23
Sep

Lawrenceburg

Lawrenceburg
Dad’s Garage
through October 13, 2018

This opus by Travis Sharp is a restaging of the riotous show he wrote in 2006 and was staged in the old Dad’s Garage venue. Not only is he the playwright, but he is on the Board of Dad’s Garage, as well as being on the boards. There have been some revisions, we are told; but no worries. It is still the same story, and as the Frenchies would tell you; “The more things change, the more they stay the same.”

The hick town of Lawrenceburg is about to become invaded by a Mall-Mart super store, and that is a real problem for all the local small merchants, as well as the farmers and other locals. And, they have a mayor (Travis Sharp) who is financially in bed with the Mall-Mart gang. The Sheriff, who is like a current day political aide, is played by Amanda Williams.

Some of the locals want to take to the streets to protest and run the project off the tracks, so their town will stay as it was. They have concern that while female employees will be paid the same as males; that all males will be paid as if they didn’t have a green card.  Hannah Aslesen is Marcie Foote, a prime mover of the resistance; and when I say mover, you have to see all the athletic moves she and the others bring to this production.

The show is not about race or ethnic background. In fact the attorney, Wally Goldstein is played by a black actor, Rickey Boynton. And the semi driver, Blacktop Cowgirl, is played by Kirsten King. They all work things out with Freddie Boyd and Jeremy Aggers joining the gang.

What’s really cute is the interaction of the musicians and other cast members with the audience; so that sometimes it as a play within a play.   More info at DadsGarage.com

22
Sep

A Red Plaid Shirt

A Red Plaid Shirt
Stage Door Players
through October 14, 2018

Michael G. Wilmot loves to write comedy and this one is a hoot. I am not going to give away the entire plot as there are twists and turns aplenty, and I would not want to intrude on your laugh fest.

You meet up with a couple of middle age geezers who have retired and are trying to format their coming years. It isn’t always easy, for life is what happens as you wait for your plans to work out.

Marty (Michael Strauss) was a teacher and has taken his leave. He has thought deeply about buying a Harley and hitting the road some day. A lot of us may have done that in our 40’s, but he’s older; and his wife, Deb (Suzanne Jordan Roush), is pretty worried about his safety and wellbeing on a two wheeler.

They are friends with another couple. Fred (Steve Hudson) is a retired accountant and his wife, Gladys (Eileen Koteles). Gladys hangs out a lot with Deb, and they get involved with more activities than the guys. But, somehow the men get sucked into learning some new skills, and anything that might screw up does so with great aplomb.

This laugh-a-minute is directed by Robert Egizio and the set by Chuck Welcome works great to come off as Fred and Gladys’ home, a local coffee shop, and two activity rooms at the school.

Stage Door Players is in Dunwoody, easy to get to, plenty of free parking, and every seat has a good view of the stage. It’s a very pleasant local theatre starting off this 45th year with this one. More info at StageDoorPlayers.net

20
Sep

Aladdin

Aladdin
Fox Theatre
through September 23, 2018

Take Disney’s film, add some incredible costumes, great music and sets that will blow you away, and it’s no surprise that this one did win a Tony and the touring company is selling out performances in many venues.

So maybe the story is an oldie, but this is a VERY updated version in song, dance and dialogue. Trevor Dion Nicholas brings down the house as the Genie who has to come up with the answers to three wishes, and has one of his own that he may or may not get to use. Clinton Greenspan is Aladdin, a street busker, hustler and petty thief just trying to get by.

As you know, he does meet and fall for a princess, Jasmine (Lissa DeGuzman), who is under a load of pressure to marry within her social circle. And the story is about how the street guy tries to pass himself off as some prince, and how he finally has to own up, and how everything comes out alright in the end. Of course there is an evil character, Jafar (Jonathan Weir) who will stop at nothing to gain access to the throne. His aide, Iago (Jay Paranada) is a comedic sort who comes off like an aide to an elected politician you may know of.

The sets and props are like a trip to Disneyland, and the live orchestra in the pit moves the action along. There is total eye candy in the costumes, sets and choreography; and no matter what you may think the show will deliver, it will far surpass your expectations.

Aladdin closes this weekend, so get your tickets and have a good time. The kids will enjoy the show and the old folks will enjoy the show and the single entendres. More info at FoxTheatre.org

16
Sep

42nd Street

42nd Street
City Springs Theatre
through September 23, 2018

Let’s jump to the last line ……. go online or phone to get your tickets to this incredible first production of this new theatre company in Sandy Springs. If you have been to professional theaters on Broadway or in Shaftesbury Avenue, then you will be duly impressed at the quality of this production. It’s a true classic which opened on Broadway in 1980 and won the Tony for Best Musical. Then in 1984 opened in London on Drury Lane and won the Olivier Award.

Brandt Blocker both directed this show and is in the orchestra pit as conductor. The story line is based on a film of the same name dating from the 1930’s and the Great Depression. A producer wants to bring a show to the stage but runs into some problems, including the accident that prevents an egocentric prima donna from taking center stage. Producer Julian Marsh (Tony winner Shuler Hensley) is furious and ready to pull the plug; but the cast rises up and ready to do whatever is necessary to get this one on. They get the young first-timer, Peggy Sawyer (Leigh Ellen Jones), accepted to stand in for the injured star.

