On Stage

Murder mysteries, wizards and new seasons

By Jacqui Theobald

“Black Coffee” at Xenia’s X*ACT

The proud little community theater at 45 E. Second St. in Xenia concludes its present season, focused on murder mysteries, with one of Agatha Christie’s very first plays, “Black Coffee.” Tony Copper directs. Performances are May 27-29 and June 3-5. A Gala celebrates Opening Night beginning at 6:30 p.m. All other evening shows are at 7:30 p.m. with the Sunday matinees at 3 p.m.

Joe DeTore portrays Hercule Poirot, the fabled Belgian detective. “The plot,” according to Christie herself “is conventional, but I think, not at all bad.” There is a gathering, a spy searching for an important paper, a murder and finally after the very clever observations of Poirot, a solution. A cast of 13 includes Sara Duibley as Lucia Amory, Wayne Wolfe as Captain Arthur Hastings and 10 others.

“Making sure the blocking supports the solution is a challenge,” says Director Copper says. “I think the audience will be pleasantly surprised and will have much to discuss on the way home.”

X*ACT has been pleased with the public support of their Murder Mystery series this season and will consider other themes. They also actively encourage newcomers to their auditions.

For tickets or more information, please visit xeniaact.org or call 937.372.0516.

More from Xenia 

The sometimes hush-hush topic of date rape/sexual abuse and the shame, fear and embarrassment that goes with it is challenged by a teen-written and performed one-act play, co-sponsored by X*ACT and Family Violence Prevention Center of Greene County.

There was so much teen interest that Director Jennifer Sparks selected two casts as the show performs at various high schools in 2016-2017. This school year concludes with two shows at Beavercreek High School May 19. Next school year’s schedule will be announced later with a public performance targeted for October.

Washington Township Town Hall Theatre 

With missions of both education and the stage, Town Hall finishes this part of their season with two familiar stories. With one more weekend to run, May 20-22, The Wizard of Oz, the very familiar story of the girl from Kansas transported by a cyclone to meet unbelievable characters in colorful Oz, has a double cast.

Coming up soon, June 3-5 will be Thumbelina also with a double cast of children and adults. Tiny Thumbelina has a variety of adventures when small animals, larger than she is, present problems. She searches for a kingdom of small people. Artistic Producer Mark Metzger and the Board believe there is a great educational opportunity as young actors learn by experience with more mature actors. Also available structured is an educational component, with classes.

For tickets or more information, please visit washingtontwp.org/townhalltheatre or call 937.433.8957.

Dayton Playhouse 2016-17 Next Season

Dayton’s supportive audiences have many options as the community theaters announce their upcoming seasons. The Playhouse always does several musicals and a couple of straight comedies as this year’s schedule reveals.

Sept. 16-Oct. 2 — Camelot by Lerner and Loewe, directed by Ranger Puterbaugh

King Arthur convenes the Round Table and its legendary music classics: Don’t let it be forgot / That once there was a spot / For one brief shining moment / That was known as Camelot. Back in the ’60s these words were linked with the short-lived Kennedy White House and defined the era. The story and the music are timeless.

Nov. 4-13 — “Proposals” by Neil Simon, directed by Jim Lockwood 

It’s the New York of Simon’s nostalgia, the comedy of the Poconos, full of fast-paced still funny lines.

Jan. 20-Feb. 5, 2017 — Xanadu, book by Douglas Carter Beane, music lyrics by Jeff Lynne and John Farrar, directed by Tina McPhearson

An almost exact opposite of the conventional stage musical, this has been described by NY Times critic Christopher Isherwood at its 2007 Broadway opening as “simultaneously indefensible and irresistible.” With roller skates and disco balls, it’s a “brisk” 90-minute experience. The plot is a descendent of a long line of classic musicals and plays, campier than any before, somewhat anti-Broadway.

March 10-19 — “The Women” by Clare Boothe Luce, directed by Robb Willoughby

Boothe was a very opinionated, sharp tongued, sophisticated woman, the wife of Henry Luce, founder of Time magazine. She moved in society circles that seem like another world now, as well as for many when it debuted in 1936. It’s sub-titled “A comedy of manners” perhaps not what might be called manners today. It was almost scandalous in its day in its directness. It is an all-female cast, an interesting contrast to this season’s nearly all-male 1776.

May 5, 2017 – TO BE ANNOUNCED   Directed by Matthew Smith

It’s a secret—at least until June 1 because of their rights agreement—but is a multi-Tony nominated musical never done here by any area community theater. The Playhouse will reveal all on daytonplayhouse.com on the date.

Future Fest auditions and ticket information 

The intense six-play weekend that is the culmination of a worldwide playwriting competition will be July 22-24. Three are fully staged and three are staged readings. Auditions for all six will be held May 23 and 24 at the Playhouse off Riverside at 1301 E. Siebenthaler, in the park.

Season passes for all the plays, including critiques by five professional adjudicators and the playwright’s talkbacks after each performance are available.

For more information, please visit daytonplayhouse.com or call 937.428.8471.
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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