Sex with Strangers

Sponsored by

  • Barbara N. O’Hara
  • Dr. Robert L. Brandt, Jr., M.D.
  • Rob and Leesa Comparin
  • John and Tamara Clough

Sex with Strangers

by Laura Eason
directed by Greg Hellems

February 1 – 18, 2018

Failed novelist Olivia meets Ethan, a celebrated (and much younger) writer made famous by his sexcapade tell-all blog, at a snowbound bed and breakfast, and their mutual attraction quickly gets hot and heavy. As a weekend tryst develops into a long-term romance, their personal and professional lives collide. Ethan seeks legitimacy, dismissing his bad boy reputation as nothing more than an invented character. Olivia has her doubts, but craves for the literary fame Ethan can offer her. Ambition, identity and trust are in play when online personas clash with real world expectations in this smart, steamy take on modern love.

“A sexy romantic comedy strictly for grown-upsa bodice ripper with a brain.”
–The Washington Post

Please note this production contains partial nudity and strong language.

On sale now

Sponsored by

  • Barbara N. O’Hara
  • Dr. Robert L. Brandt, Jr., M.D.
  • Rob and Leesa Comparin
  • John and Tamara Clough

Performance Schedule

  • Sun
  • Mon
  • Tue
  • Wed
  • Thu
  • Fri
  • Sat
  • Sun Feb 18
  • MonFeb 19
  • MonFeb 20
  • MonFeb 21
  • MonFeb 22
  • MonFeb 23
  • MonFeb 24

Special Performance Legend

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Thursday night Preview Performance

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Inside Track pre-show discussion, begins in the Loft lobby at 7:15 pm

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Opening Night with post-show cast party in the Loft lobby

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Sawbuck Sunday, all available seats just $10 at the door starting 2 hours prior to performance

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Lite Fare food and drink available for sale in the Loft lobby starting at 5:30 pm

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Audio Described / Sign Interpreted performance (available with two weeks notice)

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Talk Back: “While We’re on the Subject” post-show discussion (following the matinee performance)

Creative Team

Laura Eason • Playwright

Laura Eason • Playwright

Laura Eason is the author of 20 plays, original work and adaptation, a musical-book writer and screenwriter. Selected productions include Sex With Strangers (Second Stage, NYC; Signature Theatre, DC; Steppenwolf Theatre, Chicago; Sydney Theatre, AU; published by Overlook Press); The Undeniable Sound of Right Now (Rattlestick Theatre and Women’s Project Theatre, NYC; Rising Phoenix Rep, NYC); The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (Hartford Stage, CT; New Victory, NYC; People’s Light, PA; Actor’s Theatre, KY; KC Rep; St. Louis Rep; Denver Center, published by DPS), and Around the World in 80 Days (New Vic and Royal Exchange, UK; Lookingglass Theatre; Baltimore Centerstage; published by Broadway Play Publishing). She wrote the book for the musicals Days Like Today, music and lyrics by Alan Schmuckler (Writers Theatre, Chicago) and Summerland, music by Jenny Giering, lyrics by Sean Barry (Chicago Shakespeare Theatre commission). Additional plays include The Vast In-Between (Denver Center commission, also developed by the Vineyard, NYC), Remarkable Invisible (Ambassador Theatre Group commission), Every Reason to Hope and Believe (Repertory of St. Louis commission), 40 Days (NEA grant, developed by New York Theatre Workshop and Lookingglass Theatre Company), Plainfield Ace (developed by Two River Theatre, NJ and Atlantic Theatre Company, NYC) and an adaptation of Hans Brinker and the Silver Skates (Arden Theatre commission), among others. As a screenwriter, Laura wrote on seasons two and three of the Emmy-winning Netflix show House of Cards. She is an Ensemble Member and former Artistic Director of Chicago’s Lookingglass Theatre (2011 Regional Tony Award). In New York, she is a member of Rising Phoenix Rep, New Georges and a Women’s Project Playwright’s Lab alumna. More information available at lauraeason.com or @LeasonNYC on twitter.

Greg Hellems • Director

Greg Hellems • Director

Previous directing/choreography credits for HRTC include: The Glass Menagerie, Band Geeks! and Best of Broadway with The Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra. Also with DPO, the stage direction of Leonard Bernstein’s Mass. Directing and/or choreography credits include: Assistant Director (Director, Tina Landau) for Ricky Ian Gordon’s Sycamore Trees at Signature Theatre in Washington, DC, Mountain Playhouse, Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati, Downtown Theatre Classics, and Cincinnati Hot Summer Nights. Various projects for: Kings Entertainment Company, Paramount Entertainment, American Entertainment Company, and Cedar Fair Corporation; all as a writer and director/choreographer of live entertainment for national and international Theme Parks, Cruise Lines, Industrial clients, and USO Tours. Currently a professor at Wright State University, Department of Theatre, Dance and Motion Pictures, where he is the Head of Musical Theatre. Recent productions at Wright State, both directing and/or choreography include: 9 to 5, Miss Mayor (premiere), Hot Mikado, Oklahoma!, Funny Girl, Death of a Salesman with Scott Stoney, and Anything Goes, among many others. Greg is also returning to Interlochen Arts Camp and Arts Festival as faculty and Director of the High School Musical Production. He received his Master of Fine Arts degree in Directing from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, and trained with Anne Bogart at the Saratoga International Theatre Institute. Thanks and gratitude to Bill Bridges, the entire Human Race organization, and Alicia Rodis.

