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Archive for the ‘Stage’ Category

Atlanta holiday shows pack stages and schedules

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Actors Enoch King and Harold Leaver acted out a scene during dress rehearsal of "The Santaland Diaries" at the Horizon Theatre last month. The show runs through Jan. 3, and is among dozens more holiday shows at local theaters.

Combing through this year’s schedule of holiday shows at local theaters, I was overwhelmed by the quantity of Messiahs, Nutcrackers, jolly Santas and sassy elves.

But I am so very thankful for AJC reporter Jill Vejnoska, who explained in a story on Sunday how and why we experience this merry glut of holiday shows every year. It never appeared online, so I’m posting it here, with links to help you get in on some of the holiday action.

Happy holiday show shopping:

For Harold Leaver, ’tis the season to pop multivitamins and pump iron.

“I tend to pick up my gym time as ‘Santaland’ gets close, ” Leaver, 47, sighed. “We’re talking about maintaining my elfin figure, after all.”

Leaver is starring as Crumpet, the embittered department store elf in Horizon …

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VIDEO: Radio City Rockettes at Atlanta’s Fox Theatre

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The Radio City Christmas Spectacular opens on reindeer Rockettes. AJC/Elissa Eubanks

Radio City Christmas Spectacular” opens this week at the Fox Theatre, and even with updated music and modern sets, the show is a serious throwback. Think non-stop song-and-dance variety show, all Christmas, CHRISTMAS IN BIG CAPITAL LETTERS, all the time.

This isn’t about story or suspense, just 100 percent family-friendly theatrical eye candy. Some of the costumes and dances haven’t changed since the 1930s, while others are new twists on old holiday themes. Check out more photos from the show, and a story about what goes on backstage.

I got a glimpse of the show yesterday during a rehearsal that welcomed members of the press, and as expected, the show is high on sparkle, precision and spectacle. Personally, I’m impressed by the dancing teddy bears. I’m usually impressed by mascots that manage to stay upright; these were performing a ballet.

Then there are the famous Rockettes. Three of the 18 …

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‘Hillary Clinton Got Me Pregnant’ makes its Atlanta debut

Here, Megan Gogerty tells the story about that time she met Hillary Clinton. (If you can’t see the video, click on the blog headline.)

That meeting became a monologue, a 10-minute piece she performed for an Iowa theater festival audience, despite the exhausting truth that Gogerty was 11 days into motherhood.

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Megan Gogerty: Hillary Clinton got her pregnant.

They loved it and spoke so fondly of it that Gogerty, 34, thought she could make it into a longer piece, a one-woman show. When she approached the Riverside Theatre in Iowa City, they responded with an enthusiastic “Great!” and the request for a title within two weeks. The one she came up with, “Megan Gogerty Loves You Very Much,” was fine. “A fine title,” she even calls it now.

When she really bore down on what the show was about, she saw awakenings in politics and family life, her personal journey — with some fictional tweaks. She saw her life between Sept. 11, 2001 and November, 2008. She saw her young son, and the …

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Atlanta Art à la Carte offers family performance discounts

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Atlanta Ballet's "Nutcracker" is among the performances in the Art à la Carte program. AJC file photo

First spotted on ArtsCriticAtl.com: a new partnership among Atlanta arts organizations lets audiences create their own subscription from a mix of family performances. With this program, families can get a lower-cost look at different organization’s offerings without singing up for a membership.

Use Art à la Carte to choose at least three family performances by Alliance Theatre, Atlanta Ballet, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra or the Center for Puppetry Arts. You’ll pay for tickets all at once, but receive a discount of to 20 to 25 percent. You’ll also get admission discount coupons for the Atlanta Botanical Garden, High Museum of Art and Zoo Atlanta. Tickets must be purchased at least two weeks in advance. Here are details on all participating arts and culture organizations and their upcoming performances.

For daily discounts, always check the AJC’s Atlanta Bargain Hunter

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Meet Jada, one of ‘101 Dalmatians’ starring in Atlanta

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If you saw the '101 Dalmations' musical, she's that pretty puppy silhouette you see as the show opens. As if there was any question: yes, she gives kisses. AJC/Jamie Gumbrecht

I just spent an afternoon among tutus and tiaras at a matinee of “The 101 Dalmatians Musical” at Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre.

As expected, the show was upbeat, cute, clearly a winner among the Disney Princesses in the audience. A coworker who saw it on opening night said her 7-year-old daughter was “glued to the performance, sometimes with mouth wide open.” Field Trips with Sue liked it, too!

As expected, Rachel York was the kind of Cruella De Vil who elicits applause just be stepping on stage. (Because the show was told from the point-of-view of a “dog,” she and the other human characters wear stilts. They earn applause just for staying upright on stage.)

And as expected, nobody is a bigger star than a real dog who pretends to pee on stage in order to make flowers bloom. It doesn’t matter at all …

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First impressions of ‘Cavalia,’ in Atlanta through Nov. 15

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Horse trainer Sylvia Zerbini, who appears in "Cavalia," unloaded a horse into its stable in Atlantic Station last week. AJC/Elissa Eubanks

I shouldn’t have been surprised last night when I walked into the White Big Top at Atlantic Station and thought, “It smells a little like a barn.” Of course it’s a little farm fresh — there are 60-some horses on tour with “Cavalia.” For all the controls we see on them, they’re still animals.

