My Fair Lady

My Fair Lady
Lyric Theatre
through September 3, 2017

This is one you’ll want to see . . it is certainly a Theatre Classic. As previously seen a couple of years ago, the work is done with two piano players onstage, providing the score, rather than an orchestra in the pit.  But the onstage music and the quickly changed props on the otherwise somewhat stark set works quite well as Prof. Henry Higgins’ residence on Wimpole Street.

You know the story.  Higgins (Mark Bradley Miller) runs into a Cockney flower girl who has a real East End accent. That’s Eliza Doolittle, played so well by Galen Crawley, who has everything it takes to be center stage at any time. Higgins is kind of into himself in many ways; but he gets into a bet with a chap, Col. Pickering (Rob Roper) and takes this lass, to turn her into a proper sounding lady.

There are some bumps along the way, such as when he brings her to the Ascot Derby Race, and when she gets involved with Freddy Hill (Chris Saltalmacchio). And, don’t forget that chap who was getting married, her dad, Alfie Doolittle, played by George Devours.  The cast is rounded out with all first class players who perform spot-on under the direction of Scott Seidl.

But, the bottom line is that what a musical is all about is the music. And while few of us recall the entire play list from My Fair Lady, we will want to sing along on some of them, such as I Could Have Danced All Night, and we could just see Eliza thinking Wouldn’t It Be Loverly, getting away from the cold night air and thinking where the rain in Spain may stay.

Yes, . . . this one has been around for quite a while. But, it is sooooo much better that anything on the idiot box. A comfortable theatre with free parking, good sound systems, totally professional in every way. So, check them out at AtlantaLyric.com

I am serious. It’s a fine evening (or matinee) and I’m not a Little Critter, as Alfie woulda said . . .


Forever Plaid

Forever Plaid
Marietta Theatre Company
through September 2, 2017

While this is one that resonates profoundly with the AARP crowd, it is one that audiences of any age will enjoy. Come back to the 1950’s and 60’s when we had maybe 3 or 4 TV channels, and we gathered to watch Milton Berle or Ed Sullivan as a group each week. It was a time when there were quite a few male quartet harmony groups doing their numbers. And high-schoolers thought it was a real experience to make out in the back seat of that Chevy.

The night that those four young men from England were about to debut on the Ed Sullivan show, one of the harmony four were rammed by a school bus heading to the show. Alas, none of the four survived. Stuart Ross created this show, which played in NYC from 1989 to 1994, and was later adapted into a film in 2009.

Eric Lang, John Jenkins, Keenan Rogers and Daniel Pino come on as the singers. They wanted to perform with plaid costumes and they come back from the afterlife to be forever plaid and sing their numbers. With Shane Simmons on the keys, they run through more than two dozen numbers in a cabaret style setting, and you can clap your hands, click your fingers and sing along as you wish.

The show runs as two acts, and in the second act they camp things up really well as they are imagining performing on a variety show, and they’ll bring back many old time performers’ schticks that most of us will recall.

The show is presented at the Lyric Studio on the Square, which is the black box stage behind the New Theatre in the Square. The company is a new one and this is the first of their first full season of five productions. They are a group of very hard working and talented performers who provide a very enjoyable couple of hours without commercials.

More info at MariettaTheatre.com


An American in Paris

An American in Paris – A New Musical
Fox Theatre
through August 20, 2017

Hurry, hurry, hurry. Only two more days until An American in Paris will close here and hit the road on their incredible tour.

This is one of the best produced and performed shows in quite a while. It is a adapted from the film of the same name, but is basically the same story. After WWII a GI named Jerry (McGee Maddox) decides that he really loves being in Paris and decides to stay there and follow his love of being an artist. He meets and falls in love with a dancer named Lise (Sara Esty) who wants to follow her dreams as well.

But things get involved when she is being pushed to wed Henri (Nick Spangler) who really isn’t into that quite as much as his mother is. And unknown to Jerry and his friend Adam (Etai Benson) they’re trying to push Henri into asking for the hand of this un-named potential fiancé. And so the story goes of three guys and one girl and where it will end . . .

