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The 10 shows you shouldn’t miss in November

Published: Tuesday, October 31, 2017 @ 6:00 AM

Sara Etsy as Lise Dassin and McGee Maddox as Jerry Mulligan in the national tour of An American in Paris Nov. 7-12 at the Schuster Center. (Contributed Photo by Matthew Murphy)
Sara Etsy as Lise Dassin and McGee Maddox as Jerry Mulligan in the national tour of An American in Paris Nov. 7-12 at the Schuster Center. (Contributed Photo by Matthew Murphy)

From new works to classic musicals, here are a few shows to consider adding to your November agenda.

>> 10 shows to celebrate the holidays

Scott Stoney (from left), Vince Gatton, Alex Sunderhaus, and Caitlin Larsen star in the Human Race Theatre Company’s Midwest premiere of The House Nov. 2-19 at the Loft Theatre. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY HEATHER N. POWELL(Heather Powell)

‘The House’

Nov. 2-19, Loft Theatre

Human Race Theatre Company presents the Midwest premiere of Brian Parks’ kooky comedy “The House,” the story of two couples fighting over a dream home’s past and future. Thursday-Saturday at 8 p.m.; Sunday at 2 p.m.; and Tuesday-Wednesday at 7 p.m. at the Loft Theatre, 126 N. Main St., Dayton. Tickets are $20-$40. Call (937) 228-3630 or visit humanracetheatre.org.

‘Fiddler on the Roof’

Nov. 2-19, Wright State University

Jerry Bock, Sheldon Harnick and Joseph Stein’s classic musical concerns a poor milkman and his family coping with change from within and outside their tiny village of Anatevka. Nov. 2, 8, 9 and 16 at 7 p.m.; Nov. 3, 4, 10, 11, 17, and 18 at 8 p.m.; and Nov. 5, 11, 12, 18 and 19 at 2 p.m. in WSU’s Creative Arts Center, 3640 Col. Glenn Hwy., Fairborn. Tickets are $20-$22. Call (937) 775-2500 or visit https://liberal-arts.wright.edu/theatre-dance-and-motion-pictures/box-office.

Radio Plays

Nov. 2-5, Sinclair Community College

Four plays focused on sound from the horror and mystery genre include Agatha Christie’s relatively unknown “Personal Call” and Sinclair student Maxmillian Santucci’s intriguingly creepy “Frog-Eater.” “My play is set in a contemporary Midwestern ‘nowhere town’ where the residents have realized the local frog population has increased to a worrying degree,” Santucci said. Thursday at 7 p.m.; Friday at Noon and 8 p.m.; Saturday at 8 p.m.; and Sunday at 2 p.m. in Sinclair’s Black Box Theatre, Fourth Floor, Building 2, 444 W. Third St., Dayton. Tickets are $8. Call (937) 512-2808 or visit sinclair.edu/tickets.

Tony and Grammy-nominated pianist/vocalist Michael Cavanaugh, a Cleveland native, joins the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra for the music of Elton John and others of his era Nov. 3 at the Schuster Center. (Contributed photo)

Michael Cavanaugh: The Music of Elton John and More

Nov. 3, Schuster Center

Acclaimed pianist/vocalist Michael Cavanaugh performs the music of Grammy, Tony and Academy Award-winning tunesmith Sir Elton John and other songwriters of John’s era accompanied by Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra. Friday at 8 p.m. at the Schuster Center, Second and Main Streets, Dayton. Tickets are $29-$81. Call (937) 228-3630 or visit ticketcenterstage.com.

‘Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean’

Nov. 3-12, Dayton Playhouse

In Ed Graczyk’s 1976 play, which premiered at Players Theatre in Columbus, an all-female James Dean fan club reflects on the life of the iconic film star at a Texas five-and-dime store. Michael Boyd directs. Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. at the Dayton Playhouse, 1301 E. Siebenthaler Ave., Dayton. Tickets are $16-$18. Call (937) 424-8477 or visit daytonplayhouse.com.

"An American in Paris" will be on stage at the Schuster Center November 7-12. CONTRIBUTED

‘An American in Paris’

Nov. 7-12, Schuster Center

Victoria Theatre Association presents regional premiere of this Gershwin-driven, post-war musical based on the 1951Academy Award-winning film about Jerry Mulligan, an American soldier and aspiring painter, who falls in love with Lise Dassin, a beautiful ballerina. Director Christopher Wheeldon received the 2015 Tony Award for Best Choreography. His crisp, stunning, glitzy, and sophisticated routines, particularly Act Two’s gorgeous ballet, are worth the price of admission. Gene Kelly would be proud. Tuesday-Friday at 8 p.m.; Saturday at 2 and 8 p.m.; and Sunday at 2 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.

