Human Race prepares area premiere of ‘Airness’ at Loft Theatre

Award-winning play spotlights world of competitive air guitar



The Human Race Theatre Company continues its 35th anniversary season with the area premiere of Chelsea Marcantel’s play “Airness,” slated Oct. 21-Nov. 7 at the Loft Theatre.

According to the Urban Dictionary, “airness” is the extent to which an air guitar performance transcends the medium and becomes a higher form of artistic expression. Marcantel uses this launching point to focus on young Nina, who is guided through the world of air guitar competition by a group of misfits. She soon learns the “six pillars” on which she will judged: artistic merit, originality, feeling, technical ability, charisma and the elusive quality of airness. Ultimately, the play is about “bring true to yourself, letting go of your inhibitions, accepting people for who they are and finding the Rockstar locked deep inside yourself.”

“We have had our eyes on this play since it rocked the 2017 Humana Festival at Actors Theatre of Louisville,” said Human Race artistic director and founding member Kevin Moore, in a release. “It went on to win the American Theatre Critics Association’s New Play Award in 2018. This story of an underdog triumphing – with the help of a community of fellow underdogs – is a perfect way to spend an evening in the theatre.”

“Airness” is directed by Jamie Cordes, who previously helmed the Human Race’s “Lizzie” and starred as the titular barber in the troupe’s “Sweeney Todd.” The cast features Human Race returnees Andrew Ian Adams (“Avenue Q”) as Golden Thunder, Allison Kelly (“Red-Blooded All-American Man”) as The Nina, James Roselli (“Play it By Heart”) as The Announcer, Zack Steele (“Mame,” “Sweeney Todd”) as Shreddy Eddy, and Drew Vidal (“The Glass Menagerie”) as Facebender, along with newcomers Reanne Acasio as Cannibal Queen and Rasell Holt as D Vicious.

In addition, and in collaboration with WMMX (Mix 107.7), the Human Race is bringing its own guitar competition to Dayton. From Oct. 11-15, rock and theater fans are encouraged to post a one-minute video of their best air guitar performance on Facebook or Instagram and tag both @HumanRaceTheatre and @Mix107.7. Make sure to #hrtc_dayton so your votes can be counted. The post with the most likes will win four free tickets to “Airness” plus the chance to perform air guitar live on stage during the curtain call at the “Airness” performance of their choice. For more details, visit


What: “Airness”

Where: Loft Theatre, 126 N. Main St., Dayton

When: Oct. 21-Nov. 7; Tuesdays through Sundays

Cost: $17-$53

Tickets: 937-228-3630 or

FYI: In addition to wearing masks, all audiences must show proof of vaccination or a recent negative COVID-19 test.

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