Definitely not sappy

Theater

Two newer plays and two ambitious classics tackle ‘friendship’

By Jacqui Theobald

Photo: (l-r) Carrie Thurston as Fabian, Ian Snapp as Sir Andrew Aguecheek, Suzy Kroeger as Lady Toby, and Timothy Kushmaul as Malvolio in ‘12th Night,’ March 3-12 at Playhouse South; photo: Sara Bortz

Planning your theatre calendar for March will be a fine challenge this year, with the amazing variety of productions offered—though a theme of friendship inhabits each.

Beavercreek Youth Theatre presents ‘Charlotte’s Web,’ March 3-12

Director Dionne Meyer definitely has a special place in her heart for the iconic classic, E. B. White’s tale of a spider and a pig that learn to take care of each other in an unusual and loving relationship. The adaptation is by Joseph Robinette. She has cast some 24 young people, ages 8 to 14, eager to bring the age-old favorite to life. Young actors and production staff assist some adult mentors. “We’re having a blast,” Meyer says.

Costumer Olivia Dakin, 16, is home schooled and must be a very busy person (she’s also credited as costumer for the current D2D production). The animals in this production of “Charlotte’s Web” are not masked, face-painted, or clad in complete body suits, but described by characteristic ears, tails, or other special identifying pieces.

Chavin Medin, as Wilbur, and Madison Smith, as Charlotte, are making their debuts on the Beavercreek stage in this two-act 90-minute show (including 15-minute intermission).

Director Meyer returns to her longtime fondness for the book and the play, both rich with life metaphors: “Growing up—sweet and sad, but beautiful,” she notes.

‘Charlotte’s Web’ takes the stage Friday-Sunday, Mar. 3-5 and 10-12, at Beavercreek Community Theatre, 3868 Dayton-Xenia Rd. in Beavercreek. For tickets or more information, please call 937.429.4737 or visit BCTheatre.org.

 

Playhouse South presents Shakespeare’s ‘Twelfth Night,’ March 3-12

This is one of the Bard’s goofier plots, driven by twins, Viola and Sebastian (separated by the apocryphal storm at sea, of course), mistaken identities with gender confusion, and phrases that are still part of our language (think: “If music be the food of love, play on” or “some are born   great–others achieve greatness”).

Director Sara Bortz has set the comedy, known in the Victorian Steamboat Era as “What You Will,” which she says, “contemporizes while allowing the characters’ struggles to remain relevant.”

‘Twelfth Night’ takes the stage Friday-Sunday, Mar. 3-5 and 10-12, at Playhouse South, 3750 Far Hills Ave. in Kettering. For more information, please call 888.262.3792 or visit PlayhouseSouth.org.

 

Magnolia Theatre Company presents ‘Gidion’s Knot,’ March 10-12

“Gidion’s Knot” by prizewinning playwright Johnna Adams is a 90-minute dialogue between Gidion’s teacher and his mom. Both are grieving his suicide and consumed by feelings of guilt. The Magnolia Theatre Company is about five years old, founded by Gina Handy Minyard with local, experienced, talented women and dedicated to producing theatre that celebrates women. The company focuses mostly on newer works not yet frequently done. Andrea Morales de Castellano and Amy Handra star; Michelle Campbell Hayford directs.

Magnolia Theatre Company presents ‘Gidion’s Knot’ Friday-Sunday, Mar. 10-12 in the Mathile Black Box Theatre at the Schuster Center, 1 W. Second St. in downtown Dayton. For tickets or more information, please call 937.985.4851 or visit MagnoliaTheatreCompany.com. 

 

Audition for Dayton Playhouse’s Ragtime, March 13 and 14 

Ragtime’s a very complex musical about three different groups living in the U.S. in the early 20th century—African-Americans, upper class members of suburbia, and Eastern European immigrants—with challenging acting, dancing, and singing roles. It has never been performed by a community theatre in this region. Director Matthew Smith lists roles and helpful suggestions for tryouts.

Auditions for Ragtime take place at 7 p.m. Monday and Tuesday, Mar. 13 and 14 at Dayton Playhouse, 1301 Siebenthaler Ave. in Dayton. For more information, please visit TheDaytonPlayhouse.com or call 937.424.8477. 

 

Dare to Defy opens Dogfight, March 31

“This is a musical with a horrible contest, beautiful music, and emotional challenges,” says Rebecca Norgaard, executive director of our newest professional theatre. “I heard the song “Pretty Funny” and had to know more. That led to a lot of research, reading, listening, and gathering more details. What I found was beautiful and poignant and funny.”

The ’60s-era story follows three young men, singing “We Three Bees,” soon to ship out in Vietnam, who decide to have a last party with an “ugliest date” contest. Of course, the innocent girl, Rose (Mackensie King), who’s invited by Eddie Birdlace (Ray Zupp), finds out about this mean-spirited game and is horribly hurt, especially as she’s begun to be attracted to him.

The war devastates and changes Eddie, as his two friends (Bernstein, Bobby Mitchum, and Boland, Layne Roate) have been killed, and he’s more sensitive to life’s essentials and to others’ feelings. After he returns to the states, he goes on a long cross-country bus ride to reconnect with Rose and finds her at the diner where they first met.

“The ending is not predictable or conventional,” Norgaard says.

Angie Thacker directs the D2D presentation, which had its debut five years ago off-Broadway. Written by Peter Duchan and based on a 1991 movie by Bob Comfort, the music and lyrics are by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul. In addition to the focus roles, eight other actors play numerous characters. A five-person group provides live music for the performances.

There will be a more detailed DCP review early April.

Dare to Defy presents Dogfight, the Musical Friday and Saturday, Mar. 31-Apr 1 and Apr. 7-8, in the Mathile Black Box Theatre at the Schuster Center, 1 W. Second St. in downtown Dayton. Shows start at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, with 2 p.m. matinees on Saturday.  For tickets or more information, please call 937.999.9949 or visit D2Defy.com.

Also keep an eye out for upcoming DCP features: Dayton Playhouse opens ‘The Women’ on March 10 with a DCP review on March 14. Dayton Theatre Guild presents ‘Elephant Man’ opening March 17 following a DCP preview on March 14.

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

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