Theatre that makes you think

Alan Bomar Jones and Scott McGowan in ‘Permanent Collection’ Alan Bomar Jones and Scott McGowan in ‘Permanent Collection’

‘Permanent Collection’ at Human Race

By Brian P. Sharp

Alan Bomar Jones and Scott McGowan in ‘Permanent Collection’

So, when does one’s passion for “their cause” get in the way of progress? Is the art discriminatory? Are the employees discriminatory? Is the new director too passionate? Are his ways … in the way? Is the employee too rigid? Was a compromise possible? Did the organization compromise too much?
Those are some of the thoughts that came to mind as I sat and watched Permanent Collection, a play written by Thomas Gibbons and directed by Schele Williams at the Human Race Theatre Company. A moving production that tries to answer the questions, and yet poses more, like, “Are there things in me that are like both characters?”
This play is inspired by the real-life drama around the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia. This story is also brought to life in the documentary, The Art of the Steal. It does make one wonder, who does own art? And do we have the right to say how it should be viewed, or even by whom?
There are strong performances delivered by the leading men in this production. Alan Bomar Jones plays Sterling North, the new director of the Morris Foundation and Scott McGowan plays Paul Barrow, the 20+ year employee of the Morris Foundation. While these two men seem to be at odds, they are really just passionate about their beliefs. One feels the Foundation cannot change while the other feels the Foundation must change. Neither are really bad men, so then why is there no compromise?
The cast includes Sharon Hope playing the loyal assistant Ella Franklin; Scott Stoney playing Alfred Morris; Christine Brunner playing Gillian Crane the journalist and Melissa Joyner playing Kanika Weaver. All deliver strong performances.
“There are no curators’ statements beside the paintings telling us what to see. There are only the paintings, teaching us how to see,” said Dr. Alfred Morris in the production.
The play does speak for itself and it will challenge you to think!

Permanent Collection is playing at the Loft Theatre until May 1. Tickets are available through or by calling Ticket Center Stage at (937) 228-3630.
It’s “Truth or Consequence!” at the Dayton Theatre Guild
The Dayton Theatre Guild has announced the 2011-2012 season themed “Truth or Consequence!” This is the third season at the Caryl D. Philips TheatreScape located at 430 Wayne Ave. in Dayton.

The season will open with The Oldest Profession by Paula Vogel. It will run from August 26 through September 11 and will be directed by Greg Smith.
The rest of the six-show season will be as follows:

  • Lost in Yonkers by Neil Simon, October 21-November 6
  • Heroes by Gérald Sibleyras and translated by Tom Stoppard, January 6-22, 2012
  • Going to St. Ives by Lee Blessing, February 10-26, 2012
  • Wittenberg by David Davalos, March 16-April 1, 2012
  • Dividing the Estate by Horton Foote, April 27-May 13, 2012

The Guild will also offer three season extra productions during the course of the 2011-2012 season. First, Souvenir by Stephen Temperley will run two weekends only, September 16-25. The annual holiday extra show will be The Blue Moon Dancing by Ed Graczyk, December 2-18. And finally, The Story of My Life, music and lyrics by Neil Bartram and book by Brian Hill, will close the 2011-2012 season June 1-17, 2012.

Also at the Dayton Theatre Guild the weekend of April 22-24 is the season extra Blackbird by David Harrower. Performances will be one weekend only. The cast includes Heather Atkinson and K.L. Storer, directed by Natasha Randall. Blackbird was the winner of the 2007 Laurence Olivier Award for Best New Play. It contains harshly explicit sexual language, mature themes and subject matter. Tickets are $17 for adults, $15 for seniors and $10 for students. Reservations can be made via or by calling the Guild at (937) 278-5993.

Further information about the season, as well as audition dates, can be found on the website at or by calling (937) 278-5993.

The Dayton Playhouse has announced the 2011-2012 season
“This year we have something for everyone. We’re happy to offer some Broadway hits, laugh-out-loud comedies, a Christmas classic, and a family favorite,” said Playhouse Executive Director Wade Hamilton. The Playhouse season has been slightly restructured to include three musicals and two plays, and has incorporated holiday offerings into the lineup. Season ticket holders will no longer have to pay for the extra production at Christmas time.

  • Jekyll and Hyde, August 26-September 11, Conceived for the stage by Steve Cuden and Frank Wildhorn, book and lyrics by Leslie Bricusse music by Frank Wildhorn, directed by Natalie Houliston.
  • Abie’s Irish Rose, October 14-23, By Anne Nichols, directed by Richard Brock
  • Scrooge, December 9-18 Book, music and lyrics by Leslie Bricusse, directed by Jennifer Lockwood
  • Nunsense, February 3-19, 2012, By Dan Goggin, directed by Wade Hamilton
  • Bus Stop, March 16-25, 2012, By William Inge, directed by Matthew Smith
  • The Sound of Music, May 11-27, 2012, Music by Richard Rogers, lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II, book by Howard Lindsay, Russel Crouse. Directed by Brian P. Sharp.

Performances take place at 1301 E. Siebenthaler Ave. in Dayton. Season tickets are now available for $75 for adults and $70 for seniors. Season four-packs are also available for $55. For more information call (937) 424-8477 or visit

Reach DCP theatre critic Brian P. Sharp at

Reach DCP food critic Brian P. Sharp at

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