A User-Driven Site for Theater in Atlanta, Georgia
Companies Reviewed#
Rosewater Theatre Company3
Georgia Ensemble Theatre2
Big Top Productions2
Theatre in the Square2
The Towne Lake Players1
Lionheart Theatre Company1
Southside Theatre Guild1
North Fulton Drama Club1
Canton Theatre1
Henry Players1
Blackwell Playhouse1
Theatre On Main1
The Legacy Theatre1
Average Rating Given : 3.95000
Reviews in Last 6 months :

Barefoot in the Park, by Neil Simon
Very funny show
Monday, January 26, 2009
I was very pleased with this production. I thought the actors were extremely effective, right down to Deryl Cape's brief performance as the out of breath delivery guy. I almost fell out of my chair when he came in. I could see a lot of chemistry between Erin and Alexandros that truly made the scenes what they were intended to be. The set looked great, lighting was awesome, and everyone projected fine. The only note I might give would be that the scene changes may need some filler music or something (especially the change between Act 2 & 3). It was a little awkward, but certainly didn't take away from the show, because it was extremely well directed and performed by the cast. Bravo.

Always...Patsy Cline, by Ted Swindley
I fell to pieces
Sunday, January 18, 2009
Patsy Cline. I have to say that my expectations of anyone performing her work is such a high standard, that if anyone can pull it off relatively well is doing pretty darned good in my opinion. That was my feeling upon arrival to Theatre on Main this afternoon. I was very skeptical about someone performing Patsy Cline and doubted they could pull it off. However, I was pleasantly surprised. Andrea Redd did a pretty good job of it. Of course, no one is going to be exactly like the original. However, her wonderful voice did an outstanding job of pulling me into the music from time to time. I have to say that "I fall to pieces" and "Crazy" were spot on performances, while others had a hit or miss moment to each of them. I think the one note I would give Andrea would be the showmanship that might have been lacking. I almost got a sense that Andrea was a little "dead" in the face for the most part. She constantly had the same facial expression. I'm not sure if it's just her or what, but it almost appeared as though Patsy had a look of anger on her face through the whole show. I would urge her to smile much more than she did, because at times, it took me away from the music and trying to figure out what exactly it was that had the scowl. Yet, don't get me wrong, she shined in her own way.

The other one that I really have to compliment is Carolyn Choe. Of all of the performances she has given, this is one of her best. She really plays to an audience and I have to say that there were moments where she stole the scenes. Next to "'Night Mother", she took this character and rocked. I thought her excitement about Patsy, her natural humor when conversing with the audience, and her sidestage reactions while Patsy was singing were fantastic. To be honest, I don't have any notes that I would give her if I had directed. I thought she did a fine job.

Lastly is the band. Just wow. I don't even have words to describe how well this group was Musically Directed. Combined with a VERY small, but effective ensemble, this entire cast, musicians, directors, and staff have pulled off one of Theatre on Main's best shows.

The Complete Works of William Shakespeare [Abridged], by The Reduced Shakespeare Company
Excellent Works
Saturday, January 17, 2009
I never could find the time to actually see this show until now. I don't think I could have picked a better one to debut myself to this comedy. The cast was spot on with an energy level that kept the show flowing. Yes, there were a couple of spots where it dropped of a tad, but picked right back up in an acceptable amount of time to keep the show flowing and seamless. Hadn't it been for the three top notch performances from Stephen, Zip, and Thomas, I could see where a poor performance could really kill this show very fast. The interactions with the audience were great, the scripted parts were so well performed that you couldn't tell what was scripted and what was adlib. I knew the minute Thomas stepped on stage at the very beginning I was in for a treat. The lighting, the sound cues, and the direction were well delivered and would love to catch this one in Roswell when they go to Kudzu. However, I will be in a show at that time. Great job guys!!!

