The World Goes ‘Round

The World Goes ’Round
Lyric Theatre
through November 5, 2017

This is a large scale cabaret type of show which presents man of the musical numbers composed by John Kander with lyrics by Fred Ebb. You recognize many of them from shows such as Funny Lady and Chicago; but unless you are a real theatre and film fan there will be some you may not recall; as this team did a lot of work and not every show was a smash hit.

A really good cast of nine deliver up 30 numbers, including such favorites as All That Jazz, Cabaret, Money-Money and New York-New York. The 6 member orchestra is upstage under the direction of S. Renee Clark. And the lead singers include Mary Nye Bennett, Deborah Bowman and Adrianna Trachell with Jeff McKerley and Brad Raymond. There are constant costume changes, some neat dance segments and even a special number from the show The Rink.

This show is also unique in that Ricardo Aponte not only did the choreography but directed this one.

There is no story line,as it is strictly a musical cabaret of very entertaining numbers presented with aplomb on a very workable and posh stage setting. More info is available at AtlantaLyricTheatre.com


The Last Five Years

The Last Five Years
Marietta Theatre Company
through November 4, 2017

The newly formed Marietta Theatre Company performs at the Lyric Studio on the Square in Marietta. It’s a black box theater, but comfortable seats with good views, and they are really working hard to present enjoyable shows.

This show written and composed by Jason Robert Brown is basically a two person operetta staged cabaret style. It tells the story of Cathy (Stephanie Earle) and Jamie (J D Meyers) and their five years as a married couple. As most couples will agree that being together is not always every day of pleasure, it has to be that the glue bonding a couple surpasses the grit driving them apart.

Cathy is an actor trying to get recognized so her career may advance. It isn’t easy;  as in any of the cultural arts it is the few percent at the top who control more than 90% of the market, and celebrity is the promotional tool.

Cathy tells her story from the break-up time going back to the meet-up days; while Jamie tells his from days of wishing to find the right woman to the relationship and then the break-up. For, while Cathy is trying to be wife and actor, Jamie gets his manuscript accepted by a noted publisher and his street creds as a writer start to skyrocket. It is then that he and his trademark become of most importance.

There was a suggestion that the playwright fashioned a lot of the story line from his own life. But, notwithstanding that possibility; it is a truly unique offering under the direction of Zac Phelps, and it is a story that we all can easily understand.  It is not all pathos, as there is humor as well. But, humans are still human beings and we all have to try to accept that.

The performing duo have great pipes and they are backed up by a five-piece band of players under direction of Laura Gamble on the keys. It is a well staged unusual work for the adults, and easy to get to with street parking nearby.

You can get more info and tickets at their website, MariettaTheatre.com


The Rocky Horror Show

The Rocky Horror Show
Out Front Theatre
through November 5, 2017

Atlanta’s LGBTQIA Theatre is starting off their second season with one dynamic production. Richard O’Brien probably could never have anticipated that when he did the book, music and lyrics for this rock opera, that it would have run for years in London and around the world.

The story is about a couple; Janet (Ally Duncan) and her fiancé, Brad (Jacob Jones) falling into a Draculan abyss when their car breaks down and they try to find a place with a phone they might use. It’s there that they get into deep trouble in this weird place run by Dr. Frank N. Furter (Kiona Reese) and filled with a crowd of transvestite zombies.

The cast of about a dozen players fill the house with unending energy which is also sent back to them by the high levels of crowd appreciation. Matt Busch directed this show and it is a true power house. If you’re thinking of Sly Stallone, this certainly has nothing to do with him. And, if you are already a Rocky fan, you will enjoy seeing Max Mattox in that roll.

The venue is easy to get to and has valet parking available. Note: this sure as hell ain’t for Ms. Prim, the kiddies nor Potus. More info at OutfrontTheatre.com



OnStage Atlanta
through November 5, 2017

With All Hallowed’s Eve soon upon us, it’s no surprise that so many theatres are putting on ghastly shows. And, who ever did a better job of weaving webs of deceit and mystery than Dame Agatha Mary Clarissa Miller, who we know as Agatha Christie?