This show is one with incredible rear screen projections, great lighting and costumes and a live orchestra in the pit. Understand that this work was originally composed by George Gershwin as a ballet in 1928 and his brother, Ira, did the lyrics. When this adaptation opened in 2015 in NYC it won a bunch of awards including Tonys for choreography, lighting design, orchestration and scenic design. And they sure deserved it all.

The huge cast includes dozens of dancers of highest quality and when you see one of the numbers in Act II, you’ll swear you were in Radio City Music Hall. Kudos to the Dance Captains, performers and designers. And, yes, there is a story inside the story and I am not going to get into it. For it is for you to see and hear. But, the GPRF (Provisional Government of the French Republic), had it’s problems to deal with even after the German surrender.

Bottom line is this is a first class production directed and choreographed by Christopher Wheeldon, and one that you don’t want to miss. They’ve got rhythm and you’ll want to build your own stairway to paradise while watching. The scrims are fairly wide, so advice is to try to get seats in orchestra center.



The Only Light in Reno

The Only Light in Reno
Out of Box Theatre
through August 26, 2017

Topher Payne obviously did a load of research into what went on fifty-six years ago when a film “The Misfits” was being shot in Reno and got shut down due to a huge forest fire.

The show is based upon some stories involving Montgomery Clift (Daniel Carter Brown), Marilyn Monroe (Bryn Striepe), Libby Holman (Jennifer Lee) Liz Taylor (Emily Sams) and Paula Strasberg (Carolyn Choe). The story line is somewhat obscured in the start but it deals with the personal habits and egotistical indulgences of these celebrities who may appear somewhat sane on screen, or in the media, but have troubles running their own lives.

It starts off with just Libby Holman, Marilyn and Monty dishing it out; but then Liz shows up and they start dishing the dirt about her and Eddie Fisher. That’s when things really get amped up. In the meantime there is Paula Strasberg, wife of the famed Lee Strasberg, who is trying to retain some semblance of sanity among these celebrities.

Directed by Matthew Busch, who had been connected to this work since it premiered 3 years ago. The set by Matthew and Topher Payne is Marilyn’s suite in the Reno hotel; which had a few problems such as no electricity, phones, or food service and the elevators trapping some guests, etc.

Bryn Striepe does a great job as Norma Jean Baker, whose Marilyn persona flew to the stars but flamed out at age 36. And Monty cashed out at 46. They all had their addictions and egos to deal with. So what else is new? Each member of the cast is spot-on and does a swell job with loads of lines, and the show runs about 2 hours 25 minutes with a 15 minute intermission.

I’m not sure the under 40 crowd is going to relate to a some of the history.   It is accurate and the author poured his all into crafting this one. It’s good to see that it’s been tweaked slightly, and has found it’s legs and will play around for quite a while. For as they know, the show, or the film, goes on as long as there’s a stage, or camera, and somebody who needs be in the lead.

More info and tickets at OutOfBoxTheatre.com


Rabbit Hole

Rabbit Hole
Center Stage North
through August 12, 2017

David Lindsey-Abaire penned this work several years ago. It went through some revisions and in 2007 won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. The title may be somewhat obscure, however. But think that when Alice was in Wonderland she found that a rabbit hole was an adventure into the unknown; as rabbits burrow through a warren of passages on their travels.

In this play we meet a couple who are trying to work through their grief over the loss of their 4-year old son. The issue is how life goes on for those who are left. Alas, it is a conundrum that many of us have dealt with.

Izzy (Sorsha Masters) is a single woman who is in a relationship with a man we never actually meet. But, his name is Auggie and she is pregnant with his child. Her sister is Becca (Amanda Leigh Kraft) who tries to play the part of the more sane sibling. But, she has her issues and it is hard for her. It was her son, Danny, who was killed in an car accident some 8 months earlier.

Becca’s husband Howie (Keith Kraft) is also trying to cope with the loss, but in a different modality. Becca may seek solitude and see Danny wherever she may look; while Howie interacts with others in grieving counseling sessions. She thinks they should sell the home and move on in life. He is of a different mind.

