A User-Driven Site for Theater in Atlanta, Georgia
Companies Reviewed#
Little General Playhouse3
Big Top Productions2
Cobb Children's Theatre2
Cobb Playhouse and Studio1
Theatre On Main1
Kudzu Playhouse1
Blackwell Playhouse1
Cobb Players1
Non-Atlanta Equity Theater Company1
Average Rating Given : 3.23077
Reviews in Last 6 months :

Will Rogers Follies, by Cy Coleman, Betty Comden, Adolph Green
Here's Our Will!
Sunday, May 27, 2007
I have seen this show a few times before so I was familiar with it prior to this production and was a little apprehensive about it being done at Blackwell. Let's face it. Blackwell Playhouse did attempt a difficult production to do in such a small space. WRF is definitely supposed to be high "flashy-trashy" entertainment with a big set and large stage for big production numbers. However, partly because of the limitations, they did fall short. There were some really outstanding performances, but yet, some not so good, and even at times, painful.

I do wish that I could have reviewed this show while it was still open to recommend that people see this show for the performances of Mark Owen, Colleen Hargis, and Rob Hardie. The show may not have been great, but their performances were.

Mark Owen was spectaular as Will. He, as another reviewer commented, became Will Rogers. Rob Hardie was so perfect for the role of Clem Rogers. He captured the part perfectly. He and Mark had good chemistry in the strained relationship between father and son.

As the consensus of reviewers seems to agree, Colleen Hargis, pretty much stole the show as Z's Favorite. At first, I didn't think I was going to like her, but was soon won over. She had good vocals on "Willamania", but I was most impressed with her acting, especially when she had to go from being Z's Favorite to when everything fell apart when the Depression hit. It is so refreshing to see a performance from someone who is a triple threat. Too many community theatres cast solely on vocals and end up with someone who can't act or vice versa.

However, I was very disappointed in Amanda Leigh Pickard's performance as Betty Blake. I had seen her production of "Quilters" which she directed and was very impressed. I wasn't quite so impressed with her performance here. She portrayed Betty as pouty for the first part of the show and bitchy for the rest. She didn't make me like, empathize, or connect at all with Betty. When she sang "No Man Left For Me", I kind of didn't blame Will for not being at home. I wouldn't want to be around her either. I didn't see any chemistry at all between Betty and Will that I have seen in previous WRF productions. Vocally, she seemed to have some transition problems between her lower and upper register, which seems to have become a pet peeve of mine. My best advice to someone would be that if you want to play leads, find a teacher who will teach you to use your mixed voice properly so you can make those transitions.

Overall the chorus was pretty bad. Without Colleen Hargis' lead vocals, "Willamania" would have been a disaster. The chorus looked awkward and had little energy. I wasn't terribly impressed with the choreography, but it may have been more that the chorus doing the choreography was unimpressive. With the exception of one, the cowboys either were too young or too old for the part. A couple of the follies' girls and sisters also looked too young. I doubt Ziegfeld would have hired Follies girls with braces. Most of the production numbers were just alright, but understandably, they were very limited on space to do too much. Of the sisters, one did really stand out for me and unfortunately I'm not sure of her name. She had long, dark curly hair and a little larger than the others and also doubled as the on-stage stage manager. She had really big expressions that are perfect for musical theatre and really stood out. She was totally present in every scene. Too many of the other chorus members were looking off as though they were daydreaming or like no one was looking at them anyway since the focus was on Will or someone else on stage. Be present in the scene!

The kids were OK, but one really stood out for me. Victory Van Tuyl, who played Mary Rogers, was delightful. She was so bright-eyed and seemed to be loving every minute of her stage time. I couldn't take my eyes off of her every time she came on stage. She may have a very promising future ahead of her. She definitely had an unbelievable amount of stage presence.

Overall, WRF was definitely a mixture of talents. It had some promising performances, but as a whole lacked the excitement and flashiness that this show was meant to exude.

Anything Goes, by Cole Porter
Did You See the Same Production As Me?????????????
Sunday, March 4, 2007
I was hesitant to review this show because I am so pulling for this theatre. However, after seeing reviews of this show being given a "5", I've got to speak my mind. I don't know what production these people who gave this show a "5" saw, but it certainly wasn't the one I saw. Maybe I see more theatre or they have kids in the show; I don't know, but I guess, each to his own. As I really want this theatre to do well, I hope that my comments will be taken as constructive because that is truly my intent.

