Dayton’s got talent: Cabaret at the Dayton Playhouse, now pay attention.

Sorry to be telling you this on the last day- but, if tickets are still available, you want to go. The Dayton Playhouse, a true “community based theater,” gave an incredible performance of “Cabaret.” What’s even more amazing, is that two members of the cast are friends from the Dayton Ad Club (now known as the “Greater Dayton Ad Association” as if there is a “lesser” Dayton). Seeing Dodie Lockwood belt out number after number as the Fräulein Schneider was inspiring, and seeing the usually prim and proper Sandy Hyde, who runs the Etiquette School of Ohio, singing and dancing in clothes usually reserved for the bedroom, as “Frenchie”- one of the “Kit Cat” girls, reminded me that there is a hidden underdog in all of us.

I’m not a theater critic by any means, but Matt Curry who played the “Master of Ceremonies” wearing an outfit built out of a horses bridle and not much else at times, projected more energy than the sun throughout the show. You could tell he was having fun and wanted you to as well.

For those of you who don’t know the play, what starts out as a story of an American writer searching the globe for a place to stimulate his creative juices in pre-Nazi Berlin, who meets a girl, and falls in love, tales us into a look at how society slips into the clutches of extremism. With the recent circus over our President speaking to school children, this play is more than just a few hours of song and dance.

I wish I could find the exact quotes from last nights performance, but, with a movie version, and multiple plays- it would take a while. Maybe one of the cast can supply the part toward the end where the discussion of what happens when people allow extremists to take center stage?

I have been planning to write a post about a program that they have in Germany now, and this seemed like the perfect place to share it with you. Exit Deutscshland is an organization helping reformed right wing extremists to find a new role in society. The Germans are acutely aware of the course hate speech can take from past experiences. The Wikipedia translation isn’t perfect– but helpful in understanding this program. Those that don’t learn from history are bound to repeat it.

Yes, I’m aware that what seemed like a nice review of a theatrical performance took at turn political, but, often, that’s what shapes our lives. One day, we’re living in a great neighborhood, with great neighbors, and life is wonderful- and, then, thanks to big banks and insurance companies playing roulette with our debt, and oil speculators going wild with futures- we find our happy little world coming apart. Losing jobs, pensions, homes and even, hope.

When despair sets in, it becomes a breeding cesspool for the “birthers” “truthers” and hate mongrels on the radio. If we’re not careful, a minority of haters can ruin the party. We’ve seen the effects of years of negativity and racism in Dayton. We’re still suffering the effects of our tendency to divide a community by a river, race and economic standing. When we realize that we’re all in this together- is the only chance we have to move our community forward.

For now, though, try to move yourself into a seat at the final performances, if they aren’t sold out. You won’t be sorry.

footnote: the trip to the Greek Fest and this play were a gift from my amazing girlfriend. She found what to do on the great calendar of events hosted by Bill Pote at Dayton Most Metro– that appear on the sidebar of this site. Go Bill!

If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed! If you wish to support this blog and independent journalism in Dayton, consider donating. All of the effort that goes into writing posts and creating videos comes directly out of my pocket, so any amount helps!

Leave a Reply

43 Comments on "Dayton’s got talent: Cabaret at the Dayton Playhouse, now pay attention."

Notify of

I do enjoy nitpicking:

“Greater” Dayton, of course, implies the region. Just plain Dayton implies what’s inside the city limits.

Which, come to think of it, is one of the Esrati campaign planks. So long as Dayton (and the rest of the vicinity) continue to function within their border-defined fiefdoms we will continue to suffer from the “Lesser” Dayton. Esrati really does want a “Greater” Dayton through more regionalism.

Did I get that right, Mr. Politician?

