15
Sep

9 to 5

 

 

 

 

 

 

9 to 5
Georgia Ensemble Theatre
through September 30, 2018

Get your tickets and get to see this one. It is one of the best that you can see right now. And Dolly Parton’s adaptation of the film, 9 to 5, has become a Broadway legend which to this day is probably playing somewhere every day. This musical, staged by Georgia Ensemble, is as we may say, . . Fabulous.

It is a story of women working for somebody who possibly could have become a President. He’s egocentric, undervalues women, and thinks he reigns supreme in all areas. But, he meets his downfall when the women come together and decide to take a Tony Soprano approach to resolving their dilemmas. It is soooooo relevant to current issues and activities.

Jill Hames is Violet, a supervisory female who is banging her head against a glass ceiling. They’ve just hired Judy (Wendy Melkonian) who has absolutely no business experience; but they’re going to make her fit in. Doralee (Alyssa Flowers) is the current object of affection for her boss, Franklin Hart, Jr. (Brian Kurlander) who is somewhat obnoxious in his moves. Eleven more players comprise the cast, and there’s an off-stage live band of five players headed by S. Renee Clark.

In the slight possibility that you’ve not seen the show before, I shall not tell you how they actually get control, and what ultimately happens to the boss with a horny Hart. Rest assured, that Dolly Parton wouldn’t have been so involved in this work, if all didn’t come right in the end. At least for the good ladies of the company.

James Donadio directed, and there’s plenty of great dance choreographed by Jennifer Smiles. When they go to intermission you just can’t wait to get back and see how things work out. More info and tickets at GET.org

11
Sep

The Two Kids that Blow Sh*t Up

The Two Kids that Blow Sh*t Up
Aurora Theatre
through September 30, 2018

Carla Ching is a master playwright who has quite a track record. A native of LaLa Land, and of Asian-American background, she put this one together telling the tale of two young Pan-Asians who move through lives together and apart as the times change.

Pam Joyce directs this show which is set on a pretty stark set; but it moves around and works quite well, as we know, The Play’s the Thing. The young Diana is played by Vivi Thai, and the boy/man is played by Jack Ha. Allegedly she may be of Chinese descent while he is of Korean. That comes out when he can’t read Mandarin. But, we meet up with these two when they are in their teens and when they are in their 20’s and 30’s. Maybe their parents don’t see the glue which binds them, and only concentrate on the differences between them. But. In the end, it is the two of them who have to make their own decisions and run their own lives. In one line they even bring up the Chekhov type of problem, but life moves on; and neither is harmed in the end.

The show runs about 90 minutes on the black box stage as part of the Harvel Lab Series, and it is loaded with expletives; ergo maybe not for kiddies or Ms. Prim. But, is in the language of today and WTF, you have to understand where they are coming from. You need to pay attention and think about what you see, for they segue from being in their 30’s back to their teens, then older, etc.

The Aurora is located in Lawrenceville, with free garage parking adjacent. It is a very well done show and the type we need in these days. More info at AuroraTheatre.com

9
Sep

It’s Only a Play

It’s Only a Play
Process Theatre Company
through September 22, 2018

The Process Theatre Company is associated with Onstage Atlanta, but this show is being presented in Marietta, at Out of Box Theatre on Cobb Parkway, just south of The Big Chicken.

The play by Terrence McNally is a screaming delight. A first-time Broadway producer, Julia Budder (Liane LeMaster), hosts an opening night party for the cast and crew of a play called The Golden Egg that she financed. Playwright, Peter Austin (Larry Davis), is there awaiting the reviews. There is some angst as they are joined by other principals. The star of the play is Virginia (Barbara Cole Uterhardt), who is addicted to some bad stuff as well as her self.

An actor, James Wicker (Zip Rampy),is a successful TV actor who turned down the lead in the play, and is glad that he did so. And, you meet a critic, Ira Drew (Bob Smith) who thinks everybody is a failure, inasmuch as he has been

They’re all having their stress fits, especially the Brit who directed the show, Frank Finger (Pat Young) who wishes nothing for himself other than more flops. A lot of comedy is also provided by a valet character, Gus (Frankie Asher), who is working for Miss Budder at her NYC flat, but desperately wants to get onstage or in front of a camera.

