16
Sep

12 Angry Jurors

 

 

 

 

 

12 Angry Jurors
Act3 Playhouse
through September 29, 2019

This is a jury of men and women, but the 12 of them have the same problems as did 12 Angry Men. They’ve sat through a trial where a teenager, with a rap sheet, is accused of stabbing his father to death. The DA is seeking the death penalty.

Is there to be a hung jury? That is the essence of the show and it hangs in balance through 2 acts, although total running time is only about 90 minutes. Johnna Barrett Mitchell directed this cast of thirteen players (one of whom, Sorsha Masters) is the guard from the court, and they argue and fight their way through the process of trying to reach a decision.

Not sure where the location was, but could have been by the 3rd Avenue EL in NYC. An old lady across the way testifies she saw the crime being committed as a train was passing by. A tenant in the apartment house testified he ran out and saw the defendant running down the stairs. But, things may not always be exactly what people think they have seen, and therein lies the question of reasonable doubt. Sam North, Jessica Wise, Patrick Croce, Katie Wickline, Angel Escobedo, Sarah Palm, Jack Allison, Aaron Hancock, Angela Van Tassel, Michael Miller, Franco Trelles and Justin Grey are on stage full time, as the jury only goes into recess at intermission.

If you’ve ever been on the board of a social service organization then you’ll easily relate to how getting an unanimous vote of 12 opinion-holders, is no easy task. Logic does not always rule, and predeterminations do not always persist. I can’t tell you the outcome but I can tell you these players at the small theatre, put a LOT of effort into this work, which could easily be one taking place in our own community these days.

More info at Act3Productions.org

15
Sep

Matilda

Matilda
Onstage Atlanta
through September 29, 2019

Roald Dahl’s Matilda is that incredibly bright young girl who winds up having some problems at the prep school, and family things to deal with as well.

Directed by Abra Thurmond with a pretty large cast. Matilda is played by young Eden Mew. The parents are Bradley T. Johnson and Bridget McCarthy. Her dad is a real piece of work. But then, the school mistress, Ms. Trunchbull (Stuart Schleuse) can make Miss Hannigan look like a saint, when she sends the kids to the Chokey.

What makes this one work is a large group of youngsters who can act, sing, dance, and handle gymnastics as well, a some really goofy adults. Kind of makes one think of why actors never want to share the stage with a child nor an animal.

The music is not a score you’ll recall and leave the theatre humming. And, this may not be for all youngsters, as this is not one of those “Once upon a time, there was a happy ending” kind of script. It works better for those who have read the story or seen the film or the play previously; so they have a better understanding of what is going on and what to anticipate. Having said that, it is not Annie, even though Matilda’s odd-ball father does strike it rich.

More info at OnstageAtlanta.com

14
Sep

Mary Poppins

Mary Poppins
City Springs Theatre
through September 22, 2019

Let’s jump to the bottom line . . . . get your tickets and you will thoroughly enjoy every minute of this world class production at a local theatre. The sets, cast, costumes, music, choreography, flying and every single aspect of this production are the equal of anything you may ever have seen on Broadway or Shaftesbury Avenue.

Kerry Conte comes on stage as the world’s favorite nanny. She has the looks, pipes and moves of the original nanny; and truly everyday’s a holiday with Mary. Con O’Shea-Creal has come to town to sweep those chimneys and step in time with the giant cast. The banker who may have some problems is George (Drew McVety) who is the somewhat strict father of Jane (Neve Juday) and Michael (Carson O. Shelton).

Hats off to Brandt Blocker who directed this incredible opus. Cindy Mora Reiser did the choreography and Chris Brent Davis was in the pit as conductor for the live full orchestra. More than two dozen superb performers take on 30+ roles as the tale unfolds to show us how anything can happen.

Yes, you are probably going to want to sing along to some of the numbers, but try to just move your lips. They will give you a chance to really clap and sing along when they do an audience-invited encore of Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, and you get a chance to come off being really precocious.