In Verdict, we meet a professor Hendryk (Rick Perera) who is teaching at a university in England, having moved there from the Continent for safety reasons. His wife, Anya (Courtney Loner) is confined to a wheelchair, with little hope of recovery; and she’s not a happy camper living among new folks rather than the people she knew back home.

A student from a wealthy family is Helen Rollander (Hannah Morris) and she has eyes for the professor. An attraction that is not mutual by any means. As the story progresses, Helen feels that everyone’s life might be better were Anya to leave the mortal coil. She is taking some medication, possibly laudanum, as needed and her care givers have to be careful not to exceed a minimal dosage.

As the story progresses, Anya does die. After all, this is an Agatha opus. But, although you get to see who did her in, and how the dirty deed was done; it is not that obvious to the police or even her doctor. It may be that a maid or housekeeper may know a bit more than she lets on to, but this is a mystery.

The verdict comes into focus when one character is arrested and charged with murder. Did the party do the deed, or was it somebody else. You will find out as you take in the second act. It seems that everybody is trying to cover up for others and everyone is putting on a facade. C’est la vie.

Elisabeth Cooper directed this with a cast of ten, and it is really appropriate for this time of year, and very well presented. They play only Friday and Saturday evenings and Sunday matinees. More info and tickets at OnstageAtlanta.com


Vivian, a ghost story

Vivian, a ghost story
Lyric Studio Theatre
through October 14, 2017

No, this is NOT about Vivian Leigh. This one-act play was crafted by Chase Peacock and Jessica De Maria, and is about a young girl and her family moving into a ghastly dreadful new home.

Vivian (Mabel Tyler) and her older sister, Chrissy (Brittany Ellis) are in the process of settling in, after the passing of their mother. And their father (Travis Smith) is trying to deal with the stresses of daily life as well. So many of us have been through this episode; but this time the tale moves along with a dozen numbers with music and lyrics by Chase and Jessica.

A young neighbor, James (Austin Taylor) shows up and offers help on the unpacking and setting up. And he and Chrissy find an interest in each other. But, something isn’t quite right. Is there some ghostly spirit still living with the family, or in the house?

Dad is a psychologist and when Vivian starts going bonkers he is stumped trying to figure out what her diagnosis might be. He is a father as well as a psychologist and would like to get the job done correctly in one or both venues.

The cast of four players is directed by Jessica and backed up by Chase Peacock on guitar, Devin Porter on the keys and Zach Beahan on the drums. The timing is right, since Halloween is soon upon us, and this may be one that gets played every October. There is some street language so may not be for little ones or Ms. Prim, and the show runs about 70 minutes.

The show is at the Lyric Studio Theatre which is the small black box stage behind the Marietta Theatre in the Square. Address is 12 Powder Springs Street. For more info check them out at AtlantaLyricTheatre.com


Crossing Delancey

Crossing Delancey
Alliance Theatre
through November 25, 2017

If you knew New York, then you know the lower East Side and Delancey Street, which is a main thoroughfare in this old Jewish area, full of delicatessens, clothing stores and so much more.

This show is being staged at the Marcus Jewish Community Center on Tilly Mill Rd, in Dunwoody. The theater is easy to get to, comfy seating and good stage view from every seat in the house.

The play, by Susan Sandler originally played in NYC, of course, and got generally favorable reviews, even in the NY Times. If you are old enough to recall the TV series, The Goldbergs when it aired in black and white in the late 40’s and 50’s, then you’ll absolutely adore this production.

Sochi Fried is Izzy, a woman who works uptown in a book shop. She comes back to the lower East Side every week to see her grandmother, who is referred to in the Yiddish word, Bubbie. Mary Lynn Owen is the Bubbie and she is a hoot as she tries to get life in order for Izzy, even though her friend Hannah is such a yenta/matchmaker type. Joanna Daniels is also great as Hannah, who needs to know everything even though she already does know what anybody should do.

