Driving Miss Daisy
through September 5, 2015
In addition to GWTW, probably the most memorable tales dealing with life in our area have to be the trilogy of works by Alfred Uhry. He wrote Driving Miss Daisy, as well as Last Night of Ballyhoo and then Parade. Each a significant work in its own right.
OnStage has reprised this work with the same wonderful cast who played in it in 2014. Bobbie Elzey is Miss Daisy, who ages gracefully through decades on stage. She’s a Jewish older woman who really shouldn’t be driving any more. Her son, Boolie (DeWayne Morgan) insists of hiring a driver for her, even though at the outset she rejects the idea in every way. But, time works wonders. Nat Martin plays Hoke who is a black man hired to service the lady; a role he has played for many a year in various venues.
The time is in the 1950’s and things aren’t that good for Blacks in our town, nor elsewhere in the South. The keynote event of the script is the bombing of The Temple on October 12, 1958 and Dr. King’s speech at The Temple in the 1960’s.
Hoke and Daisy find that the glue which binds them to one another is far greater than any grit which could keep them apart and they wind up as the best of friends.
Directed by Cathe Hall Payne, the show moves quite gracefully and you really get to feel as if you know each of these three good people; each of whom is somebody you wish you had for a friend today. Just one more weekend, and not many tickets left; so visit OnStageAtlanta.com for times and prices. Their new home is on East Ponce out near I-285, so easy to get to from almost anywhere.
Hot Pink, or Ready to Blow
The Weird Sisters Theatre Project
through August 30, 2015
It’s always such an amazing thing that actors will work their buns off to learn lines and moves, and stage a show that runs for only a few performances. Especially when it turns out that the show deserves a nice long run.
I could just imagine this one being staged in SOHO, where it might run for months on end. And I hope that the creators find that happening. Playwright and Actor Jonny Drago put this one together about a town named New Pompeii, which just happens to lie next to a volcano which has the habit or erupting unless some helpless virgins are sacrificed into it.
Veronika Duerr brought together a versatile cast and must have really enjoyed directing this riotous offering. Casey Gardner, Bryn Striepe, Parris Sarter, Bobby Labartino, Gina Rickicki and Topher Payne bring the house down as three high school BFFs have to decide whether to give up their virginity or their lives. Guess what . . . They have to deal with my grade school math teacher, an egocentric Daddy type, a kinda different man-woman or woman-man, and a pop singer and sports coach as well as others along the path.
This is not your usual performance from a group of talented women who started out at the Atlanta Shakespeare Company . . . but they did prove that even all women can perform the Scottish Play if they wish to do so. There are plenty of expletives and single entendres, so this isn’t for Miss Prim or the kindergartners.
This time they are playing in the Black Box theatre on the 3rd floor at the Alliance. So it is easy to get to using Marta to Art Station, or use the garage at Woodruff Center. They are playing for only these 2 weeks, with shows through the 30th, but dark on 25th. Show time is 8pm and it runs about and hour and 40 minutes. Tickets and more info at BrownPaperTickets.com
Motown, the Musical
through August 23, 2015
Come back to the 1960’s when music was going through a transition phase and black performers were starting to be headliners. It was a time prior to the Woodstock Festival and the flower children; and the music still reverberates with a huge part of our population.
This musical with a large cast is based on the autobiography of Motown Records founder, Berry Gordy. While he was associated with scores of writers and performers this musical focuses in on Diana Ross (Allison Semmes), Smokey Robinson (Jesse Nager), Marvin Gaye (Jarran Muse) and Michael Jackson and the Jackson Five. Josh Tower plays Berry, who is being invited to the 25th anniversary gala being staged for Motown; but has “issues” and has to make some difficult decisions.
For the entertainment industry isn’t all about friends and loyalty. The music side of the industry, like every other part, is all about MONEY. And therein lies the tale of how the company was started in a residential area of Detroit and how it’s success attracted competitors and carnivores with deeper pockets.
The cast of more than 30 players, many of whom double in 2 or more roles, exudes energy in every one of the scores of numbers you will hear in clips or the entirety. The set is really cool in the use of LED screens which are computer controlled and move from side to side as needed. This is the emerging new set technique which costs a fortune but projects imagery that no static set nor backdrop can do. Even the major cruise ships are bringing this technology onboard.
While there is a story line, it isn’t anything that is going to leave the theatre with you. What it really is about is the explosion of a musical genre which persists to this day, and a few hours of first rate performances with a large live orchestra in the pit.
The opening night show was pretty well a full house, despite the miserable weather. My suggestion would be to use Marta if possible as it will save a lot of anxiety. You can easily get full ticket info at FoxTheatre.org, but seats are pretty limited.
If you don’t get to this one, think about Jersey Boys, the story of Frankie Valli and his group. It opens at The Fox on October 6th.