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Blood Brothers
a Musical
by Willy Russell

COMPANY : Kudzu Playhouse [WEBSITE]
VENUE : Kudzu Playhouse [WEBSITE]
ID# 564

SHOWING : October 10, 2003 - November 15, 2003



This is a very moving rags-to-riches story. A woman supporting a houseful of children already surrenders one of her new-born twin sons to the childless woman she chars for. The boys grow up streets apart, never learning the truth but becoming firm friends and falling in love with the same girl. One prospers while the other falls on hard times. This is a full-bodied musical, a wonderful melodrama that is also a thoroughly modern ballad opera. Nominated for 6 Tony Awards, including best musical.

Director Andy Meeks
Linda Paige Anderson
Sammy Brian Godeski
Mickey Andy Meeks
Ms. Johnstone Shelley Murphy
Click to Submit Cast & Crew Info for this production


Is "Blood Brothers" a "5"?
by Paul
Thursday, November 6, 2003
I feel that I must make a comment about this show and it’s many reviews. I went to see this show because of the “controversy” that seems to be playing out on these pages.

First, I would like to lay some groundwork. I am a veteran theater fan. I have had the opportunity to attend performances on Broadway in New York and the West End in London. I have also had the pleasure attending performances at Professional Regional Theatres, as well as, Community Theater and High School productions. That having been said I feel I am qualified to weigh in on the “discussion” about “Blood Brothers”

Is Blood Brothers a “5”? That is in the eye of the beholder, therefore, everyone that has written a review of this show has the right to make his or her comment about the show and the performance of the actors in the show.

In my opinion no it was not a “5” there were some noticeable flaws that could have been better. Choreography, for one, if the cast is not capable of executing complex steps then modify the choreography. If not it appears that the cast hasn’t rehearsed enough. Was the Choreography all that bad? NO! But it was not up to the other levels of the show.

Were all the actors great and wonderful and terrific? No some were and others were a little weaker. Was their performance’s a detraction to the show? No. Overall they gave good, solid performances.

Overall, I felt that the provided me with a great night of theatre. I did not feel cheated, nor did I feel disappointed. I felt entertained and that I believe is the essence of what Community Theatre is about.

As to the many reviews, as I have previously stated, the ratings and the reviews are in the eye of the beholder. But I do agree with Ms Hinds comments. Personal accusations against the character of an actor has no place on these pages. It only shows the pettiness and the immaturity of the writer. Some of the statements made border on libel. Some of these reviews are obviously written with a certain amount of bias both positively and negatively slanted. I think anyone with a certain level of intelligence would be a to discern which is which

My personal recommendations? GO SEE THE SHOW and formulate your own opinion. I don’t think you will be disappointed

Paul Forrester
Sorry wrong E Mail address by Paul
Sorry wrong E Mail address by Paul
One comment
by Jeannie Hinds
Tuesday, November 4, 2003
I would like to thank everyone for the reviews and comments on Blood Brothers. We truly appreciate them all from the 0's to the 5's. I agree that constructive critism is very important if we are to grow. I have just one comment I feel I have to make. I find it very sad that anyone would attack the character of any actor under the guise of a review. Yes, comment on the blocking, the accents, the costumes, the lighting, etc, etc, etc. We can all learn from comments like that. But some of the comments go far beyond the limits of decency. If I could protect all the actors at Kudzu and at all theatres and prevent them from having to endure personal attacks - I would. With that said - Thanks once again for all the other comments and reviews. If you haven't seen the show we hope you will consider it. We are very proud of the show and all the wonderful artists in it.

Jeannie Hinds
A Real Review & More!
by Girl
Monday, November 3, 2003
Perhaps I am crazy for throwing myself into this mess, but here goes.

I'll start with something that seems to have been completely forgotten about – a fair review.

I saw Blood Brothers opening weekend and was pleasantly surprised. Having seen the majority of the actors in previous shows at Kudzu, as well as Andy's directorial debut with Godspell last summer, I knew that it was a talented group of people, but I still went in a little weary simply because the show seemed too big for Kudzu's little stage. However the show really came together. Although I felt that a couple of the actors were miscast there were some people that really stood out. I'll join the crowd in mentioning Jason Meinhardt, who was outstanding. Andy Meeks and Shaun Whitley gave respectable and believable performances in their roles. Paige Anderson did a great job with her character. Although it's something that often goes unnoticed, the lighting of this show was fantastic.