First off, the good. The absolute standout of this show was without doubt Jim Abert as Moonface. He gave an absolutely perfect and enjoyable portrayal of his character. His singing was good as well (for the character). Other standouts were Buddy Everhart as Mr. Whitney, Andy Leach (in a small, but well acted role), as the Captain, and Ching and Ling, played by Billy Boyd & Alexander Dillson. What made the difference between these characters and all of the others was CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT!

Now for the bad & ugly. Much of the problem just seemed to be really bad casting, but sometimes I guess you go with who turns out at the audition. Camille Wall, as Reno Sweeney, was extremely poorly cast. Reno's songs are written to be belted and/or mixed. Ms. Wall is clearly a head voice singer with little to no mixed range. Her songs were weak and pitchy at best. Although Reno should have alot of sexual energy, Ms. Wall seemed to oversex her character to make up for poor character development. The hair tossing and hip swiveling was annoying.

Craig Jones, as Billy definitely had some severe pitch problems, but yet there was an interesting quality in his voice. I really think that with some good vocal training he could turn out to be a decent singer. He was a great dancer in the "Anything Goes" number. I think his acting was way too over the top even for musical theatre. He needs to rein it in just a tad. I did enjoy his portrayal of Billy dressed as Mrs. George Bernard Shaw and the Chinese man.

Amanda Whittle as Hope perhaps belongs in the previous "good" part of the show. I enjoyed her. She just needed a little more character development, and her singing was good, but a little weak, closing off alot in her upper range. I do commend her though, since it is usually difficult to sing a duet with someone who is way off pitch.

Allya Hutcheson who played Bonnie really captured the speaking voice of Bonnie well; however, her stage presence was really lacking. Whenever she sang, both "Heaven Hop" and "Let's Step Out" she looked very awkward and unsure, often looking at the floor. Her singing voice was just alright. In musical theatre, you have to be able to sing, act, and dance, all at the same time (said with tongue in cheek)! One other thing that bothered me though was her posture. I struggled to keep myself from rushing the stage and pulling her shoulders back. Bonnie would have carried herself differently. Again, character development.

The characters of Sir Evelyn and Mrs. Harcourt, played by Chris Fall and Angela McCulloch was alright, but they just didn't stand out to me. The angels were cast way too young. A couple of them pulled it off better than others. If you're going to cast a 14 or 15 year old in this part, at least make them look age appropriate. The choreography was lackluster, at best. The group numbers had no energy and most of the cast looked stone-faced through them.

I really wanted to like this show. As I said previously, I really hope that this theatre will do well, but they will need to step it up from this production. To disassociate themselves from the previous theatre, they will have to find better quality actors to do better quality productions, which is sort of a "chicken or the egg" type of thing. Big Top had some difficulties with the same problem as they had moved into the previous space occupied by Cobb Playhouse, but very successfully overcame the stigma by really committing to quality. That's what will need to be done here.

The Butterfly Scroll, by Book by Misty Simmons, Lyrics by Jennifer Simmons, Music by Scott simmons
3.5, Great Music, Some Exceptional Performances, Weak Script
Tuesday, July 19, 2005
Overall, this was a cute show. I'd give it a 3.5 on the 5.0 scale. The score was well done. The contemporary style of the music contrasting the medieval staging of the story worked for me. The costumes were incredible. Stealing the show was Lani Brooks as the visually-challenged queen, one of the funniest performances on stage I've seen this year. Other exceptional performances in this show were Andy Leach as Jack, Michael Strelecki as Prince Edward, and Jennifer Simmons as Alexandra. I found myself oddly rooting for Prince Edward and Alexandra as their characters seemed much more developed than the actual "heroes" of the story Prince Adam and Princess Marianna. Edward and Alexandra had great stage chemistry. Adam and Marianna had none (Just because you're married in real life, doesn't mean that it translates well to the stage). The script was weak, but I think workable. The premise of the story is good. Some characters need better development, especially Adam and Marianna, to convince the audience to pull for them and care about them. The story just didn't flow well. Maybe some more plot twists are needed and possibly foreshadowing of the plot twists. The "twists" that there were, were really not all that exciting or surprising and we're uninterestingly worked into the story. The purpose of the family from present day was sort of silly. Their tie-in to the story seemed forced. And what purpose did the talking cat serve? Other than to be distracting during an otherwise good song performed by Prince Adam. I'm not saying that the cat wasn't performed well; it's just that it didn't have any real relevance to the story. I think that this show has the potential to be good if performed again. The script just needs some tweaking. Also, sorry, but I absolutely hated, hated, hated the program rolled into a scroll. Clever idea in theory, but doesn't come close to working in practice. It made it much too difficult to read as well as to save with a collection of other programs.

