By Wendell Barnes
After you have seen the trials (and tribulations!) of “A Few Good Men” all six performances, and have determined that there actually more than a few good actors in the latest production, you might want to search out more theatre goings on in warm venues all over the state and “Beyond the RLT.” Here’s a few suggestions:
Locally, at Shorter University, the next production is Shakespeare’s brilliant comedy, one I have never seen, “The Merchant of Venice,” which will run from February 20th-23rd and on February 25th. That’s Thursday through Sunday and the following Tuesday. Evening performances are at 7:30 and the Sunday matinee is at 2:30. Remember that the Callaway Theatre is very small, so it would be wise to make your reservations early by calling the box office at 706-233-7288. The next production at Berry College is the hilarious and scary musical comedy, “Little Shop of Horrors,” running February 13th-23rd, with Thursday-Saturday performances at 7:30 and Sunday matinees at 2:00. Best way to be sure you get into this is to email our friend, Roman Award winner and Berry College drama faculty member Richard Bristow at firstname.lastname@example.org and let him make your reservation for you. I saw this show when it was on Broadway, and have seen it several times before and since then, and you will have a rockin’ great time!
Darlington School is presenting its annual winter musical, “The Sound of Music,” your chance to see another production of it this year. The show will run on Friday and Saturday evenings at 7:30, February 14th and 15th, and Sunday matinee on February 16th at 2:30, all at the Rome City Auditorium. You must come and see talented freshman Palesa Malapo as Maria. You will never look at the character of Maria the same way again! To purchase tickets, call Darlington at 706-236-0400, or go online at www.darlingtonschool.org, or buy them at the school bookstore or middle school, Kroger or Traditions.
Calhoun Little Theatre has on their schedule next the hilarious comedy “The Hallelujah Girls,” set in a small town in Georgia in an abandoned church turned into the “SPA-DEE-DAH!” where a group of friends gather every Friday afternoon to discuss life and its trials and hilarious tribulations. The play is written by Jones-Hope-Wooten, the trio who specialize in outrageous Southern comedies such as “Southern Hospitality,” “Dearly Beloved” and “The Dixie Swim Club,” (the latter is coming to RLT in early summer.) Performances are set for 7:00 p.m. on May 9th and 10th, and Sunday, May 11th at 3:00. Call 706-629-2599 for more information, reservations and tickets.
As always, the Pumphouse Players at the Legion Theatre in Cartersville are busy with an exciting new production. “Murder by the Book,” about a group of mystery writers who gather once per year for the annual Smoking Gun Awards, and it’s a funny and exciting mystery similar to Agatha Christie’s “Ten Little Indians” (also known as “And Then There Were None.”) This show will run January 17th-25th so hurry so you won’t miss it! Next up for PHP is Woody Allen’s hilarious comedy featuring Humphrey Bogart as a character, “Play It Again, Sam,” (which, by the way, that exact line was never said in the movie “Casablanca.”) This show will be presented February 14th-22nd. For more information or reservations, go to www.pumphouseplayers.com.
There is a lot of theatre activity in nearby Marietta, less than hour away! The Atlanta Lyric Theatre, the all musical professional company that performs at the Cobb Civic Center in the Anderson Theatre, is closing their hit production of “Duke Ellington’s Sophisticated Ladies” on January 19th, so it’s likely that you missed that unless you go right now, but I can assure you that it was one of the most excitingly choreographed productions Reba and I have ever seen. Next up for the Lyric is their production of the family favorite, “Annie,” running in April, and details will follow in the next newsletter. More information on the rest of their season is available at www.atlantalyrictheatre.com.
Also in Marietta, the Next Stage Theatre Company is performing in the former Alley Theatre that used to be the other stage for Theatre in the Square just off the square in downtown Marietta. Their next production, John Guare’s quirky comedy “The House of Blue Leaves,” which has played in New York twice, will run January 17th-February 2nd. Following that, the classic drama “The Lion in Winter” will be performed Feb. 21st-March 9th. More information on this company can be found at www.nextstagetheatrecompany.com.