So, then, why not a 5? A few things. Though the direction was good enough, I know Andy could have done better. But it is hard, I would imagine, for anyone to be in a show and direct it. It is physically impossible to see whole of the stage when you yourself are on it. Next up: the accent thing that has been previously mentioned. I am, perhaps, a little too picky about accents, but I really feel that if a show is going to try to pull them off everyone needs to have a believable accent all of the time. If that can't be done, it's fine. We don't see The Diary of Anne Frank done in German because, surprisingly enough, there aren't a huge many German-speaking actors in Atlanta. Likewise, if you can't find the actors who can pull of the accents, can 'em. They're not all together necessary. And, as I have mentioned, some actors gave less-than-stellar performances (mostly because, in my opinion, they were poorly cast).

Now, I can't help but address everything that has been going on here. I'll just say now that I won't give my name in order to protect my boyfriend from receiving any ill effect from any of my comments. He is, for the record, an area actor who has worked at Kudzu in the past. Having dated an actor for over two years I have seen a lot of shows all over Atlanta, though I was only barely involved in theater back in high school and have no actual involvement in it now. That's the extent of my credentials or involvement. I don't think I'm the only one out there who feels that there have been multiple unfair reviews posted for this show. I don't think that people who date or are engaged to (or married to, for that matter) the people directly involved with shows shouldn't post, as long as they are able to be at least something resembling objective. I don't think that such people can rightfully claim, however, that they are "not related" to the show. I don't think that actors, directors, stage managers, techies, etc, etc, etc, directly involved with the given production should review it, because having put their own energy into it, it will be near impossible for them to offer a fair review. (Remember, every time I say review I am talking about an actual number; there is that seldom-used "No Rating" option for those who may have things to say but not be in a fair position to affect a show's rating.) I do think that actors and actresses should review their peers if they are not in the show because they can offer valuable feedback that laypeople like myself may not be in a position to offer. I don't think that people who do not like someone else's review because it reflects different views from theirs should post a rating just to counteract the one they didn't write. I think all in all everyone here is being really petty about something that matters very little. Yet I still had to throw in my two cents, for the cent they may be worth to all of you. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]
Immature by sara
So here I was checking out some reviews on new shows that are out, to see what's good out there to possibly go see. I never make reviews or usually make comments to reviews, but I have to say that I think most of these reviews on here are ridiculous and immature. I also have to say that this site should be used for good and not immature war games. Also on another note I think that no matter if someone is in a show or not they should have the right to make a review/comment as long as it is objective and fair, that is what this site is here for. It sounds to me that half of you just don't like the fact that the show is really good and you’re mad that you’re not in it. Get over it!
Immature Part 2 by Girl
I thought it was kind of immature for someone to assume that the only reason a show they personally enjoyed could earn less-than-stellar reviews from others was because of something as petty as jealousy. Come on people. Isn't this site here to give everyone a forum to offer their opinions? This has been the only show where negative opinions were received so poorly. It really does make one think that half or more of those posting reviews were directly related to the show. That seems immature to me.
"matters," a lot ! by suzie q

Girl hit a chord with me!
I am in no way related to anyone in "Blood Brothers" nor am I in the show. That being said, I am a patron of Kudzu's, as well as other theater's plays. What has previously been written about a certain cast member of B.B. does matter !!! And all actors no matter what show they are curently "in" should have a right to defend a fellow actor who is being libeled!
I am also concerned about Taylor's emotional stability and hope he can get himself out of this because underneath the anger he is a good person. Believe me, girl, all of this does matter! And I am really glad the actor, himself, responded to Taylor's attacks. J..your reply was so well written and thought out. An acting career is hard enough to get started without unfair p.r..A Special thanks to the Hinds for giving the community, and directors, and all actors a supportive stage to do what they so love to do !!!
SuziQ...thank you. by JasonMeinhardt
Thank you very much for your comment. I am sure I speak for all at Kudzu and the cast of BB when I say it is nice to hear someone else who isn't looking to attack myself or others and to call it how they see it. Thank you again and I hope you had a chance to see BB. If not, maybe Jerry Finnegan's Sister next? :)Thanks again! ~J~
Something to see again and again!
by Kbags
Sunday, November 2, 2003
As someone who has been to many community and professional theaters, I have to say that Kudzu's "Blood Brothers" is absolutely awesome! I will and am recommending this show to everyone I know as a MOST SEE show. It is baffling to me that anyone who admits that they are in the theatre industry would stoop to make reviews on something that it sounds like they have never even seen. I think some people need to spend more time on fixing themselves then trying to making assumptions on others. I have seen Blood Brothers several times now and every time the cast is better and better. But like anything in life, you have good days and bad days. I feel that the cast did a great job with each one of their roles and did an even better job making the audience believe and feel each characters feelings and emotions throughout the show to the very end. Thank you Kudzu, for throwing such a wonderful and moving production. I can't wait for season 2004. Thanks again, Bags [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]
I couldn't let this one slide by Okely Dokely
If I am incorrect about this, I apologize in advance, but I'm pretty sure that a cast member wrote this review. I will be kind and not disclose who I think it is, but Kbags is the prefix of an e-mail address which belongs to someone who I worked with in a show and who I know is in this show.

