Posted: 12:00 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 1, 2012
By Russell Florence Jr.
The Human Race Theatre Company’s Midwest premiere of Janece Shaffer’s relationship comedy “Managing Maxine” ushers in a broader artistic mission for the organization, which celebrated its 25th anniversary last season.
After 13 years of specifically nurturing new musicals, including “Band Geeks!,” “Convenience,” “Green Gables,” “Ordinary Days” “Play it Cool” and “Snapshots,” the Race shifts its focus to new plays as it launches its 2012-13 season. In addition to staging the third production of “Maxine” in the country, the troupe will produce the world premiere of Michael Slade’s psychological thriller “Under a Red Moon” (in conjunction with the Covington, Ky., Carnegie Visual and Performing Arts Center) and a workshop of Slade’s latest play “Gingerbread Children.”
The goal of developing new plays was set in motion three years ago thanks to the encouragement of Marsha Hanna, who served as the company’s artistic director for 18 years until her death in 2011.
“We were gaining a strong national reputation for developing new musicals (and) Marsha had always wanted to do the same with new plays,” said Human Race producing artistic director Kevin Moore. “Since the mechanism was in place, all that we needed was the funding. That was when we decided to launch our 25th Anniversary Fund for the Development of New Works. The Fund would create a working endowment to provide the dollars needed each season for developing new works – residencies, workshops, festivals and premieres.”
In tribute to Hanna, the Marsha Hanna Memorial Fund, a separate fund focusing solely on new plays, was created under the umbrella of the Anniversary Fund. From an artistic and financial standpoint, Moore is pleased and anticipates spearheading more emerging works.
“Pledges to our campaign have been very strong,” he said. “Just over $1,250,000 of our $1.5 million goal have been pledged. I felt it was important to start putting that money to work, which is why (there are) three new plays this season.”
The remainder of the Race’s 26th season includes “Oliver!,” “Lombardi,” “Race” and “Avenue Q.”
“Combined with our Festival of New Musicals and original concept of ‘Oliver!,’ we are staking our claim on ‘new works,’” Moore said.
“The Human Race Theatre Company has a marvelous reputation in New York,” added Tony Award-nominated producer Jana Robbins (“Ragtime”), who plays the title role in “Maxine.” “What Kevin Moore has done to build the company has traveled across the country with great word of mouth.”
HOW TO GO
WHAT: “Managing Maxine,” a comedic look at love in the golden years
PRODUCED BY: The Human Race Theatre Company
WHEN: Sept. 6- Sept. 23. Show times are 8 p.m. on Wednesday through Saturday evenings and 7 p.m. on Sunday and Tuesday evenings. Sunday matinees are at 2 p.m.
WHERE: The Loft Theatre, 126 N. Main St., Dayton.
TICKETS: From $31 to $40, with special prices for seniors and students. A limited number of $25 tickets are available for each performance (available two weeks prior to performance). Tickets for the 7 p.m. show on Sept. 9, are available for $10, two hours prior to performance. The Pay-What-You-CAN performance is Wednesday, Sept. 5 at 8 p.m. when food donations — or cash donations of any amount — are accepted.
ALSO: Audio-described and sign-interpreted performance on Saturday, Sept. 15. “Inside Track” discussion 45 minutes before curtain on preview night, Thursday, Sept. 6. Talk Back post-show discussion on Sunday, Sept. 16. Food items available at the performance on Tuesday, Sept. 11.
FOR TICKETS OR INFORMATION: (937) 228-3630, (888) 228-3630, www.humanracetheatre.org or www.ticketcenterstage.com