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!

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