If you are who I think you are, I don't mean to be a dick. You are a great person and I like you a lot, but please, let non cast members review shows. I've never reviewed (or even commented on) anything I've been in, and I was hoping that no one would do it on this site. It's unfortunate that the rating for this show has gotten so badly skewed by either cast members (possibly), bitter/jealous people, people who don't know how to click on the "comment" button instead of the "review" button, or all of the above.
thank you by taylor
Yes I know who this one is too.
smashing good show 4.5
by rivercityman
Sunday, November 2, 2003
I must admit my only two qualifications for reviewing this show are that I went and I own a computer.

I am no regular patron of the theater but as a veteran of seeing live shows many times I can attest to a few things.

For one, no matter how well trained you are, not matter how hard you've worked or how well you've prepared, you can have a bad night. Athletes are a prime example of this.

Two, to be moved the material must be well written. Having some deep thought put into the work is the difference between good and brilliant. If it's something predictable and scarred with easy solutions it dulls the experience.

Another thing (not that anyone has said different) is that venue means everything and means nothing. I've seen some of the worst shows in the best Atlanta has to offer and vice versa.

Last, some nights the shows are better than others. Some evenings it all comes together. The performers and crowd share an incredible experience that leaves everyone feeling like something special has just happened. It's a true joy and connection that emits from everything and adds so much to the experience. The performers feed off of it and the show becomes for lack of a better word, magical. I go for those nights, when everything is on.

As for last night I thought the show was great. The actors were cast very well. Andy Meeks was perfect for Mickey and does a great job showcasing his talents of singing and acting. Shelley Murphy does an excellent job as well and was very believable in her role of Mrs. Johnstone. She's a great singer too. Jason Meinhardt was great in his role as the Narrator, setting the mood of each scene. Shaun Whitely did a fine job like Andy, of portraying a character who grows up before your eyes. Paige Anderson playing the girl in the middle, fills her role superbly. She's perfect for this part. Robin Gurin as Mrs. Lyons was perfect for her part as well and was very convincing. The rest of the cast Kelly Grady, Brian Godeski, Ron Chenoweth, Wally Hinds, and Lisa Kopkin do excellent jobs in filling the other roles and acting as stage crew. I thought everyone had a great night and Kudzu is very lucky to have them all. (No matter how many times they are cast)

The venue was great for community theater. It was cozy and added to the sense of a shared experience. As far as a buzz in the air I would say it was there. The crowd was very responsive and the theater was pretty much full.

The weakest part? The story itself. I thought some parts too predictable. Some parts unbelievable. I thought tying in Marilyn Monroe during the musical numbers was great but they did it one too many times. The cast make the story move, not the writing.

I think I was there on a very good night. This cast and crew as they proved are more than capable of making this an incredible experience for the novice and veteran theater goers of Atlanta. Thanks to all. John
Please see my comment attached to vanillacoolasice
by taylor
Thursday, October 30, 2003
Please see my comment attached to vanilliacoolasice. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]
Confused... by christopherthomas
So people from Kudzu shouldn't comment on a Kudzu show, but you admit you are involved with Kudzu, and you commented on the show. Not only that, you gave it a "1" rating, not because it deserved it, but because you were insulted that the Kudzu people were giving the show rave reviews.


As far as your Meinhardt-envy, keep in mind that almost every show at Kudzu this year has had a different director. Jason has to audition like everyone else. I know, because I've seen him at the auditions.

Personally, I don't take any review on this site seriously unless the reviewer signs his or her name. Thank you, Brad Rudy, for being one of the few reviewers who doesn't hide behind a screenname.