Izzy enjoys seeing a local author, Tyler (Daniel Thomas May) who stops by the store quite often. They may have eyes for one another, but nothing has come of it when we first meet them. So what’s a Bubbie to do? Can’t have Izzy become a spinster. So why not get her hooked up with Sam, the pickle man? He makes good pickles and could make a good hubby. Andrew Benator plays Sam, who is not as sure of himself as Tyler may be; but he does listen to good advice. And the action ensues.

Directed by Leora Morris, on a set that works quite well by Kat Conley, this is a truly pleasant experience. And you don’t need to be Jewish to understand what is going on. After all, don’t we all have families? Maybe the Goldbergs, or Archie Bunker, or others?

A really good production and a pleasant couple of hours, where you hear no politicians, and nobody gets killed. More info at AllianceTheatre.com




Evil Dead

Evil Dead – Musical
Out of Box Theatre
through November 4, 2017

This camped up musical based on the old film version, hit the stage in Canada and started going around the world, in the style of Rocky Horror Show, and is one of the most prodigious productions at this small local theatre in Marietta, where it played last year and is now brought back. It may become one of those akin to Santaland Diaries, or the Nutcraker Suite.

Directed again by Zip Rampy, the cast of nine players pull off the story of 5 college students who head off into the woods to a vacant cabin for a holiday; and where all hell literally breaks loose.

Jack Allison plays Ash, the group leader, and he has to deal with the macho-man, Scott (Jim Dailey) who has a one-track mind relating to his girlfriend. Hannah Lake, Kristin Storla and Ali Olhausen are the female leads, and they can be pretty gruesome. Trevor Rayshay Perry is a riot as a local, Jake, who gets involved although he would have preferred not to; and Daniel Pino is a ghostly type who gets killed; except he just doesn’t get too into it.

There are some really cool scenes where people may lose their heads, or a hand, and the lyrics can be enough to make Ms. Prim lose her cool. So know that there is an abundance of expletives, and this probably is not for the wimps, prudes, or kiddies. But, with All Hallowed’s Eve soon upon us, it is a fine preparation for the trick part of the usual demand when the doorbell rings. Just hope the callers are not Candarian Demons.

The play runs about 2 hours in 2 acts, with 18 weird numbers. The show is truly bloody good.  But, be warned that should you elect to sit in the front row, you might be spattered with something red.

Out of Box is located on Cobb Parkway near the Big Chicken. Lots more info and tickets at OutOfBoxTheatre.com




The Rainmaker

The Rainmaker
Center Stage North
through October 14, 2017

In 1955 John Grisham’s book, The Rainmaker, was made to a film with Burt Lancaster and Katharine Hepburn. It had been presented onstage the year before and drew loads of attention.

And it was adapted to film again in 1997 and continues to engage audiences to this day. It’s a story about a family of farmers in the West during the days of the Great Depression. It hadn’t rained in months, the cattle were dying off, and things were pretty tight.

The play is about the Curry family headed up by the father known as HC (Jerry Jobe) but to a great extent managed by the older son, Noah (Ian Gibson). Noah is a very straight forward guy who never holds back a thought, even if everyone else may feel differently. The younger brother, Jim (Nate Gutoski) is looking to find a soul mate, even if it were only for a few nights, and he takes of load of “stuff” from Noah.

But the sister, Lizzie (LeeAnna Lambert Sweatt) is the only female in the family. She is self-deprecating in many ways, and has no male friend with benefits. She sort of sees herself as some old maid who shall always be alone. But, Jim has eyes for some gal and Lizzie might just have it in for the Sheriff’s Deputy File (Freddy Lynn Wilson) but neither really knows how to get things in motion.

It is into this dried out family that a con artist going by the name, Starbuck (Clay Johnson) shows up to sell himself to these losers as one who can cause the heavens to produce the rain they need. They all know he is a phoney, but things being as they were, HC decides to go for the deal to front $100 to this guy. He knows it’s a gamble, but feels he has no other plan.

Things get a bit dodgy when the Sheriff (James Conner) puts together that the rainmaker, Starbuck, is really some scoundrel that is on the most wanted lists in the area and he has to bring him down. As the story goes on, both Jim and Lizzie find their loves and most things come right in the end.

