Jessica Grové and Jeffrey Doornbos Enter the Wonderful World of Was, the Musical, This Fall in Dayton

News   Jessica Grové and Jeffrey Doornbos Enter the Wonderful World of Was, the Musical, This Fall in Dayton
Jessica Grové, the Thoroughly Modern Millie veteran who made a name for herself as a young actress in Radio City Entertainment's The Wizard of Oz, will again play the famed "Dorothy," but this time in the dark musical, Was.
Jessica Grov
Jessica Grov

The musical based on the Geoff Ryman's book of the same name gets its world premiere by the Human Race Theatre in Dayton, OH, Oct. 14-31. Was has book and lyrics by Barry Kleinbort and music Joseph Thalken.

"Was interweaves two stories told a century apart — the first, in the 1870s, involving a young orphan named Dorothy Gael; the second, in the 1980s, regarding Jonathan Wood, a successful but dying actor, whose obsession with 'The Wizard of Oz' leads him to Kansas searching for proof of Dorothy Gael's existence."

As you might imagine from the synopsis, this production is not intended or recommended for children.

David Pittu directs a cast that includes James Darrah as L. Frank Baum, Jeffrey Doornbos as Jonathan Wood, Renee Franck-Reed as Dotty, Scott Hunt as Wilbur Jewell, Peak Kwinarian as Henry Gulch, Alan Souza as Ira Bernstein, Moira Stone as Angel, Erin Elizabeth Ulman as Young Dorothy, Melanie Vaughan as Emma Gulch and (in ensemble roles) Katie Pees, Maya Spring, Scott Stoney, Aaron Vega and Nick Verina.

Joseph Bates will be music director. Janet Watson choreographs. Designers are Mark Halpin (scenic), John Rensel (lighting), Mary Beth McLaughlin (costume) and Lindsay Jones (sound). Orchestrations are by composer Thalken, who has a busy 2004-05 season: His new musical, Harold and Maude, premieres at Paper Mill Playhouse. The first performance, 8 PM Oct. 12, is a Pay What You Can show. Was is a Human Race Theatre Company staging performed at the 219-seat Loft Theatre, 126 N. Main Street, Dayton, OH. For tickets, call (937) 228-3630. For more information about the Human Race Theatre Company, visit


The Human Race's 2004-05 season will also include the popular regional play, The Drawer Boy, Jan. 27-Feb. 13, 2005; Tom Stoppard's rare play-with orchestra, Every Good Boy Deserves Favour, a collaboration between Human Race and Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra at the Mead Theatre in the Schuster Center, Feb. 25, 2005; Beth Henley's Crimes of the Heart, William Nicholson's divorce drama, The Retreat From Moscow, March 24-April 10, 2005; Steve Martin's The Underpants, June 9-26, 2005.

Also on the 2004-05 season for Human Race is the new musical, Green Gables, at the Victoria Theatre, May 3-15, 2005. Human Races produces it and Victoria presents it.

Green Gables was produced as a musical theatre workshop at The Loft Theatre in 2003 and then seen in a reading presentation in New York. Green Gables is based on Lucy Maude Montgomery's beloved book, "Anne of Green Gables," which has inspired a number of musicals, including a popular annual presentation on Prince Edward Island in Canada.

This Green Gables is penned by the Cincinnati based writing team of Janet Yates Vogt and Mark Friedman. "Audiences will travel back to Avonlea and relive the adventures of the precocious, high-spirited orphan Ann Shirley," according to the announcement. "Mistakenly sent to Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert, who are expecting a boy, Anne's undeniable spirit captures the hearts of everyone."


Founded in 1986, The Human Race Theatre Company moved to the Metropolitan Arts Center in 1991, taking up residence at The Loft, a 219-seat thrust theatre. In addition to The Humana Loft Series 1, produced in collaboration with the Victoria Theatre Association, The Human Race produces The Humana Loft Series 2, the Musical Theatre Workshop series, and special event programming.  The Human Race is under the direction of artistic director Marsha Hanna and executive director Kevin Moore.

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