Lois Reitzes

Host, City Lights, Second Cup Concert, ASO Broadcasts and Spivey Soirée

The distinctive voice of Lois Reitzes has been heard over WABE’s airwaves since 1979. Lois is Atlanta’s favorite classical announcer. As host of the weekday program Second Cup Concert, which airs from 9 a.m. until noon, she selects music especially to complement your morning tasks. In addition to Second Cup, Lois produces and hosts WABE’s Atlanta Symphony Orchestra broadcasts and Spivey Soirée series.  She served as Program Director from 1992-2007, and became Director of Arts and Cultural Programming in 2007. Hosting arts features and interviews is an ongoing joy of her job.  

Lois pursued graduate study at the  Indiana University School of Music in Bloomington. She lists her favorite exercise as reading - preferably while eating! Her favorite island getaway is Manhattan. Lois resides in Atlanta with husband Don, who chairs the Sociology Department at Georgia State University.  The Reitzes’ have two children, Jackie and Michael, and a golden non-retriever named Rex.

Ways to Connect

Carolyn Cook
Christopher Bartelski

It's difficult to laugh at Alzheimer's Disease. It's also difficult to endure any hardship without laughter.

"There's humor in every situation ... You're not going to live through it without the full range of emotion," Atlanta actress Carolyn Cook observed in a conversation with Lois Reitzes on "City Lights."

Drawing from personal experience, Cook portrays Vivienne Avery, a daughter caring for her mother who is diagnosed with Alzheimer's. It's important to Vivienne that she "make this an experience that validates her mom all the way to the end," Cook said. 

Cayce Callaway

In the 1974 classic "Young Frankenstein," Dr. Frederick Frankenstein, which he defensively pronounces as Fronk-en-steen, travels to his recently deceased grandfather's Transylvanian estate. 

His late grandfather's servant, Igor, and a new lab assistant, Inga, fetch Frankenstein from the train station. There's a howl. Inga, terrified, says, "Werewolf!" Frankenstein questions, "Werewolf?"

Igor replies, "There wolf. There castle."

That's just one of the noteworthy moments from the immensely quotable Mel Brooks comedy.

Courtesy of Sandglass Theater

Puppetry is often associated with Muppets and Sesame Street.

But at the Center For Puppetry Arts puppetry tells more complex stories than the ABCs and 1, 2, 3s.

Founder and director Vince Anthony came to WABE to talk with Lois Reitzes about the Center's ongoing and upcoming performances: 

"Rainforest Adventure" is one of the Center's family shows and concludes this weekend with two shows on Saturday and two shows on Sunday. 

Cathy Fox is Executive Director of ArtsATL, a site devoted to covering the arts in metro Atlanta.
Phyllis Rodbell

As newspapers around the country continue to cut staff, do you wonder who’s covering those stories or where those professionals have gone?

Never in human history has the way we share information been so dramatically altered in such a short period, so we’ve been asking leaders in Atlanta’s arts community how they’ve adjusted to the times. We spoke with Catherine Fox who has long covered Atlanta’s arts beat.

Lisa-Marie Mazzuco

In 2015, it seems normal for burgeoning artists to self-fund their projects online and through fundraisers. In 2007, however, online platforms like Kickstarter didn’t even exist.

So, when pianist Simone Dinnerstein raised her own funds for her first solo album, which features Bach’s "Goldberg Variations," it was a truly revolutionary move. That album ranked No. 1 on the U.S. Billboard Classical Chart in its first week.

Courtesy of Todd Doughty

Who is Kate Alcott? Well, the answer to that question is more literal than existential.

Patricia O’Brien is a Washington, D.C.-based journalist, but she changed her name to Kate Alcott for her books after a publishing house rejected one of her novels when she was Patricia. But, as Kate Alcott — Alcott, of course, from the author of "Little Women"  it was accepted in a flash.

C. M. Stieglitz / Library of Congress

You may not have heard of Georgian author Lillian Smith.  She was one of the first prominent white Southerners to speak out publicly against racial segregation in the 1930s and 40s.

Michiko Clark

By trade, Alan Lightman is a physicist, but he has traversed that tricky space between science and the humanities and has written award-winning novels.

His 1992 novel "Einstein’s Dreams" is an international bestseller. Along with having been translated into thirty languages, artists have adapted it into plays, dances, musical compositions, and paintings. It is also an educational tool and can be found in university classrooms across the globe. 

Another one of his novels, "The Diagnosis," was a National Book Award finalist.

Patty Crowe

"Actions count, words matter, music heals" is the mantra of an upcoming performance by violinist Robert McDuffie and actor-playwright Anna Deavere Smith.

