The Human Race Theatre Company’s 39th Season “Re/action”

For the  The Human Race Theatre Company’s 39th year, we delve into “What makes us better humans?” exploring how faith, community, service, and inner compass influence the choices we make.

This inquiry ties back to our core mission: to startle us into a renewed awareness of ourselves. Our founders—Suzy Bassani, Caryl Philips, and Sara Exley—envisioned our theatre as a platform to express humanity’s vast emotions and experiences. “Our actions and reactions to our circumstances and the world around us transform us,” notes Emily N. Wells, Artistic Director.  “We invite you to join us for our 39th season, promising a captivating blend of love, hope, fear, beliefs, and joys that reflect the present moment.” With pleasure and anticipation, we now share the 39th year of The Human Race Theatre Company: Re/action  

The 2024 – 25 Season features five productions, combining fresh and favorite works, all showcased in the unique style of The Human Race Theatre Company.

The 5-production season launches in October with Kate Hamill’s quirky take on the canon of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in the murder-mystery comedy Ms. Holmes & Ms. Watson – Apt. 2B.

 In December, a world premiere comedy continues The Human Race tradition of alternative winter offerings with A Frosty Night. Imagined by playwright Mark Brown (This is Tom Jones!, Around The World in 80 Days), this what-if scenario pits Frosty the Snowman’s frustrated and heartbroken wife Sharon against Mrs. Claus.

Join us in February for A Distinct Society by Kareem Fahmy, recently nominated for seven San Francisco Critic’s Circle awards. In the tranquil hush of a library that straddles the U.S. – Canada border, unexpected relationships write the most compelling stories.

As spring returns, so does the legend of Camelot. In this tightly crafted adaptation of Lerner and Lowe’s beloved classic adapted by David Lee, wrap yourself in timeless romance, heroic dreams, and the soaring melodies that stir the soul.

Rounding out the season, raise a glass with your high school crowd at The Comeuppance. A New York Times Critic Pick for 2023 penned by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, this contemporary dark comedy delves into the heart of friendships that outlast life’s twists and turns.

We look forward to sharing these stories with you throughout the upcoming year. Subscriptions come many sizes and suited to any budget, and offer the best value with the most flexibility including our new Generation HRTC rate for ages 20-40! Can’t commit? Choose our membership program instead. By popular demand, a Parents Day Out Series is available at no additional charge. Military and student discounts available. Renewals will begin at the end of April and new subscriptions are available at any time. All tickets are available through Dayton Live Box Office at 937-228-3630.

The Human Race Theatre Company 2024-25 Season

Ms. Holmes & Ms. Watson – Apt 2B

By Kate Hamill

Cheerfully Desecrating the Stories of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Director Heather Wilson-Bowlby
OCTOBER 9 – 20, 2024
Regional Premiere

This fast-paced romp re-examines the world’s most famous detective story with a bold new feminist lens. In this highly theatrical escapade, oddball female roommates Sherlock (yes, it’s also a girl’s name—wait, is it a girl’s name? Is it even a name?) Holmes & Joan Watson join forces. They emerge from the pandemic fog as a deeply codependent, quasi-dysfunctional Odd Couple adventure duo—solving mysteries and kicking butts, until they come face-to-face with a villain who seems to have all of the answers.

A Frosty Night

By Mark Brown

Director Emily N. Wells
DECEMBER 11 – 22, 2024
World Premiere

Sharon Frosty, Frosty the Snowman’s wife, knows that he’s up to no good and follows his trail to the North Pole. Will she catch him in the act?

Laugh ‘til you’re blue with this adults-only comedy.

A Distinct Society

By Kareem Fahmy

Director Brant Russell
February 5 – 16, 2025

In the tranquil hush of a library that straddles the U.S. – Canada border, life is about to change. When an Iranian father and daughter, separated by the international border, start using the library as a meeting place, the French-Canadian librarian, an American customs agent, and a local teenager find their quiet lives suddenly full of excitement and consequence. Inspired by true events, A Distinct Society is a touching and funny new play about the many things – family, food, art, love, and politics – that can either divide or unite us.


Book & Lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner
Music by Frederick Loewe
Book Adapted by David Lee

New Orchestrations by Steve Orich
Director Emily N. Wells
Music Director Ian Axness
MARCH 26 – APRIL 6, 2025

Embark on a majestic journey to a realm where honor, dignity, and morality pave the way for a new era under the youthful King Arthur’s reign.  This tightly focused adaptation of the classic musical Camelot breathes new life into the legendary love triangle with the same musical favorites “If Ever I Would Leave You,” “The Lusty Month of May,” “I Loved You Once In Silence,” and “Camelot.” Witness as this beloved musical is reborn, offering a spellbinding experience that celebrates love, leadership, and the quest for an ideal world.

The Comeuppance

By Branden Jacobs-Jenkins

Director Latrelle Bright
MAY 28 – JUNE 8, 2025
Regional Premiere

As the sun sets on the eve of their twentieth high school reunion, a close-knit group of former classmates—once known as the “Multi-Ethnic Reject Group”—reunites to pre-game the monumental night. Bonded in their youth as outsiders, they now navigate the complexities of adulthood with humor, heart, and a hint of nostalgia. Brilliantly witty, theatrical, and moving, The Comeuppance focuses on millennials reckoning with the world they will soon inherit. This play is a toast to the ties that bind us, the past that shapes us, and the future we step into together.

The Human Race expresses gratitude for the public and private support which makes our productions possible: The Loft Season Sponsors: Jack W. and Sally D. Eichelberger Foundation; Sustainability sponsors:  Anne F. Johnson, Steve and Lou Mason, ELM Foundation, and Morris Furniture Company;  Additional Season support:  Miriam Rosenthal Foundation for the Arts, Erma R. Catterton Trust, The Shubert Foundation;  Organizational support:  Culture Works, Montgomery County, Ohio Arts Council, National Endowment for the Arts, Dayton Region Arts Renewal Grant. Media Sponsor: WDPR Discover Classical. Pay What You Can Sponsor: Enterprise Holdings Foundation.  


Join us for our 2024-25 Season Announcement

We are thrilled to extend a special invitation for The Human Race Theatre Company’s season announcement event! This exclusive gathering will unveil the theme of our highly anticipated 39th season, and a first look at the captivating productions that will grace our stage.

Date: Monday, April 15, 2024
Time: 5:30 pm
Location: The Loft Theatre, 126 N Main St, Dayton, OH 45402

Join us for a memorable night where the arts community comes together to celebrate the power of theater and the stories that move us.

Please RSVP:

Seats are limited, so kindly RSVP via the button below by Monday, April 8 to secure your spot.


We can’t wait to share this exciting journey with you and look forward to welcoming you to what promises to be an unforgettable season!

Introducing EXIT STAGE LEFT Pilsner

Available starting December 2 at Branch & Bone Artisan Ales and performances of Who’s Holiday!

We are kindred organizations
inspired by the passion and spirit of the city that we call home.

Fiercely independent,
committed to service,
committed to creating great art.

And hell yes, when it’s done right, beer IS art.

Introducing EXIT STAGE LEFT Pilsner – ironically, a drama-free collaboration between Branch & Bone Artisan Ales and The Human Race Theatre Company.

Join us for Draft and Can Release Event

The Human Race boldly marches into its next 35 years with a groundbreaking 22-23 Loft Season

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!


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

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
  • Morris Home

Pay What You CAN Sponsor:

  • Enterprise Holdings Foundation

Welcome to the Next Act

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.


Kappy Kilburn, Executive Director
Or Kevin Moore, Artistic Director