9 things to know about the new luxury movie theater at Austin Landing

Published: Monday, October 30, 2017 @ 9:52 AM
Updated: Monday, January 08, 2018 @ 1:20 PM

New premium theater with gourmet food now open at Austin Landing

More than 1,000 people showed up for the opening of Cinépolis at Austin Landing on Oct. 29. 

The grand opening of Dayton’s first Cinépolis theater location — which includes a 12-screen cinema plus a full bar and gourmet concessions — included a live DJ, giveaways, games and prizes. Complimentary Cheetos popcorn and Icee samples were passed out to a line wrapping around the building for close to two hours.  

>> PHOTOS: Cinepolis at Austin Landing grand opening

There's clearly a lot of interest in the latest business to open at Austin Landing. 

Here are 9 things you should know. 

 >> Restaurants to try at Austin Landing

Scenes from the grand opening of the Cinepolis theater at Austin Landing on Oct. 29, 2017. ALEXIS LARSEN/CONTRIBUTED

1) The 12-screen theater at 10251 Penny Lane features plush automated reclining seats. 

2) It's only the 19th theater in the U.S. for the chain. The luxury theater company is owned by a private company based in Mexico and is the fourth largest movie theater chain in the world and the largest in Latin America with more than 5,000 screens. The company will be heavily focused on a U.S. expansion adding five theaters per year in the states over the next five years. 

>> This place takes dinner and a movie to a whole new level

3) There is a Cinépolis Rewards Program. Earn 10 points for every dollar spent on food and/or beverage, 50 points for every ticket purchased on CinepolisUSA.com or the Cinépolis App. Redeem a $5 reward for every 1,000 points accumulated. 

4) Every auditorium has state of the art sound and digital projection. 

5) All seating is reserved, so purchasing in advance is highly recommended. 

6) Special pricing on tickets will be offered every Tuesday to theater-goers. 

7) There's a full bar featuring seasonal cocktail, beer and wine selections. 

8) It has its own private label Rosé, Cabernet and Sauvignon Blanc wines it has produced in partnership with Sonoma Wine Company. 

9) Classic concessions like popcorn and soda are for sale alongside premium items like sliders, sweet potato fries, cheese plates, hummus and more. 

>> A deeper look at plans for Austin Landing cinema

Our first look inside the new luxury cinema Cinepolis at Austin Landing just south of Dayton during its Oct. 29 grand opening. ALEXIS LARSEN/CONTRIBUTED

WANT TO GO?

What: Cinepolis at Austin Landing

Where: 10251 Penny Lane, Austin Landing, Miamisburg

Admission: Regular admission: Adults $11.25, child 12 and younger $9.25, seniors 60 and older $9.75. Matinees: Adults $9.25, child 12 and  younger $8.25 and seniors $8.75.

More info: WebsiteFacebook

6 reasons you can't miss the edgy 'Jailbait' 

Published: Thursday, November 24, 2016 @ 6:00 AM

The Playground Theatre's production of 'Jailbait' will run from Dec. 1-4, 2016 at the Mathile Theatre in the Schuster Center. Under the direction of Playground co-founder Jenna Valyn, the cast consists of Jenna Gomes as Claire, Lisa Glover as Emmy, Mike Beerbower as Robert, and Playground co-founder Christopher Hahn as Mark. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO
The Playground Theatre's production of 'Jailbait' will run from Dec. 1-4, 2016 at the Mathile Theatre in the Schuster Center. Under the direction of Playground co-founder Jenna Valyn, the cast consists of Jenna Gomes as Claire, Lisa Glover as Emmy, Mike Beerbower as Robert, and Playground co-founder Christopher Hahn as Mark. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

One dizzying night in a club has significant ramifications for an intriguing foursome in Deirdre O’Connor’s edgy contemporary drama “Jailbait."

The production receives its local premiere beginning Thursday, Dec. 1 in the Mathile Theatre of the Schuster Center, courtesy of the millennial-centric Playground Theatre.

>> MORE: The Playground: Theatre for millennials (and everyone else)

Here are six reasons why you should see this provocative work produced by one of the most adventurous, risk-taking theater companies in the Miami Valley.