This is one to take the kids to, whether they be 5 or 95, they’ll truly enjoy it. No expletives, nobody getting killed, and even easy to relate to; albeit no clue what brimstone and treacle may taste like. The show at the Byers Theatre just off 285 in Sandy Springs is easy to get to, with plenty of garage space and goodies. More info at CitySpringsTheatre.com

13
Sep

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
Georgia Ensemble Theatre
through September 29, 2019

Are our lives a reflection of the world in which we live, or is it the other way around? If we accept that any real dictionary should have as a definition of “dysfunctional” to “see family” then you can understand where the weirdos in Tennessee Williams’ plays come from. His mother was often in zoo-zoo land, his father was abusive and was much closer to his brother than to him, and his sister Rose, had been diagnosed as schizoid and spent most of her life in an asylum. And, Williams was a depressed alcoholic homosexual. Well, HELLO!  Meet the family in this play.

Kate Donadio MacQueen as Margaret and Joe Sykes as Brick, dominate the stage for the first hour act. He’s drowning himself in booze, and is not at all inclined to intimacy with his wife. John Maxwell is Big Daddy, who is not a happy camper. He’s got medical issues, family issues, and is sitting on a fortune in cash and property that has to pass off to a bunch of folks he would prefer to ignore.

Big Mama is played by Karen Howell, and she is one who seems to have some problems dealing with reality, when the reality doesn’t offer the outcomes she would prefer. I figure that should remind most of us of somebody in our respective families.

The cast includes Kelly Chris as the sister, Mae, Topher Payne as the brother, Gooper, Jacob Jones as the preacher man and Peter Hardy as the doctor with the bad news. James Donadio directed this work and did a fine job. The play won the Pulitzer in 1955, and maybe it was because things were going pretty well in that year. But, this is not an easy one to handle.

The static set works for the whole show as players come and go. There are a couple of laughs but this isn’t a comedy in any sense of the word. There is a load of yelling and angst to deal with, and it certainly is not for the kids. For those of us who’ve been dealing with family members final days, or other difficult times, it can be a difficult couple of hours.

While this is not one of those works where all comes out right in the end, it does explain where the title comes from, and helps one to understand that they are not the only ones dealing with a mountain of you-know-what. Very well done and easy to get to with plenty of parking and goodies. One suggestion is try to get seats closer to the stage so you don’t miss a line.

More info at GET.org

10
Sep

The Three Musketeers

The Three Musketeers
Shakespeare Tavern Playhouse
through September 29, 2019

Alexander Dumas would probably have enjoyed this staged telling of his famous tale. D’Artagnon (David Sterritt) takes off for France to become a proud Musketeer. The tale is how he gets involved with Athos (Glenn Lorandeau), Porthos (Charlie T. Thomas) and Aramis (Ryan Vo) as they fall into the evil doings of the nasty Cardinal Richelieu (Matt Nitchie) who is the power behind the throne and the Grand Manipulator.

As you know it is a story a great intrigue, personal enchantments, and loads of personal conflicts being resolved at the end of a blade. With a cast of about 18 players and some of the best fight scenes you’ve ever seen, the tale unfolds in two acts but ends with One for All. Better than many contemporary political scenarios.

The athleticism of the players in fantastic, as they move through the fight scenes directed and choreographed by Drew Reeves with Mary Ruth Ralston acting as Fight Captain.

This is one truly intriguing saga, staged to perfection in the Tavern Playhouse. Fear not, for they also have a good kitchen with some fine pub grub and a pint or two as needed. It is open prior to curtain time so you can dine and watch, and go back at intermission for some goodies. The Tavern is located at 499 Peachtree Street and there is limited on-street parking. But fear not; park across the street in the hospital garage and when leaving, show them your ticket stub and they discount the rate.

If you have some youngsters you may wish to introduce them to the world of The Bard with a visit to one of their shows. More info easily available at ShakespeareTavern.com

18
Aug

War Paint

War Paint
Lyric Theatre
through September 1, 2019

This musical about two leading ladies of the cosmetics industry is based upon a true story which was the subject of a 2007 film, The Powder and the Glory. It is about the rivalry between Helena Rubinstein (Mary Nye Bennett) and Elizabeth Arden (Pamela Gold)

Elizabeth Arden moved to NYC from Canada in the 1930’s, about the time when Polish immigrant, Helena Rubinstein emigrated; and both were intent upon making their names and their fortunes with their own branded products. It was a bitter rivalry and things got worse when their business-personal mates, Tommy (Lowrey Brown) and Harry (Brian Kurlander) each defected to the other side, and things started to get more difficult.

