14
Dec

A Christmas Carol

A Christmas Carol
Alliance Theatre
through December 24, 2018

Ho, Ho, Ho . . . It’s back again, with Scrooge played to the hilt again by David DeVries, who now owns that role. He never fails to delight. Add to the mix the poor Mr. Fezziwig played once again by Bart Hansard, as well as Joe Knezevich, Andrew Benator, Thomas Neal Ghant and a cast total of more than 20 hard working players in many more roles, live music from Michael Fauss and his two associates, some great evil scenes, and the wonderful set by D. Martyn Bookwalter, and you have a truly incredible presentation.

What’s really incredible is that this production which had been done before at the Alliance home stage was being done again at the Cobb Energy Center, to a huge audience who are loving it soooo much. The production is once again directed by Rosemary Newcott.

Scrooge could be a poster boy for the non-caring greed which often seems to be prevalent in our society. I doubt it would be very moving for most of the politicians, bankers and lobbyists that we’ve had to listen to for the past few years. In the Victorian era Dickens was railing about the greed which permeated British society. People were sent to work houses and jails when they couldn’t pay a debt. Can recalling events of days past or seeing the unhappy future of persons other than one’s self really provide the epiphany for redemption? It does perhaps bring to mind the comments of George Santayana, who I’ve often quoted, who said “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” How we see that coming true around the world on a daily basis. Just tune into the news. . . . So much of it as just pure Humbug.

There are some scary scenes, especially when the ghost of Christmas future comes to visit Ebenezer. So, if you are thinking of taking the wee ones, make sure it’s a story they know or could handle. Cobb Energy is right near 285 and 75 and easy to get to with plenty of garage parking, and every seat in the house has a good view.

And se we hope that the year to come shall be one of joy and health for every one. For show times and tickets just visit AllianceTheatre.org

11
Dec

The Ethel Merman Disco Christmas Spectacular!

The Ethel Merman Disco Christmas Spectacular!
Out Front Theatre
through December 22, 2018

A couple of years ago, Paul Conroy delved deeply into the personal and performing history of Ethel Merman. He wrote and directs this play and Nick Silvestri managed the musical arrangements of many oldies that Ethel sings on stage.

Ethel Merman, nee Zimmerman, is performed to the hilt by Lynn Grace. Ethel is confronted on many issues by producer/director Isaac Aherns (Rial Ellsworth) and they don’t see things the same way. Ever. Ethel is stage center for this broadcast in front of a live audience. She plays the house in every way. People who knew her might say she wasn’t the nicest of women. She was a potty-mouth, somewhat racist, and totally egocentric. Maybe she could have run for office.

In her show she brings on some very high level guests. Davin Allen Grindstaff comes on as Andy Warhol and he is quite an odd chap. But, not quite a odd as Truman Capote (Brandon Deen). And for extra energy she deals with Michael Jackson played by Patrick Coleman. Donna Summer (Alaina Holeman) is supposed to be doing her own numbers, but there’s a clash of egos every time. And Russell Scott plays Jimmy, the assistant and go-fer for Mr. Aherns and Ethel.

The show has a cast of thirteen players, six of whom are doing some great dance numbers and the disco costumes might bring you back to the days of your youth in some clubs where you bought a beer even though you were under age. The costumes are terrific, and the play comes off as quite a bit different than one with a red nosed reindeer or somebody yelling Bah!

Out Front is downtown off tenth street. Easy to get to despite the crazy traffic and valet parking available. More info at OutFrontTheatre.com

9
Dec

A Broadway Christmas Carol

A Broadway Christmas Carol
Art Station Theatre
through December 21, 2018

Kathy Feininger, known as the funny Christmas Carol lady, took the old Dickens work and put together a hilarious parody more than ten years ago. Art Station had staged the show some years back; and now they have brought it back center stage; and it is a total romp.

Scrooge (Jeff LeCraw) isn’t the same old geezer you have seen before, but he is still a miserly old character. Except this one can sing and dance, even in his nightshirt. Joy Walters is the female in the cast of three, and she comes on in quite a few personae, including her package as the ghost of Christmas Present. And Ben Thorpe is Bob Cratchit and Tiny Tim. There are also some puppets on stage and the music is provided live by Patrick Hutchison, who also plays off some of the characters, and Thom Jenkins.

Thy work through the same old story, but moved along by more than two dozen standard tunes, sung to new parody lyrics that will bring the house down. David Thomas directed this one, and every viewer had a great time. THIS IS ONE YOU DO NOT WANT TO MISS . . . . It isn’t so much for the kiddies; but if you are a grown up and have over-dosed on the same-old, same-old, then this is the one you just gotta see.

The theatre is in the Stone Mountain Village area, easy to get to (as you fight your way on 285) and plenty of free parking, good seating, and goodies galore. More info at ArtStation.org

8
Dec

A 1940’s Radio Christmas Carol

A 1940’s Radio Christmas Carol
Act3 Playhouse
through December 16, 2018

This one is a sequel to the 1940’s Radio Hour, and having some problems radio station WOV is broadcasting live from a little studio in a hotel in Newark, NJ. Clifton Feddington (Russ Ivey) is trying to keep the crew together as they work through a situation where anything which could go wrong does so. They’re going to go on air with an updated version of the classic Dickens work.