Leading Ladies, by Ken Ludwig
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
Recently, I went to see this production, and was pleasantly surprised at the production/peformances. I was invited by Tanya Carroll, who is a very nice lady I must say, because it looks like the MAT Awards will be picking them up for next season. For starters, attending the Norcross Cultural Arts Center and viewing a Lionheart production was a first for me. I live in Woodstock and work on the southside of town. So, going to Gwinnett is a rare occasion. Normally, when I attend a show I've never heard of, I usually look into what it's about before going to see it. It sounded like a serious drama, but didn't realize how absolutely hilarious the show really is until I watched it.
The director did a fantastic job of putting this together. I thought the casting was an excellent choice. Although, I almost felt a little creeped out by the Reverend and his fiance's age differences. It almost came across as wondering if either Duncan was a craddle robber or she was a gold digger. Either way, it detracted (in a small way) from believing their relationship. I realize this is community theater and about 90% of productions usually have a limited choice on talent, or a good physical fit, that can really round out a show. However, this director did some excellent casting, or recruiting, due to the performances I witnessed. The blocking was outstanding. The use of the space was phenominal. The actors were clearly given some, in depth, direction by Sophie Gatins that shined throughout the show.
First, let me get to the two negatives I saw. I did have some problems with Doc (Tim Link) and his son. For example, there was a scene where they were supposed to be rehearsing their lines for the "upcoming play". Doc and his son were sitting on the stairwell, off to the side, while some dialogue was going on by other characters. I am very attentive to what's going on around the main focal point of any scene and the fact that they were just sitting there and not interacting, not pretending to be rehearsing their lines, and doing absolutely nothing really bothered me. This could have been noticed and the notes given to the actors by Sophie, but they obviously didn't listen to her if she did. I will say that Tim Link, other than a couple of areas where he wasn't believable in his role, did a great job beyond that. The second negative aspect is what I mentioned in the previous paragraph about the Reverend and his fiance's age variance.
That's it!! That is all I have for a negative review of this show, because the rest was outstanding. Sheila Allen had me in tears, laughing, every time she stepped on stage. J. Michael Carroll was so professional in his performance, that he drew me in every time he appeared. Jamie Link did an excellent Audrey, so innocent. Joseph McLaughlin was a believable Duncan Wooley and I thought his character's demeanor fit that of a judgemental Reverend. Bob Smith was an extremely visual actor. His physical reactions to the stresses his character had to endure were absolutely, side splitting, funny. I can't remember, for the life of me, the character's name of the fiance'. What was it? If I had the blasted program in front of me, I'd know. Regardless, she was very energetic in her role, and showed that she's clearly received training at some point in her acting career.
The set design was pretty good, given the space they have to work with. It certainly acheived everything that the director intended. Lighting was ok. I know they are limited on technology at that location (assuming they are just getting it off the ground). Sound cues were flawless.
The drive to Norcross for me was, by far, well worth the trip. Lionheart Theatre Co, if all of their shows were as good as this, will be a huge addition to the MAT program for next year. This was one show that, I wish, I had known about before hand. I would loved to have auditioned for it, because it was probably a blast for the cast to be involved with. Amazing show. Amazing show....

Nunsense, by Dan Goggin
Grand OpeNUN
Sunday, May 4, 2008
I had the distinct pleasure of going to Rosewater Theatre last night to see the theatre's Grand Opening and to watch a little "Nunsense". I will say that Riley and Lisa decorated the theatre in a marvelous fashion. I actually got to see the place when it was still in shambles and had something to compare to. They have really spruced it up!! The bathrooms are even nice which is rare for theatres (Well, the men's was. I don't frequent the women's restroom, so I can only assume it was nice too). Excellent work Rosewater.
Now, on to the show. Overall, the performers were on their mark. I don't really have any standouts to note, because they all were great for their roles. I would say that the beginning of the show dragged up until the "Quiz Scene". I think that Rebekah Williams, who played Sister Mary Amnesia, was the one that got the audience woken up from our zombie stage after drinking several glasses of champagne. Her voice, alone, was hilarious and the innocent personality really topped it off with some great humor. Once she gave out the prizes to the audience, the audience started getting into the show. From that moment on, it brought some laughter out that was lacking in the beginning.
The shining moments were Cheryl Rogers' getting high, Karen Walsh had one of the best Brooklyn accents I think I've heard in theatre in a long time along with the demeanor, Kathy Russell's solo near the end of the show, and Maryia Hare's dancing. I will say that I am one who actually enjoys the screw ups that happen during a show and when Sister Mary Leo answered the phone and the phone still rang after she picked it up was hilarious. It was the whole reaction she gave because of it. I'm a sucker for actors being put to "the test". I noticed a few dropped lines here and there, but the recoveries were handled.
Lighting was great. I sat in the back and thought the volume was balanced very well (although I did lose some of the words during the numbers). I wonder if they need to add a couple of speakers in the back of the room to give more surround sound? Costumes were very well executed and so was the set. I even liked the props, like the exercise bike that Karen used for the Wiked Witch part.
In closing, it was a great show that started out slow but picked up about 1/4 in and took off. Also, a great job to Rosewater for an excellent Grand Opening.


