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Canadian rapper Baba Brinkman brings evolution into everything he does.

In his first off-Broadway, rapping, one-man show, “The Rap Guide to the Canterbury Tales,” Brinkman illustrated parallel structures between Geoffrey Chaucer and hip-hop. “I was arguing about a convergent cultural evolution phenomenon, where similar economic and literary forces on the ground lead to a similar convergent art form being produced by divergent cultures,” he said.

The cast of The Weird Sisters Theater Project's "Hot Pink." (Left to right) Topher Payne, Gina Rickicki, Bryn Stripe, Casey Gardner, Parris Sarter, and Bobby Labartino
Weird Sisters Theater Project

High school can be difficult, and it only gets harder when you bring human sacrifice into the picture.

That is basically the premise of the Weird Sisters Theatre Project's latest play, "Hot Pink, or Ready to Blow."

The first test installation for Kennesaw State University's Ipomoea Project is meant to invoke grass in an inverted field.
Myke Johns

“Interactive theater” generally means performers mingling with the audience, breaking the fourth wall. But up at Kennesaw State University, the theater department is working on a different kind of interactivity.

They’re calling it the Ipomoea Project (pronounced "eye-po-mo-EE-ah"). 

Leica Wilde, Nick Arapoglou, Spencer Stephens, and Natalie Gray practice a dance number for “Avenue Q."
Brenna Beech / WABE

 

Raunchy-themed, award-winning, singing puppet-populated Broadway hit “Avenue Q” returns to Horizon Theatre Company for a third time. 

"Avenue Q” is filled with puppet nudity, foul language and suggestive material not suitable for children or even teenagers. But, Horizon Theatre Company is also running a limited number of PG-13 rated versions of the show. They did a run of these PG-13 versions at Piedmont Park last week.

Charlie McCullers / Courtesy of Atlanta Ballet

Tennessee Williams premiered his play "Camino Real" in 1953. It had a short run on Broadway with only 60 performances, and in today’s theater circuit, it is rarely revived.

Indeed, the play deals with bleak themes, and the prose lacks logic with strange appearances by literary figures like Don Quixote and Casanova. It's a difficult mix of dark poetics, many characters and twisted plot points.

For three decades, Theatre Gael brought the Celtic arts to Atlanta, up until closing five years ago. But those who have missed the music and theater of Ireland and Scotland now have a venture to look to. 

Arís Theatre (pronounced "ah-REESH")  launched in June of 2013 and is dedicated to bringing the traditions and artistry of Celtic culture to the stage. Two of the founders of Aris, Kathleen McManus and Robert Shaw-Smith, spoke to WABE's Lois Reitzes.

Shaw-Smith began by explaining the company's name.

When Jewish Folklore And Holocaust Realities Collide

Feb 19, 2015
Egan Marie

When you enter the Alliance Theatre’s Black Box, you see Yankl, played by Jake Krakovsky, sitting on top of what looks like the skeleton of a very large barrel. He appears to be reading some sort large, aged book.

In Chelm, a town in Poland, Yankl had the important job of making sure no swine entered the village. But now, he and the stories within him are the only things left.

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.

Courtesy Georgia Thespians

The next Marlon Brando or Julia Roberts might be discovered in the Peach State this week.

The Georgia State Thespian Conference — nicknamed “Thescon”— starts Thursday. It's an annual event for high school students interested in entering the world of acting.

Roughly 4,000 students are expected to attend the 2015 Thescon, and they will be busy.

(L to R) Hanna Simms, Emily Parrish Stembridge, Ashton Nicole Montgomery, and Rachel Wansker in KSU's world premier production of Bloody Pulp.
Stephanie Tobacco

The movie "Ant-Man," starring Paul Rudd, recently wrapped filming here in Atlanta. It's expected in theaters this summer. 

Comic book fans also are anticipating the May release of "The Avengers: Age of Ultron."

While the comics industry continues to bring in hundreds of millions of dollars at the box office, some artists have taken this wave of popularity to explore some of its origins.