It was in the 1930’s when women were secretaries, not executives; when TV wasn’t yet a factor, and a woman’s persona was defined by her appearance. Especially when dining at the St. Regis with the hoi polloi.

In addition to a cast of 15 actors, there is a full band in the pit working through the two dozen numbers. The first act doesn’t really define the story, as there is so much more in Act II. For WWII is about to change the world of those days. And as Rosie became a riveter, both of the ladies stepped up to plate to help the women who were helping to serve.

There are underlying problems such as anti-Semitism, failure to comply with FDA regulations to make it known what compounds were in their products, how to hang on to product recognition while trademarks may not be the factor, but rather the colors and the names.

And while we often hear that especially in families there may be more that binds us together than divides us; you know that isn’t always the outcome. But, in the 1960’s when both of the ladies were to be honored for their achievements, they managed to discover their common interest and goal.

This is not one for the kiddies, as the story would be lost for them; and the running time is almost 2.5 hours. It is not Annie, or Cats, or the type of show where you will leave the theatre humming the tunes and wanting to sing the words, as it is a more modern approach. But, it gets the job done and with good costumes, choreography, music, voices and sets. More info at AtlanticLyric.com

17
Aug

Sundays on the River

Shemekia Copeland
Chattahoochee Nature Center
Sundays on the River

The Sundays of the River concerts at Chattahoochee Nature Center are a really good summer evening event. They host one a month in good weather, and the final event will be September 8th, when famous blues singer Shemekia Copeland takes to the pavilion stage.

Shemekia is the famous blues singer whose latest album, America’s Child won this years award as Best Blues Music Album. She’s been on tour with her crew for quite a while and is a woman who knows no boundaries. She will be in Texas just prior to hitting Roswell, and then she hits the road again all over the country.

If you didn’t get to see Sam Lewis and his band this month, then this is final gig for this summer. There are seats under the pavilion or you can bring folding chairs and blankets and loll about on the adjacent green. And, it is a perfect place for the picnic. Bring whatever you wish for fine dining, and if you run short of libations they also have a concession stand.

Help is available for those with mobility problems, and they do a good job of discouraging annoying insects in the performance area. But, you might wish to have some Off or an After Bite stick with you if you are pretty sensitive.

The facility is right on Willeo Road, and more info is at ChattNatureCenter.org

17
Aug

Disenchanted!

Disenchanted!
Marietta Theatre Company
through August 31, 2019

If you can recall all those cute princesses who had problems while they awaited discovery and rescue from some Prince of a man; then maybe you’ll enjoy the real deal as these princesses recall those days of yore.

Zac Phelps directed this cast of ten female players who work through 14 parody type numbers in a cabaret style setting. Cinderella (Leah Boresow), Snow White (Leah Keelan) and Sleeping Beauty (Bekah Medford) are the lead trio; albeit each of the actors has her minutes of stage fame as they relate their experiences, feelings, regrets and wishes.

Angela C. Rodriguez is Pocahontas and Kelsey South is Rapunzel, and their numbers, like the others, are an audience hit. The costumes are really good, and some of these princesses can actually tap dance in Act II. Rachel Shiffman, Jada Grier, Sarah Grace Valleroy, Tecia Chavez and Keeley Adkisson round out the cast, and Cristina Dinella is on the keyboard to stage right.

So forget about that girl with the long hair in a castle, the one swimming in the bay, or one who worked wonders by smooching a frog. The stories that were told to you when you were young may not be as the frustrated ladies relate their tales.

The theatre performs on the Lyric Studio on the Square, just off the Square on Powder Springs Street. Park on the streets adjacent if you can. All seats have good views and it is a small house, so you feel truly drawn in to the action. More info at MariettaTheatre.com

11
Aug

Disaster!

