Average Rating Given : 4.36364
|Old Alabama Road Company - A Community Theater||2|
|Galaxy Music Theatre||2|
|Stage Door Players||2|
|Horizon Theatre Company||1|
|Atlanta Lyric Theatre||1|
|O2 at Onstage Atlanta||1|
Reviews in Last 6 months :
|Little Shop of Horrors, by Howard Ashman and Alan Menken
Little Shop of Talent All Around|
Saturday, September 22, 2007 ||
(BTW – I had someone yell at me once that my reviews have spoilers. This one does, I guess, so if you are one of the 2 people in the world that doesn’t know the story of Little Shop, then see the show then read my review…)|
I think it was back in 2004-2005 when I remember being shown around what was to become the future home of the Byers Theatre, Atlanta Lyric Theatre’s new “Black Box” stage. As I sat in what was essentially a hallway / reception area for a Senior Citizens Center I remember thinking, “How in the heck are they going to make a theater out of this?!” Over the next few years, I watched it develop into a decent space for rehearsals and productions, but I still felt as if it hadn’t reached the full limits of what it was dreamed up for.
With The Lyric’s production of “Little Shop of Horrors,” the dream has come to fruition. It is obvious that many, many long hours from a number of hard working people were put in to turn the theater into a top-notch space for a wonderful production. Everything from the new paint job, new seats, new lighting and the fabulous sound system heralds a new era for Atlanta Lyric’s Byers Theater.
Little Shop itself is a popcorn show – good, clean, goofy fun. Even if it is done in a mediocre production, it is still easy to enjoy because of its clever book and catchy tunes. However, this production was by no means mediocre. From the start, you knew that you were about to be treated to a Broadway caliber performance. The three Urchin’s (played by Taprena Augustine, Felica Boswell, and Ardale Shepard blended beautifully and each had a moment to shine in individual solos. They kept the show moving forward as the narrators / Greek Chorus of the show. Every once and a while I run across vocalists that make me react emotionally when they sing, and these ladies are now on my list.
As Seymour and Audrey, Jeff Juday and Claci Miller portrayed the roles wonderfully. Every production I see of LSoH is tainted by my memory of the movie version, and happily, Jeff and Claci captured all the best parts of Rick Moranis and Ellen Green, yet exceeded them by being much better vocalists. Their real life chemistry shines through in the duet “Suddenly Seymour” so that the entire audience falls in love with this couple.
As Orin, Googie Uterhardt has the same dilemma of living up to the Steve Martin film version. Googie makes the part his own, however, and has the added bonus of being able to steal the show in numerous character appearances throughout the show.
Robert Wayne continues to impress me with his comedic ability as Mushnik. He makes the most of a character that you don’t really want to like – someone who only cares about the amount of cash in the drawer, yet you feel bad for him when he’s gone. (Side note: I always wondered if Mushnik knew that the plant needed blood to grow bigger, would he be okay with that and not turn Seymour in? Hmmmm…)
Then we come to the character that is so large, it takes two folks to portray him – Audrey Two. The puppetry of Justin Sims is amazing and the silky smooth voice of Brad Bowen relays the soulful sinister quality of the monster plant.
One of the main stars of this production for me was the sound system. Body mikes were used for the show and to my ear the sound was flawless. Every voice was clear and well blended with the others and not once overpowered by the music. And while I am usually not a huge fan of pre-recorded tracks, the one used for this show was very well done and well mixed. I was also impressed with the magic that was worked with the lighting design. The overall production value for this show has set a standard that I think everyone in town should strive for.
If I had one tiny, itsy bitsy, miniscule complaint (and even this isn’t a huge deal for me) it was the “in one” scenes done in front of the curtain. I completely understand that it was a necessity to do these scenes this way so that Audrey II would have the chance to “grow” but I would have loved it if the curtain, instead of having “Little Shop of Horrors” painted in the fun, bright neon graphic, could rather have been a backdrop of Skid Row or something a little more neutral. It momentarily pulled me out of the moment during times like “Somewhere That’s Green.” However, it was for a very brief moment thanks to the amazing talent on stage, so again, just a minor quibble.