Meet Claire: 

 

ASPECTS OF ADULTHOOD IN QUESTION 

Fifteen-year-old high school sophomores Claire and Emmy enjoy posing as college students in order to attract older guys, but situations take a turn when they meet thirtysomething pals Mark and Robert at a club. Along the way, a tricky game of emotion, desire and soul-searching occurs.

Emmy is particularly caught in brash bachelor Mark’s sexual expectations, while Claire finds herself drawn to the heartbroken Robert, who's coping with a breakup. Ultimately, both girls must face the stark reality of how far they’re willing to go while playing at adulthood.

Under the direction of Playground co-founder Jenna Valyn, the cast consists of Jenna Gomes as Claire, Lisa Glover as Emmy, Mike Beerbower as Robert, and Playground co-founder Christopher Hahn as Mark.

The Playground Theatre's production of 'Jailbait' will run from Dec. 1-4, 2016 at the Mathile Theatre in the Schuster Center. Under the direction of Playground co-founder Jenna Valyn, the cast consists of Jenna Gomes as Claire, Lisa Glover as Emmy, Mike Beerbower as Robert, and Playground co-founder Christopher Hahn as Mark. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

“Technically, all of the characters in the show could be considered millennials, but just at opposite ends of the spectrum,” Gomes noted. “One character wrestles with his life after a breakup, another with her life after a death in the family. It's really interesting to see these similarities in the way these characters navigate life despite their age difference, possibly because of the pressures society puts on them for being part of the millennial generation.” 

Meet Robert:

 

THE THREE R’S: RAW, REAL AND RIVETING 

Playground Theatre specializes in storytelling over spectacle with an emphasis on raw, real and riveting plays. Since debuting in 2014 with “The Breakfast Club,” Playground has challenged audiences with shows addressing collegiate sexual scandal (“Really Really”), relationships disintegrating over body image (“Reasons To Be Pretty”), and the folly of wayward privilege and materialism (“This Is Our Youth”). By all means, “Jailbait” is poised to join this illustrious group of plays in a powerful way.

“The characters are complicated and compelling,” Beerbower said. “You empathize with them even when you might not want to.” 

The Playground Theatre's production of 'Jailbait' will run from Dec. 1-4, 2016 at the Mathile Theatre in the Schuster Center. Under the direction of Playground co-founder Jenna Valyn, the cast consists of Jenna Gomes as Claire, Lisa Glover as Emmy, Mike Beerbower as Robert, and Playground co-founder Christopher Hahn as Mark. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

 

THREE-DIMENSIONAL CHARACTERS WITH RELATABLE STING 

“Playground is very actor-driven, people being as real as possible and not hiding behind caricatures,” said Valyn, who starred opposite Hahn last season in Playground’s outstanding, off-Broadway caliber production of “Reasons To Be Pretty.” “We want characters to live in the moment. Of all the plays we’ve produced, I feel ‘Jailbait’ has the most relatable and likable characters. I feel like it’s easy to root for these characters.”

“It’s easy to play certain characters one-dimensional, but there’s so much going on in this script,” Hahn added. “There are so many different conflicting things that could be going on in someone’s head. The challenge is realistically portraying these contradictions without losing focus.” 

 

FEMALES IN THE SPOTLIGHT 

Valyn enthusiastically states “Jailbait” is her favorite script among the plays the company has produced. She’s also pleased to helm the troupe’s first script written by a female playwright.

“Being able to tell a story through a female voice has been wonderful for me to connect to on a different level,” she said. “I really connect to these characters. I feel closer to them in a different way as if I’m trying to take care or nurture them. This is a beautifully written script.” 

The Playground Theatre's production of 'Jailbait' will run from Dec. 1-4, 2016 at the Mathile Theatre in the Schuster Center. Under the direction of Playground co-founder Jenna Valyn, the cast consists of Jenna Gomes as Claire, Lisa Glover as Emmy, Mike Beerbower as Robert, and Playground co-founder Christopher Hahn as Mark. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

 

AN ALICE IN WONDERLAND SUBTEXT 

As Valyn began to shape her artistic vision, she realized the play bears semblance to “Alice in Wonderland” in many ways. In fact, in keeping with Playground’s tradition of reconfiguring the intimate Mathile space to suit the storytelling of each play, audiences will view the action as if peering into a journey.

