16
Jun

2 Plays by Christopher Durang

 

 

 

 

 

 

2 ONE-ACTS BY CHRISTOPHER DURANG
ONSTAGE ATLANTA
through June 27, 2021

Onstage Atlanta is bringing two of Durang’s one-act opuses to indoor stage with a carefully monitored house. All appropriate Covid safeguards are in place, so if you have had your shots then fear not.

The Actor’s Nightmare is a show about an actor who finds himself shoved into roles he had no idea about. He comes off as one wh could screw up a one car funeral procession, and towards the end of his scenes he finally gets the idea and tries to carry off as The Bard might have wanted; except he winds up beheaded. The cast of players in this one and the second show is comprised of Maya Caldwell, Matt Hulsey, LeeAnna Lambert, Steven Medina, Kyra Pierce, Stuart Schleuse and Christa Sfameni all under the direction of DeWayne Morgan.

After intermission you meet up with Sister Mary Ignatius who Explains It All For You. This work won a Obie when it hit the boards 40 years ago. It may not be for some of the Bible Thumpers, nor for the kiddies; as the good Sister has some somewhat skewered views of life and Church in many ways. The one thing she is always adamant about is that she is always right and must be duly respected. Amen.

These shows play Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm and Sundays at 3pm. More info and socially distant seating is available at OnStageAtlanta.com

15
Jun

Dolly Reinvented

DOLLY REINVENTED
AURORA THEATRE

If you snooze you lose. This is a one-night cabaret featuring five great performers who belt out so many of Dolly’s great hit numbers.

This is to take place on in the main stage at 8pm, this Friday, June 18th. Know that the Aurora sells all seats in socially distant pods, and all Covid precautions are diligently observed.

Seat is selling fast, so check them out at AuroraTheatre.com and enjoy!

10
Jun

Best of Broadway

Best of Broadway
Lyric Theater
through June 13, 2021

WOW! What an incredible amount of work by this local professional theatre company for only 4 nights. Sure hope they may find a way to extend the shows, as they are already SRO for each performance due to observing social distancing guidelines, which brings the house down to fewer than 150 happy patrons for each show.

The show is full tilt with a live band onstage, a cast of more than 24 players who sing and dance their ways into your hearts. They even bring to the stage a group of young dancers who thoroughly delight the crowd.

There is no story line, as this is done as a review featuring 22 memorable numbers from many of the great Broadway shows of more than 60 years. Directed by May Nye Bennett who actually takes to the stage in this one, the show is brilliantly choreographed by Tecia Chavez, Lauren Brooke Tatum and Kari Twyman. Spoiler: you will feel like singing along, but be mindful of your neighbors.

As of now there are fewer than a dozen seats left, but check in at their website for more info at AtlantaLyricTheatre.com

How great to see live folks on stage and under a roof. Maybe things are really getting better…..

11
May

Dearly Departed

DEARLY DEPARTED
Lionheart Theatre
through May 23, 2021

When the New York Daily News reviewed Dearly Departed they just had to opine that it was “drop dead funny.” And so it is. This is a riotous showcase with 13 great performers coming to you from somewhere down in Dixie. And if you look up the word “dysfunctional” in the Good Ole Boys Dictionary, I am pretty sure it says, “See family.”

The patriarch of the Turpin family cashes out after a libation and all hell starts to break loose. You know some of the family and friends; a son who is a real loser, a goofy sister, the local preacher man, and some neighbors who want to organize a meaningful funeral. But, how often would a window wish to have the slogan “Mean & Surly” on the tombstone of the dearly departed spouse?

Directed by Marla Krohn, the cast actually includes artistic director Tanya Caldwell, and a dozen other fine actors who pour their hearts into this hilarious show. It may not be for some Bible thumpers, or those who may have lost a dear one recently; but to the rest of us who are sick of watching the news each day; this is a terrific alternative. Two hours of non-stop humor, incredible goodies to nosh on, free parking and appropriate Covid cautions in force. It is a MUST SEE.

Show times are 7:30 on Fridays and Saturdays and 2pm on Sundays. More info at LionHeartTheatre.org

9
May

MAMMA MIA !

MAMMA MIA!

What a treat! You know the story is based on a collection of songs from ABBA, and the show is like Cats or Phantom. It will always come back, and always draw a great crowd of lovers who can’t get enough of it. And this is why we take off our hats and salute the City Springs Theatre Company for having the guts and the ability to bring it to the stage in these awful times.

