The Human Race Theatre Company’s “Stories in Motion”

For the upcoming 2023-2024 season, The Human Race Theatre Company sparks creativity, imagination and invention through a season of “Stories in Motion,” with shows inspired by or adapted from existing tales. Each title has been intentionally selected to challenge and advance theatrical storytelling, our audiences, and our theatre company. This evolution can only be experienced in the theatre because every night is a unique exchange between the playwright’s vision, the performer and audience. This 38th year marks the first season devised by new Artistic Director Emily N. Wells.  

“Theatre has a unique ability to tell stories in a way that sparks an audience’s imagination – as if they are inside the story,” said Wells. “Theatre and storytelling live as dynamic, evolving art forms, just as we evolve as people.” She adds. We are transforming well-known stories and timeless themes into stage productions designed for modern audiences. Connected by a theme of adaptation, this season of Stories in Motion presents contemporary plays and musicals through the artist’s lens.  

The season will launch in September with the world premiere musical This is Tom Jones! by Mark Brown and Paul Mirkovich, and directed by Wells. Not that Tom Jones!  But inspired by the Henry Fielding book, Brown and Mirkovich merge the novel with 1960’s pop sounds of the British Invasion.  Opening in late October, Atlanta playwright Pearl Cleage’s Angry, Raucous, and Shamelessly Gorgeous takes the stage, directed by Cincinnati favorite Torie Wiggins. An aging actor is invited to remount her revolutionary take on August Wilson, but finds herself auditioning her replacement instead. 

December sees the second world premiere in the season, Reindeer Sessions, by Eric Ulloa (26 Pebbles, Kevin Moore Celebration.) Directed by Igor Goldin, Blitzen heads to anger management therapy after an incident with that other famous reindeer. To shake the February doldrums, head out on a rollicking sea adventure with Shipwrecked! An Entertainment: The Amazing Adventures of Louis de Rougemont (as Told by Himself) by Donald Margulies and directed by Greg Hellems. Inspired by a true story, adventurer Louis de Rougemont shares his adventures on the high seas in a series of magazine articles. But can we believe everything he shares? 

In April – and just in time for college acceptance letters – peerless, Jiehae Park’s take on Macbeth, puts us in the cutthroat world of academic admissions where every option is on the table for twins M and L in a witty, pointed and stylized look at competition. Peerless will be directed by Marya Spring Cordes. To wrap up the season in May, The Human Race partners with Dayton Live to bring the national tour of the critically-celebrated Broadway production of The Kite Runner. Adapted by Matthew Spangler from Khaled Hosseini’s bestselling novel, this extraordinary and sensitively told story will shine bright on the Victoria Theatre stage.   

We are so enthusiastic about every show this coming season, we’re making them all available in a 6-Show Subscription Package! Other “Flexible Options” include 3-show packages, and annual Memberships. By popular demand, a Parents Day Out Series is available at no additional charge. Military and student discounts available. Renewals will begin mid-April and new subscriptions are available at any time after that. All tickets are available through Dayton Live Box Office at 937-228-3630 or 


The Human Race Theatre Company  2023-24 Season

This is Tom Jones!

Book, Lyrics & Music by Mark Brown
Music by Paul Mirkovich

Director Emily N. Wells
Music Director Steven Goers
Choreographer Debbie Blunden-Diggs
September 7 – 25, 2023
Loft Theatre 

Henry Fielding’s heart-throbbing masterpiece meets the frenzied, mop-top sounds of the 1960s known as the British Invasion. Aristocrats, wenches and scalawags abound in this bawdy and rollicking romp through the back roads and bedchambers of England. 

Angry, Raucous, and Shamelessly Gorgeous

By Pearl Cleage
Director Torie Wiggins
October 26 – November 13, 2023
Loft Theatre 

After decades of self-imposed exile in Amsterdam, actress Anna Campbell and her manager Betty Sampson receives an invitation to remount their controversial performance piece “Naked Wilson.” Uncertain of her reception, Anna auditions her possible replacement, an ambitious young performer whose experience is limited to the adult entertainment industry. These two women confront their differing world views with humor and grace–and still manage to find common ground.  

Reindeer Sessions

By Eric Ulloa
Director Igor Goldin
December 13 – 23, 2023
Loft Theatre 

After a fight that left history’s most famous reindeer with a broken red nose, Blitzen is forced into a series of Anger Management therapy sessions by Kringle Enterprises. Tasked with finding the cause of this violent outburst, his therapist Dr. Arbor hopes to help him understand what led to this moment and if he can save his job on the reindeer squad.  You won’t look at The North Pole the same way again in this hilarious and unexpected ride! 

Shipwrecked! An Entertainment: The Amazing Adventures of Louis de Rougemont (as Told by Himself)

By Donald Margulies
Director Greg Hellems
February 22 – March 10, 2024
Loft Theatre 

The adventurous Louis de Rougemont invites you to hear his amazing story of bravery, survival and celebrity that left 19th-century England spellbound. Dare to be whisked away in a story of the high seas and all corners of the globe, populated by flying wombats, giant sea turtles and a monstrous man-eating octopus.  Shipwrecked examines how far we’re willing to blur the line between fact and fiction to leave our mark on the world. 


By Jiehae Park
Director Marya Spring Cordes
April 25 – May 12, 2024
Loft Theatre 

Twins M and L have given up everything to get into The College.  So when D gets “their” spot instead, they figure they’ve got only one option: kill him.

