Radio drama pays tribute to WHIO

The Human Race Theatre Company’s current production of “It’s A Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play” is based on the popular Christmas film starring Jimmie Stewart.

What’s special about this local version is that director Joe Deer has connected his drama to the rich history of WHIO AM, the type of radio station that might have put on such a broadcast in the 1940s. Deer has incorporated the station into the story and the jingles as well.

The show takes place on Christmas Eve, 1946, when a group of actors and technicians gather for a holiday broadcast “that will end up not just warming hearts, but changing them as well.” The Victoria Theatre is showcasing the art deco radio studios atop the historic Biltmore Hotel, complete with a Dayton skyline in the background and a Christmas tree in the window.

The show runs through Sunday, Dec. 15, with tickets still available. Call (937) 228-3630 or online at

Two new exhibitions open at DAI

Two new exhibits, the annual Max May Memorial Holocaust Exhibition and “Marc Chagall: Jerusalem Window Lithographs,” have opened in the lower level galleries at the Dayton Art Institute.

The Max May exhibition features art from students throughout the Miami Valley and focuses on the Holocaust “as an inspiration for a world that is free of racism, disrespect and intolerance.”

The Marc Chagall exhibition features 12 color lithographs, made by the artist’s master print-maker, Charles Sorlier, in close consultation with Chagall, based on Chagall’s sketches and designs for the Jerusalem Window series he created in 1960.

The windows symbolize the 12 tribes of Israel who were blessed by Jacob and Moses in the verses that conclude Genesis and Deuteronomy. Chagall envisaged the windows as “jewels of translucent fire,” aided in part by a special process his assistant developed for applying color to the glass that allowed Chagall to use as many as three colors on a single pane, rather than using the traditional technique of separating each colored pane by a lead strip.

Admission to the exhibitions is free for museum members and included in museum general admission for non-members. For more information, go to

FutureFest adjudicators make their mark

Here’s nice news from the Fran Pesch of the Dayton Playhouse regarding some of the New York critics who travel to Dayton each summer to participate in FutureFest, the annual weekend of new plays.

“Helen Sneed has a show playing Off Broadway and my daughter and I were in NYC two weeks ago to see shows, including Helen’s,” says Pesch. ” Her play, ‘Fix Me Jesus,’ is playing to sold-out audiences and has received great reviews!”

Pesch also attended a staged reading of a play by adjudicator David Finkle and reports that another member of the FutureFest family, Peter Filichia, will have a new book published in 2014.

It’s great to see nice things happening to the folks who have helped put FutureFest on the map. We’ll keep you posted.

Area arts organization launches new name, website

The Mason-Deerfield Arts Alliance has been renamed The Arts Alliance. This change, according to executive director Meredith Raffel, “more comprehensively describes the expanded geography that is served by the seven-year-old organization.”

Along with a name change, the group has launched a new website, A new logo incorporates the dragonfly which was on the former brand.

“A dragonfly symbolizes strength, growth, vision and change, and this remains the central image for The Arts Alliance,” according to Raffel.

The organization’s signature event also received a new name. Formally known as the Mason Arts Festival, the renamed FallFair Arts Festival was held for the first time on the grounds of the organization’s home base, Cottell Park, in Deerfield Twp., in September.

The Arts Alliance’s 2014 arts programming will also include arts workshops, retreats, classes and summer arts camps.

Downton Abbey costumes come to Wilmington, Delaware

Fans of Downton Abbey may want to consider a visit to the Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library in Wilmington, Delaware.

It’s the only place in the nation to get a new exhibit entitled, “Costumes of Downton Abbey” and will be on display from March 1, 2014 through Jan. 4, 2015.

Forty costumes and accessories worn upstairs and downstairs on the period drama television series will be displayed in Winterthur’s galleries. The costumes are lent by Cosprop, the world’s leading costumier to film, television, and theater.

“The first time I looked at the costumes up close, I was amazed at the incredible detail. They are surprisingly ornate,” says Maggie Lidz, one of the three co-curators of the exhibition. Lidz went to London in July to choose the costumes directly from Cosprop.

The exhibition will be organized chronologically and visitors will move through the times of day, both upstairs and downstairs. Visitors will enter past a working recreation of the bell system of Downton Abbey. Servants’ uniforms and livery are contrasted with elegant tweeds, sumptuous tea gowns, and elaborate evening clothes.

The exhibit compares and contrasts the fictional British world of Downton Abbey with the real-life American counterpart — Winterthur — in the first half of the 20th century. Among the highlights will be Lady Sybil’s harem pants, Lady Mary’s engagement dress, and Lady Edith’s wedding dress. The servants’ call system, H. F. du Pont’s Saville Row evening jacket, and the du Pont family’s 1874 Tiffany silver tea service will also be on exhibit.

Winterthur will host a wide range of lectures, workshops, and events, including programs for adults and families focusing on entertaining and country house life in Britain and the United States.

For information, call (800) 448-3883, (302) 888-4600, or TTY (302) 888-4907, or visit

Family Holiday Film Series at The Neon

The Neon movie theater in downtown Dayton is once again offering a series of holiday movies that are free for kids ages 12 and under. All other tickets are just $2 each.

On Saturday, Dec. 14, the theater will screen “Home Alone,” and will show “White Christmas” on Saturday, Dec. 21.

Each film will only screen one time at noon. Tickets will only be available starting 45 minutes before each show.

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