- Christopher Thomas
agree with christopher by andy
if taylor has acted at kudzu before then he or she knows you have to audition. Mr. Meinhardt has talent and that is the reason he is in most shows. it is his versatality that gets him cast. he gets cast because he is good. curious to know what your resume looks like.
oh dear by taylor
I believe I have struck a cord. Mr. Thomas I do thank you very much for agreeing with me that you should not take seriously anybody that goes by a screen name and not their real name. And if you see my comments again, you will notice that I did not say that Jason was bad. I merely stated that I was tired of seeing on stage and that the theatre needs some new blood. That is how a theatre stays in buisness. By introducing new talent in the area. If you do nothing but keep the same person over and over up on stage, audience members become bored and say "oh look, it's Jason again." That was one of the problems with the theatre across the street and why it started going down hill. They used the same people over and over. I never said he wasn't talented. And never did I say it was Jason's fault. It's whoever keeps putting him in the plays. On top of that, how is Jason to grow as an actor if all he does are show at one theatre? If he is going to grow as an actor, he needs to really consider going elsewhere. I'm sorry, but the boy needs to move to New York or do shows in Atlanta if he is going to do this for a living. Kudzu is not going to put food on the table for him. And, Andy, as far as resumes are concerned. At least everything on my resume is true. I know for a fact that more then 1/2 of Jason says about what he has done and who he knows are lies. Why do you think he doesn't go anywhere except Kudzu?
Because ALOT of people know what he has really done and ALOT of people have caught him in these lies as well. Like I said before though, I stick to my guns. Don't review unless it's true.
you have struck a chord by andy
I dont know who you are and i am really not concerned about it.I would like to tell you that you should not make comments on things you know nothing about.First off the "going downhill" of vpr had nothing to do with Jason and i think if you knew the people involved you would know better than to make a comment like that. Jason is at Kudzu because he loves it there. He is not there because he can only get roles there.Perhaps you did not see him at Theatre in the Square, or at The Shakespearre Tavern, and many other theatres. No matter where he goes he will have work as an actor. I think you should let Jason worry about his own future. Brandy Rizk
No such thing as "bad" publicity by JasonMeinhardt
Wow, I never realized how popular I have become! As for the reviews, good or bad, I appreciate them all. As long as they are constructive and intelligent. It seems, however, that someone has taken to bashing myself as well as this show. I never have a problem with bad reviews, but when they start getting personal, that is when I start having problems. I have never posted anything on this site, but when the recent comments were brought to my attention, I decided to give my three cents worth. As for the "lies" on my resume, I have never and will never do such. I have worked too hard to put those credits on my resume to have someone undermine my career thus far on a public site. I have many friends in the Atlanta acting community that see this site and I will not tolerate someone who has yet to come forth with a name to make me out to be a liar. Not everyone likes mine or other actor's style of acting, and that is just part of the job, but again, I would expect if someone didn't and took the time to write a "review", they would make it constructive and intelligent. If there is a personal problem with me or anyone else in this show, you obviously know me or others affiliated with Kudzu. So please, bring it up to me personally. I would love to hear what you have to say. If not, continue to make the comments you have, but know that noone will ever take your PERSONAL reviews seriously, especially myself. ~Jason~
PLeaSE by taylor
Considering that "andy" and Jason are engaged, I think that her review is just as "fair" as anybody elses. HAHAHAHAHAHA
Let's start with..... by taylor
pretending to talk to a casting directors...but actually talking to a dial tone...and perhaps we ought to call NY to see how long somebody really went to that college up there...Would you like me to continue...
oh wow by andy
ok, this is getting pretty out of hand, but in some aspects i do agree with "girl" although i do disagree that if you are connected to a cast member in some way it does not mean that you do not have a right to review a show. that is what this website is for. i would have no problem if my family, friends, or fiancee reviewed one of my shows. any feedback is appreciated no matter who it comes from. please let me say one more thing and then i will leave it at rest. to "taylor" and we have a pretty good idea who you are, i really think if you have personal issues with certain people you just let them know. as far as jason's schooling and how long he attended, why do your care? i didnt know it really concerned you.if you are that concerned then why dont you call and find out, it doesnt matter. this site is not for critics, its for anyone and everyoe to review and give their opinion.