Ice Bandit
look at how society slips into the clutches of extremism. With the recent circus over our President speaking to school children, this play is more than just a few hours of song and dance. (David Esrati) The Old Bandito thinks that in heaven, they serve Mahaffeys Banana Creme pies for dessert. Little did  he know, that in some Dayton circles, sharing this culinary delight was considered a reactionary right wing act. It seems the bakery’s namesake previous owner was the quarterback of the Valley’s anti-abortion lobby, and by purchasing said masterpiece of the baker’s art, one was trying to take us back to the days of clothes hangers and back alley abortions. “Nonsense” El Bandito de Helios said to the accusation “this pie is simply one of the best tasting things on earth, if it was sold by Uncle Joe Stalins Linden Bakery I’d still buy it, and I never mix pie and politics.” Perhaps you, David, should take a similar tack by mixing political commentary with theatre critique. Fact is, in the ongoing debate on which model of government the Obama administation most resembles, the Old Bandito rejects the most common model of “socialism” for the model of fascist. Indeed, both fascist and socialist regimes hold private property in low regard, and both ideologies advocate centralized “command” economies, the fascist are more open to private ownership as long as they can dictate the totality of wages, rules and production. The Krupps and Mengele family dynasties  maintained their  large industrial holdings with the blessings of the Third Reich. It is amazing that the Obama cultists no longer blanche from the word socialist, and the cover of a recent Newsweek even trumpeted this failed and discredited political philosophy. So, Dave, if the musical Cabaret is a broadside against fascism, couldn’t that just as easily be a critique of the very thing you seem to want to advocate and champion? Your insistance on calling the followers of 200 plus years of constitutional government “extreme” for diminishing what is becoming an undemocratic personality cult in not just a little puzzling. Call me old… Read more »

I saw Musical!, the Musical of Musicals there last year or the year before, and was impressed.  Impressed at the acting and singing of amateur actors and actresses.   Small room, but great show!
It’s hard to seperate the politics from the art in Cabaret, the stage and film version, since the subject matter itself dabbled in politics.  Weimar-era Berlin cabarets often worked political comment or allusion into their shows, sometimes via double-entendre.  Which was a reflection of the wise-guy urban culture of the city.
For the German-language site linked, there is a sub-site called Mut Gegen Rechte Gewalt, that is in English:
…seems right-wing extremism is more of a problem in Germany and Europe (I know there are issues with this in England, too) than here.


LOL, Ice Bandit, “I never mix pie and politics.” I will concede that there are few things finer than a Mehaffies pie, but all these years after the sale of the company, I refuse to buy anything with the Mehaffie name on it.

Teri Lussier

>how society slips into the clutches of extremism. With the recent circus over our President speaking to school children,
Seriously? It’s not all extremism, David. A friend told me she requested her 2nd grader not listen because the speech discussed staying in school, not dropping out. What’s the big deal, right? Great message! Yeah, for at-risk middle and high schoolers! This child doesn’t know she has an option whether to stay in school or not, and this parent did not want to have that conversation with a 2nd grader, didn’t want her child to wrestle with that message, suggested by someone of such high esteem in her child’s eyes as the POTUS. Reasonable request, don’t you think?
Every parent who made that decision is not some extremist who watches the wrong newscasts, and needs the thought police to educate them on proper ideologies. Often they are people who have very simple and understandable reasons for their actions, once you stop listening to the media who makes it a circus. Makes for better news if their is some extremist ideology behind these parent’s actions, I suppose.


>This child doesn’t know she has an option whether to stay in school or not, and this parent did not want to have that conversation with a 2nd grader, didn’t want her child to wrestle with that message, suggested by someone of such high esteem in her child’s eyes as the POTUS. Reasonable request, don’t you think?
I think that is one of the dumbest excuses that I’ve heard thus far for choosing to keep a kid from hearing the President’s speech.


I thought any reason was stupid, but as a parent it is your job to decide what to listen to, and in this case they had an opportunity to opt out. Weak, but their decision.

I know a lot of kids who listened to it and more or less laughed, saying things like “no way, really?”

Obama does not get it. He may have reached some kids, but by the time their next bathroom break came up they forgot all about it. Kids are controlled, taught and trained by their parents, then teachers. Not Presidents.

I think this administration wastes too much time with BS stuff like this, as did GW, as did Clinton, as did GHWB, Regan…….. And then we sit here and wonder why nothing changes. We are played for fools.

