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By Chelsea Marcantel

An exuberant reminder that everything we need to rock is already inside us.

When Nina enters her first air guitar competition, she thinks winning will be easy. But as she befriends a group of charismatic nerds all committed to becoming the next champion, she discovers that there’s more to this art form than playing pretend; it’s about finding yourself in your favorite songs, and performing with raw joy. Will Nina be able to let go and set herself free onstage? Following her mission to shred or be shredded, Airness is an exuberant reminder that everything we need to rock is already inside us. A comedy about competition, completion, and finding the airness inside yourself.


  • Tickets

    $17 - $53

  • Runtime

    105 minutes/No Intermission

  • Rating


The Human Race Theatre Company

Executive DirectorKappy Kilburn

Artistic DirectorKevin Moore


Chelsea Marcantel

Directed by Jamie Cordes ^

Scenic Design Dick Block

Lighting Design John Rensel ^

Costume Design Janet G. Powell

Sound Design Jay Brunner ^

Production Stage Manager Jacquelyn Duncan *

Produced by Kevin Moore & Tara Lail

Produced by special arrangement with Broadway Licensing. (www.broadwaylicensing.com)

Air Guitar Consultants:  Cleveland Air Guitar – Lloyd “Stonehenge” Weema, AirLeigh Legal, and Jerrod Dewey


Time: The Present

Place: Various bars and competition locations.


Reanne Acasio *

Astrid "CANNIBAL QUEEN" Anderson

REANNE ACASIO is an actor/singer/voiceover artist making her HRTC debut. Regional: world premieres of Alabaster (Salt Lake Acting Company) and Clint Black’s Looking for Christmas, Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas (Old Globe), Hello, Dolly!, Disaster! (Weathervane Theatre), The Wheel Woman (Orlando Shakes), Allegory (La Jolla Playhouse), Little Women (The Barn Stage Company), Sister Act (San Diego Musical Theatre), Heathers: The Musical (OnStage Playhouse), and Annie (Encore Theatre Company). Education: BS Psychology, University of California San Diego. @reanneacasio

Andrew Ian Adams •

Gabe "GOLDEN THUNDER" Partidge

ANDREW IAN ADAMS is grateful for the opportunity to rock with the magic of Airness. Past Human Race Theatre credits include Avenue Q (Bad Idea Bear), and staged readings of Gingerbread Children (Hanzel) and Sweat (Oscar). His past regional credits also include Neverwhere (Old Bailey), Puffs (Cedric/Mr Voldy), Mercury (Brian), and The Fisherman’s Wife (Octopus). He has also appeared in print and commercial ads for national brands such as Tidy Cats, McDonalds, Kroger, and Glad. He is thankful for everyone doing their part to help keep theatre safely alive and active amidst this past year. Follow @GoodHairGeek

Rasell Holt •

David "D VICIOUS" Cooper

RASELL HOLT is so excited to make his Human Race Theatre debut! Last seen as Tybalt/Lord Capulet in American Stage’s Romeo And Juliet; Holt received additional training as an apprentice with The Actors Theatre of Louisville and American Players Theatre. Select credits include The Realness (Hangar Theatre), Skeleton Crew (American Stage Theatre), Romeo+Juliet (Chicago Shakespeare Theatre), Twelfth Night (American Players Theatre), Dracula (Actors Theater of Louisville), and The Hairy Ape (Oracle Productions). Film/TV credits: Drive Slow by Terrence Thompson and Chicago PD on NBC. He is proudly represented by Paonessa Talent. For Jim Butchart.

