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a thespian in tears [ALL REVIEWERS]
Companies Reviewed#
Rosewater Theatre Company4
Stage Two Productions1
Blackwell Playhouse1
Old Alabama Road Company - A Community Theater1
Dad's Garage Theatre Company1
Kudzu Playhouse1
Actor's Express1
Average Rating Given : 4.45000
Reviews in Last 6 months :

Parade, by Jason Robert Brown and Alfred Uhry
I love a PARADE.....
Monday, January 25, 2010
The PARADE at Blackwell Playhouse may have just passed us by, but I didn't want the opportunity to as well to get in some much deserved kudos for this wonderful production. In fact, I enjoyed it so much, I saw it twice!

The talent in this cast truly was phenomenal. I can't find enough adjectives to describe the beautiful characterizations, vocal and acting abilities of Jason Meinhardt and Michelle Peck as Leo and Lucille Frank...I loved/cried at every single song they sang, solo, duet or ensemble and felt the power in their scenes from unsatisfied love, to finding themselves, each other and their passions, to being at the end of their rope, literally and figuratively...while there was not a weak link in this cast, I wanted to make special mention of: Joe Arnotti (Frankie Epps), made me cry as well; Leslie Bellair (Iola Stover), had a lovely voice and stage presence; Don Goodner (Hugh Dorsey), really loved hating him; Brandon Sartain (Luther Rosser), made me laugh out loud with just about every line; Edwin Watson (Jim Conley), loved his swagger in all definitions of that term; Patrick Hill (Britt Craig), for not being afraid to be intoxicating on stage, Joel Altherr (Judge Roan) and Solomon Longmire (Newt Lee), it had to be challenging to play those characters, age wise, as convincingly as they did; and Gary Heffelfinger (Tom Watson), his characterization and vocals intrigued me so much, I would've liked to hear the good Reverend preach a whole sermon!

The true life story of Leo Frank, as well as the theater production, has touched a place in my heart and my soul that will never make me view "parades" in the same way.... Congratulations again to Director Rob Hardie and his cast and crew (especially choreography, music, and costumes) for an incredible theatrical experience...

Man of La Mancha, by Dale Wasserman, music by Mitch Leigh, lyrics by Joe Darion
Making a dream possible....
Saturday, May 16, 2009
I'm getting really good at posting a comment/review long after a show closes!! I enjoyed "Man of La Mancha" at Kudzu Playhouse. It was my first time seeing this show, and patronizing this venue, and I was impressed with some of the performances and music. I took my 12 year old daughter, who had just finished studying this period in history at her middle school, so she was REALLY into it..I thought the standouts for me vocally and acting wise were... Robert Arrington, the Governor/Innkeeper...what an imposing and powerful stage presence! M. Reed Higgins, The Padre... what a lovely singing voice! Rob Hardie, Pedro, what a brute! And, both Snapper Morgan, Sancho, and Jason Meinhardt, Cervantes/ Don Quixote for their humorous and heartwarming chemistry together...Also, I have never seen not heard a performer "feel" a song as deeply as Jason Meinhardt did during "The Impossible Dream." It was mesmerizing just watching and listening to him sing it....Kudos for an entertaining night of theater and for making a history lesson, of sorts, come to life and be such an enjoyable and interesting experience for a 12 year old girly girl. That is making a mother's dream possible!

A Company of Wayward Saints, by George Herman
Saints or Sinners?
Thursday, April 23, 2009
Well, I guess the old saying "better late than never" applies here, as I am just now posting a review about the closed show "A Company of Wayward Saints."

I enjoy visting The Cumming Playhouse, I have seen a few shows there, the last one being "Steel Magnolias," but this is not a review about that show. (No fault to the different casts, but I find I can't review it anymore after seeing it so many times, it starts to sound like Charlie Brown's teacher to me when I try to write it!!)

To me, this was a play about "egos," and all that entails, so I will just use that word. Each character represents the "characters" that are typically found in theater and in life, and the egos that each one represents. The invisible Duke in the audience was the "ultimate patron" that they are all trying to please. They want to get "back home" to their theater roots, the passions that first brought them to the theater and maybe they will find contentment, when they finally realize there is always another "scene" to be played.

The first attempts at this unravel in Act 1 due to those egos and not working together or appreciating each other, they can't make the "show" the Duke wants them to perform about life work, but it comes together in Act 2 as they find what they were looking for in themselves and as a group. They do need each other to make it work, plus, they learn some life lessons along the way through the "stages of life"...birth, adolescence, marriage, death. I was impressed in Act 2 at the interest the cast had in each other as they watched each group preform from the sidelines, like they were seeing it for the very first time themselves almost.

Anyway, this is just my interpretation. I imagine everyone takes away their own interpretation from this show.

