 80th anniversary season begins as choreographer Ron Cunningham, Artistic Director of Sacramento Ballet, illuminates F. Scott Fitzgerald’s tale of wealthy Jay Gatsby and the lovely Daisy Buchanan. This ballet premiered at Sacramento Ballet in February 2013 and will feature live music by Billy Nivock’s Blue Syncopators and blues singer Felita LaRock with narration by Human Race Resident Artist Jamie Cordes as Nick Carraway. Thursday at 7:30 p.m.,
Thursday at 7:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m., and Sunday at 3 p.m. at the Victoria Theatre, 138 N. Main St., Dayton. Tickets are $14-$72. Call (937) 228-3630 or visit ticketcenterstage.com.
BAT BOY: THE MUSICAL
Oct. 27-Nov. 3, Schuster Center
Dare to Defy Productions ushers in Halloween with the “Weekly World News” legend of Bat Boy, an irreverent account of the half-boy, half-bat who sends a fictional West Virginia town into a complete frenzy. This hilariously edgy 2001 off-Broadway pop/rock musical featuring catchy songs by Laurence O’Keefe (“Legally Blonde”) particularly includes an inspired nod to “Pygmalion.” Oct. 27 at 8 p.m., Oct. 28 at 2 and 8 p.m., and Nov. 3 at 8 p.m.
Oct. 27 at 8 p.m., Oct. 28 at 2 and 8 p.m., and Nov. 3 at 8 p.m.in the Mathile Theatre of the Schuster Center, Second and Main Streets, Dayton. Tickets are $16.50-$25. Call (937) 228-3630 or visit ticketcenterstage.com.
Oct. 27-Nov. 5, Beavercreek Community Theatre
This kooky musical comedy based on Mel Brooks’ classic 1974 film retains the spirit of the original (Irving Berlin’s “Puttin’ on the Ritz” is an Act 2 signature) while incorporating new songs by Brooks including “Please Don’t Touch Me,” “He Vas My Boyfriend” and “The Brain.” Contains adult language and situations.
Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 3 and 8 p.m., and Sunday at 3 p.m. at the Lofino Center, 3868 Dayton-Xenia Rd., Beavercreek. Tickets are $15 for adults and $12 for students and seniors. Call (937) 429-4737 or visit bctheatre.org.
Through Oct. 28, La Comedia Dinner Theatre
There’s still time to catch one of the most highly entertaining and exuberant shows in La Comedia history. “Mamma Mia!,” the jukebox musical built on an ABBA foundation, features a terrific Becky Barrett-Jones as hard-working hotel proprietor Donna Sheridan and knockout triple threat Erica Lynn Bridge as Donna’s daughter Sophie who longs to know the identity of her father as her wedding approaches. Barrett-Jones’ “The Winner Takes it All” and Bridge’s “The Name of the Game” are musical standouts.
Published: Saturday, February 24, 2018 @ 12:00 AM
Multiple premieres accent local stages in March. Here are shows to consider.
The Barber of Seville
March 2 and 4, Schuster Center
Figaro! Dayton Opera presents Rossini’s beloved comic romance concerning an Italian barber/matchmaker. 8 p.m. Friday and 3 p.m. Sunday at the Schuster Center, Second and Main Streets, Dayton. Tickets are $28-$94. (937) 228-3630 or ticketcenterstage.com.
March 8-11, Schuster Center
Playground Theatre supplies local premiere of Leslye Headland’s stinging comedy about old friends behaving badly. Mathile Theatre of Schuster Center, Second and Main Streets, Dayton. Thursday at 7 p.m., Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 2 and 8 p.m., and Sunday at 2 p.m. Tickets are $15-$20. (937) 228-3630 or ticketcenterstage.com.
March 9-11, Schuster Center
Dayton Ballet presents this Tchaikovsky classic which will feature original choreography by former Washington Ballet Artistic Director Septime Webre. The story has been transplanted from its original 1877 setting to New York’s high society circa 1912. Dayton Philharmonic provides accompaniment. 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday at the Schuster Center, Second and Main Streets, Dayton. Tickets are $21-$72. (937) 228-3630 or ticketcenterstage.com.