Will Rogers Follies, by Cy Coleman, Betty Comden, Adolph Green
Per your request
Wednesday, May 9, 2007
I am posting a review of the production I saw last Friday night, since it appears so many of you expected me to do so and seem to be pusing me into it, hehehe. Therefore, here we are and here are my feelings on the show. I will have to say that the fact that the show lost the group of people that it did certainly came out in the overall performance of the show. The highlights of the show were clearly Colleen Hargis, Amanda Pickard, Mark Owen, Banks Martin, and the Follies Girls. These individuals were very prepared in their roles and were a delight to see as they entered and exited the stage. The lighting was excellent, the costumes were magnificant, and the choreography was phenominal. I liked the set design too to be quite honest. It was simple, yet acheived the point that was trying to be conveyed.
Yet, there were some aspects of the show that needed severe work and made the overall show fall a tad short of what I would've expected from that show. This show is, for the most part, a biography. It covers his life from start to finish and it's about the music numbers that drive it home. First of all was the sound issue. I couldn't hear many of the singers. Some countryman mikes would've probably fixed this issue and I would suggest that Blackwell make this their next investment. Yes, it's a smaller theater. However, you can't expect to always cast those that can project the way you need. This is community theater, which means that you take whoever you can get that will work for free. Therefore, use some technology to bring out what is lacking. That's where the microphones come in handy. The combo was a bit unprepared (but this goes to the issue of losing the pianist that I heard they lost). I felt that there were instruments missing that needed to be heard. It became evident in the opening scene where the follies girls were doing a huge opening number and the music was lacking some "power" to really make it a big show opener. The girls were trying to do a big show dance routine, but it looked dead due to the lack of accompaniment that was provided. Let me be clear about that. The dancing, in itself, was amazing. It's the accompaniment that fell short. I was so impressed by the choreographer, I would certainly look her up to assist with any show I need choreography in, for the future. I would also look her up for other things, but she's married, so forget that. My next issue I had a problem with is the preparedness of the chorus numbers. The singers weren't pushed to their limits. The cowboys were dropping out of lines and standing there with their mouths shut, when they should've been singing. I noticed this right off the bat, in the opening scene. It was clear that the chorus wasn't prepared, but the solos were. You take a chorus of people who drop out of singing in the middle of a line and put weak accompaniment to it, then the whole scene is killed. As stated before, the solos were great. Amanda and Mark pulled off some excellent numbers and shined in their moments. I particularly liked Amanda's whole "I am ticked off at my husband" number.
What else? What else....Well, other than the show, I have to compliment John Christian on a job well done of cleaning up the place and getting it off the ground. The artwork he posted in the lobby was a nice touch. It's a work in progress as I could see, but it looks great already and he should be commended on getting that place open. Seats were comfy, temperature was great, politeness of the employees was excellent, and I'm very impressed with this facility and it's potential. So, overall, my outting was a half and half experience, which is where the "3" comes in.

The Foreigner, by Larry Shue
Why haven't I seen this one before?
Friday, April 20, 2007
I've always seen theatres do this show here and there, but never got off my butt to actually see one until last night. My review, though probably tainted due to having a couple of people in the show that I know, will be as honest as I can make it. First of all, the show was hilarious. I had no idea it was as funny as it was, which makes me want to audition for the next one that comes around. The set design was fantastic!! I really have an appreciation for a set designer that can take a small space and turn it into a large room. I spoke with Scott after the show and he indicated that they certainly used every inch of that stage they could squeeze out of it. The layout was well thought out and very detailed, which put them ahead of most. Lighting was excellent, not too bright, not too low (except maybe during the scene where the power to the house was disrupted...maybe use some more blue "moonlighting"?). I think they did a good job with the sound design in respects to using sound effects. However, I did have a problem with a lack of some filler music or something between scenes. There was one moment, I think in Act 1, that the lights were down waaaaay too long without something needing to happen. Maybe fill it with some music and it's fixed, no more problem.

The other part of the show that may be construed as a negative to me was the lack of "southern dialect" development of a couple of characters. Ok, let me pinpoint who I'm referring to. I speak mostly of David Lanni, who played the Reverend. His accent attempt was, needless to say, a bit forced and then non-existant in the same sentence. The other ones were fine, especially Bret Tanner. Mark Schroeder certainly had me laughing with his "fowark" lines. I guess I have too much southern blood in me.

