Daisey's latest show The Agony and Ecstasy of Steve Jobs brought even more attention to the artist, probably more than he ever imagined or wanted. The recent monologue details a visit Daisey took to China to observe the manufacturing practices that are involved in creating the sleek gizmos we all love: iPads, iPods, MacBooks.
The show's dramatic and touching description of the inhumane conditions in Chinese factories caught the attention of the NPR show "This American Life," which broadcast his performance. The episode, which consisted almost entirely of excerpts from Daisey's monologue, went viral and quickly became one of the most popular episodes of the show ever. All good, right?
According to the press release, Celles d’en Haut (or "The Women Above") is a hilarious and colorful play set in a 1950s sanitorium, set apart on an isolated mountaintop. Using shrewd humor, the play questions human choices and explores numerous themes: sickness, the power of medication (and our quickness to succumb blindly to that power), and the deification of doctors. It also investigates how institutions might become beneficial and restorative islands, set apart from the deafening din of the world.
The play is slated to have its official world premiere in Atlanta in 2013. Guest director Olivier Kemeid, a prominent force on the Quebec theater scene, will work with four actors from Chicago, Quebec and Theatre du Rêve for the event, including acclaimed Atlanta actors Park Krausen and Carolyn Cook.
The performance will take place in the Alliance's 3rd floor Black Box at the Woodruff Arts Center tonight, Tuesday, March 20, at 7:00 p.m. with a reception with complimentary wine and beer to follow at the Alliance Française d'Atlanta across the street at Colony Square.
The new musical "Clyde 'n Bonnie: A Folktale," now on stage at Lawrenceville's Aurora Theatre through April 8, sticks pretty closely to that classic recipe. In fact, it treats the old recipe as if it's a scientific formula, adding each element in calibrated measurements and carefully placing everything in just the right place.
The result is an old-fashioned, energetic, crowd-pleasing musical in the mold of "Guys and Dolls," "The King and I" or "The Music Man." Those who love the old stuff will leave happy, but the show is unlikely to win any new converts to musical theater, and some may even feel that the formula has been followed too rigidly.
From the press release:
The Theatre in the Square Board of Directors has announced that it will suspend all theatre performances effective Monday March 19, 2012. Board Chair Mike Russell stated, “After three days of board deliberations and financial analysis, we have decided that it is not feasible for us to finish our current season or launch a 31st season. We simply do not have the money.”
The Marietta City Council approved a $30,000 contribution to help the Theatre keep afloat while it finishes its performing season and plans for the future. Russell said, “Our Board of Directors was incredibly moved and grateful for the City Council’s unanimous vote to approve this funding. However, we can’t accept the funding in good conscience knowing that we will still have to close our doors in a matter of days.”
The Board of Directors raised $83,000 of the $400,000 needed to operate over the next three months and pay down vendor debt. Russell said, “We just don’t see any indication that we will be able to bring in that amount of money, much less additional funds required to launch a new season. We have begun staff layoffs and we have paid our current lease through March 31, 2012.”
Russell continued, “The Board wants to thank everyone who has stepped up over the past year to give cash contributions. We would not have been able to carry out the first few plays of the season if those donations had not been made. They were fantastic performances worthy of the support.”
Now the Board has the heart-wrenching task of closing down an organization that has been part of Marietta’s vibrant downtown for over 30 years. Russell said, “We understand that this is a painful decision that will impact many people: the dedicated staff, our vendors, season ticket subscribers, and our downtown neighboring businesses. We are meeting throughout the next two weeks with counsel to best address our obligations. We are also investigating an opportunity with one or more area theatres for a ticket swap for our current ticket holders of the remaining season plays.”
Joan Cushing's Cajunized version of the story recasts the characters as bayou animals, with precocious young Petite Rouge (Renita James) being a duckling, although the show only lightly implies the roles' beastly natures. Petite Rouge convinces her skeptical mother to allow the
girl duck to take some spicy gumbo to her laid-up Grandmere. Petite Rouge's straight-arrow friend Tejean (Steven D. Brun) a cat who more closely resembles Urkel, accompanies her to make sure she doesn't get sidetracked. Instead of a crafty wolf, however, the tale features the crafty and ravenous alligator Claude, played as a flamboyant comedic villain by Brian Harrison.
Horses, beasts and big stage versions of such movies as Sister Act and Flashdance will come to Atlanta over the next year with the new seasons of Theatre of the Stars and Broadway in Atlanta. Theatre of the Stars' 60th anniversary season includes:
The Producers (July 24-29). Mel Brooks said that his hit stage version of the classic comedy put the "comedy" back in "musical-comedy.