Overall an amazing show. Kudos to all!
|The Boys Next Door, by Tom Griffin
Sunday, June 24, 2007 ||
I only have one complaint with this show (and unfortunately it happens WAAAY too often in Atlanta) and it is the fact that this show only ran one weekend, and not enough people are going to be able to see this gem of a play…|
Old Alabama Road Company continues to grow with each production and they hit the proverbial jackpot with this show. The direction, design, and most impressively, the acting, were all top notch.
The Boys Next Door is a tricky subject matter. When dealing with developmental disabilities, there is that fine line between portraying the characters as real honest individuals and giving a caricature of someone with a disability. In today’s PC world that line is very, very thin. The Boys Next Door succeeds in delivering honest, true portrayals of these men.
While you find yourself laughing at Arnold’s (Jeff Shrader) antics and his paranoid view of the world, you also find yourself becoming angry with those who would take advantage of him and frustrated with Arnold for not seeing when he is being duped. You share Norman’s (Matthew Hendrix) joy of a fresh donut and the jingle of keys, and root for his budding romance with equally innocent Sheila (Mary Claire Klooster). Barry (Adam Johnson), the entrepreneurial golf pro seems almost normal, the quirky guy you see around town, who on the surface has everything somewhat together, but when confronted by his abusive father (Duke Deuschle), we see how fragile he really is. The character of Lucien is by far the most brilliantly written and performed role in the play. Kevin Bolden shines in this production. His portrayal of Lucien is so genuine and beautiful. His childlike innocence lets us laugh with him when he finds pleasure in something as simple as reciting the alphabet, yet he ultimately breaks our heart when we get to see him as he sees himself.
These were the most touching scenes in the show - when we get to see the “real” men hiding under the layers of emotional issues the men have. Were it not for these brief glimpses into their inner selves, I don’t think I would have believed that these weren’t the real Boys Next Door.
Beautifully leading us through the world of the Boys is Jack (Eric Bragg), a frazzled young social worker whose life has begun to revolve around these men. You feel his helplessness and frustration with the fact that these guys deserve a better life than what has been dealt to them. You also sympathize with him the fact that he has given up his life for them and no matter how painful it is to pull himself away, he has to find himself again.
Rounding out the cast is a nice mix of supporting actors who give us insight into the world in which the boys interact.
Director Jim Dailey takes a magnificent script and really elevates it to a level that is rarely seen on OTP theaters. I also have to give a shout out to the clever sound design of the show. Pre- and post- show music can really complement a show, and the choices of songs with “Boy” titles were brilliant. I especially loved the curtain call to Buddy Holly’s “Oh Boy” – Norman’s favorite phrase.
I am, today, still dumbstruck at what a beautiful production this was and look forward to seeing more and more wonderful things out of OARCo.
|Dreamgirls, by Music by Henry Krieger; Book and Lyircs by Tom Eyen
Saturday, August 12, 2006 ||
I was lucky enough to be in the audience in New York for the final performance of Dreamgirls back in 1985 and saw the incomparable Jennifer Holliday as Effie. It was quite an experience for me as a young girl with big dreams of show business. It made a huge impression on me at the time.|
I am proud to say that I enjoyed last night's performance by Galaxy Theater just as much as I did the original. I was absolutely blown away by the level of talent in this production.
Director Jeffery Brown and Musical Director Laura English- Robinson won the jackpot of casting this time around. I'm thinking that God went and handpicked his favorite singers from local churches and delivered them to the audition. Ebenezer Baptist, Turner AME and Beulah Missionary are just a few of the churches that spawned the talent for Dreamgirls. This was a well-rounded cast and every part was played well.
