Cirque Dreams

Cirque Dreams: Holidaze

This incredible touring subsidiary of Cirque du Soleil came to the Fox Theatre for just two days, and they blew the house down. If you have been a fan of Cirque under the big top, you will recognize most of the performances by the unnamed cast as pretty much what you may have seen before. But, the energy and agility that these folks display is beyond any normal standards.

The show moved in in one day starting at dawn and then opened the next day with two performances that day and the second day, only to shut down, pack up, and hit the road once again; this time to Broward Performing Arts Center in Ft. Lauderdale where they will play two more days, December 26 and 27.

If you have friends and/or family down there, let them know how great this show is. A good background set, great costumes, good singing and a fine canned musical score. Just imagine how great it was to see about 3,000 fans filling the Fox for the first time in a couple of years.

So, to all we say Thank You and wish everybody a wonderful year to come, maybe even with a wee bit of sanity?


Invasion: Christmas Carol

Invasion: Christmas Carol
Dad’s Garage
through December 29, 2021

They’ve done it again, again, again . . .and who else could stage a show with a substantial cast and a full script, and then let some different unscripted characters invade the show in each performance. The uninvited visitors are not known to the scripted actors and so once the invasion occurs they have to make up their own story lines and actions to deal with it.

The Scrooge you see (Maged Roushdi) isn’t the Scrooge you and your kids know. In fact, this is not for the kiddies, but for open-minded adults who would like an evening of enjoyment with plenty of single entendres. You will enjoy when Scrooge tries to form some connection with the unexpected visitor, and although it veers way off course many times, there is a story about some old geezer who thinks Christmas is a humbug.

Even if you have enjoyed the show in past years. there’s plenty else that’s new in this one, as the main cast has to improvise to deal with some invader they didn’t know was coming until about 5 minutes before curtain time. On one night he got visited by Jimmy Buffett’s ghost (who had all of marguaritaville moves and schticks down pat. But, keep in mind that the invader changes every night. Who knows what evil may lurk in the minds of men? But by the time the ghost of Christmas future shows up things start to seem more Dickensian.

Dad’s Garage is located in a former church on Ezzard St, down in the Old Fourth Ward. You can get online driving directions. Plenty of free parking and come early to enjoy the concessions area with cabaret style seating. This one runs about 2 hours, which includes an intermission. But also know they observe current protocols, so make sure to have your CDC card, photo ID and mask with you; as masks must be worn while in the venue. More info and tickets at DadsGarage.com


Wonderland: Alice’s Rock & Roll Adventure

Wonderland: Alice’s Rock & Roll Adventure
Synchronicity Theatre
through January 2, 2022

I don’t think Lewis Carroll could possibly have imagined Alice’s Adventures winding up as a Rock & Roll expedition. But, were he still around he would surely be thrilled to see the production that Synchronicity is currently staging.

Jennifer Acker directs this highly energetic cast of 8 main players in more than 18 roles, with 3 more players onstage as the band working through all the numbers. Alice is played by Ja’siah Young as she searches into trying to find herself. Along the way she deals with that really goofy rabbit (Hannah Lake Chatham) and that Mad Hatter (Iliana Rivera). Of course you will also see the caterpiller (Anna Dvorak Gonzalez), the doormouse (Brandon Shaw), the Jabberwock ( Danny Crowe) and the March Hare (David Wells). And how could they go on without that egocentric Queen/King played by Autumn Hamilton.

The show is one that provides just pure pleasure to kids from 5 to 95. The costumes by Derrick Vanmeter are a hoot, and the choreography by Kimmee Gee is like watching the Olympics. It is a real honor and pleasure to see a small company such as this, stage a show so well crafted and performed.

Synchronicity is located on Peachtree Street, easy to get to, good seats and views and a really pleasant venue. Be aware that they do have Covid rules; so bring your CDC card, photo ID and know that your mask is required while in the building. I assure you that you will leave the show with a feeling of total satisfaction and pleasure. More info at SynchroTheatre.com


The Salvation of Ebby Scrooge

The Salvation of Ebby Scrooge
Horizon Theatre
December 14 and 15, 2021

Hats off to the cast and crew at Horizon, for hosting this somewhat strange adaptation of a classic story to benefit the Atlanta Artist Relief Fund. At this season in these days, we can all do with some sort of relief.

The dynamic comic team of Larry Larson and Eddie Levi Lee came together once more to create a show which is staged as if the cast were doing a reading for a radio production of the story. The grumpy Scrooge in this one is the woman Emory, or Ebby as they may call her, played by Keena Redding. She’s a tough piece of work, but you can guess how she may wind up at the end.

Rob Cleveland comes on as Fezziwig and a few other folks, and the Cratchit acting as the DJ is Barry Stoltze. The ghosts of Christmas past, present and future are Eden Mew, Kayce Grogan-Wallace and Barry Stoltze. The other actors playing several roles include Lala Cochrane, SR Gentry, and Maqueli Rivers. Cat Mew directs the show and each and every one of the company are doing all they can to help those in need. All proceeds are going to the relief fund.