Allison Kelly *

Nina "THE NINA" O'Neal

ALLISON KELLY is thrilled to be returning to The Human Race Theatre! Allison was last seen at HRTC in Red Blooded All American Man. Other favorite theatre credits include: The Other Josh Cohen (dir. Hunter Foster), The Hello GirlsAmerican IdiotLittle Orphan Danny, Almost Heaven: John Denver’s America, and multiple productions of Ring of Fire. TV: The Helpsters for Apple TV+. Allison co-created and helmed an all female creative team for Ramblin’ Rose: the Women who made country music and tours nationally with Not Fade Away: Rock n’ Roll: Reignited!  and Darlin Companion: the music of  Johnny Cash and June CarterHer original music can be found with her band, Southpaw Green. Thanks to cast and crew for making all her air dreams come true! @akplaysmusic www.allisonannkelly.com


James Roselli •

Announcer / Sprite Exec / Hooded Figure

JAMES ROSELLI is thrilled to be returning to the stage after an 11 year hiatus with this cast and crew. First, and foremost, I want to dedicate this performance to you, the people. Stay strong and healthy! Previous credits include Little Shop of Horrors, Jesus Christ Superstar, The Music Man, The Tragedy of Macbeth, Urinetown, Godspell, Miss Saigon, West Side Story, and many others. Special thanks go out to my Parents, Aunts and Uncles, Brother and Sister, my sister-in-law and my sweet nephew Luca. Without your continuous love and support none of this would be Possible!

Zack Steele *


ZACK STEELE is overwhelmingly grateful and proud to be returning to The Human Race (in every sense) for this production of Airness. He last appeared on The Loft Theatre stage as Anthony in Sweeney Todd for HRTC’s 30th Anniversary Season, and also appeared as Patrick in Mame in 2014. Some other favorite regional credits include: Johnny Cash in Ring of Fire (Beef & Boards), Young Ben in Follies (Short North Stage), Bob Cratchit in A Christmas Carol (Hanover Theater), and Jimmy in Hank Williams: Lost Highway (Infinity Theatre). A huge congratulations and thank you to Kevin Moore for all that he has done and will do for this arts community, and all the love to Zack’s friends and family, without whose support he would not be back on stage today.  @steeleyducats http://www.SoundCloud.com/Zack-Steele

Drew Vidal

Mark "FACEBENDER" Lender

DREW VIDAL is delighted to return to The Race in such epic fashion. He last appeared here as the Gentleman Caller in The Glass Menagerie. When not onstage, Drew moonlights as a college professor, coordinating the acting program at Ball State University. Recent onstage credits include Thomas Kinnear in the world premiere of Alias Grace at Rivendell (Chicago), Rob in The Book Club Play at Kansas Rep, Johan Holst in a reading of Oslo at Off Square (Jackson Hole), Wessex in Shakespeare in Love at the Illinois Shakespeare Festival, and Death in Everybody at his day job up the road.

  • ^  Resident Artist with The Human Race Theatre Company
  • *  Appearing through an Agreement between this theatre and Actors’ Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States.
  • °  Equity Membership Candidate

Actors’ Equity Association (AEA), founded in 1913, represents more than 49,000 actors and stage managers in the United States. Equity seeks to advance, promote and foster the art of live theatre as an essential component of our society. Equity negotiates wages and working conditions, providing a wide range of benefits, including health and pension plans. AEA is a member of the AFL-CIO, and is affiliated with FIA, an international organization of performing arts unions. The Equity emblem is our mark of excellence. www.actorsequity.org


Dick Block Scenic Designer

Dick is always happy to return to The Human Race. Company credits: Around the World in 80 Days, A Christmas Story, The Full Monty, Mame as well as numerous other plays. Other credits include Coriolanus, The Bungler, Amadeus and A Midsummer Night’s Dream at The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey as well as: The Flick (Pittsburgh Playhouse), and Parade. His work has also been seen at The Warehouse Theatre (Greeneville, South Carolina), Virginia Stage Company, The Weston Playhouse (Vermont), The Pittsburgh Public Theatre, and McCarter Theatre Center. Dick is on the design faculty and serves as the Associate Head of the School of Drama at Carnegie Mellon University. He received his MFA from Northwestern University.

