For just over two years, the Cutting Edge Theatre Company in Sylvania has aimed to present small, innovative productions, completely selling out intimate performances of Hair and Cabaret to appreciative crowds.
Cutting Edge’s rendition of Cabaret in March earned nine honors from the 2017 Ohio Community Theatre Association for the Northwest Region, including Excellence in Musical Performance for actor Jeffery T. Foor, Excellence in Ensemble for the entire cast and Excellence in both Directing and Choreography for Stephanie L. Dennehy.
“I was floored, the fact that we are just over two years [old] and we came home with nine awards. That’s insane to me,” says Dennehy.
Cabaret, one of only two shows from the region to be invited to perform at the 2017 OCTAFEST competition this Labor Day weekend in Columbus, will compete with the best theatre shows from around Ohio for the chance to move on to the national competition.
“It’s a great way for us to get accolades for what we have done. Most of the time, you don’t have an opportunity to be recognized,” Dennehy says.
The honors come as validation of Dennehy’s vision for Cutting Edge. As artistic director and co-founder of the company, she has worked to find a niche for the group in the community and to build a reputation for innovative, semi-professional productions.
“What we have discovered, now that we’ve been around for about two-and-a-half years, is that our niche is small, eclectic musicals. Things that people don’t do very often,” Dennehy says.
Transformation and growth
Cutting Edge also impresses with transforming their performance space to complement the productions. For “Cabaret,” the Nederhouser Community Hall in Sylvania’s Olander Park became a period nightclub. For “Hair,” it took on the air of a hippie commune. Choreography mingles performers amid the audience, including the crowd in the show. It’s those unique experiences that Dennehy wants to retain and nurture as Cutting Edge continues to grow and finds a more permanent home.
“In my dream world, we are eventually gonna have a building that seats only between 80 and 100 people. I’m not looking for a space that seats 250 or more,” she says. “An intimate space. I’d love to be able to host classes, small wedding receptions, or have a comic come in to do an intimate gig.”
As for the upcoming trip to the awards ceremony in Columbus, Dennehy relates, “Because this is our first year, I would say just being there is kind of a reward. Of course, we love to take some awards home!”
For more information about Cutting Edge Theatre and its upcoming shows, visit cuttingedgetheatre.org.