Two local productions prove Dayton theatre’s respect

By Jacqui Theobald

Photo: (l-r) Danielle DeLorme as Mary Bland, John Nussbaum as Raoul, and Matthew Clifton as Paul Bland in ‘Eating Raoul’photo: Doug Lloyd

More than one coastal playwright has remarked, in very positive terms, on the quality and variety of the local art scene. Almost raved, in fact.

Recently, I’ve heard the spontaneous observation that, compared to other regional cities, Dayton is more forward thinking and progressive, citing the combing of the arts. They are surprised at the existing number of community theatres and the professional Human Race and its spirit of experimentation.

On the music side, they found much to admire, too. Add to these the number and quality of the visual arts organizations to realize how much creativity Dayton can boast. It has to make us collectively proud.

‘Eating Raoul’ with Beavercreek Community Theatre

“It’s funny. It is full of innuendo, and it’s close to Halloween,” Doug Lloyd, director of “Eating Raoul” and president of the Board of Beavercreek Community, sums up its fall presentation, running Oct. 28 to Nov. 7.

Originally a movie of the early 1980s by Paul Bartel and Richard Blackburn, the film became a cult classic. It has been described as a “bawdy, gleeful romp.” It’s also been called “amoral” and “a sophisticated take on modern self- indulgence.” One regional theatre advertised
Raoul as “a Comedy in Bad Taste.” The screenwriters also penned the stage play, along with Jed Feuer, who wrote the music, and Boyd Graham, the lyrics.

The story centers on an ordinary couple, Paul and Mary Bland who would like to start a restaurant but have no money to buy supplies. One night, a man named Raoul breaks into the couple’s apartment and tries to rape Mary.  Paul comes in just in time and bonks Raoul with Mary’s sturdy frying pan. Permanently.

Then, there’s the problem of the body. Somehow, they get the idea of using Raoul for meat. Apparently, cannibalism does not bother them. Subsequent characters, many somewhat “unusual” (such as Hitler! Really?), continue to provide nutrition.

The cast includes Danielle DeLorme as Mary Bland; Matthew Clifton as Paul Bland; John Nussbaum as Raoul; Laura Rea, Donna the Dominatrix; Katelynn Raleigh as Inez; and Moriah Heiss as Gladys. Four other actors play a variety of small roles (most victims).

Director Lloyd stepped away from a rehearsal to be interviewed. “Laura Rae is working on her whip maneuvering skills as Donna the Dominatrix,” he said. “There aren’t a lot of teachers for this skill.”

Stacy Dear is designing the choreography. Lorrie Johnson-Topping is music director. Carol Finley is doing the costumes. The set is by Josh Hollister, with several scenes.

Beavercreek Theatre did Sweeney Todd two years ago, and the Human Race just completed a run of that show, with a similar theme of cannibalism. This show is definitely not for children and perhaps not for the squeamish.

Eating Raoul runs from Friday, Oct. 28 to Monday, Nov. 7 at Beavercreek Community Theatre, in the former Lofino’s building at 3868 Dayton-Xenia Rd. in Beavercreek. For times, tickets, and more information, please call 937.429.4737 or visit BCTheatre.org. 

Dayton Playhouse Joins Forces in Mammoth Production

When the Miami Valley Symphony Orchestra and the Dayton Playhouse work together on a giant production of Fiddler On The Roof, it is an effort of superlatives.

The large-scale production steals the stage Oct. 28 through Oct. at the Masonic Center.

Doing a musical with a full orchestra of 50 is most rare; doing Fiddler with some 80 people fully staged has seldom been seen. Filling the 3,000-seat Masonic Center, as the same coalition did with Les Mis two years ago is an outstanding accomplishment. Brian Sharp is the theatrical director and David Detrick is the conductor. John Root is concert master. He plays the memorable “Fiddler” theme.

“It is the challenge of a lifetime,” Sharp says. “Just blocking the action on stage sounds overwhelming with 25 named characters and a chorus of 55.”

Carol Sudduth, who plays cello with the Miami Valley orchestra, compares the very thought of the task as the tongue in cheek “herding cats.”

Sharp is optimistic as the two groups come together to continue their offsite rehearsals. “St. John’s Lutheran Church has been more than generous and gracious,” he says.

The set is being built in a warehouse. The group will not be able to rehearse or set up on the Masonic stage until a day prior to performance. “That stage is at least three times as wide as our Dayton Playhouse facility.”

Sharp says he plans to use the aisles and a few exits to move some of the action closer in to the audience. If the orchestra is seated below the very large stage, it could make the action seem quite distant.

The principal actors will be mic’d. The chorus is so large and strong it will be easy to hear [without microphones].”

The cast includes familiar names and some new to the Playhouse. Sharp notes, “We are working on inviting people in.”

Fiddler on the Roof runs Friday and Saturday, Oct. 28 and 29, at 8 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 30 at 2 p.m. at the Masonic Center, 525 W. Riverview in Dayton. All tickets are general admission, $25 for adults, $20 for children, at the door and at MVO.org or DaytonPlayhouse.com.

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Jacqui Theobald
Reach DCP theatre critic Jacqui Theobald at JacquiTheobald@DaytonCityPaper.com.

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