24
Jan

We Are a Masterpiece

We Are a Masterpiece
Out of Box Theatre
through February 2, 2020

This heroic saga by Gina Femia takes us back to the 1980s and the outbreak of AIDS in the mostly gay community. This small theatre in Marietta has brought together a VERY dedicated cast and they are directed by Dominic D’Andrea who has come down from New York to participate in this one.

The underlying story is best thought of by the adage that Love can accomplish what fear cannot begin to imagine. So many of us may recall having a family member who was perhaps ignored or even disowned, predicated upon sexual preferences; and the political disapproval of those who did not seem to comply with religious/moral standards.

Carolyn Choe is Joan, a nurse at a hospital in Michigan, where a young man was on the down slope due to AIDS, and many of her colleagues took steps to distance themselves. But nothing can induce total fear and dread in Joan, who stands by her professional obligations as well as her personal feelings that we are all people, regardless of the words used to describe us.

The French have a saying which is translated to say “The more things change, the more they stay the same.” And to this day there are many who degrade the LGBTQUI communities, as there are those who would voice little respect or regard for those with different skin color, or places of birth, or religions. Thankfully there are many of us who realize that the more one knows people of a different culture, the less inclined you are to wreak harm upon them.

This one is not for kiddies, and those with engraved anti-gay feelings may find it difficult. And those of us who lost a friend/relative to any form of STD may find it VERY moving. But know that love of one another shall help each of us survive whatever ills may visit us. Whatever you may feel, this is a tutorial session you should attend.

The venue is easy to get to Cobb Parkway a bit south of the Big Chicken. More info at OutOfBoxTheatre.com

18
Jan

Four Old Broads

Four Old Broads
Onstage Atlanta
through February 1, 2020

When you see this one, you know that playwright Leslie Kimbell must still love The Golden Girls. So many of us would prefer to spend our few minutes before sleep with their reruns on Hallmark than listening to politicians with their oral bowel movements.

Set designer Scott Rousseau must really have enjoyed directing this laugh fest. It’s set in an ACLF where you meet a rather prim lady (Barbara Washington), a woman who is mostly into being a TV watcher and concerned with her final exit (Bobby Elzey), a retired former stripper (Leslie Holt-Dunn) and a newbie who shows up with an oxygen tank and wearing a cannula (Lory Cox).

A couple of them want to escape the usual days and book a cruise for a week, or more. But, getting all four to want to sign on is not an easy job. In addition to the four old broads there is a former Elvis impersonator (Jpatrick McCann) who has eyes for all the ladies, and now especially for the new one. The facility is being managed by a nasty woman who has something going on as to how she is managing the meds for the gals. That manager (Nancy Powell) is one who behaves as if she were appointed as the Supreme Leader of the facility and the nurse (Michelle Oppedisano) starts off trying to do her job, until she starts to smell something going on.

And going on equals going out, as the Supreme Leader may be involved in some unlawful activity. It is when the four old broads start to dig into and mess around that things begin to arise, and in the end all shall come out right. You’ve met them all if you’ve been on some of the cruises out of south Florida. If I said there were some laughs in the show, I would be grossly understating that. The laughs go on from start to finish and it is a real delight, performed without any commercials.

Onstage Atlanta is located just off E. Ponce near 285; easy to get to except plan extra traffic time if you need to get through malfunction junction where 85 crosses 285. More info at OnstageAtlanta.com

18
Jan

Fun Home

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fun Home
Actor’s Express
through February 16, 2020

Freddie Ashley has had a “thing” for this one since it hit the boards 6 years ago. And when it got to Broadway it won 5 Tony’s; for Best Musical, Best Original Score, Best Book for a Musical and also got Best Leading Actor and Best Director.  And, Actor’s Express has brought together a wonderful cast to present this one here.

The background of the story line is about a young girl named Alison, who grows up to be a lesbian; and what she goes through in her home, school, and how things develop with her family. The cast of more than a dozen players is superb, and they have a live band of 6 musicians off-stage, who work them through 14 numbers from the original production which actually had more than that.   But, the show is presented without intermission.

You will see three Alisons, as life moves on.  Young Alison is Eden Mew, a developing age Alison is Marcia Cunning and grown-up Alison is Rhys McLemore Saver.  Her father is played to the hilt by Jeff McKerley, who has his own secrets. When you watch this one with the full company onstage with the young players belting out the tunes as they never miss a step in time, you will relish the pleasure they put forward. It does remind me of why some actors never want to share a stage with kids or pets. Any of these could be Annie one day.

The show is VERY well done, good music, dance, acting, set, and easy to get to. It may deal with some social issues, but you also know that we all have families and there is nothing that could come into issue that we’ve not heard of, or dealt with, in our lives.  C’est la vie.

More info at Actors-Express.com

13
Jan

Romeo and Juliet

Romeo and Juliet
National Ballet of Odessa

The National Ballet Theatre of Odessa, in Ukraine, came back to town with an expansive production of their version of that doomed love affair between Romeo Montague and Juliet Capulet. The story is one we all read in school, or maybe the play which The Bard adapted from the story originally put out in the 1500’s

Sergey Prokofiev put the ballet together into which he fused some work he had previously scored. But, it moves the story along with a playing time of about 2 hours. One thing I wish the company would think about is performing a ballet such as this with super-titles telling the audience what was happening. For while we recall the gist of the story from the days of our youth, most of us can’t recall which family is which, where they are, or who that apothecary might have been. It’s not quite like a Swan Lake or Nutcracker.

