A must-see local premiere is among the Labor Day weekend options including festivals, concerts and a downtown Dayton art hop.
1. ‘Radio Golf’
When: Through Sept. 10; Fridays at 8 p.m., Saturdays at 5 p.m.; Sundays at 3 p.m.
Where: Dayton Theatre Guild, 430 Wayne Ave., Dayton
Details: Robert-Wayne Waldron directs the excellent Dayton premiere of Tony and two-time Pulitzer Prize winner August Wilson’s final, relevant and rarely staged play illuminating the Black experience in 20th century America. Set in Pittsburgh’s Hill District circa 1997, this ripped-from-the-headlines dramedy addresses powerful themes of community, friendship, gentrification, greed, family, legacy, politics and race. S. Francis Livisay, performing at his cool, charismatic and sophisticated best, wonderfully stars as Harmond Wilks, an upbeat mayoral candidate whose desire to tear down an old, seemingly abandoned home in the name of progress is met with stark opposition from an unexpected visitor. The authentically compatible cast, notably featuring Franklin Johnson’s outstanding portrayal of talkative, wise sage Elder Joseph “Old Joe” Barlow, includes purposefully combative Andre Tomlinson as Old Joe’s neighborhood cohort Sterling Johnson, humorous Lessley Scott as Harmond’s golf-adoring business partner Roosevelt Hicks, and radiant Guild newcomer Jena Perry (attractively costumed by Carol Finley with an African sensibility late in Act 2) as Harmond’s supportive yet ambitious wife Mame. Red Newman’s scenic design notably includes thoughtful homages to Wilson’s 20th Century Cycle, reiterating the significance of the Guild producing a Wilson play for the first time in its nearly 80-year history.
More info: www.daytontheatreguild.org
2. First Friday
When: Friday, Sept. 1 from 5-10 p.m.
Where: Various locations throughout downtown Dayton
Details: This art hop offers live music and entertainment as well as numerous food and dining deals all in support of downtown businesses.
More info: downtowndayton.org
3. Erica Falls
When: Friday, Sept. 1 at 7 p.m.
Where: Levitt Pavilion, 134 S. Main St., Dayton
Details: Erica Falls spent five years as the singer for Galactic, but the New Orleans native was concurrently working as solo artist. With a new album dropping soon, Falls is out on some dates with her band Vintage Soul. She brings the group to town for her first Dayton show. Local group Crabswithoutlegs opens the concert. (Don Thrasher)
More info: www.levittdayton.org
4. ‘The Hunchback of Notre Dame’
When: Through Sept. 3; Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m.; Sunday at 3 p.m.
Where: Sorg Opera House, 63 S. Main St., Middletown
Details: INNOVAtheatre has always carved its own path, so it’s no surprise the troupe impressively excels this time around by embracing the dark, dramatic impulses within Alan Menken, Stephen Schwartz and Peter Parnell’s musical “The Hunchback of Notre Dame,” based on the Victor Hugo novel and animated Disney film. Director Richard Lee Waldeck stages a high quality, vocally strong show (bolstered by a great choir) intended to challenge adults with its potent themes of abuse, communication, corruption, family, love and prejudice. Terrific principals include: the delightfully earnest Jacob Nichols as Quasimodo (his heartfelt rendition of “Made of Stone” actually surpasses the gorgeous “Out There”); dynamically conflicted Jason S. Lakes as vengeful Dom Claude Frollo (delivering a knockout “Hellfire”); the beautifully expressive Grace Goodwin whose portrayal of Esmeralda is sensual (“Rhythm of the Tambourine,” choreographed by Isadore Karrick) and sensitive (“God Help the Outcasts”); firmly authoratative Brandon Cole as Captain Phoebus De Martin; and colorful Gwyn Lee as Clopin who leads the rousing “Topsy Turvy,” a strong ensemble sequence accented with surprises both small and tall.
More info: innovatheatre.com
When: Sept. 1-3; Friday from 7-11 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday from 12-11 p.m.
Where: Archbishop Alter High School, 940 E. David Road, Dayton
Details: Alter’s annual festivities include the Alter 5K run, carnival rides, a cornhole tournament, food vendors, alumni reunions, live music and entertainment and more.
More info: alterhs.org
6. Cab Grass Festival
When: Saturday, Sept. 2. Doors open at 1 p.m.
Where: Yellow Cab Tavern, 700 E. Fourth St., Dayton
Details: Early Drive Productions and Level Up Productions have joined forces to present the first Cab Grass Bluegrass Festival. The lineup includes Chicago-based Henhouse Prowlers, Buffalo Wabs & the Price Hill Hustle from Cincinnati and the Miami Valley’s own Repeating Arms. Others acts are Comet Bluegrass All-Stars, the Shady Pine, My Brother’s Keeper and the Goldsberrys. The festival, which should continue well past midnight, also has food trucks, a beer garden, a cigar and whiskey patio, and the first Pint’s and Whiskers’ Beard Competition. (Don Thrasher)
Cost: $27 in advance, $37 day of show
More info: 937-424-3870 or www.yellowcabtavern.com
7. Dayton Reggae Festival
When: Sunday, Sept. 3 from 1-9 p.m.
Where: Levitt Pavilion, 134 S. Main St., Dayton
Details: Lineup includes Jah Soul, Luv Locz, Johnny Payne and The True Believers, Seefari and One Love Reggae Band. David Matthews will emcee. Oscar Pittman serves as DJ.
More info: Facebook
8. Bohemian Funk
When: Friday, Sept. 1 at 9 p.m.
Where: Wings Sports Bar and Grille, 7902 N. Dixie Dr., Vandalia
Details: Local rockers Bohemian Funk had a lineup shakeup earlier in the summer, which left the group scrambling. An Aug. 26 concert at Levitt Pavilion had to be postponed but lead vocalist Rocko Dalien has added some new members and is ready to go. The band, which released the album, “Roots,” in January, returns to action for a night of sweaty, raucous rock on Friday. (Don Thrasher)
More info: 937-898-0280 or wingssportsbar.com
9. Holiday at Home
When: Sept. 3-4; Sunday from 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Monday from 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Where: Fraze Pavilion, 695 Lincoln Park Blvd., Kettering
Details: Kettering’s Holiday at Home festival features live music and entertainment, children’s games, a Labor Day Weekend parade, a car show, artisan and craft vendors, a 5K race, a children’s run, food trucks and specialty snacks.
More info: www.holidayathome.org
10. Cat Video Fest
When: Sept. 2-3; Saturday and Sunday at 12 p.m.
Where: The Neon, 130 E. Fifth St., Dayton
Details: This compilation reel of the latest and best cat videos are “culled from countless hours of unique submissions and sourced animations, music videos and classic internet powerhouses.”
Cost: $10. Ten percent of ticket sales will go to Humane Society of Greater Dayton.
More info: www.neonmovies.com