Such a great amount of work with a large cast directed by Kristine Reese and Billy Tighe, with great dance numbers choreographed by Cindy Mora Reiser. Alas, the show could not be done at the usual indoor theater, so they put this all togeher to hit the boards at the Ameris Bank Amphitheatre (formerly the Verizon). And with strictly enforced Covid safety procedures, they played to an audience of more than 1,500 grateful viewers; who could watch the performance live on stage as well as video projected to large image screens adjacent to the stage.

Sad to say the show ran for only three performances, but as we may feel badly for the short run; we can also feel grateful that they got it done so well. The tavern owner, Donna (Kristine Reese) has a daughter, Sophie (Cecilia Trippiedi) who is about to be wed and she wants her dad to give her away. But, as you know, she hasn’t a clue who her father might be; so she invites all three, Sam (Benjamin H. Moore), Bill (Jeff Brooks) and Harry (Thanos Skouteris) to come to the island so maybe she’ll get to meet her dad.

The show runs through more than 20 numbers, every one of which makes folks want to stand, swing, clap and sing along; and that’s expected. This is a truly Broadway class theatre company; and if you missed this one just know that come September they will be back indoors at the Byer Theater in Sandy Springs. The Sound of Music opens September 10, and in next year they will bring us A Chorus Line in March, The Color Purple in May and West Side Story in July. So stay in touch with them at their website CitySpringsTheatre.com

25
Apr

Atlanta Opera

The Threepenny Opera

and

The 3 Penny Carmen

Our Atlanta Opera is performing under the big top once again; this time at the Cobb Center for the Performing Arts right by 285 and 75. They are doing a couple of camped up versions of old time favorites; The Threepenny Opera by Kurt Weill and Carmen by Georges Bizet.

The stage is at one end of the tent, and there is a runway through the center that brings the performers into closer view for all in the house. Carmen was written to be set in Saville back around 1820. While it didn’t get great reviews when it played in various countries back in the late 1800s; nobody knew that it was going to be universally enjoyed to this day. When you hear the music being played it resonates to your heart as you want to clap and sing along with Escamillo when he belts out the Toreador’s Song, or get up and start dancing by your chair when Sonia Olla struts out to you doing her Flamenco dances. Everything about the show is great, costumes, music, singing, dancing and a newer and quirkier story line. But it isn’t just about love sought, found, lost and buried. It is about bringing great pleasure to the eyes and ears of the audience. This production plays only two more times; Wednesday April 28 and Thursday May 6.

Running in repertory with other members of the Opera company is the story of Mack the Knife, written by Bertolt Brecht and adapted from The Beggar’s Opera set in London’s SOHO area. Tom Key comes stage center as the narrator and street performer but there are plenty more sots and ladies of the night, as Macheath (Jay Hunter Morris) works through his problems of finding love while the Bobby’s are on the lookout for him to send him off to the slammer. Of course, you’ll also want to sing along with Mack the Knife and about his pearly teeth. This one plays only 4 more times; Thursday April 29 and Wednesday, Friday and Sunday, May 5, 7 and 9.

Both shows are superb and a ton of work which deserves to be in a real auditorium. But, we all know that as soon as it makes sense to do so, that they shall once again take shelter. More info and tickets at AtlantaOpera.org

17
Apr

Disney on Ice

Disney On Ice
Dream Big

Infinite Energy Arena
through April 25, 2021

Mickey & Minnie and many more of the characters have come back to town, this time playing at the Infinite Energy Arena in Duluth. The show has a cast of more than forty performers who hit the ice in the usual Disneyesque costumes; many of whom you will immediately relate to. That includes princesses, ogres, fish, and so many more. Each of the characters come to the rink on skates and the moves are pretty much the same as you might have seen in the usual ballet numbers in grand skating competitions.

The presentation doesn’t have a specific story line, albeit you deduce some lines from the actions of the performers, as they all do their numbers to prerecorded scores. The venue has good view from all the seats, especially from the ones on the lower levels right by the skating rink. But, in the know-before-you-go category plan to take the kids and get there earlier than you are used to doing. Due to the Covid pandemic situation, the seating is set up akin to pods, with plenty of vacant seats around those you have. But, with the security and screening, one might feel it is easier to get into Hartsfield than to this facility.

And, when the show starts on time, the house goes dark and finding your way to seats can be a bit difficult. So if you have one of those little flashlights, or your cell phone has one, bring it with you.

The production runs about 2 hours with a 20 minute intermission; and the audience really enjoys it as they always do when Disney comes to entertain. Because this one is good for the youngsters, know the show time is 7pm, so plan to fight your way through some rush hour traffic if living more than a few miles away. More info and tickets at www.disneyonice.com

10
Apr

Packing up Polly

 

 

 

 

 

Packing up Polly

Leslie Kimbell, who penned the Four Old Broads play, now has turned our attention to some younger broads who come together in some weird circumstances at the home of the late Polly Porter in Savannah.. Polly had been an active gospel singer and she was also one of those folks we all know, as she never seemed to toss out anything except maybe a relative.

