"Drawing from his own theatrical experiences, Carr has created a poignant comedy-drama that centers on a fictitious actress, Judith Macmillan, and the life-altering encounter she has with a struggling newspaper reporter," according to production notes.
Judith "represents an amalgam of the Broadway and summer stock actresses Carr saw on stage and worked with during the '50s and '60s." Carr's fictional actress made her Broadway debut in the chorus of Oklahoma! – hand selected by Rodgers and Hammerstein. She went on to appear in many R&H musicals and starred in summer stock productions up and down the East Coast.
The retired and reclusive 82-year-old widow is now in small-town Pennsylvania when she is approached by a reporter, whose first assignment is interviewing her for a small newspaper. Their lives, naturally, are changed by the meeting.
"This is a golden opportunity that we could not allow to pass us by," Human Race artistic director Marsha Hanna said in a statement. "This play has received a great deal of attention in the national producing circles. We have aggressively pursued new works in the musical theatre field. When this opportunity arose for a non-musical stage script, it just naturally fit our long range goals."
Carr's career in stage management included working with Carol Channing in Hello, Dolly!, James Earl Jones in Master Harold...and the boys, Carol Burnett in Moon Over Buffalo and Jeremy Irons in The Real Thing. He has also directed and choreographed productions around the country. As a playwright, Carr's Best Friends had its world premiere at the Bristol Riverside Theatre near Philadelphia in 2000, and he is currently working on a new play about Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt called Grand Alliance. In what's being considered a developmental premiere rather than the world premiere, the staging features Patti Karr as Judith Macmillan and Erik Gratton as Mark Landray. Jeff Lee (associate director for Disney's The Lion King) directs. Associate director/choreographer is Terry Berliner. Designers are David Centers (scenic), David Covach (costume), John Rensel (lighting), John Kilgore (sound).
The 219-seat thrust Loft Theatre is located on the third floor of the Metropolitan Arts Center, next to the Victoria Theatre on Main Street in downtown Dayton.
All tickets for Getting to Know You are $29. For information, call (937) 228-3630 or toll free (888) 228 3630 or visit www.humanracetheatre.org.
In conjunction with this production, The Human Race will pay tribute to a name that was synonymous with summer theatre in Dayton for many years – John Kenley (now in his late 90s) and the Kenley Players. A special preview performance of Getting to Know You will be presented March 24, "followed in true Kenley tradition by a cast party at Marion's Piazza." A Patron Reception will begin at 5:30 PM, followed by the preview performance at 7 PM. Tickets are priced at $75 (Patron), $40 and $25, and are available by calling The Human Race business office at (937) 461-3823.