So, where to start? If you have ever had the chance to hear Summer Bergeron tear it up in shows like Ragtime and Ain't Misbehavin' then you haven't seen anything like the performance she gives as Effie White, the talented yet difficult original lead singer for The Dreams. The most well known song of Dreamgirls - "And I am Telling You" is so often performed in cabarets as a defiant fit of Diva behavior, that often you forget that it is the last desperate act of a woman to keep her no-good man from dumping her. Summer's delivery of this song was full of so much raw vulnerability and cathartic emotion, that you almost feel a bit voyeuristic for witnessing her break down. It is in this moment we see Effie's mask crumble and reveal that underneath it all she is an insecure mess of low self-esteem. Only one other time in Atlanta have I seen an act one finale get a standing ovation like last night's (coincidentally, it was when Summer performed "Till We Reach That Day" in Ragtime - what can I say, the girl is amazing!)
To call Ardale Shepherd and Tiffany Carter supporting roles would be a mistake. They both bring their own power to the parts of Deena and Lorrell and were perfectly cast. Ms. Carter was great in showing Deena's initial hesitance and insecurity about taking over as lead of the Dreams, but later developed into a full fledged diva ala Diana Ross by the end of the show. Ardale Shepherd shines as Lorrell, which could have easily been written off as the comic relief, but she has so much sass and talent that you can't help but watch her to see what she's doing next. Her rendition of "Ain't No Party" in the second act was a welcome reprieve from some of the heavier themes that take over the second act.
The men in this show have a tough task in keeping up with the women in the show. And keep up they do. Mike Thompson as Curtis Taylor Jr. is just sexy enough to keep you liking him even though he is the dirtbag of dirtbags. "When I First Saw You" had many of the women in the audience fanning themselves. As James "Thunder" Early, Jonathan Maddox chewed up the scenery every time he was on stage. I refuse to believe that this is his first theatrical performance - refuse!! I loved him every moment he was on stage. And one of the most beautiful performances of the evening was given by Nik Alexander in the role of C.C. His voice is absolutely beautiful and he delivers a heartfelt performance that just makes you want to cry, he's so good.
The rest of the show is rounded out by a strong ensemble that more than holds their own. Honorable mention to Royce Garrison for his Pat Boone-esque rendition of Cadillac Car.
In all my gushing, I do have to say that if I had one complaint, it is that the cast often had trouble finding their light on stage, and at times were in the dark, and that during group numbers some solo lines were unable to be heard over the chorus. There were wireless mikes being used, but I couldn't tell if they were just prop mikes or if there was actually sound coming from them. However it was a minor issue, because with the huge voices in this show, you rarely needed them (except for those solos in the crowd).
I love Galaxy's new space at the Relapse Theater. I am excited that they have found a new home, and if the rest of their season is as good as Dreamgirls, then I have a feeling that Galaxy is well on their way of becoming one of the most exciting theaters in Atlanta.
So, walk, run fly to see this show before it closes! That way, when the movie comes out you can say, "P-shaw Jennifer Hudson and Beyonce... The production I saw at Galaxy was sooooooo much better!!"
|The Dining Room, by A.R. Gurney
Hungry For More!|
Thursday, May 18, 2006 ||
I have been a huge A.R. Gurney fan - ever since seeing his touching and poignant "The Old Boy" and getting to play the role of a michevious dog in "Sylvia," Gurney's witty account of American life never disappoints.|
And "The Dining Room" is no exception.
The play is set in the dining room of a typical well-to-do household, the place where famlies gather daily for breakfast, dinner and special occasions. The action is comprised of a tapestry of interrelated scenes - funny at times, touching at others, and often rueful - which, taken together, create an in-depth portrait of a vanishing species: the upper-middle-class WASP. The actors change roles, personalities and ages with exceptional skill as they portray a wide variety of characters, from little boys to stern grandfathers, and from giggling teenage girls to Irish housemaids. Each vignette introduces a new set of people and events and intermingles swiftly and smoothly. The varied scenes combine, ultimately, into a theatrical experience of impressive range, compassionate humor and abundant humanity.