McDuffie and Smith first collaborated at the Aspen Ideas Festival a few years ago. Smith performed Martin Luther King Jr.'s famous “Letter From Birmingham Jail,” while McDuffie played a selection of pieces from folk songs to classical repertoire, including “How Great Thou Art,” “Ashokan Farewell,” and Handel’s “Largo,” amongst others.

courtesy of Theatrical Outfit

Lauren Gunderson is an award-winning Atlanta-born playwright. Her work has been produced nationwide, and here at home by Synchronicity Theater and the Weird Sisters Theater Project. And now, Theatrical Outfit is staging a production of her show "Silent Sky," the true story of 19th century astronomer Henrietta Leavitt.

Gunderson joined us at member station KALW in San Francisco, and WABE's Lois Reitzes spoke to her about the real story behind the play.

From press kit.
Steve Wilson

The famed Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater returns to the Fox Theatre in Atlanta next week. From Feb. 11-15, the company will perform some of its most well-known pieces, including Alvin Ailey’s celebrated "Revelations." It will also bring an entirely new performance to Atlanta audiences called “Odetta.”

David Coucheron / special to WABE

Starting tonight at Symphony Hall, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra concertmaster David Coucheron steps to the edge of the stage as soloist in a series of three concerts featuring Max Bruch's "Violin Concerto No. 1."

David is, in his own words, a mature man of 30 now, but 20 years ago he was learning this concerto behind his parents' backs. The photo above is proof of his (adorable) juvenile delinquency.

Here's WABE's Lois Reitzes in the studio with David, poring over his notes and scribbles:

Courtesy of Harold Holloway and Co.

For over two decades, Eddie’s Attic has been a proving ground for musical acts like the Indigo Girls, the Civil Wars, John Mayer and countless others.

Recently, the Decatur venue has brought classical music to their stage, and now this weekend it is hosting an event they call Gospel Brunch, to be hosted by Ricky McKinnie of the Blind Boys of Alabama.

Italy and the Holocast, Inc.

The annual Atlanta Jewish Film Festival begins this evening. For the next few weeks, Atlanta residents can catch screenings of more than 50 feature and short films at different theaters around the metro area.

Evan Agostini / Invision/AP

Think back to life before the web, when people wrote letters, and bought tickets from a person behind a window-to see a Picasso, you might have to go to the library or hop on a plane. Never in human history has the way we share information been so dramatically altered in such a short time, so we’re asking leaders in the arts community how they’ve adjusted to the times.

Success Through Diversity At The Rialto

Jan 16, 2015

We've asked the leaders of major Atlanta arts organizations to come in and share their thoughts with us for a mini-series we're calling "Arts 2015." The local luminaries shared with us their reflections and forecasts on their particular fields and the unique challenges and benefits of being a leader of the arts in Atlanta.

One of those leaders is Leslie Gordon, director of the Rialto Center for the Arts at Georgia State University. In her ten-plus years at the helm, Gordon has transformed the landscape of the downtown theater. 

Bekah Medford, Jennifer Alice Acker, Karen Howell, Mark Cabus, and Kelly Criss in "One Slight Hitch" at Georgia Ensemble Theatre
Dan Carmody/Studio 7

Georgia Ensemble Theatre’s current production is a play by Lewis Black — yes, that Lewis Black: the very angry man who can be caught ranting on "The Daily Show" and in his own stand-up comedy specials. It may surprise some of his fans to discover that not only is Lewis Black a playwright, but that his play, "One Slight Hitch," is a romantic comedy.

Alliance Theater

The Alliance Theatre believes in “getting ‘em while they’re young”… in this case, quite literally.

Their program, Theater for the Very Young, is in its fourth season of bringing the performing arts to children.

WABE's Lois Reitzes recently sat down with Rosemary Newcott and Olivia Aston Bosworth from the Alliance, as well as actor Jose Miguel Vasquez, to talk about their current show, "The Lizard and El Sol."

Courtesy of and copyright The Gordon Parks Foundation.

This week the New York Times published an article about a photograph by Gordon Parks, the first African-American staff photographer for Life magazine in the early 1950s.

Frank Carroll / flickr.com/highstrungloner

We've asked the leaders of major Atlanta arts organizations to come in and share their thoughts with us for a mini-series we're calling "Arts 2015." The local luminaries shared with us their reflections and forecasts on their particular fields and the unique challenges and benefits of being a leader of the arts in Atlanta.

Photo: Sim Cannety-Clarke, Courtesy of Polenzani Management

Tenor Matthew Polenzani has performed in front audiences at the Metropolitan opera, Deutsche Oper, La Scala and the Lyric. 

