2021 marks 35 seasons of The Human Race Theatre Company bringing live professional theatre to Dayton and southwestern Ohio, serving a population numbering nearly one million.
Our Loft Season provides audiences with award-winning, cutting edge dramas, American classics and regional and world premieres. Our New Works series expands the repertoire of enthusiastic audiences with brand new or seldom performed material. And our education and community engagement programs touch thousands and address the cultural needs of challenged individuals throughout the Miami Valley.
After humble beginnings, when productions were mounted in whatever space was available to accommodate our budding troupe of artists and actors with their small audiences, we now enjoy a national reputation for excellence in theatre. From our home in the Metropolitan Arts Center in downtown Dayton, The Human Race Theatre Company provides ever-increasing audiences with a myriad of entertaining and enlightening performances. Most works are now presented in the intimate setting of our own Loft Theatre, while occasionally we are able to utilize the larger and more elaborate venues like the historic Victoria Theatre and the Schuster Center.
We have earned our place as a vital part of Dayton’s cultural community by offering an alternative to mainstream theatre with thought provoking productions that challenge and enlighten audiences. As Dayton’s professional, not-for-profit regional theatre, it is a mission we take very seriously as we address the educational and cultural needs of those we serve.
The Human Race Theatre Company is a proud member of:
The Cast of 26 Pebbles, 2017
26 Pebbles is named “Best New Play of the Decade” by BroadwayWorld.com
The Cast of Gloria: A Life, 2020
The Human Race named “Best Local Theatre Group” by Dayton.com
March 12, 2020, a worldwide pandemic forces closure of the Loft Theatre during the successful run of Gloria: A Life.
During our closure, The Human Race produces three virtual projects: a virtual reading of a new play by local playwright Robb Willoughby, a virtual reading of a play by resident playwright Michael Slade, and a broadcast of our world premiere production of 26 Pebbles by Eric Ulloa.
The Cast of LIZZIE, 2019
We launched our 33rd season – celebrating the 100th Anniversary of the 19th Amendment: Women of Influence: Their Power, Passion & Pitfalls.
Our musical production of LIZZIE rocked the Loft Theatre in June, and was named “Best Professional Musical of the Season” by Dayton Most Metro.
In December. The Human Race workshopped a new play by Elizabeth von Trapp and Michael Slade called My Von Trapp Dream.
Katherine "Kappy" Kilburn
Tapping into local baseball history, we produced the world premiere of Banned From Baseball by Patricia O’Hara, about legendary “Hit King,” Pete Rose.
In October, The Human Race Theatre Company added an Executive Director, Katherine “Kappy” Kilburn, to the team.
The Case of Legendale, 2017
Produced world premiere productions of 26 Pebbles by Eric Ulloa, and Family Ties by Daniel Goldstein; produced the American premiere of the new musical Legendale by Andrea Daly and Jeff Bienstock.
Scott Stoney in Sweeney Todd, 1996
On April 28, we celebrated our 30th birthday.
The Cast of Family Shots, 2015
Michael Slade’s drama, Family Shots, had its world premiere with stars Corbin Bleu and Colleen Zenk.
The Cast of Play it by Heart, 2014
After workshopping the script for a number of years, The Human Race premiered the country musical Play It by Heart.
The Cast of Gingerbread Children in a workshop, 2013
We presented a stage-reading of Gingerbread Children by Michael Slade, the first of the newly formed Marsha Hanna New Play Workshops. Avenue Q set a new box office sales record in the Loft Theatre, only to have that record shattered in the fall by Fiddler on the Roof. The Human Race collaborated with Victoria Theatre Association in creating the Broadway Studio, a unique theatre summer camp for teens.
Tory Ross in Tenderly: The Rosemary Clooney Musical, 2012
The 25th Anniversary Campaign was renamed The Jesse and Caryl Philips Foundation Fund for the Development of New Works which included the newly formed Marsha Hanna Memorial Fund. We produced the world premiere of Tenderly: The Rosemary Clooney Musical for Victoria Theatre Association’s Broadway Series and co-produced the world premiere of the thriller Under a Red Moon by Michael Slade with the Carnegie Visual and Performing Arts Center in Covington, Kentucky.
Marsha Hanna and Kevin Moore
The Human Race lost its Artistic Director, Marsha Hanna, in January after a lengthy battle with cancer. Executive Director Kevin Moore was named Producing Artistic Director and Company Manager Tara Lail was named Managing Director. 2011 marked the opening of our 25th Anniversary Season and the launching of the 25th Anniversary Campaign for the Development of New Works.
The Cast of August: Osage County, 2010
The Human Race again collaborated with Wright State University to produce August: Osage County which was presented at WSU’s Festival Theatre. Resident Lighting Designer John Rensel was inducted into the Dayton Theatre Hall of Fame. Artistic Director Marsha Hanna and Executive Director Kevin Moore received the 2010 Ohio Governor’s Award for Arts Administration.