Kent Inglehart does a terrific job of casting - including two African American actors who at times play the ultimate WASP (I'm sorry, my biggest laugh came when John Jones commented on his Waspishness). This was my first time seeing many of these actors, and I look forward to seeing more from them. I was very impressed with how the actors could exit the scene in one character, only to return moments later as part of an entirely new story line. The women in this show were amazing - they moved from Lucielle Ball-esque comedy to heart ripping drama in a blink of an eye and did it effortlessly and beautifully.
While the comic moments in the show are great - some of the most powerful scenes were those of tension and sadness. When a senile grandmother doesn't recognize her own sons at Christmas dinner the audience was still with empathy for the actors. A daughter, her marriage a shambles, pleads with her unmoving father to let her return home, moved the audience to tears.
This is a new and growing company that I'd love to see perform in another space - the church is nice, but I hope that the theater will soon be able to grow to a more appropriate space. The Old Alabama Road Company is a theater on the rise with a dramatic yet witty play and truly talented actors.
|You're A Good Man Charlie Brown, by Clark Gesner
You have a good show, Charlie Brown!|
Monday, April 10, 2006 ||
You're A Good Man Charlie Brown is a show that I often feel should only be done by high schools and small community theaters. But the show on Friday night changed my mind.|
The cast was wonderful - the voices fit each role perfectly. Kudos to Taylor Driskill. The role of Lucy Van Pelt on the cast recording gives me a migrane when I listen to it, but she actually sings the part rather than screams and I appreciated that! Chase Davidson's Charlie Brown was adorable - I just wanted to pat him on the head and tell him it would be alright. Liz Birmingham's Sally was hilarious. She had so much energy and fun with the role. Royce Garrison - I still am trying to figure out how they got that much soul into a white boy. Great job on Beethoven Day.
This was the first time seeing John Hardy and Jimi Kocina. I thought they were both excellent - in fact, I'm not so sure Jimi wasn't channeling my dog for some of his movements.
The set design was great - I loved the caroonish quality of it all. And the choreography was a lot of fun. Jeff McKerley does a great job of using simple movements that have a Fosse-esque quality to them. Here less is always more. The only thing I didn't love was the times when the entire cast had to exit the stage to get a set piece while still singing. Without mikes the sound was completely lost - a minor complaint, however.
And as always, Linda Uzelac was fantastic (kiss butt, kiss butt, kiss butt) I'm sorry, but I don't think you'll ever hear me say a negative word about her...
I would definitely recommend this show! Good job Stage Door!
|Forever Plaid, by Stuart Ross
Monday, March 28, 2005 ||
Well, the community of Dunwoody can breathe easy... no homoerotic themes in this one!|
Forever Plaid has never been one of those shows where I said, "Yes! I can't wait to see that done!" But, knowing some of the voices in the show (and me being kinda partial to the bass player, Mike), some friends and I went to see the show Saturday night.
First off, the most important element of the show is believing that these guys were a real singing group. The cast sounded really good - blending very well. The harmonies of this music are not easy, and each singer needs to be secure with their part enough to be able to blend with the other 3 voices - and these guys did a great job. The comic timing is also important. There were some really funny laugh out loud moments to be had in the show. The book of the show isn't too challenging - it serves merely as a vehicle to get from one song to the other but the guys looked like they were having a fun time.
Jim Jarrel makes the character of Jinx a shy, bumbling guy, with such a smooth voice that you wonder what he needs to be shy about. Greg Williamson also gets some opportunities to show off his lovely singing voice as well. Shawn Hale is hysterical as the hyperactive Sparky, and Mat Sewell shocked me with the richness of his bass voice in "Sixteen Tons". Here I was, thinking he was a tenor this whole time!!
The set, as always was amazing. And the lighting, again, great.
