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Archive for April, 2014

Culture notes: WonderRoot leader receives national recognition; Office of Cultural Affairs celebrates 40th anniversary Sunday

ARTS
WonderRoot’s Appleton receives national recognition

Chris Appleton, co-founder and executive director of the rising Atlanta arts nonprofit WonderRoot, will be honored by Americans for the Arts with the American Express Emerging Leader Award for 2014.

A leading national organization advancing the arts and arts education, Americans for the Arts describes the Emerging Leader Award as recognizing “visionary leadership by an individual who … demonstrates an ability to engage and impact his or her community.”

In addition to his work with decade-old WonderRoot, based in Reynoldstown, Appleton serves on the board of directors of the Georgia Arts Network, the historic preservation and public art advisory board for the Atlanta Beltline and the advisory board for Health Connect South. He is a former board president for Burnaway, the regional arts and culture publication.

He will receive the award at Americans for the Arts’ national convention in Nashville on June 13. HOWARD …

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Atlanta Symphony plans three free summer concerts at Piedmont Park

BY HOWARD POUSNER / AJC

The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra has announced that it will return to Piedmont Park for three free summer concerts. The “Performance on the Promenade” concert series — 7:30 p.m. June 12, 19 and 26 — will be presented on the Promenade at Piedmont Park.

The first concert will be led by guest conductor Gemma New and feature Xavier Foley, a former member of the ASO’s Talent Development Program, performing Bottesini’s Double Bass Concerto No. 2.

New ASO Assistant Conductor Joseph Young will lead the second concert, to include Tchaikovsky’s Capriccio Italien and the Overture to Rossini’s The Barber of Seville.

Young also conducts the final concert, “An American Salute.” It will include selections from Copland’s Rodeo, the Overture to Gershwin’s Crazy Girl, the second movement of Dvořák’s “New World” Symphony, Sousa’s Washington Post March and John Williams’ Superman March.

General admission seating is free, but reservations required. Tickets for the June 12 …

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Atlantan Kenny Leon gets best-director Tony Award nomination

KennyLeon

BY HOWARD POUSNER / AJC

Atlanta-based director Kenny Leon has received a best-director Tony Award nomination for his  revival of  “A Raisin in the Sun.”

The play, on the boards through June 15 at Ethel Barrymore Theatre with Denzel Washington as Walter Younger, received five nominations, announced Tuesday morning. The other four:

  • best revival of a play
  • best performance by an actress in a leading role in a play, for LaTanya Richardson Jackson (the one-time Atlantan who is married to Samuel L. Jackson)
  • best performance by an actress in a featured role in a play, for Anika Noni Rose
  • best performance by an actress in a featured role in a play, for Sophie Okonedo

Leon was nominated for a best director Tony in 2010 for his revival of August Wilson’s “Fences,” also starring Washington. He didn’t win but Washington and Viola Davis took home best actor and actress trophies.

The director also is readying a Broadway premiere of “Holler If Ya Hear Me,” featuring the songs of the late …

Continue reading Atlantan Kenny Leon gets best-director Tony Award nomination »

Tennessee Aquarium names otter after ‘Sherlock’ actor

BenedictandBennie

BY HOWARD POUSNER / AJC

You don’t need a Scotland Yard detective to make the connection between “Sherlock” star Benedict Cumberbatch and Bennie, one of the seven otter stars of the Tennessee Aquarium’s River Otter Falls exhibit opening Friday.

When the Chattanooga attraction launched a naming contest for six of the North American river otters, more than 600 suggestions poured in. Among them were several inspired by the handsome British actor whose otter-like facial features have been noted online since his show became a hit stateside on PBS.

Have a subscription? Read the full story here.

ATTRACTION

River Otter Falls exhibit

Opening Friday at Tennessee Aquarium. Admittance daily between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. $24.95, $14.95 ages 3-12. 1 Broad St., Chattanooga. 1-800-262-0695, www.tnaqua.org.

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High Museum has designs on plaza visitors this summer

The High Museum of Art plans to turn the plaza outside its main entrance into a beehive of activity this summer. The museum announced Thursday that it would mount an interactive design installation, “Mi Casa, Your Casa,” on what’s officially called Carroll Slater Sifly Piazza from July 18 to Nov. 2.

Created by Mexican designers Hector Esrawe and Ignacio Cadena, the installation will feature more than 35 three-dimensional, open frames in the shape of houses installed around the piazza and throughout the Woodruff Arts Center campus. The fire-engine red “houses” will serve as settings for a profusion of programming by the Woodruff divisions as well as guest artists from CORE Performance Company, gloATL, Instituto de Mexico, the Object Group, Sonic Generator, T. Lang Dance Company, Theatre du Reve, Wabi Sabi and WonderRoot.

