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Archive for June, 2010

Tri-Cities, Atlanta Intl. students win N.Y. musical theater awards

Monday night was a big one for two recent winners of the Shuler Hensley Awards For Excellence in High School Musical Theatre organized by the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre.

At the second annual Nati0nal High School Music Theater Awards (or Jimmys) in New York, Alexandria Payne, a recent graduate of Tri-Cities High School in East Point, was named best actress.

Payne won best actress in late March at the Hensleys, which qualified her for the New York competition. Monday’s prize, for her performance as Ti Moune on “Once on This Island,” brought with it a $10,000 scholarship.

And Arsalan Akhavan, a rising senior at the Atlanta International School who won the best actor prize at the Hensleys, was awarded a special trophy for most improved at the Jimmys, good for a $2,500 scholarship.

Both metro high schools are considered powerhouses of musical theater training. Tony nominee Sahr Ngaujah and his co-star in “Fela” on Broadway, Saycon Sengbloh, met while attending …

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Atlanta Opera director Hanthorn realigns staff after budget cuts

By Howard Pousner

Change is afoot in Atlanta Opera’s administrative offices.

“ Recent administrative vacancies and the reduction of our operating budget from $6.7 million to $5.2 million make this a good time to realign the staff and to streamline our operations so that we are poised for the growth we know will occur as the economy revives,” said general director Dennis Hanthorn in a prepared statement.

Hanthorn has announced the following changes:

>>Paul Melroy has been promoted to the newly created position of managing director. Melroy has been the Atlanta Opera’s senior director of finance and administration  since 2004 and previously from 1993 to 2000.

In his new position, Melroy will be responsible for supervising all administrative and revenue functions of the company including marketing, development, finance, human resources and facilities. He will report to Hanthorn, who retains responsibility for the overall strategic direction of  the company …

Continue reading Atlanta Opera director Hanthorn realigns staff after budget cuts »

For 12th year of new play fest, Essential Theatre offering $12 rush tix

By Howard Pousner

Essential Theatre’s 12th annual Play Festival, kicking off July 7 at Actor’s Express, will offer 12 rush tickets to each performance for $12 each, offered 12 minutes before curtain time.

If this “12X12X12X12” campaign sounds a little dozen obsessed, consider that the troupe dedicated to staging new plays is also seeking individual donations of $12 each.


Here’s the lineup, compliments of Essential’s Web site (

Qualities of Starlight
by Gabriel Jason Dean, directed by Peter Hardy
The World Premiere of a twisted family comedy about a successful young astronomer who brings his wife home to the north Georgia mountains and the simple country household in which he grew up. And where his parents are now addicted to crystal meth. Winner of the 2010 Essential Theatre Playwriting Award.
Adult language and onstage drug use.

Darker Face of the Earth
by Rita Dove, directed by Betty Hart
The …

Continue reading For 12th year of new play fest, Essential Theatre offering $12 rush tix »

Botanical Garden to welcome Peachtree runners, then tempt with chocolate

By Howard Pousner

The Atlanta Botanical Garden will welcome those who’ve sweated off a few pounds during the Peachtree Road Race on July 4, then will host an exhibit on chocolate starting Sept. 4 that no doubt will encourage Atlantans to, at least collectively, pack on some pounds.


>>After runners have conquered Cardiac Hill on Sunday, they’re invited to “Cool Down on the Canopy.” That’s what the garden is calling its offer of free admission to those with a valid 2010 race number. They can check out the new 40-foot-tall Canopy Walk and the rest of the garden’s recently completed $55 million expansion, plus attend chef demonstrations at noon and 1 p.m. in the Edible Garden’s Outdoor Kitchen.

>>”Chocolate: Seed to Sweet,” a traveling exhibit developed by six American botanical gardens, including Atlanta’s, will lead visitors on an interactive outdoor journey that explores the history and use of chocolate around the world. Running through …

Continue reading Botanical Garden to welcome Peachtree runners, then tempt with chocolate »

A few honest details of History Center’s ‘Lincoln’ show this fall

By Howard Pousner

Atlanta is getting to the party celebrating Abraham Lincoln’s 200th birthday a little late. But just-released details of an exhibition about the 16th president, coming to the Atlanta History Center, make it seem well worth the wait.

“With Malice Toward None: The Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Exhibition,” opening here Sept. 4, should appeal to both fans of Lincoln and those  interested in American history, especially the difficult Civil War-era chapters.

Making its only stop in the South, this Library of Congress-organized exhibit will include a number of American treasures:

>The Lincoln family Bible, upon which both Honest Abe and Barack Obama swore the oath of office — Lincoln on March 4, 1861, Obama on Jan. 20, 2009.