If you’re of a certain age then you know of what I speak when I say that as we go through life acquiring things we feel that we own things. But, as our time grows shorter we wake up to realize that “things” own us. Ergo, we start off meeting daughter Caroline (Marita McKee) who is trying to get things organized, packed up and labeled for what goes where and how. A former classmate, Lizzy (Irene Polk), shows up. She may not have been the first person Caroline might have looked to for help. For they have their differences and are not really BFFs. Liz is pretty much into herself and trying to keep her pageantry business running.

A couple of other local ladies also show up, as the news hits the streets of Polly’s passing. Becca (Kelley Gray) shows up very much into her third trimester and ready to birth her fifth child. So the water alarm can go off at a moments notice. And local theatre diva, Donna Jo (Cat Rondeau) struts the stage as each of the ladies has her own agenda and history to deal with.

Directed by Barry West, the show runs in two acts on a set that reminds you to go home and straighten things up a bit. And if you don’t recognize somebody from your own family and circle of friends, then maybe you have missed something; as any issue which could arise seems to do so. It is a good story which is done to the tens by four fine actors.

Know before you go that Onstage takes every caution very well to protect each of us. Seating is limited, all areas are sanitized, and masks must be worn at all times when in the facility. They will also check your temperature, and any food and drinks must be consumed out on the patio. But the bottom line is good script, good cast, well performed, a safe environment and a heck of a lot better than watching all the repeats on the TV.

Shows run Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm and Sundays at 3pm. More info and tickets at OnstageAtlanta.com or call for tickets to 404-897-1802.

 

6
Mar

Jar The Floor

 

 

 

 

Jar The Floor
On Stage Atlanta
through March 21, 2021

What a total delight in these days to get to see a live performance in a local theater, that is so superbly done. Just know that On Stage Atlanta more than just conforms to the basic health protection protocols. Seating is distanced, everything is sanitized, temperatures are checked on arrival, no big gatherings in the lobby, and masks anytime you are on the premises. Even the actors are taking cautions wearing clear full face shields, so you can not only hear the lines but see the expressions.

The story is about a black family in Illinois, that is trying to arrange for a 90th birthday celebration for the eldest matriarch, MaDear (Barbara Washington). Madear is losing some of those marbles as well as some mobility; but as we know, getting old ain’t for sissies. Four generations of the family come to the stage. MaDear is the mother of Lola (Lateefah Mosley) who has some issues with her mother as well as with her daughter, MayDee (Irene Polk). The youngest of the four finally shows up. She is Vennie (Kailan Daugherty) who is a typical free spirit who doesn’t seem to adhere to the established behavioral programs that her elders might deem appropriate.

This play by Cheryl L. West won a 1995 NAACP Best Play Award, and although it is a black family, it could be anybody’s, of any background. This is another one of those families that brings to mind that should you look up the word “dysfunctional” in the OED, that it should just say “see Family.”

The fifth player is Vennie’s BFF, Raisa (Amy L. Levin) who is from a totally different background than the others. So, amidst all the yelling, bitching and bickering, you start to think that you probably know some of these folks, regardless of your own heritage.

The show has a way of projecting a lot of humor as it is dealing with angst. A fine cast with a cool set and under the direction of Nat Martin; this one is a Must See. Spoiler: to Jar the floor is to dance on it. So Happy 90th MaDear. . . . More info and tickets at OnStageAtlanta.com

27
Feb

LIVE AT THE AURORA

 

 

 

 

Maybe we can still have hope that days to come may bring back the lives we enjoyed, so much more than dealing with both politicians and viruses. It was a total delight to see the Aurora Theatre in Lawrenceville open it’s doors for some live on-stage performances.

Know that life today ain’t what it used to be. Tickets are a mere portion of the house capacity, so that whether you bought in for 2 seats or 4, you’ll be well separated from any other guests; and all protocols are carefully observed. Shows are performed without intermission to avoid mingling around the lobby and the concession stand, and they carefully sanitize all the surfaces you may normally come in contact with.

This weekend they hosted stand-up comics from the Laughing Skull which is downtown on Peachtree Street. The performers just wanted to head to the burbs to reach out to more audiences. We’re all just trying to survive, and we salute them for hitting the road like a tour.

While this show is now closed, they will host another two-nighter on March 10 and 11. This is Bill Griese on his Walking Man Tour doing Sweet Baby James; his Tribute to James Taylor. It is really Nashville coming to Lawrenceville. Seated is very limited, so if you snooze you lose. More info at AuroraTheatre.com