Human Race Theatre Company artistic director Marsha Hanna, a cornerstone of the Dayton arts community who lost her battle with esophageal cancer Monday, January 3 at the age of 59, will be remembered with a Memorial Open House Saturday, February 5 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Loft Theatre, 126 N. Main St.
Hanna, a Tiffin, Ohio native and theater graduate of Bowling Green State University, had served as artistic director of the Human Race since 1990 and a resident director since its founding in 1986. She was a fan of such language-driven playwrights as Richard Greenberg, Cormac McCarthy and August Wilson, and produced more than 100 shows.
Hanna predominately helmed productions for the Human Race yet guest directed at Indianapolis’ Phoenix Theatre, La Comedia Dinner Theatre, Sinclair Community College, the University of Cincinnati, the University of Dayton and Wright State University to name just a few. Her numerous directing credits included “A Christmas Carol,” “Art,” “Brother Wolf,” “Copenhagen,” “Crimes of the Heart,” “Every Good Boy Deserves Favour,” “I Hate Hamlet,” “Quilters,” “Take Me Out,” “The Dazzle,” “The Elephant Man,” “The Sunset Limited” and “You Can’t Take It With You.”
Prior to joining the Human Race, Hanna served as a drama specialist with the City of Dayton, Division of Recreation, volunteered at the Dayton Playhouse, Dayton Theatre Guild and Fairborn Playhouse, and co-founded Illumination Theatre. In 2003, she was inducted into the Dayton Theatre Hall of Fame. Last year, she received the Ohio Governor’s Award for Arts Administration, an honor shared with Human Race executive director Kevin Moore. Additionally in 2010, she staged the regional premiere of David Hare’s thought-provoking drama “The Vertical Hour” and co-directed the return engagement of Ron Hutchinson’s “Gone With the Wind”-themed comedy “Moonlight and Magnolias” with Jake Lockwood. Fittingly, her final production was a triumph: the collaborative Human Race/Wright State regional premiere of Tracy Letts’ Tony and Pulitzer Prize-winning dramatic epic “August: Osage County” which she co-directed with Scott Stoney.
A Marsha Hanna Memorial Fund will be created in conjunction with the Human Race’s 25th anniversary 2011-2012 season. Details about donating to the fund and its purpose will be announced at a later date.