Danielle Lee Greaves as Ethel Waters in His Eye is on the Sparrow, 2009
The Human Race again joined forces with Rhythm in Shoes to produce Brother Wolf, a traditional Appalachian retelling of the Beowulf myth. The scheduled production of Gem of the Ocean was postponed and replaced by the new musical Ethel Waters: His Eye Is on the Sparrow. The Miriam Rosenthal Foundation has underwritten our Musical Theatre initiative by supporting two summers of Lovewell and Musical Theatre Workshops as well as the revival of Man of LaMancha and the premiere of Ordinary Days.
Lovewell SummerStock at The Loft Theatre
We completed our partnership with the Victoria Theatre Association and rejoined the two subscription series into the single Eichelberger Loft Season. The Musical Theatre Workshop held its first summer festival, performing two new shows in repertory along with performances by the new Lovewell Institute SummerStock where teens write, rehearse and perform their own original musical.
The Cast of Snapshots, 2007
On April 28, we marked the 21st birthday of the company, a coming of age celebrated by “The Mirror Ball”, the company’s signature fundraising event. We began our third decade by premiering Stephen Schwartz’s Snapshots and instituted a scholarship fund in Mr. Schwartz’s name for high school and collegiate students pursuing a career in musical theatre.
We began our 20th anniversary season. Kevin Moore was named to the board of the National Alliance for Musical Theatre. Resident Artist Kay Bosse was inducted into the Dayton Theatre Hall of Fame.
Caryl D. Philips Creativity Center
The “Race to the Future” capital campaign was launched to raise funds for renovation and programming of the new Caryl D. Philips Creativity Center of The Human Race, a facility to house both the additional classes and the company’s collection of costumes and props.
The Human Race “Join the Race” 5K Run/Walk was introduced as a friend raiser. In the inaugural year of The DayTony Awards, The Human Race received 34 of 39 Awards in the Professional Theatre category. Resident Artist Scott Stoney was inducted into the Dayton Theatre Hall of Fame.
Kevin Moore and Marsha Hanna
We commissioned and produced the world premiere of Wild Blue for the Inventing Flight celebration. Executive Director Kevin Moore and Artistic Director Marsha Hanna were both inducted into the Dayton Theatre Hall of Fame.
The Cast of West Side Story, 2001
West Side Story combined our talents with the Dayton Philharmonic, Dayton Ballet, Victoria Theatre and Wright State University for an epic collaboration with record-breaking ticket sales.
The Cast of Minneola Twins, 2000
We launched our Musical Theatre Workshops, dedicated to the development of new musical works for the stage (33 new musicals to date and 2 national summits for musical writers).
Deb Sargent Shaver in Mother Russia, 1999
We commissioned and produced the world premiere of Mother Russia by Jeffrey Hatcher and moved the show to Indianapolis and Chicago. This represented our 4th collaboration with The Phoenix Theatre of Indianapolis.
Cast of Zombies from The Beyond, 1997
We began our partnership with the Victoria Theatre Association. By splitting our subscription series into Loft Series 1 and Loft Series 2 and mixing locally produced theatre with innovative touring productions, we increased our subscription base by 100%. This partnership between a producer and a presenter was unique to the industry, setting a precedent in other cities.
The Cast of And That's My Story, 1996
We premiered And That’s My Story as the completion of the Dayton Stories project, a 3-year collaboration with CityFolk in honor of the Dayton’s 200th anniversary. With an original script by Tony Dallas and directed by Sheila Ramsey, it featured the talents of Resident Artists Michael Lippert, Kay Bosse, and Scott Stoney as well as Sharon Leahy, Rick Good and other members of Rhythm in Shoes.
The Human Race becomes a Culture Works, Level I constituent
The Human Race was accepted into Culture Works as a Level I constituent, establishing the company as an on-going recipient of community funds and insuring that a theatre production company would be a part of Dayton’s future cultural scene.
The Human Race aligns with Actors' Equity
Negotiations were completed with Actors’ Equity, the union for professional actors and stage managers. We began our practice of combining our regional professional artists with visiting artists from Chicago, New York and other metropolitan areas.
The Loft Theatre in the Metropolitan Arts Center
Suzy retired from The Human Race to focus on the Muse Machine and Marsha Hanna was named as her successor. In June, we moved to our current home, the Loft Theatre in the Metropolitan Arts Center.
The Victoria Theatre
We produced and performed Viva Victoria to re-open the newly refurbished Victoria Theatre in January.
The Cast of Baby, 1988
We moved into the renovated lobby of the old Biltmore Hotel, where we performed 19 major productions in four seasons.
Scott Stoney & Cherri Varnadoe in Count Dracula, 1986
Suzy Bassani, Caryl D. Philips and Sara Exley joined forces to form Dayton’s own permanent professional theatre production company, incorporating it as The Human Race on April 28. The first production, Count Dracula, was performed at the old Victory Theatre in September. Kevin Moore became the first Executive Director.