On Stage 10/20/15

To Cali and back again

By Jacqui Theobald

Photo: The Dayton Playhouse cast rehearses for “The Diary Of Anne Frank,” which they will perform Nov. 6-15

Beavercreek on the edge

You are invited to vacation in California when the Beavercreek Community Theatre presents Neil Simon’s “California Suite,” opening Oct. 30 and playing weekends through Nov. 8.

The device of a single location with several different characters and their stories has been a Simon favorite. One hotel room is used by four sequential sets of guests, in four scenes. The first pair of visitors is from New York, a divorced couple hoping to decide amicably which parent their daughter will live with for the summer. Debra Strauss and Matt Lindsay play the couple.

Next, Philadelphians: a wife who opens her hotel room door and discovers her husband in bed with an unconscious drunken hooker. This leads to… well, you can imagine. Angie Thacker and Brad Bishop are the pair and Bunny is Madeline Swanson.

In the third sketch, London actors arrive for the Academy Awards. Diana’s a nominee but assumes her game face when she loses. She comes back to the suite, where her homosexual husband isn’t very comforting. Strauss and Lindsay interpret two entirely different characters.

This play debuted on Broadway in 1976 and ran about a year. It was subsequently made into a movie in which Maggie Smith won an Oscar. Discussing sexual preference some 40 years ago was not as open as it has become, so it fits nicely into the edginess of the “Edge of the Creek” program.

Two couples from Chicago were best friends when they decided to vacation together. Of course by the time they spend time in “fun” activities, all manner of issues emerge. One couple is Bishop and Amy Taint. The other is Jamie McQuinn and Nancy Albert.

Director Mike Rousculp praises Simon’s ability to write such funny dialog while making the underlying sadness apparent. “I wanted to cast as few [actors] as possible,” Rousculp says. “These actors have met the challenge to be believable in their double roles.”

Chris Harmon, whose work is certain to be stunning, is designing the set. California will be bright and beautiful.

Beavercreek Community Theatre categorizes their season with Main Stage, Edge of the Creek and Youth productions. Most selections have general appeal. The theatre is at 3868 Dayton-Xenia Rd. For more information, times and tickets please call 937.429.4737 or go to bctheatre.org.

Checking in on the Human Race

A theatrical organization calling itself The Human Race Theatre Company implies a fine universality. We are all members of the greater human race. In different proportions, all have a range of emotion; most of us deal with ambition and have various degrees of success, self-assessment, risk and possible change.

So it is with the company on the business, artistic and psychological of everything. President and Artistic Director Kevin Moore shared an examination of “the theatre’s recent financial struggle and its resolution while laying out future strategies…”

“Part- and full-time jobs have been adjusted, budget items reassessed and all decisions given serious scrutiny,” he says.

Now that the first show of the season is over, it’s time to review. The Full Monty was a popular hit, generating a number of new season subscribers and selling almost as many single tickets as their all-time top money earner, Fiddler on the Roof. “The premise of Monty seemed a bit risky, possibly uncomfortable for some,” Moore explains. ”But the decision essentially paid off.”

The prescription for sustained health: The HRTC must build and maintain a larger core audience. The Board and staff know what their regular members like. The challenge is to reach additional tastes.

To help the Race continue improving its health, buy two season memberships by calling Ticket Center Stage at 937.228.3630 (toll-free at 888.228.3630) or visiting ticketcenterstage.org. Coming soon: “Steel Magnolias.”

At the Dayton Playhouse November 6-15

“The Diary of Anne Frank” by Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett is the original play based on the real-life diary of a 14-year-old and her family forced to hide silently in an attic to escape the Nazis in World War II. It has become a classic, often taught in American schools. In this presentation, the play has been adapted by Wendy Kesselman.

“As soon as I read this new script I knew I wanted to direct it,” Director Jennifer Lockwood says. “I love working with young actors. Their energy boosts us and their fresh perspective make the rest of us reexamine a story we thought we knew.”

Assistant director is Brian Sharp and stage manager is Jared Mola.

Before the war, Anne Frank was a carefree teen, trying to figure out herself and her world. But in hiding all day, movement and sound was limited. She could only express by writing. For two years, she poured herself into her diary, until the Nazis stormed the door 70 years ago.

The cast includes actors new to the Playhouse and some familiar faces: Skylar Coker, Mike Beerbower, Heather Martin, Emily Church, Jill Lynott, Jack Lewis, Sandy Coleman, Ray Geiger, Rick Johnson and Richard Young. Please call 937.424.8477 or go to daytonplayhouse.com for schedule, tickets and information.

So you wanna direct a play? Apply by Nov. 9

The Dayton Playhouse is now accepting applications for the 2016-17 season at daytonplayhouse.com. Fill out the brief online form, attach a resume and list up to six plays you would like to direct. The DP Artistic Committee will review and consider submissions. Deadline is Nov. 9.  For more information please call 937.241.6009 or email dpartisticcommittee@gmail.com.

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

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

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