The Victoria Theatre is ready to make the 2014-15 season a great one.By Belinda Cai & Alyssa Reck
A striking piece of history from more than a century ago sits at the intersection of First and Main Streets. The Victoria Theatre—formerly donning many names such as the Turner Opera House, Music Hall, and Victory Theatre—has truly stood the test of time. It is among the oldest continually operating theaters in North America.
While the theater has been host to legends such as Mark Twain, Edwin Forrest and Harry Houdini, it stands just as strong today as one of Dayton’s preeminent performing arts centers, seating 1,154 audience members.
“We’re here to enrich, entertain and educate the community,” says Diane Schoeffler-Warren, public relations and promotions manager for the Victoria Theatre Association. “We’re making sure the theater experience is memorable and fun, but also educating to the audience.”
She notes that there will be some popular shows coming up in the Star Attractions Series at the theater, including Evil Dead the Musical and Letters Home—featuring actual letters written by soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq—in April.
Additionally, there is the PNC Family Series and Discovery Series, both geared toward kids, and a Variety Series that will exhibit diverse acts such as singer-songwriters and comedians. Victoria Theatre also hosts its Cool Film Series in July and August.
“We dedicate it to when [Victoria Theatre] was the Victory Theatre, which was a film theater; the film series is nostalgic,” says Schoeffler-Warren.
Showings in August include: It Happened One Night (Aug. 1-3), Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (Aug. 8-10), Dr. Strangelove (Aug. 15-17), a Harold Ramis tribute to Groundhog Day (Aug. 22-24) and the musical Silk Stockings (Aug. 29-31).
The Victoria Theatre Association is more than just the theater itself, however. Started in 1976, it is the umbrella organization of the Victoria Theatre, Schuster Center, and Loft Theatre.
The Premier Health Broadway Series taking place at the Schuster features Broadway musicals and productions on stage throughout the year.
As for the 2014-2015 season?
“The whole season is pretty fabulous,” says Schoeffler-Warren. “You’re going to have your focus on Wicked and Book of Mormon [in April 2015]; they’re huge.”
There will also be a revival of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat from Oct. 21-26.
About Smokey Joe’s Café Featuring The Coasters, a great jukebox musical, Schoeffler-Warren exclaims, “It is so much fun. This had me cracking up. … It has won Tony Awards and Grammy Awards.”
This hilarious show will run from Nov. 11-23.
In January, there will be Flashdance the Musical.
“It is the movie on stage. It’s a new title that younger demographics will remember seeing growing up,” says Schoeffler-Warren.
In February, there will be Nice Work if You Can Get It, a 1920s Prohibition-era musical, which features a classic Gershwin score.
Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike will take place in March. “It is a very funny play produced by the Human Race Theatre Company. … It helps us promote the professional actors in our area,” explains Schoeffler-Warren.
She says that in June, Peter and the Star Catcher, a comedic prequel to Peter Pan will be performed, where the audience gains insight to how Peter Pan became the boy who never grew up.
Whatever the occasion, Schoeffler-Warren reminds everyone that there is always a lot of history present at the Victoria Theatre.
“Any Daytonian will tell you, ‘Yeah, I went there for that or I have memories of my grandmother from this.’ That, to me, is what keeps the Victoria Theatre alive in the hearts of folks.”
Visit victoriatheatre.com for shows, events, performance series, venues, theatres, education and engagement, and more.