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."

H. Johnson presents "A Christmas Carol"

Dec 23, 2014

This time of year, there are many performances of Charles Dickens’ "A Christmas Carol" in and around Atlanta. 

We here at City Cafe thought we’d throw our hat in the ring with the help of several of those theater groups.

We’ve pulled together a compilation of audio clips from the various shows to illustrate the story, with our own H. Johnson as narrator.

GeorgiaShakespeare.org

Parting really is such sweet sorrow.

Georgia Shakespeare is shutting down.

According to a statement posted on the theater troupe’s website, financial woes forced the company to cease operations.

Synchronicity Artistic Director Rachel May in the theatre's new home.
Myke Johns / WABE

The Atlanta theater scene has experienced a number of losses and setbacks in the past year with companies like Dad’s Garage losing their homes or, in the case of Theater of the Stars, having to shutter altogether. But there has been hopeful news recently—Dad’s is under contract for a new space and in late July, Synchronicity Theater announced they were—at long last—moving into a permanent home. 

Tom Key in "C.S. Lewis On Stage" at Theatrical Outfit
Theatrical Outfit

This week, actor Tom Key takes the stage in a role that has long deeply absorbed him—even before he first performed it in 1977, at the age of 26.

The part is that of writer C.S. Lewis. Lewis is most widely known as the author of the classic children’s series The Chronicles of Narnia. But he also penned serious theological essays, poetry, and novels like The Screwtape Letters

Courtesy of Georgia Shakespeare

William Shakespeare is known for his great masterpieces of verse, plays and sonnets. Georgia Shakespeare hosts a summer camp to teach kids about the man and his work.

Camp Shakespeare is a summer camp hosted by Georgia Shakespeare on the Oglethorpe University campus.  Among lessons on sword play and acting, they also learn something unique about the author and playwright’s command over the English language, Shakespearean insults. 

  Stage director Kenny Leon got his start at Atlanta’s own Alliance Theater, and today, he is one of the most sought-after creative talents on Broadway, even if he isn't a household name. He's guided Denzel Washington and Viola Davis to Tony Awards in a Tony-winning revival of August Wilson's Fences, he directed Samuel L. Jackson and Angela Bassett in The Mountaintop, and he's got two Broadway shows opening within three months of each other. NPR’s Jeff Lunden has this profile.

Actor Tiffany Hobbs in True Colors Theatre Company's production of David Mamet's Race
Josh Lamkin

Discussions about race and racial inequality can be difficult to have. And True Colors Theatre Company is purposefully trying to start those conversations, both on-stage and off. The company recently hosted a panel discussion on race and the law in advance of their production of David Mamet’s play Race. WABE’s Myke Johns sat down with the show’s director, John Dillon, and with the panel’s moderator David Vigilante, who is Vice President of Legal at CNN. 

Clay Walker / The Center for Puppetry Arts

 In what has become an Atlanta holiday tradition, the Center for Puppetry Arts is once again presenting that staged show featuring misfit toys,  dentist elves, and of course, the most famous reindeer of all. 

WABE's Kate Sweeney went behind the scenes of the show when it premiered in 2010, and brought back this story.

Rudolph also plays a featured role in the PBA-produced special Christmas Around Atlanta. More on when to catch that here.

Atlanta theater onstage at the Suzi Bass Awards
WABE

Every year, Atlanta’s theater community comes together for the Suzi Bass Awards. The ceremony recognizes outstanding work in live theatre with awards for Direction, Choreography, Design, Acting and many more categories. Think about it as the Tony Awards for Atlanta. This weekend, for the first time, television audiences can follow the action down the red carpet as PBA30 will be broadcasting this year’s “Suzis,” which took place in November.

Jacques Martial performing 'Notebook of a Return to the Native Land.'
James Hercule / Martinique Promotion Bureau

Jacques Martial, known in France as an actor and leader of the arts, visits Atlanta for two special – and free – events.