Check for details on the evolving schedule at www.high.org. HOWARD POUSNER

Continue reading High Museum has designs on plaza visitors this summer »

Ludwig Symphony, Georgia Festival Chorus in concert this weekend

BY HOWARD POUSNER / AJC

Two of suburban Atlanta’s most prominent musical groups play concerts this weekend:

  • The 80-piece Ludwig Symphony Orchestra presents “A Cherry Blossom Spring Fling” at 7:30 tonight[4/26] at Gwinnett Performing Arts Center. Guest artists include violinist Hye-Jin Kim interpreting Saint-Saens and Dvorak, Malek Jandali premiering his “Piano Theme and Variations” and Olga and Jacob Yampolsky performing Bruch’s double concerto for violin and viola. Maestro Thomas Ludwig conducts. $22; ages 65 and up, $19; students under 21, $12. 6400 Sugarloaf Parkway, Duluth. 770-623-8623, www.ludwigsymphony.org.
  • The 110-voice Georgia Festival Chorus honors founding director Frank Boggs for his seven decades of music-making with the nostalgic concert “Seventy Years of Song” at 7:30 p.m. Sunday at Johnson Ferry Baptist Church. Free. 955 Johnson Ferry Road, Marietta. 404-234-3581, www.tgafc.org.

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Culture notes: Pridgen to lead Atlanta Chamber Players; Trey McIntyre Project makes final bow at Rialto

CLASSICAL MUSIC
Pridgen to lead Atlanta Chamber Players

The Atlanta Chamber Players has announced Elizabeth Pridgen as artistic director.

She will replace Paula Peace, who co-founded the ensemble in 1976 and has served as its artistic leader for all but a few months of its 38 seasons.

An in-demand solo pianist and chamber musician, Pridgen will assume the post July 1. Her concert schedule in May alone will take her to Florida, Texas, New York and Italy. She’s also a distinguished artist and piano chair at Mercer University’s McDuffie Center for Strings.

An Atlanta native, Pridgen began playing chamber music as a teen with her grandfather, violinist Martin Sauser, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra concertmaster for 17 seasons.

A popular chamber music collaborator, she has performed with artists including Elmar Oliveira, Robert McDuffie, Hilary Hahn, Sarah Chang, Mark O’Connor and the American String Quartet.

Peace, who is retiring, called her replacement “a gifted performing artist …

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Lamb Chop to celebrate National Puppet Day in Atlanta

lambchop.0630_c

By HOWARD POUSNER / AJC

Lamb Chop is b-a-a-a-c-k, boys and girls, and heading to Atlanta for an appearance Saturday as part of a larger National Day of Puppetry celebration at the Center for Puppetry Arts.

The ageless sock puppet’s one-hour show, “Lamb Chop 2.0: Everything You Wanted To Know About Shari Lewis and Lamb Chop, But Were Afraid to Ask,” co-starring the late puppeteer’s daughter Mallory Lewis (above), features comedy, songs, vintage videos, stories from a sweeter time in children’s entertainment and a Q&A.

Lewis and Lamb Chop also will unveil a commemorative postage stamp painted by Chicago-based pop artist Nicolosi, with the collectible available for sale before it arrives at post offices.

We caught up with Lamb Chop one recent morning from the Malibu, Calif., home she shares with Lewis, and posed some seriously silly questions.

Have a subscription? Read the full interview here.

Check out more photos of  our favorite puppets.

EVENT PREVIEW

“Lamb Chop 2.0: …

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High Museum to announce major gifts to photography department today

BY HOWARD POUSNER / AJC

The largest and fastest-growing aspect of the High Museum of Art’s permanent collection, photography stands to grow in size and significance with Tuesday’s announcement that the Atlanta institution has received several million dollars in gifts to support photo initiatives.

The recent gifts will endow a permanent curatorial position in photography, create a dedicated full-time gallery space for the increasingly popular medium, establish an acquisitions fund and support the photo department’s ongoing lectures and programs.

Collectively, the gifts “represent a transformational moment for photography at the High,” museum director Michael Shapiro said in a statement.

Visit myajc.com this morning for full details, including an interview with High photography curator Brett Abbott.

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Aurora, Georgia Ensemble, Serenbe unveil 2014-15 season lineups

BY HOWARD POUSNER / AJC

THEATER
Aurora to open with ‘Mary Poppins,’ will remount ‘Les Miz’

Aurora Theatre will remount its all-time biggest hit, “Les Miserables,” along with three other musicals, a drama and a comedy for its 2014-15 season.

The Lawrenceville theater is one of three major outside-the-Perimeter troupes to make season announcements (also detailed here) in recent days. The lineup for its 19th season:

  • July 17-Aug. 31: “Mary Poppins,” the family musical whose Broadway revival finished a six-and-a-half-year run in 2013.
  • Oct. 2-26: “Clybourne Park,” the 2011 Pulitzer Prize-winner for drama about race and real estate in Chicago.
  • Nov. 20-Dec. 21: “Christmas Canteen 2014,” Aurora’s holiday tradition marks its 19th edition.
  • Jan. 15-March 1, 2015: Encore of “Les Miserables,” which scored five Suzi Bass Awards (Atlanta’s Tonys) in 2013, including best musical.
  • March 26-April 19, 2015: “The Explorers Club,” Neil Benjamin’s madcap comedy set in Victorian …

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