The show runs only 2 more nights at 7:30 and the Horizon is easy to get to in Little Five Points. We salute them, each and every one of them for their work. More info and tickets at HorizonTheatre.com. And know the usual Covid protocols are followed, so bring your CDC card, ID and mask. Happy Holidaze to all . . .


The Golden Girls

The Golden Girls
The Lost Episodes
OutFront Theatre
through December 19, 2021

If you are a fan of The Golden Girls, then this is a must-see. Adapted with permission from the TV series producers by David Cerda, the show has brought riotous laughter to everyone who attends. It is not for kiddies, nor for the few who may be upset by the use of the occasional expletive.

The show runs in three acts. At the opening, you are watching a real full screen projection of the old Christmas TV episode. You’ve seen it one or more times before but it doesn’t go stale with age. Then there are two acts which are the present day live performers doing their schticks as the four roomies. Blake Fountain plays Dorothy while Andi Stanesic plays the idiot Rose. Dorothy (a/k/a Pussy Cat) has to deal with her mother, Sofia, played by Robert Hindsman, and the slut, Blanche, is played to the hilt by Precious Anika West.

Michael Bartkiewicz directs the two live acts which are on a set that looks very much like the living room the Golden Girls shared in Miami. But, like most comedies, not much comes out right as things move along and the humor that spews forth is such a delight in these days of boring same-old same-old news day to day.

OutFront is downtown near 10th Street and there are parking facilities nearby; but we suggest you try to get there early to get closer to the theatre. The seating is good and every seat has a fine view. Serious Covid protocols are observed, so make sure to bring your photo ID, CDC card, and masks, which must be worn at all times in the facility. More info and tickets at OutFrontTheatre.com


Cinnamon GRITS

Cinnamon Grits
Art Station Theatre
through December 19, 2021

So good to see the Art Station Theatre playing once more and to almost sold-out houses. With all the Covid stuff going on you may be one of those folks who understands that GRITS (full caps) stands for Georgia Registry of Immunization Transactions and Services. But this is quite different as these GRITS are an acronym for Girls Raised In The South; and it is a cabaret style show being brought back as a splendid encore of the show with the same cast and crew who did it 2 years ago.

Four women come together and share their experiences and thoughts about the Yuletide in a set with a Christmas tree, plenty of gifts and more. Karen Beyer is directing with Aretta Baumgartner, Liza Jaine, Allison Upshaw and Joy Williams belting out about 20 seasonal numbers, some of which are parodies. They are backed up by Patrick Hutchison on the keys and they provide a delightful couple of hours with no commercials or news updates.

But, be aware that the theatre observes all appropriate Covid protocols, so bring your CDC card, photo ID and mask with you, and know that masks must be on at all times in the facility. The show is all about getting folks to feel good and let their feelings pour out to others. You will enjoy it. More info and tickets at ArtStation.org


How The Grinch Stole Christmas

How The Grinch Stole Christmas
Fox Theatre
through December 12, 2021

The musical adaptation of Dr. Seuss’s classic work has come to town with a really grand production. The show has a large cast splendiferous costumes, great props and technical production values. Directed by Matt August with a full orchestra in the pit under the baton of Peter Leigh-Nilsen, they work non-stop through all 18 numbers; albeit the only one most folks always recognize is You’re a Mean One Mr. Grinch.

James Schultz is a really eerie Grinch, and W. Scott Stewart takes the stage as Old Max, who begins the show and comes back in the final scene. The alternating young actors who play Cindy-Lou Who are Sofie Nesanelis and Quinn Titcomb; while Hihano Kuzukawa and Sadie O’Sullivan come on as little Annie Who.  Xavier McKnight fills the role as the young Max in many scenes.

And you know the story. That grumpy Grinch hates Christmas and all it stands for; while those folks in Whoville are totally dedicated to the holiday festivities. It’s a bit like contemporary political divides. But all come right in the end as this is a story for children of any age.

The show is performed in one act running about one hour and 45 minutes, and playing to a pretty full house. Of course there are plenty of little folks in the audience and they are loving it. If you are bringing a youngster you may wish to get seats on the right or left of the center section; as the center seats are aligned behind one another and if you have a tall person in front your vision is impaired. The seats in the side sections are all on a slight diagonal pattern, so you usually have a somewhat better view of the stage.

The Fox allegedly follows the usual Covid protocols, but be aware that sometimes they may not seem to be strictly enforced; albeit masks are required for all adults at all times. Many youngsters may not be masked and for some folks that could be a deterrent. You can get full info at the Fox website, FoxTheatre.org. The show is very well performed and staged and quite enjoyable. Just plan to get there a bit earlier than usual if you can.