Blocking was very well done and I could clearly see the actors understood their use of the stage and filling it up. It was a Thursday night and there were a few spots where the actors were trying to get in the groove of things and falling short here and there, but that's natural on a Thursday night when you've gone all week without rehearsing, especially on a sometimes fast-paced comedy as this is. So, they were forgiven, especially since I've heard they really rock the house on the weekends. :)

I want to say, great job to Mark, Brian, Bonnie, and Danielle for a job well done!!! Good show, good show.

Crooked, by Catherine Trieschmann
I wouldn't want to be a parent
Monday, April 16, 2007
There is something about intimate theaters that have small, non-mobile sets, that really make me focus on the actors with more criticism than I normally would, otherwise. This show is no exception to the rule. Being a typical guy, I wasn't really all that excited about seeing an all female cast do a show about "female things". I guess it's similar to a woman not wanting to watch Saving Private Ryan. Some shows are for women, some are for men, plain and simple. Yet, here I was, seated in the Alley Stage theatre.

The show? It was hilarious, shocking, and extremely sad all together. I can't even begin to explain the quality of the acting that went into this. The key to good acting is to have the audience members actually experience the same emotion that the script intends to convey. If you can pull it off, you have won them over and could keep them interested in just about anything, even "Ghandi". Oh, don't misinterpret what I'm saying. The script content was very well written and bravo to Catherine for doing a good job. Yet, what really kept me focused, laughing, crying, and experiencing all of the emotions were the three fabulous actresses that took this show on. I had no idea that I actually sat through a 90 minute production and didn't even have an intermission. That's how "glued" to the story I was. These three actresses have outdone themselves and have certainly won me over to come see them again no matter where they perform. Excellent work ladies!!!

Steel Magnolias, by Robert Harling
Mixed emotions
Friday, March 30, 2007
Well, I went to see this show last night. I must say that I was blown away the second I walked in the door at the Dozier Center. I recently went to see the new Legacy Theatre in Tyrone and was deeply impressed with that facility and how much private funded money went into it. However, I am now in awe with, what I feel, is the nicest place that any community theater group has ever been in as far as I can remember or have seen thus far, especially on the north end of town. Have you taken the time to go see this, one time, show?? If you haven't, then you have seriously missed out on a perfect example of what a blackbox theatre SHOULD look and feel like. I had no idea that a blackbox could be this nice. Let's start with the seats. How many of you would say that you won't go see a show at some places because of a little thing like lacking arm rests?? I know I would say that. I would also say that there is another thing called a cushion that actually hugs your posterior that makes all the worthwhile. Now, keep in mind. We were in the blackbox theatre, not the main theatre. I was given a tour of the main theatre and GOOD GOD IT WAS AWESOME. It had roughly 300-400 seats, with some in a balcony, an enclosed state of the art sound/lighting booth. However, we're not talking about the main theatre. We're talking about the little blackbox theatre. OK, so let's talk about it. This blackbox theatre had a FOR REAL enclosed state of the art sound/lighting booth, seats that were some of the most comfortable I've ever sat in, beautiful hardwood floors, a walkaround rafter that is used to secure lighting, acoustic tile, and just a completely amazing feeling when you walked in. It was clean!!! It smelled nice!!! All theatre groups should take some time to see this place, because it would give you an example of what you can accomplish with a blackbox theatre. It isn't all about good directing and acting. It's about atmosphere that brings in the patrons and keeps them coming back. Give them some comfortable seats WITH ARM RESTS, a clean facility, excellent lighting and sound, and all of the other things will fall into place. Trust me on this. If those things are there and their patronage is greatly increased due to good marketing and comfort, the good directing and good actors will flock to that place in droves. It's the nature of the business. I am very saddened to see this place close its doors. I would've certainly made it one of my top choices for auditioning at, because it would've felt worth the time to put 3 months into. Oh well, enough about the facility.

The show was great!!! The set design was nice, not as detailed as I would've preferred, but very nice. I can't say enough about the lighting and sound. It was perfect. The costumes were great, especially Truvy's. The acting and directing? Great job. Truvy and Weezer were my favs of the show, because when they spoke, you knew it and actually looked forward to hearing from them again. I became very warmed up to M'Lynn in the 2nd half. She sure grabbed me at the end of the show. I heard a couple of "flubbed up" lines from the cast, but thought they recovered well. I did take some issue with a couple of individuals having a problem of looking out into the audience on occasion. I'm not talking about staring out into "oblivion" or playing TO the audience, which are both acceptable forms of "audience viewing". I've been in this business long enough to know the difference. I'm talking about the kind of looking out into the audience to see who's out there for the night in hopes that "Frank" made it out. That, to me, bugs the hell out of me. Yet, I forgave that very quickly, because I must say that this is the first performance of Steel Magnolias that this man could stomach to the very end. This is clearly a show for women, but it was heartening for the first time, out of the three other times I've seen it. They even had some tears welling up in my eyes at the end, so that's a great plus. Good job ladies!!!