Jay Brunner ^ Sound Designer

Jay has designed sound, music directed, performed, and composed music for countless theatrical events, and is proud to call The Human Race his artistic home. He has composed music and recorded audio projects for many musical groups, voiceovers, regional commercials, radio spots, training videos, collegiate theatre projects, marching bands, clubs, and organizations. Jay owns and operates a professional recording studio (Audio Forest) with his wife, fellow HRTC Resident Artist Christine Brunner.

Jamie Cordes ^ Director

Jamie is a versatile theatre artist enjoying a career as a director, performer and educator.  Directing credits include:  Lizzie, If/ThenThe Wild Party, Heathers: The Musical, Sondheim on Sondheim, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, and Berlin to Broadway with Kurt Weill. Jamie is a member of Actors’ Equity Association and proud Resident Artist with The Human Race Theatre Company.  Credits include:  Sweeney Todd in Sweeney Todd, Dan in Next To Normal, Carl-Magnus Malcolm in A Little Night Music, Jason in Ordinary Days, Major David Marshall in right next to me, Ed in Torch Song Trilogy and new works with writers Brian Yorkey (Tony Award winner), Michael Slade (Emmy Award winner), Duane Poole, Joseph Thalken, Sean Michael Flowers, Marya Spring Cordes, Larry Grossman, Michael Kooman, Christopher Dimond, and others.  Other performances with Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra, Dayton Opera and Dayton Ballet.  Jamie is a faculty member with Wright State University’s Department of Theatre, Dance and Motion Pictures.

Jacquelyn Duncan * Production Stage Manager

Jacquelyn is delighted to begin her fifth season with HRTC! Jacquelyn received her BFA in Theatre Design & Technology with an emphasis in Stage Management from Wright State University. During her collegiate years, Jacquelyn had the pleasure of working for Adam Pascal, Jason Robert Brown, and Tom Hanks. Her first show with HRTC was Hail Mary! back in October 2016. After nine consecutive shows as the Production Assistant, Jacquelyn was promoted to Production Stage Manager in Spring 2018 during Brighton Beach Memoirs. She is a proud member of Actors’ Equity Association and encourages you all to follow us on social media!

Janet G. Powell Costume Designer

Janet is costuming her twenty-first show for HRTC. Costuming credits include The Revolutionists, Now and ThenBanned from BaseballThe HouseFamily Ties, Hail Mary!, Sweeney ToddOne Slight Hitch, Steel MagnoliasThe Full MontyVanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, Family ShotsTaking ShakespeareOther Desert CitiesTorch Song TrilogyAvenue QBand Geeks!8 TrackPermanent CollectionThe 39 Steps, and two touring shows. She has costumed productions for Yellow Brick Theater, Town Hall Theatre, joint productions for CCM and The Carnegie Visual and Performing Arts Center, Dayton Playhouse, Beavercreek Theatre, and Memorial Hall in Cincinnati. As a former Norwood City Schools artistic director/teacher she designed, directed, and costumed numerous shows over a period of 37 years. She continues to support theatre in schools, through volunteering, donations, and as an adjudicator with the Miami Valley High School Theatre Awards.

John Rensel ^ Resident 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 the Dayton Opera Association. He also serves as the long-time Technical Director for the Fraze Pavilion and has provided advanced technical 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 include 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 Human Race’s season at the Loft Theatre; Muse Machine’s productions at the Victoria Theatre and the Dayton Opera Association’s season at the Schuster Center.  At 70, John just had his tonsils removed. Ouch!

  • ^  Resident Artist with The Human Race Theatre Company
  • +  The Director is a member of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society, an independent labor union.
  • #  United Scenic Artists, Local USA 829 of the IATSE is the union representing Scenic, Costume, Lighting, Sound and Projection Designers in Live Performances.