Eric Moore • Scenic Designer

Eric graduated from Wright State University’s Department of Theatre, Dance, and Motion Pictures with a degree in Design/Technology focused on Scenic Design and Scene Painting. Professional credits include Scenic Design for The Human Race’s Hail Mary!, Steel Magnolias and Miracle on South Division Street as well as Footloose, The Wizard of Oz, and The Music Man with the Springfield Arts Council’s Summer Arts Festival. He is currently the Head Carpenter and Charge Artist for HRTC. Educational experience includes Rent and Picnic with Wright State University.

Stormie Mac • Costume Designer

Stormie is delighted to be joining The Human Race Theatre Company for the production of Sex With Strangers. Stormie is a Cincinnati-based Costume Designer and Technician with a passion for revealing a story through costume. She received a MFA in Costume Design from Florida State University and a BFA in Theatrical Design and Production from The University of Mississippi. Her most recent costume design credits include: the regional premiere of Bloomsday with Ensemble Theatre of Cincinnati; The Diary of Anne Frank, Death of a Salesman, and the regional premiere of Jon Jory’s Emma with the Cincinnati Shakespeare Company. Stormie would like to thank her wonderful husband, Joey, for his endless kindness, love, and support.

John Rensel+ • Lighting Designer

John Rensel+ • Lighting Designer

John is the long-term Resident Lighting Designer for The Human Race Theatre Company, Muse Machine, the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra Pops series and Dayton Opera Association. He also serves as the long-time Technical Director for the Fraze Pavilion and has provided technical advance production coordination, lighting designs, automation programming and performance operation services for many artists and productions that have visited that venue. John also has a diverse dance lighting background, having provided lighting designs and technical production services for many years to The Dayton Ballet and Dayton Contemporary Dance Co. John’s national credits included a lighting design package for a National Touring Production of the Elton John/Tim Rice collaboration Aida. Some of his most recent local credits include all the designs for the 2015-16 Human Race Theatre Company’s season at The Loft Theatre; Muse Machine’s productions at the Victoria Theatre and the Dayton Opera Association’s 2015-16 season at the Schuster Center. John freely admits that he often loses his copies of the shows’ scripts.

Jay Brunner+ • Sound Designer

Jay Brunner+ • Sound Designer

Jay is a HRTC veteran and Resident Artist. Sound Design/Original Composition credits: Sweeney Todd; Master Class; The Glass Menagerie; The Santaland Diaries; The Full Monty; Taking Shakespeare; Crowns and others. Music Director/Musician credits: Fiddler on the Roof; Mame; Play It by Heart; Next to Normal; Avenue Q; and Red-Blooded, All-American Man as Sound Designer/Conductor/Co-Music Director/Guitarist/Arranger (take your pick). Jay has designed sound/incidental music for countless voiceovers, regional commercials, radio spots, training videos, collegiate theatre projects, marching bands, clubs, and organizations, as well as conjuring sound at many venues throughout the region. He owns/runs a professional recording studio (Ardmore Underground) with his wife, fellow HRTC Resident Artist Christine Brunner.

Lexi Muller* • Production Stage Manager

Lexi is ecstatic to be returning to the Loft Theatre, where her previous productions include The House, Legendale, Family Ties, On Golden Pond, 26 Pebbles, The Santaland Diaries, Hail Mary!, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, One Slight Hitch and The Glass Menagerie. Other regional credits include Dayton Philharmonic’s Best of Broadway II concert at the Schuster Center. She is a proud member of Actors’ Equity Association and also a recent graduate of Wright State University, where she received her BFA in Stage Management.

Cast

Jennifer Johansen* • Olivia

Jennifer Johansen* • Olivia

This production marks Jen’s lucky seventh with The HRTC where she was last seen with fellow co-star, Ben, in Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike. She’s felt lucky already that in two of those seven productions she appeared with her talented husband, Rob: A Christmas Carol and God of Carnage. They make their home in Indianapolis, where she has appeared in numerous productions at the Indiana Repertory Theatre and the Phoenix Theatre, and has also has been seen at Chicago Shakespeare Theater, The Geva Theatre Center and Ensemble Theater Cincinnati. Deep gratitude to Tara and Kevin and to Rob and my folks. Cheers to our team and thank YOU for supporting live theatre! Proud member of Actors’ Equity.

Ben Palacios* • Ethan

Ben Palacios* • Ethan

Ben is thrilled to return to HRTC in Sex with Strangers, three years after playing Jen Johansen’s boy toy in Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike. Ben recently completed over 400 performances as Prince Hans in Disney’s Frozen Live, helmed by Tony-nominated director Liesl Tommy. He also toured nationally with the Fifty Shades of Grey parody, Spank!, where he starred as America’s favorite BDSM billionaire. TV credits include Martha & Snoop’s Potluck Dinner Party and Tosh.0. Fun fact: Ben is Enrique Iglesias’ hand double. With love to Mom, Dad, Mariana and Tini. Instagram: @benpalacios_

*Member of Actors’ Equity Association, the union of professional actors and stage managers in the United States.
+Resident Artist of The Human Race Theatre Company.