They’ve brought in a well known stage actor, William St.Claire (Paul Spadafora), who may be OK on stage but has little, or none, experience before a microphone. Buzz (Jake Pearce) is the young lad on the board, who is getting ready to go to war. It is 1943, and the war in Europe is raging, as well as in the Pacific. And, like the Andrews Sisters would have done with a USO Christmas, this cast of 11 players come stage center with many well done numbers.

Directed by Jonathan Goff with music by John-Michael d’Haviland, the show runs on a set which works quite well as hotel, studio, bar, control room, etc. And, of course there is a Tiny Tim (Paul Danner) but unlike the usual; not everything comes right in the end. For there is one scene where they spoof about Nazis, and that could be difficult for some older viewers, especially with what is going on these days.

But, it is a couple of hours of well performed entertainment, which often comes off as improv even though it is well scripted; and the actors are holding that script as they try to recall their lines.  Act3 is in Sandy Springs, easy to get to and free parking. More info at Act3Productions.org

7
Dec

Invasion: Christmas Carol

Invasion: Christmas Carol
Dad’s Garage
through December 30, 2018

They’ve done it again . . .Who else could stage a show with a substantial cast and a full script, and then let different unscripted characters invade the show in each performance. The uninvited visitors are not known to the scripted actors and so once the invasion occurs they have to make up their own story lines and actions to deal with it.

And it is a hoot. The Scrooge you see isn’t the Scrooge you and your kids know. In fact, this is not for the kiddies, but for open-minded adults who would like an evening of enjoyment with plenty of single entendres. Matt Horgan directs this year’s version which also features various characters played by Andre Castenell, Anna Giles,Liz Grofic, Perry Frost, Clint Sowell, Joshua Quinn and Amanda Lee Williams.

Yes, it does have a Tiny Tim and a Fezziwig, and as expected, Scrooge thinks a holiday such as Christmas is a pure humbug. But there’s plenty else that’s new in this one, as the main cast has to improvise to deal with some invader they didn’t know was coming until about 5 minutes before curtain time.

Dad’s Garage is located in a former church on Ezzard St, down in the Old Fourth Ward. You can get online driving directions. Plenty of free parking and come early to enjoy the concessions area with cabaret style seating. This one runs about 2 hours, which includes an intermission.

And they often have an improv show which follows, and you are invited to hang in for more laughs. More info and tickets at DadsGarage.com

3
Dec

Waffle Palace Christmas

Waffle Palace Christmas
Horizon Theatre
through December 30, 2018

We may just want to shout out “They’re Back!”   Larry Larson and Eddie Levi Lee, who have partnered to craft many a play, have put together this sequel to their Waffle Palace play. You know you are sitting in the diner which is designed by Moriah and Isabel Curley-Clay, and almost touching the staff and the patrons who come and go, as the business tries to survive a bleak holiday.

Four of the actors from the prequel have returned to reprise their roles. Marguerite Hannah is the waitress, now a partner, named Connie. Maria Rodriguez-Sager comes back at the waitress, Esperanza, from Nicaragua, albeit she is now pregnant. Allan Edwards comes on in four roles one as Hugo the hubby of Esperanza, who has some deep thoughts about impending paranthood.  And Lala Cochran is in her usually funny roles as a business woman and some other roles. The cast is rounded out by Barry Stoltze who is the partner with Connie. Jennifer Alice Acker who is one of those customers who buys a coffee and spends the day on the Wi-Fi. Markell Williams is Deandre, the nephew of Connie who comes on to work the grill; and that mean old Christmas devil is played to the hilt by Rob Cleveland.

But, rest easily. This is holiday season. Nobody gets harmed, and all comes out well in the end; except maybe for the devilish Krampus. Christian Magby composed and directed the music including some parody numbers. But all the patrons, including one birthday group and Director Lisa Adler’s daughter, Sophie, had a riotously happy evening. The show runs about 2.5 hours, and there is plenty of free parking; but plan early as you have to fight your way down to Little 5 Points. But, it’s worth it, . . . BIGTIME.

2
Dec

A Nice Family Christmas

 

A Nice Family Christmas
Stage Door Players
through December 16, 2018

Playwright Phil Olson grew up in Minnesota where folks learn to eat lutefisk and try to stay warm. So it is no wonder that such a traditional seasonal treat finds its way into some of his works. But, if you want some great laughs, this is the time to see this play.

A family is coming together for a holiday meal. The mother (Dina Shadwell) has started the cooking and her two sons, Carl (Eric Poger Abrahamsen) who is a journalist on assignment and Doctor Michael (Jeff K. Lester) are working off one another; albeit the one at the center of the stage is their Grandma (Susan Shalhoub-Larkin) who wants to always be the center of attention, and she’s a hoot.