DeWayne Morgan must have been thrilled to direct this one. If you know some of these actors, you will be impressed at the different personae the bring to the stage. And one fascinating thing is that in real life, this show was a flop when it first hit the boards. But, as it has gone through several revisions it became an incredible success. So many of the top grade comic performers you recognize have played these roles over the past decade.

This is a total delight, and easy to get to with free parking. Have ball. Plenty of expletives so maybe not for Ms. Prim or the kiddies, but the rest of you will laugh your donkey off. More info and tickets at OnstageAtlanta.com

8
Sep

A Doll’s House, Part 2

A Doll’s House, Part 2
Actor’s Express
through September 30, 2018

It was quite an unusual theme in the late 1800’s when Henrik Ibsen put together this story about a woman who stood up for herself and took a hike, leaving her husband and kids to deal with life on their own. This sequel by Lucas Hnath is a co-production by Actor’s Express and the Aurora Theatre.

It is pretty poignant inasmuch as it relates to women standing up for their rights, even in these days. Freddie Ashley directs the show with an all-star cast. The story is about Nora (Tess Malis Kincaid), who walked out on her husband, Torvald (Rob Cleveland) some 15 years before. She ran off and sought to find herself, which she did as an author whose works were published under a nom de plume. It seems she faces some legal difficulties and has to impel Torvald to comply with some things to keep other things on track.

She calls at the house to be welcomed by the maid, Anne Marie (Deadre Moore) who may hear and see things from a different perspective, and may not wish to get stuck in the middle of a family feud. The daughter Emmy (Shelli Delgado) comes into the morass when she shows up and sees her mother after all those years. And, it is what she hears and sees that enters into the scene.

If you’ve heard Sinatra sing After You’ve Gone then you may think that is the message of this script. A very nice and easily working set by Isabel and Moriah Curley-Clay, and actions and reactions that may cause you to think of yesterday’s newscast. It isn’t one for the kiddies, but nobody gets physically harmed or abused. More info at Actors-Express.com

7
Sep

The Seagull

The Seagull
Serenbe Playhouse
through September 30, 2018

Anton Chekhov penned this work in the 1890s, which he thought was a comedy. It opened in 1896 in St. Petersburg to less than enthusiastic audiences. Chekhov pulled back and didn’t want it to get staged in Moscow. But, it was, and since then has gone on to play in venues around the world; regardless that the so-called humor is pretty dark, and often feels like an expression of life under Tsar Nicholas. It didn’t dissuade Chekhov from sticking to his writing and his second work, Uncle Vanya, was even more widely categorized as a comedy.

The play has been reworked many times, including an adaptation by Simon Stephens in 2017. This one is the adaptation of Yale graduate, Elizabeth Dinkova, who is also directing the production on the lake at Serenbe.

You meet up with an actress, Irina (Park Krausen), and her brother, Peter (Allan Edwards). Her daughter Constance is played by Maythinee Washington. A high end writer, Boris (Lee Osorio) enters into the family of distress and dysfunction. The other performers are Skye Passmore as Simon, Shannon McCarren as Nina and Brooke Owens as Masha.

The show is about these folks trying to deal with life, when life sometimes feel like something one might like to avoid. The seagull is an example of a creature who could be dead yet survive and mature. Not a likely situation for mere humans back in Mother Russia.

It is performed well and energetically, albeit is certainly not for the kiddies nor the faint of heart viewers. But, it is a Chekhov work. For info visit website at SerenbePlayhouse.com

31
Aug

Corteo

Corteo
Cirque du Soleil
through September 2, 2018

If you have never seen a performance of this amazing organization then you are in for a delightful treat. Cirque du Soleil which started in Canada almost 60 years ago, has become the most incredible force in the spectacular circus world. With many touring shows all around the world and more resident shows in Las Vegas, they are in a class by themselves.

