Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Susan Booth receives Governor's Award for the Arts and Humanities

Posted By on Tue, Oct 6, 2015 at 5:30 PM

THE DIRECTOR: Susan Booth leads rehearsals for the Alliance Theatre's production of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. - KATHLEEN COVINGTON
  • Kathleen Covington
  • THE DIRECTOR: Susan Booth leads rehearsals for the Alliance Theatre's production of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.

The hits keep coming for Susan Booth. The Alliance Theatre's artistic director, and guest critic for Best of Atlanta issue, was one of 13 recipients of Governor Nathan Deal's Award for the Arts and Humanities. Along with taking the lead on local productions that eventually landed on Broadway, Booth's been credited with developing programs — the Collision Project for Teens, the Alliance/Kendeda National Graduate Playwriting Competition, and Reiser Atlanta Artists Lab — that work to educate and guide new playwrights, productions, and artists.

Under Booth's leadership, the Alliance has also grown to be the largest-producing theater in the southeast. She was also person behind the launch of the theater's first capital and endowment campaign, which will give the Alliance some much-needed renovations for the first time in almost five decades. Those renovations are slated for completion by the 2018-19 season.

The rest of the winners include:
Dr. Elizabeth “Libby” Bailey, Macon
Brenda Bynum, Atlanta
Jerry and Kathy Chappelle, Watkinsville
Dr. James C. Cobb, Athens
Dale Dyer, Blue Ridge
Joyce Perdue-Smith, Rome
Mausiki Scales, Atlanta
Robert Webb, Dalton
Foxfire, Mountain City
Pasaquan Preservation Society, Buena Vista
Slow Exposures, Zebulon
Telfair Museums, Savannah

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Monday, July 13, 2015

Actor's Express receives $13,500 contract

Posted By on Mon, Jul 13, 2015 at 2:51 PM

click image Julissa Sabino (left) and Jeremiah Parker Hobbes in AE's production of Rent - BREEANNE CLOWDUS
  • BreeAnne Clowdus
  • Julissa Sabino (left) and Jeremiah Parker Hobbes in AE's production of Rent
Actor's Express has been raking in some serious change this summer. On July 9, the theatre company received a $13,500 contract from the Fulton County Board of Commissioners. Fulton County awarded the contract in response to Actor's Express stellar programming in 2015. 
“Actor’s Express is honored to be located in a county that supports and understands the value of the arts," said AE's Managing Director Alex Scollon in a statement. "The support of the county as well as donation from other foundations, government agencies and individuals are critical to continuing our mission, as only 50 percen of our operating expenses are covered by ticket sales.”

Actor’s Express will finish out the year with main stage productions of Rent, Stupid F*cking Bird, The Thrush & the Woodpecker, Blackberry Winter,  as well as its new play festival Threshold. For more information on these productions, click here

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Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Chris Clabo is Village Theatre's new artistic director

Posted By on Wed, Jun 17, 2015 at 9:46 AM

  • Courtesy Village Theatre

Old Fourth Ward's Village Theatre has a new artistic director. This week the improv theater announced that founding member Chris Clabo would take over with cast members Josh Warren and Marc Mooney being promoted to associate directors. 

Whereas Warren and Mooney will be tasked with writing, directing, and producing the theater's main productions, Clabo's responsible for creating new shows, working with community partners, managing rehearsals and working with new talent. "I love being onstage performing and I am excited about to continue to elevate the artistic direction of the theatre by creating new and exciting forms of comedy," Clabo said in a statement.

Mike King was the previous artistic director, and is co-owner of the theater. King is stepping down "to focus his efforts more on the ownership responsibilities of the theatre," according to a spokesperson.

Both Clabo and Warren — co-founders — are veterans of the Upright Citizens Brigade in New York, and Mooney,  a member of the theater's main and traveling cast, is a veteran writer and producer for CNN, HLN, and truTV. Bonus points for Warren for being the voice of Wabusabi in "Aqua Teen Hunger Force." For updates and a calendar of upcoming shows at Village Theatre, head over to their website.