“Conceptually, I’ve taken this idea of a modern ‘Alice in Wonderland’ story particularly in the costume and sound design,” she said. “The stage will be set up like an alley so the audience will see the action go from place to place from the girls’ bedroom to the nightclub to one of the male character’s apartment. The ‘Alice in Wonderland’ idea stems from my perspective that the characters are trying to escape from life and they’re rediscovering themselves by stepping outside of their comfort zone. It’s the idea that you have to get lost in order to get found.” 

The Playground Theatre's production of 'Jailbait' will run from Dec. 1-4, 2016 at the Mathile Theatre in the Schuster Center. Under the direction of Playground co-founder Jenna Valyn, the cast consists of Jenna Gomes as Claire, Lisa Glover as Emmy, Mike Beerbower as Robert, and Playground co-founder Christopher Hahn as Mark. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

 

SOUNDTRACKS ADD ANOTHER DIMENSION 

Music remains a key factor in the Playground universe in order to bring greater attention not only to the company, but each production. Valyn says her love of Cameron Crowe films, which took on a life of their own thanks to his incredible soundtracks, propelled her reasoning to bring the same artistic and promotional mentality to the forefront.

Using Spotify, Valyn’s “Jailbait” playlist currently includes Elle King’s “Ex’s and Oh’s,” the Black Keys’ “Fever,” Melanie Martinez’s “Mad Hatter,” Franz Ferdinand’s “Take Me Out,” and Sia’s “Cheap Thrills,” among others.

“Music has become a big part of our storytelling,” she said. “Our soundtracks really help set a particular mood and tell each individual story in a unique way. Music, like all art, has the power to evoke emotion and it can help moments make even more of an impact. I always attempt to create a perfect balance between the world of the play and the music surrounding it.” 

 

Want to go?

WHAT: “Jailbait” 

WHERE: Mathile Theatre in the Schuster Center, Second and Main Streets, Dayton 

WHEN: Dec. 1-4: 7 p.m. Thursday; 8 p.m. Friday; 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday; 2 p.m. Sunday 

COST: $20 

TICKETS: Call Ticket Center Stage at (937) 228-3630 or visit www.ticketcenterstage.com 

INFO: Visit theplaygroundtheatre.org

FYI: Patrons are advised the play contains adult language and situations. There will also be a preview performance at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 30. A $10 donation is suggested. A talkback with the cast immediately follows the performance. 

 

Contact this contributing writer at rflorence2@gmail.com.

8 reasons to go see Broadway hit ‘Once’ in Dayton

Published: Friday, January 15, 2016 @ 6:00 AM
Updated: Friday, January 15, 2016 @ 6:00 AM


            One of the things to love about “Once” is the music. Here is a shot from the 2013 tour. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY JOAN MARCUS
One of the things to love about “Once” is the music. Here is a shot from the 2013 tour. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY JOAN MARCUS

Want to go?

WHAT: “Once”

WHERE: Schuster Center, Second and Main streets, Dayton

WHEN: Jan. 19-24; 8 p.m. Tuesday-Friday; 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday; 2 and 7:30 p.m. Sunday

COST: $25-$82

MORE INFO: (937) 228-3630 | Website

The charming tale of a guy and girl unexpectedly falling in love in Dublin serves as the universal foundation of the 2012 Tony Award-winning musical adaptation of “Once,” which will be presented Jan. 19-24 at the Schuster Center courtesy of the Victoria Theatre Association’s Premier Health Broadway Series.

Here are eight reasons to catch this highly anticipated local premiere.

AN INTIMATE STORY

Sometimes you have to marvel at the scope of musical theater. Eye-catching spectacles are typically the hottest at the box office (“The Phantom of the Opera,” Disney’s “The Lion King” and “Aladdin,” “Les Misérables,” “Miss Saigon,” “Matilda,” and others). Even so, there has always been room for intimate fare resonating on a far more introspective level (“Fun Home,” “Next to Normal,” “Spring Awakening,” “Falsettos,” “The Scottsboro Boys” and “The Light in the Piazza” to name only a few). ‘Once” typifies the latter as a musical proud to boast a character and music-driven simplicity grounded in the attraction of a struggling Dublin street musician (named Guy) and a Czech immigrant (named Girl) connected through a shared love of music. With “Once,” it’s all about the story, characters and emotions. “This story is about a group of musicians, and we let the story unfold as they play their songs and move through this five-day story with each other,” “Once” associate director Shaun Peknic said. “The audience will feel as if they’re peeking over the shoulders of these characters, peering into a window and seeing the lives of Irish and Czech people in Dublin.”

