And Then They Came For Me






And Then They Came for Me
Georgia Ensemble Theatre
coming only March 10, 2019

This production by Georgia Ensemble has played for 22 years and been seen by an audience of more than 500,000 viewers. The play by James Still is based on Eva’s Story, the memoir of Eva Schloss; who was a friend of Anne Frank during the holocaust. Eva Schloss is a Holocaust survivor, peace activist, teacher and a humanitarian, who became Anne Frank’s step-sister who wrote the book “The Diary of Anne Frank”.

The play, directed by Erin Bushko runs about one hour and is staged with five players and projected images. For those of us, of a certain age, the story of the Nazi atrocities in WWII can never be fully eradicated from our memories; no matter how many may wish to revise the history of those years. For, as George Santayana opined in 1896,  “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

Anne Frank is played by Dayanari Umaña and Alex Renée Hubbard is Eva. Amy L. Levin and Jacob Jones appear as family members and acquaintances; while Christopher Holton has the cajones to come on as a Hitler Youth member as well as several other roles. It can’t be easy to present one’s self in such a role.

We do have a problem in our nation, inasmuch as many students are taught very little history and/or geography. And, when we think of what is going on in our nation and our world in these days, we need to consider where and how things may develop.

The final one-night performance for this Family Stage Series event will be at their Roswell location on March 10th, and I encourage anyone who has not seen it to attend. If you know very little of the background, you will learn more. If you recall quite a bit of the background, you will be pleased to see that the show, in cooperation with the Georgia Commission on the Holocaust, is keeping the history alive.

More info at GET.org


Eugene Onegin

Eugene Onegin
Atlanta Opera
through March 10, 2019

It was around 1830 that Alexander Pushkin was putting together his various segments each written in verse, which were put together and published as Eugene Onegin. It really appealed as a saga for Tchaikovsky who wrote a very symphonic score to which he and noted poet/artist, Konstantin Shilovsky, created the libretto, and it premiered in Moscow in 1879.

It is another one of those love sought, found, lost, regained, lost and lost forever. The lead, Eugene Onegin (David Adam Moore), gets involved with a local lady, Tatyana (Rachael González), who he meets when he accompanies his friend, Lensky (William Burden),to visit his friend’s object of adoration, Olga (Megan Marino).

For these were times when they had to deal with the fact that country folk and city folk were quite different. Not that really has changed so much. On the opening night, David Adam Moore had a medical issue and could not be singing full voice; but he came on doing a lip-synch with Justin Stolz singing at stage right. Stolz also came on as the magician, Monsieur Triquet, performing at a cotillion.

The Opera Orchestra was live in the pit under the baton of Ari Pelto, and they were terrific. The entire production directed by Tomer Zvulun is right up to our current standards, if not even better. As in most operas, the story line is not the real essence of the show. It is great sets, costumes, music, dancing and singing; and they brought it all to the stage.

Yes, somebody does die, but this is an opera. What else is new? Lensky and Onegin get it on in a duel and their friendship finds an unhappy end. But, there are more unhappy meet-ups as the tale goes on. Presented in 3 acts, which run about 3 hours with the two intermissions, and sung in Russian with English super-titles. The opera is staged at Cobb Energy Center near 285 and 75, with plenty of parking and easy to get to. There are but 3 performances remaining, March 5, 8 and 10. More info at AtlantaOpera.org


Driving Miss Daisy






Driving Miss Daisy
Georgia Ensemble Theatre
through March 17, 2019

and Conant Theater at Oglethorpe

June 28 through July 21

This current production of Alfred Uhry’s Pulitzer Prize winning play is really a delight. The cast of three players couldn’t be better. Jill Jane Clements once again plays Daisy, the widow with a very strong sense of what she wants and what she approves of. She has a slight problem in that at her advanced age her son, Boolie, doesn’t want her to drive any more; since she seems to run into things by accident.

And William S. Murphey comes back to reprise a role he has played for many years. He is the son, Boolie, who runs a very successful printing business; and he hires a black man to serve Miss Daisy as her driver. Oops! Daisy doesn’t think she needs nor wants a care giver, and they start off on a very difficult road to becoming friends for life.

And Rob Cleveland is back again as her driver, Hoke, who is happy to have the work, but would like to feel that he is doing something of value for the money that Boolie is paying him each week. He eventually gets to be appreciated.

We hear of other members of the family and if they seem a bit difficult in some ways, that isn’t unusual. After all, whose family is perfect? The play is derived form the real life personal experiences of the playwright who grew up in Atlanta. And it is set here with references to Virginia Highlands, Little 5 Points, and The Temple.

The crisis point is when Miss Daisy is heading to The Temple on the day in October 1958 that some miscreants set off dynamite at the entrance. And there is also the inclusion of the time when in 1965 Martin Luther King was honored by the UJA for his winning of the Nobel Prize.