Tell ya what by taylor
When we see each other at the theatre why don't you just sit me down in a booth and we'll talk about it.
Let's stop, shall we? by JasonMeinhardt
This has gotten completely out of hand. Yes, if "taylor" would like to sit and talk, they may talk to ME and me alone. I know who this is, as well. But the nasty comments and the personal attacks need to stop. I'll let you believe what you want to believe about me and I have nothing to hide, so if you'd like to call NY, that is fine. But I appreciate all the comments, but the attacks need to stop. As "sara" has said, it has gotten ridiculous. It has gone from reviews and comments about Blood Brothers to rude and untrue personal remarks about myself and I think that defeats the purpose of this website. Write what you would like, because I have decided to forego reading anything else posted about this show. But again, the invitation to talk "in the booth" is open.
BLAH BLAH by taylor
BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH. Just can't admit that he got caught in lies. BLAH BLAHBLAH
*sigh* by TheaterReview
Kudzu strikes again!
by Theaterparent
Sunday, October 26, 2003
My wife and I have been loyal patrons of this theater throughout this season. We have seen wonderful productions...some better than others, but all had something to give. Blood Brothers definitely tops them all. After reading the previous reviews, I have to say I agree with 99% of all that was said...except for the one from "vanilla". I have not reviewed a show for a while, but I could not allow that disgraceful review to destroy the ratings given to this production. How someone could think like that about this production boggles my mind. From the opening scene to the shocking closing, my eyes (and everyone else's that I could notice) were glued to the spectacular story unfolding in front of us. The lights, the actors, the music...everything about it was amazing. I would like to mention that this theater relied mainly on producing main stay comedies (except for one). They did a great job with them all, but what I admire is the leap this theater took when doing this show. The talent on the stage was awesome. I have to agree with everyone's review on Jason Meinhardt, who I have seen a lot during this season, but this, by far was his most amazing role yet. And for "soaring"...I could not picture ANYONE else playing the role of Mickey and to say he only directed so he could cast himself, is absurd. Shaun Whitley, Shelly Murphy, and the entire supporting cast deserved the roaring applause and instant standing ovation it received the night I was there and as Mrs. Hinds told me, they have received such every single night thus far. I am buying my season tickets for next season because of this show and I have talked to friends and have them already making reservations for this production. Thank you, Kudzu, for making that daring leap and please, keep up the good work...and ignore such reviews that were either written on bitterness, or ignorance. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]
LIFE and the way it works.
by tc
Sunday, October 26, 2003
To the cast and crew: In every situation, listen to what people say - your audience is important. After all, you do all of this for them. When people comment on your hard work, try and find the elements WITHIN their words that will make you better at what you do, but never put total stock in the opinion of others. If YOU did your best, then you KNOW whether you deserve accolades or whether you should go home and practice your choreography or work on your lines or your timing or any number of things. Every audience deserves your BEST. But remember, in most things in life, even sports - you drop the TOP SCORE (because most of the time it comes from your mother or your family and friends - and they love you - but you ALSO drop the bottom score because most of the time it comes "from the owner and manager of the opposing team or the Minister of Affairs of the opposing country." In this case - if you drop the top score and the bottom score - including the SECOND time a person submitted his vote - you are a perfect 5! Congratulations to all of you! I cannot rate the show - because I designed the lights along with an incredible tech person - and because I cannot get to Altanta to see it, but I wish the show a continued successful run. In order to keep from effecting the ratings - I HAVE to vote 5 - but I wanted to point out that I do it only to keep from effecting the ratings negatively. Thanks. Tom Coleman [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]
Blood Brothers
by vanillacoolasice
Sunday, October 26, 2003
Perhaps TC should have written his comments as COMMENTS rather than a review as to not affect the ratings. Given that he did write it as a review, I am now writing a followup review as to not affect the ratings.

