On stage

Dayton theatre scene is a big summertime happening

By Jacqui Theobald

Photo: Teryn Barker as Miranda, Kelly Johnson as Prospero and Judy Shaw as Ariel in the Shakespeare in South Park performance of “The Tempest”

Shakespeare in South Park – “The Tempest” – Aug. 7-9

If you think Shakespeare as an all-age all-community endeavor must make strange bedfellows, perhaps it is a brave new world–but now for the seventh season, the neighborhood of South Park comes together and believes we are the stuff that dreams are made of. Those phrases and many more familiar sayings are right out of Shakespeare’s “The Tempest.”

“Something magic happened,” co-founders and producers Phyllis Tonne and Galen Wilson realized after their first season in 2008.

“It was the community connections made as we worked on understanding Shakespeare and as actors, designers and crew created that world within the world of theatre,” Wilson says. “We are people doing what we love together, and without any big egos. This year about half the cast and all the crew are from the neighborhood.”

“The Tempest” is the story of siblings with serious angst between them. Prospero, of Milan, trusts brother Antonio to run the dukedom, but shouldn’t have. Antonio and friends set Prospero and young daughter Miranda adrift on the open sea and magically they land on a desert island with one inhabitant, Caliban.  Twelve years later, a fine ship with Antonio and all those greedy folks aboard is blown onto the island by a storm, a tempest created magically by Prospero. Many challenges and surprises—and more magic as well as young love between Miranda and Ferdinand—follow.

Director Jene Rebben Shaw has found a way to emphasize redemption and forgiveness certainly significant in our own time. “The rarer action is in virtue than in vengeance,” is the poster quote. She sets the era as present day.

The cast:

Prospero played by Kelly Johnson; Ariel by Judy Shaw; Caliban by Dimitri Markov; Alonso by Wayne Wolfe (who is also a producer); Antonio by Galen Wilson; Sebastian by Josh Richardt. The young teen couple is played by Teryn Barker as Miranda, who is new this year while Owen Horner, lifelong South Park resident , is a four-play veteran, starring as Ferdinand in this production. “This is the first time I haven’t been a slave or a servant,” Horner quips.

“The Tempest” will be performed August 7-9 at 8 p.m. on South Park Green, Hickory Street at James. The outdoor show is free with donations appreciated. Bring your own lawn chair or ground blanket and possibly mosquito spray. Rain site is Hope Lutheran church, across Hickory. 

The Human Race Theatre Company – Festival of New Works – Aug. 7 and 8

Friday, Aug. 7; 7 p.m.

Robb Willoughby, hometown playwright and recent FutureFest actor offers “Have You Ever Played, Dayton?” “I know how both sides feel,” he says. The entire script is done as a table reading. Tricked by a scheming agent, three Broadway has-beens decide to go out of town to try rescuing their careers with “possibly the worst play ever written,” and create a hit. Tickets are $15 for the evening.

Saturday, Aug. 8; 2 p.m.

The program is three 20 minute “Sapshot” introductory readings.  All have true source material and plots that make us say, “Really?”

The first is “The Day After Epiphany” by Karen Righter—also a Dayton area person. In 754 A.D. Pope Stephen II crosses the Alps on January 6—Epiphany—to convince King Pepin to save Rome militarily. A rocky marriage and a difficult daughter distract Pepin.

“Central Park Tango”: a penguin musical by Nicky Phillips and Robert Gontier about two male chinstrap penguins, Roy and Silo who became mates in the Central Park Zoo, inspiring modern day family parallels.

“Some Self-Evident Truths” by Lucille Wheat and Lois Davis, adapted by Scott Stoney. From 1946 to 1951 two Troy, Ohio women, one black and one white, journal about their friendship and about a community’s growing awareness of racial equality.  $15 for the afternoon.

Saturday, Aug. 8; 7 p.m.

“Mann and Wife”: music and lyrics by Douglas J, Cohen, book and lyrics by Dan Elish, based on his novel ‘Nine Wives’. One man struggles to find love, happiness and the perfect date for his ex-fiancée’s wedding. $20 for the evening.

The Saturday night reading ONLY is in the Loft Theatre, 126 N. Main St, Others at Caryl D. Phillips Creativity Center, black box theatre, N. 116 Jefferson St. Tickets (nearly sold out) to some or all of the readings are available at ticketcenterstage.com or by calling 937.228.3630 or downtown at the Schuster Center Box Office weekdays 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Dayton Theatre Hall of Fame – DayTony Awards and Induction – Aug. 8 at Sinclair

Joe Deer is the 2015 inductee into the Hall of Fame honoring theatre artists whose life-long participation, innovation and creativity have influenced the Dayton arts. He’s been Director of Musical Theatre at Wright State University since 1997 and often directs at the Human Race. Other people, theatres and theatrical accomplishments are acknowledged at the event. Various pricing options available. Check reservation information at

Dare to Defy and Beavercreek combine for kids’ theatre

For third- through eighth-graders, July 20-31, theatre professionals and interns will hold workshops in stage and production skills, culminating in two performances July 31 at 7 p.m. and August 1 at 2 p.m., all at Beavercreek Community Theatre. It’s the first year for the collaboration. Call 937.912.5510 for more details and go to showtix4u.com.

Tonight only! Audition for “Carousel” at Dayton Playhouse 

Auditions for “Carousel” begin at 7 p.m. at Dayton Playhouse, 1301 E. Siebenthaler. Bring dancing shoes, short song and rehearsal conflicts between now and opening on September 11.

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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