  • Technical Director

    Isaac Harris
  • Head Carpenter/Charge Artist

    Alexander Capaneka
  • Production Stage Manager

    Jacquelyn Duncan *
  • Production Assistant

    Malia Dalba
  • Run Crew Chief/Health Resources Officer

    Anna Moore
  • Prop Master

    Sarah Gomes
  • Costume Shop Manager

    Debra Howard
  • Wardrobe

    Courtney Michele
  • Production Electrician

    Steve Williams
  • Sound Engineer

    Alexander Koker
  • Run Crew

    Samantha Douthitt
  • Production Photographer

    Scott J. Kimmins
  • Production Artwork

    Dave Arnold/Connexion
  • ^  Resident Artist with The Human Race Theatre Company
  • *  Appearing through an Agreement between this theatre and Actors’ Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States.
  • °  Equity Membership Candidate

About the Playwright

Chelsea MarcantelBook & Lyrics

Chelsea Marcantel is an LA-based writer, director, and collaborator. 

Reared by Cajuns in southwest Louisiana, Chelsea has lived and worked among the peoples of the Midwest, Appalachia, the Mid-Atlantic, and now the West Coast. In 2016, she completed a Lila Acheson Wallace American Playwrights Fellowship at The Juilliard School. Her plays, which have been produced across the US and Canada, include Airness (2018 M. Elizabeth Osborn New Play Award), Everything is Wonderful, Tiny Houses (2018 Roe Green Award), Ladyish, Devour, and the online theatrical experience Citizen Detective (NY Times Critic’s Pick).

Chelsea has been entrusted with teaching young minds at Virginia Intermont College and Emory & Henry College, and loved every minute of it.  As a writer, she is extremely interested in humans as small-group primates, and what happens when the rules and value systems of our chosen groups cease to serve us.  She reads a lot of books, watches a lot of documentaries, and listens to a lot of podcasts.  Chelsea is an enthusiastic member of The Writers Guild of America and The Dramatists Guild, and runs with a kick-ass group of activists called The Kilroys.

Chelsea’s current theatrical projects include the new plays Vanishing Act commissioned by the Geffen Playhouse, Lake Erie Oubliette commissioned by Cleveland Play House, and The Upstairs Department, which will have its world premiere at Signature Theatre DC in 2022. She is also working on (at last count) five commercial musical projects, as well as writing the book for the original musical The Monster, commissioned by Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, for which she won a 2021 Richard Rodgers Award for Musical Theatre.

Special Skills: stalking celebrity chefs, making killer playlists, taking artsy photos of her dog, defending the oxford comma, and overestimating her own proficiency with yoga.

About the Production

Reviews for AIRNESS

10/23/21 http://leagueofcincytheatres.info/human-races-airness-rocks/





Official Rules of Air Guitar Competition

Regional and US Air Guitar obeys the rules set forth by the Air Guitar World Championship:

    • Each performance is played to 1 minute (60m sec.) of a song.
    • The 60 seconds can start anywhere in the song.
    • The instrument must be invisible & must be a guitar.
    • Air roadies are allowed, but must leave the stage before the performance.
    • Back-up bands (air or real) are not allowed.


    • Round 1 (freestyle): each competitor performs to a song of their choice, with top 5 advancing to Round 2.
    • Round 2 (compulsory): advancing competitors from Round 1 will perform surprise song.

Judging Criteria:

All performances are scored on a scale from 4.0 to 6.0, with 6.0 being the highest.  Scores are given to one decimal point (ie: 5.4, not 5.48).  A single score is given to each air guitarist based on their overall performance in that round.  The scores from BOTH ROUNDS are added to determine the contestants’ final scores.  This combined score determines the winner.

The score reflects the quality of the performance based on three key criteria:

    • Technical merit: You don’t have to know what notes you’re playing, but the more your invisible fretwork corresponds to the music that’s playing, the better the performance.
    • Stage Presence: Anyone can do it in the privacy of their bedroom. Few have what it takes to rock a crowd of hundreds or even thousands – all without an instrument.
    • Airness: The last criteria is the most difficult to define yet often the most decisive of all.  Airness is defined as the extent to which a performance transcends the imitation of a real guitar and becomes an art form in and of itself.


(Source:  www.usairguitar.com/rules)

Download the Playbill

Download a copy of the official playbill for comprehensive information about this production.

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