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Archive for August, 2012

Former Ga. Council for the Arts leader Susan S. Weiner dies at 66

By Howard Pousner
hpousner@ajc.com

Former Georgia Council for the Arts executive director Susan S. Weiner, 66, died Saturday from complications following major surgery.

“She worked passionately to create access to the arts for all Georgians,” said her successor, Karen L. Paty, “and took every opportunity afforded her to further the discussion of the value of the arts in our state.”

The first female mayor of the city of Savannah from 1992 to 1995,  Weiner was appointed by then-Gov. Sonny Perdue to lead the state’s arts agency in 2004. She served for seven years.

At times the role was a struggle and Weiner’s natural feistiness was put to work, as the GCA’s state funding had been on a steep decline since peaking in 2002. Georgia now ranks 50th in the nation in arts support.

The council, which had been a fairly independent part of the governor’s office, moved to the Georgia Department of Economic Development under Gov. Nathan Deal. Weiner resigned in February 2011 …

Continue reading Former Ga. Council for the Arts leader Susan S. Weiner dies at 66 »

Culture notes:‘Go for the Gold’ on Saturday at History Center; new direction for PushPush; Act3 previews season on Aug. 17

By Howard Pousner
hpousner@ajc.com

EVENT
‘Go for the Gold’ on Saturday at History Center

Atlantans who have spent entirely too much time parked in front of the TV recently devouring the 2012 Olympic Games in London can get moving on Saturday as the Atlanta History Center presents an Olympic celebration, “Go for the Gold.”

The 11 a.m.-4 p.m. program will include the chance to meet Olympic veterans Kimberly Batten (hurdles) and Sada Jacobson Baby (fencing); demonstrations of Olympic sports; participatory long jump, cycling and rowing activities; and guided tours of its Centennial Olympic Games Museum.

“Go for the Gold” will be included in history center general admission: $16.50; $13 students 18 and older and seniors 65 and older; $11 ages 4-12. 130 W. Paces Ferry Road; Atlanta. 404-814-4000; www.atlantahistorycenter.com/family.

THEATER
PushPush headed in new direction

PushPush Theater has announced that it is vacating its performance/education space and headquarters …

Continue reading Culture notes:‘Go for the Gold’ on Saturday at History Center; new direction for PushPush; Act3 previews season on Aug. 17 »

Atlanta Opera board chief on director Hanthorn’s departure: ‘These are normal growing pains’

By Howard Pousner
hpousner@ajc.com

The unexpected resignation of the Atlanta Opera’s general director Dennis Hanthorn caught metro opera lovers by surprise this week.

The leader and public face of the 32-year-old company for eight years, Hanthorn was widely credited for achieving marked improvement in its artistry and helping it survive financial challenges that were in play even before the recession hit.

He shortened the Atlanta Opera’s season from four productions to three before the 2010-11 season, and the offerings have remained at that number since.

“If we have one mistake it’s over,” Hanthorn lamented in January 2011. A month later, the tune changed after the company received a $9 million bequest from long-time board member Barbara D. Stewart, a much larger gift than expected.

Then with the 2012-13 season opener approaching — “Carmen” at Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre on Nov. 10 — Hanthorn left so quickly and quietly that the opera did not make a …

Continue reading Atlanta Opera board chief on director Hanthorn’s departure: ‘These are normal growing pains’ »

Culture notes: Richardson, Rasche to star in Uhry’s ‘Apples & Oranges’ at Alliance; tickets available for Decatur Book keynote by Trethewey

THEATER
Richardson to star in Uhry play

Patricia Richardson (”Home Improvement”) and David Rasche (”Men in Black 3″) have been cast in the Alliance Theatre’s world premiere of “Apples & Oranges.” Alfred Uhry’s adaption of Vanity Fair writer Marie Brenner’s memoir of mending fences with her dying brother will run Oct. 5-28 on the intimate Hertz Stage. The two-person play will be directed by Lynne Meadow, artistic director of the Manhattan Theatre Club, which commissioned the adaption from the “Driving Miss Daisy” playwright. Tickets: 404-733- 5000, alliancetheatre.org/apples. HOWARD POUSNER

BOOKS
Trethewey keynote tickets available
Tickets to the AJC Decatur Book Festival keynote address by U.S. poet laureate Natasha Trethewey are now available. The 8 p.m. Aug. 31 speech at Emory University’s Schwartz Center for Performing Arts is free, but tickets are being offered on a first-come, first-served basis at the Schwartz Center box office, Charis Books &[CQ] More in …

Continue reading Culture notes: Richardson, Rasche to star in Uhry’s ‘Apples & Oranges’ at Alliance; tickets available for Decatur Book keynote by Trethewey »

Atlanta Opera leader Dennis Hanthorn resigns

By Howard Pousner
hpousner@ajc.com

Dennis Hanthorn, the Atlanta Opera’s general director for eight years, has resigned, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution has learned.

The 32-year-old opera company was one of the metro arts groups hardest hit by the recession until its fortunes reversed last year when it received a $9 million bequest from longtime board member Barbara D. Stewart.

Hanthorn quietly resigned last week in what spokesperson Laura Soldati characterized as a “mutual decision” with the opera’s board. She said Hanthorn would not be available to discuss his sudden departure.

Former Houston Grand Opera executive director Ann Owens will advise a team of Atlanta Opera senior management leaders while the board conducts a national search for Hanthorn’s replacement.

The company opens its three-opera season with “Carmen” at Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre on Nov. 10.

 

Continue reading Atlanta Opera leader Dennis Hanthorn resigns »

Culture notes: Two Alliance Theatre launches now on Broadway; series of indie film premieres kicks off at Plaza

THEATER
From Atlanta’s Alliance to Broadway

Two plays that has world premieres at the Alliance Theatre are now on Broadway at the same time.

“Bring It On: The Musical,” which launched at the Alliance last year, opens tonight at the St. James Theatre (www.bringitonmusical.com). And “Sister Act,” starring Raven-Symoné, continues its Broadway Theatre run through Aug. 26 (www.sisteractbroadway.com). The musical that started at the Alliance in 2007 heads out on a North American tour Oct. 2 that visits Atlanta’s Fox Theatre next April.

Underlining the Alliance’s role in launching new productions, artistic director Susan V. Booth will direct a private-audience workshop in New York of “Ghost Brothers of Darkland County” aimed at investors.  The John Mellencamp-Stephen King gothic musical had its world premiere at the Alliance in April.

The Alliance 2012-13 season features four world premieres, including the season opener, Pearl Cleage’s “What I Learned in Paris,” beginning previews …

Continue reading Culture notes: Two Alliance Theatre launches now on Broadway; series of indie film premieres kicks off at Plaza »