‘Grease’

Nov. 10-12, University of Dayton

Danny, Sandy and the rest of the Rydell High gang are back for another round of 1950s fun and romance. Co-produced by UD’s Department of Music and the Theatre, Dance and Performance Technology Program. Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. in Boll Theatre in Kennedy Union, 300 College Park, Dayton. Tickets are $8-$12. Call (937) 229-3950 or visit udayton.edu.

Legendary pop and jazz trumpeter Doc Severinsen will celebrate his 90th birthday with the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra Nov. 18 and 19 at the Schuster Center. (Contributed photo)

Doc Severinsen’s 90th Birthday Bash

Nov. 17-18, Schuster Center

Heeeeeeere’s Doc! The longtime band leader for Johnny Carson celebrates his 90th birthday with Dayton Philharmonic. Selections cover jazz, pop and big band standards. Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. at the Schuster Center, Second and Main Streets, Dayton. Tickets are $29-$79. Call (937) 228-3630 or visit ticketcenterstage.com.

‘Tuesdays with Morrie’

Nov. 17-26, Young at Heart Players

Patrick Hayes and Jamie McQuinn star in Young at Heart Players’ production of this humorous and sentimental tale by Jeffrey Hatcher and Mitch Albom based on Albom’s bestseller. Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. at the Dayton Playhouse, 1301 E. Siebenthaler Ave., Dayton. Tickets are $12-$15. Call (937) 654-0400 for reservations or purchase at the door (cash or checks only).

‘The Christians’

Nov. 17-Dec. 3, Dayton Theatre Guild

Dayton Theatre Guild presents local premiere of Lucas Hnath’s drama about a pastor’s controversial epiphany. “The Christians” was a 2014 finalist at the Humana Festival and named one of the most-produced plays in 2016 by American Theatre Magazine. Fridays at 8 p.m., Saturdays at 5 p.m. (with exception of Nov. 18 at 8 p.m.), and Sunday at 3 p.m. at the Guild, 430 Wayne Ave., Dayton. Tickets are $13-$20. Call (937) 278-5993 or visit daytontheatreguild.org.

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‘School of Rock: The Musical’ is bigger than Jack Black — and why you shouldn’t miss it

Published: Wednesday, February 21, 2018 @ 12:00 AM

The cast of the School of RockTour. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY MATTHEW MURPHY
The cast of the School of RockTour. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY MATTHEW MURPHY

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.”

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Theodora Silverman and Rob Colletti in the School of Rock Tour. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY MATTHEW MURPHY(Contributing Writer)

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.”

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Rob Colletti, in a role originated by Jack Black, portrays Dewey Finn in “School of Rock: The Musical.” CONTRIBUTED(Contributing Writer)

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.

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DCDC celebrates 50 years with one-night special celebration

Published: Tuesday, February 20, 2018 @ 6:00 AM

Dayton Contemporary Dance Company has just won a Bessie. Video by Amelia Robinson first uploaded July 14, 2016.

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.

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“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.”

Dayton Contemporary Dance Company closes its 48th season with its annual Soulstice fundraising gala Saturday, May 13, at America’s Packard Museum. The gala has a New Orleans theme and will include dance renditions of folklore and fairy tales. CONTRIBUTED(Contributing Writer)

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.

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“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.”

DCDC dancer “Sheri “Sparkle” Williams is shown here in “Body Talk.” She is the recipient of the OhioDance Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Dance Art Form. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY AUDREY INGRAM(Staff Writer)

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.”

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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.

DCDC will be performing Shed at the Dayton Gay Men’s Chorus concert on June 3. SUBMITTED PHOTO(Staff Writer)

“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?

WHAT: “Reunited”

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

WHEN: 7:30 p.m.; Saturday

COST: $14.50-$47

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.

ABOUT DCDC

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:

  • Dayton Contemporary Dance Company (DCDC) won a prestigious NYC Bessie Award in 2016. The dance company received shout-outs from The New York Times and The Huffington Post as well for its performance “Rainbow ‘Round My Shoulder.”
  • The film “Sparkle” premiered on PBS in 2012, featuring dancer Sheri “Sparkle” Williams.
  • DCDC performed the opening performance for Oprah Winfrey and Dr. Maya Angelo at the Schuster Center in 2005. 
  • DCDC toured 27 cities with The Flight Project, five dance works commemorating the Wright Brothers centennial of powered flight in 2003.
  • Dancer Sheri Williams received the New York Dance and Performance Award (the Bessie), the JOSIE Award in 2002.
  • DCDC was featured in the 2001 Emmy award-winning PBS Great Performances documentary, Free to Dance, in 2001.

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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.”

WANT TO GO?

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.

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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.”

WANT TO GO?

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

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