Memorial Day weekend is a fitting opening for right next to me, a new musical by Gregg Coffin, whose prior works Convenience and Five Course Love have been hits for The Human Race, Dayton's own professional theatre company. That's because right next to me tells the story of a young military widow (Maria Couch) who, a year after her Marine Major husband (HRTC Resident Artist Jamie Cordes) was killed in Iraq, is completely unable to cope with the loss until his brother (Jim Poulos) leads her on a journey of transformation.
The brother pretty much bullies the widow into joining him on a trip to scatter her husband's ashes at places he requested, locales that were important in his and their lives. But once she starts the journey, supported by her best friend (Dana Mierlak) and with her husband's specter looking on, her life slowly begins to come back together as she revisits their first meeting, their honeymoon and other major events.
right next to me has taken a long and eventful journey of its own. The form that will be seen at The Loft is a major transformation from the Human Race workshop of the show in 2009, itself the product of changes made from earlier workshops and a full production in Sacramento in 2008.
Director Melissa Rain Anderson, who has worked on projects with Coffin for 18 years, has been involved with right next to me from the beginning. She says the new, finalized version cuts to what had been the core intent all along, "This is absolutely what the show's about. Now it feels completely right."
Coffin himself is serving as Musical Director and Arranger. Scenic design is by David A. Centers, costumes by Lowell A. Mathwich, lighting by HRTC Resident Artist John Rensel, and sound by Nathan D. Dean, with Heather Jackson as production stage manager.
right next to me will have a preview night May 26, with official opening May 27, and performances through June 12. Tickets are available through www.humanracetheatre.org <http://www.humanracetheatre.org> or by calling Ticket Center Stage at (937) 228-3630 . In addition to the usual half price for students, active duty military and personnel with Wright-Patterson IDs may purchase tickets for half the regular adult price.
Friday, June 3, will be Blue Star Mothers Night, with ten dollars from each full-price adult ticket sold for that performance donated to that support group for military families.
Production sponsors are Lifestages - Samaritan Centers for Women; Tim and Char Scroggins; National Fund for New Musicals; The Producers' Circle; Connexion Marketing and Design Solutions; Bohn Architecture & Interior Design; The Blaine Block Institute for Voice Analysis and Rehabilitation, a division of Southwest Ohio ENT Specialists; Richard and Marni Flagel; Clark Schaefer Hackett; and CompuNet Clinical Laboratories.
Metropolitan Arts Center in 1991, taking up residence at the 219-seat Loft Theatre. In addition to the Eichelberger Loft Season, The Human Race produces for the Victoria Theatre's Broadway Series, the Musical Theatre Workshop series, and special event programming. The Human Race, under the direction of Producing Artistic Director Kevin Moore, also maintains education and outreach programs for children, teens and adults, as well as artist residencies in area schools, The Muse Machine In-School Tour, and summer youth programs. Human Race organizational support is provided by Culture Works, Montgomery County Arts and Cultural District, Shubert Foundation and the Ohio Arts Council. The Ohio Arts Council helped fund this organization with state tax dollars to encourage economic growth, educational excellence and cultural enrichment for all Ohioans.
Photo Credit: Scott J. Kimmins
BWW Hi-Res Gallery - Original Version