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REVIEWERS SIX DEGREES
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Companies Reviewed#
Medallion Performing Arts Center3
Non-Atlanta Equity Theater Company1
Cumming Attractions Theatre Company1
Old Alabama Road Company - A Community Theater1
Average Rating Given : 5.00000
Reviews in Last 6 months :
REVIEWS

The Boys Next Door, by Tom Griffin
Welcome, The Boys Next Door
Friday, June 22, 2007
5.0
Arnold runs things. He has things under control, compulsively, completely, and authoritatively; until he loses his cool and sees that the world is out to get him. Norman can’t understand why donuts aren’t offered at every social engagement. Lucien knows that things are hard, but he struggles to connect with the world anyway. Barry’s remarkable intelligence gets in the way, so his schizophrenia hides his deep pain. These are the boys next door and Jack, both patient and frustrated, both encouraged and discouraged, is their social worker. In this microcosm, lives are at stake as all five men struggle to keep up with the world.

The Boys Next Door is a brilliantly written play about four men, who are mentally and emotionally challenged living in a group apartment. Their social worker is their connection to the real world. First produced in New Jersey in 1985 and later made into a movie starring Nathan Hale in 1995, The Boys is alternately hilarious and deeply sad. The audience at first laughs hesitantly at the boys’ antics, but then feels part of the family as they recognize the quirkiness in their behavior and laughs in knowing appreciation. The pain in these men’s lives transfers from the characters to the audience in poignant moments leaving behind sadness and a tear.

The Old Alabama Road Company has brought a play to The Cumming Playhouse that is worth its salt. The reality of the characters’ situation rings true in every word and gesture. The company is unparalleled. Under the direction of Jim Dailey, the casting was supremely done with extremely rewarding results. Every character was authentic. This play could and should be at the Alliance Theatre and any one of the company could share that stage. As remarkable as each of them were, the surprise performance comes from Kevin Bolden as Lucien P. Smith. His performance was of such high caliber, no one would ever guess it was his very first time on the stage.

Little did the director and cast know that the audience on Opening Night contained a large contingency of possible critics. President and CEO Richard Davis of Developmental Disabilities Ministries (DDM) and his staff selected The Boys Next Door as their company outing. DDM’s ministry is focused on providing group homes in a Christian setting for the mentally and emotionally impaired. Throughout the evening, many shook their heads and smiled as the boys tried to get through routine tasks and quietly acknowledged their own limitations when Jack pronounced that he felt so much like a failure.

The Boys Next Door has a short window of opportunity at The Cumming Playhouse from June 21 – 24. But anything coming back next season from the Old Alabama Road Company should be marked. They’ve hit a home run in their premier performance at The Cumming Playhouse. Welcome, The Boys Next Door!

Menopause The Musical -- EXTENDED, by
A True Rite of Passage
Sunday, August 6, 2006
5.0
Men really don't get it - in fact, if they're in the audience at Menopause the Musical, they're an endangered species. Non-stop laughs, great empowerment for women of a "certain age," and all the true life experiences rolled into an hour and a half. If you haven't seen it - go! And take a friend. You'll regret missing this rite of passage. The women even take over the men's room after the play. Now THAT's an attitude!

Smoke on the Mountain, by
Smoke - You're Good for the Soul
Sunday, August 6, 2006
5.0
Sometimes, when reviewing a play, turn your back on the stage and look closely at the audience. Observing the audience may be key to how well the performance is going. Look for eyes forward and close listening to every word. See if the audience is straining to catch nuances on stage as if they are the first to notice something going on in the background. Look for a nudge between companions and a knowing glance that confirms a private moment ringing true on the stage. Watch hands patting in time to the music, fly up to the face in surprise, or clap wildly in delight. See toes keeping beat and legs outstretched to take in a good belly laugh. Notice the expressions on faces that smile, shake their heads in disbelief and even weep with laughter.

Lean in to catch a whispered observation between friends pointing at a character. Listen to comments of patrons taking a break during intermission. Watch them promptly return to their seats expectant for more of a magical time. Feel the electricity in the room as the audience’s energy reverberates back to the stage players in a volley of enthusiastic acceptance and grateful appreciation. Measuring the audience is art at its finest. If they have entered a world of wonder and openly express their reactions, the artists have achieved their goal.

The cast of Medallion Performing Arts' Smoke on the Mountain has achieved all these things. They started with a perfect performance and built exponentially to a superb performance. How do we know? Check with the box office for 26 consecutive sold-out performances and then stand at the door listening to the hysterical laughter. And while you’re out in the hallway, let the happiness of the music fly you away. Be sure to sing along, tap your feet and get lost in the moment.

Smoke on the Mountain, by
Smoke On The Mountain
Tuesday, July 25, 2006
5.0
Medallion Performing Arts Center presents the ever popular sell-out production Smoke On The Mountain at The Cumming Playhouse. This all professional cast acts, plays and sings their way through one of the most comical triangles a small country church can handle. Barry Piacente is the nervous, ingratiating Reverend Olgethorpe, pastor of Mount Pleasant church. As he tries to placate Miss Maude and Miss Myrtle, the resident church ladies, the Sanders Family comes in like a whirlwind pickin' and singin' their gospel truths. Jen Carrozza is the formidable matriarch of the Sanders clan in personality and voice. Kelly Fletcher, as June Sanders, explains, “I don’t sing, I sign,” with a spin of her white-gloved hands and a sashay in her hips. The sweet flirtatiousness of not-so-innocent ingénue Susanna Joy Smith as Denise Sanders resounds perfectly against her clumsy, dull twin brother Dennis played by Jared Davis.