The cast was solid, I especially enjoyed Bill Wilson's and Jim Dailey's performances, though I could relate to all the characters on a personal level through my involvement with theater and just life in general. It was an evening well spent, one that made you think, and in this case, that was a good thing!

The Elephant Man, by Bernard Pomerance
to see with the heart.....
Thursday, February 12, 2009
I have seen bits and pieces of the old, original, black and white, "The Elephant Man," but I have never seen it on stage, (and I loved it staged in the Theatre in the Round at Rosewater,) but I thought I knew what to expect basically. I expected it would be a dramatic and emotional play, painful to watch at times, and that I would cry... as I tend to be a dramatic and emotional person and therefore that's what I do fairly easily... cry... and I will say that I was not disappointed in my expectations. I had my teary moments throughout the play. I won't give away any important details for those that haven't seen the stage production before, but what I didn't expect was to laugh at the touching humor and tender emotions of The Elephant Man, John Merrick, as portrayed by Russ Ivey...I wasn't even sure if we the audience would be able to understand him when he spoke, but you get to see many facets to this amazing man and his life by the breath that Russ Ivey has breathed into this character... I didn't expect that experience, as you do with the other characters in the show, the strengths and weaknesses, the triumphs and struggles, and the beauty and the ugliness of mankind, and I don't mean in outward appearances....

The whole cast was great....Lisa Sherouse Riley, as Mrs. Kendall, had a perfect blend of warmth and wit. The expressions on her face and the look in her eyes in some of the scenes with John Merrick, especially the first and last time she saw him, were very heartfelt and tender...Joel Altherr as Dr. Frederick Treves really did a splendid job in portraying a man conflicted by so much around him that he could not control, especially in the final scenes where he was called upon to play his character with so much anger, grief and sorrow... you could truly feel his pain.....In addition to the above, I can't say enough about Russ Ivey as John Merrick...the transformation from a "normal" man to the "elephant" man was remarkable, and again unexpected, right before your very eyes, and he never broke character after that...even in the dimness of the theater during the smooth scene changes, or when he was not in the spotlight, he stayed completely in character as he slowly moved about or was consumed in his was mesmerizing to watch for the entire was also most impressive, when to be contorted in such a manner must feel very unnatural to one's body especially to continue for a period of time while trying to act on stage...

A talented performer, whose opinions I admire and respect, once told me that the biggest compliment one can give an actor is to say that "he or she inhabited a character"...and Russ Ivey truly "inhabited" John every way, shape and form...inside and out....

Kudos to the director, cast, and crew and to the Rosewater Theater for the expected and the unexpected of a show well done...

Hedwig and the Angry Inch, by John Cameron Mitchell; music and lyrics by Stephen Trask
Hedwig is Hot....
Sunday, July 6, 2008
I know I shouldn't have, but I couldn't help but read the reviews on this website about "Hedwig and the Angry Inch" before I went to see it. But, I still tried to remain unbiased, as I had never seen the movie and knew precious little about the show other than what I had heard around the theater water cooler, but it was hard to not be "looking" for some of what I had read....And, it is true that they were parts that were lost in translation, or should I say with Craig Waldrip's thick German accent, maybe it was a sound issue, but in any event, I found myself wishing that I could hit the rewind button like on that infamous "8 track tape player," but there isn't one in live theater. That's unfortunate too because this is such a really powerful show, and it was hard to have missed any part of it. But that being said, I really did love this show. I loved the band, each member was extremely talented in their own right, and I loved Angela Motter as Yitzhak though I swear on a stack of falsies I didn't know "his/her" secret until... AND when I bothered to read the program.

But, I really loved Craig Waldrip as Hedwig overall....He has an truly beautiful voice, and I am a sucker for beautiful men's voices....and equally beautiful legs that looked better than ANYONE else I've seen in fishnets and high heels. :-) I also really enjoyed our seats, as they were right by the catwalk next to the "pole" and that was a prime location. You could see the fabulous expressions on Craig's face throughout as each layer of Hedwig was being revealed. His eyes were the most stunning to watch as they were not only full of glitter, but of each emotion he was feeling. I even got even a little emotional myself...Yes, vit's true, I am in love with "Hedwig and the Angry Inch" and am an official stars, stripes and stilettos member of the "her" fan club. And I do recommend experiencing it "live," but I also plan to watch the movie for myself as well....just to see what it is all about...

Song of the Living Dead, by Travis Sharp, Matt Horgan, Eric Frampton
Beauty AND Braaaains...
Sunday, June 29, 2008
Okay, so not a horror fan here, but I am a hopeless when a theater friend suggested we go to Dad's Garage to see "Song of the Living Dead" I was like....ummmm... ookaay...why not?!?! But, it was really awesome!! I had to say something because I can't believe that no one has written much of anything about it yet on this review site.

