On Stage

The summer cool-off

By Jacqui Theobald

Photo: A small crowd gathers for the grand illumination ceremony of the new Dayton Theatre Guild sign

A July island

Every summer, a gigantic and ambitious musical is mounted by Epiphany Lutheran Church’s Players Drama Ministry. For their 23rd season, Once on This Island takes the stage. A cast of 62 actors – adults and a variety of student-age singers and dancers, some double-cast, is sure to impress.

There’s time to plan your calendar; performances are set for July 10-20, Thursdays-Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 2:30 at the church, 6430 Far Hills Ave. in Centerville.

The musical’s familiar story, based on the “The Little Mermaid,” has a calypso theme. It’s an island, after all. Original story is from “My Love, My Love” by Rosa Guy. Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens did music and lyrics. The team has written many shows together, including “Ragtime” and “Seussical.”

Drama, life and death, issues of prejudice, hate, hope and love move the story along. The legend tells of a young girl, gods of Love, Earth, Water and Death and their challenge to her. Of course, there is ultimate success, and a happy ending.

Despite the demands of this large, colorful show, the production is 100 percent funded by advertising, patrons and ticket sales, so there’s no big budget!
The goal of the summer musical ministry is to connect people with faith and support self-worth. Additionally, each year a different charity receives the show’s proceeds.

The director and choreographer is Megan Wean Sears, who steps creatively into the shoes of her late mother, Kay Frances Wean, the originator of this ever-growing, popular and broad-based church and community effort.

David Brush is Music Director. The costumers are Maria Klueber and Lori Watamaniuk, along with cast volunteers, who all worked feverishly on the challenge.

For tickets and more information, please call 937.433.1449 ext. 105 or visit epiphanydayton.org.



Beavercreek Community Theatre will present “Monty Python’s Spamalot,” guaranteed to tickle most funny bones. The play is ripped from the movie about King Arthur and his knights, features cows, killer rabbits and bevies – I repeat, bevies – of beautiful girls. The show runs Friday, June 20 through Sunday, June 29. Matt Owens directs at the theater, 3868 Dayton-Xenia Rd. For tickets and more information, please call 937.429.4737 or email boxoffice@beavercreektheatre.org.

2014 Dayton Theatre Hall of Fame – Saturday, Aug. 9 at Sinclair Community College

A funny thing happened on the way to becoming winners; they were working! Barbara Jorgensen was the original chairman of nominations to the Dayton Theatre Hall of Fame – created in 2001 to honor those who have dedicated themselves to the Theatre Arts in Dayton or have had an impact on the theatre community. She was startled when she found she was a contender. “I was surprised and humbled,” she said, “and I resigned as chairman immediately.”

Since 1989, Jorgensen has been active in many Dayton community theatre activities with numerous roles at Dayton Playhouse, FirstStage Productions, Young at Heart Players and especially Dayton Theatre Guild.

Reflecting her professional educator’s career, she has taught theatre at Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, and performance at University of Dayton and UD Law School. It’s real theatre to present legal scenarios and mock trials, giving law students believable court examples. Her resonant voice serves them well.

I encountered her recently, running the box office for “The Dead Guy,” the hit play directed by Saul Caplan.

Caplan is the other 2014 inductee. He has a mere 55 years in the theatre, beginning with a show at Memorial Hall in 1959. He was in various children’s theatres and high school performances, then majored in theatre at University of Akron.

For 20 years until the mid ’90s, he was a professional actor from New York to Florida. In 1998, he came home. In the subsequent years, he’s acted or directed at the Dayton Playhouse, the Dayton Theatre Guild, Brookville Theatre and Playhouse South. He’s also done theatre at Sinclair and the professional Human Race Theatre Company. About his coming induction to the Dayton Theatre Hall of Fame Caplan said, “Being selected is an incredible honor. I feel privileged to be included among so many people I have admired and learned from over the years.”

New sign, new season

The Dayton Theatre Guild recently held a grand illumination ceremony for the installation of a long-anticipated digital sign, which announces the theater’s presence, the current or upcoming play and ticket information. It was a fine evening; the sky began to shade into a gradated purple, theatrically, just as the sign was clicked into brilliance.

And because this is Dayton and we do things with heart, there were impressive numbers of people from most of the other community theaters and patrons there to show their support.

Dayton Theatre Guild announces 2014-2015 season: Lessons From the Heart 

“Nice People Dancing to Good Country Music” by Lee Blessing; Aug. 22-Sept. 7.

Directed by Ralph Dennler.

“Good People” by David Lindsay-Abaire; Oct. 3-19. Directed by Debra Kent.

Special Guild Holiday Extra: “Isn’t it romantic” by Wendy Wasserstein; Nov. 21-Dec. 7. Directed by Marcia Nowik.

“4,000 Miles” by Amy Herzog; Jan. 9-25. Directed by Kathy Mola.

“Desire Under the Elms” by Eugene O’Neill; Feb. 27-March 15. Directed by Craig Smith.

“Criminal Hearts” by Jane Martin; April 17-May 3. Directed by Saul Caplan.

“Heartbreak House” by George Bernard Shaw; May 29-June 14. Directed by Patrick Hayes.

For more information, please visit daytontheatreguild.org/season.

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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