True Colors Theatre
through August 12, 2018

Kenny Leon is back in town to direct DOT, a new play by Colman Domingo. This is another play which deals with aging in place, dysfunction, every day stress, and other social issues. This is not one for the kiddies, nor Ms. Prim, as there are expletives aplenty, some homosexual issues, race issues, and a mother, Dotty (Denise Burse-Fernandez) who is dealing with alzheimer issues big-time.

Dotty’s three offspring gather round her for a Christmas celebration. She has a man-servant on hand, Fidel (Benedetto Robinson) who deals with her, as well as the family, as best he can. Dotty’s son, Donnie (Gilbert Glenn Brown) has a inter-racial relationship with Adam (Lee Osorio), and it can get pretty graphic.

The other three ladies are played by Tinashe Kajase-Bolden, Amber Harris and Rhyn Saver. Almost all of this cast are Equity performers and Kenny Leon directs them on a fantastic set designed by Moria and Isabel Curley-Clay.

This is a strong story of dealing with a parent with dementia, who even thinks her daughter is her cleaning lady. And, while there are laughs aplenty in the way the story evolves, it may remind one of some relatives of their own.

The theatre is located at the Southwest Arts Center which is on Hope Church Road, easy to get to from Cascade Road exit off of I-285 west. That is easy, provided you allow an extra 30-45 minutes if you live north of downtown, as the traffic here is getting to be a nightmare. But, assuming you get there, every seat has a good view, parking is free, there is a gallery display and concession goodies. More info at TrueColorsTheatre.org


Built to Float






Built to Float
Essential Theatre
through August 26, 2018

Rachel Graf Evans’ play, Built to Float, is being staged by the Essential Theatre at the West End Performing Arts Center on Ralph David Abernathy Blvd. Essential Theatre has a long history of bringing new works, often by new playwrights, to their stage. This one is directed by Artistic Director, Peter Hardy.

We meet Tess (Rachel Wansker) who works as a phlebotomist; as her mother Suzanne Roush) keeps bugging her to become a physician. That is not likely to happen as Tess is not only working full time but caring for her mother. She is often in a sink or swim scenario.

Her sister, Roz (Heather Schroeder) shows up. She’s a free spirit and recently out of rehab. Roz sees things quite differently, and the sisters don’t exactly agree on many points of interest. Then a stranger, William (Alex Van) comes into their lives and he has a work offer for Tess, that may be a great deal or a disaster. And the story line is about how Tess is one who has to save herself and works through things to determine that she was built to float, not to sink. It is a good job, dealing with a tough subject.

The theatre is south of I-20 and if you are coming from north of midtown you need to plan and extra 30-45 minutes; as every major artery in Metro Atlanta seems to be under repair, or dealing with accidents.

The actors do a good job with a story that might be difficult for some folks. And it is not for the kiddies. More info at EssentialTheatre.com


Enchanted April

Enchanted April
The Weird Sisters Theatre Project
through July 29, 2018

This play based on a book from the 1920’s is about bored Brit housewives escaping to a holiday sans hubbies, and how what could have been a riotous undertaking evolves into finding solace and rebuilding of relationships.

Lotty (Shelli Delgado) and Rose (Amanda Cucher) are a couple of pretty prim church ladies who find an advert for a vacation rental of a castle in Italia. They’re stuck in unrewarding unions with Mellersh (Josh Brook) and Frederick (Topher Payne). They decide to go with the idea, but they want to bring another couple of ladies on board to fill up the rooms and share the costs. So Lady Caroline (Maggie Birgel) and grumpy Mrs. Graves (Holly Stevenson) round out the temporary sorority.

Mellersh is a control freak type who wants a fully subordinated woman as his wife. He’s a egomaniac solicitor. And speaking of soliciting; Frederick is a writer who is doing some works using a nom de plume, and used the alias when he met up with one of the other 3 ladies at a book signing, clueless that he may wind up in the same scene with both his wife and his wanna-be.