Peter Pan (Aug. 7-12). Tony Award nominee Cathy Rigby takes to the air as J.M. Barrie's famed boy who wouldn't grow up.
The Addams Family (Aug. 14-19). The creator of Jersey Boys take on Charles Addams' famously macabre but loving brood.
The King and I (Sep. 5-11). Rogers and Hammerstein's classic musical features such timeless show tunes as "Getting To Know You" and "Shall We Dance."
Blue Man Group (Jan. 15-20). They'll do that blue voodoo that they do so well.
Mary Poppins (April 2-7). Based on the supercalifragilisticexpialidocious Disney musical.
I eagerly anticipated the charge of voices and movement in the moments leading up to Munchinkinland's celebratory repertoire, imagining a cast of children rushing out on stage to welcome Dorothy. Instead, the set featured a tricked-out backdrop with flowers that flipped around to reveal smiley faces. Two puppeteers maneuvered the Lollipop Guild, presented as a triptych of wooden dolls. It was cute, but anti-climatic. Less successful was the use of a crow puppet as comedic relief during the scarecrow scenes, a performance that felt like a mediocre ventriloquism act.
The elaborate, folk art-inspired set design was the show's real star. The production team managed the complications of representing a fierce Kansas twister by playing with scale and shadow puppets. The mysterious mechanical contraption enshrouding the Wizard looks as though it was yanked from Downtown's Folk Art Park. And when the green stained glass panels of the Emerald City dropped down from the heavens I thought to myself, "Well, there's where all the resources for the munchkins went."
Sharisa Whatley gave a heartfelt performance as Dorothy. Brad Raymond's Cowardly Lion was the most fun to watch (even his "King of the Forest" solo, which I always fast-forwarded when watching the film as a child), and Je Nie Fleming commanded the most stage presence in her performance as the Wicked Witch of the West.
I took my 9-year-old niece to the opening, and excitement about how they would do the "melting part," where the Wicked Witch is finally defeated, dominated the car ride to the theater. I watched her become more and more entranced throughout the play as Munchinkinland gave way to the Yellow Brick Road and then the Haunted Forest and Emerald City. She was enjoying the fantasy, even if her aunt was caught up in the reality.
More photos after the jump.
At times, the domestic vignettes that make up the ominous stage play Neighborhood 3: Requisition of Doom evoke the cutscenes of videogames. Playwright Jennifer Haley presents familiar types of suburban characters and interactions while alluding to violent, outlandish situations in the background. The four actors are even identified as “father type” (Bryan Brendle), “mother type” (Rachel Garner), “son type” (Greg Bosworth) and “daughter type” (Jaclyn Hofmann).
Now playing as part of Aurora Theatre’s Harvel Lab Series, Neighborhood 3 intentionally blurs the distinction between a videogame and reality for the characters and the audience, so it’s not always clear how artificial the scenes are meant to be.
Less than half a month later, Varney has resigned her position as managing director, saying, "It is my hope that the loss of my salary will allow my team to remain employed longer. I wish the very best for Theatre in the Square and feel fortunate to have worked for six years to help lead it through both good times and bad. Finally, I encourage all those who love the arts to support their local arts organization with their talents and their resources.”
According to the theater's press announcement, the managing director position will not be immediately filled:
Day-to-day activities of the staff members will be coordinated by Susan Reid, who will serve as Managing Director in an interim capacity. In additional cuts to managerial overhead, Theatre in the Squareʼs producing director and co-founder, Palmer Wells, has agreed to work without pay until the theatre's financial position improves. Over the past two years, the group has eliminated staff positions, reduced staff salaries by 10 percent, and reduced the two directors' salaries by 20 percent.
Actress/playwright Debra Ehrhardt so thoroughly surprises audiences with her one-woman show Jamaica Farewell, she could make a second career designing camouflage. Finishing a three-week run at the Academy Theatre this weekend, Jamaica Farewell begins by flashing back to her girlhood in the Caribbean nation, with ominous intimations of a drunken parent and countrywide violence.
Initially you brace yourself for the story of an unhappy childhood along the lines of The Syringa Tree or Angela’s Ashes. When Ehrhardt devotes the play’s second half to a brazen attempt to immigrate to America, however, Jamaica Farewell reveals its true nature as an uproarious, stranger-than-fiction comedy.
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