Out of Box Theatre
through June 22, 2019

Back in 1974 Studs Terkel wrote a book based on interviews with loads of ordinary working folks. It was Working: People Talk About What They Do All Day and How They Feel About What They Do. A few years later Stephen Schwartz and Nina Faso took the story line and created this musical. It had a very brief run in NYC in 1978, but has been produced in many other localities in the past 40 years; because in reality while we think things may have changed, maybe they haven’t changed that much.

So you get to journey back in time with a dozen actors who sing their way through their work and ordeals. The 14 numbers they present in a cabaret fashion include numbers by workers who are delivery drivers, truck drivers, housewives, cleaning ladies, a stone mason, corporate executive, millworker and others.

Some of the numbers are by two composers who have heard of quite a bit. Lin-Manuel Miranda from Hamilton and Stephen Schwartz who did Godspell and other works.

Kristen Storla directed this one with music direction by Annie Cook. It is done on a thrust stage setting with seats on three sides, and every seat has an unobstructed close-up view.

This one is a very energetic production in which player gives it his/her all, be in solo or in chorus. More info at OutOfBoxTheatre.com


Five Guys Named Moe







Five Guys Named Moe
Theatrical Outfit
through June 30, 2019

You may not quickly recall the King of the Jukebox, but you’ll recall some of Louis Jordan’s numbers. He was a very talented songwriter and singer and he also could play the sax and the keys.

In this cabaret style performance we meet Nomax (Sterling McClary) who is having some relationship concerns. The five Moes are going to mentor him and work him through things.

The classy swing styled Moes, Big Moe, Eat Moe, Four-eyed Moe, Little Moe, and No Moe are played to the hilt by Eric Moore Omar Madden, Lawrence Flowers, Eugene H. Russell, IV and with Trevor Rayshay Perry stepping in as well.

The six piece on-stage band has S. Renee Clark on the keyboard and as conductor, with Lorenzo Sanford on drums, Ramon Pooler on bass, Lester Walker on trumpet, Earl Ford on Trombone and James Robinson on the sax.

You will really move along to numbers like Messy Bessy, Let the Good Times Roll, and Choo Choo C’Boogie. As Act I comes to a close you’ll want to join in singing Push Ka Pi Shi Pie, and you may wish to join others who will dance away the act.

You will enjoy great numbers, great performers, and dance steps that will make you gasp when you witness them. They work through two dozen numbers and you’ll enjoy every one of them. It’s a great way to bring down the curtain on this season for the Theatrical Outfit.

But, . . . there’s more . . . Joe Gransden and his band will take the stage for one night only, June 23rd, when they present Lady Day Sings the Blues, with Terry Burrell stage center. More info at TheatricalOutfit.org



Atlanta Lyric Theatre
through June 23, 2019

You know a show is a standard when it runs 50+ years, and this one hit the boards in London 59 years ago. Dickens probably would have liked it, albeit Fagin’s antisemitism is toned down these days.

And while you may not recall all the details you know the young lad was in a workhouse, where all they got to eat was some gruel; and he is remembered for holding out his bowl and asking for more. Then he gets sold off to some baddies, and gets trained to pick a pocket or two.

Young Vinny Montague is fantastic as Oliver, and he is backed up by an ensemble of more than a dozen other young performers who do a fine job. You have to think you’ll see them as their careers progress.

Fagin is played by Jeff McKerley, and Heidi Cline McKerley directed this fine cast. The Artful Dodger, who is assigned to tutor Oliver, is played by Colby Howell. And Brian Kurlander comes on in Act II as the dangerous Bill Sikes. Daniel Cook is that meanie, Mr. Bumble; and Jennifer Alice Acker is Nancy, who gets caught up in all the situations.

But, know that even though there could be even more tragic endings at the London Bridge, that at least Oliver survives and there is some very good news breaking for him.

Cristina Dinella had the score timed perfectly and all worked well. You’ll want to quietly sing along to many of the numbers by Lionel Bart, such as Food, Glorious Food at the workhouse, You’ve Got to Pick a Pocket or Two in his first training session, the Oom-Pah-Pah number at the 3 Cripples Pub, and the funny Reviewing the Situation when Fagin contemplates retirement.