Yes, the leads are star-crossed lovers from two families in Verona who are like the old version of the Hattfields and McCoys; .and nothing seems to come out right in the end, as if it were a Hallmark film.

This production came to the Fox for a one-time performance on Sunday the 12th. And it is quite a bit of work. It is hard to imagine how they did all the set installation in fewer than 24 hours, when you reflect on the fact that they played the night before in Savannah, and after the show here they packed up to hit the road to Kentucky. They may have two sets and grips working so that they do the move-in prior to their cast coming to town. But, either way it is a lot of hard work for a cast of more than two dozen dancers.

If they come back next year, give them a try.

13
Jan

3 Redneck Tenors

 

 

 

 

 

3 Redneck Tenors
Strand Theatre

Three singers you may have seen on TV in America’s Got Talent, came to Conn county and hit the stage for two crowd pleasing performances at the Strand Theatre on the square. Matthew Lord, Blake Davidson and Jonathan Fruge started off in a style that wasn’t what one might have expected.

If you thought it was going to be Pavarotti, Domingo and Carreras; then you might have been taken aback. But, are they really rednecks? Not sure any of them actually grew up in the sticks. These three are come on like it’s Saturday Night Live, or the clowns have come to town. They belt out country, classical and gospel and anything else they feel like doing. And, not every song is exactly as you may have remembered it.

They enjoyed working the house and hearing the laughs as well as the applause. They perform to carefully canned numbers, and the sound levels are pretty high. I guess they want to make sure you don’t miss anything.

And referring to missing, these guys hit the road a lot. They told us they just finished a tour of 131 cities, of which they actually sang in two of them. Duh! But, in reality, they closed here on January 12, and on the 15th they play Savannah, 16th in Bainbridge, 17 in Americus, and then hit the road to Illinois. Not an easy job.

And next up at the Strand will be the musical you won’t want to miss. Middletown which runs February 18 -23, 2020. More info at EarlSmithStrand.org

7
Jan

Twelfth Night

Twelfth Night
Shakespeare Tavern Playhouse
through January 26, 2020

You have to really appreciate what Shakespeare was able to do when it came to bringing insanity and humor to the stage 400 years ago. The show takes place in Illyria, an area in the Balkans and Italy which was known for having been home to some piratical types. A British soldier and author, Barnaby Riche, had written about a confused situation there and it is suggested that it was from his work that The Bard drew the plot line to draft Twelfth Night.

A lot of Shakespear’s humor involved mistaken identities, and one also needs to know that in his days, all female roles were played by men, as acting was not considered appropriate for the fairer sex. And so we have a plot where a brother and sister are shipwrecked and wind up in Illyria but separated from one another and each takes on a false persona, and things start to get more confusing. Duke Orsino (Marlon Burnley) is in love with Olivia (India Tyree). The cast of 16 players includes David Weber as Sir Toby Belch who is Olivia’s uncle, and a bit of a sot. Avery Sharpe plays the sort of Marx brothers type clown, Sir Andrew. Jon Wierenga is Sebastian, brother to Viola (Rachel Frawley). Olivia’s lady in waiting is Maria (Megan Rose) who helps to facilitate the frauds that will be conceived. Malvolio (Jacob York) has a hard time working his way through things; and each and every one of the cast is spot-on, and some of the cast play more than one roll. But, it makes no difference; for the play’s the thing, and if you think you know where things are going, just know this isn’t like Romeo and Juliet or some of the Bard’s other works.

Directed by Jaclyn Hofmann, the show is well presented to a house where most of the folks are enjoying their meals and especially libations. There are a few musical numbers, but don’t worry if you can’t leave the house humming them. For this was years ago when life was allegedly simpler. Well, at least they didn’t have 400+ cable channels and people weren’t killed every day. If you drive down to the theatre, please know that you may park in the medical center garage across the street and you get a discount with your ticket stub. Beats the parking meter rodents who work the street except on Sundays.

And speaking of Romeo & Juliet, know that they’ll be next up, starting on January 31st. How these fine performers can keep all the lines to several shows in their head at one time is sooooo impressive. More info at ShakespeareTavern.com

3
Jan

She Rocks

 

 

 

 

 

She Rocks
Georgia Ensemble Theatre
through January 19, 2020

Tara Vaughan really loves to bring together a concert that reaches out the very hearts of those of us who were around during the 60’s and 70’s. But, while so many of the performers were men; she devotes her production to the women who created some of the music and belted it out. So the show is about women and for all of us.

The four piece band backing her up is Matthew McGuigan on bass, Ryan McGuigan on guitar and keys, Max Meyer on guitar and Adam Stoltenberg on the drums. In this performance her back up vocals were from Natalie Thomas who doubled on guitar. And all the performers, except Adam, got a chance to belt out some of the numbers.

She’s the present day hot number from Omaha; and she loves to put forth numbers you will recall from Janis Joplin, Linda Ronstadt, Aretha Franklin, Carole King and a host of others. There is no pre-show song-list, as Tara and the crew decide from day to day which of the hundreds of numbers they know, will be taken home by them.

This is one that works very well for the AARP crowd, and runs about 2 hours with an intermission. And if you love this one then know that on January 13, Georgia Ensemble brings back the one-night celebration of the Beatles, Yesterday and Today, where you even get to help decide which numbers they will play.

More info at GET.org