Chris Harmon

Inducted into the Dayton Theatre Hall of Fame, August 3, 2013.

I consider it a great honor to introduce the next inductee to you. Though I don't think introduce is actually the right word as I would bet there are very few people here tonight that don’t already know Chris. Most of you have worked with him and I'm sure ALL of you have at least seen his work.

Chris first started his work in the Dayton theatre community as a teenager at Beavercreek High School, and for the past 21 years he has lived Dayton theatre. He has been involved in some way with almost every community theatre in the area, several high schools, as well as Sinclair Community College, Wright State University, Springfield Arts Council, and Town Hall Theatre. In this past season alone, he was involved with eleven different productions either in set design or in the director's chair, and served as props master and scenic artist four for others. Fifteen productions in one season! Please understand this is not an exceptional – but rather a typical season for Chris. For the upcoming season, Chris is already committed to being involved with no less than ten production and I'm sure that will grow as the season progresses.

Some people would describe Chris' busy schedule and hard work as, oh how shall I put it...I guess the simplest word to use would be..."NUTS"! But Chris does it season after season, with flair, exceptional talent, and dedication.

Chris is constantly sought after for his outstanding set designs. His creativity and talents are amazing and his ability to build these fabulous sets on next-to-nothing budgets is remarkable. His talents do not stop with his sets though. Chris' directing credits are every bit equal to his design credits. And he usually takes on multiple jobs on his productions. For example, on Evil Dead The Musical, which won numerous DayTony awards, including outstanding overall production, Chris not only directed, designed and built the set, he also costumed the show, handled the props, and created the special effects for this highly detailed production. He even came up with the recipe to make the gallons of blood used in the production to be sure it would wash out of the costumes at the end of each performance.

Chris is a man of details. Whether it's with his sets, costumes, props or the direction of a show, Chris always adds the minute details that take a production from good to great. It's so interesting to watch him create a set. Chris never just paints one color – everything he paints has three or four layers of color, texture, highlight, and shadow. When everyone thinks he's done and comments how great it looks he'll reply with "OH NO it needs more highlight here and some shadow there and it just won't look right till I add some texture in here."

Besides all his directing and designing credits, Chris has performed ON stage in numerous productions at Beavercreek Community Theatre, Dayton Playhouse, Dayton Theatre Guild, Playhouse South, Wright State University and for Springfield Arts Council. Chris has been honored with 32 personal DayTony Awards as well as numerous ensemble and show awards.

In addition to his production credits, Chris currently serves on the board of directors for Beavercreek Community Theatre, and is a past board member at The Dayton Playhouse.

Chris has taught children's acting classes and workshops, and is the scenic charge artist, props master, and resident director at Town Hall Theatre.

This "introduction" would not be complete without mentioning Chris as a person. I think I can honestly say you won't find a nicer guy. To know Chris is to love him, and I swear he knows everyone! Seriously you can't go anywhere with him without running in to 5 or 6 people he knows. To work with Chris is a joy. His creativity, patience and encouragement inspires those involved in his productions. He stretches their abilities and helps his cast grow in their art.

Chris' dedication is outstanding, his work ethic unmatched, and he has accomplished more in his 21 years of involvement in the Dayton theatre coommunity than many people twice his age.

Tonight it is with great honor and extreme pleasure I present to you, for induction into the Dayton Theatre Hall of Fame, my dear, dear friend, Christopher Charles Harmon.
-- Doug Lloyd

It is truly an honor to be inducted into The Dayton Theatre Hall of Fame.

I would like to thank everyone in the theatre community that have given me opportunities, collaborated with me and believed in me. I would like to personally thank my mom, Cheryl Harmon, for always letting me follow my dreams, and my partner, Daniel Bayes, for being outstandingly supportive and understanding of the time I spend doing what I love.

This has been a very difficult speech for me to write. It has forced me to examine my life and accomplishments in a way I never have before. Live theatre is such a temporary art form, after the production has ended, all one has are just photos and memories. What do I have to show for all the hard work? Why have I dedicated my life to this?

Then I thought about an exercise that I do when my cast at the children’s theatre loses focus. I give them a piece of paper and ask them to write down "Why I do theatre." More often than not, it is the same five answers.

Number 1 - "It is fun." Number 2 - "I get to make new friends and spend time with the friends I already have." Number 3 - "I like to perform and make the audience laugh and clap." Number 4 - "I like to pretend to be somebody I'm not." Number 5 - "It's the only place I fit in." This is the one that probably hits home for me most of all.

When I was growing up, I was a very shy and quiet boy. I was encouraged by my parents to try many different activities but I never could find one that truly clicked with me. I tried sports, but my fear of the ball tended to keep me on the bench. I tried Camp Fire, but go-carts and wilderness just wasn't my thing.

In the 6th grade, my choir teacher, Mrs. Barrazatto, encouraged me to audition for the high school musical. I was very nervous about singing by myself in front of people, but somehow I mustered up the courage and went up there, and then of course froze up. The director suggested I turn around, take a deep breath, then try again. So I did what I was told, and began singing the song with my back still facing them. At least I could follow directions...but I was stopped, and asked to turn around, so I did and gave the shakiest, nerve-rattled rendition of "Camelot" a boy soprano could do. Somehow I was cast in the ensemble of Fiddler on the Roof, and I found the place where I fit in.

There is nothing else that I work harder at, nowhere else I can see myself, and nobody else I could possibly be. I do theatre because it makes me a better person. I do theatre because it lets me enjoy my life. I do theatre to be with people that listen, understand, and accept me.

Thank you for this unbelievable honor.
--Chris Harmon