9
Oct

The Bluest Eye

The Bluest Eye
Synchronicity Theatre
through October 24, 2021

Synchronicity themes their work as smart, gutsy and bold; and they don’t shrink back from any topic. This play was crafted by Lydia R. Diamond from the work of the same name by the internationally recognized, and award winning, Toni Morrison.

Ibi Owolabi directs a really fine cast of players who deal with segregation and racial discrimination in 1941 in a small town in Ohio. Some of the girls in the town could be the black versions of the Heathers; as they deal with Pecola Breedlove (Niara Simone Robinson) who wishes she had blue eyes and that it would change everything in her life. But like real life these days, things don’t always work out as we might wish.

This is a gutsy presentation based on a book that was often banned from schools because there are issues of infidelity, sexual abuse and some other unacceptable behavior; ergo not for the kiddies.

Synchronicity plays midtown and follows all appropriate Covid protocols, so bring your CDC vaccination card and your face mask. Discount parking passes are available at the will call desk. More info and tickets available at SyncroTheatre.com.

4
Oct

Fun in Lawrenceville

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s Raining Music
Aurora Theatre

With all the “stuff” we’re dealing with on a daily basis, it’s a great sigh of relief we can have when an organization like the Aurora Theatre plays on; and I really mean that they are doing so with big bands.

You need to check them out as many of these gigs are a one-nighter, and if you snooze you lose. In the past two weekends they presented a big Atlanta Latino Band and the following week they hosted the 3d Stream Big Band which blew the house down also.

Some of their upcoming events include a comedy night, Church Mice, on October 8th, and then on the 16th they will host I Feel Good, a tribute to James Brown. So grab a bite, hit the road and enjoy a couple of hours without the news reports.

Plenty of free parking, good seats, good views and good shows. What else do you need??? More info at AuroraTheatre.com

4
Oct

Romeo & Juliet

 

 

 

 

 

 

Romeo & Juliet
Stage Door Players
through October 24, 2021

The Stage Door Players in Dunwoody are bringing the story of these ill-fated lovers to the stage in a manner that you’ve not seen before. Romeo (Josh Brelsford) and Juliet (Libby Williams) get stuck in the middle of the feuding families of Capulets and Montagues, You know how the tale ends.

But this is unique in that it is played upon a very stark stage and with players dressed in garbs of current times. The cast of ten players are under the direction of Willie E. Jones, III, and they exert a powerful performance.

It makes one think how the peasants of olden days could enjoy the shows by standing throughout the performance while only the peers had actual seats. And in olden days only men would trod the boards, and it was quite a while before a woman could come on as a woman. But, you’ll get a kick out of this one where gender and race have no roles to play; for the play’s the thing and they all carry on.

Normal Covid protocols are being followed and the venue has free parking and easy view from every seat in the house. And yes, the concession stand is open. All Hail!
More info and tickets at StageDoorTheatreGA.org

2
Oct

Heathers, the Musical

Heathers, the Musical
Actor’s Express
through October 17, 2021

This rock musical is being staged as a co-production with Oglethorpe University and being presented at the Conant Performing Arts Center. Be forewarned that this is NOT your grandmother’s musical, nor one for the kiddies who have yet to figure out what WTF means.

Directed by Freddie Ashley with a cast of 27 players, the show belts out 26 high energy numbers, some of which are in chorus while some are one or two characters digging into their inner selves, as they go through life in an Ohio high school. It’s 1980s, and the girls are learning how they can use their talents to get everything they want. Three of them are each named Heather and they are like an elite clan. A lot of the story relates to a loser named Victoria who wants to move up the social scale but does some inappropriate acts, some of which result in disasters.

For this is a black comedy that deal with drinking, dating, suicides, murders, bullying, homophobia, and sexuality. As such, it certainly isn’t for Ms. Prim or the Bible Thumpers. The set is Broadway quality and a live band is offstage under the baton of Alli Lingenfelter. But, the score isn’t the kind you leave the theatre humming, nor recalling the precise words; as it is like an Opera Noir where the story is moved mainly by the numbers.

Regardless of some concerns, it remains a favorite of many folks, and the Conant is a very easy venue to get to with free parking and good seats each with a good view. Know that you will have to show your CDC cards and wear your mask when in the facility; but that’s just the world we’re living in these days.

More info and tickets at Actors-Express.com

22
Sep

Darlin’ Cory

Darlin’ Cory
Alliance Theatre
through October 3, 2021

What a delight to see the Alliance back in full swing! And with this premiere production in such epic style.  This eerie tale was created by Phillip Depoy and Kristian Bush who collaborated to tell the story of a small mountain town in Appalachia that was deeply infused with the idea of maintaining the status quo ante of the town. They didn’t even have a road in or out of the town back in the 1920s.

