Tag Archives: Human Race Theatre Company

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 www.humanracetheatre.org

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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MY 80-YEAR OLD BOYFRIEND Runs June 16-July 3

HRTC_My 80-yaer old boyfriend logoMY 80-YEAR OLD BOYFRIEND
Human Race Theatre Company
June 16-July 3
Loft Theater [Dayton]

Directed by Sean Daniels

Cast: Charissa Bartels as Charissa

In this delightful new musical, Charissa, a quirky, twenty-something actress, meets Milton, a quick-witted, eighty-something millionaire who loves Schubert, Shakespeare and Dallas BBQ. From a chance encounter to the unlikeliest of friendships, Charissa discovers there’s much she can learn from her surprising new companion. Based on the true story of the performer Charissa Bertels, 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.”

  • Thu-Sat, June 16-18 at 8pm
  • Sun, June 19 at 2pm & 7pm
  • Tue-Wed, June 21-22 at 7pm
  • Thu-Sat, June 23-25 at 8pm
  • Sun, June 26 at 2pm
  • Tue-Wed, June 28-29 at 7pm
  • Thu-Sat, June 30-July 2 at 8pm
  • Sun, July 3 at 2pm

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2022-2023 Season Announced by Human Race Theatre Company

HRTC_new logoTHE HUMAN RACE BOLDLY MARCHES INTO ITS NEXT 35 YEARS WITH A GROUNDBREAKING 22-23 LOFT SEASON 

The Human Race embraces its mission of “exploring the human condition” in its 36th season by presenting themes of family, national security, dementia, creativity, race, and autism. Honoring its mission by “promoting enlightenment, inclusion and understanding,” the season includes two World Premieres (one play and one musical), a regional premiere, a Tony and Pulitzer Prize winning play, and the return of a favorite.  Outgoing Artistic Director Kevin Moore and incoming Artistic Director Emily N. Wells have created a first-rate season that will entertain and challenge theatregoers in southwest Ohio.

“Sometimes you read a play and you know it is just right for our audience,” said Kevin Moore. “Sometimes a play from your ‘bucket-list’ rises to the top and makes for a perfect addition,” offered Emily Wells. “And other times, a golden opportunity just lands in your lap,” added Moore.  This year, all of the above happened – making it the perfect storm.

The season launches in September with George Brandt’s powerful story of a female drone pilot who tries to balance hunting terrorists by day and being a wife and mother at night in Grounded. This play will mark The Human Race directing debut of its new Artistic Director, Emily N. Wells.  In October, just in time for Halloween, we present the World Premiere comedy/thriller/whodunit by Marcia Kash and Douglas E. Hughes, Deadline.  And December marks the return of that outrageous Seuss ingenue, Cindy Lou Who, as she makes your holidays “merry and bright” in Who’s Holiday! by Matthew Lombardo.

In February 2023, The Human Race and Dayton Live co-present, at the Victoria Theatre, the award-winning, Broadway production of A Soldier’s Play by Charles Fuller in its only Ohio engagement on its national tour.  Returning to the Loft Theatre in April, the company will present the hilarious and unpredictable comedy Barbecue by Robert O’Hara.  The Human Race closes the season in June with the World Premiere musical Indigo by Scott Evan Davis, Jay Kuo and Lorenzo Thione about a non-verbal teen with autism and the family that takes her in. Indigo will be helmed by Broadway director and native Daytonian, Schele Williams.

5-Show Loft Subscription Packages are available.  Other “Flexible Options” include 3 and 4 show packages, and annual Memberships.  Who’s Holiday! may be added to any package.  Renewals are currently underway and new subscriptions are available at anytime.  All tickets are available through Dayton Live Box Office at 937-228-3630 or https://www.daytonlive.org/series/loft-season/.

The Human Race’s 2022-23 Loft Theatre Season 

GROUNDED
By George Brant
Directed by Emily N. Wells
September 8 – 25, 2022

Grounded tells the story of a hot-shot F16 fighter pilot whose unexpected pregnancy ends her career in the sky. After maternity leave, she is reassigned as a reluctant operator of remotely piloted aircraft in the Middle East.  From an air-conditioned trailer in the desert near Vegas, the Pilot struggles through dreamlike 12-hour shifts hunting terrorists by day and being a wife and mother by night, leading her into a downward spiral. It’s a frightening reflection on war and the controversial wartime use of drones, and demonstrates the psychological effects experienced by a human who has the power of a wrathful deity.

