Young at Heart extends virtual ‘Blessings’ for remainder of 2020
Russell Florence Jr.
Stage Notes
Young at Heart Players’ production of “Blessings from the Pandemic” continues through Dec. 31.
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Blessings continue for Young at Heart Players. In fact, the senior-themed troupe’s satisfying, poignant and timely virtual regional premiere of Rich Orloff’s “Blessings from the Pandemic,” presented over Thanksgiving weekend, has extended through Thursday, Dec. 31.

Written as a “poetry cycle for performance,” Orloff’s assortment of comedic and dramatic reflections introspectively arose as a response to his own contemplations on COVID-19 dating back to late March.

“Although this presentation of ‘Blessings from the Pandemic’ was initially available for viewing only for a few days, after I watched it I immediately gave permission for Young at Heart Players to allow it to be viewed through the end of the year,” said Orloff, a New York City-based playwright and two-time Dayton Playhouse FutureFest finalist (1993′s “Veronica’s Position” and 2019′s “Men Overboard”). “One might think this is generous, but it’s actually quite selfish. When I see a performance of my work that’s as warm and engaging as this one, I want more people to be able to see it.”


Under the direction of Annie Pesch, the 24-member cast consists of Margaret Baird, Brad Bishop, Brian Buttrey, Shanna Camacho, Saul Caplan, Cher Collins, Cassandra Engber, Barbara Jorgensen, Debra Kent, Charles Larkowski, Dodie Lockwood, Adee McFarland, Nancy Milligan, Becky Milligan, Terry Morris, Matt Owens, Jackie Pfeifer, Michael Shannon, Gayle Smith, Hannah Stickel, Gail Andrews Turner, Mike Welly, Abby Williams and Richard Young.

Among the many personable recitations benefitting from a conversational ease of direct-to-camera engagement are: Bishop’s “A Prayer for Those Wondering Where God Is”; McFarland’s “A Reflection on Distance”; Young’s “A Prayer About Sadness”; Engber’s “A Prayer About Grief”; Larkowski’s “A Reflection on Masks”; Jorgensen’s “A Prayer About the Bad Days”; Shannon’s “A Prayer About Grace”; Kent’s “A Prayer for Diving Into the Muck”; Pfeifer’s inquisitiveness within the salon-inspired “A Reflection on Ten Minutes”; and Camacho’s endearingly spirited “A Blessing on the Mundane.”

The entire company is showcased in the moving finale “A Prayer in Honor of the Angels.”

The performance, which marks YAHP’s 20th anniversary, is free but the troupe is asking the public to pay it forward by donating what would have been the ticket price to a community service organization such as a food bank, St.

Vincent de Paul or Salvation Army. The link for the show is available at youngatheartplayers.com.

Northmont Drama Club presents ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’

The Northmont Drama Club of Northmont High School offers a virtual readers theater production of “It’s a Wonderful Life” on Sunday, Dec. 6.

Released in 1946 and regarded by the American Film Institute as one of the 100 best American films ever made, “It’s a Wonderful Life” tells the story of suicidal George Bailey, who rediscovers the importance of living on Christmas Eve.

Tickets are $5. The show can be streamed by visiting www.broadwayondemand. com/pages/home-2/d/shows-2 and search for “Northmont.”

LaComedia announces 2021 season

La Comedia Dinner Theatre in Springboro has announced its 2021 season. The lineup: “Church Basement Ladies”

(March 25-April 18); “The Sound of Music” (April 22-June 13); Disney’s “The Little Mermaid” ( June 17-Aug. 15); “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder” (Aug. 18-Sept. 19); “Footloose” (Sept. 23-Oct. 31); and “A Christmas Story: The Musical” (Nov. 4-Dec. 30). For more information, visit lacomedia.com. 

Dayton Live offers free virtual field trip with renowned dance troupe

The 30th anniversary of Dayton Live’s Discovery Series includes a free virtual field trip opportunity for area students with “Five Days with Step Afrika!”

Step Afrika! is the world’s first professional company dedicated to the tradition of stepping, a percussive art form that uses the body as an instrument.

“Even during this challenging time when classrooms look different across the Miami Valley, our belief that arts education is an essential component of every student’s academic journey has never wavered,” said Gary Minyard, Dayton Live Vice President – Education and Engagement. “By providing free access to this virtual field trip to teachers, students and home-schooled groups, Dayton Live Education believes students will develop a new and inspiring appreciation for this particular genre of dance.”

“Five Days with Step Afrika!” is made up of five videos that are available for viewing through Dec.13. The videos include an introduction to this style of dance, a stepping tutorial, an opportunity to meet the artists, and two performance videos.

A resource guide with additional educational information will also be available.

Access to these videos are available by registration.

Educators may register at daytonlive.org/step-afrika.

Contact this contributing writer at 937-654-5502 or email russellflorencejr@yahoo.com.