Human Race Theatre’s 2022-23 season offers tales of family, race, autism

Multiple premieres and the naughty return of Cindy Lou Who comprises the Human Race Theatre Company’s 2022-2023 season.

Embracing its mission of “exploring the human condition,” the organization’s 36th season seeks to entertain and challenge audiences with wide-ranging topics such as family, national security, dementia, creativity, race, and autism. The lineup was created by outgoing artistic director Kevin Moore and incoming artistic director Emily N. Wells.

“Sometimes you read a play and you know it is just right for our audience,” said Moore, in a release. “Sometimes a play from your ‘bucket-list’ rises to the top and makes for a perfect addition,” offered Wells. “And other times, a golden opportunity just lands in your lap,” added Moore.

One of those opportunities is the national tour of Charles Fuller’s 1982 Pulitzer Prize-winning drama “A Soldier’s Play,” 2020 Tony winner for Best Revival of a Play from Roundabout Theatre Company which will be co-presented by the Human Race and Dayton Live at the Victoria Theatre. Starring Tony nominee Norm Lewis, the tour’s only Ohio engagement will be in Dayton.

Another highlight of the season is “Indigo,” a world premiere musical by Scott Evan Davis, Jay Kuo and Lorenzo Thione about a non-verbal teen with autism and the family that takes her in. The show will be helmed by Dayton native Schele Williams, an in-demand Broadway director whose upcoming projects include the musical adaptation of “The Notebook” at Chicago Shakespeare Theater and the musical “Mandela” at the Young Vic in London.

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The season includes George Brant’s drama “Grounded,” the world premiere of Marcia Kash and Douglas E. Hughes’ comedic thriller “Deadline,” Robert O’ Hara’s envelope-pushing comedy “Barbecue,” and irreverent season extra “Who’s Holiday!”

“(I thank) Kevin for (his) collaboration and support as I transition into my role here at the Race,” Wells said at the April 28 season announcement ceremony at the Loft Theatre. “The legacy of the company’s foundation and (Kevin’s) leadership have given me a wonderful springboard to continue the movement forward into the next act.”

Credit: CONTRIBUTED

Credit: CONTRIBUTED

Five-show Loft subscription packages are available. Other “flexible options” include three and four-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 following play descriptions are courtesy of the Human Race Theatre Company.

THE HUMAN RACE’S 2022-2023 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.”

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DEADLINE

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.”

Credit: SCOTT J. KIMMINS

Credit: SCOTT J. KIMMINS

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!”

ExploreHuman Race’s ‘Who’s Holiday!’ a naughty good time at Loft Theatre

A SOLDIER’S PLAY

By Charles Fuller

February 14 – 19, 2023

“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.”

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.”

Credit: Photo by Amelia Robinson

Credit: Photo by Amelia Robinson

INDIGO

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.”

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