The show is fine for ages 8 to 98, and good views from every seat in the house. Plenty of free parking, but try to get there a little earlier for spaces closer to the entrance. This is another star on the banner for staging excellent musical shows. More info at AtlantaLyricTheatre.com


The Cake

The Cake
Horizon Theatre
through June 23, 2019

A few years ago there was some character who ran a bakery in Colorado who refused to make a wedding cake for a gay couple. He actually got sued and won the case based on his First Amendment rights to his religious beliefs. And while Bekah Brunstetter wrote this play based on that weird news story; it seems that nothing much has changed.

In our county, which is allegedly a non-religious nation, we do have a god blessing the nation, and our nation’s trust in the almighty is engraved on every unit of our currency. So, if you think that Archie Bunker is history you may need to keep up with the insane daily news.

In this comic drama we find that the baker lady, Della (Marcie Millard), owns a shop in Winston, NC; and the daughter of a dear friend, who has passed away, shows up to ask if she’ll bake her a cake for her upcoming nuptials. The girl, Jen (Rhyn McLemore Saver), is really attached to Della who was always sort of like an aunt to her. But, when Della meets her fiancé, Macy (Parris Sarter), she freaks out. It seems that Macy is black as well as female. Not quite the usual in Della’s world. She’s torn between what she wants to do and what she wants to avoid doing.

Hubby, Tim (Allan Edwards), is the Archie Bunker of the saga, and the life of Della and Tim isn’t quite what either may have wished for. They’re pretty much a Henny Youngman couple. But, as the story progresses you enjoy how Della seeks to bring some physical joy back to her life, even if Tim isn’t that into the idea at the outset.

What is so thought provoking is that the days of bigotry are hardly gone from our society. Just listen to some of those politicians and you’ll know that the more things change the more they may stay the same. The set by Isabel and Moria Curley-Clay is superb and the show runs about 100 minutes without intermission. But, hang in there as all comes right in the end.

More info at HorizonTheatre.com


Ain’t Misbehavin’

Stage Door Players
through June 16, 2019

In 1904 a young man named Thomas Wright Waller, was born in New York as a son of a preacher man. By the time he was six he started at the piano, and went on to organs and other instruments. But, he’s better known as “Fats” Waller, and in his short life of only 39 years he wrote more than 400 pieces, some of which are still jazz hall standards.

This a splendid cabaret style performance directed by Robert Egizio, starring five wonderful singer-dancers and a live 6 piece band on stage. The cast runs through more than two dozen of his famous numbers, including some you want to sing along to, such as Honeysuckle Rose, This Joint is Jumpin’, Your Feet’s Too Big, and the most remembered, I’m Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter, and I Can’t Give You Anything But Love.

Alyssa Michele, Vallea E. Woodbury, and Melissa Youngblood are the three hot chicks who be playin’ off them two gents who are played by Spencer G. Stephens and Fenner Eaddy. Each of these five has great pipes and know them steps they supposed to take. I felt like I was in the jazz halls in Boston and New York in the old days, and sure am glad that some of them, like The Apollo, are still around.

Nick Silvestri is on the keys and is the conductor. David Anthony Kelly, Jr. is bass and Adam Wolfe is on the drums. Off to the left behind the scrim are Jonathan Swygert and Paul Poovey on trumpets and Joseph Jenkins on sax. You hear them but they ain’t stage center.

A really terrific show for all ages. More info at StageDoorPlayers.net


A Musical Journey Through France

A Musical Journey Through France
Atlanta Symphony Orchestra
through May 25, 2019

Under the baton of Donald Runnicles, the ASO takes us on their musical journey through France. The concert quite naturally features Claude Debussy’s La Mer, which has been a classic standard for 100+ years.

The opening work is a name you won’t recognize, as it says in French, “The cow on the roof.” But, you will certainly recognize some of the often repeated bars which bring a sense of flamenco to the work by Darius Milhaud. He deliberately wove several Brazilian/Argentine dance segments into the work, and when they play the number his name will pop up in your mind, even though the name of the opus may not be widely known.

