This season includes two World Premieres (one play and one musical), a regional premiere, a Tony and Pulitzer Prize-winning play, and the return of a favorite.
On Saturday, May 14, 2022, beloved faces from The Human Race’s past and present came together at The Victoria Theatre to give Kevin Moore the retirement send-off he deserved.
Thank you to everyone – the writers, performers, and most importantly, YOU, the people who support The Human Race Theatre Company – for helping us send Kevin off with an incredible tribute.
More images and links will be added as we collect them.
The Human Race embraces its mission of “exploring the human condition” in its 36th season by presenting themes of family, national security, dementia, creativity, race, and autism.
Honoring its mission by “promoting enlightenment, inclusion and understanding,” the season includes two World Premieres (one play and one musical), a regional premiere, a Tony and Pulitzer Prize winning play, and the return of a favorite. Outgoing Artistic Director Kevin Moore and incoming Artistic Director Emily N. Wells have created a first-rate season that will entertain and challenge theatregoers in southwest Ohio.
“Sometimes you read a play and you know it is just right for our audience,” said Kevin Moore. “Sometimes a play from your ‘bucket-list’ rises to the top and makes for a perfect addition,” offered Emily Wells. “And other times, a golden opportunity just lands in your lap,” added Moore. This year, all of the above happened – making it the perfect storm.
The season launches in September with George Brandt’s powerful story of a female drone pilot who tries to balance hunting terrorists by day and being a wife and mother at night in Grounded. This play will mark The Human Race directing debut of its new Artistic Director, Emily N. Wells. In October, just in time for Halloween, we present the World Premiere comedy/thriller/whodunit by Marcia Kash and Douglas E. Hughes, Deadline. And December marks the return of that outrageous Seuss ingenue, Cindy Lou Who, as she makes your holidays “merry and bright” in Who’s Holiday! by Matthew Lombardo.
In February 2023, The Human Race and Dayton Live co-present, at the Victoria Theatre, the award-winning, Broadway production of A Soldier’s Play by Charles Fuller in its only Ohio engagement on its national tour. Returning to the Loft Theatre in April, the company will present the hilarious and unpredictable comedy Barbecue by Robert O’Hara. The Human Race closes the season in June with the World Premiere musical Indigo by Scott Evan Davis, Jay Kuo and Lorenzo Thione about a non-verbal teen with autism and the family that takes her in. Indigo will be helmed by Broadway director and native Daytonian, Schele Williams.
5-Show Loft Subscription Packages are available. Other “Flexible Options” include 3 and 4 show packages, and annual Memberships. Who’s Holiday! may be added to any package. Renewals are currently underway and new subscriptions are available at anytime.
All tickets are available through Dayton Live Box Office at 937-228-3630 or their website:
The Human Race’s 2022-23 Loft Theatre Season
By George Brant
Directed by Emily N. Wells
September 8 – 25, 2022
Grounded tells the story of a hot-shot F16 fighter pilot whose unexpected pregnancy ends her career in the sky. After maternity leave, she is reassigned as a reluctant operator of remotely piloted aircraft in the Middle East. From an air-conditioned trailer in the desert near Vegas, the Pilot struggles through dreamlike 12-hour shifts hunting terrorists by day and being a wife and mother by night, leading her into a downward spiral. It’s a frightening reflection on war and the controversial wartime use of drones, and demonstrates the psychological effects experienced by a human who has the power of a wrathful deity.
“Grounded was one of the first plays to explore a new form of war…creating a smash that channeled Top Gun.” – Matt Trueman, The Guardian
A World Premiere Comedy Thriller
By Marcia Kash and Douglas E. Hughes
October 27 – November 13, 2022
Playwrights Don and Mara are hired to finish a famous mystery writer’s last play following his mysterious death, shortly before its Broadway opening. The play takes place on a yacht, where an estranged family has been called together for the reading of their mother’s will. As Don and Mara delve deeper into the writing process, they suddenly find themselves literally sucked into the play, trapped in the very world they are trying to complete, where solving the mystery becomes a matter of life and death.
Deadline is a bit of CLUE, and a bit of KNIVES OUT, and a lot of fun!