As they say, it truly is a musical about love, it truly is a play about zombies...yep, couldn't quite piece those two together myself at first...but it is hilarious, irreverent, romantic, poignant, politically incorrect, wicked, gory and gruesome... and it frightens me that I found all that mixed together right up my alley...I may need some therapy to get to the root of all that....

The small cast portrays many different characters flawlessly, and I especially enjoyed (Z Gillispie) Harry's monster ego and (George Faughnan) Reverend Seabrook's scary lack of inhibitions.....they could give lessons on how to be able to let yourself "go" and just "go there" on stage.....and you should GO see it if you get the chance, beauty and "braaaains", a combo you just can't beat.....

1776, by Sherman Edwards & Peter Stone
A Declaration of Incredible
Sunday, June 29, 2008
I rather enjoyed reading Dedalus' review of "1776" in the format of the actual document of the Declaration of Independence, and while I am not that creative, I do want to offer up my humble two "bits" worth.

I never remember laughing heartily at a history lesson, often it was quite the opposite. And even though I do love the script and the music, I had never seen it performed live on stage so I really was hoping that this wouldn't turn out to be a really LONG history lesson. But much to my delight, it was anything but that. It was an incredibly interesting and humorous show and most of that credit goes to the musicians, the costumes, the directors and the very talented cast.

The fact that it is, for the most part, a factual portrayal of historical events makes it pretty amazing all by itself. What these men (and women) felt, endured, gave up and for our freedom and our great country is pretty amazing. But, it is this cast that truly honors these great individuals of "1776" in the way in which each actor brings them back to life on stage with their unique talents.

Honorable mention, in my "history" book, for their performances and/or musical numbers goes to William Mahlandt (Lee), Johnny Griffin (Franklin), Brad Dickey (Rutledge), Joshua Brown (Jefferson) who does look a great deal like the real Jefferson and yes, the hair did live up to its rep, Allan Dodson (Dickerson) and Dean Fowler (Andrew Mc Nair.) Songs that gave me a lump to my throat were Patrick Hill's (the courier) with his sad rendition of "Momma, Look Sharp" and Gary Heffelfinger's (John Adams) heartfelt "Is Anybody there?" And what great chemistry between two characters that were not suppose to be in the same state together in the script, yet have to be on the same stage together, as was between Kathy Kuczka (Abigail Adams) and John Adams in their duets as husband and wife. What tender and touching moments.....

And I did save Gary Heffelfinger's (John Adams) performance for last. John Adams was the right man at the right time. Gary Heffelfinger was the right man for the right role. The depth and range of his emotions, whether in victory or defeat.... in stubborness or humbleness, as well as his tremendous abilities as a performer, drew the audience into the heart, mind and soul of an the honorable man that was John Adams. For without his strong will and determination, we would not be celebrating this up and coming 4th of July.

So in-between the celebrations of cookouts and fireworks, we need to take a moment to remember these great Americans. Yes, I am waxing patriotic this 4th of July as this show gives me the "holiday" spirit of 1776 and makes me proud to an American as well as a member of the audience of Stage Two Productions' "1776."

Steel Magnolias, by Robert Harling
If you can't say something nice, come sit next to me....
Thursday, June 26, 2008
That is my favorite line from the show. There are many gems of Southern wisdom in this show, and while being a Southern Belle myself, I can certainly appreciate good gossip, I have mainly nice things to say about this production

I have seen this show enough times that I can sit in the audience and recite the lines with each actress on stage. Now, that can add to or take away from the magic of a show, and I can't quite decide which one I think that is in this case, but I did enjoy the Rosewater's prodution.

My quirks were mainly with the set. The theater has a small stage, and it makes the sets of some shows seemed cramped and tiny. I did notice the absence of one of those big, old fashioned, helment haridryers that is mandatory to achieve big, helment hair in those types of beauty shops. Also, the pictures on the wall were not "loud" enough for me (another southern gem for bright) as they just weren't quite tacky enough for my tastes.

I most enjoyed the actresses during their emotional outbrusts of either crying and/or screaming. Maybe it was the mood I was in....I wasn't sure if Gisele Frame (M'Lynn) was going to make it to the emotional frezy needed for the mourning scene, but she did just that. I enjoyed Donna Alred's (Ouiser) cranky temperment throughout the show, something that I strive for in my old age..... Linda Thompson (Truvy) did a fine job being southern even though she is not from the south. Her accent was not forced and believeable. I enjoyed how she and the other ladies genuinely shared real laughter and real tears during the show. Not easy to muster time after time. Julie Rhinehart (Clairee) seemed too young and pretty for me, not really a problem for her personally I am sure, but she did a fine job as the classy, sassy belle. Erin Greenway (Shelby) had some nice, emotional and touching moments with her mother,and Kim Burdges' (Annelle) quirky and funny emotions did not "interfer with her ability to do good hair." I also was impressed that Truvy and Annelle could both act while they actually did good hair. That is not something a lot of people can add to a resume. I was most impressed....