I Hate Hamlet, by Paul Rudnick
Great Job, Mark!
Tuesday, July 19, 2005
I had heard of this show before, but this is my first opportunity to actually see it staged. It was extremely well done with near perfect casting for all of the parts. R.J. Allen was very appealing as Andrew. His NY acting training was definitely evident. Bill Mann was exceptional as Barrymore and so perfect for the role. He was suave and debonaire, and funny in an understated way. Kim Jacob as Diedre had great stage presence, however, the squeakiness of her line delivery did kind of grate on me at times, but otherwise she was really cute and captured the naivete, youthfulness, and innocence of her character. Everyone else did a wonderful job with their characters as well. The timing and flow of the show was good. It was easy to stay focused on the performance and just truly enjoy the show. Great directing Mark! My only real complaint would be the volume at times. It was a really fun show to see and as it has a couple more weekends, I'd definitely recommend it!

The Last Five Years, by Jason Robert Brown
Kudos to Kudzu
Monday, July 4, 2005
I waffled back and forth as to whether to give this show a 4 or 5. I've become stingy with 5's and now reserve them for extremely exceptional performances. This would be very close to that. As usual, I'd like the ability to use half points. If so, I definitely would give this show a 4.5. I have to say that this is the best performance I've seen in Atlanta outside of a professional touring company in a long time. Admittedly, I don't see nearly as much as I'd like to though. I went to this show with some, but limited, familiarity of the show and its music. I've heard some people say that it is difficult to follow; however, I didn't find that. Shelley Murphy was good as Kathy, nice voice, good portrayal of the character. But I was awestruck over Andy Meeks performance as Jamie. I have to say that he may be one of the most talented people I've seen on stage in Atlanta. His acting was incredible, and the audience could really visualize his aging five years in the course of 90 minutes, and he made it look effortless. I haven't seen many shows at Kudzu, but what I have seen has been very good. Kudos to Kudzu for providing quality theatre to the community. I'll definitely see more shows there in the future.

Annie, by Martin Charnin
"Maybe" a 3.5
Saturday, April 30, 2005
This show was a mixed bag of some very good vocals and acting and some of the worst I've seen recently on stage. Therefore, I guess I'll balance it out to a 3. If I could give half points, I'd give a 3.5. Charli Cohen as Annie was excellent and without her, the show would have probably faltered. She is obviously tremendously well trained vocally. Her acting was a little weak. but not at all bad. Other standouts were Emily Alexander as Ms. Hannigan and Adam Hoyak as Rooster. Their vocals and acting were superior. All of the orphans were adorable and just as they should be. Daddy Warbucks was alright, a little weak vocally, but still enjoyable through most of it. Great sets and costumes as well, although one complaint I have is that Annie should always come down the stairs when she appears in her red dress and wig, not from the wings. Having her enter from the wings definitely lost the effect that that scene could have had, especially when there were stairs available in the "New Deal for Christmas" scene. Now, for the bad. To say the rest of the vocals in the show were atrocious would be an understatement. They were incredibly painful at times. It was like the music director must have just told the cast to pick a note, any note. Some of the solos were so bad that it brought down the quality of the really good performances of those already mentioned, which is why I had to balance the rating to a 3.