By Matthew Lombardo
Directed by Joe Deer
December 8 – 23, 2022
She’s Back!!!! That over-indulgent, holiday celebrant “Cindy Lou Who” is back to make your holidays bright! Who’s Holiday! – last season’s smash-hit comedy by Matthew Lombardo – is back with the hilarious and multi-talented Alex Sunderhaus, offering up some old, some new, some borrowed and some “blue” Christmas to kick your holidays into overdrive. First-timers and returnees are all welcome!!!! Cindy Lou does not discriminate. She’ll offend everyone!
A SOLDIER’S PLAY
By Charles Fuller
A Roundabout Theatre national tour, co-presented by The Human Race Theatre Company and Dayton Live at the Victoria Theatre.
February 14 – 19, 2023
A Soldier’s Play, the 1982 Pulitzer Prize-winning thriller by Charles Fuller, has rocketed back into the spotlight, thanks to this 2020 Tony Award®-winning Best Revival from Roundabout Theatre Company.
“This is a play that deserves to be staged regularly all over America—though it’s hard to imagine that it will ever be done better than this. It keeps you guessing all the way to the final curtain” said The Wall Street Journal.
In 1944, on a Louisiana Army base, two shots ring out. A Black sergeant is murdered. And a series of interrogations triggers a gripping barrage of questions about sacrifice, service, and identity in America. Broadway’s Norm Lewis leads a powerhouse cast in the show Variety calls “a knock-your-socks-off-drama,” directed by Tony winner Kenny Leon.
The tour’s stop in Dayton will be its only Ohio appearance.
By Robert O‘Hara
April 13 – 30, 2023
In this hilarious and devastating comedy by Robert O‘Hara, the four O’Mallery siblings have planned a barbecue picnic for their youngest sister, Barbara, but it is more of an intervention to confront her outrageous behavior and reckless drug and alcohol use. We soon learn that the entire family is a mess and each sibling is in need of their own intervention. Lillie Anne calls James “white trash,” maybe because he brought a Taser along just in case Barbara gets out of hand. The scene ends – blackout. When the lights return, so do the four siblings: same park, same situation, same personalities, but they are black instead of white. From that moment the two parallel families alternate, and the barbecue becomes raucous and unpredictable. Racial politics collide with family stereotypes, survival and America’s fascination with self-destruction as entertainment.
“Barbecue manages to roast its raw characters, while at the same time basting the audience in juicy observations about race and class, truth and authenticity, and modern addictions, including to fame.” – Jonathan Mandell, New York Theatre
A World Premiere New Musical
Music & Lyrics by Scott Evan Davis
Book by Jay Kuo, Lorenzo Thione & Scott Evan Davis
Directed by Schele Williams
June 8 – 25, 2023
Emma, a non-verbal teen with autism, finds her life upended when the death of her father leaves her in an uncomprehending world. For Emma, the world is a chaotic place until it shifts to the cool blue shades of Indigo, where she is centered and calm in her inner thoughts and dreams. Emma must learn to connect and form bonds with her new family who face daunting challenges of their own. Indigo is a celebration of the human heart and spirit, a moving call for empathy and compassion in a world that often feels devoid of them.
Indigo will be helmed by Broadway Director and native Daytonian, Schele Williams, and is produced by special arrangement with Sing Out, Louise! Productions.
The Human Race acknowledges its gratitude for the public and private support which makes these productions possible:
Loft Season support:
- The Jack W. and Sally D. Eichelberger Foundation of The Dayton Foundation
Additional Season support:
- Miriam Rosenthal Foundation for the Arts
- Culture Works
- Montgomery County
- Ohio Arts Council
- The Shubert Foundation
- Erma R. Catterton Trust Fund
- The Virginia W. Kettering Foundation
- Anne F. Johnson
- Steve and Lou Mason
- Morris Home
Pay What You CAN Sponsor:
- Enterprise Holdings Foundation
The Human Race’s production of Everything That’s Beautiful received glowing reviews, including this excerpt from David Brush at The League of Cincinnati Theatres:
“… And then there is Everything That’s Beautiful – which may be a perfect example of what a 2020’s family drama looks like – earnest but honest, emotional but grounded – and piercing without ever losing an iota of authenticity. True to form, The Human Race Theatre’s Company’s production of Elyzabeth Gregory Wilder’s exciting work lands in all the right places and speaks to HRTC’s continued effort to challenge audiences and be ever of-the-moment. It is made all the more bittersweet as it represents the final show with retiring Artistic Director Kevin Moore at the helm. And what an exit it is!”