My only complaint is so very minor that I almost hesitate to say it, but the one thing I didn't like was that the program lists the songs not in the order of the show, but in alphabetical order. We were sitting there at the end of the night trying to figure out what songs we liked the best, but weren't sure what their titles were. As I said, though, minor in the grand scheme.
|The Last Five Years, by Jason Robert Brown
Wow... I mean, really, wow...|
Friday, March 11, 2005 ||
**DISCLAIMER** Yes, Jerrica and Eric are very good friends of mine. However, I do believe that my review of this show is based purely on the production and not on the friendship.|
That said, I loved the Last 5 Years!! When I heard that Onstage was doing a Jason Robert Brown show I was ecstatic, then depressed to hear that it had already been cast. I have to admit, I was a little wary of the pairing of the Catania's for this show. We all know about their phenomenal voices, but we also all know that in real life they are absolutely perfect for each other, so I wondered if I would buy them as a divorcing couple.
I completely did.
As Cathy, Jerrica had the daunting task of working the relationship backwards and starting from such a raw emotional place. She was completely convincing. Cathy's song were so easy to relate to (she is an actress) and I kept finding myself thinking, "Oh I love that song - I have to get the music for this. This song is good too. This one is too high for me, but damn, Jerrica sounds good!" Jerrica is able to move from a bold and brash belt number to a tender and soft song just like that.
Now, in the role of Jamie, Eric had a bit of a tough time endearing himself to the female heavy audience. I was completely won over, though, by his charm and character. Eric has an unbelievable voice, and his acting in this role was the best I have seen from him. I didn't even mind when he spit on me a little - I should have known better than to sit in the front row! And for you Ragtime fans, he even has a little "Tateh" moment.
The music from this show was great, even though I have a hard time remembering it now. These aren't songs that are easy to perform on their own, and they do go on and on, but they tell the story so completely. I have a feeling Jason Robert Brown is going to be the next Sondheim of musical theater ("Urban Cowboy" the Musical aside...)
And the small space at O2 is a perfect setting for the show. At times you had that uncomfortable feeling of "God, this couple is fighting right in front of me" which really made the emotion of the show shine through. Elisabeth Cooper's lighting was wonderful - really directing our attention to the important elements on stage. And the direction of Scott Rousseau was wonderful - however, I also questioned some of the costume changes. The musical direction of Linda Uzelac was flawless as always.
There is only one week of this show and I highly recommend taking the time to go and see it. You won't be disappointed.
|Cabaret, by Kander and Ebb
NP's Cabaret - I liked it, I really liked it!|
Sunday, March 6, 2005 ||
Cabaret is definitely earning the good remarks on this site. I went to see it last night with a group of friends, and was not disappointed.|
Because I like my reviews to end on a happy note, I'll get my dislikes out of the way first...
While I applaud the designer on adding space to the cramped stage by building the extension, I thought the placement of the band overpowered the singers at times. I know that Neighborhood is not acoustacally (is that a word?) a great space, and anytime the choreography had the actors moving upstage, the sound was swallowed by the stage. Even the large voice of Laine Binder was sucked up if she faced upstage.
Also, I think the location of the band made for a very distracting entrance and exit of Sam Clapp the bassist/Max. His jumping in and out of the pit always happens at the most inopportune times (Sorry Sam, you know I love ya!)
And my last gripe... the house is way too small to fake anything. I can't imagine that it would be too hard to put a little water in the flask for gin - miming the liquid completely took me out of the moment to think, "why not just use water?" And the fight choreography needed some work. The fake slaps were very obvious - you can't get away with that in a small house.
On to the good stuff...
The Kit Kat girls were fabulous!!! I loved the choreography, the costumes, the energy. Colleen Hargis stood out - everytime she walked on stage I found my eyes going straight to her (after of course taking a peek at Matt Carter's fabulously hairy chest!)
Brandon O'Dell was lovely as Cliff. As always, he takes the traditional ingenue male role and turns it into something a bit deeper.
The night belonged to Dejie Johnson. The story of Frauline Schneider and Herr Shultz is the emotional backbone of the show. I loved the interplay between the two of them - her strength against his sweet bumbling. They were a true joy.