Well, I've spoken long enough on this, but just wanted to convey that I was pleased with the show, VERY impressed with the theatre, and saddened all at the same time due to the show content and the fact that the theatre is closing its doors. Please Big Top, don't go back to what you had before. Keep the standard up there and buy those seats from Dozier since they won't use them any longer!!!


A Christmas Survival Guide, by reated & Written by James Hindman & Ray Roderick
The talent carried this one...
Monday, December 11, 2006
There are some shows out there that you would consider a "snoozer" no matter how good the performers are and this show happens to be one of them. Now, let me say right off, I'm only referring to the script content itself. It had it's moments of being funny, but for the most part, I found myself being more concerned with why I had a crick in my knee than what was going on up on the stage. However, that was the worst part of the show, because what I have to say next is a rave review.

When I walked in the Legacy Theatre, I was floored. I mean, these folks have spent some serious money!! The decor, the bathrooms, the movie screen in the men's bathroom, the seats, the house, and just about everything about it was amazing. The place is beautiful and I give some major kudos to the founding team. I'm not sure what the final invoice amount was for the purchase of the land and building the place, but it had to be in the single digit millions. It smelled great, it was clean (which I guess that makes sense seeing as this was the first show they ever did there), and the staff was very friendly in greeting everyone.

Now, the show starts and they open the grand to a massive stage that is big enough to put on some large musical type shows. The set design was outstanding. They had decorated some trees, put a huge gift wrapped backdrop upstage, and had everything painted to fit the season. It was great. The band was excellent and didn't seem to miss a note (as you know, you never notice that unless there is a major screw up). The only thing, technically, that I had a problem with was lighting. I have a feeling that they are still adding to the lighting, as the place is new and it's probably a work in progress. It was a tad dark up there at times, but gave them the benefit of the doubt. The sound was a bit loud at some points too and made things distorted, but I think that's probably another situation where they're getting used to using the board and mixing things down to an appropriate level.

The cast and directing was OUTSTANDING. I could see that not only did their talent take that show to it's heights, but also I could clearly see that the director had put some time into developing the show and not solely relying on the cast's talent to carry it. The choreography was superb, the blocking was great, the interaction between the characters was believable, the prop usage was great, and the costumes were gorgeous. It's a four person cast and there wasn't a person in the show that I wasn't entertained by. I think the only one of the four that took some time to get started was Dustin. He started out weak, but by the time he got to the Elvis bit, he was on fire. Chris (I think that's his name), Amanda, and Melissa all came out with a bang and kept it going until the very end. By the time intermission rolled around, all four performers were commanding the stage in a way that any director would be happy to see.

In closing, I would like to once again give a huge congrats to Legacy on a job well done with what you had to work with. It's been a long time since I've reviewed a show, as the MAT Awards have prevented me from voicing my opinion. However, this one warranted a review, because they just opened and needed some feedback. I probably would've chosen a much larger and more familiar show to debut the theatre, but that's just my opinion. This one would have a 5 had the storyline been more entertaining. :)

The 1940's Radio Hour, by Walton Jones
Wednesday, December 22, 2004
I went to the matinee of this performance and left the establishment with a feeling that I had just witnessed an actual radio performance set within the 1940's. I think that the method in which this show was written, worked PERFECTLY for the alley stage. The sound, the set, the lights, and especially the costumes really brought to life a world that America once knew, before I was even a seed in my father's loins.
The energy level of this show was at a maximum, with choreography, vocals, and character development expounded on in ways that, once again, demonstrates why Theater in the Square is one of the more popular theaters in the Atlanta area. The two funniest characters of this show were Ginger and Wally (yes, that would be Mark, aka Okely Dokely). Their goofy characters made me focus on them for the majority of the show, even during a time when they were just sitting off to the side without any significant movement. The two leads were equally as powerful in their performances, demonstrating some vocal talent that left me drooling for more.
I would highly recommend this performance to anyone and must say that it's well worth the ticket cost. Another perfect show for Theater in the Square.

