One of a kind Performance Shows Us a New Meaning of the Word “Geek”
If so, you might just be a band geek! At least that is one of the points made in Band Geeks!, running currently at The Loft Theatre – a production of the Human Race Theatre Company. This contemporary musical – with a bit of 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee flair – is kind of appropriate for the times.
On this particular Friday night in downtown Dayton – the remnants of PRIDE day in Dayton as well as the Dayton Gay Men’s Chorus concert -and of course Wicked- were all going on downtown (who says there is nothing to do downtown?) This show with an undercurrent of bullying seems strangely appropriate on this night.
Band Geeks! was conceived by Tommy Newman, with book by Tommy Newman and Gordon Greenberg, lyrics by Gaby Alter and Tommy Newman, music by Gaby Alter, Mark Allen and Tommy Newman. Under the direction of Greg Hellems with music direction by Scot Wooley, Band Geeks! runs until June 17, 2012 at the Loft Theatre as part of the 25th anniversary season of The Human Race Theatre Company.
The show has a set that works smoothly with quick transitions. Unfortunately, the sound was an issue the night I attended. It seemed like they couldn’t get the right balance, the right microphones on or get the sound in the right part of the theatre. The actors/singers deserved better.
Many of us can remember difficult days of un-popularity at some point in our youth. In fact, some of us were chorus geeks, theatre geeks, art geeks, science geeks, tech geeks…or even band geeks. Nonetheless being a “geek” was rarely a popular thing.
Band Geeks!, which is kind of where 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee meets Glee, is the story we’ve all experienced in some form or fashion, with high-schoolers that simply don’t fit in anywhere except the marching band.
Mykal Kilgore plays the band captain, Elliott Goodman, with great sincerity. We see the struggles of not just fitting in but coming of age. Zach Cossman plays the athlete “gone wrong,” Jake Fowler. Jake learns that there is more to life than the locker room…and the fraternity that exists there. Zach delivers not only a believable “athlete,” but an amazing sense of rhythm on the drum – with great sensitivity that evolves in front of us. Katie Klaus plays Laura Jane Kirk, the serious friend to the underdog. Katie risks everything to “take one for the team” – or the marching band.
Human Race calls it “The Cuyahoga Marching Beavers are 75 trombones short of a Music Man, and there’s only one cornet left, but while the band may be close to extinction, its spirit isn’t. Band Geeks! is a rousing Glee with instruments, a tribute to the tribulations of the millions who have spent football halftimes pounding out Sousa-like renditions of ‘Maria.’” With just nine members and dwindling funds, the Cuyahoga High Marching Beavers are close to extinction. When a troubled athlete is relegated to their ranks, tuba-playing band captain Elliott and his best friend Laura must find a way to unite the band, embrace their inner geek and save the Cuyahoga Marching Beavers.
The cast also includes Sarah Agar (Nicole Murray), John Robert Armstrong (Mr. Hornsby), Tyler J. Baranski (Alvin Freeman), Richard Cerato (Spitz), John Fisher (Stewart Dixon), Liz Fye (Natalia Vosavich), Jennifer Joplin (Principal Dixon), Jon Kovach (Kyle Watson) and Jennifer Roehm (Molly Winerman).
The band makes you feel like you are in the grandstands… watching the events.
While act one moves a bit slowly… hang in there. Act two brings it all together with great feeling. There are very sincere moments that are touching. In a time where bullying is rampant in the world in which we live, it is important to see where good conquers the evil of the “bully.” While it makes for a show of smiles and laughs, the story is very real. A problem that our society simply cannot ignore is bullying. How far can it go? How far should it go? How far will we allow it to go? This show touches those buttons.
Come see the show and let it speak to you. You might just have a good time in the process!
Don’t be afraid to be a “geek” again. You might just realize how popular you really are. This cast has a lot of fun on the stage.
Tickets are available at www.ticketcenterstage.com or by calling the box office at 937-228-3630
The Loft Theatre is located in the Metropolitan Arts Center at 126 N. Main Street in downtown Dayton.
Reach DCP theatre critic Brian P. Sharp at Theatre@DaytonCityPaper.com