The first act set serves as a background for fast shifts through several venues as these ladies make their escape plans. Then, in Act II we find a grand scale set on the patio of the Castle overlooking the Mediterranean and the domestic, Costanza (Stephanie LeeAnn Earle), tries to handle this bunch of weirdos. The property owner (J. L. Reed) shows up, and he finds some interesting eye candy there. But, when Lotty and Rose decide to implore their others to come join the gang, you expect all hell to break loose, in a Moliere fashion. But, it doesn’t quite work that way. This one is not quite a Shirley Valentine story; as each of the women finds satisfaction in manners they might never have imagined, and all comes out right in the end.

Directed by Kate MacQueen, the cast does a fine job and they’ve done well
with the lines in Italian. If you’ve seen one of the films you know where it’s going, but the play takes longer to get there, but it is thoroughly enjoyable and a great credit to The Weird Sisters. This is playing only to the 29th at the Out of Box Theatre on Cobb Parkway. More info at TheWeirdSisters.org


A Southern Exposure

A Southern Exposure
Lionheart Theatre
through July 29, 2018

Lionheart is an all volunteer theater company just off the square in Norcross. And for a small company they do some really top grade jobs; and this is one of them. The play by Kelly Kingston-Strayer is about the core members of a family in Kentucky and what happens when the youngest one decides to hit the road to The Big Apple.

Brandi Kilgore directs the play which is staged on a really good set. There may not be a starring role, as every one of the four players is really superb. Three sisters who are getting on in age live in this small town. Merle Halliday Westbrook is center stage as the grandmother of the young lady, while Marla Krohn and Glory Hanna are a riot doing their schticks as church ladies, one of whom is losing some of her marbles, and aunts of Callie Belle, played by Katherine Waddell.

While there is a bit of underlying pathos, the show is a laugh-fest. Callie Belle is almost 30 and single. That alone is a problem for the older women. She falls for a man who is not of her family’s religious setting and that gets very distressing to them. Not only that, but she’s going to take off to NYC to live with the guy, who has not yet asked for her hand in marriage. Oy!

When that falls through she gets into another relationship with a doctor. Not sure if that is an MD or a PhD, but no matter. It’s all about the oldsters meeting and greeting the gentleman in the wings, and their assessment of the proposed relationship. Bottom line is a young woman tries to make a life for herself while trying to deal with three trying elders each of whom has her own standards.

The play is closing on the 29th, and is playing to sold out houses; so only chance to see this one is to show up and wait to see if somebody else fails to appear. Pretty rare for a local theatre company; but then these folks are really special.

So check into their website, so if you missed this one, you can try to catch the next one. LionheartTheatre.org



Aurora Theatre
through September 2, 2018

More than 100 years ago we had youngsters yelling out to passers-by to purchase the news. You’ve seen that in many a film and play. That was long before TV and when we had the news thrown at us 24/7. It was when Joseph Pulitzer owned several newspapers and the NYC one became the one that the paper boys rose up against in their earlier version of Me Too.

Disney Productions funded the original shows with music by Alan Menken and Lyrics by Jack Feldman and based on the book by Harvey Fierstein. Justin Anderson directed this show with a cast of more than two dozen players, who run through more than 20 numbers; many of which have exciting choreography designed by Ricardo Aponte; and presented with a live orchestra under the direction of Ann-Carol Pence.

It is pretty poignant right now, as it is some folks rebelling against the very few who control the very most; and when the common folk rose up against the politicians, cops and big businesses, they actually won out. And therein lies the story of Newsies, which is an entertaining production in every way.

It may not be one for the kiddies, but surely rings the bells for the adults in the audience; for it is history recurring and restaged. You will love it. The show is selling out most performances, so get more info and tickets at their website AuroraTheatre.com


How Black Mothers say I Love You






How Black Mothers Say I Love You
Horizon Theatre
through August 26, 2018

Trey Anthony’s new play has generated many good reviews wherever it has played. Her previous opus, ‘da Kink in my hair, has won great acclaim, and was also produced at the Horizon theatre last year; directed by Thomas W. Jones, II. It deals with family relationships and schisms as it deals with the tale of two daughters who were left for six years while their mother emigrated to make the money and the future for them that she felt they deserved.

