Arts preview: ‘Hamilton’ and ‘Hairspray’ among season highlights

"Hamilton: An American Musical" will have its local premiere Jan. 26-Feb. 6, 2022 at the Schuster Center courtesy of Dayton Live. CONTRIBUTED
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"Hamilton: An American Musical" will have its local premiere Jan. 26-Feb. 6, 2022 at the Schuster Center courtesy of Dayton Live. CONTRIBUTED

Credit: JOAN MARCUS

Credit: JOAN MARCUS

Season has something for everyone: 10 shows to keep in mind

At long last, live performance takes center stage as the Miami Valley’s 2021-2022 arts season gets underway.

Each Sunday in September, I will provide a preview of what you can expect this season, beginning with today’s multiple genre overview. Granted, we are still in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic and many organizations have established mandates, particularly regarding masks. In turn, it’s important to check each organization’s website for guidelines especially if there is a need to cancel shows as the months go by due to the surge of the delta variant or future variants.

Nonetheless, as numerous troupes excitedly prepare their first post-quarantine lineups, here are 10 diverse choices to keep in mind as the calendar progresses.

(left to right) Charity Farrell, Alex Everett and Scott A. Winters in Dare to Defy Productions' presentation of "Cabaret," slated Oct. 13-16. CONTRIBUTED
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(left to right) Charity Farrell, Alex Everett and Scott A. Winters in Dare to Defy Productions' presentation of "Cabaret," slated Oct. 13-16. CONTRIBUTED

Credit: CONTRIBUTED

Credit: CONTRIBUTED

Cabaret

Oct. 13-16, 2021, Dare to Defy Productions at PNC Arts Annex

Leave your troubles outside. Get ready for one of the most intriguing productions of the season as Dare to Defy partners with Square One Salon and The RubiGirls for this classic musical by John Kander and Fred Ebb. Charity Farrell, who grew up starring in roles at Dayton Playhouse and was most recently seen on the Fox reality TV show “I Can See Your Voice,” will portray Kit Kat Club singer Sally Bowles opposite Alex Everett as the seedy Emcee and Joshua Stucky as Fraulein Schnieder. Something tells me this will be a “Cabaret” like none other.

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Norman Rockwell: Stories of Emotion

Oct. 23, 2021-Feb. 13, 2022, Dayton Art Institute

The quintessential Americana of Norman Rockwell (1894-1978) will be on poignant exhibition in this DAI exclusive. The works seen here, on loan from a private collection, will highlight Rockwell’s gifts for expressing emotions within the vein of conveying universal human themes. Additional works by other artists will expand Rockwell’s work in a larger, art-historical context.

Columbus-based drag performer Andrew Levitt, who won the title of Miss Congeniality on Season 11 (2019) of the Emmy Award-winning “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” will portray Edna Turnblad in the new national tour of "Hairspray." The production will stop in Springfield on Dec. 14. CONTRIBUTED
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Columbus-based drag performer Andrew Levitt, who won the title of Miss Congeniality on Season 11 (2019) of the Emmy Award-winning “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” will portray Edna Turnblad in the new national tour of "Hairspray." The production will stop in Springfield on Dec. 14. CONTRIBUTED

Credit: CONTRIBUTED

Credit: CONTRIBUTED

Hairspray

Dec. 14, 2021, Kuss Auditorium of Springfield’s Clark State Performing Arts Center

Columbus-based drag performer and Denison University theater graduate Andrew Levitt, a.k.a. Nina West, will lead the new national tour of this joyful musical comedy. Levitt, a Greentown, Ohio native who won the title of Miss Congeniality on Season 11 (2019) of the Emmy Award-winning “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” will portray Edna Turnblad. He’ll be joined by newcomers Niki Metcalf as Tracy Turnblad and Toneisha Harris (NBC’s “The Voice”) as Motormouth Maybelle. It’s safe to say Levitt will display his charisma, uniqueness, nerve and talent to the hilt.

Daveed Diggs, Okieriete Onaodowan, Anthony Ramos, and Lin-Manuel Miranda in "Hamilton: An American Musical." CONTRIBUTED
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Daveed Diggs, Okieriete Onaodowan, Anthony Ramos, and Lin-Manuel Miranda in "Hamilton: An American Musical." CONTRIBUTED

Credit: Photo: Submitted

Credit: Photo: Submitted

Hamilton: An American Musical

Jan. 26-Feb. 6, 2022, Dayton Live at Schuster Center Trust me – you’ll want to be in the room where it happens. The must-see local premiere of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Tony, Grammy and Pulitzer Prize-winning megahit is undoubtedly the hottest ticket of the season, and rightfully so. A triumph for diversity in the arts, this hip-hop/pop/R&B history lesson details the brilliance and flaws of founding father Alexander Hamilton with dazzle and depth.

Everything That’s Beautiful

Feb. 17-March 6, 2022, Human Race Theatre Company at Loft Theatre

The Human Race Theatre has always championed new plays and this progressive family drama by Elyzabeth Gregory Wilder is a reminder of its penchant for challenging, thought-provoking material. Described as “a moving exploration of a family in transition,” the play concerns Luke and Jess, who has allowed their 8-year-old Morgan, who was assigned male at birth, to identify as female. When the family relocates in order to start anew, situations turn and stakes are raised.