If you know some of the small towns in north Georgia or nearby Tennessee or Kentucky, then you’ll know this one. And the music is put forward in appropriate style as bluegrass would always be. Two things occur that create a stir in the town. One is the tragic shooting of a young woman in the hills. And the other is the arrival of a stranger, who makes some really great moonshine. For in the days when alcohol was banned, the making of shine was a standard in these here parts. But, if y’all don’t think they still be making shine, then I got a toll booth I would like to sell you.

The cast is a dozen actors who have played in many shows here. Jeremy Aggers, Jimez Alexander, Marcello Audino, John Bobek, Jewl Carney, Katie Deal, Kelli Dodd, Rob Lawhon, Rhyn McLemore, Gillian Rabin, Maria Rodriguez-Sager and Asia Rogers sing and dance their ways into your hearts and minds; all under the direction of Susan V. Booth.

Once you get into Act II and start to fathom out the secrets of identities and activities, you’ll try to keep the secrets from those who’ve not yet seen the production. For the play’s the thing and it don’t get much better than this one. We all salute you, Alliance!

Covid protocols are observed and are set forth in the web site and when you go for tickets. So while social distancing is not seen, strictly good behavior is. More info and tickets at AllianceTheatre.org

18
Sep

AN ILIAD

AN ILIAD
Theatrical Outfit
through October 10, 2021

In the mid 1800’s a French gent opined that the more things change the more they stay the same. And maybe he got that idea from reading Homer’s, The Iliad. For these days when we deal on a daily basis with natural enemies in nature and health issues and are also facing worldwide instances of wars among various groups; we might be seeing the world as Homer did.

With the production of this work by Lisa Peterson and Dennis O’Hare we go back in time, set in real time by the incredible solo performance of Lee Osorio who is center stage in a one act performance running and hour and 45 minutes. It blows your mind to consider how one actor can recall all those lines, when some of us have trouble recalling our phone numbers.

Directed by Matt Torney the show pulls the audience in as the modern poet infuses the story with his own feelings. While he is doing so, his muse (Deisha Oliver) is stringing along on her cello.

This is not one for the pre-teens, who will still be reading short synopses instead of the whole work for their next classroom test. But it surely makes us think how rockets in North Korea may be modern Trojan Horses, etc.

Theatrical Outfit is downtown on Luckie Street, with a parking garage adjacent to the facility. They follow strict Covid rules, so you show your vaccination card and have your temperature taken upon arrival; and are told to keep your mask on in the theatre. Regardless of all that stuff, it was great to see a pretty full house. More info and tickets found at TheatricalOutfit.org

17
Sep

Menopause the Musical

Menopause the Musical
Strand Theatre
through September 19, 2021

If you didn’t get to see Menopause before, you’ve missed a riotous evening of good entertainment. So, . . . here’s your chance again. They’re back! Four wild women find one another in Bloomie’s and they are each dealing with the changes in life that they knew were coming, but didn’t really enjoy.

First thing I have to tell you is that a lot of guys could be put off by the show title or subject matter. But, it really is not just a chick show. For the guy who has an IQ higher than many politicians and understands that women face life changes as they age, it can be just as entertaining as it is for his lady. But, for the guy who’s world consists of watching race car drivers run around in circles it could be a bit like watching a film with subtitles. He wouldn’t dig that, either. But, this is really a great alternative for the YaYa Sisterhood to grab a fun evening out, even if it doesn’t offer big screen hi-def and slo-mo replay.

The cast of four wonderfully meshed players consists of Rebecca Fisher as the actress on the way to retirement, Anise Ritchie as the business woman, Melanie Souza as “Earth Mother” and Terri Dixon as a housewife from Iowa. Four distinctly different backgrounds and a perfect match up of ensemble acting and singing. It’s a great cast of very talented ladies.

The score is really unique in that it consists of licensed music mostly from the groovin’ 60’s so you will recall the tunes and much of the lyrics, except that the lyrics in this show are a parody written to tell their story. The old standard “Heat Wave” which dates from the 1930’s by Irving Berlin now resounds with, “I’m having a hot flash / A tropical hot flash / My personal summer is really a bummer / I’m having a hot flash.”

It was a delight to see this show playing to an almost sold-out house, and everybody having one great time. The Strand is on Marietta Square, with a public parking garage adjacent, and good seats throughout the house. While seating is not spaced widely apart, all patrons are requested to wear masks and don’t come if feeling lousy. More info and tickets at EarlSmithStrand.org

13
Sep

Second Samuel

Second Samuel
Onstage Atlanta
through September 26, 2021

Y’all come on in to this here one-horse town somewhere in Georgia back in the 1940’s. It was one of those places where everybody knew everybody and everything about everybody. Didn’t have to marry a cousin to get to hear all the dirt. Their primary understanding was that neighbors help neighbors, and they were proud to stand by that. But, even in utopia things can go awry; and they sure did when Miss Gertrude passed away.