Disaster!
Act3 Playhouse
through August 24, 2019

This one is not a Mary Poppins musical; but is a musical comedy about a guy who builds a floating casino and disco club to be moored at a pier in Manhattan. It’s the late 1970’s when the guys were wearing bell bottoms and music rocked. Jason Meinhardt comes on as Tony Delvecchio, the street-wise honcho. He has two problem visitors.  Marianne (Kate Johnson) who is a reporter looking into various probable problems onboard the casino; and a professor who styles himself as a disaster expert, played by Stephen DeVillers.

It’s the opening night for the floating casino and the characters gather to gamble and dance, unaware of impending natural disasters, and the building’s lack of safety measures compounds these catastrophes. The professor, Ted, alleges the casino’s structure was built on a fault line, which causes earthquakes and more natural disasters.

For a small company this is very large and energetic show with a cast of 16 plus a live band of 5. Characters are dancing, screaming, running, singing and trying to figure out what lies ahead for them as they encounter problems from the fault line on which they are partying. A young waiter, Chad (Kyle Larkins) exudes energy like a tornado as he runs through songs, steps and relationships. He was once engaged to Marianne.

A couple of oddballs draw you in as Sister Mary (Alexandria McMath) a nun who has to figure out if she should save some quarters for orphans, or try the slots for a bigger bag of alms for them; and a singer, Levora Verona (Christy Robinson), who shows up hoping she can hit the stage on the ship and launch a career recovery.

You probably know Shirley & Maury (Tiffany Jarman Jansen & Jim Dailey). They live next door to you and have been a couple since the start of time. The show is directed by Spencer G. Stephens with music under the baton of John-Michael d’Haviland. And all the fast paced moves were choreographed by Johnna Barrett Mitchell.

They work through 34 numbers, in whole and sometimes just parts. You won’t recall most numbers, but know the beat. A few like I am Woman and I Will Survive are two you’ll still hear these days. So put on your bell bottoms and Nehru jacket and head to Sandy Springs where the theatre is right behind Trader Joe’s. More info at Act3Productions.com Note that this is a small house and selling out, so if you snooze. . . .

9
Aug

Sylvia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sylvia
Center Stage North
through August 17, 2019

A. R. Gurney’s Sylvia hit the stage about 25 years ago and has been pleasing audiences ever since. For many of us it comes off more as a reflection of real life, than as a really camped up comedy.

Meet Greg (Ned Thurman) who is a businessman in a situation which is not exactly what he wants at work; and he and his wife are now empty nesters and moved from the burbs into Manhattan.

His wife, Kate (Julie Forbes Resh) has landed some work as a teacher. The last thing she needs in her life and her marriage is some mutt that Greg picked up while he was goofing off at the park. They are 180 degrees apart on the adoption idea, but the more time Greg spends with the dog, the more enamored of the dog he becomes.

What is really cute is that there is no real canine in the show. Jessie Kuipers plays the adopted Sylvia. Greg didn’t name her that; she had a name tag on when she came to Greg that day; ergo the bitch knew who and what she was and what she wished for.

The story deals with the stresses the dog injects into the marriage. And, in one scene Kate goes to a counselor for help. LeeAnna Lambert plays three supporting roles. She is Tom, a guy Greg gets to know at the park, where Tom’s dog gets into it with Greg’s. Then she comes on a a visitor, Phyllis, who cuts her visit short due to some canine concerns. And she winds up as the shrink, Leslie, who tries to mediate Kate and Greg’s relationship problems after Kate had scored a 6-month assignment in London.

There was no way the three of them could go because of the 6-month quarantine rules in the UK. A decision is finally made to find another adopting family. But, whether or not that works out you have to see for yourself.

Amy Cain directed the show, on a very workable set. And you will wonder where Jessie Kuipers gets all that strength and agility. It’s a load of fun; even if you don’t have a dog. Think of your neighbor’s dog, and what his life is like. Or recall the famous line when a hotel manager tells Clouseau, “That is not my dog.” For that is where Kate starts off.

For more info and tickets visit CenterStageNorth.org