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Thursday, June 4, 2015

The One-Minute Play Festival returns!

Posted By on Thu, Jun 4, 2015 at 10:50 AM

  • Grant McGowen
All you short-attention spanners, take note: the One-Minute Play Festival is returning to Atlanta for its fourth year. This fest is produced around the world, using local writers, directors, and actors to create an evening of entertainment that speaks in a choral voice about the state of affairs in a particular city. Atlanta’s fest brings out artists from all over the city, featuring the work of around 50 local playwrights. It’s an impressive feat of organization and an interesting way for the local theater community to speak in a collective voice about Atlanta.

Curator Dominic D’Andrea explains that the project is about the group as a whole, rather than about the individual artists. “What we do here is a social barometer project," she says. "We use this as an opportunity to see where we are as a community.”

Now that the festival is in its fourth year in Atlanta, a company of frequent participants has developed, and D’Andrea finds himself flattered that artists are clamoring to get in on the action. The writers are given a prompt to consider the world around them, and scripts are turned in about a month before the festival. From that point, certain themes will arise based on the submissions, and the productions are placed into eight to nine play “clumps” and given to a director and team of actors. This team then meets for around 1 12 to 15 hours to prepare for the event. And somehow, it all comes together, and everyone gets on and off-stage at the appropriate times. Witnessing the effective teamwork by this group of volunteers, one can’t help but wish that Atlanta’s food festival organizers would attend and take notes (eyes on you, Lobster Festival).

Of course, it’s challenging to give a synopsis of the state of affairs of our city in 60 seconds or less, but D’Andrea notes the time doesn't take away from the overall impact. “When a one-minute play is good, it suggests the world that is much bigger than the frame of the play itself" he says. "It becomes a chorus of voices that say something about the wider world. It’s not about cramming everything into a minute, but about creating a moment where we can see the world around it."

Naturally, in Atlanta you can expect some exasperated comedies about traffic and the ITP/OTP “brother against brother” style divide of the city, but D’Andrea teases that this year’s group contains some intense and serious topics as well, including city politics. Still, he stresses that it is the collection of works that makes the evening so unique, rather than any one particular element.

You’ll leave the performance feeling not only wowed by the collection of talent in Atlanta but also with plenty of ideas about the city to consider. When you see the entire crew onstage at the end of the show, it’s difficult not to have an overwhelming emotional response to the impact of the collective group of Atlanta’s voices. And if any particular play doesn’t work for you, well, it’ll be over before you can get mad at it, right?

4th Annual One-Minute Play Festival. $20. Sun., June 7, at 6 p.m.; Mon., June 8, at 7:30 pm.; and Tues., June 9, at 7:30 p.m. Actor's Express, 887 West Marietta St N.W. J-107. 404-607-7469.

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Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Actor's Express nabs $20,000 grant

Posted By on Tue, Jun 2, 2015 at 11:57 AM

FAMILY FEUD: Wyatt Fenner (left) and Galen Crawley in AEs production of Bad Jews
  • BreeAnne Clowdus
  • FAMILY FEUD: Wyatt Fenner (left) and Galen Crawley in AE's production of Bad Jews

These days, it’s big news when a local arts organization can nab a sizable grant, and adventurous theater company Actor’s Express has just snagged a big one from the Schubert Foundation. A longtime supporter of AE, the foundation is focused on providing assistance to live performing arts in the U.S., primarily theatre but dance as well. The foundation helps with the operating costs of not-for-profit theatre and dance companies, and it has just pledged $20,000 to AE for the company’s 2015-2016 season.

The upcoming season will include performances of Stupid F*ing Bird (a comedic take on Chekhov’s The Seagull); The Thrush & the Woodpecker (a revenge thriller); Blackberry Winter (a new work about caring for someone with Alzhimer’s); the Sondheim classic Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (starring local powerhouse Kevin Harry), Serial Black Face (a drama about the real-life murders of children in Atlanta in 1979); and Significant Other (a fun romantic gay comedy from the playwright of this year’s hit, Bad Jews). There will also be frequent readings and other smaller performances throughout the season.

