On Stage

On Stage

Many mid-winter choices

By Jacqui Theobald

Photo: [l to r] Suzanne Clabaugh, Kip Moore and Director Jim Lockwood rehearsing “Working” at the Dayton Playhouse, which runs Jan. 31 through Feb. 16“You don’t need superheroes or historic figures in a play when you have stories based on interviews by journalist Studs Terkel,” said Jim Lockwood, director of “Working,” opening at the Dayton Playhouse on Friday, Jan. 31. “He was the first winner of the Dayton Literary Peace Prize in 2006. This is a show about us all getting to have our say.”

Six actors represent jobs and professions of some 30 people as a musical. The original book, “Working People Talk About What They Do All Day and How They Feel About What They Do” caught the eyes – or the ears – of composers Stephen Schwartz and Nina Faso, who joined popular musicians James Taylor, Mary Rodgers, Micki Grant and Craig Camelia, adding music and lyrics to create a multi-Tony-nominated show.

According to Lockwood, Schwartz read the book and thought, “these are real people who want to be understood and they ought to be singing.”

There’s a waitress who considers her skills a work of art and a homemaker who’s “not just a housewife.” A steelworker wants to follow his steelworker Dad, not go to college. He replicates the story by hoping his son will go to college, but that third generation male chooses to follow the family challenge.

A retiree muses about working in a song called “Old Guy Joe.” The loosely strung together plot covers one whole day and includes a teacher, an editor and a prostitute, touching many lives. The original Turkel book was from 1974, the musical from 1978 and Schwartz rewrote some songs, adding and subtracting jobs for a 2012 revival.

Lockwood is joined by Assistant Director Richard Brock, Musical Director Lorri Topping and Choreographer Allison Eder, who is tasked with making the dance movements reflect the job, not look like a chorus line.

“Working” runs for three weekends, through Sunday, Feb. 16; Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. Please call the box office at 937.424.8477 or visit box.office.dayton.playhouse@gmail.com.
A contemporary farce 

“Til Beth Do Us Part” brings flat out fun to Beavercreek Creek Theatre’s Main Stage in a light-hearted comedy by the writing trio Jones, Hope and Wooten. Their credits include crowd pleasers such as “Hallelujah Girls” and go way back to “Golden Girls,” with a whole bunch of Southern accented family focused stories in between.

There’s this couple, Suzannah and Gibby. She’s got more energy than a hound dawg scratchin’ fleas fixin’ to impress her out of town boss and he’s just a laid back, good ol’ boy. This doesn’t sit too well, and she’s getting’ all worked up, so she gets a helper, Beth, a southerner. Oh, boy! Beth’s a big ol’ whirlwind.

Pretty soon, under her velvet glove, Beth has used that steel fist and organized everything in sight. Gibby starts to get as worried as a pig on ice ‘cause he thinks Beth is trying to get between him and Suzannah, actin’ like some queen bee. Finally, he figures Beth’s really after Suzannah’s job. Her best friend, Margo, helps Gibby get it all fixed just when the boss, Englishwoman Celia, is coming to town.

Director Dionne Meyer said she has found her theatrical home at Beavercreek since moving here three years ago and is wildly enthusiastic about her play. She noted, “‘Farce’ is hard,” and went on to describe a final chase scene with five doors, tightly timed entrances and exits on Chris Harmon’s set and a show with laughs that just don’t stop.

“Til Beth Do Us Part” runs for two weekends, Friday, Jan. 24 through Sunday, Feb. 2. Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sunday’s at 3 p.m. For tickets, please call 937.429.4737 or go to boxoffice@bctheatre.org. The theater is located in the Lofino Senior Center, 3868 Dayton-Xenia Road in Beavercreek.

Two more shows

“Speech and Debate” – a play about three high school kids trying to blow the whistle on a pedophile teacher – will open at University of Dayton’s Kennedy Union Boll Theatre on Friday, Jan. 31 for two weekends through Saturday, Feb. 8. Please call 937.229.2545

For any with kids, and adults, too, “The Secret Garden” classic discovery story will run three weekends Jan. 24 through Feb. 9 at Town Hall Theatre. Please call 937.433.8957

Auditions 

You do not have to be a Sinclair Community College student to audition for “A Flea In Her Ear” by Georges Feydeau. Auditions for this large cast are today, Tuesday, Jan. 21 at 6 p.m. in Building 2, in the Black Box Theatre, Room 411. To audition for the farce, please register online at sinclair.edu/theatreauditions. Be prepared with a memorized one- to two-minute contemporary comedy monologue. Nelson Sheeley will direct.

The Dayton Playhouse, 1301 E. Siebenthaler Ave. in Wegerzyn Gardens, will hold auditions for ”The Whales of August” Feb. 3 and 4. A 1984 play by David Berry, followed by a movie three years later, “Whales” featured two elderly sisters, Bette Davis and Lillian Gish, with Vincent Price and Ann Sothern. John Riley will direct. For more audition information, please call 937.424.8477. Runs two weekends, March 14 to 23.

Reader’s choice

Bill Styles responded to my recentrequest for favorite local theater experiences for 2013. He remembered University of Dayton’s presentation in January. Styles said, “My choice for local theater in 2013 is the double bill of (Edward) Albee one-acts […] “Zoo Story” was especially well done, although “The American Dream” was good, too. It’s unfortunate this duo was not better attended.”

 

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

 

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