Human Race Theatre's MIRACLE ON SOUTH DIVISION STREET Begins Tonight
Fans of The Human Race's 2008 production of Tom Dudzick's national hit Over the Tavern will rejoice at the regional premiere of the playwright's "rollicking" Miracle on South Division Street, directed by Human Race Resident Artist Richard E. Hess (Race, Red, Doubt). 60 years ago, Grandpa Nowak had a vision of the Virgin Mary in his Buffalo, New York barbershop and had an unusual statue of her made to commemorate the miracle. For decades, his family has faithfully tended to his quirky shrine-a source of hope and inspiration in an otherwise run-down part of town. That is until a deathbed confession knocks them for a loop in this hilarious hit comedy that proves when it comes to local legends, there's more than meets the eye. The preview performance of Miracle on South Division Street is tonight, September 4. Opening night is Friday, September 5.
Dudzick calls the play a work of "pure fiction, based on a 'true' local legend" as he created the Nowak family to explain the unknown origins of an actual 20-foot-tall brick shrine to the Blessed Virgin Mary in Buffalo built many decades ago by a now-deceased local barber. And while the neighborhood around the shrine has fallen into disrepair, a promise from City Hall has spared the shrine from destruction as it is maintained by local residents.
Director Hess, a native of Buffalo raised in a large Catholic family, firmly identifies with the blue-collar Nowaks and their devotion to their faith and history. For his four-member Nowak family, he has cast Wendy Barrie-Wilson (All My Sons and Our Town on Broadway) as mother "Clara," Human Race Resident Artist Jennifer Joplin (Other Desert Cities, God of Carnage) as older daughter "Beverly," Kyle Nunn (King Lear and The Three Musketeers at Hudson Valley Shakespeare) as son "Jimmy" and Lauren Ashley Carter (Lewis Black's One Slight Hitch, film Jug Face) as younger daughter "Ruth." Barrie-Wilson joins Joplin on The Loft Stage for a second time, having costarred in Hess's 2009 production of Doubt, a Parable. Miracle on South Division Street marks the first appearance with The Human Race for Nunn and Carter, both graduates of University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, where Hess was their professor.
The scenic designer is Human Race Head Carpenter and Charge Artist Eric Moore (Footloose and The Music Man at the Springfield Summer Arts Festival), making his Loft Stage design debut, the costume designer is Kathie Brookfield (Suessical, Jr. and Annie, Jr. at The Children's Theatre of Cincinnati) also with her first design for The Human Race, Resident Artist John Rensel (Play It by Heart, Fiddler on the Roof) is the lighting designer and Brian Retterer (Play It by Heart, It's a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play) is the sound designer. Kay Carver is the production stage manager. Human Race Executive Producer Tara Lail is the show's producer.
Biographies on the cast and creative team can be found on The Human Race Theatre Company's website.
The production sponsors for Miracle on South Division Street are Marion's Piazza and John and Tamara Clough.
Tickets for the preview performance of Miracle on South Division Street on September 4 are $35 and $30 for adults, $31 and $27 for seniors and $17.50 and $15 for students. For all performances September 4 - 21, single ticket prices are $45 - $35 for adults, $41 - $32 for seniors and $22.50 - $17.50 for students. Prices vary depending on the day of the week and seating location. Group discounts are available for parties of 10 or more. The Human Race is offering a pair of discount ticket opportunities. Side-area seats are available at all performances for $25 each, on sale two weeks prior to performance. The Sunday, September 7 7:00 p.m. performance is "Sawbuck Sunday", when any available seat can be purchased in person for just $10 at The Loft Theatre box office two hours prior to the show. Discounts are subject to availability and some restrictions apply.
All performances are at the Metropolitan Art Center's Loft Theatre, located at 126 North Main Street in downtown Dayton, Ohio. Show times for Miracle on South Division Street are 8:00 p.m. on Wednesday through Saturday evenings. Performances on Sunday and Tuesday evenings begin at 7:00 p.m. and at 2:00 p.m. on Sunday matinees.
The Pay-What-You-CAN open rehearsal is Wednesday, September 3 at 8:00 p.m. The "Inside Track" pre-show discussion begins at 7:15 p.m. on Thursday, September 4, prior to the 8:00 p.m. preview performance. The opening night performance on Friday, September 5 at 8:00 p.m. is followed by a free party with the cast in The Loft Lobby. "Lite Fare at the Loft" with food and drink provided by Citilites begins in The Loft Theatre lobby at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, September 9. The "While We're on the Subject" post-show talkback is on Sunday, September 14, immediately following the 2:00 p.m. performance.
Tickets and performance information on Miracle on South Division Street are available at www.humanracetheatre.org or by calling Ticket Center Stage at (937) 228-3630, and at the Schuster Center box office.
Photo by Scott J. Kimmins