The Nutcracker

The Nutcracker
Atlanta Ballet
through December 29, 2021

A few productions such as The Nutcracker and Christmas Carol have always been thought of as great rent payers for the presenters and introductory works for new aficionados, from age 5 to 95. This one is no exception. Gennadi Nedvigin has brought together the most incredible production you have ever seen. His background does include working with the Bolshoi, one of the world’s most admired companies; and the choreographer, Yuri Possokhov was also with the Bolshoi.

Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s Op. 71 premiered in 1892 and has been a real hit now for more than 125 years. The ballet is based on the story The Nutcracker and the Mouse King; albeit the story line is almost irrelevant as the dance, costumes, sets, props and music are capturing the eyes and ears of everyone in the audience.

A large cast of dancers take to the stage in a series of different events. The principals are Remi Nakano as Maria, and Nikolas Gaifullin as Drosselmeier. And the full orchestra is under the baton of Ari Pelto. If you are bringing a youngster to introduce him to ballet, you can easily go online and read him the synopsis of the fairy tale. We are so very fortunate to have great cultural arts groups in metro Atlanta. This company is not just one of our best, but is right up there with the Paris Opera Ballet, Bolshoi, and all of the world’s top 10. I assure you that you could not see a better performance of a wonderful work anywhere in this world today.

Location is at Cobb Energy Performing Arts Center, which is right near 285 and 75, and there is a parking garage there. Good views from all seats and a splendid facility. More info and tickets at AtlantaBallet.com


Great Shows at Onstage Atlanta




through December 19th

OK, so Onstage is a smaller theatre, not downtown. But they have been around now for 50 years and are shooting for the moon. Right now they have three different shows, each of which is a pure delight.

A TUNA CHRISTMAS is on the small box stage and playing through to December 19th. It is a real riotous show set in the hick town of Tuna, TX, where there is a lot of crazy stuff going on with seasonal competitions and family matters. Directed by Cathe Hall Payne, the two actors are on stage throughout the show, as they play more than 20 roles as both male and female characters. It’s so hard to image how anybody can remember all those lines, when most of us can’t remember our email addresses. Not only that, but the costume changes take place as fast as lightning. It’s a non-stop laugh fest.

Meanwhile . . . on the main stage they are presenting the WILLY WONKA musical. And this one is full power as well. Also directed by Cathe Hall Payne, this one has a cast of more than 20 players, who dance and sing their way through the story of a youngster who hopes to win a lifeime supply of chocolates if she happens to find the winning ticket. The show reminds one of the old adage about actors not wanting to share the stage with kids or dogs. For obvious reasons . . . . you want to take them all home with you. The Oompa Loompas are mostly younger folks who are singing and dancing their way into your hearts, and this one is also a non-stop treat. Kathy Buracyznski handles the music and Janie Young choreographed the gang. This one also runs through the 19th.

And on the small stage you can a one-man version of Dicken’s tale about that grumpy old miser. This one will close on the 18th.

Bottom line is just that these productions are each very well presented in a comfortable venue by professional actors. The location is easy to get to, free parking, good seats, and concessions avail for dining on the patio. Covid protocols require you bring your CDC card or other proof of shots, a photo ID and keep your mask on while in the facility. A small aggravation to deal with in return for such a rewarding time. More info at OnstageAtlanta.com


Marie and Rosetta

Marie and Rosetta
True Colors Theatre
through December 30, 2021

As Kenny Leon’s True Colors Theatre Company comes back to live shows, they bring to the stage the show previously scheduled but delayed by the Covid pandemic problems.

George Brant wrote this one about the life history of the Godmother of Gospel, Sister Rosetta Tharpe. A woman of color who dealt with plenty of stress in her life in the South and on tours years ago. She had a huge following and performed until she had a couple of terrible strokes at age 55 and passed at 58 years old, after working with and inspiring quite a few famous performers of the 40’s and 50’s.

The show is set in the basement of a funeral home in Alabama, where we meet her doing some numbers in rehearsal with Marie Knight, who she had hired from the crew of Mahalia Jackson and she and Marie worked together and shared a lot of their lives together as objects for some speculation as to their relationship.

Amitria Fanae comes on as Rosetta and Jasmine Renee Ellis as Marie Knight. The show is one act directed by Andrea Frye with the music provided by S. Renee Clark on the keys and Spencer Bean as guitarist.

As the ladies work though their own design for the performance, they do present more than a dozen songs, some written by Rosetta. If it sounds like a lot of gospel, the truth is that it is; albeit Rosetta handled jazz and other pop genres as well in her career.

The theatre follows Covid protocols, so bring your CDC card or proof of testing as well as photo ID and you will need to keep your mask on while on the premises. The facility is part of the Southwest Arts Center on New Hope Rd. Parking is free, seats are all good views and everything is comfy. For more info and tickets go to TrueColorsTheatre.org