A Few Good Men
March 9-18, Dayton Playhouse
Can you handle the truth? Aaron Sorkin’s 1989 legal drama, made famous on screen in 1992 starring Tom Cruise and Jack Nicholson, concerns murder among Marines. 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays at the Playhouse, 1301 E. Siebenthaler Ave., Dayton. Tickets are $16-$18. (937) 424-8477 or daytonplayhouse.com.
First in Flight
March 10, Wright State University
Wright State senior musical theater student Eli Davis (recently seen as Grandpa in “The Grapes of Wrath”) premieres his original musical chronicling the Wright brothers. The performance, featuring a cast of 18, will be a concert staging. 8 p.m. Recital Hall of WSU Creative Arts Center, 3640 Col. Glenn Hwy., Fairborn.
The Mystery of Edwin Drood
March 15-April 8, Wright State University
Rupert Holmes’ 1986 Tony Award-winning musical comedy whodunit receives its WSU premiere. Based on the unfinished novel by Charles Dickens, the show playfully relies on the audience to determine the ending. Festival Playhouse of WSU Creative Arts Center, 3640 Col. Glenn Hwy., Fairborn. March 15, 28, 29, and April 5 at 7 p.m.; March 16, 17, 30, 31, April 6 and 7 at 8 p.m.; March 18, 31, April 1, 7 and 8 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $20-$22. Call (937) 775-2500 or visit https://liberal-arts.wright.edu/theatre-dance-and-motion-pictures/box-office.
The Other Place
March 16-April 1, Dayton Theatre Guild
In this local premiere drama by Sharr White, which played Broadway during the 2012-13 season, fact blurs fiction in the life of a successful neurologist whose world is coming apart. 8 p.m. Fridays, 5 p.m. Saturdays (with the exception of the March 17 performance at 8 p.m.) and 3 p.m. Sundays at the Guild, 430 Wayne Ave. Tickets are $13-$20. (937) 278-5993 or www.daytontheatreguild.org.
March 20-25, Schuster Center
Welcome to the Renaissance! Nominated for 10 Tony Awards including Best Musical, this hilarious and tuneful show spotlights two brothers/aspiring writers attempting to outdo their rival William Shakespeare by writing the very first musical. 8 p.m. Tuesday-Friday; 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday; 2 and 7:30 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $26-$99. Call (937) 228-3630 or ticketcenterstage.com.
March 22, Centerville High School
The Miami Valley Community Concert Association presents renowned violinist Brad Repp and pianist/actor Aldo Gentileschi as Duo Baldo. This musical comedy team specializes in a virtuosic style laced with theatrical humor and pop culture. They particularly made their debut with famed tenor Andrea Bocelli in 2004. 7:30 p.m. at Centerville High School, 500 E. Franklin St, Centerville. Tickets are $30 for adults and $5 for students. Call (937) 853-8292 or mvcconcert.org.
March 23-24, University of Dayton
Published: Saturday, February 24, 2018 @ 12:00 AM
Saxophonist Dave Liebman’s career as a professional musician was solidified at 15 when he saw John Coltrane perform. The Pennsylvania-based artist and teacher hopes to inspire a new generation of teens during Weekend of Jazz at Beavercreek High School, Thursday through Saturday, March 1 through 3.
“I had polio as a kid,” Liebman said. “I was always around hospitals and doctors, so I wanted to be an orthopedic surgeon. Then I saw Coltrane and it looked interesting and unbelievably fun. This was art and music that was beyond the pale. It was so visceral. It was an awakening.”
Liebman, who performs regularly in the United States and Europe, has appeared on more than 500 recordings. His latest release is “Masters in Bordeaux” with French pianist Martial Solal.
“Jazz is a very deep music,” Liebman said. “It’s very American, at least at its roots, and it’s very African-American in its personnel. It’s music of complete honesty and of democracy versus individuality at the same time.”
