On Stage

Beehives, genies and more at community theatres

By: Jacqui Theobald

Photo: The cast of “Hairspray” at The Dayton Playhouse, which runs weekends Sept. 6 through Sept. 22

The theatre scene in summertime Dayton has been a happening, full force, so the beginning of fall is a continuation, rather than a debut. Beginning with a pair of terrific older musicals, two community theatres are readying shows with similar titles but different histories. To avoid confusion, answer this riddle:

When does hairspray come before hair?

 “Hairspray” opens Sept. 6 at The Dayton Playhouse

Director Tina McPhearson loves her show. “It’s so well written,” she said. “The music is so catchy you can’t get it out of your head.” She gives full production credit to her local creative collaborators, as well as to the writers.

“Hairspray” has a barrier-breaking story of integrating a TV dance show in the 1960s and a non-traditional cast featuring a plus-sized teen and her agoraphobic mother – originated in drag by Harvey Fierstein. Based on John Waters’ 1988 film, the musical debuted on Broadway in 2002 and ran for seven years, winning eight Tonys, and has been performed all over the country and internationally.

Young Tracy Turnblad’s ambition is to dance on “The Corny Collins Show” in Baltimore, circa 1962. Played by Tamar Fishbein, Tracy, with a high-rise hairdo requiring plenty of you-know-what, becomes famous and works to integrate the show. The plot whirls and dips through a protest, jail and bail and dances to a happy ending.

McPhearson gives full credit to Musical Director Judy Mansky and Choreographer  Annette  Loope, and manages a big cast of 27, not the least is Dayton City Paper theatre and dining critic Brian Sharp as Mama Edna, with a size 54 EEE bra. Period costumes and outrageous wigs created by Steve Burton and Tim Grewe, with sets by Chris Newman. There’s a 12-person live orchestra for what one New York critic called this “bubblegum” show.

“Hairspray” plays weekends Friday, Sept. 6 through Sunday, Sept. 22. Music and lyrics by Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman, book by Mark O’Donnell and Thomas Meehan.

For more information, please call 937.424.8477 or visit thedaytonplayhouse.com.

“Hair” opens at Beavercreek Community Theatre Sept. 13

Director Doug Lloyd loves his show! “The message is anti-draft, all peace, love and acceptance.  It is about human rights and civil rights.” It was the first American rock musical when it debuted off-Broadway in 1967, and on Broadway in 1968. We all know and love the music; “Age of Aquarius,” “Let the Sun Shine In,” “Good Morning Starshine.” At the time, it broke many conventions of stage musicals, with sexual revolution themes, more music and an audience inclusiveness that was new. The finale is a “Be-In,” inviting all to become part of the Tribe – this large cast of 22.

“This show had a mixed acceptance at first; now it’s an American classic. It is ours” Lloyd said.

Daytony Award Winner – many times over – Chris Harmon is the Set Designer. He promises “several levels, trees at both sides, a band shell” and many extra details and color. That may be an understatement.

Musical director is Lindsay Sherman and there is a live combo. Choreographer is Stacy Gear, with costumes by Kathleen Carroll and lighting design by John Falkenbach.

“Hair” brings its energy to Beavercreek for two weekends: Friday, Sept. 13 through Sunday, Sept. 22. For tickets and information call 937.429.4737 or go to boxoffice@bctheatre.org.

There will be a genie in Washington Township Sept. 13-29!

Theatre lovers have to appreciate the concept of bringing young children as well as older kids and families into a real theater with quality productions. That’s how the concern about “the greying audience” will see new enthusiasms created.

“Disney’s Aladdin, Jr.” is a delightful show for all who need a little magic. Travel to a City of Enchantment, Agrabah, on a special magic carpet to a scene of camels and street people. It is a classic love story with plenty of kid appeal. A poor boy finds a sultan’s daughter and falls in love. Of course, there is a little trouble with a greedy villain who wants to be a sultan, but the clever genie saves the day.

Washington Township’s Town Hall Theatre is doing exactly the right thing to grow a new generation who loves plays and all that goes into them, with their Landmark Children’s Theatre Company. Professional and volunteer adult actors work with eager young people on stage and behind it.

Managing Artistic Director Mark Metzger with the ever-busy Chris Harmon directing, music direction by Greg Dastillung and choreography by Stacy Gear make this show just right for any age.

“Aladdin” runs just over an hour, has an intermission and is recommended for ages four and up, with reasonable prices and times. Call 937.433.8957 Monday through Thursday from 4-7 p.m. for details and tickets or visit facebook.com/THTPage.

Audtions ­ ­– Auditons – Auditions

Playhouse South: Aug. 26-27 at 7 p.m. for “9 to 5, the Musical.” Directed by Brian Kester at Clark Haines Theatre, 3700 Far Hills Ave. in Kettering. Five males, four female roles plus both men and women for the ensemble; some singing, some non-singing/non-dancing. Go to c07brian.kester@gmail.com for information or playhousesouth.org for music requirements and play synopsis.

Dayton Theatre Guild: Aug. 26-27 at 7 p.m., 430 Wayne Ave. for “Time Stands Still” by Donald Margulies. Debra Kent will direct with K.L. Storer producing. Cast includes two men and two women ages 25 to mid-50’s. Contact KL_Storer@yahoo.com for more information.


Reach DCP freelance writer Jacqui Theobald at JacquiTheobald@DaytonCityPaper.com.


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

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