So whether you are a regular customer of Steel Magnolias or a first time one, it is worth the visit so make an appointment and go see it before they close up shop.

Nunsense, by Dan Goggin
Nunsense- a real sisterhood
Monday, May 12, 2008
I have never seen any version of the Nunsense productions before...I know...what theater convent have I been living in... but recently, I had the chance to catch the Rosewater's production in Roswell, and let's just say I was not disappointed as what I had always heard about Nunsense was exactly what I had the opportunity to see...both with the set and the performers.

The casting for this production was perfect. Habits off to the director for her insight. All five ladies had great chemistry together and each brought their own unique vision to their roles. Their acting, comedic timing and singing voices were delightful.

I could actually see Cheryl Roger's Mother Superior with a ruler in one hand and a flat screen tv remote control in the other. She brought such a "rush" of laughter to the audience during her stoned scene. It ought to be illegal to have that much fun as a character on stage!!

I loved the attitude and street smarts of Karen Walsh as Sister Robert Anne. Her Brooklyn accent was dead on, and she added such sass to the stage,(she and her little dog too!)

Kathy Russell as Sister Hubert was very solid and strong. The spirit she literally captured in the closing number had everyone dancing in their seats.

Maryia Hare as Sister Mary Leo was quite charming, and her dancing was heavenly.

And Rebekah Williams as the quirky and innocent Sister Amnesia was just plain, flat out hilarious. She is a true comedian in every sense of the word... with both her looks and her actions.

Despite the fact that this was less than a sold out crowd, the heart and soul and pure energy that these five sisters put into the show was refreshing. So, whether you have seen it numerous times before, or like me were a Nunsense "virgin," it is so worth seeing, so GO!!

Or you will have to say penance... :-)

See How They Run, by Phillip King
And They Ran Their Bums Off.....
Monday, March 3, 2008
I must admit I did not originally set out to see this production for all the "right" reasons, I did not go for an evening out to be "entertained" at the theater, I went to have an evening out with friends, to see an acting colleague/friend of mine that is a member of the cast, as well as my own curiosity of seeing The Rosewater Theater in their new venue in Roswell, but I was treated to an evening out of being "entertained" by a top quality theater production, and that was a delightful added bonus.

My reason for not having the "right" reasons above is that I am not a huge fan of most British farces, but this production helped to change my comedic tastes somewhat...the toil, the sweat (and lots of it) and the tears of this group of actors is what helped to bring about that change. It was not a full house the night we attended, but we were treated to no less of a performance than a sold out crowd would have been. The energy level, the chemistry and the comedic timing of the cast was amazing even from the first act when its setup premise requires the audience's patience and attention in order to "get" what follows in the next two acts, and what follows is everything from chuckles to hearty laughs. This excellent cast is what helped me to enjoy a show that usually is not my cup of English tea.

Miss Skillon had the almost impossible task of being humorous both conscious and "passed out" which she mastered quite well. Also honorable mention to Miss Skillon, Ida- the Maid, the Bishop of Lax, and Lance Corporal Clive Winton for the excellent deliveries of their lines and their hilarious interpretations of their characters.

Theater in the Round cannot be an easy task for an actor, you are totally exposed with no place to hide and are surrounded by what could become the enemy, this cast pulled that task off with great ease. In theater, you are taught to cheat out front to the audience but in this theater, you have to cheat out to a audience that is in a circle, giving thought and consideration to every audience memeber with your blocking, and this could only have been accomplished with very observant direction.

Finally, I did not know what to expect from the theater itself as it is tucked away in the back of a shopping center, but the renovations to the two theaters it houses and the lobby itself are quite beautiful. With the venue itself, quality productions such as this, and the top notch performances that I witnessed that night, I predict that the Rosewater Theater Company will enjoy the same success at this location as they did in the Cumming area.

Burns Night 2020
by Robert Burns
Last Laugh! Stand-Up Competition
by Justin Spainhour-Roth
Elm Street Cultural Arts Village
Burns Night 2020
by Robert Burns
Last Laugh! Stand-Up Competition
by Justin Spainhour-Roth
Elm Street Cultural Arts Village
Almost, Maine
by John Cariani
Centerstage North Theatre
Barton Field
by John Ammerman
Relapse Theatre
Daddy Long Legs
by John Caird (book) and Paul Gordon (songs)
The Legacy Theatre
Four Old Broads
by Leslie Kimbell
Onstage Atlanta, Inc.
Midnight at the Masquerade
by The Murder Mystery Company
The Murder Mystery Company in Atlanta
Titus Andronicus
by William Shakespeare
Live Arts Theatre

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