If you recall seeing the dancers at Radio City Music Hall, then this is kind of that sort of production. The choreography by Cindy Mora Reiser is awesome, and the cast of 30 players pour their hearts and souls into the show. You just want it to go on and on.

It is about eye candy and treats for the ears. Tunes you will hum along to are classics, such as We’re in the Money, Shuffle Off to Buffalo, Lullaby of Broadway and more. There is a live orchestra belting out the tunes, and the stage sets and costumes are totally first class.

This new facility is in Sandy Springs, just north of 285, and there is plenty of garage parking; and on street meters if you can get the stupid things to work. The theatre seats a little more than 1,000 and every seat has a clear view of the stage. Plenty of boxes available with movable seats as well. So get going . . . . more info and tickets at their website; CitySpringsTheatre.com

15
Sep

9 to 5

 

 

 

 

 

 

9 to 5
Georgia Ensemble Theatre
through September 30, 2018

Get your tickets and get to see this one. It is one of the best that you can see right now. And Dolly Parton’s adaptation of the film, 9 to 5, has become a Broadway legend which to this day is probably playing somewhere every day. This musical, staged by Georgia Ensemble, is as we may say, . . Fabulous.

It is a story of women working for somebody who possibly could have become a President. He’s egocentric, undervalues women, and thinks he reigns supreme in all areas. But, he meets his downfall when the women come together and decide to take a Tony Soprano approach to resolving their dilemmas. It is soooooo relevant to current issues and activities.

Jill Hames is Violet, a supervisory female who is banging her head against a glass ceiling. They’ve just hired Judy (Wendy Melkonian) who has absolutely no business experience; but they’re going to make her fit in. Doralee (Alyssa Flowers) is the current object of affection for her boss, Franklin Hart, Jr. (Brian Kurlander) who is somewhat obnoxious in his moves. Eleven more players comprise the cast, and there’s an off-stage live band of five players headed by S. Renee Clark.

In the slight possibility that you’ve not seen the show before, I shall not tell you how they actually get control, and what ultimately happens to the boss with a horny Hart. Rest assured, that Dolly Parton wouldn’t have been so involved in this work, if all didn’t come right in the end. At least for the good ladies of the company.

James Donadio directed, and there’s plenty of great dance choreographed by Jennifer Smiles. When they go to intermission you just can’t wait to get back and see how things work out. More info and tickets at GET.org

11
Sep

The Two Kids that Blow Sh*t Up

The Two Kids that Blow Sh*t Up
Aurora Theatre
through September 30, 2018

Carla Ching is a master playwright who has quite a track record. A native of LaLa Land, and of Asian-American background, she put this one together telling the tale of two young Pan-Asians who move through lives together and apart as the times change.

Pam Joyce directs this show which is set on a pretty stark set; but it moves around and works quite well, as we know, The Play’s the Thing. The young Diana is played by Vivi Thai, and the boy/man is played by Jack Ha. Allegedly she may be of Chinese descent while he is of Korean. That comes out when he can’t read Mandarin. But, we meet up with these two when they are in their teens and when they are in their 20’s and 30’s. Maybe their parents don’t see the glue which binds them, and only concentrate on the differences between them. But. In the end, it is the two of them who have to make their own decisions and run their own lives. In one line they even bring up the Chekhov type of problem, but life moves on; and neither is harmed in the end.

The show runs about 90 minutes on the black box stage as part of the Harvel Lab Series, and it is loaded with expletives; ergo maybe not for kiddies or Ms. Prim. But, is in the language of today and WTF, you have to understand where they are coming from. You need to pay attention and think about what you see, for they segue from being in their 30’s back to their teens, then older, etc.

The Aurora is located in Lawrenceville, with free garage parking adjacent. It is a very well done show and the type we need in these days. More info at AuroraTheatre.com

9
Sep

It’s Only a Play

It’s Only a Play
Process Theatre Company
through September 22, 2018

The Process Theatre Company is associated with Onstage Atlanta, but this show is being presented in Marietta, at Out of Box Theatre on Cobb Parkway, just south of The Big Chicken.

The play by Terrence McNally is a screaming delight. A first-time Broadway producer, Julia Budder (Liane LeMaster), hosts an opening night party for the cast and crew of a play called The Golden Egg that she financed. Playwright, Peter Austin (Larry Davis), is there awaiting the reviews. There is some angst as they are joined by other principals. The star of the play is Virginia (Barbara Cole Uterhardt), who is addicted to some bad stuff as well as her self.

An actor, James Wicker (Zip Rampy),is a successful TV actor who turned down the lead in the play, and is glad that he did so. And, you meet a critic, Ira Drew (Bob Smith) who thinks everybody is a failure, inasmuch as he has been

They’re all having their stress fits, especially the Brit who directed the show, Frank Finger (Pat Young) who wishes nothing for himself other than more flops. A lot of comedy is also provided by a valet character, Gus (Frankie Asher), who is working for Miss Budder at her NYC flat, but desperately wants to get onstage or in front of a camera.