Teri L

> I think that is one of the dumbest excuses that I’ve heard thus far
The parent is not harming the child, and exercising their rights- why judge? My point is that it’s not a right-wing extremist attitude, which David is suggesting, unless I’m reading him incorrectly.

Ice Bandit

Face it- your friend didn’t want their kid hearing something from a black, liberal president. (David Esrati)

Well Dave, I see you’ve added “mind-reader” to you list of many talents. Just one question; do you do parties? My grandson’s 16th birthday celebration is coming up soon, and he’s too old for clowns and not quite old enuff for the naked lady busting out of the cake……….

Teri Lussier
Teri Lussier

>He’s the PRESIDENT. If you don’t listen- you can’t judge.
David, she did listen. She read the speech. She considered the message. She thought it wasn’t appropriate for her 2nd grader. She didn’t say no one should listen, or nobody would benefit from this, or the POTUS has no business talking to school children, shouldn’t be a role model for school children.
>your friend didn’t want their kid hearing something from a black, liberal president.
Assumptions, based on your own prejudices, perhaps. You tell yourself that’s the truth, then you can easily dismiss this as the decision of someone you don’t have to consider- it’s “censorship” it’s the “dumbest”, it’s “extremist”.
>Yes- we have a problem in this country. It’s called ignorance. Minds work better when open.
I couldn’t  agree more.


“Face it- your friend didn’t want their kid hearing something from a black, liberal president.”

How the hell do you know? Your inflated self worth is out of control.

What if the President were white and conservative? And what if black people did not listen to that president? Oh, wait, that sorta thing has happened a lot in the past but no one ever said it was because of skin color or being conservative. You have the right not to listen to the President. For any reason.

Junior Varsity has an opening at the end of the bench for you. That kind of logic can (and will with me) get you in trouble.

Greg Hunter
Greg Hunter

Sorry but I have a great deal of problems with “parents exercising their control” as it makes for a very dumb down school system.  Unbelievable really.  Thank God I grew up in a time where women had less influence in the school system as the rise of women’s rights brought along the elevation of the child as important, more important than the male in most relationships.
Send your kid to school and if it is a good school system, then your child should ask questions that make adults uncomfortable or they are not doing their job.   My god the umbrella people put on reality.
NO child should be allowed to be home schooled as the community should demand the best school system that allows for the diversity of education required to keep this complex society up and running.
Thank God I was not taught by a school system that was overly influenced by religious zealots otherwise, I would still believe that males had one less rib than females.


Parents have the right, whether you like it or not Greg. And the parents who care the most read the boring and waste of time speech Obama gave. The speech was intended for the loser kids and loser parents.

A second grader would get nothing from this – and I think it was not worth her time to pull the kids out of class, but again that was up to her. And it was not a racist thing, like DE suggested.

Why do you care that some kids are home schooled? Gary does it….. why? Ask him. But I bet you a dollar the the letters DPS have something to do with it. Sending a kid to Catholic school is always a better alternative than sending you kid to drug-ville DPS. Who in their right mind would send their kid to a DPS, seriously? And, no, I am not talking about Stivers.


I have to wonder how closely your friend read the speech.  It’s 140 sentences.  A mere three of them reference dropping out.  The rest — the vast majority — address accepting personal responsibility, working hard, setting goals, overcoming adversity, not making excuses when the going gets tough, respecting parents, teachers, and country, and realizing that the future of this country is in the hands of today’s youth.
I respect the right of anyone who decides those messages aren’t appropriate for her child to hear, but I would love to know what she would have considered appropriate.  Ultimately, my gut feeling is it was the messenger rather than the message she was objecting to.


Yes, something a parents should address, not a President. 3 time…………uhh? What if he said MOTHERF*CKER just 3 times, would that have been ok?

Again, it was not worth the time to remove your kid. But it was not worth the time Obama gave it either. Thank God you have a gut feeling for others. Why do you have to push your values regarding this speech to other people who have their own kids? 3 times is enough in a 10 minute speech.

A lot of people thought the whole thing was inappropriate, really this is not his place. Kids did not vote him into office.