Soprano Kim-Lillian Strebel then comes to the stage to sing six numbers from Songs of the Auvergne, by Joseph Canteloube. She sings these somewhat randy numbers in the native dialect of that region of France, with English super-titles overhead. The Auvergne is a area in the south-central region of France, which is a bunch of small towns, hardly ever visited by tourists, who mainly hit on Paris and Provence areas. These are basically somewhat cute peasant numbers which you won’t learn the words to, nor leave the hall humming the tunes. But, she does a great job and it is a new experience for all.

After intermission the ASO delivers up two really good renditions of some of Debussy’s best known works. They do four excerpts from books 1 and 2 of Préludes and finish up with the high powered La mer, which delves deeply into Debussy’s love of the sea.

This concert closes Sunday and you can grab tickets by phone or online. Visit them at AtlantaSymphony.org


Ad Nauseam

Ad Nauseam
Dad’s Garage
through June 1, 2019

Get your buns in gear and get yourself down to Dad’s Garage for one of the funniest shows of the year. This is a scripted play written and directed by Megan Leahy. The poignant comedy deals with how women have been seen as breeders while men were the top guns.

This was true even after Rosie the Riveter retired post WWII. In high schools the boys took Shop while the girls took Home Ec. If a young woman wanted a job that didn’t include cooking, sewing and cleaning; then she had better go on to become a stenographer for then she’d be able to find a job where she could be seated and work at a machine that no guy had a clue how to use.

And so the playwright brought us into the 1960s in The Big Apple, except that everything related to genders is topsy turvy. They are in the advertising agency business in The Big Apple. And the firm is right on Madidaughter Avenue, and is run by the women, who show up in appropriate office attire. On the other hand the men are working in the hourly wage jobs as secretaries, go-fers, and coffee bearers. While the women have the brains, the boys have the bodies; and to advance their possibilities of getting some notice they are in the sexiest outfits they can find and they gossip, dance, and show off to everyone.

Amber Nash, Tara Ochs, Amanda Lee Williams and Leslie Johnson are the four bossy women you don’t want to mess with; while Freddy Boyd, Joshua Quinn and Taylor Roy are those who know their motto must be, “Yes Ma’am”

While the status of women in the workplace has advanced in the past couple of decades, there is still a wage gap in this country, and in some places like Saudi Arabia and India things are still in the middle ages. But, come and laugh as you watch the Mad-Women pitch various themes to promote a new brand of cigarettes designed for sale to men. You will see many of the proposed ads for other products you knew so well, such as tooth paste, low calorie soda and even some panty liners from Johndaughter & Johndaughter. Some of the adaptations of brand names almost make you think of Spooner being involved.

Dad’s Garage is in the Old 4th Ward, easy to get to, free parking, plenty of goodies, and easy seats with good views. More info at DadsGarage.com


A Public Education






A Public Education
Out of Box Theatre
through May 19, 2019

Playwright Jeff Talbott spent hundreds of hours researching the teaching environment in our schools, and he interviewed many teachers as he crafted this work. Zip Rampy directs a cast of six players as they meet up in the break room at the high school.

Shaun Maclean plays a new math teacher who has problems interacting with adults as well as children. He seems to want to analyze everything in mathematical terms. But that’s not always a good sine. His cohort is Doug McGowan (Bob Smith) who sees things from a different perspective, albeit he may not have all the answers. For it seems that the students are tweeting as if they were politicians, and the trash they are posting is not what their teachers might wish to deal with. Duh! I was once a teacher, and very thankful that Facebook, Instagram and all that stuff with hashtags (whatever that is derived from) didn’t exist in olden days.

We meet only one student, Tommy (Zach Kuebler), who is a real piece of work. I would have sent him to detention. But, he remembers all his lines, and knows how to send text messages.

The Principal lady is played by Mia Kristin Smith, and she is fighting hard to inject some amount of sanity into the situation, although that ain’t so easy to do. A lot of stresses come out quite angrily and the yelling sounds pretty real. The two teachers are played by Bryn Striepe and Amanda Cucher.