Jacob Marley's Christmas Carol, by Tom Mula
Holy Freakin Cow!!!
Sunday, December 19, 2004
Once again, GET has done it again. I have NEVER seen a version of Christmas Carol that was as impacting as this one. Presenting the story from Jacob Marley's viewpoint, the show is dark, frightening, and fulfilling all in one. A set design that looks like something coordinated by Picasso (sp?) really set the mood for what began a new concept of what it was to be Jacob Marley and his everlasting need to change Scrooge into a better man. The lack of costumes, makeup, and the typical Christmas Carol set forced the audience to envision what it was like to be in hell. Hugh Adams delivered a performance that not only had me laughing at times, but had me in tears at the end. The other three cast members (Cindy Collins, Larry Larson, and the other that I don't remember his name) were as equally riveting, making a team of emotion that kept the audience in total silence. The sound effects, the visual effects, and the energy level of the performers reminded me why GET is set apart from "standard" theater. I only wish I had half of the talent of these actors and Director. I can't think of ONE SINGLE REASON to give this rating anything less than perfect. Bob Farley clearly, once again, shows there was a reason why he was the Artistic Director of the Alliance at one time.

Nuncrackers, by Dan Goggin
Goofy show
Thursday, December 16, 2004
There's nothing like seeing a bunch of nuns and a priest doing a dance number imitating the Village People. This show was pure slapstick comedy from start to finish with some cute Christmas lessons througout. The costumes, the lighting, and the sound were all excellent. I have to say that I can't think of one person in that show that didn't do an excellent job. Ginger Rosen (Mother Superior) was an excellent, believable nun. Martin Smith (Father Virgil) did a wonderful job of being the likeable, calm natured priest. I realized halfway into the show that I had seen him at Pumphouse Players version of "A Gentleman and a Scoundrel" in which he did an AWESOME job. The two funniest ones in the show were Beth Weltz (Sister Amnesia) and Darla Carriger (Sister Robert Ann). Lastly, I have to mention the cute and talented Jennifer Soloway (Louise). She was Amarillus in "The Music Man" with me at Cobb last July. I was floored to see her name in the program when I got there. I look forward to being in Cabaret there in March. It's a VERY ELEGANT theater and I would recommend it to anyone. GREAT JOB CANTON.

Annie Get Your Gun, by Music by Irving Berlin
Job well done
Sunday, December 12, 2004
I had never seen a performance at ACT1 before. The theater was very cozy and the sightlines were excellent. I suppose it would've been nice to have the seats on a stadium style riser system, but it was no big deal from my viewpoint. The lighting, the sound, the costumes, and MOST ESPECIALLY the set design were well put together and really brought out the show in this small theater. The performances were wonderful and if there were any missed lines, I didn't notice. I think that the choreography was a tad on the dead side, but it didn't impact the overall performance. Notable performances were by Anna Lichtenwalner (whose facial expressions, energetic movement, and understanding of the character really impressed me), Kimberly Graeff (her performance of Dolly Tate was done in such a fabulous way, that I literally hated her character), and Jerry Harlow (who is always a delight to see). I was extremely impressed with this theater and performance. Bravo!

A Christmas Story, by Philip Grecian
Very cute show
Friday, December 3, 2004
I guess I should mention, up front, that those of you who have never read any of my reviews before should know that a "3" is considered "average" and should not be construed as a negative mark. On the contrary, an average rating on my part is considered something to be taken as a good thing. Now, if you ever see a "2", a "1", or even a "0", then you have something to worry about. I really hate going to an "opening night" of any show, especially if I have never seen a show there before. For obvious reasons, the opening night is usually the roughest to be performed, due in part, because they are working out the bugs. Anyhow, I decided to go see this show since it's my all-time favorite christmas story and have never seen it on stage.
The Southside Theatre Guild was a very delightful theatre to say the least. I had no idea that they were the size that they turned out to be. The theatre was very impressive, with excellent seating. Seatin is one of my most important parts about a theatre if you haven't figured it out by past reviews. The size of the stage was equally as impressive, giving the performers plenty of room to work with. When the curtain opened, I was floored at how elaborate they went with the set design. The house was constructed in a manner that immediately clued me in that STG knew EXACTLY what they were doing. I could hear the "ooooo's" and "ahhhhh's" from the audience when the lights came up on Ralphie's house. I was equally impressed with how they hid the classroom behind the fence. I had no idea it was there until they moved it, which I thought the fence was stationary. Great job on the set design STG!!!!
The lighting of the show was done adequately, yet, with occasional delays in bringing them up or too early while the set was being moved. However, as mentioned, it was adequate for the shows needs. I would've liked to have heard that there were strobe lights during the performance, so it could warn those that may be epileptic (sp?). Anyhow, it didn't appear that there were any in the audience last night, so it went without a glitch.
The sound of the show was one of the factors that made me give this show an average rating. I took into account that it was their opening night and perhaps they learned from it so it will not be a continuing problem. Ralph (the elder) kept fading in and out during the performance. This posed a problem since he was keeping the audience informed of what was going on through his offstage narration. The volume level was continuously tampered with so every time they had a special effect sound, you either leaned forward to try and hear it or fell out of your chair clutching your ears in agony. One of the elderly ladies behind me mentioned that she thought it was too loud. There is work that needs to be done in this department.
The performance, within itself, was cute and entertaining. I think that Ralphie (Dillon Roseen) was excellent in his performance, showing that he is no stranger to theatre. Randy, (Tyler Shellnut) was equally as impressive with his hilarious whining and laughter. Among the adolescents within the show, they gave a good performance overall given their ages and "green skills". The Mother (Wendy Adams) didn't really have any significant performances to give, but for some strange reason, she really stood out to me. I think it was that her acting was done in a believable manner, that made me truely see her as a mother. The Old Man (Michael Vance McCauley) was hilarious on occasion, yet didn't totally come across as the "grumpy dad" that I always picture with this show.
In closing, the production overall was well worth the ticket cost and I was very impressed with STG and what they pulled off. I think that the sound system being below average and the delay in set movements could be corrected. If they hadn't been a factor, I would've given this show a "4".