” Thank God I grew up in a time where women had less influence in the school system as the rise of women’s rights brought along the elevation of the child as important, more important than the male in most relationships.” – Greg Hunter.

I forgot to comment on this………………………… I agree.

Robert Vigh
Robert Vigh

Wow David, Greg, Valerie, . . . . . . . . . control friek much?

Combining those 3 voices you get something like: You will go to my educational combine run by whomever I want with any ideals that I want and if you dont like it, you are dumb, ignorant and racist. You 3 are honestly scary sometimes with the amount of control you want to exert over others.

Obama’s speech was incredibly improper and I will explain why. It was done during the day and expected to be seen at school. A time that is explicitly without parental supervision. It has educater supervision, but by and large most educators are liberal/democratic. It was also done at a time with this countries most notorious social changing policies on the horizon. This was a way to get as much of a forced and captive audience as possible to associate him as positive and therefore his policies as positive. Propaganda at its best. (Yes, every political party is guilty of it).

Regarding your original post, Ice Bandit said it best when he explained the fascist state of Obama’s admin. I was actually having that conversation this past week with friends that he seems more fascist than anything else.

Robert Vigh
Robert Vigh

Oh yeah, David quotes:

1) Face it- your friend didn’t want their kid hearing something from a black, liberal president.
2) Yes- we have a problem in this country. It’s called ignorance. Minds work better when open.

So Teri L, your idea and comment is total crap and your friend is a racist and you have to understand that your mind is not open to me telling you that your friend is a dumb ignorant racist. You need to open your mind to exactly how I tell you too ……… or you are as stated above.

David, were you drinking and saying to someone “hey, watch this” when you were typing through your own hypocrisy? Every now and then it is good to just come out and say you were wrong.


Wilkommen Meine Damen und Herren, Zum  Cabaret Esrati!  Ver politkal diskussion takes a vright ving turn!


Gene and Robert, you sound like a pair of cranky alumni  who are still sore about having to sit through mandatory assemblies in high school.
I am curious if Gary Leitzell allowed his daughter to watch the speech.


I think it should be the parent’s right to keep their children from certain school activities. Mine was not allowed to attend D.A.R.E. He got to sit in the library and read when that was going on. At first the school wanted to make me come out (17 miles each way) and pick him up for that time period as “they had no one to supervise him” but they saw the light at the end. D.A.R.E. is not an effective program and it encourages kids to cave to peer pressure rather than think for themselves– I would think exactly the opposite of the intended consequences. It has been shown to be an utterly worthless program– so we opted out.
Anyone could have opted their child out of the President’s speech– little Johnny is sick today, little Jamal has an orthodontists appointment, Miss Tiffany is having her monthly visitor. The schools make allowances for such things. But to declare that you won’t let your child watch the president is to take a stand that is going to paint you in with all the other illiterate, racist, factually-challenged teabaggers… even if you aren’t one.
Teri’s friend had pretty weak logic. I hope that she made up that excuse to cover for something else, because if that was truly why she kept the kid at home, she’s got bigger issues to deal with.
It’s “educator,” by the way.

Teri L

>So Teri L, your idea and comment is total crap and your friend is a racist and you have to understand that your mind is not open…
So I’ve heard.  ;-)


Greg, you are wrong about females changing how schools treat students. It was Benjamin Spock, MD in his 1946 book “Baby and Child Care” who began the trend to consider the psychological needs of the child. Dr. Spock was a man.

The Women’s Rights movement began in 1848 with a huge success in 1920 when we were given the right to vote. In 1963, we were given the Equal Pay Act. I could go on but the point is the Women’s Rights movement began long before we had problems with the public school system.

Overwhelmingly, since the founding of this nation, women have been the primary educators. I could argue that it wasn’t until men became involved in public primary and secondary education that the education system began to fail. We got through the initial growth of our nation on the backs of female teachers with no man “supervising” us.

If you’d like to educate yourself to this, please visit

and check this out ED339695 – Women Who Taught: Perspectives on the History of Women and Teaching.

Thank you.