It seems there was something about Miss Gertrude that nobody other than her doctor (Hunter Showalter) had ever heard about. And when some of the stuff came to the front, many questions arose as to where the poor lady should be interred. Some might say she should be sent back where she came from; but Second Samuel was really her home after 25+ years there.

A cast of 11 players take the stage on a really god set designed by Barry N. West, who also directed this very intriguing production. A lot of the action is narrated by B Flat (Geoffrey Goff). Nat Martin plays US, the townie of a different background who isn’t gong to accept any kind of discrimination. The local pub owner is Frisky (Matthew Easter) and he’s married to Omaha (LeeAnna Lambert). But they have some odd-ball interactions.

Omaha and three other ladies (Lisa Gordon, Courtney Loner, and Elizabeth Underwood) meet up at the salon and all hell can break loose among them when they get in the Miss Gertrude details. Inasmuch as the play’s the thing, I can’t tell you what that problem is; but as they move through Act I, you will be sucked into the details. The other guys are played by Paul Spadafora, Charles Bohanon and Steven Medina; and every one of the cast does a perfect job.

For as we move on to Act II, we feel as if we are living among the folks at Second Samuel; as they must work through their differences of opinions vis-a-vis Miss Gertrude; who we never actually meet for she has passed away. The show is a little less than 2 hours, including intermission.

Onstage follows Covid safety protocols. You must show proof of vaccination or recent test, wear your mask at all times in the facility and consume any food and beverages on the patio. But that’s just life these days in Second Samuel or Atlanta. We all want to stay healthy and somewhat sane.

This show is not really for the kiddies, but everybody in the audience will enjoy it thoroughly. More info and tickets at OnstageAtlanta.com

11
Sep

The Sound of Music

The Sound of Music
City Springs Theatre
through September 19, 2021

The story of the von Trapp family has been written, staged and filmed since the 1950’s and is always an audience builder. Just watching the children on stage certainly reminds one why many actors hate to share the stage with animals or children. They capture your very soul.

Shuler Hensley has once again brought a fully Broadway style production to this lovely local stage in Sandy Springs. And it was wonderful to see that the house was almost sold out. That’s not what we’ve seen these past couple of years. Yes, you must wear a mask, and show proof of vaccinations as well as pass security. But, it is certainly worth doing so.

The story line is loosely based on the story of the von Trapps and how and why they got out of Austria as the Nazi anschluss brought down the government during WWII. Most of us can’t recall every note of every number; but we can never erase numbers like Do-Re-Mi, Edelweiss and Sixteen Going on Seventeen. Ellie Fishman plays Maria, who gets hired by Captain von Trapp (Mike McGowan) and the cast of more than 20 players includes the seven von Trapp children that you just want to run up to the stage and hug. While the story is set in terrible times, there is comic relief provided by Max (John Scherer) who wants to promote the family singers into a local concert.

In fact the Trapp Family Singers were a reality and actually toured the United States in the 1940’s. And the remaining von Trapp singers were onstage here a few years ago. It is a show which really resonates more with adults than kids; especially when the final scenes have the swastika flag flying as they escape from the production. Like other productions at City Springs, this one has a full orchestra under the baton of Miles Plant.

Every element of the show is totally professional and this is one you will fully enjoy. It plays only for another week, so get more info and tickets at CitySpringsTheatre.com

30
Aug

Song & Dance

Song & Dance
Aurora Theatre
through September 12, 2021

The Aurora is back in business and their business is to please a house full of happy fans. This time they have brought to the stage Andrew Lloyd Webber’s show that has not been seen by the mobs who know Cats and Phantom.

It’s soooooo different in that the band, under the direction of Ann-Carol Pence is onstage. The title of the show is a brief description of how the show is staged in that Act 1 is all a story of relationships experienced by one woman, played to the hilt by India Tyree. While Act 2 is all dance, with no lyrics; hence the title becomes more obvious as the show goes forth. The dance portion was choreographed by Angela Harris, and there are some exciting moves in it. But, don’t try them at home.

A cast of more than a dozen players do their numbers on a stage with a movable prop staircase and just some ever changing background colors; for as the Bard said, the show’s the thing. This opus is co-directed by Lillianagina Quińones and Justin Anderson.

Know that the Aurora has your safety as first consideration. Bring your vaccination card with you, be ready to pass the temperature check and know that you must wear your mask at all times in the facility. But, we all have to obey the rules if we want to get out of the house at times; so enjoy the show. More info and tickets at AuroraTheatre.com