Dirty Rotten Scoundrels






Dirty Rotten Scoundrels
Lyric Theatre
through February 25, 2018

Back in 1988 Michael Caine and Steve Martin were on screen as the two con artists working the wealthy ladies in Provence. The writers had actually adapted the story line from their earlier work, which was a 1964 film starring Marlon Brando.

This stage work was scored by David Yazbek for a book by Jeffrey Lane, and it was nominated for more than 10 Tonys when it ran in the Big Apple. This presentation by Atlanta’s Lyric Theatre brings to stage a cast of 17 players, every one of whom is spot-on. The story is about Lawrence Jameson (Bryant Smith) who comes to the Riviera in tourist season to work his scam. But, a drifter, Freddy Benson (Chase Peacock) invades his turf, albeit he lacks the panache of Jameson. They get on to each other and work the crowd, but they are always competing. Their gendarme buddy, Andre (Steve Hudson), gets a piece of the action for aiding and abetting their activities.

Several ladies come to town. Christine Colgate (Galen Crawley) who may not be quite as well off as they believe her to be, and who may have her own agendum. Muriel Eubanks (Jessica De Maria), and cowgirl Jolene (Allison McDowell) who is a good ole gal from OK, and could be a stand-in for Annie Oakley.

The guys have read that there was a competitor known as The Jackal working the Cote d’Azur, but they figured they had their own turf well covered. The show moves along with more than 20 numbers, and has great costumes and dance numbers. Directed by Rick Lombardo and choreographed by Lauren Brooke Tatum, it is performed to canned music which is expertly synched to the action by Paul Tate, and the lines have been camped up a bit to be more relative to events of our era.

The show is VERY professional and the Lyric is easy to get to on the 120 South Loop in Marietta. More info and tickets at AtlantaLyric.com


KSU Concert Series

KSU Concert Series
Kennesaw State University

KSU has grown exponentially in the past decade, and their School of Music is so vibrantly alive in our community.

Just this week they presented two really professional concerts at the Bailey Performance Center. On Wednesday they took to the stage in the 78th performance of this year’s concert season. The KSU Symphony Orchestra, under the baton of Nathaniel F. Parker, brought forth ”Scenes from Bohemia and Spain” the “Hungarian March” by Berlioz, “Die Moldau” by Smetana, and three dance numbers from Manuel de Falla’s “Three Cornered Hat.”

David Lindsey on trumpet was featured in the Concerto for Trumpet and Orchestra by Henri Tomasi. The orchestra, with most of their fifty players on stage, just captured the house, and everybody left feeling satiated.

The following night, in their Signature Series, two of the KSU Jazz Ensembles under the direction of Sam Skelton and Wes Funderburk brought down a full house with an evening of great standards such as Stardust, When I Get Low I Get High, and Autumn Leaves.

Visiting musician, Allen Vizzutti came center stage in the second half of the concert and blew the house down with his numbers such as Malaga and I’ll Remember April and others. He also knows how to work the audience as well as musicians, and the final number was one in which he and Sam Skelton were forced to play off against one another.

Tessa Walker, Kristin Houston and Rebecca Miller joined in as vocalists on several works, much to the delight of the audience.

I know you may have missed these two sweet evenings; but there are sooooo many more to come. You can visit the website at musicKSU.com and scroll down to a list of upcoming events. The performance center is a first class facility with very good seating and sound. The campus is just north-west of I-75 at Chastain Road. Easy to get to, and free parking. Try it, I guarantee you will enjoy your experience.


Georgia Symphony Orchestra





Georgia Symphony Orchestra

Recently the GSO Jazz Orchestra and the GSO chorus came to the Strand Theatre on Marietta Square for an exciting evening of music and song. The jazz combo headed up by Sam Skelton on the sax, included Randy Hoexter on the keys, and Wes Funderburk on his trombone. Some of the crew take turns in doing their riffs, and the chorus under direction of Bryan Black took to the stage in both sets and did such a fine job.

They played to a full house, even though the weather was miserable, and everybody enjoyed it.

The GSO’s next concert will be Heartstrings on February 10, in time for Valentine’s Day. It will be held at Bailey Performance Center at KSU, just north of Chastain Rd.
And as you may suspect this is all strings, featuring Mahler, Debussy, and others appropriate for the days and attendees.