Kudos to David Crowe. He as definitely turned out a show of very high caliber.
And special mention to Neighborhood on the marketing of this show! I am glad to see the gears finally get going at this theater to bring audiences in. I hope that the show is financialy successful enought to get some improvements in the theater sound wise.
|PUTTING IT TOGETHER, by Stephen Sondheim
Good Production on a not so good idea...|
Monday, January 17, 2005 ||
First off, let me just tell you right off to ignore the first half of my review. That's right - forget it, blow it off. Go see this show and form your own opinion. Okay, now that I have said that, I will be honest and say that this show is not one of my favorites. I saw it on Broadway with a stellar cast and hated it! And I'm a Sondheim fan. I think that is why it doesn't exactly churn my butter. I actually do enjoy musical review formats, because you get to hear some beautiful music without the headache of a deeply fleshed out plot to follow. This works great in shows such as Closer Than Ever, Songs For a New World, Five Guys Named Moe, because the songs aren't familiar.|
However, with Putting it Together, the songs are some very well known Sondheim pieces and it is often too hard to remove them from their original context. I had the same problem with Side By Side By Sondheim... Just do a concert and don't try to re-work the music into a new plot!
The majority of the songs come from Merrily We Roll Along, A Little Night Music, Follies and Company. There are also a few gems from Sweeney Todd, Forum, Into The Woods, Dick Tracy, Assassins, The Frogs, Anyone Can Whistle and Sunday In The Park with George. If you are a Sondheim fan, you may find yourself playing "Name That Show" throughout the night. It's hard not to.
Okay, now PAY ATTENTION! - here's what you do need to know about this show. The cast and orchestra were absolutely terrific! Jennifer Hendrickson is making here first appearance with Galaxy and she is too sexy for words. I have only had the pleasure of hearing her sing opera, so it was a treat to hear her vamp it up on songs like "Sooner or Later" and "More". Scott Rousseau was very nice in his role as the philandering husband. The interaction between he and Kathleen McCook is wonderful. And about Kathleen - wow! She gives Carol Burnett a run for her money in this production! She does a fine job of balancing the musical and narrative elements of the Sondheim songs. Not any easy task - but every word was clear and accompanied by brilliant comic timing. Justin Staudigl is the newcomer here in the role of the Narrator, and he's not too shabby. I can't wait to hear this 19 year old's voice develop even more. And last but certainly not least is Joe Swaney - sans beard and looking very dapper! His voice shines in numbers such a "Marry Me A Little", "Pretty Women" and a sweetly re-worked "Being Alive".
The 5 member orchestra is full of richness and I particularly enjoyed Emily Cook on Oboe - I wonder if this was a family affair going on? Emily on oboe, Anne Cook on keyboard and Harrison Cook on cello...
The simple set and lighting cues work well for the show - moving the action from scene to scene. I was a little distracted by the follow spot, though. I don't claim to be a lighting designer, but it seemed to me that Onstage has too low of a ceiling for a follow spot to be effective - often the audience's heads were in the way. A minor distraction, though.
So, like I said, go and form your own opinion. Even if you know all the songs, you will still be blown away by the cast. They are all very enjoyable, and I can't wait to work with every one of them.
I have a degree in music; do you want fries with that?
Kristie Krabe - Actress/Singer/Dancer
|The Santaland Diaries (2004), by David Sedaris
Another year of fun ahead!|
Saturday, December 4, 2004 ||
David Sedaris' comedy is a bit like ginger - spicy, sometimes bitter, and not everyone's favorite. But, if you add a bit of sugar, spice and some frosting, it can turn into a treat that almost everyone enjoys. Such is Horizon Theatre's Santaland Diaries.|
I have been a fan of Sedaris' humor for sometime now, and I have always wanted to see this production, but it was always sold out. But last Thursday I got to see the preview of the show (and for free too! Thanks!) Now in it's what is it's 93rd year at Horizon - okay, I am exaggerating, but the fact that this is Harold Leaver's umpteenth time in tights as "Crumpet" is one of the reasons this show is so damn funny - is the hilarious story of David Sedaris and his stint as a Macy's Christmas Elf.
