Mamma Mia!






Mamma Mia!
Aurora Theatre
through April 22, 2018

How good does a show have to be, to be sold out before it’s first night? This one is more than 90% sold out for their entire run, and if you get to see it you will know why. The great ABBA musical, directed by Justin Anderson has everything you would see in a national touring company. But, . . . in a smaller venue you get to feel as if you are right up on stage and close to the performers, rather than sitting behind 1,000 other folks.

You know the songs, and the story line about the single mom on a Greek island whose daughter is to be wed. But, the young lady has no idea who her father may have been and the story evolves from her investigations and desires.

Sophie is the youngster, and is played by Hannah Church. Her mom, Donna (Kristin Markiton) runs the taverna she built and runs. And the fiancé, Sky is Nick Arapoglou.
Every one of the performers is belting out numbers, even if they are singing backup offstage. Chris Kayser (possible father Sam) even manages to sing, as do Travis Smith (possible father Bill) and Greg Frey (possible father Harry).

Macie Millard and Terry Henry play off one another and really come on singing the Chiquitita number in Act 1. The entire cast of more than two dozen players put incredible energy into this production. The choreography by Ricardo Aponte is really exciting, and the orchestra under the baton of Ann-Carol Pence deserves an award for their great output. And if the music, dance and story aren’t enough the costumes and props are also first class. YOU COULD NOT ASK FOR A BETTER PRODUCTION.

If you don’t get to see it in Lawrenceville, just think of maybe going to the Ferst Center at Georgia Tech where it will run June 9 to 24. But, don’t wait. Try to get to see it now, so you can see it again in a few months. More info at AuroraTheatre.com


Ladysmith Black Mombazo






Ladysmith Black Mombazo

The acapella group, Ladysmith Black Mombazo, from South Africa recently came to town where they performed at the Rialto Center of GSU. This group has performed around the world or 50 years and audiences love their style

Nine singers do numbers, mostly about making the world a more sane and peaceful place; with some doing back up as if they were musical instruments and others handling lyrics. And, some segments are done all as one. The group was founded in 1950 by Joseph Shabalala in Durban.

Most of what they sing is in Zulu, and while you may not see any super-titles, it is the harmony that is captivating. I know that when I first heard them in Johannesburg, that I was floored, and now decades later they haven’t lost a thing; albeit most of the group are not the same as 20+ years ago, But, the show’s the thing, and it surely wows audiences.

These are extremely hard working guys who may be playing on four or more cities in any one week. The played here to a full house which deeply appreciated their performance.

The Rialto is downtown and actually offers free parking at the garage next to their facility. And . . . if you want an evening of riotous laughter, don’t miss out on seeing Capitol Steps who will bring their political humor to town on March 24th. After all the recent news, we could use some comedy.

More info at Rialto.gsu.edu



Alliance Theatre
through March 25, 2018

The Alliance Theatre is on the road this year as they renovate their facility at the Woodruff Center. This production is staged at Actor’s Express on West Marietta Street and easy to get to with plenty of adjacent parking.

The story is set in Philadelphia as the Nazi onslaught was starting in Europe. Leonard Kirsch (John Skelley) and his wife, Evelyn (Amanda Drinkall) have made a huge effort to save Jewish children, knowing they would be ripped from their families and sent to die. They’ve had many more applicants than they could accommodate, as they are limited to 50. Leonard has arranged for 50 visas to be issued through connections with the government; for the United States was not too interested in receiving a wave of immigrants. These were times when even a boatload of escapees were within sight of Miami and our government denied them access. Makes one truly believe that those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it.

They have 49 foster families lined up and need one more. So they invite in a couple who have their own relationship problems. Martin Bloom (Lee Osorio) is a successful man who is stoic and stand-offish. His wife, Roberta (Park Krausen) is more open. Evelyn and Leonard finally get the Blooms to agree to become foster parents, and then they leave for Vienna to gather up the children and bring them to safety.

It is there that they meet Frau Mueller, whose son has been selected as one to be saved, but she is concerned about sending him off, never to be seen again. This is where the story gets extremely difficult; especially for those of us who lived through that era. The images never die.

Alix Sobler created this play, and it is NOT derived from the films of similar titles. This production is directed by Kimberly Senior and is very well done with sets and apparel reminiscent of 1939 by Jack Magaw and Nan Zabriskie; and is on the open stage at Actors Express. It is one that is meaningful for adults but probably not for youngsters.
More info at AllianceTheatre.org


A Comedy of Tenors

A Comedy of Tenors
Georgia Ensemble Theatre
through March 18, 2018

Ken Ludwig who wrote the prize winning Lend Me a Tenor, has written this sequel, with many of the characters you know from before. And, this one is a real riot, which Moliere would have enjoyed with one door opening as another closes and anything that could go wrong does so with great amusement.

Shelly McCook directs the cast of 7 players; each of whom is a pure delight. Harry Saunders (Robert Egizio) is under a load of stress. He’s staging a concert in Paris with world famous tenor, Tito Merelli (Brian Kurlander), who hasn’t shown up and if he has to cancel he is in a pile of you-know-what. He uses his son in law, Max (John Markowski), to run riot control for him to the extent that he is able to do so. Max’s wife is due to birth any day, and he is stuck in France with Harry.

They bring in another tenor, Carlo (Haden Rider), who is already seeing Tito’s daughter, Mimi (Lyndsay Ricketson). The story starts off with Tito’s wife, Maria (Courtnay Collins), witnessing what she assumes to be an inappropriate connection between Mimi and a certain gentleman. Maybe she gets it wrong. You’ll have to laugh your way through it. Both Tito and Carlo have problems, and Maria and Tito get into a real situation and each may hit the road.

Towards curtain time on the soccer field where the concert is to staged, a soprano, Racon (Lane Carlock), shows up and she has eyes, and more, for one of the gents. So you start to get the picture. Several singers, several misconceptions and some great acting and you will love the couple of hours.

I am not allowed to tell you how things go wrong, nor how they wind up; for the play’s the thing, and a great thing it is. More info and tickets easily available online at GET.org