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Come Back To The Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean

a Comedy/Drama
CATEGORY : COMEDY DRAMA
by Ed Graczyk

COMPANY : Onstage Atlanta, Inc. [WEBSITE]
VENUE : Onstage Atlanta on Ponce [WEBSITE]
ID# 4736

SHOWING : June 05, 2015 - June 27, 2015

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PRODUCTION DESCRIPTION

In 1955, James Dean was filming "Giant" in a small town near McCarthy Texas, but died later that same year. Twenty years later, his fanclub, The Disciples of James Dean, reunite to commemorate the anniversary of Dean's death. What is discovered there brings to light moments from their past that should have stayed hidden.


CAST & CREW LIST
Director DeWayne Morgan
Edna (then) Stacey Buras
Juanita Bobbie Elzey
Mona (then) Ariana Higgins
Stella (then) Audrey Hyde
Mona Lynne Jenson
Sissy Kristin R. Kalbli
Joanne Liane Lemaster
Sissy (then) Kelly Monahan
Stella Cathe Hall Payne
Edna Louise Kelly Sklare
Joe William Webber
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REVIEWS

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No Sausage from Jimmy Dean
by playgoer
Sunday, June 7, 2015
3.5
"Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean" contains two parallel casts in Onstage Atlanta’s production -- one of teenagers in a Jimmy Dean fan club in 1955 and one of the same fans reuniting 20 years later, in 1975. Each group has a nice ensemble feel. Discounting an age range that appears to be a good ten years greater than the script would support, it’s believable that the women in 1975 have known each other for years, some on an every day basis; some with a gap of years. That helps the play come across.

The set, designed by Barry N. West, contains right-angled walls that rob audience seats at extreme right and left of the detail on the wall nearest their side. There’s a lot of detail, mostly in holiday decorations, but little evidence that this is a five and dime shop with items to sell. It appears to be a café, with a counter and three barstools, along with two café tables. Props designer Chris Franken has found interesting vintage items to display along the periphery, but not to an extent that fully populates the set, let alone overwhelms it.

Harley Gould’s lighting design requires multiple effects, principally to distinguish the 1955 scenes from the 1975 scenes. These effects are all achieved, but apparently at the cost of even lighting across the downstage area of the stage. Director Dewayne Morgan blocks the action so that nearly all the moments take place in the best-lit sections of the stage.

Charlie Miller’s sound effects are good, except for the silence that, at the performance I attended, accompanied Juanita’s statement that she’d found a clear radio station. Nikki Thomas’ costume design finds appropriate outfits for everyone in the cast, including a number of matching fan club jackets. Hairstyles, however, too often frame faces so fully that expressions are lost when the actress faces across stage.

The acting is good across the board. Standouts include the actresses portraying Sissy (Kristin Kalbli now, Kelly Monahan then) and young Joe (William Webber). All the other supporting players do creditable work at making their characters come to life. Unfortunately, the leading role of Mona is portrayed less than sympathetically. Arianna Higgins is okay as the younger Mona, but her feeble sibilance can be distracting. Lynne Jenson shows us a mature Mona who is self-absorbed, theatrical, and histrionic. Director Dewayne Morgan has made a fatal misstep in giving us a Mona we can’t really believe in as deeply as she believes in her view of reality. While the play works, it doesn’t engage the audience as deeply as it could. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]


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