Eccentric musical “MAME” showing in Dayton

By: Moira Bonadonna – Staff Writer

“MAME,” a musical telling the story of a young man and his eccentric aunt during the Great

Depression, is coming to downtown Dayton. The Human Race Theatre Company’s production will feature many local graduates and Dayton area natives, and it runs from Oct. 30 through Nov. 23.

What started as a small, budding company 27 years ago has blossomed into a large theater that showcases Broadway musicals and plays on a smaller scale, but with just as much enthusiasm.

“A lot of folks come by just to see if they can pull it off… and they don’t leave disappointed,” actor Zack Steele said.

The Human Race Theatre Company tries to present universal themes “that explore the human condition and startle us all into a renewed awareness of ourselves,” according to the theater’s website. It mainly houses performances in the Loft Theatre, a 212-seat space on the third floor of the Metropolitan Arts Center, according to the Director of Marketing and Communications Steven Box.

“‘MAME’ is a fun and funny production about a young man and his outrageous aunt, something many young adults can relate to,” Box said. One of the central themes of the musical is staying positive and making the best out of a poor situation as is evident by the fact that Mame recurrently uses the word “banquet” to describe life. Steele, a recent graduate of Wright State University, plays Patrick Dennis, Mame’s orphaned nephew.

“My experience has been wonderful thus far,” Steele said. While he said he feels lucky to not have experienced the same kind of loss Patrick did as a child, Steele did say that he “can very much relate to his innate desire to live a ‘proper’ life and to try to fit a mold that he was never going to fit.”

Steele said he appreciates the stories of characters and puts deep thought into how he will portray them.

“As actors, we are an eccentric bunch, each with our own outrageous and equally unique backgrounds, but to deny our own story, is to deny the thing that makes us good performers that are compelling to watch on stage,” he said.

He said this lesson can be learned the hard way, often times with people losing beloved objects or people, before coming to acknowledge them.

“This story is one of living life to make mistakes so that you can learn from them,” Steele said.

Box highly encourages University of Dayton students to see The Human Race Theatre Company’s production of “MAME” not only because of its entertaining and relatable plot, but because it is a Broadway-level production right here in Dayton.

“It’s a big musical in a very intimate space with Broadway-level production values and acting for a fraction of the cost of a touring show,” Box said.

He also said this production of “MAME” is more catered toward students in the Dayton area.

“Our ‘MAME’ has been created specifically for our audience. Students pay half price for all performances and can see a number of recent area graduates who are just starting out in their professional careers.”

Steele hopes students come out to see the show as well.

“‘MAME’ reminds us to be active participants in our own happiness and, above all, to surround ourselves with loyal friends,” he said. “Students, don’t convince yourselves that this ‘won’t be your kind of show,’ because I guarantee you will leave the theater with a new outlook.”

For more information, visit the theatre company’s website,, or contact Steven Box, the director of marketing and communications.

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