I must say that as TC was writing, and speaking of all of the "Best" reviews received on this web site, he failed to notice that most of the comments and reviews were given by people who were in the cast or crew of Blood Brothers (or connected with the theater in some way). Of course "andy" is going to give it a 5 if he is the director! And of course maverick is going to have a problem with soarings review if she/he was somehow connected with the show and at all of the rehearsals ("if you had seen all of the hard work" yada yada yada). Now, I am not doubting that these actors worked very hard to produce this show. I am saying that just because you work hard, and do the best that you can--that's not always enough. Sometimes the show still suffers at the hands of weak actors and/or directors. If the characters the actors have created are not beleiveable, that has nothing to do with hard work, but more to do with acting skills. If the choreography was sloppy, that has nothing to do with hard work, but more with dancing ability.

A show's review should be based on the actual show, not the hard work, or lack thereof, that is put forth. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]
not the director by andy
let me start by saying that as i am sure vanillacoolasice is not your name, andy is not my name, i am not the director and i dont think the director would review his own show using his own name. i agree that everyone has a right to their own opinion and it is clear you do have one. although what i am not clear of is if you actually saw this show.many shows will have a few "bad actors" of the bunch, and not every actor in this production was superb, however i do not agree that the entire cast in this show was bad,in fact i would have to say the majority were good. i am also curious to know if you are an actor. as an actor, we are told to make choices based on who we think our character should be. i strongly believe the cast of this show found who their character was. I am also not clear on how you came to the conclusion that every one who reviewed this production is involved with the cast or crew of this show. Because a good review is given you assume they are related in some way? I assure you I am not related,yet i just enjoyed a night of great theatre. and being an actor myself in atlanta, i saw a show with a great deal of talent.
I have to agree by taylor
I act at Kudzu and I have to admit that most of the reviews for this show are being written by people that are members of the Kudzu Playhouse. I will not name any names, but if someone tries to correct me, I will. As an actor, it is important to know our weaknesses and our strengths. It isn't right to give us false reviews. It doesn't do us any good. If we are nothing but praised, how do we expect to become better performers if nobody tells us what things we need to work on. The shows at Kudzu are not bad. They are just unorganized. Most of the time these shows don't come together until the last minute. Sometimes the paint is still wet on opening night.
But I have to agree that just because you worked your butt off dosen't mean you did a good job. Take a look at the movie Water World. Kevin Cosnter worked his butt off and spent almost 5 mill over budget, BUT THE MOVIE STILL SUCKED. Plus a reminder: (especially to vanilliacoolasice) This is a community theatre. This is NOT a professional theatre. You have to expect, sometimes, that not all community theatres are run the same way. Some are run better then others.

Not only that, but can we PLEASE see some NEW actors. I don't know if anyone else has noticed, but why is this theatre using the same actors over and over. Especially that Jason guy. It's to the point now, that everytime I see him on stage it's him playing the same character, same facial exprssions, same voice, same pace, same body movements, but different show. Does this boy have stock in the theatre or what? Who is he blackmailing over there? Is he a bad actor? No. But for goodness sake, find some more talent. I think the theatre ought to be called The Meinhart Playhouse.

But back to my point. As a member of the Kudzu Playhouse, I find it insulting, as an actor, that other people from the theatre are the ones writing these reviews. It does us the actors no good, and it does the Kudzu Playhouse no good. All it looks like, is that the theatre is that desperate to make itself look good. I am ashamed. I don't want rave reviews and I don't want bad reviews. I want fair reviews. I want the truth. The show is about 3, but because of the insult I feel I give it a 1.
A little tangent from me by Okely Dokely
Just wanted to add a little humor to lessen the tension a little bit. I, myself, have also been wondering how Jason got a part in every single mainstage show at Kudzu this year. I didn't see every show there this season, but he made the roles different enough from each other - in my opinion - that I haven't gotten sick of him yet. Maybe I just needed to see every show, though. Anyway, look on the bright side: there's no way in hell that he can be in EVERY show next year. Nunsense is an all-girl cast. LOL

Back to out regularly scheduled drama.
Blood Brothers
by shana
Monday, October 20, 2003
What an emotional show! The story itself is moving but combined with this powerful cast it was OUTSTANDING! Andy Meeks deserves another standing ovation. Not only directing the show but he gave an incredable performance as the character Mickey. The songs in this show are powerful, they will envoke emotions in you that you did not know you had before you walked through the theater doors. The characters have you wanting to to invaid the stage and help them through their hardships. The superb direction of this production was evident when you looked around the theater after the last scene and the entire audience is emotional. Great job to the entire cast and crew! I would encourage everyone who enjoys theater to go see this show! [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]
Blood Brothers
by wpagan
Monday, October 20, 2003
Andy Meeks made the production a hit. His wonderfull direction and amazing talent kept me engrossed untill the very end. Never before have I felt the need to go to a character to console them untill that night. Andy was no longer "Andy" he truely was Mickey. In addition, the simplicity of the set only made you pay more attention to the characters facial expressions and body language. Hence you felt connected to the characters on a more intimate level. Having never before seen Blood Brothers, I will make a point of going to see its next production. I will also make sure to see Andy Meeks in more of his future roles. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]
new to kudzu
by andy
Monday, October 13, 2003
i too saw this production on opening weekend,and was excited to see kudzu doing something different. the cast did a great job and i too had some favorites. Jason Meinhardt was excellent as the narrator and at times his piercing eyes made me think the "devil had my number". He gave an eerie quality to his character that at times gave me chills. Shelly Murphey was great as Ms.Johnstone, she had a genuine love for all her children even troublemaking sammy. Her pain was deeply felt and it almost made you sorry for her. The chorus was good and did a great job considering their many roles. I agree and disagree with the other reviewers,although i do think this production is definitely worth going to see. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]
thoroughly enjoyable and chilling despite the flaws
by Okely Dokely
Monday, October 13, 2003
This was not a perfect production. I - like soaring and GaTallOne - was also at the Saturday performance on their opening weekend. (I wonder if I know either of them in real life.) Anyway, most of the actors went in and out of their accents, and one person in particular sounded Irish at times. There were also a couple of tech/lighting hiccups, where it would appear to begin going to another cue but quickly get corrected. Also, the balance of sound between the band and singers was good for only about 85% of the time. I attribute most, if not all, of these things to the fact that it was opening weekend, and they will probably get worked out as the run progresses.