On October 24, Martial presents his one-man stage adaptation of "Notebook of a Return to the Native Land."

On the morning of October 25, Martial will give a public lecture about the links between culture and place titled "La Villette: Culture and Urban Territory."

Theater of the Stars to Close

Sep 12, 2013
Bill Denney via flickr.com (photo taken 2006) / http://www.flickr.com/photos/pixbybill/227993929/

An Atlanta-based professional theater company that has provided Broadway musicals for more than 60 years and performed at the Fox Theatre since the 1980s is taking its final bow. On Thursday, Theater of the Stars announced its closing for good.

Poster image for The Weird Sisters Theatre Project's production of Emilie: La Marquise Du Châtelet Defends Her Life Tonight
Weird Sisters Theatre Project

The Weird Sisters is a theatre project helmed exclusively by women, working together to elevate the role of women in Atlanta theater and bring new work to the stage. Their current production, titled Emilie: La Marquise Du Châtelet Defends Her Life Tonight, is opening this week at the Aurora Theater in Lawrenceville and WABE’s Myke Johns spoke with those involved.

Veronika Duerr says there is kind of a revolution going on in the American theater community right now.

Bill Denney via flickr.com (photo taken 2006) / http://www.flickr.com/photos/pixbybill/227993929/

The Fox Theatre is terminating its lease agreement with Atlanta-based theater company Theater of the Stars. But both parties plan to move forward on a show-by-show basis under an at-will usage agreement.

Fox Theatre officials made the decision after Theatre of the Stars failed to reach an immediate $500,000 fundraising goal by last Friday and canceled its production of DREAMGIRLS. The theater company is also reviewing its options regarding ANYTHING GOES.

The announcement follows Theater of the Stars recent cancellation of the Buddy – The Buddy Holly Story.

Essential Theater's logo
Essential Theatre

Essential Theatre is devoted to bringing new theatrical works by Georgia writers to the stage, giving local actors, directors and designers the chance to work on World and Regional Premieres.

Right now, the company is holding its annual Essential Theatre Festival.

WABE’s Myke Johns sat down with the festival’s two featured playwrights--Katie Grant Shalin and Matthew Myers--and Essential’s founding artistic director Peter Hardy to discuss the role that the event plays in Atlanta’s theater community. 

True Colors Theatre Company

Playwright David H. Bell's work may be familiar to Atlanta audiences. The 2010 world premier of his play Gut Bucket Blues garnered seven Suzi Bass Award nominations. Now, Bell has returned to Atlanta with a new show, Shakin’ The Rafters. WABE’s Lois Reitzes spoke to the playwright about the play and what led to it.

Serenbe Playhouse Stages "A Walk in the Woods"

Jul 10, 2013

A conversation with Brian Clowdus of Serenbe Playhouse, about their latest production.

Theater of the Stars in Jeopardy

Jul 1, 2013
atlantatheaterfans.com

 Theater of the Stars is in danger of closing. The Atlanta-based professional theater company has been in existence for more than 60 years and has been performing at the Fox since 1984.

But the company has accrued a large amount of debt over time and now needs to raise $50,000 by July 12th in order to keep their doors open.

WABE’s Michelle Wirth has reported on this story and joined us to talk about this story. You can hear her original story here.

Shakespeare Tavern

Jun 28, 2013

The Atlanta Shakespeare Company evolved out of a small group of actors doing productions of the Bard's work in borrowed theaters around the city, winding up performing As You Like It at Manuel's Tavern in 1984.

Their ethos of minimalist, true-to-period and audience-inclusive performance grew into the opening of the Shakespeare Tavern in 1990, which has seen over 73 plays cross its stage.

Dylan York / The Goat Farm Arts Center

Bad poetry--anyone who has attended enough coffee house readings has probably encountered it. But have you heard the worst poetry? The Collective Project’s current play is about just that—the worst poet in history. WABE’s Myke Johns spoke to playwright Dave Lauby and director Sean Haley about this new show, The Great McAnigan

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