"Bill W. and Dr. Bob" at the Dayton Playhouse.

Theatre news and reviews

By Brian P. Sharp

"Bill W. and Dr. Bob" at the Dayton Playhouse.

Just before off-Broadway, it’s Dayton Playhouse
The Dayton Playhouse is getting ready for the season extra “Bill W. and Dr. Bob,” a play by Samuel Shem (Stephen Bergman) and Janet Surrey. The play’s local premiere is quickly selling out and an additional performance has been added. It was recently announced the show will return to off-Broadway this year.
“Bill W. and Dr. Bob” is based on the story of William Wilson (Bill W.) and Dr. Robert Smith (Dr. Bob), the founders of Alcoholics Anonymous, and their wives Lois Wilson and Anne Smith, creators of Al-Anon.
The story tells, “In 1929, the famous New York stockbroker William G. Wilson crashed with the stock market and became a hopeless drunk. Dr. Bob Smith was a surgeon from Ohio, who had also been an alcoholic for 30 years. In fact, he often went into the operating room with a hangover. Through an astonishing series of events, Bill W. and Dr. Bob Smith met and formed a relationship, each helping to keep the other sober. The two went on to form AA together.”
“If you want to write about AA, it has to be an ‘and’ story,” said Shem. “It has to be Bill W. and Dr. Bob. It’s about the connection, not about the self. As Bill says, ‘I realized that the only thing that could keep me sober was telling my story to another drunk.’”
The show, directed by Dayton Theatre Hall of Famer Dodie Lockwood, has been in rehearsal for weeks and is sure to be seen by sell-out crowds.
Lockwood has cast some of the area’s leading actors. Geoff Burkmann will portray Bill W., while Dave Williamson will play Dr. Bob. Kirsten MacDougal will play Bill’s wife Lois and Pam McGinnis will play Anne, Bob’s wife. Additional cast members include Dave Nickel, Jonathon Berry and Amy Diederich. Raymonde Rougier will provide musical accompaniment.
When the show goes into production off-Broadway, all proceeds will fund a national tour which will hit college campuses as a way of combating the epidemic of binge drinking among college students. Also, Stephen Bergman will be in Dayton in May where he will be commencement speaker for Wright State University’s School of Medicine graduation ceremony.

The show will run March 31 through April 3; Thursday and Friday at 8 p.m.; Saturday at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m., and Sunday at 2 p.m. at the Dayton Playhouse, 1301 E. Siebenthaler Ave., located within the Wegerzyn Gardens. You can purchase tickets online at www.daytonplayhouse.org or by calling (937) 424-8477. Tickets are limited. Reservations
are encouraged.

Dinner and a show: a real deal!
These days, when gas prices at nearly $3.50 per gallon, we are all looking for ways to save money. Does that mean we go out less? Maybe we can go out to dinner, but skip the drive to a movie or show afterwards to save gas. If you’re looking for a venue that gives the best of the culinary and entertainment worlds in one, fuel-saving location, the solution is 20 minutes from downtown Dayton at LaComedia Dinner Theatre. You can have a great dinner and see a great show in Springboro. LaComedia, currently running “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers,” is a deal!
The dinner starts with your server (we were lucky enough to have Molly serving us – she was a delight) bringing you the house salad topped with signature papaya chutney dressing. A basket of crackers with house-made cheese spread is also on the table. Your server will then bring you your drink of choice – from coffee or tea, to full-bar service. Then one at a time, tables are dismissed to the full buffet, which is served onstage and made up of chef-carved meats, a variety of pastas, fresh vegetables and an assortment of breads and muffins. Don’t miss their famous sweet potato soufflé. Once everyone’s had a chance at seconds, your server will bring you the featured dessert of the evening. Remember there are also Sunday brunch options. A great dinner is followed by an even greater show.
“Seven Brides for Seven Brothers” hasn’t been seen on the LaComedia stage for 20 years, although customers have requested it often. The show is based on a book by Lawrence Kasha and David Landay, with music and lyrics by Gene DePaul and Johnny Mercer. It is directed and choreographed by Connor Gallagher.
When the character Adam goes to town to find a bride, he finds the “perfect woman.” Young Milly marries Adam (the mountain man) and thinks her life will get easier, until she meets his six brothers! It doesn’t take Milly long to whip the rough-and-tumble boys into shape, and soon all the boys can think about is finding wives of their own.
The show is loaded with great talent like Christopher Lukos (Adam); Caroline Kobylarz (Milly); and Dayton native Robert Martin (the Preacher). “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers” is full of energy, dancing and singing, and results in a night of boisterous fun and romance. But, will there be a spring wedding for ALL of the brothers? Visit LaComedia in Springboro to find out.

Tickets for “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers” are on sale now and the show will run through April 23. Adult tickets range in price from $51-$69. Discounts include buy-one-get-one-free with Entertainment or Prestige Dining Cards. Tickets can be purchased online at www.lacomedia.com or by calling (93) 746-4554 or 1-800-677-9505. You don’t want to miss this show!

Reach DCP theatre critic Brian P. Sharp at threatre@daytoncitypaper.com.

Reach DCP food critic Brian P. Sharp at BrianSharp@DaytonCityPaper.com.

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