The show ranges from downright hilarious to sweet reflection, and the cast of 3 (Leaver, Jill Hames and Topher Payne) give a non-stop whirlwind account of the experience. Leaver seems so comfortable on the stage, and is a quick wit and improviser. His reaction to a flubbed sound cue was so hysterical, that I wondered if the mistake wasn't intentional. Topher Payne gets a work out in this show - I would swear that Horizon has some top secret Star Trek beam me up thing that allows him to exit stage left and instantly appear stage right in a completely different costume. And Jill Hames almost steals the show with her hysterical facial expressions and character voices. And the cast's use of random props was bizarre. I mean that in a good way. It was as if Clint Thornton went crazy in the Horizon Prop room and thought, how can I work THIS into the show?
If I had to complain about one thing, and one thing only, it would have to be that I didn't love the attempt to throw current events humor into the script. The material is funny on it's own merit. That, and I did feel that sometimes Leaver did stray from Sedaris' recount of the story - particularly in the impression of Billie Holiday (Sedaris wanted to be a ad jingle singer in his youth and he wanted to sing them all as Billie Holiday - he does a brilliant impersonation. If you ever get the chance to hear him read his essays - do.) He poked a bit too much fun at her, I think. Okay, so that was two things.
But, all in all, this is a great little starter to an evening out on the town for the holidays - the show is only around 1 1/2 hours, so you have plenty of time to go out and get your egg nog on.
And since I mentioned Gingerbread Cookies, Boozy, this one's for you....
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 large egg
1 cup dark molasses
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
5 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/4 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
Sugar icing, optional, recipe follows
In a large bowl, with an electric mixer cream the butter, add the sugar, and beat the mixture until fluffy. Beat in the egg, the molasses, and the vinegar.
Into another bowl, sift together the flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, and salt and stir the mixture into the butter mixture, a little at a time. The dough will be soft. Divide the dough into fourths, dust it with flour, and wrap each piece in waxed paper. Flatten the dough slightly and chill it for at least 3 hours or overnight.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Roll out the dough, 1 piece at a time, 1/4-inch thick on a floured surface and cut out cookies with a 4-inch gingerbread man cutter dipped in flour.
(To keep in true Sedaris form, you may want to remove a limb or the head off the cookie here).
Transfer the cookies with a spatula to buttered baking sheets, arranging them 2-inches apart, and bake them in the oven for 6 to 8 minutes or until no imprint remains when they are touched lightly with the fingertip. Transfer the cookies with the spatula to racks and let them cool. Make cookies with the dough scraps in the same manner. If desired, pipe the sugar icing decoratively on the cookie using a pastry bag fitted with a small decorative tip. Let the cookies stand for 20 minutes, or until the icing is set.
2 large egg whites*
1 pinch cream of tartar
3 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
Food coloring, optional
In a large bowl with an electric mixer beat the egg whites with the cream of tartar, a pinch of salt, and 2 teaspoons water until the mixture is frothy, beat in the sugar, a little at a time, and beat the mixture until it holds stiff peaks. Beat in the food coloring, if desired.
Decorate baked cookies with the icing using a spatula or a pastry bag fitted with s small decorative tip and let the cookies stand for 20 minutes, or until the icing is set.
Yield: enough icing for about 50 (4-inch) cookies
*RAW EGG WARNING The American Egg Board states: "There have been warnings against consuming raw or lightly cooked eggs on the grounds that the egg may be contaminated with Salmonella, a bacteria responsible for a type of foodborne illness... Healthy people need to remember that there is a very small risk and treat eggs and other raw animal foods accordingly. Use only properly refrigerated, clean, sound-shelled, fresh, grade AA or A eggs. Avoid mixing yolks and whites with the shell." You have been warned...