As grim as the play may be there is some humor in it, provided by the girls’ mother, Nat (Shelly Barnett), who comes on like an Anne Meara type. And, Nat does understand where Becca is. As she lost her druggie son at age 30.

Danny was run over by a car when he ran into the street to chase his dog. And the young man who was driving, Jason (Benja Petty) is having his problems dealing with the hand that life has dealt.  C’est la vie . . .

The show is directed by Keith Kraft who puts his all into it, as does his real-time wife and the others. And while it is well performed, it would not be fully suitable for youngsters, or those who are themselves working through the process of grieving. Center Stage North is at 3605 Sandy Plains Rd, and easy to get to with free parking and good coffee and cookies. More info at CenterStageNorth.org


Glengarry Glen Ross

Glengarry Glen Ross
Pinch ‘n’ Ouch Theatre
through September 23, 2017

This production of David Mamet’s work is unusual in that it runs through August 26th with the current cast, and then reopens August 31 to September 23 with a totally different cast. Most of the action is set in a seedy real estate office in Mamet’s home town of Chicago, and must have resembled one of those places where he worked in earlier years.

The story deals with some hustlers selling off real estate in two developments, Glengarry Island and Glen Ross Farms. Kind of like when Marco Island and others were being divided up and sold off a half a century ago.

Grant McGowen directs a hard working cast of seven players. You first meet Shelly Levene (Al Stilo) who is scraping the bottom of the barrel, trying to get some decent leads from the dweeb who is the office manager, played by Omer Mughal. After all, if you don’t have leads who are you gonna hustle? Jayson Warner Smith plays top selling agent Richard Roma. Dave Moss (Alex Van) and George Arronow (Andy Fleming) are two more sales reps each with some serious personal self-image problems. None of these guys has any regard for the office manager nor the owners, Mitch and Murray, who we never meet.

But, a couple of them hatch a plot to stage a robbery in which they’ll wind up with all the hot leads and cash in big-time. At least until a police officer (Jennifer Schottstaedt) shows up investigating the more-or-less break-in. One little problem becomes a bigger one when a patsy named James (Marcus LaRon) shows up and wants to exercise his right to rescind the contract he signed fewer than 3 days prior. All hell breaks loose

This is one of those stories in which the “F-word” is used as the universal modifier. Ergo, it is not for the kiddies nor Ms. Prim. But, it is real folks, in real time, in real dealing. These sales reps could also have been used car dealers or politicians.

The show has been playing to full houses, albeit the venue seats only about 50 patrons. But, more info and tickets at pnotheatre.org



Serenbe Playhouse
through September 3, 2017

What good is sitting alone in your room when you can come hear the music play, in a first class production of Cabaret. Brian Clowdus, founder of the Serenbe Playhouse actually takes the stage in this one as the Emcee, and what is even more exciting is that Molly Tynes shares center stage with him as Sally Bowles. Brian and Molly have been best of friends since college days and played these roles more years ago than they probably wish to admit.

The show is staged out of doors with cabaret style table seating as well as general admission tiers. Actually, the higher up seating may be even better as you have totally unobstructed views. The cast of 20 players are in terrific costumes since they are working at the Kit Kat Klub. The Klub is a burlesque club and the choreography is right out of Radio City. Heidi Cline McKerley plays Frau Schneider and Robert Wayne comes on as Herr Schultz.

Lee Osorio is Bradshaw, who is just a visitor at the wrong time and place, and Deborah Bowman is Fräulein Kost, and Edward McCreary is Ernst Ludwig, who symbolizes the political situation in Germany in 1929. The show moves along with live music from a 12-piece band under the baton of Chris Brent Davis.

Yes, the show is performed out of doors, but the staging is terrific, the props move in and out with greatest of ease, and the lighting and special effects are first class. Kind of brings to mind some of the shows you may have seen in theme parks.

The venue is easy to get to, albeit it is a bit of a schlep if you live north of town. And, the weather can be a concern. However, the seating is comfortable, and you can bring an umbrella if you wish; or even buy rain insurance at their website. Bottom line is that it truly is worth the risk, as the rewards are first class.

More info at SerenbePlayhouse.com