The music is as much a cast member as any of the actors. With solid favorites like The Church in the Wildwood, I’ll Fly Away and Rock of Ages, you wonder whether you went to Sunday School at all when twins Dennis and Denise climb up and ride the piano singing Christian Cowboy. Ex-con, Stanley Sanders (David “Cotton” Payton) pours his reluctantly repentant heart out singing Meet Mother in the Skies and Everyone Home But Me.

Smoke strikes familiar musical and experiential chords in all of us. The cast are so comfortable in their roles and are such unique blended musicians; it is hard to believe they have only worked together during this one production. Medallion Performing Arts Center has a crowning achievement in Smoke on the Mountain. Don’t miss this hilarious, fun-filled, knee-slapping and toe-tapping production. Y’all come now – your pew’s awaitin’.

Make a joyful noise unto the Lord . . . Serve the Lord with gladness: come before his presence with singing. – Vera Sanders (Psalms 100).

You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown, by Clark M. Gesner, based on the comic strip "Peanuts" by Charles M. Schulz
You're a Good Time, Charlie Brown!
Friday, November 5, 2004
5.0
Take an average guy, fill him with insecurities, give him a dog with a Walter Mitty complex, and you have an American classic. "You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown" is taken right from the comic strip and put on the stage for us to have a lifesize look into life and its foibles.

Christian Mayer (Director) and Alisa Kay Sloan (Music Director) are the same directoral team that brought "Brigadoon" to Forsyth County a couple of years ago. They've done it again in combining solid acting and musical theater into a well-balanced cast who bring cartoon characters to life. The joint efforts of Medallion Performing Arts Corporation (MPAC) and Off-Broadway Productions chose the newly-renovated Cumming Playhouse for their venue. This historical schoolhouse adds its own classical charm to the Peanuts Gang as they sing about their "Book Report on Peter Rabbit."

Bring the kids for the laughs, and yourself for the memories, and before you know it, you'll be dancing and singing "Suppertime" in the aisles along with Snoopy and the Gang. One thing's for certain - Charlie Brown's a good time!

Brigadoon, by Lerner & Lowe
Almost Like Being In Love
Saturday, June 28, 2003
5.0
CATCO’s current musical, Brigadoon, is a transfiguration from the ordinary to the sublime. With a stilted beginning during a Thursday night performance, the cast quickly warmed up and drew the audience into the magical spell Brigadoon weaves. Interaction with the audience, well-appointed sets, wonderful costumes and impressive Scottish accents were only a few of the details that made this production notable.

Lerner & Loewe has made the music of Brigadoon an American tradition and it is well represented in this production. Olivia Sloan (Fiona) won our hearts with her clear soprano voice and actual personification of her character. Steve Cook (Tommy Albright) plays the perfect romantic lead with his comic counterpart Bill Wilson (Jeff Douglass) providing a dose of reality in an otherwise dream perfect world.

Jacqueline E. Goldston (Meg Brockie) bounced about the stage with energy reminiscent of the Unsinkable Molly Brown – a pleasure to watch. Justin Green’s (Charlie Dalrymple) tenor voice made us believe in the beauty of the auld country.

The musical production and direction were superior under Alisa Kay Sloan’s baton. Glen Sloan was a one-man keyboardist and brought many a smile to the jazz reprise performed in the bar scene. Mike McCool’s bagpipes drew us further into the gloamin’.

While the music was sublime, the dancing was not. The men’s chorus group resembled a group of linebackers in a can-can line. The innate abilities of Abigail and Kathleen Crete (Ensemble) covered for them, however, and all was at it should be.

CATCO has produced a wonderful musical production and deserves more in sound and acoustics than the very generous hospitality provided by the Creekside Youth and Community Center. As Forsyth County residents, we should be thinking ahead of how to support the arts in all forms. It’s the ticket to a very enjoyable future.

OPENING SOON
Murder and Stranger Things
by John Babcock
Agathas: A Taste of Mystery
CLOSING SOON
Nobody Loves You
by Itamar Moses (book & lyrics), Gaby Alter (music & lyrics)
Horizon Theatre Company
Pie in the Sky
by Lawrence Thelen
ART Station Theatre
The Daisy Princess
Onion Man Productions
Urinetown
by Mark Hollmann (book & lyrics) and Greg Kotis (music & lyrics)
Act 3 Productions
NOW PLAYING
A Few Good Men
by Aaron Sorkin
New Dawn Theater
August Summer Harvest 2016, The Lakeside Plays
by jpbeck
Onion Man Productions
God of Carnage
by Yasmina Reza
Pumphouse Players
Improv Monster
by Jackpie Theatre Workshop
Jackpie Theatre Workshop
Nobody Loves You
by Itamar Moses (book & lyrics), Gaby Alter (music & lyrics)
Horizon Theatre Company
Pie in the Sky
by Lawrence Thelen
ART Station Theatre
Split Second
by Dennis McIntyre
Academy Theatre
The Daisy Princess
Onion Man Productions
Urinetown
by Mark Hollmann (book & lyrics) and Greg Kotis (music & lyrics)
Act 3 Productions

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