GSO Principal Harpist Julie Koenig will be featured performing Debussy’s Danse Sacrée et Danse Profane, and tickets run from $10 to $30, with free parking and good views from all seats.

Check them out at GeorgiaSymphony.org and enjoy a sweet evening with no hassles.


The Followers

The Followers
7 Stages
through February 25, 2018

While Euripides was in exile and not happy with the political scene in ancient Greece, he wrote The Bacchae, which is a gripping tale of intrigue, revenge, and societal norms.

Presented on the back stage the show runs about 90 minutes in one act.

Dionysus (Ofir Nahari) has come back to Thebes in disguise to spread his own brand of beliefs. He’s not happy with King Pentheus of Thebes (Lowrey Brown) is not happy with most things, especially the tales of his birth by Semele (Laura Reboulet) who was victimized by the god Zeus.

Dionysus tries to convince the townsfolk that the road to salvation is by cross-dressing, and the fight is on with King Pentheus, and Dionysus winds up in the fire pit having been ripped apart, and only his head remains. The followers turn into animals and rage through the town.

The story is a bit confusing unless you had read Cliff’s Notes in high school, but the show is well done. It is directed by Michael Haverty and Margaret Baldwin, who is the author of the work. Klimchak composed the score for the play and handles it on his percussion array, and it works quite well.

7 Stages is in Little Five Points. Be sure to park legally, so you don’t get booted. And if you can show up early you can enjoy some truly great Mediterranean cuisine at Ali Baba which is next door to them.

More info and tickets available at7Stages.org


The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane

The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane
Synchonicity Theatre
through February 25, 2018

Kate DiCamillo wrote the childrens’ book which won several awards, and the play was adapted from her work by Dwayne Hartford. It has been used in many schools to address the issues of love, hope, dealing with disasters, and family issues.

Edward Tulane is a china rabbit doll that a caring grand-mother (Caitlin Josephine Hargraves) gives to her young grand-daughter, Abiline (Jimmica Collins) who absolutely adores the rabbit, speaks to it, sleeps with it, and is totally attached to the doll who they name Edward Tulane.

The show has a cast of only 4 players, with the other two being Josh Brook who is in several roles, and Justin Walker who is the onstage voice-over for Edward. What happens is that the rabbit doll winds up going through several tough times, such as being tossed overboard at sea, being in a dump, forced to be a puppet, and having his head broken and being sold by a doll store owner.

As he goes through life, he seeks to find a reason to exist, and that is what the story may be about. There is some lightly handled pathos as well as plenty of laughs, such as when Jammica comes on as a dog who wants to hang onto Edward. Makes you want to bark.

Mira Hirsch directed this really well done production in the theatre located in the Inverness Building in on Peachtree Street in midtown. Only one caveat is that it might be difficult for a youngster who has recently lost a family member or close friend. More info available at SynchroTheatre.com


Don Quixote






Don Quixote
Atlanta Ballet
through February 9, 2018

This is one of the finest ballets you will EVER enjoy. And there are but two performance left at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Center. The dates are Friday and Saturday February 9 and 10.

This is as grand a performance as you would see in London, New York or at the Bolshoi. The cast of dozens of dancers is incredible, and the costumes are total eye candy. Any viewer from 3 to 103 will enjoy this one. The story line is a little weird and while you may get lost in what is happening and to whom, the dance is the thing, as The Bard may have opined.

We see the Don getting a shave from the barber, Sergio Masero-Olarte, and as he later diving into his grand tomes, he meets up with Sancho Panza (Jared Tan) who he takes on as his squire and eventually they take off to explore things with their horse, Rocinante.

The barber, Basilio has eyes for Kitri (Erica Alvarado) the daughter of a local innkeeper (Armando Luna) who wants his daughter to marry to a higher station, such as the comedic fop, Gamache (Jacob Bush)

The ballet has plenty of comedy in it. Sancho winds up doing a great trampoline number in the town square, and Gamache is a hoot as he watches things develop. In Act 2, we find Don Quixote and Sancho in the open fields near La Mancha where his goes nuts viewing the windmills and decides to take action against them. This wonderful performance is directed by Gennadi Nedvigin with a large orchestra in the pit under the baton of Jonathan McPhee. The wonderful choreography is by Yuri Possokhov who had first done this work at the Joffrey Ballet in Chicago; and the great sets and costumes are from The Joffrfey.