Grounded was one of the first plays to explore a new form of war…creating a smash that channeled Top Gun.”   – Matt Trueman, The Guardian

DEADLINE
A World Premiere Comedy Thriller
By Marcia Kash and Douglas E. Hughes
October 27 – November 13, 2022

Playwrights Don and Mara are hired to finish a famous mystery writer’s last play following his mysterious death, shortly before its Broadway opening. The play takes place on a yacht, where an estranged family has been called together for the reading of their mother’s will.  As Don and Mara delve deeper into the writing process, they suddenly find themselves literally sucked into the play, trapped in the very world they are trying to complete, where solving the mystery becomes a matter of life and death.

Deadline is a bit of CLUE, and a bit of KNIVES OUT, and a lot of fun!

WHO’S HOLIDAY!
By Matthew Lombardo
December 8 – 23, 2022
Directed by Joe Deer

She’s Back!!!!  That over-indulgent, holiday celebrant “Cindy Lou Who” is back to make your holidays bright!  Who’s Holiday! – last season’s smash-hit comedy by Matthew Lombardo – is back with the hilarious and multi-talented Alex Sunderhaus, offering up some old, some new, some borrowed and some “blue” Christmas to kick your holidays into overdrive.  First-timers and returnees are all welcome!!!!  Cindy Lou does not discriminate.  She’ll offend everyone!

A SOLDIER’S PLAY
By Charles Fuller
A Roundabout Theatre national tour, co-presented by The Human Race Theatre Company and Dayton Live at the Victoria Theatre.
February 14 – 19, 2023

A Soldier’s Play, the1982 Pulitzer Prize-winning thriller by Charles Fuller, has rocketed back into the spotlight, thanks to this 2020 Tony Award®-winning Best Revival from Roundabout Theatre Company.

“This is a play that deserves to be staged regularly all over America—though it’s hard to imagine that it will ever be done better than this. It keeps you guessing all the way to the final curtain”  said The Wall Street Journal.

In 1944, on a Louisiana Army base, two shots ring out. A Black sergeant is murdered. And a series of interrogations triggers a gripping barrage of questions about sacrifice, service, and identity in America. Broadway’s Norm Lewis leads a powerhouse cast in the show Variety calls “a knock-your-socks-off-drama,” directed by Tony winner Kenny Leon.

The tour’s stop in Dayton will be its only Ohio appearance.

BARBECUE
By Robert O‘Hara
April 13 – 30, 2023

In this hilarious and devastating comedy by Robert O‘Hara, the four O’Mallery siblings have planned a barbecue picnic for their youngest sister, Barbara, but it is more of an intervention to confront her outrageous behavior and reckless drug and alcohol use.  We soon learn that the entire family is a mess and each sibling is in need of their own intervention.  Lillie Anne calls James “white trash,” maybe because he brought a Taser along just in case Barbara gets out of hand.  The scene ends – blackout.  When the lights return, so do the four siblings: same park, same situation, same personalities, but they are black instead of white. From that moment the two parallel families alternate, and the barbecue becomes raucous and unpredictable.  Racial politics collide with family stereotypes, survival and America’s fascination with self-destruction as entertainment.

Barbecue manages to roast its raw characters, while at the same time basting the audience in juicy observations about race and class, truth and authenticity, and modern addictions, including to fame.”    – Jonathan Mandell, New York Theatre

INDIGO
A World Premiere New Musical
Music & Lyrics by Scott Evan Davis
Book by Jay Kuo, Lorenzo Thione & Scott Evan Davis
Directed by Schele Williams
June 8 – 25, 2023

Emma, a non-verbal teen with autism, finds her life upended when the death of her father leaves her in an uncomprehending world. For Emma, the world is a chaotic place until it shifts to the cool blue shades of Indigo, where she is centered and calm in her inner thoughts and dreams. Emma must learn to connect and form bonds with her new family who face daunting challenges of their own. Indigo is a celebration of the human heart and spirit, a moving call for empathy and compassion in a world that often feels devoid of them.

Indigo will be helmed by Broadway Director and native Daytonian, Schele Williams, and is produced by special arrangement with Sing Out, Louise! Productions.

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; Pay What You CAN Sponsor:  Enterprise Holdings Foundation;

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INCIDENT AT OUR LADY OF PERPETUAL HELP Runs April 14-May 1

HRTC_Incident at Our Lady of Perpetual Help logoINCIDENT AT OUR LADY OF PERPETUAL HELP
Human Race Theatre Company
April 14-May 1
Loft Theatre [Dayton]

Directed by Margaret Perry
Produced by Tara Lail & Kevin Moore

Cast: Christine Brunner as Josephine (Jo) O’Shea, Cecily Dowd as Linda O’Shea, Mierka Girten as Theresa (Terri) Carmichael, Lizzie Huelskamp as Becky O’Shea & Jason Podplesky as Mike O’Shea/Father Lovett/Betty Heckenbach

A money-strapped family tries to cope in 1973. 19 year-old Linda O’Shea is our narrator and she is attempting to re-enact the most turbulent day of her life, but her family keeps interrupting to tell their side of the story. The 70’s were a time of old school living; no social media, and public ridicule in a close-knit community was the ultimate nightmare. When her parents ask her to explain to her younger sister about the birds and the bees, somehow the blunt explanation is overheard by the parish priest and he is not amused. When he confronts her parents about the “corruption of their eldest daughter’s very soul,” all holy hell and hysteria break loose in this nostalgic comedy.

