Aug. 02--The theater community will gather next Saturday evening to honor two versatile actors who've been entertaining local audiences for decades.
Saul Caplan and Barb Jorgensen will be inducted into the Dayton Theatre Hall of Fame at the DayTony gala which will take place on Aug. 9 at Sinclair Community College. The prestigious honor, established in 2001, was created to recognize local theatre artists and patrons of the arts whose life-long participation, innovation, and creativity have influenced the Dayton arts culture.
Caplan, who has worked in theater for the past 55 years, is also well-known for his directorial skills. As recently as last weekend, he oversaw the production of "The Paymaster," one of six plays premiering at FutureFest, the annual Festival of New Plays hosted by the Dayton Playhouse.
Before returning to Dayton in 1998, Caplan worked as a professional actor from New York to Florida. Since then, he's worked on more than 65 productions with the Human Race Theatre Company, The Dayton Theatre Guild, Sinclair Community College, The Dayton Playhouse, FutureFest, Brookville Theatre and Playhouse South.
When she's not on stage, Jorgensen -- who has worked in theater since 1989 -- can be found pitching in wherever necessary: selling tickets, pouring coffee, chatting with patrons. She uses her speaking skills as a docent at the Dayton Art Institute, for mock trials at the University of Dayton Law School and teaching theater UD's Osher Lifelong Learning Institute.
What others say
Jeff Sams of Springboro said he has been privileged to work with both of the honorees -- he was Caplan's nominator for the upcoming award and wrote a recommendation for Jorgensen.
"Barb played my mother in "Dividing the Estate" at the Dayton Theatre Guild," says Sams. "Never have I been on stage with a women who commanded more poise and professionalism than Barb."
He says she's also a terrific volunteer.
"She welcomed me to the board at the Guild with open arms, takes an interest in me as a person and taught me a great deal about public relations -- her specialty."
Sams says Caplan may be the funniest man he's ever met, both on stage and off.
"Watching him is like taking taking free acting lessons, I marvel at his comic timing and his fearlessness as an entertainer," said Sams, who shared the stage with Caplan in "Fiddler on the Roof" at the Human Race Theatre Company and "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum" at Dayton Playhouse. "I can only hope that one day I can deliver half the comic gold he brings to the stage."
Deirdre Root of Dayton is a stage manager who's worked with Caplan in 14 plays over the past nine years. She says he shows true professionalism both as an actor and director in the way he respects and trusts the folks who work backstage.
"He knows that the rarely seen men and women in black were an important part of the team, and it makes working with him a true collaborative effort," Root says.
Director/actor Debra Kent of Tipp City says Jorgensen is an indispensable board member of the Dayton Theatre Guild who is not only an officer but the theater's "voice of reason."
"If something gets off-track, she pulls us back on-track," Kent says. "She does the same thing on our play-reading committee. I can't image how we would get along without her!"
We're delighted to talk with these two honorees for this week's Sunday Chat.
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