South Pacific, by Music and Lyrics by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II, Book by Oscar
A good opener to a good theater...
Sunday, October 31, 2004
Well, I decided I needed to see what the hype was all about. I took Saturday evening to pile up in the ole pickup truck and drive out to Big Top Theater and see just what they did to the place that Cobb Playhouse recently vacated. To my astonishment, the theater was actually clean, renovated, and impressive. The top things about this theater that really grabbed me were the lobby design, the paintjob, the clean bathroom, and the new look of what USED to be the arena stage. The place actually didn't smell like body odor or body fluids that would gag a mortician, what a nice touch. The ONLY complaint I had were the seats and their arrangments. My rearend hurt within the first half hour and that isn't a good sign. I noticed a couple came in a tad later during the performance and couldn't get to a vacant seat without having to walk in front of the performance. However, I was informed it was due to the lovely fire marshall and his facist regime policies. So, I exclude that from my review. I give the theater a "5". Great job!!!
Now, on to the performance itself. This show was definantly high energy at times and had a nice cast of decent singers. I think the performers that really caught my eye were Danita Charles, Jasmine McGinnis, Mike Wasson, and Len Hedges-Goettl. The overall set design was well put together with impressive curtains made of either camo-net or parachutes. I think that the idea of what Rob Hadaway envisioned was certainly effective throughout the show. The lighting was outstanding. I liked the fade ins and outs. What impressed me most were the Navy uniforms and the civies. Being an old seadawg myself, I really appreciated the dungarees. Yes, some folks wore levi 501 blues, but most had on the bellbottom standard issues. Very good touch. Also, I had a HUGE appreciation for how some of the actors/actresses took the time to make sure the haircuts were period style. Mike Wasson really indicated this by going out and actually getting a crew cut. Overall, for the performance, I give it a "3". Good job.
In conclusion, this theater has done an outstanding job with the new location and the opening act. Yes, there is room for improvement, but they are FAR from mediocre. Because of the awesome theater and the good show, I feel it deserves a "4" rating overall. I would recommend this theater to anyone, whether you are acting or viewing. Break a leg Big Top in all of your endeavours!!