But the story really is not about anti-Semitism, and discrimination in those bad days. It is more about how two people from vastly different backgrounds get to know and appreciate one another as human beings. Directed by Laurel Crowe, with a fairly simple set that works for Daisy’s home and Boolie’s office. It is a one act 90 minute show where everything works just perfectly. This is an evening full of laughter and one you can truly enjoy.

For performance times and tickets you can visit GET.org


The Pitmen Painters







The Pitmen Painters
Theatrical Outfit
through March 24, 2019

A book by William Feaver told the story of a group of miners in the Newcastle area of the UK, who had become a tiny art colony themselves. And Lee Hall adapted the true story into this captivating play. These are just average common blokes who work in the pits, as the coal mines were referred to. For a pittance they toiled under ground in 12 hour shifts. It was 1933 and the economy of the UK wasn’t so great.

A workers education authority had the idea that even these chaps might be taught to appreciate and understand the arts; and they formed a local class with a tutor brought in who opened their eyes, ears, hearts and minds to a world they never knew nor thought of.

The Ashington Group, as it was known, existed from 1934 to 1984, and kept at it, even during the war years when losses were deep. Adam Koplan directs this cast of stellar performers.   Sam R. Ross comes on as the wanna-be professor. And the soon to be artists are played to the hilt by Andrew Benator, Allan Edwards, Richard Garner, Clifton Guterman and Brian Kurlander. One neat aspect is that they are all speaking in Geordie accents, which was how the local folks spoke up there, and many still do today.

Tess Malis Kincaid appears as Lady Sutherland, who provides a lot of motivation in her desires to enhance her collection of works; and Caitlin Josephine Hargraves provides a different type of motivation as she is ready to model in a manner these pitmen hadn’t anticipated.

In real life, as in this play, these men delve deeply into themselves and wind up creating works that actually went to an exhibition in London and was well received. Although when things started out they were all totally clueless as to famous artists, genres, etc.

The show runs about 2 hours 30 minutes, and you don’t want to miss one minute of this one. It is a real treat and you can get more info at TheatricalOutfit.org


Les Misérables







Les Misérables
Fox Theatre
through March 3, 2019

OK. You saw the film and/or the show before; maybe several times. But, you may want to grab tickets NOW to see this touring production which is part of the Fifth Third Bank’s Broadway in America series.

The play, derived from Victor Hugo’s book has been playing around the world now for 35 years, and hasn’t lost a thing. In light of the inhumanities and devastation that we see on the news each day, it may still be quite relevant in so many ways.

This is the most incredible touring production which has come to town in many a year. The sets, lighting, projections and costumes are top of the line. And the voices of the leads in the show are all really exciting. Nick Cartell is the good guy, Jean Valjean, which the nasty guy, Javert is played by Josh Davis. Paige Smallwood is Eponine and poor grown up Cosette is Jillian Butler. There is not a single scene which is not brought to life in a true Broadway manner.

Directed by Laurence Conner, and with a really good live orchestra in the pit, this show which runs about 2 hours 45 minutes is one you enjoy every minute of. It is playing to really sold out houses, so you may have to deal with a re-seller, who is related to The Master of The House.. And if you can Marta there, you’ll save a bundle on parking fees. More info at FoxTheatre.org


Spit Like a Big Girl






Spit Like a Big Girl
Art Station Theatre

The life story of a young woman who is raising a developmentally delayed child and what she has to go through in her life, is presented by Clarinda Ross in the play which she, herself, penned based upon her own journey through life.

The title itself is derived from how one teaches a tot to brush her teeth and then expectorate. For it is repetition that helps such a youngster to get the concept. Angelica Spence appears with her in various scenes as they work their way through a life experience that nobody ever anticipates nor would necessarily welcome.

But, much of this is from her late father, in real life, who left many pages of thoughts as to child rearing and dealing with life; and it was after the special needs daughter, Clara, had moved into a group living facility that Clarinda started to bring this all to stage.

While the play first hit the boards a decade ago, it is as timely today as ever. For most of us who haven’t gone through the love and angst that she has, would be somewhat clueless as how to handle things.

Directed by David Thomas, it was a very entrancing and well presented life story.

The Art Station Theatre is in Stone Mountain and their next production, in May, will be Love & Money, by A. R. Gurney, which opens May 2nd. More info at ArtStation.org


Code Noir

Code Noir: The Adventures of the First Comte de Monte Cristo
Théâtre du Rêve
through March 10, 2019

This production by our local French language theatre group is being staged at 7 Stages in Little Five Points. It was penned by Carolyn Cook, the producing artistic director of this group and she also takes the stage as one of the two players. Obviously a lot of research was done into the history of France in the late 1700’s, and Alexander Dumas and what was going on during the days of the French Revolution.

Carolyn Cook first appears as Sandrine Achard, a lawyer who was sent to try to help Dumas who was being held in a prison in Napoli after the French Fiasco in Egypt. Dumas had been born free in France, wound up as a slave, wound up becoming a soldier and then a general in the French army, and a member of the French nobility. He was somebody who had seen more, done more, and knew more than most of his countrymen.