Godspell, by Conceived by JOHN-MICHAEL TEBELAK. Music and New Lyrics by STEPHEN SCHWARTZ
It Was Just Alright
Wednesday, April 27, 2005
I'm with Katydid on this one. This was not that good of a show. And Theatre-Fan's raving review makes me question either who they know in the show or whether they see much quality theatre. I also hesitated to review this show because I have seen quite a few really good quality shows at Big Top and feel that this one was a fluke that it was a little poorer quality. This theatre is run by very professional and talented people, and I really want this theatre to succeed and don't want to deter patrons from seeing future Big Top shows. I have seen Godspell performed many times, including one with "Okely". Although this is not the worst production of this show I have seen, it isn't the best by far either. The flow of the show was off. It seemed to me like the actors were just going through the motions and saying lines rather than really living their characters. The vocals with the exception of Melissa Manning were just OK, a few kind of bad. However, I was also very impressed as to the improvement of Ralph's voice from previous productions. One of the other actors though annoyed me to the point that I could barely stand watching. Someone needs some Ridilin. And as to the whole Godspell controversy, get over it! If it offends you, don't go see it. And also to Theatre-Fan, Little General/Cobb Playhouse is not under new management. They moved to Acworth. Big Top is a totally separate theatre from Little General/Cobb Playhouse. They just happened to move into the space that was previously occupied by LGP/CPS.

Grease, by
Mixed Review
Thursday, September 18, 2003
This wasn't an awful show, however, it didn't blow me away. There were some really good performances by the actors and then there were some others that if I had to watch them again, it would probably make me want to kill myself or at the very least stick needles in my eyes. The show was well-directed overall. No one was talking to the back wall or to the floor. It was really hard to hear the singing over the orchestra/band even though it was small. I think much of that was due to the actors' inability to project because I was able to hear some and not others. DJ Johnson, as Danny, was great. Not only is he a pleasure to look at, he had a really nice voice and did a great job portraying the character. Amber Paul as Frenchy, Laura Wright as Jan, and Brian Riggs as Doody were also standouts to me. Also, although Michael Crommett as Eugene did a good job with the part, he was just too darn cute for it.

Once Upon A Mattress, by Book by Jay Thompson, Marshall Barer and Dean Fuller, Music by Mary Rodgers
Great Time at the Castle
Wednesday, June 18, 2003
I really enjoyed this production. Although I was familiar with the story and the music, I had never seen this show on the stage before. It was very well directed by Rob Hadaway. Danita Charles as the Queen and Scott Simmons as Dauntless stole the show in their respective parts. It was definitely well worth the cost of the ticket. The only minor drawback was that it would have been fun to see this production performed in a larger venue where even more could have been done with it.

You're A Good Man Charlie Brown, by
It Was a Pretty Good Show, Charlie Brown
Sunday, November 24, 2002
It's hard not to compare this or any version of this show with Theatre on the Square's production, which I would absolutely give a rating of 5. This one was an acceptable version. I wasn't exactly blown away by it. I was most impressed with the incredibly talented, Rob Hadaway as Linus and Andy Leach as Snoopy, who really more than the others, truly became their characters. It had a really nice set for a small venue. Good job.

West Side Story, by Arthur Laurents, Leonard Bernstein, Stephen Sondheim
Sunday, November 24, 2002
This show was an unexpected delight. Like everyone else, I had seen this show before and didn't exactly have high expectations. I was completely sold on this slightly older cast than some other versions I have seen. It was well directed and well choreographed. Maria Melton as Maria was charming, and Eric Zwieg as Tony was wonderful. The stage combat between the Jets and the Sharks was outstanding. Very well done.

Cheaper By the Dozen, by Christopher Sergel
Dozen Disaster
Sunday, November 24, 2002
This may be the worst theatre production I have seen in Atlanta this year. Not only was it a waste of money, it was a waste of my time. Poor direction was the primary problem. Much of the time, many of the actors were delivering their lines to the back wall. I saw more backs of the kids than I saw their faces. Even when they were delivering lines toward the audience, it was difficult to understand most of the children. The narrators' continual pacing back and forth from the front to the back to the front of the theatre was very annoying. A scene several minutes in length that was done completely from back stage could easily have been done at the front of the stage and not have completely bored the audience. Two bright lights in this production were the characters of Anne and Dan, played by Susan Delaney and Justin Livingston. They were the two actors who actually acted and didn't merely just deliver their lines. I have seen many wonderful productions at this theatre and hope for more to come, but saying that this show was mediocre would be generous.

Alice in Wonderland, by Anne Coulter Martens
Wonderland Was Wonderful
Wednesday, November 13, 2002
This production was completely awesome. I have seen very few children's productions done so well. Each and every actor was superb in their individual part, each using accents to portray their role. Jessica Cornwall was completely adorable as Alice and is an incredible talent. The costumes were outstanding. The sets were absolutely beautiful. Very well directed. Well Done!!!

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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