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Human Race Theatre Company to return in 2021 with new premieres

Exterior of the Loft Theatre, home of the Human Race Theatre  Company. CONTRIBUTED
Exterior of the Loft Theatre, home of the Human Race Theatre Company. CONTRIBUTED

Credit: HANDOUT

Credit: HANDOUT

The Human Race Theatre Company’s 34th season of local premieres will launch later than expected in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Performances will resume in February 2021 and continue throughout the calendar year to conclude in November 2021.

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“We are a daring theater company,” said Kappy Kilburn, Human Race Executive Director. “We take risks on stage but we don’t want to do that for our audiences, actors or staff. Although we’re still waiting to hear from the unions, we continue to listen to medical experts including one of our board members and we polled our audience as well. Shifting everything into the calendar year of 2021 is the safest plan right now in order to bring everybody back. Instead of announcing (updates about shows) one by one (as we did last season), we decided to announce everything in one fell swoop. In the meanwhile, I have a feeling we’re all going to be waiting standing on the fencepost waiting for something to change.”

We are a daring theater company. We take risks on stage but we don’t want to do that for our audiences, actors or staff.

- Kappy Kilburn, Human Race Theatre Company Executive Director

In the event COVID-19 lessens by late fall, organizers have embraced the idea of opening the season in December with Matthew Lombardo’s Dr. Seuss-themed comedy “Who’s Holiday.” But for now, a February launch is the target.

“We could possibly return in December with a fun, celebratory show if the universe smiles on us,” Kilburn explained. “But we’re going to take our cues from the government, Mayor (Nan Whaley) and the audience. A significant number of our audience wants to go back. They want to come back very badly but they don’t want to come back right now.”

The Loft Theatre has remained empty since March when the Human Race had to prematurely close its outstanding regional premiere of Emily Mann’s drama “Gloria: A Life” due to the pandemic. Kilburn recognizes the company’s potential to be among the first theatrical organizations to fully reopen but feels confident in the decision that has been made. “(The topic has) come up in a lot of nationwide conversations (Artistic Director) Kevin Moore and I have had particularly in discussions with theaters our size,” she said. “The smaller regional theaters are most likely the first to be back but it gives us the added responsibility to do it right. But if we misstep, we’re going to be part of the problem nationwide. I just don’t feel it’s good or it’s a wise decision for our audience, in our space, to try and jump the gun. It’s going to be a hard six months between now and reopening but it gives us a long-term strategy nonetheless while we’re working on short-term goals. We are very lucky that we have a very unique place in this community and a very loyal audience in this community. We’re coming back but the traditional look of how we come back will be different.”

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Mark your calendars

The Human Race Theatre Company 34th Loft Theatre Season – Dayton Premieres

NOW AND THEN (Sean Grennan)

Feb. 18-March 7, 2021

“Sometimes what happens after last-call just might change your life forever… ‘Now and Then’ is a heartfelt romantic comedy about the costs of the choices we make and the people who make them with us.”

INCIDENT AT OUR LADY OF PERPETUAL HELP (Katie Forgette)

April 15-May 2, 2021

“A money-strapped family tries to cope in 1973. Linda O’Shea, 19, is our narrator and she is attempting to re-enact the most turbulent day of her life, but her family keeps interrupting to tell their side of the story…”

Human Race Theatre Company and Wright State University alum Christian Duhamel's new musical "My 80-Year-Old Boyfriend" will have its local premiere June 10-27, 2021 at the Loft Theatre. CONTRIBUTED
Human Race Theatre Company and Wright State University alum Christian Duhamel's new musical "My 80-Year-Old Boyfriend" will have its local premiere June 10-27, 2021 at the Loft Theatre. CONTRIBUTED

MY 80-YEAR-OLD BOYFRIEND: A NEW TRUE MUSICAL (book and lyrics by Christian Duhamel; music and lyrics by Edward Bell; originally conceived and performed by Charissa Bertels)

June 10-27, 2021

“Charissa, a quirky 20-something actress, meets Milton, a quick-witted, eighty-something millionaire who loves Schubert, Shakespeare and Dallas BBQ.”

EVERYTHING THAT’S BEAUTIFUL (by Elyzabeth Gregory Wilder)

July 22-Aug. 8, 2021

“When Luke and Jess decide to allow their 8-year-old Morgan, who was assigned male at birth, to identify as female, they relocate in order to give the family a clean start…But when an accident threatens to expose the truth about Morgan, tensions run high.”

AIRNESS by Chelsea Marcantel

Oct. 21-Nov. 7, 2021

“When Nina enters her first air guitar competition, she thinks winning will be easy. But as she befriends a group of charismatic nerds all committed to becoming the next champion, she discovers that there’s more to this art form than playing pretend.”

Human Race Extras

WHO’S HOLIDAY by Matthew Lombardo

Dec. 10-27, 2020* (tentative)

“A wildly funny and heartfelt adults-only comedy (telling) the story of Cindy Lou Who as she recalls that Christmas Eve she first met the Grinch and the twisted turn of events her life has now taken.”

The play is Rated R for adult language and sexual innuendo.

*If the Human Race is unable to present it during this holiday season, it will do so in 2021.

THE ART OF US: A DAYTON MOSAIC

Sept. 18 and 19, 2021

This collaborative performance at the Schuster Center highlights the Bach Society of Dayton, Dayton Contemporary Dance Company, Dayton Ballet, Dayton Opera, Dayton Philharmonic, Dayton Gay Men’s Chorus, Muse Machine, and Human Race Theatre Company.

For more information, visit humanracetheatre.org.