The Last Night of Ballyhoo


The Last Night of Ballyhoo

Act3 Playhouse

through December 19, 2015

After the success of Driving Miss Daisy, Alfred Uhry was commissioned to create this work as part of the arts festival for the 1996 Olympics here. It premiered at the Alliance and then had a run in New York and elsewhere. It’s a story about a Jewish family and their own idiosyncrasies, and set in 1939 at the time when Hitler was starting WWII.

The Jews who lived in the South were, to a great extent, merchants. Why not? Had to be a reason to leave the north where one could get good bagels and lox, and head to a land where the locals went for boiled peanuts and pork rinds. And, what Uhry points out is that not only were there discriminations twixt Jews and non-Jews; but within the ranks of the Chosen People. The Germanic Jews didn’t quite dig their fellow Jews from Eastern Europe who hadn’t quite assimilated.

So we start off with Adolph Freitag (David Skoke) who owns a mattress factory and his sister Boo (Johnna Barrett Mitchell)and nieces Lala (Paige Crawford) and Sunny (Deborah Whitlock). They live together and they have a Christmas tree in living room. They are concerned about who will take the girls to the Ballyhoo, a ball sponsored by their country club. Adolph’s sister-in-law, Reba (Lauren Tully) also lives there but is trying to not get too involved with what goes on around her.

There are a couple of gents who enter the scene. Joe (Brandon Lee Browning) comes off as an uptight new employee of Adolph’s company, and he winds up in a relationship with one of the gals; while a visitor from Lake Charles, named Peachy Weil (Jonathan Harrell) shows up in Act 2. He provides a lot of the humor inasmuch as he is always pulling somebody’s leg.

Where the story goes, is really nowhere. It is a vignette of the lives of several people interacting with outsiders as well as those within their own circle. Instead of a family member being concerned about one who marries outside their faith, it narrows down to concern about one whose version of a faith may not quite match their own; or as the Brits may call it, “NQOT” for not quite our type.

Well staged and directed by Chris Ikner, there are two remaining performances, December 18 and 19. The location is in Sandy Springs, right behind Trader Joe’s, and more info and tickets are available at