July 2016 - Atlanta INtown

Page 36

The Studio Arts & Culture

On Stage 2016 Essential Theatre Play Festival begins July 29

By Manning Harris

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Karen Wurl

Derek Dixon

he Essential Theatre Play Festival specializes in “giving Georgia playwrights a voice on Georgia stages,” and that is what they’ve been doing since 1999. Since that year they have produced 27 new works by 23 Georgia playwrights. The festival is back this summer, running from July 29 through Aug. 28 at the West End Performing Arts Center. There will be two world premieres running in repertory: co-winners of this year’s Essential Theatre Playwriting Award, the only prize dedicated to the work of Georgia playwrights. The first play is Karen Wurl’s “Dispossessed,” described as “a romantic comic-fantasy with a feminist twist, set in the Lower East Side of New York City in 1928.” A young actress playing the leading role in a Yiddish theater company is being pressured by her parents to marry the handsome leading man. So she conjures up the character she’s been rehearsing – a demon possessed bride - and the actress and her character try to find what her heart truly desires. “Dispossessed” is directed by Essential Theatre’s Founding Artistic Director, Peter Hardy; the cast includes Atlanta actors Amelia Fischer, Kathleen McManus, Scott Rousseau, Jake Krakovsky, Tony Larkin, Alyssa Caputo, Chris Schulz and Christie Vozniak. The second play is Derek Dixon’s “When Things Are Lost,” a “funny and surreal dream play about a young man searching for answers to his best friend’s disappearance.” Themes here are friendship, loss, understanding and forgiveness. There’s also a giant pink bunny to keep us on our toes. “When Things Are Lost” is directed by Amber Bradshaw, and features actors Barrett Doyle, Gina Rickicki, Alex Van, Jill Perry, Anthony Goolsby, Chelsea Steverson, Alex Towers and Kerwin Thompson. In addition, there will be three staged readings of Georgia plays, co-produced by Bare Essentials and Working Title Playwrights. The plays are “Never Been to Vienna” by Gerry I. Bartholmai, “Pete ‘n Wendy” by Erin Considine” and “The Memory Box” by Laura King. The reading dates are Aug. 8, 15 and 24. For more information, visit essentialtheatre.com.

‘Hamilton’ Mania

By Collin Kelley

Atlanta will be one of first stops for smash Broadway musical

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roadway blockbuster “Hamilton” is coming to the Fox Theater during the Fifth Third Bank Broadway in Atlanta 2017-18 season, but getting a ticket might be difficult. Russ Belin, vice president of Broadway in Atlanta, said he’s been inundated with questions about “Hamilton,” but he can only say that it will definitely be on the Fox stage sometime in late 2017 or in 2018. “We have no exact dates or ticket prices,” Belin said. “We’re waiting to get that information from the production company.” Belin said the only way to guarantee a ticket for “Hamilton” is to subscribe to the 2016-2017 season (which includes “Cabaret,” “Phantom of the Opera,” “The Bodyguard” and “An American in Paris”) and renewing for the 2017-2018 season. You can find out about subscriptions at atlanta.broadway.com. A sevenshow season package starts at just $224, Belin said. Featurings music, lyrics and book by Lin-Manuel Miranda, “Hamilton” was inspired by the 2004 biography “Alexander Hamilton” by historian Ron Chernow. The musical follows the scrappy young immigrant who forever changed America, from bastard orphan to Washington’s right-hand man, rebel to war hero, loving husband caught in the country’s first sex scandal to Treasury head who made an untrusting world believe in the American economy. George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Eliza Hamilton and lifelong Hamilton friend and foe, Aaron Burr, all make appearances in the tuner about America’s fiery past. Along with the clutch of Tony Awards it scooped up last month, Miranda (who is soon leaving the Broadway cast) also won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. Belin, who has seen “Hamilton” on Broadway, describes it as “brilliant.” “The hype is well-deseved,” he said. “From the storyline and the music – it’s so original. You have to experience it in person.”

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Lin-Manuel Miranda in the original Broadway production of ‘Hamilton.’ At l a n t a I N t o w n Pa p e r. c o m