This is an interesting work that makes one want to think about how we run schools in these days. For there are no secrets in this word. That doesn’t mean that everything you read or hear might be true; for we all have seen the news in the past months. Will things change anytime soon? Not unless all networking is done away with.

Out Of Box is locate on Cobb Parkway south of The Big Chicken, and there is free parking and plenty of beaneries nearby. More info and tickets at OutOfBoxTheatre.com


Pump Boys and Dinettes

Pump Boys and Dinettes
Lionheart Theatre
through May 19, 2019

Urgent Warning: This one should be sold out every performance so you may want to go online or phone them to grab seats for a really engaging show.

This is not a play in the usual sense. It is a musical cabaret performance done on a stage setting which looks like some old gas station which had a diner section attached; akin to the old 7-11’s. The show is set on a road between Frog Level and Smyrna, NC; not that it couldn’t be anywhere they wanted it to be. But, that’s where the gents who created the play set it.

When it opened in New York in 1981 it had a good run, and was nominated for best musical although it didn’t win. It also played off-Broadway, and overseas and has from time to time been revived for appreciative audiences. It is a set of 19 country-rock numbers, very few of which you will recall. Probably the ones which you may remember would be Be Good or Be Gone, Drinkin’ Shoes and/or The Night Dolly Parton Was Almost Mine

In this version there are five good ole boys who work at the station and repair shop. They are also the ones who sing like the Barbershoppers. John B. Connell, Gregory Fitzgerald, Mark Hyde, Paul Milliken and Jen Smith are the guys. The five look-alike diner waitresses are Tanya Caldwell, Lisa Gordon, Courtney Loner, Rachel O’Dell and Nancy Lowery Powell. They sing like Sweet Adelines, dance and also double on glasses, cups, and other implements.

The show is directed by Scott Rousseau who also designed the really perfect set. The music is live with Lennard Martin, Joseph Hast and Sam Clamp working through every number. The show runs about 2 hours with one intermission. Easy to get to in Norcross, free parking, free goodies, and nice venue. For times and tickets visit them at LionheartTheatre.org


Ragtime, The Musical

Ragtime, The Musical
Serenbe Playhouse
through June 9, 2019

If you have been to Serenbe then you know they perform out of doors. But, with the lousy weather right now, please be advised that this show is performed under a tent, as many of the characters are like old time carnies.

The early 1900’s were not easy days. Factory workers felt they should be paid, women were discriminated against, black folks were considered as all low class, and new immigrants were about as welcome as they may be in these days.

This musical was based upon the book by E. L. Doctorow, who was an incredible writer, professor and researcher. You’ll find his works in every public library. He was the son of immigrants, lived in the Bronx, and knew of what he wrote.

Brian Clowdus, as Director, brings together a cast of 25 players, who are staged on a cabaret styled open stage and backed up with an eight piece band onstage under the baton of Chris Brent Davis; who with the great voices of the players work through 31 numbers in this opus which runs a little more than 2.5 hours.

Coalhouse Walker, Jr. wants to find his place in society and also at the keyboards. But that is not easy for a black gent in New Rochelle in 1902. Another part of the story deals with a white woman who takes in a black woman and baby; not to the greatest pleasure of her husband. And another story line is about the black man who goes wild and decides to become a terrorist at the J. P. Morgan Library.

So we deal with racial profiling and discrimination and the failure of our governments to provide equal justice to all. As the French might opine, “The more things change, the more they stay the same.” Just turn on the news and see where the crazy shooters were, how a woman can’t have control of her own body, the sexual pay differentials, difficulties for the LGBT, and politicians whose moving lips suggest they may be fibbing.

This major musical won 4 Tony’s when it hit the stage in NYC in 1998, and so much of it seems poignant even 20 years later. Serenbe is located off 85 south of Hartsfield, and is fairly easy to find. While they play in many areas in the community, there will be plenty of signage to get you to the open air free parking. Good views, plenty of goodies, and incredibly good productions. More info at SerenbePlayhouse.com