Confession: I don’t like country music. And, most musicals can take or leave. That said, I’ve never been disappointed at The Loft Theater watching a Human Race Theatre (sic) Company presentation, and last night, I loved the performance of “Play it by heart” a country flavored musical.
From the playbill:
It’s the passing of the torch in a country music dynasty as superstar Jeannine Jasper’s long career draws to a close. The changing world of the music industry is about to thrust her little sister, Jamie Lynn, into the spotlight. When an old flame comes calling, Jeannine envisions a quiet life offstage, but Jamie Lynn’s wild ways may cut short her time on top. Stage mother Naomi tries to keep control of her daughters until a scandalous secret comes to light and threatens to tear them apart. A musical about heartbreak and healing, this regional premiere comes alive with an exciting original score filled with new songs from the Nashville Sound to New Country and a book by Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award® winner Brian Yorkey.
Running time: 2 hours, 35 minutes
via The Human Race Theatre Company : Play It by Heart.
I’m always amazed at what they do with the small thrust stage in the Loft, and again, last night, the scene switches from the tour bus, to the CMA’s to a hospital room, to a bar, to the Blue Eagle Dancehall went seamlessly and smoothly through a story that the little synopsis above doesn’t do justice. And while there is a lot of singing moving the storyline – accompanied by a tight little band sitting high stage left, the story and cast carried the show through plot twists that kept me wondering what was coming next.
And when the show was over- there was no surge of applause for any one actor- only because the entire cast worked so well together and fit their parts so well- a tribute to Kevin Moore who directed and is the soul of the Human Race.
One of the keys to this show is really the audience- and last night, I was sad to see about half the seats unsold. When I hear people say “Dayton sucks” or “there’s nothing to do in Dayton” and I see empty seats at one of our most amazing community treasures- it kills me. Please go- and think of it as attending a concert as much as seeing a play- whoop it up after the “Concert performances” – as if you were in the audience at a show at Gilly’s or Canal Public House (two other Dayton treasures).
I admit, that more than a few times, I choked up, and had to stop from tearing up during the show. But, in the end- the show is really about acceptance and the value of honesty. Things that we could use a lot more of in our community.
This is the last show of the HRTC season- please go, you can thank me later.
The play runs through next week