Take a seat

Some old and some new from Human Race, Dayton Theatre Guild, and Playground

By Jacqui Theobald

Photo: Tim Lile as Crumpet in the Human Race Theatre’s production of ‘The Santaland Diaries,’ running Dec. 8-17

Our very own elf at the Human Race, Dec. 8-17, ‘The Santaland Diaries

’Tis the season to be over-run by elves, or so it might seem this year, but Dayton’s own Tim Lile returns to recreate Crumpet, that bad-tempered-gotta-love-him Macy’s elf. His solo turn was a sold-out hit last year, providing an antidote to an overdose of Christmas sugar cookies.

Being one of Santa’s helpers may wipe the smile from the exasperated striped-legged sprite; however, it is a grin-provoking antidote for audiences already fed up with too much ersatz cheer.

Based on humor writer David Sedaris’ own experiences, his original piece has been transformed into a one-man one-act stage play by Joe Mantello, a real holiday gift for those who may have tongues firmly planted in cheeks.

Scott Stoney, who recently directed the large-cast, complex HRT production of Sweeney Todd also directs this one-person romp. Both he and Lile have clearly enjoyed polishing their sense of fun and foolery.

“Crumpet is back and badder than ever,” Lile says. This year’s audience will find themselves at the center of the excitement!” Anything could happen this time around in Santaland!”

Lile is always delightful at physical comedy, a bit daring and risky. At the Human Race he’s been seen in “A Tuna Christmas,” “Ears on a Beetle,” “ Moonlight and Magnolias,” and “Lend Me a Tenor.” His credits as Loft director include “Lombardi,” “Rounding Third,” and “Take Me Out.” He’s also a local auctioneer and owner of the online auction company BidNow LLC.

These are the creative people you never see:

Costumes are by Christie Peitzmeier, who did the authentic Mame costumes. Resident Artist John Rensel takes on light design, with sound design by the always creative Jay Brunner. Lexi Muller leads as production stage manager.

Santaland Diaries has a variety of performance and extra activities. Preview performance is Thursday, Dec. 8, 7 p.m. Opening night, Friday, Dec. 9, 7 p.m., with WYSO post-show lobby party; Saturdays, Dec. 10 and 17, 5 p.m. and 9 p.m.; Tuesday, Dec. 13, 7 p.m.; Wednesday, Dec. 14, 7 p.m., UpDayton ‘Young Professionals Night’; Thursday, Dec. 15, 7 p.m.; Friday, Dec. 16 at 7 p.m.; Saturday, Dec. 17 at 5 p.m. is audio described/sign interpreted and must be reserved by Dec. 2). This show is not recommended for young audiences. 

All seats are $24, with season ticket holder seats available for $18. To purchase tickets, please visit TicketCenterStage.com. For group sales, please contact Betty Gould at 937.461.8295 or Betty.Gould@VictoriaTheatre.com. The Human Race Loft Theatre is located at 126 N. Main St. in downtown Dayton. For more information, please visit HumanRaceTheatre.org.

Your name in perpetuity at the Theatre Guild

You can adopt a brand new seat, have your nameplate attached, and provide six inches of extra legroom per seat with a minimum contribution of $200. Only 212 seats are available in the intimate, three-quarter-round theatre. The Guild has been converting a cavernous older building, purchased a few years ago, into a fine new theatre space, adding state-of-the-art embellishments, as they can.

This is the first time they have offered specific naming rights. The Guild’s goal is $30,000 for the project.

Each nameplate will have two lines with a maximum total of 28 spaces available, including both characters and spaces. Style options give some leeway in the words on the plate. Use just one name or perhaps include a couple of short first names and a surname or a commemoration such as “In honor of,” “In memory of,” or “A gift from.”

Seat naming rights are available on a first-come basis. Supporters after the first 212 will have their names prominently listed on a large permanent lobby sign.

The seats do not include ticket or seating reservations, which remain open.

It is easy to secure your commitment to the Guild’s new more comfortable furniture: please go to DaytonTheatreGuild.org with credit card information handy to complete a form and pay the total amount.

Even more important is showing your ongoing belief in our oldest community theatre’s continuing progress.

For more information, please call 937.278.5993 or visit DaytonTheatreGuild.org.

Enthusiastic young company, Dec. 1–4, Playground’s ‘Jailbait’

The Playground Theatre is one of several new stage efforts working to establish a presence in the rich Dayton theatre scene. It focuses on bringing bold, edgy offerings to new audiences, especially millennials, who might look for gutsy themes that reflect real life. Playground is one of several emerging theatre groups supported by Victoria Theatre Association’s ImPACt program that offers educational programs and slightly reduced rental rates.

Now in its second season, Playground presents “Jailbait,” a provocative drama by Deirdre O’Connor. Co-founders Christopher Hahn, who plays Mark, and Director Jenna Valyn are a couple of Dayton natives who have studied with some impressive teachers and won various prizes.

The aptly titled play features two 15-year-old girls, who decide to try look and act older, exploring the club scene and older men simultaneously. It’s an inadvertent learning situation for everyone. Life happens—funny, sexual, scary, but not preachy.

‘Jailbait’ runs Thursday through Sunday, Dec. 1-4 in the Mathile Black Box Theatre at the Schuster Center, 1 W. Second St. in downtown Dayton. Show times are Thursday, 7 p.m., Friday and Saturday nights, 8 p.m; matinees, Saturday and Sunday, 2 p.m. Tickets are $20. For more information or to purchase tickets, please visit TicketCenterStage.com or ThePlaygroundTheatre.org. or call 937-228-3630.

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Reach DCP theatre critic Jacqui Theobald at JacquiTheobald@DaytonCityPaper.com.

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