In addition to providing grants to regional companies, the foundation is the sole shareholder of the Shubert Organization, Inc., which currently owns and operates more than 20 theaters, including 17 on Broadway.

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Monday, June 1, 2015

Dad's Garage performing four shows at the High Museum

Posted By on Mon, Jun 1, 2015 at 2:31 PM

DANCING QUEENS: J. Hill (left) and Gina Rickicki in the Dad's Garage production, King of Pops: A Post-Apocalyptic Musical. - ANNALISE KAYLOR
  • Annalise Kaylor
  • DANCING QUEENS: J. Hill (left) and Gina Rickicki in the Dad's Garage production, King of Pops: A Post-Apocalyptic Musical.

It's going to be a busy June for Dad's Garage Theatre.

On Fri., June 5 , and Fri., Jun 19, members of Dad's Garage will be at the High Museum of Art to perform in collaboration with  Los Trompos, an installation designed by Héctor Esrawe and Ignacio Cadena that activates the public space with interactive sculptures.

Dad's Garage improvisers will use the more than 30 larger-than-life, colorful spinning tops installed throughout Sifly Piazza as individual performance spaces, creating a more intimate environment for the audience. Audience members will get to partake in a series of improv games with the performers, and a couple of innocent bystanders may be roped into the show as well.
For those of you already familiar Dad's Garage, the theatre company needs your help. Dad's Garage is currently holding a capital campaign to raise funds for decorating their newly acquired improv house (a church in the Old Fourth Ward reverently referred to as the "House of Dad's"). Donations will be geared towards making the venue operational — that includes building risers, installing a lighting grid, and putting in a sound system. Dad's Garage also hopes to add other amenities such as an elevator for handicapped performers and patrons, a bar, turbo toilets, and a greenroom/rehearsal space for backstage privacy. More Information about the fundraiser can be found here

If you just  can't get enough of Dad's Garage shenanigans, then come to the second annual Dad's Garage and Friends at Fox Theatre on Sat., June 13. The  all-star comedy extravaganza includes a series of improv games, skits, animated pieces, and a game-changing improv jam. But the icing on the cake is the star-studded lineup; acts include Collin Mochrie from "Who's Line is it Anyway" and "The Drew Carey Show," Gary Anthony Williams from "The Boondocks," Fred Willard from Anchorman: The Legend of Rob Burgundy, and several others. To get more information on what will surely be a spectacular event, click here.

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Friday, May 29, 2015

The Fox Theatre to offer behind the scenes tours

Posted By on Fri, May 29, 2015 at 3:00 PM

  • Joeff Davis / CL File
The Fox Theatre announced that, for a limited time, it will hosts 90-minute tours that expose the inner-workings of the historic theatre. You can now see the operational work performed behind the curtain and under the stage, from power rooms to productions offices to stage lifts, that makes every performance at the Fox successful. Visitors will get to hear about the Fox's rich history, including the theatre's golden era in 1929, its near destruction in 1975, and up to the present.

For those true history nuts, never before seen restoration workrooms will also be on display. But what's a theatre tour without some brush with stardom? Tour groups will get to walk the same hallways and occupy the same dressing rooms as did the likes of the Rolling Stones, Elvis, and Lynyrd Skynyrd. Finally, the tour will end on the legendary stage, where you can get a chance to snap some photos. Interested? Tours begin on June 9, and take place on various dates until June 20. For more information on tour dates and tickets click here.

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Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Fox in a Box coming to a school near you

Posted By on Wed, Feb 18, 2015 at 9:30 AM

One of Atlanta's most prized cultural institutions is on the move ... kind of. The Fox Theatre Institute (FTI) recently launched their Fox in a Box program, an interactive exhibit that mixes school curriculum with prominent events in the theater's historical timeline. The transportable installation includes several interactive elements including an introductory video, images projected on flat-screen televisions, and photo wall.

Fox in a Box is a product of a 10-week interior design class at the Savannah College of Art and Design, sponsored by the Fox Theatre. SCAD students were asked to design an informative, educational pod that could be taken on the go to schools, and other theaters. With the help of local design firm, Station 16 Creative, Fox in a Box went from concept to fully realized traveling exhibit.