DeWayne Morgan must have been thrilled to direct this one. If you know some of these actors, you will be impressed at the different personae the bring to the stage. And one fascinating thing is that in real life, this show was a flop when it first hit the boards. But, as it has gone through several revisions it became an incredible success. So many of the top grade comic performers you recognize have played these roles over the past decade.

This is a total delight, and easy to get to with free parking. Have ball. Plenty of expletives so maybe not for Ms. Prim or the kiddies, but the rest of you will laugh your donkey off. More info and tickets at OnstageAtlanta.com

8
Sep

A Doll’s House, Part 2

A Doll’s House, Part 2
Actor’s Express
through September 30, 2018

It was quite an unusual theme in the late 1800’s when Henrik Ibsen put together this story about a woman who stood up for herself and took a hike, leaving her husband and kids to deal with life on their own. This sequel by Lucas Hnath is a co-production by Actor’s Express and the Aurora Theatre.

It is pretty poignant inasmuch as it relates to women standing up for their rights, even in these days. Freddie Ashley directs the show with an all-star cast. The story is about Nora (Tess Malis Kincaid), who walked out on her husband, Torvald (Rob Cleveland) some 15 years before. She ran off and sought to find herself, which she did as an author whose works were published under a nom de plume. It seems she faces some legal difficulties and has to impel Torvald to comply with some things to keep other things on track.

She calls at the house to be welcomed by the maid, Anne Marie (Deadre Moore) who may hear and see things from a different perspective, and may not wish to get stuck in the middle of a family feud. The daughter Emmy (Shelli Delgado) comes into the morass when she shows up and sees her mother after all those years. And, it is what she hears and sees that enters into the scene.

If you’ve heard Sinatra sing After You’ve Gone then you may think that is the message of this script. A very nice and easily working set by Isabel and Moriah Curley-Clay, and actions and reactions that may cause you to think of yesterday’s newscast. It isn’t one for the kiddies, but nobody gets physically harmed or abused. More info at Actors-Express.com

7
Sep

The Seagull

The Seagull
Serenbe Playhouse
through September 30, 2018

Anton Chekhov penned this work in the 1890s, which he thought was a comedy. It opened in 1896 in St. Petersburg to less than enthusiastic audiences. Chekhov pulled back and didn’t want it to get staged in Moscow. But, it was, and since then has gone on to play in venues around the world; regardless that the so-called humor is pretty dark, and often feels like an expression of life under Tsar Nicholas. It didn’t dissuade Chekhov from sticking to his writing and his second work, Uncle Vanya, was even more widely categorized as a comedy.

The play has been reworked many times, including an adaptation by Simon Stephens in 2017. This one is the adaptation of Yale graduate, Elizabeth Dinkova, who is also directing the production on the lake at Serenbe.

You meet up with an actress, Irina (Park Krausen), and her brother, Peter (Allan Edwards). Her daughter Constance is played by Maythinee Washington. A high end writer, Boris (Lee Osorio) enters into the family of distress and dysfunction. The other performers are Skye Passmore as Simon, Shannon McCarren as Nina and Brooke Owens as Masha.

The show is about these folks trying to deal with life, when life sometimes feel like something one might like to avoid. The seagull is an example of a creature who could be dead yet survive and mature. Not a likely situation for mere humans back in Mother Russia.

It is performed well and energetically, albeit is certainly not for the kiddies nor the faint of heart viewers. But, it is a Chekhov work. For info visit website at SerenbePlayhouse.com

31
Aug

Corteo

Corteo
Cirque du Soleil
through September 2, 2018

If you have never seen a performance of this amazing organization then you are in for a delightful treat. Cirque du Soleil which started in Canada almost 60 years ago, has become the most incredible force in the spectacular circus world. With many touring shows all around the world and more resident shows in Las Vegas, they are in a class by themselves.

Forget about a story line. It is a circus, not a story; albeit this one refers to Corteo which means Procession in Italian, and is about a clown viewing his own life history and funeral. It is a conglomeration of overlapping acts competing for your attention. What it does offer is incredible staging, incredible props, costumes that are worthy of the finest opera house, music that is scored to highlight every movement, and choreography that is both subtle and exciting at the same time.

But, beneath it all this is a circus full of acrobats, clowns and other performers. There are no second-stringers in Corteo. These ladies and gentlemen are all world class athletes and performers. Five of the lead performers are from Europe and two are from South America; and everybody works well with everyone else. They even have two little people who steal the limelight when they are on stage.

I could go on and on raving about Cirque du Soleil, but you really have to experience it to understand it. Each of their shows is different. Corteo has been revamped since it’s show here 12 years ago. But, it is still full of acts that will make you want to occasionally gasp at what they do, and laugh a lot as well.

The Infinite Energy Arena is on Sugarloaf Parkway a little west of I-85. The show leaves town next week, so go to the website and reserve your tickets now. You’ll love it. More info at CIRQUEDUSOLEIL.com/CORTEO