THE GENESIS

The 2007 Academy Award-winning independent film “Once” was written and directed by John Carney, and starred Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová, who wrote original music and lyrics. The critically acclaimed film, shot in 17 days, was made for $150,000 and ultimately grossed $20 million worldwide. In the film, Hansard and Irglová’s palpable chemistry inside a music store memorably fueled the emotional impact of their gorgeous, Oscar-winning ballad “Falling Slowly.” But if you haven’t seen the film, don’t worry. The musical is its own entity provides an expanded look into the lives of both characters and those within their respective circles such as parents and bandmates.

THE QUADRUPLE THREAT FACTOR

“Once” is a rare breed in that it requires its cast to act, sing, dance and play an instrument. This feat grew in popularity (and controversy) a decade ago due to British director John Doyle’s acclaimed actor-musician Broadway revivals of Stephen Sondheim’s “Company” and “Sweeney Todd.” So forget triple threats. “Once” impressively taps into the magnetism and artistry of the quadruple threat.

THE CAST

This latest national tour of “Once,” featuring a cast of 20, will be led by Sam Cieri and Mackenzie Lesser-Roy. Before making a career in the theater, Cieri, recently seen in “Rock of Ages,” performed at The Mirage in Las Vegas as a dueling piano player. Lesser-Roy, a graduate of the Boston Conservatory, has performed numerous roles in regional theater including the Beggar Woman in “Sweeney Todd” and Jenny in “The Threepenny Opera.” “This story is about family, but we also form a family with each new touring company we put together,” Peknic said.

THE MUSIC

Hansard and Irglová’s music, supervised and orchestrated by Tony winner Martin Lowe, is a fundamental element of the musical’s appeal. “Falling Slowly” is the signature number, but the exuberant Irish energy of such numbers as “When Your Mind’s Made Up” and “The North Strand” is balanced with quieter, reflective tunes such as “Leave,” “Gold,” “Say It To Me Now” and “If You Want Me.”

THE CREATIVE TEAM

“Once” assembles some of the finest artists working in the theater today. Tony- winning Irish playwright/librettist Edna Walsh, adapting Carney’s screenplay, recently wrote the book for David Bowie’s off-Broadway musical “Lazarus.” Tony- winning director John Tiffany will helm “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” in London’s West End this spring. Choreographer Steven Hoggett, five-time Tony-winning scenic and costume designer Bob Crowley, two-time Tony- winning lighting designer Natasha Katz, and Tony-winning sound designer Clive Goodwin add authenticity and evocativeness to the proceedings.

THE PEDIGREE

In addition to winning eight Tonys including Best Musical as well as the Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album, “Once” was named Best Musical by the New York Drama Critics Circle, Drama Desk, Drama League, Outer Critics Circle, and Lucille Lortel Awards. The show ran for more than 1,100 performances on Broadway and also had international productions in such cities as London, Melbourne and South Korea. The film soundtrack was nominated for two Grammys.

BELLY UP TO THE BAR

Talk about setting the perfect atmosphere. Crowley’s terrific single unit set is actually a working bar. Feel free to arrive at least 30 minutes before curtain for drinks. “It’s a first come, first served opportunity for the audience to come up on stage, have a drink, and check out the view from our Dublin pub,” Peknic said.

Have acting chops? Audition for The Playground Theatre's upcoming productions

Published: Tuesday, May 03, 2016 @ 8:21 AM
Updated: Tuesday, May 03, 2016 @ 8:21 AM


            
            File Photo
(File Photo)

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Playground Theatre to present edgy ‘Reasons to Be Pretty’

The Playground: Theater for millennials (and everyone else)

Are you ready to test your acting chops? The Playground Theatre wants to see if you have what it takes. 