>Items Lincoln was carrying in his pockets the night he was assassinated, including two pairs of spectacles, a watch fob, a pocketknife, newspaper clippings (several favorable to the president and his policies) and his …

Continue reading A few honest details of History Center’s ‘Lincoln’ show this fall »

More suggestions of exhibits to help keep kids sharp this summer

As a followup to our recent story on three “smart” exhibits for Atlanta students, to help keep them on their mental p’s and q’s during the summer, the Atlanta Convention & Visitor’s Bureau suggests a host of other shows around the metro area.

More information about the listed attractions below and package deals can be found at To read our original story, on exhibits at Fernbank Museum of Natural History, the William Breman Jewish Heritage & Holocaust Museum and Imagine It! The Children’s Museum of Atlanta, see:

Read on for the ACVB’s suggestions …

First Period:  Science/Biology

  • Zoo Atlanta inspires value and preservation of wildlife through a unique mix of education and outdoor family fun. The Zoo’s newest attraction, Trader’s Alley: Wildlife’s Fading Footprints, featuring the debut of two new sun bears, opened in June 1010.
  • The Georgia Aquarium unveiled the newly-renovated Georgia-Pacific Cold Water Quest Gallery featuring …

Continue reading More suggestions of exhibits to help keep kids sharp this summer »

Atlanta Lyric Theatre’s 2010-11 season, its 31st

This just in — a press release announcing Atlanta Lyric Theatre’s 2010-11 season…

Atlanta Lyric Theatre announces its 31st Season of Musicals!

Atlanta, GA– Atlanta Lyric Theatre is pleased to announce its 2010-2011 season!  With five incredible shows – the all-American classic The Music Man, the dance extravaganza 42nd Street, the hit revue of doo-wop songs Leader of the Pack, Gilbert & Sullivan’s favorite The Mikado, and the edgy blockbuster hit Rent – we look forward to delivering an unforgettable theatre experience to our audience.

The Music Man (September 17 – October 3, 2010) Book, Music and Lyrics by Meredith Wilson

An affectionate paean to Smalltown, U.S.A. of a bygone era, Meredith Willson’s The Music Man follows fast-talking traveling salesman Harold Hill as he cons the people of River City, Iowa into buying instruments and uniforms for a boys’ band he vows to organize – this despite the fact he doesn’t know a trombone from a treble clef. His …

Continue reading Atlanta Lyric Theatre’s 2010-11 season, its 31st »

What Actor’s Express has in store for 2010-11 season

As  2010-11 seasons continue to be announced almost daily by metro troupe’s here’s a reminder — in press release form — of Actor’s Express’ earlier season announcement…

Actor’s Express
announces a season of firsts

Atlanta, GA – Artistic Director Freddie Ashley announced the Actor’s Express 2010-11 season today – a production lineup that includes two world premiere plays, two Atlanta premieres, a sweeping historical drama about Oscar Wilde and the addition of a holiday show – a first for the 23-year-old company.

AE will stage the world premiere of Albatross, a gripping new play by Atlanta playwright Lee Nowell. The story centers on a married couple revealing secrets in the aftermath of a friend’s funeral. Each new revelation launches them deeper into a mystery and reveals that neither is quite what they seem. Albatross packs in exciting plot twists until the final moment.

The second world premiere of the season is Broadsword by Marco Ramirez. This …

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3 exhibits to help keep metro Atlanta students smart this summer

By Howard Pousner

The heat and humidity are oppressive enough at the moment to make any Atlantan feel, well, a little slow. Which is exactly the speed that many parents fear things are moving inside their kids’ cerebellums during summer break.

We can’t change the weather, but we can offer some suggestions to help keep those student synapses in shape. Here are three family-friendly exhibitions that can inform, enlighten and challenge, and even have the advantage of getting your crew out from under the broiler and into cooler settings.

“De Soto’s Footsteps: New Archaeological Evidence from Georgia” at Fernbank Museum of Natural History

In a photo at the beginning of this modest-sized but fascinating exhibit, Ellen Vaughn, then a high school senior, holds a tiny glass bead in the palm of her hand. Her 2006 unearthing of the red, white and blue orb, in South Georgia’s Telfair County, was the first clear evidence that Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto …

Continue reading 3 exhibits to help keep metro Atlanta students smart this summer »

‘Fela’ stars appearing for free at Rialto Monday night

By Howard Pousner

Tony nominee Sahr Ngaujah and Saycon Sengbloh, who met while attending Tri-Cities High School in East Point and wound up starring together in Broadway’s “Fela,” will perform and talk during a free National Black Arts Festival program 6-8 p.m. Monday at the Rialto Center for the Arts downtown.

Also appearing during the session will be Carlos Moore, author of a biography of the late Nigerian Afrobeat musician Fela Kuti.

A capacity crowd is expected, so pre-registration required at (click on Programs, then Education, then Public Programs).

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