Forget about a story line. It is a circus, not a story; albeit this one refers to Corteo which means Procession in Italian, and is about a clown viewing his own life history and funeral. It is a conglomeration of overlapping acts competing for your attention. What it does offer is incredible staging, incredible props, costumes that are worthy of the finest opera house, music that is scored to highlight every movement, and choreography that is both subtle and exciting at the same time.

But, beneath it all this is a circus full of acrobats, clowns and other performers. There are no second-stringers in Corteo. These ladies and gentlemen are all world class athletes and performers. Five of the lead performers are from Europe and two are from South America; and everybody works well with everyone else. They even have two little people who steal the limelight when they are on stage.

I could go on and on raving about Cirque du Soleil, but you really have to experience it to understand it. Each of their shows is different. Corteo has been revamped since it’s show here 12 years ago. But, it is still full of acts that will make you want to occasionally gasp at what they do, and laugh a lot as well.

The Infinite Energy Arena is on Sugarloaf Parkway a little west of I-85. The show leaves town next week, so go to the website and reserve your tickets now. You’ll love it. More info at CIRQUEDUSOLEIL.com/CORTEO

20
Aug

Nunsense

nunsense-2

Nunsense
Marietta Theatre Company
through September 1, 2018

It’s been a few years since this one has been staged around Atlanta, and what a treat to see it once again. If you really enjoyed seeing Sister Mary Jo toss out that first pitch in Chicago; then you’re sure to enjoy these five Little Sisters of Hoboken. When this work of art by Dan Goggin hit the boards in NYC in 1985, it enjoyed a run of more than 3,600 performances; and has been revised several times, and also done as a TV show and a film.

The Sisters had a serious problem. More than fifty of their order had died from food poisoning in some soup made by Sister Julia. They ran short of money to bury all of them, and four were being contained in their refrigerator. So what could they do, other than maybe raise some money by putting on a cabaret act in a local school? Reverend Mother Mary Regina (Kelsey South) is the more-or-less director of the group. She has to manage the other four, Sister Mary Hubert (Hannah Marie Craton), Sister, and puppeteer, Mary Amnesia (Sophia Decker), Sister Robert Anne (Kate Metroka) from Brooklyn and Sister Mary Leo (Megan Wartell) who is a ballerina.

Stephanie Earle directs the show with Shane Simmons working the sound boards. And the theatre’s artistic director, Zac Phelps, put together some groovy choreography. This is quite an enjoyable performance by this new little company. They even have set up some tables, cabaret style, where you can buy four seats and some wine and be right up front. But, every seat has an easy view.

They perform at the Lyric Studio on the Square, just off Marietta Square. Free parking around the square after 6pm. Get more info and tickets at MariettaTheatre.com

18
Aug

AIDA

 

 

 

 

 

 

AIDA
Lyric Theatre
through September 2, 2018

Elton John and Tim Rice’s AIDA is a work developed for Disney by their team and derived from the opera by Guiseppe Verdi. When it opened on Broadway in 2000 it won many awards and had a four year run.

The story is about the princess, Aida (India Tyree), a Nubian who is taken prisoner along with many of her people when attacked by the Egyptian army under the command of Radames (Haden Rider) who is heir to the throne of the Pharaoh (Matthew Morris) and engaged for many years to be wed to Amneris (Lauren Hill). You won’t find Nubia on the maps today, but it lies in the southern Nile area twixt Egypt and Sudan.

When Aida is brought to Cairo, she comes to meet up one Nubian who figures out who she really is. That’s Mereb (George Roberts) who is sworn to secrecy to prevent her from being quickly disposed of. Prime Minister Zoser (Chistopher Kent), the father of Radames, is scheming to get rid of Pharaoh and get his son on the throne. All hell breaks loose when more Nubians are captured including the Nubian King Amonasro (Brian Jordan, Jr.) and a situation develops between Radames and Aida; and they must figure out what best serves their real interests. As you probably know, this is not one of those tales in which all comes out right in the end.