  • Thu-Sat, April 14-16 at 8pm
  • Sun, April 17 at 2pm & 7pm
  • Tue-Wed, April 19-20 at 7pm
  • Thu-Sat, April 21-23 at 8pm
  • Sun, April 24 at 2pm
  • Tue-Wed, April 26-27 at 7pm
  • Thu-Sat, April 28-30 at 8pm
  • Sun, May 1 at 2pm

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Irish-Catholic Family Comedy Fills the Loft Theatre with Laughter

HRTC_Incident at Our Lady of Perpetual Help logoThe Human Race Theatre Company continues its 35th Season with a new play by Seattle playwright Katie Forgette – Incident at Our Lady of Perpetual Help – playing April 14 – May 1 at the Loft Theatre.   This charming comedy recounts an unforgettable day in 1973 for the O‘Sheas, a cash-strapped Irish-Catholic family in a city very much like Dayton.

19 year-old Linda O’Shea, our narrator, attempts to re-enact the most turbulent day of her life, interrupted by her family with their side of the story. The 70’s were a time of old school living – no social media, and public ridicule in a close-knit community was the ultimate nightmare. Linda reflects on an “incident” she sparked in 1973, when their overbearing priest, Father Lovett, overhears a conversation between her and her sister about puberty. It’s a moment that could have threatened the family’s upstanding reputation in the conservative parish. As Linda says, this is a story familiar to anyone who has experienced “Catholic guilt — also known as Jewish guilt, Methodist guilt, Baptist guilt, Lutheran guilt and atheist guilt.”  When Father Lovett confronts her parents about the “corruption of their eldest daughter’s very soul,” all holy hell and hysteria break loose in this nostalgic comedy.

New York-based director Margarett Perry returns to helm this hilarious new play.  She most recently directed the streaming comedy The Revolutionists last June, and numerous productions since 2005. “Margarett has become a regular member of our artistic family with many great comedies and dramas to her credit,” said Artistic Director, Kevin Moore.  “She was hand-selected by Marsha Hanna and she has delivered great productions time after time.”

An extraordinary cast that will bring this show to life includes both new and returning artists: Cecily Dowd will play our narrator, Linda O’Shea (Dayton native, One Slight Hitch ); Christine Brunner as the long-suffering, rarely-complaining, hardworking mom Josephine “Jo” ‘Shea (Resident Artist, 26 Pebbles, Steel Magnolias, Play It By Heart); Mierka Girten as the very liberal Aunt Theresa “Terri” O’Shea (Master Class, Beehive, Little Shop of Horrors, Bus Stop); Jason Podplesky in multiple roles as Dad, Mike ‘Shea, Father Lovett, and parish busybody, Betty Hackenbach (Sylvia, 26 Pebbles, Becky’s New Car);  and Columbus native Lizzie Huelskamp, making her Human Race debut as younger sister, Becky O‘Shea. (Annie, Little Mermaid, The Secret Garden.)

Joining Director Margarett Perry on the Incident at Our Lady of Perpetual Help creative team is:  Eric Moore, Scenic Designer;  John Rensel, Lighting Designer;  Janet G. Powell, Costume Designer; Julian Crocamo, Sound Designer; and Production Stage Manager, Jacquelyn Duncan.

Incident at Our Lady of Perpetual Help will play in the Loft Theatre in downtown Dayton, April 14 – May 1, 2022.  Tickets are on sale through Dayton Live box office, 937-228-3630, or online at www.humanracetheatre.org   More details about the show can be found on our website.

Special performances:

  • Pay What You CAN – Wed. April 13 at 8 pm – benefits The Foodbank and Project Hope
  • Sawbuck Sunday – Sun. April 17 at 7 pm – $10 tickets available 5:30pm at the door
  • While We’re On The Subject – Sun. April 24 – Audience Discussion follows 2pm matinee

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; 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; Pay What You CAN Sponsor:  Enterprise Holdings Foundation;  Production Sponsor: Marion’s Piazza and Barbara N. O’Hara.

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