The Dayton-based theatre company announced that auditions will be held June 4-5, between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m., for three upcoming plays.

Potential actors must be aged 18-35 and prepared a 1-minute contemporary monologue. Auditioners may be asked to cold read. All roles will have a $100 stipend. Registration can be found on the theatre's audition page

Participants will be auditioning for 'This is Our Youth,' running September 1-4, 2016, 'Jailbait,' running December 1-4, 2016, and Gruesome Playground Injuries,' running March 23-26, 2017.

Want to go? 
WHAT: Auditions for The Playground Theatre
WHERE: 126 N Main St, Dayton, OH 45402, 2nd Floor
WHEN: June 4-5, 2016, 11 a.m. - 4 p.m.
INFO: theplaygroundtheatre.org/audition/

6 can't-miss treasures at the Dayton Art Institute

Published: Wednesday, December 10, 2014 @ 6:58 PM
Updated: Wednesday, May 27, 2015 @ 10:17 AM

You know, it can be tough to know what to spend an extra moment with, when you’re visiting a place that contains more than 20,000 artworks ranging from splashy modern abstracts to spare, ancient Estruscan sculptures.

So … from time to time, we’ll help you not to miss the best stuff. Here’s our first short list of “Don’t-Miss Treasures” from the Dayton Art Institute. Stop by soon for more — and feel free to let us know which works you love, too.

Source: “Selected Works from the Dayton Art Institute Permanent Collection,” 1999.

“American Indian Series (Russell Means), by Andy Warhol (1976)

It’s big, it’s bold and and it’s bright — and it’s as good an example of Warhol’s massive paint and silkscreen portraits of famous faces as you’ll find.

Fun fact: The subject, Russell Means, is an Oglala Sioux known in the 1970s for activism on behalf of Native Americans, including the 71-day takeover in 1973 of the village of Wounded Knee. He also acted in “Last of the Mohicans.”

“Tightrope Walker,” by Everett Shinn (1924)

This small painting of a circus tightrope walker carefully balancing as he crosses over the heads of his audience is absolutely magical. The performer seems to float in space, his face obscured and yet focused, his spotlit figure a weird, ghostly white.

Fun fact: Shinn was a well-known magazine illustrator famous for his scenes of New York City life in the early 20th century and was one of the famed “Ashcan School” of painters who captured the town’s underbelly. He loved to paint performers and the way they related to the theater crowd.

“Study Heads of an Old Man,” by Peter Paul Rubens (c. 1612)

Enjoy this piece for the way it shows the Baroque-era master’s amazing handling of paint — the craggy look and feel of the subject’s weathered face, the depth of his eyes and the loose strands of his hair give one the sense that the old man is standing right in front of you, in the flesh.

Fun fact: The second face to the right, less-finished, was a study that was painted over some time in the early 20th century. Curators decided to remove the overcoat in 1991 and show the painting as Rubens left it.

“Notre Dame des Champs (Our Lady of the Fields) No. 4,” by Georges Rouault (c. 1920)

Most folks may think of Medieval and Renaissance artists when they see an image of the Madonna and Child, but this modern French painter specialized in glowing, colorful religious subjects and themes. The tenderness between mother and baby is apparent and fresh.

Fun fact: Rouault’s signature style of using heavy black lines to break images into small, colorful bits makes more sense when you know he was once a young apprentice to a stained-glass maker.

“Joy of the Waters,” by Harriet Whitney Frismuth (1917)

This delightful, buoyant bronze is a gorgeous nude figure study, and conveys a sense of pure happiness — not to mention exuberant action. The piece originally was the centerpiece of a garden fountain, the sort popular in wealthy homes of the early 20th century.

Fun fact: This was the first piece introduced to the permanent collection of the DAI — in 1919, by Mrs. Harrie G. Carnell.

Funerary Mask, from the Chimu culture (c. 1100-1400)

A grave mask made entirely of hammered copper and gold, this amazing and mystic-feeling object was created by an artist who lived in Peru before the Incas. It once covered the face of a mummy of a wealthy leader and was discovered in the 1960s, somehow missed by graverobbers.

Fun fact: The mask consists of 35 separate pieces.