The Out of Box Theatre at the Artisan Resource Center on Cobb Parkway in Marietta will be presenting its next production, “Ariadne’s Thread,” a thriller for the mind written by a local playwright January 24th-February 2nd. Next up this company will present “Heart Throbs: Tales from the Heart” February 7th-9th, a group of nine original short plays from Flying Cat Productions. Following this the company will produce two plays, “fugitive: EROS” and “The Chemicals Between Us,” two plays about love, February 14th-23rd. More information about all of these shows can be found at www.outofboxtheatre.com.
At the Cobb Energy Center for the Performing Arts near Cumberland Boulevard at I-75 and I-285, there are no theatrical performances coming up, but the Atlanta Ballet has several productions. First up is their production of “Romeo et Juilette,” set to the music of Prokofiev February7th-9th and 13th-15th. On February 15th and 16th matinees, they will present the one hour family ballet, “Pinocchio.” March 21st-23rd will be their next production, “Modern Choreographic Voices.” The Atlanta Opera’s production of Gounod’s “Faust” will play at CEPAC March 8th, 11th, 14th and 16th. For more information about any of these productions, please visit www.cobbenergycenter.com.
And finally some hit shows are coming back to the Fabulous Fox! Probably the most anticipated show of the season is the national tour of “The Book of Mormon,” still selling out on Broadway and now all over the country. You’ll have lots of opportunities to see this hit show, since it opens on Jan. 28th and runs until Feb. 9th, so for two full weeks. But be cautioned: the show is full of four letter words and sexual situations, and is not recommended for anyone not yet in high school. The Tony Award-winning “Best Musical” is written by Matt Stone and Trey Parker of “South Park” fame, and you probably are aware how profane they can be. The musical won nine Tony Awards, so like most people, I’m curious about how something so profane can be so good. See for yourself but don’t say I didn’t warn you. Next up is the winner of 8 Tony Awards of the year before, including “Best Musical,” “Once,” a simple story based on the movie about two musicians who fall in love. The song “Falling Slowly” won the Oscar for the movie, and it is included in the stage musical. This show will run March 4th-9th. Visit www.foxtheatre.org to get information and tickets.
The Alliance Theatre is back in business after their long run with “A Christmas Carol.” First up on the Alliance Stage is “The Geller Girls,” a world premiere comedy by a favorite Atlanta playwright, Janece Shaffer. The play is the story of two sisters who want to be independent on the eve of the 1895 Cotton States Exposition, and their efforts to find themselves and love. The show will run on the Alliance Stage at the Woodruff Arts Center January 15th-February 9th, so don’t miss it! On the Hertz Stage downstairs, a new play called “In Love and Warcraft” relates the story of a young woman who loves to give advice on relationships, based on the skills she has learned as a champion player in the video game, “Worlds of Warcraft.” This exciting new play will run in the smaller black box theatre January 31st-February 23rd. And following that another new play will open at the Hertz Stage March 7th and run through the 30th called “The Tall Girls,” about a group of young women trying to find their way out of the Dust Bowl in the 1930’s, and who might just need the help of a mysterious stranger who arrives on the train to become a success. And the Theatre for Young People will be presenting a fun musical, “Shrek the Musical,” upstairs on the Alliance Stage Saturday, March 22nd-Sunday, March 9th, but for a few performances only, so don’t miss this fun show based on the hit animated movie, in a one-act family experience. Information on all of these wonderful shows is available at www.alliancetheatre.org.
A little closer to town but also on Peachtree, the New American Shakespeare Tavern is continuing its repertory in January, alternating performances of “The Taming of the Shrew” and “Timon of Athens” through January 26th. On January 31st-March 30th, they will add “The Taming of the Shrew” to “Romeo and Juliet” and “Much Ado About Nothing” in what they are billing as “The Romance Repretory.” Check the website at www.shakespearetavern.com for the exact schedule and take your valentine to a romantic play with dinner and adult beverages!