Despite all this, I was genuinely touched and moved by the show, and I consider it to be one of Kudzu's very best. The real star of the show was the lighting - Tom Coleman's choice and use of colors was brilliant; even if it may have directed our emotions and told us how to feel a little too much, I overall didn't feel that manipulated.

Shaun Whitley plays Andy's twin brother. When he first appeared on stage and said a few lines, I thought he was wrong for the role. I thought this probably because of 3 things: I know he is several years younger than Andy, he has bleached blonde hair (which was combed very nicely in attempts to look naturally blonde), and thought his rich bass/bari voice couldn't handle the high notes. I very quickly forgot about all these things, and by the end of the show, thought there was no soul on earth that could have done it better. He got to wail on the tenor-friendly song "I'm Not Saying a Word." He handled the E's and F sharps with an admirable grace that exceeded my expectations. And believe it or not, he actually harmonizes higher than Andy The Obvious Tenor on their duets, and does it wonderfully.

The director/star was the best I've ever seen him, but my favorite performance came from Jason Meinhardt. As the Narrator (usually a thankless role, other than maybe Che in Evita), he had a stage presence and a voice that served as a natural spotlight, and, not to sound facetious, his smoking was done like someone very experienced at the craft. There were a total of 3 smokers in this show, and Jason was obviously the only "real" one. This show has had 3 reviews [counting mine] already, and so far, everybody loves Paige. And so do I. Not much else to say other than what's already been expressed, but as one of the best actresses I've seen recently, she was terrific as I knew she'd be.

To those not familiar with the music, I will warn them up front that there are really only 5 or 6 different melodies. Several songs have the exact same tune, just different lyrics and title, and a couple of them get repeated at least twice. You'd think this would turn people off, but it somehow works and makes you look for possible parallels in the songs. This is one of the top ten shows I've seen this year, and will likely be the best thing playing on the metro Atlanta stage - for at least a couple of weeks, anyway. I am recommending that EVERYBODY come and see this show and support these wonderful people - I promise you won't regret it. You're in for a real treat. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]
WOW! What a Marvelous Production
by GaTallOne
Monday, October 13, 2003
I had the pleasure, on Saturday night, to watch a truly marvelous musical production. Kudzu Playhouse’s production of “Blood Brothers” is a very moving musical experience.

The intimate setting is perfect for this story. Set in Liverpool, England, it tells the story of fraternal twin brothers separated at birth when their mother, in fear of her children (7) being taken from her by the state gives one to her wealthy childless employer. She signs a pack with the Devil and is forever plague by her actions.

We see the boys grow up one in poverty the other in affluence. They have a chance meeting and finding out that they are born on the same day, believe that they are destined to be “Blood Brothers” including the childhood ritual of pricking each other’s fingers.

The truly remarkable thing to watch is Andy Meeks and Shaun Whitley as the brothers. When we first meet them, they are 7 almost 8. Mr. Meeks and Mr. Whitley truly have captured the facial and body characteristics of that wonderful age. After a very short time you don’t see the men on stage but the child. Soon we see them as pre-teens. They are joined, by the stunning Ms. Paige Anderson, as Linda the young who will complete this triangle of friends. Ms. Anderson Has a stage presence beyond her years. Her smile and her warm performance truly enhance this production.

When next we see them they are teenagers full of adolescent angst. We see the beginning of the triangle, a shape that is not very stable in relationships of the heart. The true irony is the duet sang by the brothers, each wishing they were in the others shoes.