A team of 20 players under the direction of Taylor Buice do a great and highly energetic job, with some fine choreography by Bubba Carr. If you have seen it before, you’ll see it again in a good production. But, if you are there for the first time, know that while it is captivating and draws you in, it is not Cats, Les Miz, or Phantom. The score of more than 20 numbers may not be ones you’ll immediately recall if heard without lyrics. But, it is another good offering from this really good musical theatre in Marietta.

Free parking, good seating, easy to get to. More info at AtlantaLyric.com

17
Aug

The Book of Will

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Book of Will
Theatrical Outfit
through September 9, 2018

Brilliant young scriptwriter, Lauren Gunderson, did a load of research to craft this opus based upon some real characters and happenings back in early 1600’s. For it is a story told by those closely associated with The Bard, such as his friend Richard Burbage (Jeff McKerley), and the not so much of a friend, Ben Johnson (William S. Murphey).

The story is about the passing of William Shakespeare and the problems with getting his works into print. For in those days it was not easy, especially when a tome of his works could be huge and cost more than most folks would earn in a year. Tom Key plays Will’s friend, John Heminges, who is trying to get the Bard’s works collated and put into a complete set. One problem is that a publisher of questionable ethics has some of Will’s works in print, but things start to work out a bit when a working agreement is made with Isaac Jaggard, the son of the publisher. Isaac is played by Kyle Brumley. Heminges joins in with his pal, Henry Condell (Doyle Reynolds) to hook up with Isaac, gather in all the paperwork that can be found, and as one might say, Git ‘er done.

The exceptional cast includes Elisa Carlson in 3 roles, Suehyla El-Attar in 3, Paul Hester in 2, Eliana Marianes in 2, and Ryan Vo in 3 more. This large cast of come-and-go characters play out on a set by Isabel and Moriah Curley-Clay, and is directed by David Crowe. It is quite a different type of work which pulls you into the story and makes you think about what the author must have gone through in her research. For we all read some of Shakespeare’s works; but rarely will you encounter somebody who has familiarity with all of them.

It makes one think about those olde days at The Globe, when the average Joe stood through the show in the audience and only the peers had seats. And, all the female roles were played by males. The show runs a bit over 2 hours, and there is discounted parking available at the garage just north of the theater. Buy the discount ticket at their concession stand.

A very good show with a fine cast. More info and tickets at TheatricalOutfit.org

12
Aug

Bat-Hamlet

Bat-Hamlet
Out of Box Theatre
through August 25, 2018

This play by Jordan Pullian is a re-telling of the story of Hamlet, camped up with some comic book characters that may be distant cousins of Batman and Robin.

Something was rotten in the Kingdom of Gothic. The king is dead, a ghost walks the ramparts, and the widowed queen remarries quickly so that the food from the funeral doesn’t go to waste and can be used the next day. Pretty sound planning.

Chris Schulz plays the evil Jester, and you’ll get to meet Patrick S.Young as Hamlet, as well as Ham’s alter-ego. Bob Smith is the conniving Puffin and Jessie Kuipers is Ophelia. Horatio is Ali Olhausen and Queen Barbara is Savannah Jones. Parris Sarter plays Riddles, who is a sort of an evil Don Rickles to the hilt. Seven other players round out this large cast for such a small theater.

Directed by Founder and Artistic Director,Carolyn Choe, the production is really an exercise in insanity to the utmost degree. Act I may seem a bit long, but the show does keep one’s interest. Good costumes, great fight choreography and plenty of laughs. You’ll recall that famous line when Hamlet says Alas poor Todd, I knew him well.

Out of Box Theatre is at the Artisan Center on Cobb Parkway south of the Big Chicken. So it is easy to get to, and plenty of free parking. This is the kind of show that brings fans in from miles away; so know that they are selling out and if you snooze, you lose. More info and tickets at OutOfBoxTheatre.com