Honorees announced for Dayton Theatre Hall of Fame

Gerri Nichols will be inducted into the Dayton Theatre Hall of Fame. CONTRIBUTED

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Gerri Nichols will be inducted into the Dayton Theatre Hall of Fame. CONTRIBUTED

Since 2001, the Dayton Theatre Hall of Fame has been honoring local theatre artists and patrons of the arts “whose life-long participation, innovation, and creativity have influenced the Dayton arts culture.”

The 2017 inductees have just been announced. Jennifer Lockwood, Gerri Nichols and Sheila Ramsey will receive the prestigious honor in conjunction with the annual DayTony awards on July 29 at Sinclair Community College.

Lockwood is the daughter of Dodie and Jim Lockwood, both stalwarts of Dayton’s theatrical community. Their daughter began acting at age of 7 and has been involved with theater ever since, performing at almost every theater in our area. She’s also a seasoned director and serves on many committees and board ranging from play-reading to special event planning. Most recently, she served as chair of the FutureFest reading committee.

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Nichols was one of 10 founders of the Troy Civic Theatre, which celebrated its 50 year anniversary in 2015-2016. In the early years she was involved with everything from back stage work, props and set to management and sewing costumes. Since that time, she has worked with most of the theater’s productions and co-authored the Troy Bicentennial production “Let Freedom Ring.”

Ramsey, a poetry interpreter, is a founding member of the group Creative Energy, which toured across the area performing poetry and inspiring youth. She’s well known as an actor at The Human Race Theatre Company and other Midwest venues. She’s also known for her directing skills and has directed productions at Colonel White High School for the Performing Arts, Wright State University — where she also taught Directing and Acting Esthetics — and at The Human Race. To fulfill a long-time dream, Sheila established The Dream Keeper Theatre Company, designed to give voice on stage to the black experience. She has twice been selected as the recipient of the Montgomery County Arts and Cultural District individual artist fellowship.

The Dayton Theatre Hall of Fame is operated and governed by the Dayton Theatre Hall of Fame Executive Committee. If you're interested in attending the induction ceremony, you'll have a dinner or event-only option along with early bird pricing. The event is open to the public. For more information or to make a reservation visit www.ticketleap.com. Click on "Events" and enter "DayTony Gala."

NEA funds local projects

National Endowment for the Arts Chairman Jane Chu has approved more than $82 million to fund local arts projects across the country in the NEA’s second major funding announcement for fiscal year 2017. The NEA received 1,728 Art Works applications and will make 1,029 grants ranging from $10,000 to $100,000.

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A total of $1,275,500 will be awarded through 19 grants to various arts-related organizations in Ohio. The Ohio Arts Council (OAC) will receive $965,500 to help support arts initiatives throughout the state. This is the eighth year in a row that the OAC has earned the second-highest partnership agreement grant, securing more NEA funding than larger states including Texas, Florida, New York, Illinois and Pennsylvania.

Included in this announcement is an Art Works award of $10,000 to Dayton Performing Arts Alliance to support the Stained Glass Series of community concerts, performed in local churches by the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra alongside local church choirs. The concerts are part of a series of community outreach efforts called the "Norma Ross Memorial Community Concerts" in honor of the late Mrs. Norma Ross, an advocate for music and minority youth. The goals of this concert series are "to celebrate the human spirit through the universal medium of music and to unite our Dayton community with the uplifting and inspirational sound when classical and gospel music come together under one roof."

The Stained Glass series is free of charge and concludes this season at 4 p.m. today at Tabernacle Missionary Baptist Church, 380 S. Broadway St., Dayton.

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A $15,000 grant went to the Shakespeare Theatre Association based in Oxford. Its executive director, Patrick Flick, was featured in last week's On the Arts column in conjunction with his role as producing executive director of the Richmond Shakespeare Festival in Indiana.

A $30,000 grant went to Community Media Productions Group Inc. in Yellow Springs to support a documentary directed by Julia Reichert and Steven Bognar on the 9 to 5 Movement of women office workers in the 1970s. The film will feature stories of women who gathered in cities such as Boston, Cleveland, Seattle, and New York City to protest gender discrimination in the workplace and played a formative role in the 1970s women's movement.

Incorporating interviews with the movement’s participants, archival footage, and cultural touchstones such as the 1980 film “9 To 5,” the documentary will focus on the movement’s history and its enduring legacy. Upon completion, the film will be screened at community events and will be made available for public broadcast to national audiences.

Wright State prof to be featured in PBS documentary

A camera crew from the Indianapolis PBS affiliate, WFYI, was in town recently to film an interview with Allan Spetter of Oakwood, a retired Wright State University professor of history. A national expert on United States president Benjamin Harrison, Spetter is co-author of the book “The Presidency of Benjamin Harrison.”

Producer Jim Simmons says the station is working on a documentary about the life and contributions of the 23rd president of the United States, who has been considered “Indiana’s President” although he was born in Ohio. “Naturally, as part of a documentary, we were looking for experts to interview — and, oddly enough, no one expert in Indiana had the complete Harrison picture,” Simmons says. ” One knew all about his campaigns and their issues; another about Harrison’s crusades for African-American suffrage and civil rights; another about his colorful legal career with quite a few intriguing cases.”

When they started searching for someone who could give them the total picture of the man, their research led them to Spetter. “Having a national author with Mr. Spetter’s reputation would give our production better creditability and some additional ‘oomph,’ so it seemed like a win-win,” Simmons says. “That became more evident when I called Allan and he came across in our phone interview as a colorful raconteur — which he did, indeed, turn out to be in real life and in the interview.”

Spetter chose Harrison, he explains, as a grad school student studying American Diplomatic History. “I realized very little had been written about that president,” he says. Simmons says Spetter provided expertise mostly in the field of Harrison’s international policies. “But along the way, Allan punctuated our interview with interesting anecdotal material, including some original letters written by Harrison’s second wife, Mary.”

In addition to the three-person film crew, Simmons said Jennifer Capps of the Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site in Indianapolis and the documentary’s research partner came along just to meet Spetter. The documentary, tentatively titled “A President at the Crossroads,” will air in early October in Indianapolis. Simmons is hoping the finished program will receive wider distribution as well.

Spetter said the crew was at his home for about four hours. “The producer was very well prepared, really knew the subject and knew exactly what he wanted to ask,” he says. “He made me feel relaxed. I gave them Flying Pizza for lunch before we got started.”

“Madly,” produced by Dayton native, will screen at The Neon

Dayton native Eric Mahoney, whom you may remember as the director of the documentary “North Dixie Drive,” will be back in town to shoot additional material for a new documentary and to appear at a one-night screening of his film, “Madly.” He grew up in Dayton, was a musician here for many years and now lives in Brooklyn.

The film will be shown at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, July 6 at The Neon in downtown Dayton and will be followed by a Q&A with Mahoney. “Madly” is billed as “six versions of modern love,” It was filmed by six directors at six international destinations and focuses on six visions of modern love.

“Madly” premiered at Tribeca last year and took home a Best Actress award. Proceeds from the upcoming screening will help finance Mahoney’s current project, a documentary on the famed, former Dayton rock band Brainiac. Ticket are $10 each and available at the theater.


Each week arts writer Meredith Moss shares news about the people and events making arts news in our region. If you have information you’d like to have included, contact Meredith: MMoss@coxohio.com

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