Arsenic & Old Lace, by Joeseph Kesselring
Good entertainment
Sunday, October 17, 2004
Having visited the Towne Lake Arts Center for the first time, I had no idea what to expect. This is a theatre with huge potential, having provided a comfortable atmosphere (knowing that the new chairs would soon arrive) and didn't feel like cramped quarters. The sound system was used at a reasonable level, which left me impressed that I actually heard EVERYTHING that was said throughout the show. Although, the performers didn't need to be miked. This shows they know how to use their equipment (unlike some shows at other locations I have seen). This particular show didn't require MUCH for exotic lighting, so I couldn't give a review on that. However, what lighting WAS used was in an adequate manner. I am a huge fan of black box theatres. I must say that this particular one exceeded what I felt would be considered "standard".
Now, onto the show itself. The set design was basic, yet effective for the size of the stage and the show's content. I love noticing little insignificant details about set design. For instance, it was nice to see they took a detailed approach to putting a bush outside the window. The directing of this show, by Bernadette and Alan DeRocher, showed they are not new at this. I liked the use of the stage, the entrances and exits, as well as the overall vision. I applaud the director's work in this production. In regards to the actors/actress' themselves. I feel I must point out a few of them that really grabbed me. For starters, Dr. Einstein was played by Luke Williams. I see some energy in this young man that shows he understands what it means to "ham it up". This is, by no means, a negative thing when used properly. Luke understood the character, took his viewpoint of it, and effectively put it into life. I tend to remember those actors that know how to use facial expressions, body language, and what I call "sideline reactions", which means that when he wasn't the focus of the scene and was standing off to the side, he took advantage of it without upstaging the actors. Bravo Luke. I personally hope to work with you one day.
Secondly, I have to mention Mark McCarthy. This gentleman played Det. Rooney. Mark, I read your bio and please tell me you're joking when you say that you have stage fright and only did this on a "dare". If this is the case, then I need to get with you and help you get over that fear, because you played one HECK OF A BELIEVABLE New York Detective. I will be quite honest in Mark's regard. His character was, by far, the most realistic and well performed character of the entire cast. The minute he walked on stage chewing his bubble gum, before he opened his mouth to speak, I was already thinking to myself, "Ok, this guy's going to be pretty darn good". What amazes me, is that he didn't get a bigger part. Mark, you better not drop out of the theatre hobby. You have alot to offer.
The last person I want to mention, individually, is Mike Cuellar. This up and coming actor has alot of talent that was evident during the show. Yes, there were some things that I think he needs to improve on. For instance, his facial reactions to certain things. At times, he was smiling when he should've looked scared to death. However, these are things that can be worked on. I felt his movement on stage and overall presence were very well delivered. I think he has a talent, that when well groomed, will become overwhelmingly noticed by many.
In conclusion, to explain why I gave a "3" to this performance. I consider it to be the "average" rating. The only reason I gave it the average rating is because I noticed several missed lines that were clearly evident. I also feel that some character development could've been expounded on. This doesn't mean they did a terrible job, but average. Another reason I gave this rating is costume inconsistencies. I felt that it was hard to believe that a New York cop would wear a NYPD ballcap in 1941 as well as one of the cops using a modern style flashlight. I have never seen Arsenic & Old Lace until this performance and saw alot of things that could've turned this show into a phenomenon. Apparently, it has been performed by other venues with HUGE success, since it is a popular show. I feel it was worth the cost of the ticket and a nice night out of the house for a few laughs. Good job Towne Lake.

Don't Dress For Dinner, by Robin Hawdon
Saturday, September 25, 2004
I had never seen this show before, but I am glad I went. First of all, the set design was, within it's self, outstanding. Then, here comes the cast. There wasn't an actor/actress in that cast that didn't direct their energy and feed off of the other characters. I was laughing harder and harder as the show went on. Especially, when the midget came out. GOOD GOD WHAT AN AWESOME SHOW.

Pump Boys & Dinettes, by
What a performance!!
Wednesday, September 22, 2004
I knew that the first time I saw the Henry Players perform something, they had acquired one heck of a staff of directors, tech staff, and board members. Pump Boys and Dinettes reiterated that for me. This show, was beyond a doubt, very entertaining from start to finish. I couldn't stop grinning from ear to ear the entire time I was sitting there. First of all, the direction of Susan Jarvis has completely taken me into a field of respect that I didn't realize she was capable of (having not seen any previous shows of her's before). Her choices of actors/actress' for this show was RIGHT ON bringing an energy level, from start to finish, of phenominal proportions. The music was outstanding, the dancing was awesome, and once again, the technical parts of the show presented by Rebecca Dingbaum and crew were right up there with anything I've seen from the Alliance. Living in Canton, this theater group is worth the one hour drive. BRAVO HENRY!!!

The Gift: An Aris Christmas
The Gift: An Aris Christmas
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by Susan Miller
Live Arts Theatre
A Christmas Tuna
by Ed Howard, Joe Sears, Jaston William
Southside Theatre Guild
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by John Cariani
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by Sean Grennan & Leah Okimoto
Academy Theatre
Daddy Long Legs
by John Caird (book) and Paul Gordon (songs)
The Legacy Theatre
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by Marc Farley
Agathas: A Taste of Mystery
Its a Die Hard Candy Cane Holiday
by Marc Farley
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Midnight at the Masquerade
by The Murder Mystery Company
The Murder Mystery Company in Atlanta
The Gift: An Aris Christmas

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