For in 1799 when the saga starts, the Revolution had not come about and nobody was running to the barricades. But, there was plenty of talk about the desire of common folk for equality, legality, and friendship. Dumas had witnessed the deficiency of all these desires. Thandiwe Thomas DeShazor delves deeply into the character of Dumas as he is on stage throughout the story.

Code Noir was decreed by Louis XIV in 1685 and had harsh rules relating to slaves in the colonies. While the French had abolished slavery, Napoleon revoked that rule and it was finally abolished in 1848. Interesting in that it preceded the Emancipation Proclamation which was went into effect in 1863 in this nation where allegedly all men were created equal. And if you believe all that, then I have a toll bridge I would like to sell you.

Dumas was a black man, yet a hero and one who sought fairness in all ways. He lives on these days in this nation as well as elsewhere. This show during Black History month is spot-on for the issues it brings forth. For we may not be a total democracy, when the nation is run like an oligarchy.

A one act, very intense production with projected super-titles in whichever language is not being spoken onstage. C’est très bien. More info at TheatreDuReve.com


Goodnight, Tyler

Goodnight, Tyler
Alliance Theatre
through March 10, 2019

A young playwright, Benjamin Tindal, was deeply affected by the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri five years ago. And his award winning work is being staged on the Hertz Stage under the direction of Kent Gash.

The stage is set between sides of seating, but the view is pretty much the same from any seat on either side. It is an apartment in which young Tyler Evans (Travis Turner) is living with Davis (Alex Gibson). They are really tight albeit they share so little in their backgrounds. Davis is a gay comic character, while Tyler is not. Tyler is a black gent, while Davis is white.

Tyler is out with his girl friend, Chelsea (Alexandra Ficken) one night when everything which could be misconstrued and go wrong, does so; and Tyler is brought down by a white cop. And this is where the tale begins. For one may be dead but not gone from our thoughts and visions, be it a day or a decade. Tyler shows up as a vision to Davis and they start to work through so much. Are they a couple, how does Chelsea fit in, what about grandma Fannie (Andrea Frye) and what does she deem acceptable?

The other couple in the show are Drew (Chris Harding) and a tough gal, Shana (Danielle Deadwyler) who also delivers some humor, angst and thoughts. The problems of racial profiling persist to this day and you can read of somebody who gets shot like Tyler in Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles or some small town. There are areas in our town where some folks of either racial description may feel il at ease walking about in the night; and they are right to feel so.

This is a show that draws you in and makes you think; and one thing you may think about is how we each may work to eliminate such terrible activities. This is a high energy production with plenty of yelling and even a gun shot in Act II. But it is one you should pay attention to. It is not for the MAGA or Klan crowd, but for reasonable folks.

More info at AllianceTheatre.org


The Wolves






The Wolves
Horizon Theatre
through March 3, 2019

This work by Sarah DeLappe has been nominated for quite a few awards and has played in quite a few highly regarded venues. It is a tale of a group of female teenage students who are members of their high school team. Although they are a team, they are also individuals and going through their mental and physical travels to find themselves.

The one act play takes place on an indoor practice field and each comes out to others as they kick around doing their prep for some competition they want to win. The girls don’t have names, as they just use their player numbers shown on their shirts and jackets. But, each has an impression of every other team member. The issues deal with financial concerns, grades, acceptance by people of other race and nationality, and sexual explorations.

It is not for those who would have a problem with the use of the F-word as the universal modifier. But, that is really how the kids may speak on the street these days. It is a very high energy show with a cast of ten players, and nothing like anything you’ve seen before. It is playing to sold out houses, so get more info and tickets at HorizonTheatre.com


Almost, Maine

Almost, Maine
Centerstage North
through February 23, 2019

Actor and playwright John Cariani grew up in New England, and when he was a youngster his family moved up to Presque Isle, Maine; a small town way up in the northeast corner of Maine. And when he invented Almost, Maine it was because he wrote of a little village that never incorporated into a town or city and had no actual government, save the State of Maine. It is almost in Quebec Province. So the almost town was said to be Almost.

The play is a series of 9 vignettes of some somewhat strange couples in this almost town. Each role is played by a different actor, so this has a huge cast for such a small stage theatre. When you add in the waitress at the Moose Paddy pub you wind up with 19 in the cast.

Julie Taliaferro directed this tale of life in the arctic cold, when many folks sought love in many different ways. It is deemed to all have taken place in just a few minutes of time on a freezing Friday night. It’s interesting that when this was first staged it was 15 years ago in Portland, Maine; which itself is not quite tropical, even though the lobsters are great.

This is a well done show at an all volunteer theatre in Cobb County. Easy to get to with free parking and good view from any seat. More info and tickets at CenterStageNorth.com