Stage director Kathleen Clawson will helm Dayton Opera's 2022 world premiere of "Finding Wright." She has served as Dayton Opera stage director for over 12 years for 15 performances. She is also associated with Santa Fe Opera and the University of New Mexico. CONTRIBUTED
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Stage director Kathleen Clawson will helm Dayton Opera's 2022 world premiere of "Finding Wright." She has served as Dayton Opera stage director for over 12 years for 15 performances. She is also associated with Santa Fe Opera and the University of New Mexico. CONTRIBUTED

Credit: CONTRIBUTED

Credit: CONTRIBUTED

Finding Wright

Feb. 25 and 27, 2022, Dayton Opera at Schuster Center

Step aside Orville and Wilbur. Katharine Wright’s moment in the spotlight is on the horizon as Dayton Opera presents the world premiere of librettist Laura Kaminsky and composer Andrea Fellows Fineberg’s work centered on the sister of the iconic aviation pioneers. In addition to being the first ever full-length opera commissioned for and presented by Dayton Opera, the production has an all-female artistic team including stage director Kathleen Clawson and music director Susanne Sheston, who will conduct the Dayton Philharmonic.

The Dayton Contemporary Dance Company performed “Taking It To the Streets” at Levitt Pavilion in downtown Dayton on Sunday, Aug. 29, 2021. The concert marked the opening of DCDC’s 2021-2022 Evolve(d) season. CONTRIBUTED/DAVID A. MOODIE
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The Dayton Contemporary Dance Company performed “Taking It To the Streets” at Levitt Pavilion in downtown Dayton on Sunday, Aug. 29, 2021. The concert marked the opening of DCDC’s 2021-2022 Evolve(d) season. CONTRIBUTED/DAVID A. MOODIE

Credit: CONTRIBUTED/DAVID A. MOODIE

Credit: CONTRIBUTED/DAVID A. MOODIE

Inside Out

Feb. 26-27, 2022, DCDC at Victoria Theatre

Looking back on 2020 and lessons learned in the pursuit to evolve, Dayton Contemporary Dance Company seeks to “embark upon new collaborations to explore life in a new world.” In addition to a series of interdisciplinary and collaborative pieces imagined by Debbie Blunden-Diggs, DCDC’s chief producing and artistic director, company member Countess Winfrey’s new work, a collaboration with jazz composer Wesley Winfrey, serves as the centerpiece.

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Sweet Charity

March 18-April 3, 2022, Wright State University

Hey, big spender, spend a little time with Charity Hope Valentine, the 1960s dance hall hostess with a heart of gold and a bad track record with men. An entire generation or two (or three?) have yet to witness this classic, rarely produced Cy Coleman, Dorothy Fields and Neil Simon musical in the Dayton area. With direction by Marya Spring Cordes, who has showcased a knack for female-driven stories in recent seasons such as “The Wolves” (WSU) and “Gloria: A Life” (Human Race Theatre), this production has the potential to be a winner.

The Dayton Ballet will be presenting "The Great Gatsby" at the Victoria Theatre. CONTRIBUTED
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The Dayton Ballet will be presenting "The Great Gatsby" at the Victoria Theatre. CONTRIBUTED

Credit: Robert Robbins

Credit: Robert Robbins

The Great Gatsby

April 8-10, 2022, Dayton Ballet at Victoria Theatre

Dayton Ballet fans rejoice! The troupe is finally bringing back its marvelous production of “The Great Gatsby,” memorably presented in the fall of 2017. Choreographed by Ron Cunningham, artistic director of Sacramento Ballet, and featuring vocals by Felita LaRock, the romance and drama within F. Scott Fitzgerald’s legendary tale will surely captivate and astound once more.

A cabinet card portrait of author Paul Laurence Dunbar as a young man in 1890. Dunbar was born in Dayton in 1872 to former slaves and was the first African American poet to receive critical acclaim for his work. He died in Dayton Feb. 9, 1906. PHOTO COURTESY OF THE OHIO HISTORY CONNECTION
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A cabinet card portrait of author Paul Laurence Dunbar as a young man in 1890. Dunbar was born in Dayton in 1872 to former slaves and was the first African American poet to receive critical acclaim for his work. He died in Dayton Feb. 9, 1906. PHOTO COURTESY OF THE OHIO HISTORY CONNECTION

Paul Laurence Dunbar: A Juneteenth Celebration

June 17-18, 2022, Dayton Philharmonic at Schuster Center

This DPO SuperPops concert celebrates the sesquicentennial anniversary (150 years) of the birth of one of Dayton’s literary giants. DPO artistic director and conductor Neal Gittleman will craft an evening in which classical meets gospel to tell a story of “America’s long march towards a more perfect union.”

Contact this contributing writer at rflorence2@gmail.com.


FALL ARTS PREVIEW

The fall arts season in about to get underway. Throughout September, we will bring you season schedules and highlights for performing arts groups throughout the region.

Sept. 12: Theater

Sept. 19: Music

Sept. 26: Dance