Dayton.com also chimed in with an incredibly positive review: 5 reasons to see ‘Everything That’s Beautiful’ at Loft Theatre
Everything That’s Beautiful ran at The Human Race Theatre from February 17 to March 6, 2022. Learn more about the show, playwright, cast and see performance photos on the performance archive page.
For Immediate Release
The Human Race Theatre Company Board of Trustees, the Artistic Director Search Committee and Executive Director, Kappy Kilburn, are pleased to announce the appointment of Emily N. Wells as The Human Race’s next Artistic Director. The Search Committee, comprised of artists, community leaders, Board members and Human Race staff voted unanimously to appoint Wells after a thorough nationwide search that began last summer.
“On behalf of the Board of Trustees, we are so excited that Emily N. Wells will be leading The Human Race as the next Artistic Director,” said Board Chair Jaresha Moore Smith. “Emily is an extraordinary artist, an advocate for inclusiveness and community engagement, and has a strong vision for The Human Race’s future while embracing the success of the past. We are excited to see the innovation, the artistry, and excellence she will bring to The Human Race both on stage and off.”
Emily N. Wells is an award-winning theatre director, creative producer and educator with over 25 years experience including a significant emphasis on new plays and musicals. Joining Human Race Theatre Company as the new Artistic Director realizes a dream come true for Emily, as the company’s mission echoes her own: to open the doors of art and creativity to all people through stories that reflect our shared humanity.
While a senior producer for Houston Grand Opera, Emily focused on community building through new work development of pieces with significance to the 3rd largest Metro in the US. Her role at HGO encompassed producing a vast scale of works, including the Telly Award-winning Star- cross’d opera web series. Emily will direct the 2023 HGO world premiere of Another City, a new opera that tells the true stories of un-housed Houstonians and those who aid them. She also served as guest director and adjunct faculty at Houston’s prestigious Rice University, and led several fundraising efforts for congenital heart disease.
Prior to living in Houston, Emily’s other directing credits include Gulfshore Playhouse, Circuit Playhouse, Theatreworks/USA among others. She holds an MFA in Directing from the University of Memphis, a BA in Theatre from Washington University in St. Louis, and is an SDC and AEA Member. In her early career, Emily stage managed on and off Broadway, regionally and on national tours – including a week for The Human Race’s production of Green Gables while in development in East Hampton during the summer of 2004.
Wells will join The Human Race staff remotely in January while she finishes some projects. After spending the last 5 ½ years in Houston, she looks forward to enjoying all four changing seasons in Dayton with her husband and daughter. She plans to be full-time by the beginning of March, when she and Kevin Moore, founding member and retiring Artistic Director, will spend time together making a seamless transition into the “next act” while finalizing the 2022-2023 Loft Theatre season.
Emily Wells will be the fourth Artistic Director in the company’s 35 years, following founding Artistic Director Suzy Bassani in 1986, who passed the torch to founding member Marsha Hanna in 1993. After Marsha’s untimely passing in 2011, founding Executive Director Kevin Moore became Artistic Director. Moore will officially leave the company in June, 2022.
The company is working on plans for several community introductions and engagement events with Emily and Kevin. Stay tuned.
The Human Race acknowledges its gratitude for the public and private support which makes these productions possible: Loft Season support: The Jack W. and Sally D. Eichelberger Foundation of The Dayton Foundation; Additional Season support: Miriam Rosenthal Foundation for the Arts; Organizational support: Culture Works, Montgomery County, Ohio Arts Council, The Shubert Foundation, Erma R. Catterton Trust Fund, The Virginia W. Kettering Foundation; Sustainability support: Anne F. Johnson, Steve and Lou Mason and Morris Home.
Free assistive listening devices are available at The Loft box office prior to the performance by exchanging a license or credit card. No advance reservations are required.
Scripts for those with hearing loss are available with two weeks’ notice. Contact Tara Lail for more information.
The Metropolitan Arts Center building and Loft Theatre are wheelchair-accessible.
If you require wheelchair seating, please contact Dayton Live directly at 937-228-3630.
We offer open captioning at one Signed and Audio Described performance of every production on our Loft season, with services provided by Miami Valley Interpreters, LLC and professional audio describers. Patrons who wish to take advantage of this specific performance (second Saturdays) must provide Dayton Live with two weeks’ advance notice prior to the first public performance.
Contact Us if you have additional questions.