This Saturday, audiences in Atlanta will also be able to enjoy his singing, when he makes his debut at Spivey Hall.

City Lights host Lois Reitzes reached him over the phone to discuss his upcoming recital with pianist Julius Drake.


Rain Pryor is the daughter of legendary comedian Richard Pryor. Her mother was Jewish and growing  up with a mixed cultural and racial heritage was not always easy.

Her search for identity led her to produce a one-woman show named "Fried Chicken and Latkes." She’ll be performing it here in Atlanta this weekend. "City Lights" host Lois Reitzes recently spoke with her about the idea behind the production.

More information on the event may be found on Atlanta PlanIt.

Vince Bucci / Invision/AP

Fans of the public television series "Downton Abbey" have certainly been through a lot with the Crawleys over the past four years.

Viewers have witnessed the sinking of the Titanic and other historic events through the eyes of the fictional aristocratic English family. "Downton Abbey's" audience has also endured the sometimes sudden departure of beloved cast members.

Alliance Theatre

The Woodruff Foundation has awarded a $38 million grant to the Woodruff Arts Center.  They say it will go to support a range of artistic, educational and capital improvements across the Woodruff Campus. It is the is the largest gift in the organization’s 46-year history. 

A good portion of the funds will go to the Alliance Theatre, as WABE's David Barasoain explained to host John Lemley on City Cafe today.  

You can read the whole press release about the grant here.

Lois Reitzes and David Koechner in WABE's Studio 4
Jason Parker / WABE

David Koechner may not be a household name, but his face – or better yet, his characters – certainly are. He's the actor behind Champ Kind, the chauvinist sportscaster in the "Anchorman" movies, and Todd Packer, the boorish brute to Steve Carell's bumbling nice guy Michael Scott from NBC's "The Office."

Our own Anchorlady, Lois Reitzes, spoke with Koechner about his craft, and his comedy.   

David Koechner performs Thursday through Saturday night at Buckhead's Atlanta Improv Comedy Club.

Charles Sykes / Invision/Associated Press

You may know comedian Wyatt Cenac for his time as a correspondent for The Daily Show on Comedy Central. Cenac was on the show from 2008 to 2012. He is also a stand-up comedian, and he has a new Netflix special called Brooklyn.

He’ll be performing  at the Laughing Skull lounge this weekend. Cenac recently spoke with WABE’s Lois Reitzes about the art of stand-up and his career trajectory.

Web Extra: Wyatt Cenac on his love of puppetry and his visit to the Center For Puppetry Arts. 

The High Museum

The director of the High Museum of Art has announced his retirement.  Michael Shapiro has been working with the High's leadership team for the past 20 years, and as the High's Nancy and Holcombe T. Green Jr. Director for the past 15 years.

His official last day will be July 31, 2015. He sat down with WABE's Lois Reitzes to talk about his departure.  She began by asking him, "Why now?"


Still from Lorin Maazel's 2014 Castleton Festival production of "Madama Butterfly." Directed by Tomer Zvulun, set design by Erhard Rom, lighting by Robert Wierzel.
Ray Boc / Castleton Festival

Perhaps no one is more enthusiastic about the Atlanta Opera’s new season than Tomer Zvulun. And rightfully so — it’s his first planned season as the company’s General and Artistic Director. Zvulun’s planned three new productions for this Atlanta Opera Season — "Madama Butterfly," "Rigoletto," and a contemporary opera, "Three Decembers." Mozart's classic "The Marriage of Figaro" rounds out the 2014-2015 season. Lois Reitzes spoke with Mr. Zvulun and asked how he chose these particular operas:

Eugene Lee in True Colors Theatre Company's How I Learned What I Learned
Josh Lamkin Photography

Kenny Leon’s True Colors Theater is staging the Atlanta premier of playwright August Wilson’s final work—a biographical reenactment of his life told in a one-man show. Called How I Learned What I Learned, the show shares some of the origins of Wilson’s critically-acclaimed plays—shows such as “Fences,” “The Piano Lesson,” and “Radio Golf.”

Beatrice Rana was the Silver Medalist at the 2013 Van Cliburn Competition. She opens Spivey Hall's 2014-15 season.
Spivey Hall

Spivey Hall, located 25 minutes south of Atlanta on the campus of Clayton State University, is an intimate performance venue well-known for its superior acoustics. Classical and jazz artists love to perform here because "they know they can do their best work at Spivey Hall." That's according to Sam Dixon, the Hall's Executive and Artistic Director. Dixon is responsible for booking the Spivey Series concerts, and his keen ear is appreciated by performers and audience alike. Lois Reitzes recently spoke with Dixon and asked him how he curates each new Spivey season.