Even further south in the downtown area at the Balzer Theatre on Luckie Street there is streetcar construction around it, but you can still get to the theatre! Next up from the wonderful Theatrical Outfit company is Mark St. Germain’s “The Best of Enemies,” a new play based on a true story about a relationship developed between an African-American civil rights activist and an upper level member of the KKK in Durham, NC in 1971. The play is about the unlikely alliance they form based on respect and trust in an honest-to-goodness modern day parable of transformation and triumph for civil rights. This amazing new show opens February 1st and runs through the 23rd, 7:30 p.m. most nights and 2:30 matinees on Saturdays and Sundays. Don’t miss TO’s latest of their “stories that stir the soul.” More information and tickets are at www.theatricaloutfit.org.
The innovative Horizon Theatre on Euclid Avenue in Little Five Points is just a mile or so from downtown, and they have opened their new season with a reprise of their sell-out play of last year, the hilarious “The Book Club Play.” The comedy is about books and the people who love them, and opens January 17th, running through February 23rd. I saw this show the first time around last year and it was hilarious. Tickets and more information are at www.horizontheatre.com.
True Colors Theatre Company is back in business too, with a new production of the recent Broadway hit, “Race,” running at the beautiful Southwest Arts Center, 915 New Hope Road near the airport. This latest of Pulitzer Prize-winner David Mamet’s hit plays concerns two high-profile lawyers, one black and one white, who are called to defend a wealthy white client, and when a new legal assistant gets involved in the case, prejudice rears its ugly head in the deliberations more than it already does in the evidence. Warning: mature language and situations. The show will run February 25th-March 23rd, and more information can be found at www.truecolorstheatre.org.
Further east in Lawrenceville, the amazing professional Aurora Theatre has just opened their latest drama, the Georgia premiere of the Broadway hit “Lombardi,” obviously about the renowned football coach Vince Lombardi, on January 16th, running through February 9th. Following this show, their next production is a musical, the regional premiere of “The Unauthorized Autobiography of Samantha Brown,” about a young girl ready to leave for college but is just having a hard time turning the key in the ignition. This musical will run March 13th-April 13th. In the Harvel Lab Theatre at the Aurora, the next production there is “Tamer of Horses,” a show about a young rapper who learns about life from a former teacher. This drama will run from February 14th-March 2nd. For information about all of the shows playing at the Aurora, visit www.auroratheatre.com. And remember that you can find out about all of these shows, and many others in the metro area, and even get discount tickets from the Atlantix program, at www.atlantaperforms.com.
Even further east in Dahlonega, the Holly Theatre is up and ready to present their next two productions, family favorite “Charlotte’s Web,” February 1st-9th and the hilarious Ken Ludwig comedy “Moon Over Buffalo,” February 21st-March 9th. More information about these two great shows can be found at www.hollytheater.com. (note spelling of “theater.”)
The Gainesville Theatre Alliance in Gainesville is starting off 2014 with a bang: the hit musical still running in revival on Broadway after 18 years, Kander and Ebb’s “Chicago.” This show will play February 11th-22nd at the Hosch Theatre at Brenau University. Playing February 14th-22nd at the Ed Cabell Theatre at UNG-Gainesville is Tennessee Williams’ tender classic, “The Glass Menagerie.” At Brenau’s Downtown Center Theatre on the Square, free performances of the hit musical featuring the music of Fats Waller, “Ain’t Misbehavin’” will perform April 5th-7th. Lots of music and tears from this group, and more information can be found at www.gta.ngu.edu.
As you know I like to end my article with a shout out to my two favorite nearby out of state venues. The Greenville Little Theatre in Greenville, SC will be presenting Agatha Christie’s “Spider’s Web” February 21st-March 8th, and more information can be found at www.greenvillelittlethreatre.org. And the professional Cumberland County Playhouse in Crossville, TN always has a lot going on. Playing there January 18th-March 21st is the hilarious Jones-Hope-Wooten comedy, “The Dixie Swim Club,” which RLT is doing this summer. January 31st-March 9th the CCP youth project will be presenting another upcoming RLT show, the favorite musical “Grease.” February 28th-April 25th will add one of our favorite comedies to their schedule, Larry Shue’s “The Foreigner.” Now is the time if you haven’t made the short three-hour trip to Crossville. Details are at www.ccplayhouse.com.
So that’s some of what’s going on at and “Beyond the RLT,” so get out and support live theatre!