On Stage

Local theatre brings 2013 to a festive close

 By Jacqui Theobald

Photo: “Jingle ARRGH the Way: A Christmas Pirate Adventure” at Washington Township’s Town Hall Theatre runs through Sunday, Dec. 22

If you are a little worn out chasing bargains and cyber opportunities, it must be time for entertainment that is real, hands on and very reasonably priced. Theater experiences can often stay with you in memory, leaving you with bright imagery of sight, sound and color.

“Jingle ARRGH the Way: A Christmas Pirate Adventure” at Washington Township’s Town Hall Theatre – One more weekend remains to catch this light-hearted little Christmas gift that combines holiday sentiment with pirates’ adventures. If that seems an unlikely combination, sail on. The creative team of Janet Yates Vogt and Mark Friedman have added another play to their pirate saga.

An 11-year-old imagines pirates have come ashore and need the kids’ help to solve a riddle and find a treasure. But everyday life gets in the way – just a little. First, there’s basketball practice, ballet lessons and helping a French chef bake a perfect Christmas cookie. As Managing Artistic Director Mark Metzger noted, “Those pirates proceed to act like silly children.” He added, “Mark and Janet (the writers) blend in just the right amount of nostalgic and pop culture references for parents and holiday whimsy for all. It’s a wonderful holiday treat for families.” There’s a moral for those pirates, too: “It’s better to give than to pillage.”

The show is double cast to assure more opportunities to be on stage. Town Hall Theatre continues to do a fine job of encouraging love of theatre for growing audiences and young actors.  You can’t start too young. “The Christmas Pirate Adventure” is recommended for ages four and up.

Metzger praised the writers’ skill: “This sequel is just as much fun for cast and audience as their adaptation of ‘How I Became a Pirate.’ We did that Vogt and Friedman work in 2011. I am ecstatic to be working with them again.”

Advance tickets are $15 for adults, $13 for students and seniors, $10 for 12 and under. $15 for all tickets purchased at the door. Please visit townhalltheatre.org or call the box office at 937.433.8957 Monday-Thursday, from 4-7 p.m.

Mayhem and Mystery at the Spaghetti Warehouse Monday and Wednesday nights – Here’s your opportunity to have dinner and enjoy a play and, if you choose, to banter a bit and become part of the show. “The Christmas Caper” is the 68th script written by Tamra and Jerry Francis for their interactive series, a favorite at the restaurant. The plot involves a detective, a beautiful woman, something lost or stolen, a “film noir” feel of perilous high stakes and a solution, of course. All this and a holiday theme are included. The fun occurs as the actors improvise with the audience at certain intervals in the script, planned to occur between courses, so the clatter of eating does not detract from the plot.

Tamra Francis said, “We feed off the energy of the crowd.  The more they enjoy it, the more we put in the show, so each performance is unique. It is a matter of choice, though; you can participate or watch the shenanigans, no pressure ever. The cast looks forward to what will happen next.”

Tamra Francis acknowledged she has given herself a couple of songs to sing in this show where she’s cast as a lounge singer. She’s enjoying that task.

Remaining performances are Dec. 18, 23, 27, 30 and a special New Year’s Eve show on Tuesday, Dec. 31 at the Spaghetti Warehouse, 36 W. Fifth St. Please call 937.461.3913 for required reservations. Cost per person is $25.95 (without tax and gratuity) for dinner and Mystery.

Dayton Theatre Guild’s “The Subject was Roses,” Jan. 10-26, 2014 – The Dayton Theatre Guild has chosen a classic to open their 2014 season of “Endless Possibilities” with “The Subject was Roses” by Frank Gilroy, a play with a theatrical history and serious story line. It premiered on Broadway in 1964 with our local son, Martin Sheen as a young man returning to his parents’ home after World War II. In 2010, Sheen played the father in a Los Angeles revival.

Now, returning vet Tim Cleary is played by Alexander Chilton. His father, John Cleary, is played by Geoff Burkman; his mom Nettie is played by Angela Riley. The parents are happy to have their son home safely, but under the apparent good cheer there are many problems and conflicts and past relationship issues. Tim takes on the impossible task of attempting to “fix” the pain between his parents, while dealing with his own emotional distress. Dysfunctional families have long been the stuff of life and theater.

Producer Debra Kent, who also serves on the Guild’s play-reading committee, noted their goal of combining new and contemporary works, as well as remembering a classic each season.

“In this play” Kent said, “the relationship among the family members as written then is much the same as it often is in contemporary families. I think our audiences will enjoy reliving a bygone era, connecting then and now.”

Marcia C. Nowik directs “The Subject was Roses,” running three weekends. Please call 937.278.5993 for times and tickets. Adults: $18, Seniors: $16, Students (none under age 7): $11. For more information, including reservations, please visit daytontheatreguild.org.

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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