The Lion King






The Lion King
Fox Theatre
through January 28, 2018

You know about The Lion King, or perhaps you live in a cave some place. This is the Disney funded extravaganza and the road company has come to Atlanta many times since 2003. Tickets have been selling quite well, so if interested you need to be a bit flexible in your dates if you want to secure the best seats.

It is true that money doesn’t always equal production of value. Just look at the miserable stuff your favorite cable company is pumping into your home. But in The Lion King what you see is that a bottomless pit of money when married to an inexhaustible supply of talent can really produce something quite impressive. The plot is immaterial so don’t even give it a thought. The music is forceful and sometimes melancholic but you aren’t going to leave the theatre humming most of it. What you are going to see is a theatrical “experience” which is incredibly well staged, lit, choreographed and costumed.

More than the music and lyrics by Elton John and Tim Rice, the real stars of the show are the costumes and direction of Julie Taymor. The show is adapted from the Disney film of the same name and it is pure Disney all the way.

Buyi Zama is a gas as narrator, cum hip mentor of the savannah. And
really knows how to play to an audience. The two scene stealers (when the hyenas aren’t on stage) are Zazu, the avian majordomo to King Mufasa (Gerald Ramsey) and the camped up meerkat fresh from the Borscht Belt, Timon (Nick Cordileone).

What this production is all about is color, movement, sound and pleasing the
senses. From the opening act when the larger than life animals parade all around the stage, you are treated to something that looks like a Las Vegas show staged in a 3-ring tent. So, just be a kid for a while.

The show runs about 2 hours and 45 minutes so plan on a long first act if you have kids with you. Come early as they have a mob scene at the Fox. Not sure what more to tell you. You’ve seen clips on TV, your kids or grandkids have told you about it, you’ve been to Disney World, so just go and enjoy it for what it is. It’s a great theatrical entertainment.


The Comedy of Errors

Shakespeare Tavern
through January 28, 2018

With all the news going on these days about legalizing marijuana, it may make one think of Sherlock smoking opiates, and/or possibly the Bard getting high to pen this opus. After all, they did have quite a garden in Warwickshire.

This is a show of insanity, presented by a bunch of weirdos, played by a cast of terrific actors. A merchant from Syracuse (Steve Hudson) is under arrest in Ephesus and trying to get up enough ducats to avoid execution.

The merchant came there in search of some of his twin sons who he lost at sea years prior. And that’s when things get even stranger. The twins grew up in different lands. One of them is Antipholus (Andrew Houchins) and his slave is named Dromio (J.L.Reed). The twin brother is same name but from the other town, played by Charlie T. Thomas,, and he has a slave who just happens to be same name as the other one, played by Adam King.

Things get nuttier when a gold chain is handed over to the wrong twin and the other one won’t pay the merchant for it because he never got it. Duh! Things get even more intense when one of the women begs to have her alleged husband removed from a safe abbey and turned over to her custody. It is the Abbess (Gina Rickicki) who gets things in alignment; and as one may expect, everything does come out all right in the end. The two Dromios even leave the stage arm in arm, as they are also twins.

The cast of a dozen players do their very best to make things as screwy as possible, and directed by Jaclyn Hofmann, they do a fine job of sucking us down into the black hole of the story. One might wonder how the poor peasants back in Shakespeare’s days could figure out what was going on, as they stood in place for 2+ hours.

The tavern offers pub grub, has easy seating and is easy to get to. Park across the street in the hospital garage and when you check out, show them a ticket stub and they charge only $4. Not bad for downtown Atlanta. More info and tickets at ShakespeareTavern.com




The Musical
Onstage Atlanta
through January 21, 2018

This is the send-off production at Onstage Atlanta before a soon to be announced relocation. And during the months of making the move, they’ll take a line from the Alliance M.O. and play around town at 7 Stages, the Art Station, and possible other venues.

Zip Rampy brought together a fine cast of a eight players to retell the story of The Silence of the Lambs, as a musical comedy noir. Only problem is that most of the comedy may not get through. Most of the goofy stuff is portrayed by a group of lambs, who could easily be mistaken for bunnies. Russ Ivey plays Lecter and he pulls the role off with great aplomb, as does Barbara Cole Uterhardt as the inquisitive Clarice; who is trying to delve into Lecter’s inner being, whatever that might be. Buffalo Bill is played by Zac Phelps, while Daniel Pino comes on in more than a dozen roles.

This play had somewhat limited runs in NYC, London and elsewhere; and while it garnered some awards, it isn’t Cats or Phantom by any measure. In fact, you do not want to try to bring any kids to this one, nor would Ms. Prim or the Bible Thumpers be able to handle the ever present expletives and single entendres. The one in Act I which is program noted as If I Could Smell Her C*̂$ sets the stage for more of the same ilk in Act II.

Nick Silvestri directed the music of the three players, while Zac handled the choreography. This is not their usual genre, but is a special event to help funding for the Metropolitan Atlanta Theatre Awards, and for that we must stand by their side in appreciation, as so much of the work is pro bono. They do advise that the show is rated R, and is a size 14 R, so as any boy scout would advise, if you go, just be prepared.

More info and tickets at OnstageAtlanta.com