The Story of an Unlikely Friendship Becomes a One-Woman Musical Comedy

HRTC_My 80yo Boyfriend1At one point in our youth, we all had to write one of those “Most Memorable Person I Have Ever Met” essays.  It always described that one person who changed your life.  Now, imagine taking that story and turning it into a musical.  Well, that is exactly what Charissa Bertels did – with the help of some friends – when she created My 80-Year-Old Boyfriend– playing June 16 – July 3, 2022 in the Loft Theatre.

With the assistance of book writer/lyricist Christian Duhamel, and composer/lyricist Ed Bell, Charissa retells, alone on stage, her chance encounter with “Milton,” a spry, quick-witted 80-year-old millionaire who loves Schubert, Shakespeare and Dallas BBQ.  Charissa soon discovers there’s much she can learn from her surprising new companion.  My 80-Year-Old Boyfriend reveals the thrill of chasing a dream, the power of living in the now, and all that can happen when we let ourselves say “yes.”

“This production is also a bit of a homecoming for the book writer/lyricist, Christian Duhamel,” said Artistic Director Kevin Moore. “Christian is a graduate of the theatre program at Wright State, and in 2011, appeared as “Feste” in The Human Race production of The Tempest, where he also composed and performed a song for the show. Since then, he has continued to have success as an actor, writer and composer.  For his work as librettist of My 80-Year-Old Boyfriend, Christian received the prestigious Kleban Award for Musical Theatre.”

This production is in cooperation with the Arizona Theatre Company, where it played last fall, directed by Artistic Director Sean Daniels.  Sean also directed the premiere production at the Merrimack Repertory Theatre.  Following the Dayton production, this show has its sights set on New York City.   Music Director/Pianist Brett Ryback will be Charissa’s silent partner on stage.  Besides being an accomplished musician, Brett is also an actor, composer/lyricist and writer.

The creative team for My 80-Year-Old Boyfriend includes:  Neal Patel, Scenic Designer;  Jen Caprio, Costume Designer;  Brian Lilienthal, Original Lighting Designer;  John Rensel, Human Race Lighting Designer;  Danny Erdberg, Sound Designer;  Alexander Koker, Associate Sound Designer; Ashlee Wasmund, Assistant Director; and Production Stage Manager, Dom Ruggiero.

My 80-Year-Old Boyfriend will play in the Loft Theatre in downtown Dayton, June 16 – July 3, 2022.  Tickets are on sale through Dayton Live box office, 937-228-3630, or online at

Special performances: 

  • Pay What You CAN – Wed. June 15 at 8 pm – benefits The Foodbank and the Young at Heart Players.
  • Sawbuck Sunday – Sun. June 19 at 7 pm – $10 tickets available 5:30 pm at the door           
  • While We’re On The Subject – Sun. June 26 – Audience discussion follows 2 pm matinee 

* Production photos courtesy of Arizona Theatre Company.  Photos by Tim Fuller. 

The Human Race acknowledges its gratitude for the public and private support which makes these productions possible:  Loft Season support:  The Jack W. and Sally D. Eichelberger Foundation of The Dayton Foundation;  Additional Season support:  Miriam Rosenthal Foundation for the Arts;  Organizational support:  Culture Works, Montgomery County, Ohio Arts Council, The Shubert Foundation, Erma R. Catterton Trust Fund, The Virginia W. Kettering Foundation;  Sustainability support:  Anne F. Johnson, Steve and Lou Mason and Morris Home. Production Sponsors:  Marni Flagel, Dr. Robert L. Brandt, Jr.,  Lisa D. Arlt, CPA, and  Milton’s Magnificent Mavens.


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