The Cirque du Soleil-like horse show opened last night for a run that lasts through Nov. 15. Normand Latourelle, “Cavalia” creator and artistic director, told me that his top priority is to please the eyes, and he succeeds at that. There’s not much of a story, but cool stage tricks, cool horse tricks and cool human tricks combine for something more unique than a concert, equestrian event or circus.

It looked like a packed house last night, but it was a see-and-be-seen opening for “Cavalia,” the night when political candidates, Real Housewives of …

Continue reading First impressions of ‘Cavalia,’ in Atlanta through Nov. 15 »

INTERVIEW: Joel Slaven, ‘101 Dalmatians’ dog trainer

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"The 101 Dalmations Musical" comes to Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre on Oct. 28.

“The 101 Dalmatians Musical” opens in Atlanta next week, and while I’m sure Rachel York will be fabulous as Cruella De Vil, and all the kids and cast members will be wonderful, I’m very much hung up on one fact: DOGGIES! Real doggies! On stage!

Nine of the 15 dogs in “The 101 Dalmatians Musical” came from rescue facilities or humane societies. None were purchased — six are retired show dogs or on loan from their owners — and those nine were strays that nobody claimed, or dogs surrendered by their owners.

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Rachel York plays Cruella De Vil.

Trainer Joel Slaven said they migh seek adoptive homes for some of the dogs if they seem tired or unhappy with show business. But the reasons they were cast migh be the exact reasons they wound up in shelters: they’re incredibly energetic. They bounce around, they bark, they chew. They’re not bad dogs, but it gets bad when they’re bored.

For now, they spend …

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Stable-to-stage tour of ‘Cavalia,’ opening October 27

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Some 65 horses arrived in Atlanta this week for "Cavalia," which opens Oct. 27. AJC/Jamie Gumbrecht

The biggest stars in “Cavalia” arrived in Atlanta by truck this week, with the U.S. and Georgia departments of Agriculture waiting to greet them. Some 65 horses in the Cirque du Soleil-styled rodeo unloaded into roomy stables erected in Atlantic Station. Check out these lovely photos of their arrival.

While the horses made their way to their tent, “Cavalia” creator Normand Latourelle took me on a short tour of the grounds. He’s never ridden a horse, which seems bizarre till he explains that he helped to create Cirque without attempting the trapeze.

He’s just all about happiness and beauty for the audience.

“I want everything beautiful,” he explained. “I want to please the eyes.”

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Inside one of the eight large "Cavalia" tents.

He scouted Atlantic Station nearly five years ago for the first U.S. “Cavalia” tour, but it was a construction site then. Now that it has tidied up, he came …

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‘Ghastly Dreadfuls’: What makes an adult puppet show?

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The non-puppet stars of "The Ghastly Dreadfuls II" at The Center for Puppetry Arts. Photo by Clay Walker.

When I explained to pals and far-away family that I was going to an adult puppet show on Thursday night, I got a skeptical, slightly nervous, “So…what is that?”

I didn’t have much of an answer, just two tickets to opening night of “The Ghastly Dreadfuls II: Handbook of Practical Hauntings and Other Phantasmagoria,” at the Center for Puppetry Arts.

This is an updated version of the Halloween favorite, told through live music, dancing and short puppet stories in a variety of styles. The show is more spooky than scary, more macabre than evil. One story, “The 11:59″ is kind of a sweet tale that’s actually adapted from a wonderful children’s book, “The Dark Thirty.” A dance recollected from a cat character’s memory would be completely child-friendly, but is no less hilarious for adults, especially cat owners.

But “Dinosaurs” or “The Shoemaker and the Elves” it is not.

Here’s …

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INTERVIEW: Steve Solomon brings “My Mother’s Italian, My Father’s Jewish and I’m in Therapy,” to Atlanta this month

My Mother’s Italian, My Father’s Jewish and I’m in Therapy,” opens in Atlanta for the first time tonight, but as far as comedian Steve Solomon is concerned, you already know the 30 people he imitates on stage every  night.

They grew up on your block. They’re at the family reunion. They’re sitting next to you at work right now.

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Steve Solomon's show opens Oct. 15.

Yes, every character is an exaggerated versions of his own friends and family members, but he says they’re universal: the perfect sister, the dumb cousin, the neurotic, bombastic, too-smart-for-their-own-good…everyone.

That’s why the one-man show ran for years in New York, and is booked on the road into 2011. In Spokane, Wash., “there wasn’t a Jew for 600 miles,” and it sold out. In South Florida, he says he’s a recognized-on-the-street kind of celebrity. Everywhere he goes, he hears the same joke — “We must be related.”

He discovered the power of a good imitation when he was a kid in Brooklyn. He had a job delivering …

Continue reading INTERVIEW: Steve Solomon brings “My Mother’s Italian, My Father’s Jewish and I’m in Therapy,” to Atlanta this month »