The Cobb Energy facility is right near 75 and 285, with plenty of parking and very good seating. PLEASE don’t miss one. We don’t know when it may return, so go get more info and/or tickets at AtlantaBallet.com


The Mystery of Love & Sex

The Mystery of Love & Sex
Out Front Theatre Company
through February 18, 2018

Bathsheba (“Bash”) Doran is a brilliant writer, who was a Julliard School Fellow, and knows a lot about what she pens. This work, which is about two couples from two generations won great reviews when it opened in NYC 3 years ago, and also played Chicago and other venues to great acceptance.

Nothing is simple, nor as one might expect. Donald McManus plays the father, Howard, who is a writer and is Jewish. His wife, who is not Jewish is Lucinda (Lulu) who is played by Tiffany Morgan. They’ve been married for many a year, but life isn’t always what they may have anticipated when they said “I Do.” Howard can get on her nerves just by opening his mouth, and she has problems with smoking addictions. And there’s plenty of alcohol around their apartment.

Their daughter is Charlotte (Rachel Wansker) who is a teen ager trying to plan out her adult life. Since age 9 she’s had this affection for a classmate-neighbor named Johnny (Terrance Smith). There are some little problems inasmuch as Johnny is not Jewish, and is Afro-American. This doesn’t work for Lucinda, who would rather her daughter marry a nice Jewish doctor type of guy. Johnny’s family isn’t into the whole idea, either.

Everybody tries to keep things to themselves, and lie to family, as they move through discovering their true identities. Along the way they also deal with discovering their true sexual preferences. So many of us have been through this morass, that it may often seem like a work of non-fiction.

The Out Front Theatre deals with matter of interest to the LGBTQIA community, although you don’t need to be defined by that acronym to enjoy their very professional presentations. Cody Russell designed a set that helps to easily move through many scenes with ease, and Amber Bradshaw directed this one. This theatre downtown on Brady Street was founded by Paul Conroy who is their producing artistic director, and also has directed the current show at Art Station.

Yes, there are some expletives in the play, as well as some very brief nudity. But, WTF. You’re grown up, aren’t you? More info at OutFront.com


Clark Gable Slept Here







Clark Gable Slept Here
Art Station Theatre
through February 11, 2018

This wild opus by Michael McKeever is a present day story of an egocentric talent manager who stumbles into some problems in a boutique hotel with a suite they proudly present as one in which Clark Gable had slept.

Clark Gable had quite a sex drive and had more trysts with women than many of today’s politicians. Yet there was one with Billy Haines, a star of the 1920s, and Haines came out about it. It was also confirmed by Joan Crawford, who was a friend of both of the guys.

A dead prostitute is found in the ritzy suite which had been rented to an actor who was up for a Golden Globe Award. The ceremony was that evening, and the actor had left the hotel. The maid, Estella (Jess Arcelay) came in to take care of the room when she discovered the motionless gent, Travis (Spencer Kolbe Miller), on the chaise. She has called in the hotel manager, Gage Holland (Ben Thorpe), who is frantic, as finding a corpse in his place would not make good publicity.

And he winds up with the actor’s agent, Hilly Hilliard (Bryan Brendle), who has great concerns, as his client would not benefit from the news hitting the tabloids. So he has called in a high-power fixer-upper, Morgan Wright (Wendy Melkonian) who knows who to call to take care of anything.

And if you think that nothing could go wrong, just think again. For this riotous romp is one in which anything that could go wrong does so. And the show is on a fine set with this great cast who exude energy in every minute of this one-act work. Directed by Paul Conroy, this is a story line that could be occurring today in TinselTown and is one you will really enjoy.

But also know that this is not one for the kiddies, or those who recoil at the use of the “F word” as the universal modifier. Art Station is in Stone Mountain Village, easy to get to and free parking and a good bar and art gallery. More info at ArtStation.org