Cranky? I watched the President and I thought it was not bad. My beef is that the Super Duper Freak Libs support woman killing unborn babies but can not understand that some parents choose to remove their kid/s from watching the president.

Who cares really? 99.9% of the kids have forgot about it, 99.8% had no interest to begin with. I am glad to see some parents take the time and get involved in their kids lives. Liberals hated Bush and would have done the same thing. Redchief or not, drugs are bad (but can be fun :) )


Bridget, woman used to act like men back then, not like woman act today.


I apologize Gene. I didn’t know you were that old.

Women have always acted like women. It’s how their roles, and men’s roles, are desfined at the time. Most modern men now live in concrete jungles and go to the grocery store to get their food. Does that make men now more like women were then?


I was kidding on my post……. but yes, a lot of men act more like woman today.

So maybe it is not a man/woman thing, rather the decline in our public schools it tied to acceptance of failure, lack of daddy in the home (acceptance of being a single mommy), lack of discipline, liberal teachings and liberals total disregard of personal responsibility.

That sounds more like it.


Again, Gene, I must respectfully disagree. I am a product of a single mother. I received all A’s and B’s (except for in Mr. Hayes class but he hated me because I hung out with the freaks – ironically, he found my daughter to be “a joy in the classroom” last year). My children’s father is the product of divorce and, although he got his GDA instead of graduating, is a contributing member of society. My children have been raised by a single mother for the last nine years – both A/B students. Sadly, I’m not as strong a disciplinarian as I hoped and they pretty much let me wait on them but they behave as I expect of typically developing teenagers. I have both liberal and conservative leanings (I wish I could pick and choose and start my own party). BTW, I received my degree in Middle Childhood Education in 2003, so I understand the current educational part of the equation.

I don’t think the answer is as black and white as many want it to be. I have seen a lack of personal responsibility in the poor and the rich (ever been cut off by a Mercedes?). I have seen a total disregard for other members of society (remember when everyone used to open the door for the elderly or disabled?) I don’t find it so easy to believe it’s a class thing. I think the whole issue is a breakdown in social conventions that is perpetrated by and affects all.

Basically, bad manners.


Now that I’m thinking about it, perhaps Kanye West’s actions the other night will help. He has been condemned by black, white and everyone in between, gay, straight, rich, poor, liberal and conservative. Perhaps he will catalyze our rallying cry for civility and personal responsibility to and for all.


Ok, I am wrong then.

Bad manners is the reason why there is breakdown in society. Fair enough.

But manners are taught, at home and in school, and we (as a society) are doing a poor job.

Greg Hunter
Greg Hunter

While the history of the women’s movement is beyond reproach, the influence they waged over society did not come to the fore until they entered the work force and the political mainstream.  This occured at different times in different places, but as women’s influence in society grew, the elevation of the child and parental meddling in the school system increased.  While all these arguments are anecdotal or strawmen, there appears to be a lack of “remembering how it was”  Back in the days of the “one room schoolhouse” women were certainly capable of teaching the basics and discipline was maintained by the threat of the teacher telling the parents.  That is when parents accepted the word of the adult in the situation and not the word of Johnny and Jane.  Now that women have marched up to the school when  Johnny and Jane come home crying is when discipline fell away.
I think you would also find that in the days of yore once one graduated high school there were very few women college professors.   I had a great education as I entered the school system at a time when talented MALEs and females entered the workforce.  During the 1960’s males that normally would have been in corporate postitions opted early on in their carreers to enter teaching due to the Vietnam War.  Many of these teachers stayed and the school systems were forced to pay family wages.  This incentive has not been maintained and male teachers are at a 40 year low.  By the way the linked article somewhat destroys the notion that all teachers were female.  Good Luck with that data analysis, but long story short is the rise of women in power has elevated children over reason.
I love “As Good As It Gets”
Q.  How do you write women so well!
A.  It is easy….I think of a man and then I take away reason and accountability.