A darkly comedic take on Shakespeare’s Macbeth about the ultra-ambitious and the cut-throat world of high school during college admissions. 

The Kite Runner

Adapted by Matthew Spangler
Based on the novel by Khaled Hosseini

May 28 – June 2, 2024
Victoria Theatre –  Co-presented with Dayton Live 

Based on Khaled Hosseini’s beloved, internationally best-selling novel, THE KITE RUNNER is a powerful new play adapted by Matthew Spangler that follows one man’s journey to confront his past and find redemption. Told across two decades and two continents, THE KITE RUNNER is an unforgettable journey of forgiveness, and shows us all that we can be good again.

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.  


Final weekend of BARBECUE

This weekend is your final chance to catch BARBECUE… an acclaimed, hilarious, and devastating comedy by Robert O’Hara. Shows are scheduled for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

Sunday is the Parents’ Day Out Performance


Can’t find a babysitter? Don’t let that keep you from the show! We’re offering a free theatre activity workshop for kids 5-12 in The Human Race Theatre Company rehearsal room during the Sunday, April 30th performance of BARBECUE.

Child drop-off is at 1:30 p.m.

You must have tickets for that afternoon’s 2 p.m. performance of BARBECUE.


Share your favorite Barbecue recipe

There is still time to participate in The Human Race Recipe-for-a-Recipe event.

Relive the Community Barbecue

We had an excellent day at The Inspiration Church. Relive the fun below:

You can still donate to The Human Race via City Barbeque Kettering

Wow! We are so grateful to everyone who ordered a delicious meal and to City Barbeque Kettering for donating 20% back to The Human Race. If you didn’t get a chance to order and would still like to donate to us via their campaign, you can do so below. Thank you!


Who’s 37?

We’re so busy wrapping this incredible run of BARBECUE and prepping for INDIGO that we almost forgot… but The Human Race Theatre turned 37 today! Whuh?!

As Emily always says, “If it weren’t for you, we’d be putting these shows on in a dark, cold theatre” and that wouldn’t be much fun.

You are the secret sauce to our success—thank you for your continued love and support!

Parents’ Day Out to see BARBECUE

This week is your final chance to catch BARBECUE… an acclaimed, hilarious, and devastating comedy by Robert O’Hara.

Can’t find a babysitter? Don’t let that keep you from the show! We’re offering a free theatre activity workshop for kids 5-12 in The Human Race Theatre Company rehearsal room during the Sunday, April 30th performance of BARBECUE.

Child drop-off is at 1:30 p.m.

You must have tickets for that afternoon’s 2 p.m. performance of BARBECUE.


Who’s Holiday! Parents’ Night Out

She’s back!  Cindy Lou Who returns to Dayton for The Human Race Theatre Company’s Who’s Holiday! in an irreverent, hilarious good time, not suitable for the whole family.

Playwright Matthew Lombardo serves up an antidote to the holiday blues with a wildly funny and heartfelt adults-only comedy about grown-up Cindy Lou Who.  She trips along memory lane as she prepares for a holiday party in her trailer just outside of Whoville. Cindy Lou reminisces about that fateful Christmas eve when she first met the Grinch and the twisted turn of events her life has since taken. If you enjoyed Tuna Christmas or The Santaland Diaries in previous seasons, or even if you came to see Cindy Lou last year, join us again in filling the Loft Theatre with laughter from December 8 – 23, 2022.

Special “Parents’ Night Out” performances

Special “Parent’s Night Out” performances are scheduled at 5 PM on December 10, 17, 22 & 23, where kids 5-12 can enjoy a holiday-themed theatre workshop in the 2nd-floor rehearsal room from 4:30 – 6 PM while parents enjoy the show upstairs. The show’s short 60-minute run-time allows families to be home in time for dinner and bedtime!

“As a parent, I know the struggle is real to find childcare, especially the closer it gets to the holidays,” states HRTC Artistic Director Emily N. Wells. “The Human Race proudly partners with Dayton Live to offer these workshops to keep the kids learning and having a lot of fun, while parents and caregivers can kick back and enjoy a raucous time at the theatre.”


Play it Forward this Holiday

As the season of charitable giving continues, The Human Race expands its commitment to The Foodbank, with a barrel for non-perishable food items in the lobby. There is also a “Giving Tree” in partnership with Blue Star Families Dayton, adding a little extra cheer for active and reserve military families in the area.

Returning to the role of Cindy is hilarious Cincinnati native and Wright State graduate, Alex Sunderhaus. Who’s Holiday! is directed by Human Race Theatre Company Resident Artist and Wright State Artistic Director, Joe Deer. The production team returns for Cindy Lou’s festive holiday party, with Stage Manager Rachel Heine; Costume Designer Zoe Still; Scenic Designer Scott J. Kimmins; Lighting Designer John Rensel; Sound Designer Alexander Koker; Prop Master Sarah Gomes.

Special Nights at the theatre:

SAWBUCK Sunday: Sunday, December 11 at 7:00 PM. All tickets at the door are $10.

PARENT’S NIGHT OUT: December 10, 17, 22, and 23 at 5:00 PM. Reserve your child’s spot when making your ticket reservations online.


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

Kevin Moore: At the Heart of The Human Race

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 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