Dr. Yvonne Miranda Singh plays the mother, Daphne, who left her two girls in Jamaica when she went off to New York. Now she is in her final days and the grown daughters are visiting her in her Brooklyn home. Valerie (Wendy Fox-Williams) has serious feelings of what is right and wrong. Daphne is a church-lady and Valerie tries to accommodate and understand her desires; while sister Claudette (Minka Wiltz) is of a slightly different mood. She has her own life problems and is living in Canada, and is certainly not into going to church.

There was a third daughter, Cloe, the daughter of Daphne’s second marriage, who died at a young age and she shows up only as a ghost in the memory of her mother. Cloe is played on different days by both Riley Charles and Vaunna Gower, each of them being talented dancers and actors.

The superb set is the work of Moriah and Isabel Curley-Clay, who are always great in their work, and the show moves along easily with great costumes, props and lighting. It is an easy one to understand if you have a family. There are times when one may feel connected, then disconnected. But is it not possible that if one were to look up the word “dysfunctional” in the OED that it might say “see Family

The show runs about 2 hours in 2 acts, and there is free parking at their facility in the south section of Little Five Points. Many performances are selling out, so get more info and tickets at HorizonTheatre.com



Smokey Joe’s cafe

Smokey Joe’s café
Stage Door Players
through August 5, 2018

If, like me, you were around in the 1950’s and playing the part of Fonzi, you will remember fondly the music of Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller. Although, if you are like me, you will not have a clue who they were but you will recognize their music when you hear it.

Smokey Joe’s Café is an exuberant cabaret rendering of more than thirty numbers that will take you back to days of your youth. If you are a youth and you were not around in those days it will take you to a never-never land when life was simpler, when people could hear the music and actually understand the words being sung, and we all moved to the pace which we thought was frighteningly fast in those days, but which in hind-sight appears to have been almost prehistoric.

Yes, these were such songs as Kansas City, Fools Fall in Love, On Broadway, and Hound Dog. You may not remember the words but you certainly know lines like “You Ain’t Nothin’ But a Hound Dog.” In fact, most of the audience was singing along in Yakety Yak and again in Charlie Brown (you’re a clown). There is hardly any dialog in this and there is a straight presentation of musical numbers that are stitched together. As a result there are no character names associated with the performers.

The singing and dancing are spot-on. Directed by Robert Egizio, the five guys (Fenner Eddy, Trey Getz, George P. Roberts, Kendrick Taj Stephens and Brian Wesley Turner) and four gals (Solita Parrish, Kiona D. Reese, Lyndsay Ricketson and Xylina Cassandra) run through the numbers with great singing and choreography; while the live band upstage, directed by Nick Silvestri blows down the house.

Suffice it to say that you certainly will recognize and applaud their ambition; so dig out your old Elvis records, rehearse the words, get into your best bell-bottom pants and Nik-Nik shirts and get over to Dunwoody to take in this evening of musical memory. Free parking and good seating. More info at StageDoorPlayers.net


Black Nerd

Black Nerd
Dad’s Garage Theatre
through August 4, 2018

Dad’s Garage regular, Jon Carr, penned this scripted wildly eruptive saga about a guy trying to find himself in today’s world. The nerd is played by Avery Sharpe, who is an actor, improve artist and a writer, whose play will premier at Essential Theatre next month. He is NOT a geekish type of nerd, no does he relate to the rock band who come on as N.E.R.D. some years ago.

He has to play off against family members including a cousin and a grandmother, and the daily angst of how to fit in. Is he black enough to be in the hood? Does he get into all the everyday stuff going on; or is he more into weirder and maybe more intellectual stuff? He doesn’t know, but he is on a trip through life to find out. And while the clock is ticking, he controls what happens timewise.

