On Stage

The proud and the playwrights

By Jacqui Theobald

Photo: [l-r] Ariqa Bowens as Elizabeth Bennet and Shaun Diggs as Mr. Darcy in “Pride and Prejudice” at Sinclair Community College; photo: Sam McConnell

Hear the people sing

How do you celebrate the 25 years of a community orchestra?

“We’re aiming BIG,” Miami Valley Symphony Orchestra’s John Root said, “performing Les Miserables, partnering with Dayton Playhouse.” Root is Concert Master and Board President.

With Claude-Michel Schonberg’s powerful music, larger-than-usual chorus, soloists, costumes, a creative set and projections, 151 artists will perform Victor Hugo’s well-known story October 24, 25 and 26 on the elegant Masonic Center stage. Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m., Sunday at 2 p.m.

All the familiar music, including the rhythmic “Do You Hear the People Sing?” the powerful “Bring Him Home” and the poignant “One Day More” will be featured with the all-volunteer Miami Valley Symphony, directed by Ron Kindell. The ensemble is directed by the Playhouse’s Brian Sharp, with vocal direction by Erik Strope.

“Everyone Loves Les Mis,” Root said. Certainly the symphony hopes to appeal to new, younger and diverse audiences from Cincinnati to Troy.

“We see this coalition as a unique opportunity for the community,” Root added.

Actors and singers clearly love the show. Some 200 people turned out for auditions. The story, familiar to many who have seen the musical on stage – or the recent movie – is a classic tale of 19th century France. It’s the world’s longest-running musical and its 25th anniversary was celebrated with a similar concert version in London.

The story and local performers: Jean Valjean (played by Brad Mattingly), jailed for stealing bread, escapes and is is stalked by Inspector Javert (Peter Keates). Valjean is saved by the Bishop of Digne (Jeff Sams). The epic tragedy of the French Revolution era plays out in the drama of Valjean’s relationship with Fantine (Lauren Parish) and her daughter Cosette (Taylor Winkleski). Other familiar characters include Courtney Cummings as Éponine, Emily Cypher as Gavroche, David Hallowren as innkeeper Thénardier and Kelli Locker as Madame Thénardier.

Adult tickets are $20; $18 for students and seniors and are available at daytonplayhouse.com.

Another 19th century classic: Sinclair presents ‘Pride and Prejudice’

Jane Austen, who has been the most popular 19th century gal around lately, will be featured at Sinclair Community College in a lively new adaptation of “Pride and Prejudice,” Friday, Sept. 26 through Saturday, Oct. 4 in Blair Hall Theatre, Building 2, on the downtown campus.

Director Kimberly Borst is enjoying the same Hanreddy and Sullivan adaptation used recently by Cincinnati in the Park – fast-paced and witty. She was able to cast the show last spring in order to prepare for the early school year opening. “The 26-person show is cast color blind to open it up to all talented actors,” Borst added.

Dinner and a Show at 5:30 p.m. before each 7 p.m. Thursday performance is a new opportunity this season with a Country Picnic Buffet – the theme meant to reflect the English country Bennet family. The food, which at an additional $10 cost includes fried chicken, cheddar mashed potatoes, cole slaw, a honey biscuit and a cash bar for sodas or wine and beer, is definitely appealing to our American tastes. An additional Thursday night perk: free parking in Lot B, directly across Fourth Street from Blair Hall is safe, ample and well lit. On the weekends, Lot B is also free and street parking is available.

Other performances are Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and one Sunday matinee, Sept. 28 at 2 p.m. A 10 a.m. “matinee” is set for Wednesday, Oct. 1. School groups may call Patti Celek at 937.512.2076 for information and reservations.

The classic tale of socially ambitious parents with five marriageable daughters and the actors who play them may be found on the Sinclair website.

Adult tickets are $18, student, senior and Sinclair employee tickets are $15. All seats are reserved and are on sale now at sinclair.edu. If further assistance is needed, leave a message at 937.512.2808. A student agent will respond as soon as possible. The box office opens an hour before each show.

A 20th century classic: ‘Cat on a Hot Tin Roof’ at Beavercreek Community Theatre

Friday and Saturday, Sept. 19 and 20 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, Sept. 21 at 2 p.m.

The Tennessee Williams classic continues to sizzle at Beavercreek Community Theatre, Lofino Center, 3868 Dayton-Xenia Rd. Directed by Michael Boyd and inhabited by an all-star cast, the production brings a fresh and powerful take on the emotion and humanity of this classic story. Megan Cooper is Maggie the Cat and Saul Caplan, recently inducted into the Dayton Theatre Hall of Fame, is Big Daddy. Tickets are $12 for seniors, students and BCT members and $15 for adults, available by calling 937.429.4737 or at boxoffice@bctheatre.org.

Become a playwright: Oct. 4 seminar

Ten-Minute Plays? Sound easy? Previous competitors know, it’s actually quite challenging. The Yellow Springs Theater Company continues the competition begun at Center Stage. Discuss details at the Yellow Springs Library Oct. 4 from 2–3:30 p.m. Directors and actors may also be interested in the Saturday workshop. Scripts, due by Oct. 15th may be submitted to the YST Company, P.O. Box 847, Yellow Springs, 45387. Selected plays will be performed Jan. 9 and 10, 2015. Lee Huntington, a previous participant, wrote “Whither Thou Ghost,” 10 minutes with a twist. She said: “to hear my words expressed by good actors was a wonderful learning experience.”

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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