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Archive for April, 2010

‘Oklahoma!’ at Theater Emory

Theater review
Grade: C+

Through Sunday, April 11. 8 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday; 2 p.m. Saturday-Sunday. $16-$20. Theater Emory, 605 Asbury Circle (Dobbs University Center on the Emory campus). 404-727-5050,
Bottom line: OK.

Andrew Allen (from left), Zechariah Pierce and Claire Rigsby in Theater Emory's "Oklahoma!"

Andrew Allen (from left), Zechariah Pierce and Claire Rigsby in Theater Emory's "Oklahoma!"

By Bert Osborne

Back in 1943, “Oklahoma!” represented a musical theater landmark. Besides beginning a phenomenal collaboration between composer Richard Rodgers and lyricist Oscar Hammerstein II (”The King and I, ” “The Sound of Music”), it was among the first musicals to abandon the traditional “revue” format — using songs and dance to further an actual story line, to embellish the thoughts and feelings of characters.

In 2010, it’s easy to overlook the show’s revolutionary reputation. There have been countless “book” musicals in the decades since “Oklahoma!” paved the way, so a lot of its uniqueness has worn off.

What warrants …

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Georgia Ensemble cancels ‘Grease,’ brings back ‘Always … Patsy Cline’

“Grease” is not the word, after all. Mere days before its scheduled April 8 opening, Georgia Ensemble Theatre in Roswell has canceled its production of the popular 1950s musical. Although it had been cast months ago — and in rehearsal for the past several weeks — the company is citing problems in securing the rights to the show.

In a message posted on the theater’s Web site, managing director Anita Allen-Farley writes: “It is with profound disappointment I must inform you we are temporarily postponing our production of ‘Grease.’ There are issues with the licensing organization nationally that have made it impossible for us to move forward at this time. I sincerely apologize to you, our most valued patrons, for any inconvenience this may cause you.”

As a last-minute replacement, the theater will revive its 2005 production of “Always…Patsy Cline,” featuring Denise Hillis and Jill Jane Clements. Performances begin on April 13 and continue through April …

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Golf and death in ‘To Win and Die in Dixie’

Book Review
“To Win and Die in Dixie” By Steve Eubanks. Ballantine Books, 228 pages
Book signing: 3 p.m. Sat., April 10, Borders Bookstore, 3637 Peachtree Road N.E., Atlanta.


By David Fulmer

The game of golf has not often lent itself to high drama. Lacking the raw power, speed and superhuman agilities of other sports, its conflicts and crashes — at least until Tiger Woods’ saga was blasted across the tabloids — have been more along the lines of controversies over doors closed to minorities and women.

Still, the game’s history has not passed totally without some sordid moments. With “To Win and Die in Dixie, ” Atlanta author and former PGA pro Steve Eubanks reaches back 90 years for one of golf’s rare tales of bloody carnage.

Just before midnight on Aug. 8, 1921, J. Douglas Edgar, an immigrant Scot who served as pro at Atlanta’s Druid Hills Golf Club, was found lying in West Peachtree near the corner of Fifth Street, bleeding from a punctured …

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‘Love Nests: Photographs and Objects’ at the Museum of Design Atlanta

“Love Nests: Photographs and Objects.”
Through June 30. $10; $8, seniors and military; $5, students. 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesdays-Saturdays. Museum of Design Atlanta, 285 Peachtree Center Ave., Marquis Two Tower. 404-979-6455.

The bottom line: An exercise in multimedia imagination yields engaging portraits of a cross-section of Atlantans.

By Catherine Fox

The portraitist’s challenge is not in creating a likeness — photography made that a moot point more than a century and a half ago — but in capturing character.

The artists in “Love Nests: Photographs and Objects” used just about every tool at their disposal — interviews, photography, text, graphic design, objects, video and sound (though not all at once) — to create the portraits of 11 Atlantans that fill two galleries at the Museum of Design Atlanta.

It took a village. A brainstorming session of MODA staff and others yielded the wide-spectrum list, …

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‘Black Pearl Sings’ at the Horizon Theatre

Theater review
“Black Pearl Sings”
Grade: C+
Through April 25. 8 p.m. Wednesdays-Fridays; 8:30 p.m. Saturdays; 3 p.m. Saturday (April 3 and 10); 5 p.m. Sundays. $20-$25. Horizon Theatre, 1083 Austin Ave. N.E. (in Little Five Points). 404-584-7450.
Bottom line: Sing out, Minka!

Cynthia Barrett (left) and Minka Wiltz. Photo: Horizon Theatre.

Cynthia Barrett (left) and Minka Wiltz. Photo: Horizon Theatre.

By Bert Osborne

Whenever actress Minka Wiltz sings, so does “Black Pearl Sings.” Regrettably for director Andrea Frye’s handsomely designed Horizon Theatre production, though, there’s more to Frank Higgins’ play than just music. The premise is interesting, but it isn’t particularly well-focused.

Wiltz portrays Alberta “Pearl” Johnson, a convict in a Texas prison camp circa 1935, where she meets a Library of Congress musicologist named Susannah Millally, who’s working on a government grant to archive and record the folk songs of the region.

Both women have barely hidden agendas …

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Arts groups struggle with economic realities

By Howard Pousner
A bill to let counties use sales tax money to help struggling arts groups has had trouble getting traction in the legislature, despite broad support. The measure failed to make last week’s Crossover Day deadline, meaning it could die if not attached to another bill already approved by the House.
That would be only the latest blow to the arts in metro Atlanta and Georgia, which are feeling the pain of a weak economy in many ways.
Public arts funding is being slashed. Corporate and foundation giving is down as businesses salve their own red-ink wounds or refocus giving on social causes. Attendance is off for many arts groups. Layoffs are up. A few organizations, such as the Atlanta Opera, are presenting less of their art to avoid production costs they can’t afford.
“It’s the hardest of times I’ve seen for the arts across the board,” said Camille Love, director of the city of Atlanta’s office of Cultural Affairs.
That’s why, even …

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