The show really hits big time in Act II, when they go to Dragon Con and some of the attendees may not be posed as the characters one might expect.  It is hilarious. Andrene Ward-Hammond, Freddy Boyd, Cole Wadsworth, Mandy Butler, Jon Wierenga and Candy McLellan round out this hyper-active cast, all directed by Tiffany Porter.

Some of the themes being dealt with are the friendship of two men of different color, racial profiling, and parental guidance. The show runs about one hour 45 minutes with an intermission. Plenty of nice stuff at the concessions stand, including drinks of your choice if you are over 18.

Having said that, the show is more for Dad’s Garage regulars and those who may attend Dragon Con, come Labor Day Weekend; and probably not for kiddies or those who wouldn’t get the drift of the story or don’t understand what WTF may mean. Theatre is located at 569 Ezzard Street in the Old 4th Ward and has plenty of free parking. If you go on Thursday, Friday or Saturday, you can even hang in for their improve gig which starts about 10:30


The Book of Mormon

The Book of Mormon
Fox Theatre
through July 22, 2018

When this show came to town 4 years ago it sold out most performances; and it is playing to very full houses this time around. The Book of Mormon opened 7 years ago on Broadway and has generated more heat and press than most shows could wish for. Mainly because of its no-holds-barred satirical attack on the proselytizing activities of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Trey Parker and Matt Stone brought us South Park, which has become a standard TV offering. They were brought up in Colorado area, and had a lot of interaction with the LDS church. They hooked up with Robert Lopez and the three of them crafted this winner. It won nine Tony Awards the first year it played, and the album won a Grammy. The music and dance is terrific, as well as quite unique.

This is the one of the few shows in which the eye candy dance troupe is all male. They’re the 10 young men, “Elders”, who are sent out to Uganda to bring some of the natives into the faith. The time is set during the days of Idi Amin, albeit he is not included in the script. But, abuse, murders, and every other problem is present for the folks in the rural community.

Kevin Clay and Conner Peirson play the two Elders who are sent out from Salt Lake City to join forces with the others who are already there and getting nowhere in a hurry. It isn’t quite what they had dreamed of when they were in training. These two play off each other for much of the humor, and they sing and dance as well. The female lead is Kim Exum who plays the young Nabulungi, the girl whose name Elder Cunningham (Peirson) can never get right. The script is slightly updated to include reference to a well known politician.

This is a world-class production. Sets and costumes couldn’t be better and some of them remind one of Lion King. It moves with ease through many scenes and never lacks in ear and eye appeal. Having said all that, you need to know that this is not for Ms. Prim, or the Bible Thumpers. There are enough expletives to impress even a teenager, and plenty of single entendres. If you are one who is easily offended then this might rub you the wrong way.

The upside is that while G-d may not be initially respected by the natives, that the essence of the satire is not the religious beliefs, but the sales promotion thereof. Oops. . . . just heard my door bell ring, and there’s two guys there with white shirts and neckties . . . .


Boys Night OUT on Broadway

Boys Night OUT on Broadway
TEN Atlanta
July 18 & 25 only

The TEN dance club has started running Wednesday night cabaret gigs and this week and next you have a chance to attend a spectacular show. The group of five singers is comprised of Director Robert Ray, Matt Brooker, Truman Griffin, Clay Mote and Rick Mallory.

They run through a load of numbers from shows such as Les Miserables, South Pacific, Moulin Rouge, Oklahoma and many more. The music is provided onstage by the Robert Strickland Trio and the pre-show entertainment is Sam Dunaway on the keyboard.

There are 2 one hour shows, 7 and 9 pm, and parking might be a problem so try to get down there early. If you understand the word OUT in caps and the location then you know a lot about those who may not dig it. But if you have an AARP card, and love theatre, then this is a Must See for you.

The club is located near 10th Street and Piedmont in Midtown, and full into is found at TENAtlanta.com