CONCERTS & WORKSHOPS
Weekend of Jazz features a series of public performances. Beavercreek Band Night is Thursday, followed by the Victor Wooten Band on Friday and the Dave Liebman Big Band on Saturday. Liebman and Wooten will also be working directly with students.
MORE STUFF TO DO: 3 fish fry events this weekend in
“I’ve been doing this for 50 years so I’m a relic, but I have some things to share with students,” he said. “I’m still running the organization I founded, the International Association of Schools of Jazz. We’re doing a lot of outreach and trying to get young people interested in the music.”
Musicians from more than 20 high school jazz bands will attend the 18th annual event, including Beavercreek senior Gabriel Brausch on trumpet. “I like Weekend of Jazz because it’s a place where professionals meet the students and students get to see how the thing they like doing can relate to a career,” he said.
Beavercreek senior Shelby Rice, who plays trombone, agreed. “Weekend of Jazz truly is a unique learning experience for students. We get to interact with — and learn from — world-class musicians we wouldn’t have access to otherwise. We get insights into the industry and the lives of professional musicians, and get lessons in performance and musicianship from people who’ve made this their life’s work.”
FUTURE OF JAZZ
The motto of Weekend of Jazz is, “Where the future of jazz meets the legends of jazz.” According to Tim Sakulich, the director of the Weekend of Jazz, he and the other parent volunteers take that very seriously.
WANT TO GO?
What: Weekend of Jazz featuring Beavercreek Band Night, the Victor Wooten Band and the Dave Liebman Big Band
Where: Beavercreek High School Alumni Auditorium, 266o Dayton-Xenia Road, Beavercreek.
When: 6 p.m. Thursday, 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, March 1 through 3.
Cost: Free Thursday, $33 adults, $23 students and seniors per concert Friday and Saturday.
More info: www.weekendofjazz.org
Published: Wednesday, February 21, 2018 @ 12:00 AM
— Rob Colletti was a high school junior when the hit movie, “School of Rock,” came out. Now, 15 years later, he’s taking on the Jack Black role of Dewey Finn in the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical version of the movie, which plays at the Aronoff Center throughout next weekend.
“I saw (the movie) when it came out,” Colletti said. “I was a huge Jack Black fan and I was also just hitting my stride in my musical discovery. I grew up with my dad playing that music, though his tastes were mellower. The movie added Black Sabbath.”
The story is familiar to many. Finn is a down-on-his-luck rock star wannabe living off his roommate. By chance, he lands a job as a substitute teacher, where he throws out the math textbooks and turns the classroom into a rock school. Naturally, Finn and the kids end up having more to teach each other than how to play The Doors in perfect harmony. According to Colletti, the musical expands greatly on the movie.
“There are two new levels of storytelling,” he said. “First, the relationship between Dewey and Rosalie, the principal, is amplified. There’s also a storyline about the kids, how they’re not listened to by their parents and how they’re being pushed into lives they didn’t choose. There’s a reason why the movie was two hours and the musical is two and a half. Even audiences who know the ending are surprised.”
In addition to retaining all of the classic rock songs from the movie, the Webber score adds 14 more songs.
“(The score) hearkens back to (Webber’s) ‘Jesus Christ Superstar,’ which was a rock opera,” Colletti said. “It’s all guitar, piano, bass and drums. There are no brass or woodwinds. It’s just a rock band in a pit. And the kids play songs onstage, too. I’ve never yet seen an audience that isn’t on their feet at the end.”
Because a major part of the movie’s appeal was Jack Black’s idiosyncratic brand of physical comedy, Colletti said he felt obligated to replicate that performance, but only to a certain extent.
“I’m very intent on not doing a Jack Black impression,” he said. “I’ll be building on what he did, because it’s iconic for a reason. But it wasn’t just him. If you look at old footage of Mick Jagger and Angus Young, you can see their physicality in (Black’s) performance. It was very specific and it just happened to fit his sense of humor.”