"Fox in a Box challenges the elementary students to think about how communities came together to share an experience and to protect what's important to them,"  FTI's Community Engagement Manager Carmie McDonald said in a statement,

The exhibit sits on a 24-by-24-foot carpet, with 8-foot-tall frames, and takes about four hours to put together. Inside the Box a Student Guide encourages visitors to examine real and replicated images from the Fox's archives and create their own field reports. Another feature involves students being asked questions via the interactive panels. Topics include the history of the theater's Save the Fox campaign in the 1970s, and its continued mission to keep the country's other cultural institutions alive and kicking.

The Fox in a Box exhibit made its premiere at the Museum School in Avondale Estates at the end of last year. More stops are on tap in 2015, as the Fox celebrates the 40th anniversary of Save the Fox.

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Friday, January 9, 2015

Exonerated death row inmate tells story in one-man show

Posted By on Fri, Jan 9, 2015 at 12:42 PM

Anthony Graves

Tonight exonerated death row inmate Anthony Graves will debut his one-man stage narrative "Graves Injustice" at the Riverside EpiCenter Auditorium in Austell.

Graves served 18-and-a-half years in a Texas prison for the murder of a family that he did not commit. He has been exonerated and compensated by the state of Texas for the crime that was committed against him by the state. When his case was overturned in 2006, it was ruled that the the district attorney who prosecuted him used false testimony and withheld favorable evidence to convict Graves. Graves is now pursuing charges against the prosecutor and a recent ruling means that the district attorney will have to appear in court.

Graves is now taking his story on the road "to educate people about the need for criminal justice reform," he says.

"The defense must be given the same resources as the state to make sure a person gets a fair trial," Graves told CL, emphasizing the need for people to fulfill their civic duty by serving on juries and grand juries. "We must get involved, we have to work for the changes we want to see."

"I know from what I witnessed in prison that I had to come out and be an advocate for reform and a voice for the voiceless," he said. "Prison was the worst nightmare you can ever imagine. It was the worst hell you could experience. I lived it for 6,640 days straight. I know I had to tell my story and advocate for a better system because what I witnessed is totally inhumane."

Since 1973 there have been 150 death row exonerations in the United States.

Graves 120-minute multimedia stage show takes the audience through his story from the day of his arrest to his exoneration to what he is doing today. He says he decided to debut it in Atlanta because "this is the birth place of the Civil Rights Movement and what I am advocating for is a civil rights movement of the criminal justice system."

The show starts tonight at 8:00 pm.

(Editors note: Post updated to include video)

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Tuesday, January 6, 2015

FTI awards Holly Theatre with $10,000 grant

Posted By on Tue, Jan 6, 2015 at 4:04 PM

  • Courtesy FTI

Dahlonega's Historic Holly Theatre just got a $10,000 helping hand. For their 2014-2015 Preservation Grant, the Fox Theatre Institute (FTI) awarded the theater with funding that will go toward restoration, and future planning. More specifically, the grant will be centered around the masonry for three sides of the Holly Theatre building and an environmentally conscious upgrade for the marquee.

Since 2008, the FTI has worked on 10 projects in the state, totaling more $332,000. The focus of the nonprofit has been the preservation of various arts venues. The Fox has been helping with strategic planning for Holly in the past few years, so the downtown Dahlonega institution can get some much-needed TLC.

"The Holly Theatre has a long history of being an economic engine in the downtown Dahlonega area and we are excited about the opportunity to boost their arts program," Molly Fortune, the Fox's director of restoration and operations said in a statement. "When the Fox was in trouble 40 years ago, the Atlanta community rallied together to 'Save the Fox.' Now we have the knowledge and resources to help other venues in Georgia not only restore their buildings, but also strengthen their communities."

The entire Holly Theatre restoration project, including a fresh new paint job and LED bulbs for the marquee, should be all said and done by the end of June. Along with FTI grant, Holly Theatre also received a $20,000 award from Georgia Tourism and Georgia Council for the Arts.

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