Uncle Bob (Larry Davis) may not have been expected to arrive, nor maybe wasn’t invited; but that isn’t going to stop him from gate crashing and visiting his sister-in-law. Then Stacey (Madison Welch) becomes a person of interest when she comes out to her mother. And there is Michael’s wife, Jill (Alexandra Ficken) who has issues as well.

OK; so this is a play, a work of fiction; but if you have a family you are going to start to think this wild bunch may be based on folks who know. Ryan Oliveti directs this work, which moves with great aplomb through a lot more issues than you have expected. It’s more than just dressing a tree and putting out gifts, but like any Christmas opus all shall come out right in the end.

Stage Door Players is easy to get to in Dunwoody and has free parking and comfy seats. More info at StageDoorPlayers.net

28
Nov

White Christmas

 

 

 

 

 

White Christmas
Fox Theatre
through December 2, 2018

Irving Berlin’s White Christmas was a really fantastic film about the actors who worked to help save a country inn in Vermont for their former army commander from WWII. And it has been brought to the stage many times, with some tweaks and changes. But, the bottom line is still that good people can come together to do good things for others, and that the holidays are an inspiration to get things done.

Directed and choreographed by Randy Skinner, this hard working touring company of more than two dozen players hit the stage with great costumes, some incredible tap dance numbers, and neat sets and props. Especially in the final scenes when the climate change actually occurs up north.

The story is inconsequential, in that the songs and dance are what the play is about, and you may find that one or two numbers which were not in the original film have been added to increase the eyes and ears appeal. The grouchy old retired general is played by Conrad John Schuck. The two male leads are Sean Montgomery and Jeremy Benton; who play off against the “sisters” played by Kelly Sheehan and Kerry Conte. And this gang works through about 15 memorable standard numbers.

The show is playing to pretty full houses, so easiest way to get there may be by Marta to North Avenue station, and because of security clearance requirements, you might want to plan to arrive not later than 7 for the 7:30 shows. If you have your actual tickets ion hand you can get in faster at the side door on Ponce.

With all the “stuff” going on in our nation and the world, this is one that we can really benefit from. Two hours of total pleasure, nobody gets killed and no politicians. More info at FoxTheatre.org

23
Nov

Miss Bennet Christmas at Pemberley

 

 

 

 

 

 

Miss Bennet
Christmas at Pemberley
Theatrical Outfit
through December 23, 2018

It’s back for another great run . . . This seasonal work by award-winning Lauren Gunderson and Margot Melcon takes you back to Pemberley, some years after Pride and Prejudice. The Bennet girls had pretty much found their lives, except for Mary (Amelia Fischer) who finds solace in books and playing piano. She says she is happy; but maybe things could get better. And the story goes forward ala Moliere with one door opening as the other closes.

The Darcy home of Elizabeth (Jasmine Thomas) and Fitzwilliam (Justin Walker) is the site of this Christmas fiasco. It seems their visitors hadn’t seen a tree growing in a living room before. Jane (Jeanette Illidge) and Charles Bingley (Juan Carlos Unzueta) try to stay out of the line of fire, as Lydia (Devon Hales) and Mary, and Anne (Stephanie Friedman) try to find out who may wind up hooking up with that chap down from Oxford, Arthur de Bourgh (Jonathon Horne).

Since this is a work of intrigue, and directed by Carolyn Cook, I shall not tell you how things get resolved; but can tell you that all comes right as Christmas begins. The cast is in great costumes on a set designed by Seamus M. Bourne. I can say that as Act I progresses you may be asking yourself where this group is going. But, hold on; as in Act II you make your decisions and wait to find out if you may guessed correctly, for back around 1815 things weren’t always as they first seemed at the Pemberley Estate.

Theatrical Outfit is downtown on Luckie Street, and can provide discount parking vouchers for the garage next door. Just be mindful that traffic can be a nightmare as you worm around Centennial Park or if there is a game that night. More info and tickets available at TheatricalOutfit.org

19
Nov

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
Center for Puppetry Arts
through December 30, 2018

The Center for Puppetry Arts is quite an interesting organization. In addition to their famous museum with puppets from ancient days to now, they also have the whole Sesame Street crowd, including Big Bird, on display. If you bring youngsters they will be thrilled, and especially if you do their theatrical productions.

Through the end of the year that famous red nosed reindeer will be bringing down the house. Adapted by Jon Ludwig from the famous film of the same name, the show directed by Tim Sweeney features a half a dozen top grade professional puppeteers and has some of the best projected graphics imaginable.  And the music and singing is all live.

Rudolph felt rejected by others because of his nasal condition. He was only one of many toys that had been rejected and wound up on some strange island. But, fear not, for this young reindeer finds his way to be himself and be appreciated by others. It’s a good lesson for young folks, since it is akin to bullying.

After the show, which runs about an hour and ten minutes, you can take the kids up to the crafts room where they will get free puppet kits and supplies and instructions and can create their own Snow Man hand puppet. They are playing to full houses, so make your reservations early. Plenty of free parking at their location on Spring Street.

More info at Puppet.org