Directed by Julie Taliaferro, this is a highly energetic production for this small all-volunteer theatre company. And to have this cool set, and handle all the lines for a production which runs only for 6 nights, is truly incredible. The theatre is at the Mountain View Arts Alliance in Marietta and more info and directions are found at CenterStageNorth.com



Theatrical Outfit
through October 15, 2017

Back in high school we probably learned that females have XX chromosomes while boys are X and Y. What we’re not taught in biology 101 is that occasional mixtures occur where a girl may be XY and a boy may also be not the usual.  And there have been situations in which a person has been changed to the other sex either by desire or without his/her initial consent.

Playwright Anna Ziegler put this script together after learning about a young boy who lost his male appendage when a circumcision went wrong. What were the parents to do. He was a twin to his brother, but would never be quite the same. The doctor (Tom Key) urged the parents raise the child as a girl and to have reconstructive surgeries performed once he reached puberty. So the boy (Clifton Guterman) winds up having the survive the rigors of public school and not truly relating to anybody along his journey of life.

His parents, Trudy (Daryl Lisa Fazio) and Doug (Matt Lewis) are not always on the same page, and neither of them would have wished this hell on earth to anybody. But, what to do is always the stress issue of every day. As he reaches adulthood the child they raised as Samantha, finds attraction to a girl name Jenny (Annie York) and despite the urging of parents and doctor, he will not take the hormone meds to help grow breasts nor undergo sexual transformation surgeries. He denies the name Samantha and renames himself Adam.

It isn’t easy to go after a young woman when both know that the ultimate intimacy will never be possible, but maybe they can deal with that.

This stressful 90 minute show is directed by Melissa Foulger, and they have a talk session with the cast after the show. It’s not one of those you will feel a need to see more than once, nor is it one for kids. But, as the management of the theatre will tell you, it is about human experiences and learning to deal with one another; and that is their main interest in their productions.

Theatrical Outfit is downtown on Luckie Street, and you can get a discounted parking garage ticket when you pick up your tickets. More info at TheatricalOutfit.org


Project Dawn

Project Dawn
Horizon Theatre
through October 29, 2017

Bottom Line . . . this is a solid 11 on the proverbial scale. It’s not for the kids nor for Ms. Prim, but it is a gripping tale presented by a cast of 7 women who appear on stage in 14 roles. Karen Hartman crafted this play based on a true situation where Project Dawn came to life in Philadelphia, as a way to help free and reform women in the sex trade.

There’s little use to sending a hooker to the slammer, it’s the same as busting a street maryjane peddler. They’ll do their time, get out, and go back to business as usual. The sex trade is a multi million dollar industry, even in our home town; and some of the women are being forced into the trade and kept as chattel.  You may not think this could be in our area, but know that it does exist. And I recall when I lived in another state that ever time the local police had too many unsolved murders, they would go out and bust the hookers. That got them so good press. But, . . . they never busted the Johns because they could be lawyers, judges or politicians.

Prostitution has been around forever. I can imagine that a cavewoman might provide sex to a caveman for some food or water. Old habit never die. There are places like Nevada and the Netherlands where the industry is somewhat under control for the safety of all. But, so many of these women are never going to work through the traumatic stress of their lives that there’s no way out. They need our help.

The story is told in 2 acts in a courtroom where these women have to show up quite often and the judge gets into their activities, including psychological help, finding jobs and housing, and staying clean. It’s a three step program. First the defendant must plead nolo contendre, then go into the rehab program and report properly. Screw up and go to the jail. Ace the program and your record gets expunged and you have another chance to build a life.

Lisa Adler directed this work on a masterful set by the sisters Curley-Clay. Lane Carlock, Christy Clark, Carolyn Cook, Marianne Fraulo, Brooke Owens, Maria Rodriguez-Sager and Bobbi Lynne Scott are each just great in both of their roles.

This play is one that any and every religious institution should encourage their members to see. It is a true story in many aspects, and if we believe in humanity then we need to treat humans better.

More info at HorizonTheatre.com