Boyfriend or serial killer? ‘Women in Jeopardy!’ charms at the Guild

Left to right: Peggy Allen (Jo), Cassandra Engber (Mary) and Heidi A. Porter (Liz) in "Women in Jeopardy!" at Dayton Theatre Guild. CONTRIBUTED/RICK FLYNN
Caption
Left to right: Peggy Allen (Jo), Cassandra Engber (Mary) and Heidi A. Porter (Liz) in "Women in Jeopardy!" at Dayton Theatre Guild. CONTRIBUTED/RICK FLYNN

Credit: RICK FLYNN

Credit: RICK FLYNN

Lasting friendships can unexpectedly rattle when someone new enters the picture.

In Wendy MacLeod’s light, charming, sitcom-esque contemporary comedy “Women in Jeopardy!”, enjoyably produced by the Dayton Theatre Guild, Salt Lake City divorcees Mary and Jo (respectively delightful Cassandra Engber and Peggy Allen) are enormously concerned that their friend Liz (Heidi A. Porter) might be dating a serial killer. Stepping aside to allow Liz to handle her situation herself is simply out of the question for these devoted girlfriends-turned-gumshoes. What begins as a search for answers (is it a matter of questionable taste for a man to give a copy of “The Silence of the Lambs” to his female co-worker?) evolves into a silly romp complete with a goofy love triangle and campground climax (Red Newman’s efficient, revolving set design is an atmospheric asset).

Guided by director Marjorie Strader with an emphasis on cozy relatability, Engber, Allen and Porter create a believably bonded sisterhood. Engber fully commits as the overly anxious, emotional Mary, who has difficulty grasping the fact that she doesn’t control Liz’s life or decisions. Cincinnati-based Allen is refreshingly solid as loyal sidekick Jo. Porter, fun and flirtatious, owns Liz’s saucy sexuality.

In featured roles, Valkyrie Williams firmly embodies Liz’s outspoken teenage daughter Amanda, Jimmy Fritchman amuses as Amanda’s daft boyfriend Trenner who also pines for Mary (he’s a fan of “The Graduate”) and Alex Carmichal rises to creepy, crass and obnoxious perfection as Jackson, Liz’s mysterious lover.

ExploreNighttime forest fun for the whole family

Accented by sound designer K.L. Storer’s cool soundtrack offering the best of Peter Gabriel, Sade and Billie Eilish among others, “Women in Jeopardy!” is a great option for a ladies’ night and is sure to attract new audiences to the Guild.

Performances continue through Oct. 24 at 8 p.m. Friday, 5 p.m. Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday at the Guild, 430 Wayne Ave., Dayton. Tickets are $14-$21 and can be purchased by calling 937-278-5993 or visiting daytontheatreguild.org. Patrons are advised that masks must be worn inside the building at all times.

UD Theatre opens season with gay-themed drama ‘Laced’

University of Dayton’s Theatre, Dance and Performance Technology Program opens its 2021-2022 season with Sam Mueller’s gay-themed drama “Laced” Oct. 20-23.

The play concerns three 20-something bartenders who gather to grieve, rage and reflect the night after a gay bar outside of Tampa, Florida is vandalized. “In a time of renewed culture wars against queer youth, this play centers the voices of those intersectional identities we should be listening to now,” according to UD’s description of the play.

“Laced,” which was featured on the 2020 Kilroys List and was a finalist for the 2019 National Playwrights Conference at the O’Neill Theater Center, will be performed in the Black Box Theatre of Fitz Hall (1529 Brown Street) and will be live-streamed as well. All performances begin at 8 p.m. Tickets are $8 for UD students, faculty and staff and $12 for general admission. For more information, call the UD box office at 937-229-2545 or visit udaytontickets.com.

UD ArtsLIVE presents jazz artist Joel Ross

The University of Dayton’s ArtsLIVE Series continues with young vibraphone player Joel Ross and his ensemble Good Vibes on Thursday, Oct. 21 at 7:30 p.m.

Described as “the breakout jazz star of the moment” by NPR, Ross is known for his cool, confident style and an ability to create music “full of luminous energy.” As a Blue Note artist, he’s also a familiar presence on the DownBeat Critics Poll for his work in pulling from broad aspects of Black music such as jazz, hip hop, church and Chicago improvised music.

The performance will be held in the Sears Recital Hall, 300 College Park. Tickets are $5 for youth, $10 for UD employees and retirees, $15 for seniors and $18 for general admission. For more information, call the UD box office at 937-229-2545 or visit udaytontickets.com.

ExploreFacial studio opening soon in Oregon District

La Comedia announces 2022 season

La Comedia Dinner Theatre’s 2022 season will consist of Stephen Schwartz and John-Michael Tebelak’s “Godspell” (Jan. 13-Feb. 13, 2022), Maury Yeston and Arthur Kopit’s “Phantom” (Feb. 17-Apr. 3, 2022), Meredith Willson’s “The Music Man” (Apr. 7-May 22, 2022), Alan Menken, Howard Ashman, Tim Rice and Linda Woolverton’s Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” (June 2-July 24, 2022), Arthur Laurents, Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim’s “West Side Story” (July 28-Sept. 11, 2022), James Quinn, Alaric Jans and John R. Powers’ “Do Black Patent Leather Shoes Really Reflect Up?” (Sept. 15-Oct. 30, 2022) and Irving Berlin’s “White Christmas” (Nov. 3-Dec. 31, 2022).

In related news, La Comedia’s current production of “Footloose” continues through Oct. 31. The feel-good musical based on the 1984 film about teen rebel Ren McCormack features such hit tunes as “Almost Paradise,” “Let’s Hear It for The Boy,” “Holding Out for a Hero” and the title song. Performances are Thursdays through Sundays. Tickets are $65-$76 and $35 for kids 11 and under. For tickets or more information, call 1-800-677-9505 or 937-746-4554 or visit lacomedia.com. La Comedia is located at 765 W. Central Ave., Springboro.

Contact this contributing writer at rflorence2@gmail.com.

About the Author

ajc.com