I gotta say, this is the best discussion of Cabaret EVER :)


Well, I gotta say I don’t believe it was women entering the workforce that caused the issues we see today. Have you ever spoken to a woman who has a job and is primary care provider for children? We really don’t have time to nitpick a teacher. My concern when I get home is getting dinner on the table and the clothes washed. And, while I have seen some mothers on the sidelines teaching bad behavior, anectodally, more men are the screamers at the soccer games. By your logic, it could be said that the downfall in education began when men started staying home to raise the children beginning in the 70’s. Never in our history have men been more involved in childrearing. Could that be what has led to the lack of civility? Macho men pushing their way through any system?

As to the argument about women professors, I want to be taught by the best and brightest my money can buy, gender be damned. Perhaps, Greg, you long for the days when men were men and women were barefoot and pregnant. Sorry to burst your bubble but Pandora’s box has been opened and we will never again see the day when men were allowed to disrespect and abuse women with impunity.

As to accepting the word of the adult over the student, when adults lose their moral compass, I will question them. I will also question the child and work my way toward the truth, whomever is right. The friends of my girls exhibit the same behaviors as I when I was their age. The maturity of behavior of the adults in their lives has changed. We used to get grounded for toilet papering a house. Now, they are charged with deliquency and vandalism.


It is all a man’s fault………


Gene, drugs are drugs. The abuse of drugs (whether alcohol, tobacco, or those mandated to be illegal) is a societal ill, to be sure. D.A.R.E. has been shown to be totally ineffective, a waste of time and money. Why participate in that kind of thing?  My kid has asked me about drug use in my past– I went to art school in Boston and was active in the punk rock scene– you can draw your own conclusion, and I did not lie to him. I hope that we’ve given him the tools to make the right choices. So far it seems to be going alright.  Redchief is our kennel name, btw, but I do sometimes use it in other venues. I’m not addressing any of your misogynist rhetoric, as I am beginning to recognize when you are playing troll under the bridge. Have a nice day. 
Who would’ve thunk that a show that closed three days ago would garner so many comments?


Troll under a bridge? Not me…. that is where the drugs are…..

Redchief is what we call Dusty Baker, the Manger of the Cincinnati Reds, often called a baseball genius, who can’t seem to win. That is what I am talking about………. But he does not have the horses.

Go Redchief!


Gene, I love my men. I just want them to be barefoot and quiet.


But, in all reality, similar stories to yours can be viewed as a big problem. Too often we discount the role of a man in the house. If I have to get specific, well then I will.

Greg makes a funny point, regarding the quote from AGAIG, but reality is the men are not accountable nor responsible for their own children (often.) That is the biggest problem this country faces. Why? It allows men to be fools, woman to be overly burdened, kids to be unappreciative and rowdy, all of which I could go on and on about.

90% of our countries problems could be solved if we would just figure that out. But that is what you have in the name of “freedom.”

Men and woman need to be responsible for their kids, and in this country that in not the norm anymore.

Pat Offenberger
Pat Offenberger

Glad to see you’re running for commission, and since I can’t find any contact for Rhine’s opponent, thought I’d offer a suggestion for an issue she likely won’t care to address, her participation in Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s “Mayor’s Against illegal Guns group.
Yep, I know, it sure sounds like a noble cause, finding ways to remove guns from criminals and others who aren’t legally able to own guns. But clearly Bloomberg’s intent is to ban guns in any way possible, for anyone.
His group has suffered a loss of membership because some that were members learned of his intent, and found they had been fooled by his stated agenda for the group. Other resigned because he represented them as members, simply based on the fact they had asked for information about his group.
As a member of the NRA, and a law abiding gun owner, I resent their efforts to limit my right to keep and bear arms. I certainly object to his group attempting to remove a constitutional right Americans enjoy not as one handed them by a benevolent government, but rather seen as a God given right to free people.
I don’t have the bully pulpit that political candidates enjoy, the local press could care less what I think about her involvement in his group, and I’ve found a total lack of interest from the Franklin Daily News for issues I offer as editorial page letters, I guess my views don’t meet their agenda nor do they agree with their politics.
Let me know what you think, and if I can be of assistance to your campaign, let me know, and I’ll try to do what I can. You may remember me from years ago, I was on the FROC board, and was President of the Northern Redcrest River Association for several years.