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REVIEWERS SIX DEGREES
A User-Driven Site for Theater in Atlanta, Georgia
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Companies Reviewed#
Center Theatre of the MJCCA1
Blackwell Playhouse1
Kudzu Playhouse1
Rosewater Theatre Company1
The New American Shakespeare Tavern1
Average Rating Given : 4.50000
Reviews in Last 6 months :
REVIEWS

Romeo and Juliet, by William Shakespeare
Shakespeare Tavern's Romeo & Juliet
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
4.0
My 14-year old daughter's class is currently reading Romeo & Juliet in school. She and I made our way to the Shakespeare Tavern last Sunday evening so she could how the play is really performed, and to give it life outside dry school readings.

Lady Mac's earlier review of 4.0 is about right. Shakespeare frankly can be difficult to sit through, but Shakespeare Tavern has a great set and the acting was very good.

I thought the most interesting actors were not the main characters, but Mike Niedzwiecki as Tybalt, Troy Willis as Capulet, Jane Bass as the Nurse (was great), Doug Kaye as Friar Lawrence, Matt Felten as Paris, and Daniel Parvis as Friar John. I agree with Lady Mac that Mary Russell as Juliet was a little older for the part than Shakespeare intended, but who is going to find an early to mid-teen to perform Juliet on a professional level?

Shakespeare Tavern makes Romeo & Juliet about as enjoyable as it can be. As always the British tavern food at Shakespeare Tavern was great and the ale was even better.

Rent, by Jonathan Larson
Rent
Saturday, February 20, 2010
5.0
Goodbye Times Square and Fox Theatre and hello Kudzu Playhouse. I went to the opening of the musical Rent on Friday evening, Feb. 19. Director Andy Meeks and Producer Wally Hinds have brought Rent to Atlanta in a small, intimate setting, which is the way writer Jonathan Larson intended all along from his 1996 opening of Rent at the New York Theater Workshop.

Andy Meeks, who has played lead character Mark Cohen in the North American Broadway Tour from 2003 to 2006, again plays Mark Cohen and directs the show. Andy Meeks stays true to Rent form, from the set design (which is perfect), placement of the orchestra (on stage but to the side), to the dialogue, music, lyrics, and all the nuances of Rent. Even the costumes are true to form, from Mark Cohen's sweater and scarf, Angel Schunard's dress, and Tom Collins' cap.

The acting and singing were perfect. Lead actors Andy Meeks as Mark Cohen, Antonio Daza as Angel Schunard, Spencer Stephens as Tom Collins, and Ardalle Sheperd as Joanne were all wonderful. A special mention to Emily Sams as Maureen, who is actually stronger than the Maureen in the North American Broadway Tour or the movie.

My only critical comment is on the technical side, which I assume the folks at Kudzu will quickly resolve. Sometimes the head mikes, particularly for Mimi and Roger, were not quite working correctly and at times were difficult to hear over the orchestra. The spotlight at times also had a difficult time finding the correct actor.

For those who don't know the Rent story, Wikipedia summarizes it best: "Rent is a rock opera with music and lyrics by Jonathan Larson based on Giacomo Puccini's opera La bohème. It tells a story of a group of impoverished young artists and musicians struggling to survive and create in New York's Lower East Side in the thriving days of Bohemian Alphabet City, under the shadow of AIDS."

Upon the conclusion of the final dress rehearsal in New York, writer Jonathan Larson learned that Rent would receive a favorable review by The New York Times and his life long dream of writing and producing a great American musical was perhaps realized. He went to his N.Y. apartment that night, and suddenly died of undiagnosed aneurysm in his sleep. Jonathan Larson was only 35. Rent went on to the Nederlander Theatre and became the 8th longest running show on Broadway, winner of a Tony Award for Best Musical, and winner of a Pulitzer Prize.

Kudzu's Rent is exceptional, notwithstanding a few opening night technical issues. It should probably have a PG-13 rating due to adult language and themes.

No day but today!

Parade, by Jason Robert Brown and Alfred Uhry
Blackwell Playhouse's Musical "Parade"
Sunday, January 10, 2010
5.0
I am familiar with the Leo Frank case, but have never seen Parade. Blackwell Playhouse's performance of this musical is outstanding. The costumes, ranging from the Civil War to World War I, are spectacular, as is the set. A stellar performance once gain by Jason Meinhardt as Leo Frank (past winner of MAT awards as best actor for Don Quixote in Man of La Mancha and as best supporting actor in Little Shop of Horrors). Outstanding performances by Michelle Peck as Lucille Frank, Patrick Hill as news reporter Britt Craig, Don Goodner as prosecutor Hugh Dorsey, Joe Arnotti as Mary Phagan friend Frankie Epps, and Lisa Hatt as Mrs. Phagan. Solid performances by Tara Folio as Mary Phagan, Edwin Watson as Jim Conley, Brandon Sartain as Frank defense attorney Luther Rosser, Brad Dickey as Ga. Gov. John Slaton, and Gary Heffelfinger as Tom Watson, and the Ensemble. The actor who played Newt Lee was also solid. The acting and music performances were all superb. The band was fantastic, as was the lighting. There is not a weak part of this musical production.

Scenes that are particularly noteworthy are the opening scene and Confederate Memorial Day 1913 (The Old Red Hills of Home), the funeral and burial of Mary Phagan, the trial of Leo Frank, and the Finale, all performed by the Ensemble.

The Music Man, by Meredith Willson
76 Trombones for "The Music Man"
Monday, December 14, 2009
4.5
The Music Man at the Center Theatre of the Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta (in Dunwoody) is well done. The acting, singing, music and band were all superb. I had never been to this theater before. It is a very nice, comfortable facility and conducive to a major musical production such as The Music Man. Of special note were the outstanding costumes for the cast of about 30 and the wonderful set.

A Christmas Carol, by Lisa & G. Scott Riley (Based on the Novel by Charles Dickens)
Rosewater Theatre's "A Christmas Carol" Captures the esssence of Dickens
Monday, December 7, 2009
4.0
I very much enjoyed Rosewater Theatre's production of "A Christmas Carol." It captures the essence of Charles Dickens' story & 19th century London. Bill Pacer as Ebenezer Scrooge is outstanding. Strong performances by Duke Deuschle as Bob Cratchit, DeShon Jackson as Ghost of Christmas Present, Connor Sherouse as Ghosts of Christmas Past and Future, and Santiago Trueba as Tiny Tim. C.G. Garcias as Jacob Marley is also very good, although more a minor role. I would think it is difficult to produce this play and make it different from the rest, but Rosewater Theatre captures the essence of Dickens and the transformation of Ebenezer Scrooge.

CLOSING SOON
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by Robert Harling
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