One cannot overlooking the performance of Shelly, playing the part of Ms Johnstone, the mother who must watch these boys knowing the true relationship. Her voice reaches down to your heart and makes you feel her pain. You want to reach out to her and comfort her. Her performance is subtle and understated providing the perfect balance of the energetic performance of Mr. Meeks.

Mr. Meinhardt is very good as the Narrator. At time he is almost satanic in his taunting of the characters for the choices they have made.

The one weak link is the choreography. It is a little rough. Hopefully this can be attributed to opening weekend jitters.

Don’t miss this show!!!
Hey Rp by taylor
Hey Rp
Some Good Talent In Search Of A Director
by soaring
Sunday, October 12, 2003
There are some truly wonderful aspects of the Kudzu Playhouse production of "Blood Brothers." First, there is Tom Coleman. As the lighting designer, Coleman was able to achieve effects that seem quite impossible when you first look at the space he had to work with. His lighting does a perfect job of setting the mood and directing the audience's attention.

There are also some very talented actors in this production. Recurring Kudzu player Jason Meinhardt is excellent as the Narrator. This character could easily come across as pompous and grating, but Meinhardt is able to make him aloof without alienating him from the audience. Also worthy of mention is Paige Anderson who plays Linda. Anderson is always believable and moving as Linda grows from a little girl to a young woman. She is able to convey emotion and vulnerability in a very subtle and real way that many community theater actors have not mastered.

The production is directed by Andy Meeks. The production stars Andy Meeks. After watching the production, it appears that Meeks is an actor who decided to direct this musical so that he could cast himself as the star. The direction is adequate (i.e. no one blocks actors who are speaking, and no one delivers lines to the back wall), but very seldom is it good. It is repetitive and several times, downright confusing as to what exactly he was trying to accomplish.

The members of the ensemble turn in good individual performances with their smaller roles, but as a group, they lack cohesion. This fault can be laid at Meeks' feet. Since he is onstage with them, he is unable to sit in the audience and notice that they are not together when doing the choreography, many of the tempos are too slow, and their voices do not blend (this last fact was especially obvious in the finale when Meeks attempted to outsing the entire cast).

"Blood Brothers" is an excellent and moving script with haunting songs. While this production of it certainly is not bad, it saddens me to think of how spectacular it could have been under different direction. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]
simplicity is the key- by maverick
After reading this review, it made me think of a saying I once read. "jealousy is an ugly coat, and you dont wear it well". I"m a huge fan of this show and have seen it several times. i'm actually friends with Andy Meeks as well and know the passion he has for this show. It seems to me that you have some sort of "grudge" against him and therefore feel the need to bash. first, I"m guessing that you didnt read the bio to read that Mr. Meeks has performed this role several times WITHOUT the need to direct or cast himself. I found the blocking very easy to follow as it was very simple and flowed without break.(this show is about being simple-FYI). Also, as far as the ensemble, I"m guessing you didnt see the hard work of setting the show the entire time. It always amazing me at the hard work actors put into the theatre and people like "soaring" try to pick it apart. I saw the show this weekend and saw nothing but a huge and instant standing ovation as well as tons of tears. EVERY actor in this show deserves credit for putting this type of show on in Atlanta.

Also, just so you know(not an excuse at all) but this cast didnt even have music until 2 weeks before opening nor a full cast.

--To the cast of blood brothers, you all did amazing and I think you have an awesome show. Please keep up the good work and i'm telling everyone I know to support the show.

If I may put my two cents in here... by Okely Dokely
While I didn't totally agree with parts of soaring's review, I thought it was a pretty fair review. He didn't seem to be picking things apart or bashing to me, and I saw little to no evidence of a grudge. He (or she) seemed to just be trying to illustrate the downfalls of both directing a show and appearing in it at the same time, which I imagine can be difficult.

I personally love reading bios, but not everybody reads them as religiously as others, I imagine. Andy did state that he was returning to the role of Mickey, but maybe soaring either didn't notice that detail or forgot about it. Easy mistakes happen sometimes. Hell, I used to think the next-door-bowling-alley noise at Onstage Atlanta was the actors making too much noise backstage.

I don't want to start a flame war - I have always admired how nothing on this site has ever gotten out of hand - I just had to chime in here for a sec.

To Mav by taylor
I know Andy as well and I can tell you that The Godspell he played in High school was nothing more but a replica of the one he did in high school. In fact, he stole alot of the exact same direction. As for Blood Brothers, he did the same thing. And as a great Director/Actor once said "You cannot direct yourself. It's impossible."


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