Colletti added that he’s applying his own life experiences to the trials that Finn endures.
“I’ve had my share of failure, too,” he said. “I’ve been dismissed, fired, told no. I use the implications of the lessons I’ve learned.”
WANT TO GO?
What: “School of Rock: The Musical”
When: Feb. 22-March 4; 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays-Thursdays, 8 p.m. Fridays, 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Saturdays, 1 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Sunday
Where: Aronoff Center for the Arts, 650 Walnut St., Cincinnati
Cost: $30 and up
More Info: 513-621-2787 or www.cincinnatiarts.org.
Published: Tuesday, February 20, 2018 @ 6:00 AM
— On the brink of its 50th anniversary season, the Dayton Contemporary Dance Company is producing a one-night-only celebration of former dancers and current artists in its winter concert fittingly titled “Reunited,” which is slated Saturday, Feb. 24, at the Victoria Theatre.
“Celebrating 50 years is very important internally to the organization,” said DCDC Artistic Director Debbie Blunden-Diggs. “Longevity of a company in the dance world is very important right now particularly when you hear of companies closing their doors daily as the economy tries to adjust to the non-profit sector. But DCDC, being around for 50 consecutive years in a non-coastal city, is proud of our accomplishments. We want everybody to celebrate with us.”
Organizers are preparing excerpts of 10 works from each of the company’s three artistic directors: founder Jeraldyne Blunden, Kevin Ward and Blunden-Diggs. The program will also feature works from choreographers in DCDC’s classic repertory including Asadata Dafora and Donald Byrd, and works from today’s top choreographers including Ronen Koresh, Dwight Rhoden, Alvin Rangel and Ray Mercer.
“The concert is going to be an interesting retrospective that sort of takes the audience through an open photo album through our 50 years,” said Blunden-Diggs. “I’ve seen a lot of dance companies celebrate their 50th anniversaries and I wanted to create something more exciting than particularly hearing a lot of historical facts. So, the audience will see snippets of past work and most recent work. It’s going to be an exciting program.”
In addition, former WDTN news anchor Marsha Bonhart will connect the dances as the show’s live storyteller.
“Marsha has witnessed a lot of the things DCDC has done,” Blunden-Diggs said. “I was looking for a way someone could help us tell the story in more than one way. She’s a wonderful host and moderator.”
Organizers are still confirming how many former dancers and special guests will be included, but Blunden-Diggs is certain the evening will be an amazing homecoming for all involved. She also hints the company could possibly announce the upcoming 50th anniversary season at the concert.
“Once you’re with DCDC, you’re always with DCDC,” she reminded. “This concert is just another opportunity to say that out loud and get as many people back here to see what we look like now. There are many people who left the company years ago who haven’t seen what the company is today. And our present company will have the opportunity to hear the stories of the people whose shoulders they stand upon.”
Want to go?
WHERE: Victoria Theatre, 138 N. Main St., Dayton
WHEN: 7:30 p.m.; Saturday
TICKETS/MORE INFO: Call Ticket Center Stage at (937) 228-3630 or visit www.ticketcenterstage.com
FYI: DCDC will host “The Gathering: A DCDC Family Reunion” with dancers, choreographers, teachers and patrons Fri. Feb. 23 at 7 p.m. at Dayton Women’s Club, 225 N. Ludlow St., Dayton. For more information, call Ticket Center Stage at (937) 228-3630 or visit www.ticketcenterstage.com.
The Dayton Contemporary Dance Company is about to celebrate 50 years. Dayton Contemporary Dance Company was founded in 1968 to create performance opportunities for dancers of color. Nearly 50 years later, it remains rooted in the African American experience.
The dance group will be awarded the prestigious Irma Lazarus Award this year, one of the Governor’s Awards for the Arts.
The “Lazarus Award goes to individuals or organizations who have helped shape public support for the arts through their work as advocates and have brought national and international recognition to Ohio through sustained dedication to artistic excellence.”
Other top honors: