Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Gwinnett: Murder Mystery Theatres a Great Bargain

New Shows Planned Due to Popular Demand

Gwinnett County Parks & Recreation’s Murder Mystery Dinner Theatre is back by popular demand with a second new shows on June 12 and 13 at George Pierce Park Community Recreation Center in Suwanee.

The theme for the new show is centered on the night of the 10th annual "Hula Girl of the Year" pageant, where contestants from all over Georgia have assembled for a chance to wear the highly-coveted Pineapple Crown. Judged on runway presentation, talent, interview and overall hula-ness, these lovely ladies (along with one man) will compete to the death to win the coveted title.

The $30 admission price includes a great show plus a seated, family-style Hawaiian dinner featuring salad, pulled pork, rolls, sweet potatoes, assorted fruits, pineapple upside-down cake and raspberry tea. Non-pork options available upon request. Guests can also enjoy the non-alcoholic Tiki bar and each guest receives a complimentary lei.

Audience participation helps to bring this mystery in to play, with select roles being designated specifically for audience members. Shows begin at 7 p.m. and are suitable for ages 12 and up.
Pre-registration required by June 5. George Pierce Park Community Recreation Ctr. is located at 55 Buford Hwy. in Suwanee. For more information call 770-831-4173 or visit

Legally Blonde The Musical Debuts at the Fox Theatre July 14 - 19

“We are absolutely tickled pink to bring LEGALLY BLONDE THE MUSICAL to town,” states Christopher B. Manos, Producer of Theater of the Stars. “This fun-filled musical is a hot ticket and is getting raves from audiences and critics across the country! It makes a wonderful date night destination or a great girls night out, so grab some friends and make plans to raise your spirits with Elle, Bruiser, and the ladies of Delta Nu. Join us from July 14-19 at the Fabulous Fox Theatre. Tickets are on sale now at all Ticketmaster outlets, at and 800-982-2787.”

Sorority star Elle Woods doesn't take "no" for an answer. So when her boyfriend dumps her for someone more “serious,” Elle puts down the credit card, hits the books, and sets out to go where no Delta Nu has gone before: Harvard Law. Along the way, Elle proves that being true to yourself never goes out of style.

In its first year on Broadway, LEGALLY BLONDE THE MUSICAL earned seven 2007 Tony Award nominations, ten 2007 Drama Desk Award Nominations, a 2007 Outer Critics Circle Award and the chorus of the musical was honored by Actors’ Equity Association’s Advisory Committee on Chorus Affairs (ACCA) with the first ever ACCA Award. The musical also ranked in the top ten list of the most requested Ticketmaster “Arts & Theatre Events” for 2007. LEGALLY BLONDE THE MUSICAL received three 2009 Touring Broadway Awards in New York City on May 4, 2009. The show won awards for Best New Musical, Best Production Design and Best Choreography of a Touring Production. The Awards, presented by The Broadway League, honor excellence in Touring Broadway. It is the only such national award.

Becky Gulsvig, the Elle understudy in the original Broadway cast, is Elle Woods in the tour. Fans of the MTV reality show “Legally Blonde The Musical: The Search for Elle Woods”, which premiered on June 2, 2008, will recognize two familiar faces in the tour casting: Third runner-up Rhiannon Hansen plays Elle’s best friend Margot and fourth runner-up Lauren Zakrin is an ensemble member and understudies the role of Elle. The reality show represented the musical’s second venture with MTV. In the fall of 2007, MTV aired LEGALLY BLONDE THE MUSICAL in its entirety to stellar ratings and was subsequently nominated for two 2007-2008 Daytime Emmy Awards.

The Original Broadway Cast Recording for LEGALLY BLONDE THE MUSICAL was released on Ghostlight Records, an imprint of Sh-K-Boom Records, and captured the #1 slot on the Billboard Cast Album chart and charted at #86 on the Billboard Top 200. The album has continued its success, charting every week as one of the top-selling Broadway cast recordings and soared to the Top 10 albums (of any genre) on iTunes once the show premiered on MTV.

As on Broadway, Tony Award-winner Jerry Mitchell is the director and choreographer. Music and lyrics are by both Laurence O’Keefe and Nell Benjamin, and the book is by Heather Hach. The production features scenic design by David Rockwell, costume design by Gregg Barnes, lighting design by Kenneth Posner and Paul Miller, orchestrations by Christopher Jahnke and sound design by ACME Sound Partners.

LEGALLY BLONDE THE MUSICAL is produced on tour by Hal Luftig, Fox Theatricals and Dori Berinstein, in association with MGM Onstage, Darcie Denkert and Dean Stolber.

For more information visit:

LEGALLY BLONDE THE MUSICAL will play the Fabulous Fox Theatre in Atlanta from July 14 through July 19, 2009. Performances are Tuesday-Friday at 8 pm, Saturday at 2 pm and 8 pm and Sunday at 1:30 pm and 7 pm. Tickets are on sale NOW at all Ticketmaster outlets, at 800-982-2787 and online at Ticket prices range from $20-$67.50. Special group rates are available through the Fox Group Sales Dept. at 404-881-2000.

Theater of the Stars celebrates our 57th Anniversary as one of the nation’s premier theater companies. A civic not-for-profit cultural treasure, Theater of the Stars is dedicated to presenting and producing the best in musical theater. To learn more about our history of excellence, visit


JERRY MITCHELL (Director/Choreographer) earned a 2007 Tony Award Nomination for his choreography and two Drama Desk Award Nominations for his direction and choreography of Legally Blonde The Musical. He has also received the Tony, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards for choreographing the 2005 Tony Award-winning Best Revival of La Cage Aux Folles, having also been nominated for all such Awards in the same category for this production of Hairspray and the current smash hit musical, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. Jerry also received Tony, Drama Desk and Astaire Award nominations for choreographing The Full Monty. Other Broadway choreography credits include Never Gonna Dance, Imaginary Friends and revivals of Gypsy, The Rocky Horror Show (Drama Desk nomination) and You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown. Emmy-nominated for choreographing “The Drew Carey Show,” his memorable film work includes In and Out, Camp, Drop Dead Gorgeous, Scent of a Woman and Hedwig And the Angry Inch. Jerry proudly conceives, directs and choreographs Broadway Bares for Broadway Cares.

NELL BENJAMIN (Lyrics and Music) earned a 2007 Tony Award Nomination and two Drama Desk Award Nominations for the music & lyrics of Legally Blonde The Musical, which is her Broadway debut. She was nominated for a 2005 Drama Desk award for Best Book of a Musical for Cam Jansen and the Curse of the Emerald Elephant. Nell is also the recipient of the 2003 Kleban Foundation Award for lyrics and a 2003 Jonathan Larson Foundation Grant. She has written musicals, online games, TV shows and a corporate bond-trading manual. Nell wrote lyrics for the musical Sarah, Plain and Tall, produced in 2002 by TheatreworksUSA and re-mounted in 2006 at the Lucille Lortel. In 2003 Sarah was expanded into a full-length show at the O’Neill Festival. Prior to that, Nell was the lyricist on The Mice, which was produced by Harold Prince at The Prince Music Theater and at the Ahmanson. TV credits: “Unhappily Ever After” and “Whoa! Sunday with Mo Rocca.” She is a member of ASCAP and the Dramatists Guild of America.

LAURENCE O’KEEFE (Music and Lyrics), making his Broadway debut with Legally Blonde, is a composer, lyricist, pianist and writer. Awards: a 2007 Tony Award Nomination and two Drama Desk Award Nominations for the music & lyrics of Legally Blonde The Musical, 2004 Ed Kleban Award for lyrics, the 2001 ASCAP Richard Rodgers New Horizons Award, and a 2001 Jonathan Larson Award for his music and lyrics. NY credits: Bat Boy: The Musical (2001 Lucille Lortel and Outer Critics’ Circle Awards for Best Off-Broadway Musical) and has been produced in Boston, Tokyo, Seoul, and the West End, among others. He co-wrote book, music and lyrics with Nell Benjamin, for Cam Jansen and The Curse Of The Emerald Elephant (Drama Desk nom. for Best Book); the music for Sarah, Plain and Tall, which now tours the country for TheatreWorks USA. In 2003 Larry, Nell and book writer Julia Jordon expanded Sarah into a full-length show at the O’Neill Festival. Laurence composed The Mice, which was produced by Harold Prince at The Prince Music Theater and at the Ahmanson.

HEATHER HACH (Book) earned a 2007 Tony Award Nomination and a Drama Desk Award Nomination for the book of Legally Blonde The Musical, which is her Broadway debut. Her screenwriting credits include Disney’s Freaky Friday starring Lindsay Lohan and Jamie Lee Curtis, In The Pink, Cheer Up, There’s A Pop Diva Loose in the Cafeteria, The Governor’s Wife and In The Drink, a book adaptation. She is currently working on the screenplay for Oh Happy Day, for Disney. For Television, she sold the pilot “Live Better” to Sony. Her other TV credits include: “Dilbert” and “Caroline in the City.” Heather was a member of Comedy Sports, a Denver-based improv troop. She has also worked at The New York Times as a research assistant to the Denver Bureau Chief and was as Associate Editor at InLine: The Skate Magazine. Heather is the recipient of The 1999 Disney Screenwriting Fellowship.

DAVID ROCKWELL (Set Design) earned a 2007 Drama Desk Award Nomination for the set design of Legally Blonde The Musical. He has also designed the sets for Hairspray (Tony, Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle nominations), The Rocky Horror Show (Drama Desk Nomination), All Shook Up (Drama Desk Nomination), Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Omnium Gatherum and, for film, Team America. He is the founder of Rockwell Group, the New York-based architecture and design firm. Projects include the Kodak Theatre (home of the Academy Awards), W New York and W Union Square, Nobu, Nobu Fifty Seven, Cirque du Soleil, Café Gray and JFK's Jet Blue terminal. David has been honored with a lifetime achievement award from Interiors Magazine, is included in the Interior Design magazine's Hall of Fame, and was the recipient of the Presidential Design Award for his work for the Grand Central Terminal renovation.

GREGG BARNES (Costume Design) received 2007 Tony and Drama Desk nominations for his work on Legally Blonde. Broadway: The Drowsy Chaperone (2006 Tony, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards), Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Flower Drum Song (Tony nomination), Side Show. New York: Sinatra (Radio City), Follies (Encores!), The Kathy and Mo Show, Pageant, The Radio City Christmas Spectacular. NYC Opera: Cinderella, The Merry Widow. West End: Pageant (Olivier nomination). National tours: Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, On the Record, Ringling Bros. Circus. Regional: Mame (Kennedy Center), Flower Drum Song (Mark Taper, L.A. Drama Critics Award), Allegro (Signature Theatre, Helen Hayes Award), Lucky Duck (Old Globe, San Diego Critics Award) and nine years as resident costume designer for the Paper Mill Playhouse. TDF Young Master Award.

KENNETH POSNER (Lighting Design) Broadway: Wicked, Hairspray, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (Tony, Drama Desk, and Outer Critics Circle Nominations), Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Little Women, The Frogs, The Goat, Imaginary Friends, Swing, The Man Who Had All The Luck, Uncle Vanya, Side Man, (Lortel Award), You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown, The Lion in Winter, Little Me, A View From The Bridge, (Drama Desk Nomination), The Last Night of Ballyhoo, Getting Away with Murder, The Little Foxes, The Rose Tattoo, The Father, and The Rehearsal. Off-Broadway: Valhalla, The Wild Party, (Lortel Award, Drama Desk, and Outer Circle Critics Nominations), The Play About The Baby, Tick-Tick-BOOM, The Waverly Gallery, That Championship Season, Pride’s Crossing (Lortel Award), As Bees in Homey Drown, Cowgirls, The Food Chain, SuBurbia and numerous productions for Playwrights Horizons, The Public, Manhattan Theatre Club, Second Stage, The Vineyard, and Classic Stage Company. Opera credits include designs for the New York City Opera and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. OBIE for Sustained excellence in lighting design.

ACME SOUND PARTNERS (Sound Design). Broadway: Coram Boy, High Fidelity, A Chorus Line(2006), Coram Boy How the Grinch Stole Christmas, The Drowsy Chaperone, Hot Feet, The Light in the Piazza, Spamalot, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Dracula the Musical, Twentieth Century, Fiddler on the Roof, Never Gonna Dance, The Boy From Oz, Avenue Q, Gypsy, La Bohème (Drama Desk Award), Flower Drum Song, Elaine Stritch At Liberty, Bells Are Ringing, A Class Act, Jane Eyre, The Full Monty. National: Irving Berlin’s White Christmas. The partners are: Tom Clark, Mark Menard and Nevin Steinberg.

BECKY GULSVIG (Elle Woods) is tickled pink to be here!! Broadway: Legally Blonde The Musical original cast (Elle u/s), Hairspray (Amber Von Tussle). Nat’l Tour: Peter Pan (Wendy). Regional includes: Grease (Patty Simcox), …Forum (Philia), Lawyers, Lovers And Lunatics (Eve), Baby Case (Studio Sister/Ginger Rogers). TV: “All My Children”, MTV’s “Legally Blonde The Musical”.

D.B. BONDS (Emmett). Broadway and National Tours: Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (Freddy Benson), Les Miserables, The Phantom Of The Opera, The Scarlet Pimpernel. Off-Broadway: Make Me a Song: The Music of William Finn, The Last Five Years. Most recently seen in Kander and Ebb's The Visit. Member of Actor's Equity for 13 years!

NATALIE JOY JOHNSON (Paulette) is thrilled to continue with LB after originating the role of Enid on Broadway. Other credits: bare: a pop opera and the 2001 National Tour of Godspell. Upcoming film: When in Rome. Natalie's solo club act has played all throughout NYC.

KEN LAND (Professor Callahan). Broadway/Off-Broadway/Tours: The Scarlet Pimpernel, Victor/Victoria, The Gig, Little Shop of Horrors, Sweet Charity, Secret Garden, Evita. Regional: Portland Center Stage, Old Globe, Goodspeed, Indiana Rep. Television: “Boston Legal”, “Six Feet Under”, “Law & Order”(s), “Malcolm in the Middle”, “Judging Amy”, “The District”, “Crossing Jordan”, “Star Trek: Voyager”.

JEFF MCLEAN (Warner Huntington III) joins this tour directly from the desert sands of Nevada where he was an original member of the Las Vegas company of Spamalot. As a solo artist, Jeff has toured concert halls and stadiums throughout the world and is honored to perform with this unbelievable cast. Love to Mom & Dad.

MEGAN LEWIS (Vivienne). Broadway: Grey Gardens. Off-Broadway: Forbidden Broadway Special Victims Unit, Forbidden Broadway Rude Awakening. Regional: Goodspeed, Barrington Stages and Ford's Theater. Recordings: Forbidden Broadway Special Victims Unit and Rude Awakening, The New Hopeville Comics, Believe.

COLEEN SEXTON (Brooke) is psyched to get “whipped into shape!" Before turning pink she was green in the tour of Wicked (Elphaba). Broadway: Jekyll and Hyde (Lucy) and was in the DVD version with David Hasselhoff. TV: “Law & Order”, “Third Watch”, “Guiding Light”, “As the World Turns”.

GRETCHEN BURGHART (Enid) is uber-excited to be joining the First National Tour of Legally Blonde. Favorite credits: National tour of Fame, On the Town (off-Broadway), Cabaret (Geva Theatre/Portland Center Stage), Footloose (Little Theatre on the square), The Sound of Music (Wagon Wheel). Millikin Graduate.

RHIANNON HANSEN (Margot) is super excited to be joining the cast of the National Tour! She just recently finished the MTV reality show “Legally Blonde: The Search for Elle Woods”.

CRYSTAL JOY (Pilar). Recently in Dreamgirls as Lorrell Robinson (T.U.T.S). Played Dorothy in The Wiz (Hangar Theatre). Currently working on solo album. Special thanks to my band, The SENATE. Reach me at

CORTNEY WOLFSON (Serena). Broadway: Les Miserables (u/s Eponine). NYC Readings/Workshops: Ever After (dir. Doug Hughes); American Idiot (dir. Michael Mayer); The Addams Family; Going Hollywood (dir. Jerry Mitchell); The Battery's Down (web series). Regional: Mame (Gloria Upson), MUNY. The University of Michigan: BFA.

BARRY ANDERSON (Ensemble, u/s Emmett, Callahan, Dad/Winthrop). Broadway: Legally Blonde (Aaron). Tours/Regional: My Fair Lady, Damn Yankees (Joe Hardy), Where's Charley? (Charley), Honk! (Cat). TV: "As The World Turns".

SARA ANDREAS (Swing, u/s Brooke, Serena, Pilar). Off-Broadway: Rachel Sheinkin's Serenade (Jaradoa), Seesaw (GT2). Readings: May Day, Finger Paint (Plastic Flamingo Theater Company). Graduate of the University of Miami. Proud member of AEA.

KYLE BROWN (Carlos). Broadway: Legally Blonde (Carlos/Lowell). Regional: NSMT, PCLO and MUNY. Training: CCM Musical Theatre, WHS.

NICK DALTON (Ensemble, u/s Warner, Dad/Winthrop). Partial Credits: Hairspray (Vegas), Three Musketeers (Pre-Bway), Hair (European Tour), Liszt for President (European Indie Winner), and “All My Children”.

VEN DANIEL (Kyle/Dewey/Grandmaster Chad). Broadway: Legally Blonde, Disney's Tarzan. National tours: Saturday Night Fever (Tony u/s), Swing! European tour: Grease.

AMBER EFÉ (Store Manager/Judge, u/s Paulette). Credits include Legally Blonde The Musical (Original Broadway Company, MTV), Wes Craven’s 25/8, Comedy Central, Pepsi, Coca-Cola, Nike, Carnegie Hall. Atlanta native, Howard alumna. Vous n’avez encore rien vu…

ALEX ELLIS (Kate/Chutney, u/s Margot, Enid). Tours: Thoroughly Modern Millie (Millie). Favs: Hairspray (Penny), All Shook Up (Nat/Ed). ELON.

JAY GARCIA (Swing) was recently seen Off-Broadway as Juan in Altar Boyz after originating the role on the first national tour. Credits include Avenue Q, The Man In The Ceiling.

SPENCER HOWARD (Dance Captain/Swing) recently played Riff in Pittsburgh CLO's West Side Story. Thanks to Telsey & Co and Jerry for this great opportunity. NYU graduate.

PAUL JACKEL (Dad/Winthrop,u/s Callahan). Broadway & other NYC: The Secret Garden (OC), A Christmas Carol, The Fantasticks, The Last Starfighter (OC). National tours & regional: Garden, Into the Woods, Camelot, Ragtime. Graduate of Harvard University. (Seriously.)

SARAH MARIE JENKINS (Dance Captain, Ensemble, u/s Pilar, Kate/Chutney) Theatre: Peter Pan w/Cathy Rigby (NYC/Tour); Swing! (U.S./Japan Tours); Seven Brides… (Alice- Goodspeed, Paper Mill, NSMT); The Music Man (Zaneeta); TV: “Law & Order: SVU”; “Today”.

LESLIE MCDONEL (Swing, u/s Vivienne) comes directly from the Broadway production of Hairspray (u/s Amber, Velma, Female Authority).

BRIAN PATRICK MURPHY (Ensemble, u/s Warner, Kyle/Dewey/Grandmaster Chad). For Mom and family! Dog Sees God, The Who's Tommy, etc.

MAMIE PARRIS (Mom/Sales Manager, u/s Paulette, Vivienne, Enid). Broadway: The Drowsy Chaperone, 110 in the Shade. Also: Chicago (China), Radio City Christmas Spectacular, two tours with Kenny Rogers. Favorite regional roles include Millie, Rizzo, and Audrey.

TALLY SESSIONS (Aaron, u/s Emmett). Tour: Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. Off-Broadway: Joys of Sex, Godspell. NY: Main-Travelled Roads, The Children, Yank!, Tim and Scrooge, The Happy Prince. Regional: Signature, Goodspeed, Westport, PMP, Florida Stage, Actors’ Playhouse.

LAUREN ASHLEY ZAKRIN (Ensemble, u/s Elle, Margot) is delighted to be touring with Legally Blonde. She was last seen as a finalist on the MTV Show “The Search for Elle Woods.”

ADAM ZELASKO (Nikos/Padamadan) hails from the great city of Buffalo, NY! Tours: Thoroughly Modern Millie (Jimmy) Regional: Altar Boyz Chicago (Juan), Hot Mikado (Nanki Poo), Chicago (MC). Graduated: SUNY Buffalo, BFA Musical Theater.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Atlanta Lyric Theatre presents CABARET June 12 – 28

Atlanta Lyric Theatre presents the Tony-Award winning musical CABARET June 12th through the 28th, 2009 at the Earl Smith Strand Theatre, Home of Atlanta Lyric Theatre (117 N. Park Sq., Marietta).

The decadent world of 1930s Berlin comes to life in this Tony Award-winning musical masterpiece. An English nightclub singer, an American writer, a German landlady and a Jewish shopkeeper find their destinies linked and their futures uncertain as the rise of the Nazis party casts a shadow over Germany during the waning days of the Weimar Republic. By turns defiant and melancholy, brazen and gleeful, CABARET sizzles with thrilling songs, evocative dance numbers and a chilling storyline. Presiding over the action is the Emcee, who acts as master of ceremonies and serves as a constant metaphor for the current state of German society.

CABARET won 8 Tony Awards in 1967, including Best Musical, and the film version featuring Liza Minnelli and Joel Grey won 8 Academy Awards.

The cast of CABARET features Claci Miller as nightclub singer Sally Bowles, Jeff Juday as American writer Cliff Bradshaw, Doyle Reynolds as the eerily grinning Emcee, Jackie Prucha as Fraulein Schneider, and Theo Harness as Herr Schultz.

Others in the cast include Jill Hames, Craig Waldrip, Brett Parker, Elizabeth Neidel, Jennifer Smiles, Natalie Barrow, Courtney Godwin, Tracey Moore, Brittany Bohn and Jason Royal.
The show is directed by Actor's Express Artistic Director Freddie Ashley, with choreography by Cindy Mora, musical direction by BJ Brown, set design by Drew Monihan, costume design by Broadway Bound Costumes, and lighting design by Joseph P. Monaghan, III.

Performances of CABARET begin June 12 and run through June 28. Performances are at 8:00PM with matinees on Sundays at 2:00PM at the Earl Smith Strand Theatre (117 N. Park Sq., Marietta). Tickets are on sale now at, or by calling 404-377-9948.
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Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Crashers Invade Georgia Shakespeare

Shakespeare Crashers offer live social networking, cheap tickets, and happy hour festivities.

Georgia Shakespeare, a professional theatre company known for its bold interpretations of classic plays, has announced a new social group geared towards Atlanta's young professionals, the Shakespeare Crashers.

Founded by associates from Alston and Bird and Homrich Berg, the Shakespeare Crashers blends exciting, affordable theatre with social networking opportunities.

"In addition to great theatre, Georgia Shakespeare offers a relaxing outdoor environment that's perfect for social events," said Chris Kowal, an associate with Homrich Berg who helped found the group. "Shakespeare Crashers will have an opportunity to enjoy a pre-show happy hour on the picnic grounds featuring complimentary beer and wine as well as discount tickets to the production. It's a unique, affordable alternative to the usual social and networking scenes."

Shakespeare Crasher happy hours for the 2009 Summer Festival are scheduled for June 17 (A Midsummer Night's Dream), July 1 (Cat on a Hot Tin Roof), and July 29 (Titus Andronicus). Events begin at 6:30 p.m. and feature a beer and wine reception sponsored by Atlanta Brewing Company. All performances begin at 8:00 p.m. and take place at the Conant Performing Arts Center, 4484 Peachtree Rd. NE, Atlanta, GA 30319. Tickets are $25 and include the pre-show reception and a ticket to the performance.

For ticket information, call the Georgia Shakespeare box office at 404.264.0020 or visit

Founded in 1986, Georgia Shakespeare creates thoughtful, bold and passionate interpretations of a diverse body of work rooted in Shakespeare and branching out to embrace the best writers and ideas of all eras. On the stage and through educational programming, Georgia Shakespeare strives to entertain, to ignite the imagination and to creatively explore the journey of the human spirit.

Georgia Shakespeare is the professional theatre in residence at Oglethorpe University and performs at the Conant Performing Arts Center, 4484 Peachtree Rd. NE, Atlanta, GA 30319.
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Thursday, May 7, 2009

Oprah Winfrey Presents The Color Purple Starring Fantasia

Two weeks only!
September 15-27 at the Fabulous Fox Theatre

Theater of the Stars welcomes the soulful singing sensation as she reprises her critically acclaimed role of "Celie" in the smash hit musical

The producers of THE COLOR PURPLE are proud to announce that American Idol Season 3 winner Fantasia Barrino will reprise her starring role of Celie for the Atlanta engagement. Theater of the Stars will host the first North American Touring production of THE COLOR PURPLE for two weeks, September 15-27. Tickets are on sale now at and 800-982-2787.

Fantasia made her Broadway debut in THE COLOR PURPLE on April 10, 2007. She won the 2007 Theater World Award and received across the board rave reviews, with Clive Barnes of The New York Post exclaiming “Four cheers for Fantasia! There is some elemental quality to Fantasia that is either greatness or something close to it. I feel a lot in the theater but usually I don’t cry. With this performance, I found tears running down my cheeks. If you haven’t seen THE COLOR PURPLE, see it now; if you have seen it, see it again. Something extraordinary is happening at the Broadway theatre that is not to be missed.” The Daily News’ Joe Dziemianowicz shouts out “Fantasia is a hit in THE COLOR PURPLE. Her performance is a must-see. Fantasia gives such a powerful performance it’s almost too beautiful for words!”

As a 19-year old single mother, Fantasia began her path to international stardom when she became the winner of FOX’s hugely successful audience-driven singing competition in May 2004. Now 23, Barrino has garnered critical acclaim for the release of both her debut album, Free Yourself, which marked her becoming the first artist in Billboard Hot 100 chart history to debut at #1 with her debut single “I Believe,” and her second album, FANTASIA, released by J Records on December 12, 2006. To date, she has gathered more than 20 award nominations including Grammy Awards, American Music Awards, Vibe Awards, Soul Train Awards and Soul Train “Lady of Soul” Awards, Billboard Music Awards and R&B & Hip Hop Awards, BET Awards, NAACP Image Awards, and Teen Choice Awards.

No stranger to acting, Fantasia also broke records of a different kind after authoring a New York Times best-selling autobiography Life Is Not A Fairy Tale (Simon & Schuster, September 2005) and starring in The Fantasia Barrino Story: Life is Not a Fairytale, the Debbie Allen-directed Lifetime original movie adaptation of her truthful, outspoken, and ultimately healing memoir in August 2006. For her performance, she was nominated for a 2007 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Television Movie, Mini-Series or Dramatic Special. The biopic, also nominated as Outstanding Television Movie, Mini-Series or Dramatic Special for the 2007 NAACP Image Awards, ranks as the channel’s second most watched movie and has been seen by 19 million viewers.

With her Broadway debut as Celie, the heart and soul of THE COLOR PURPLE, she added the distinction of being the first ever American Idol winner to star in a Broadway show.

Other featured members of the cast of THE COLOR PURPLE are Felicia P. Fields as Sofia, Angela Robinson as Shug Avery, Rufus Bonds, Jr. as Mister, Stu James as Harpo, LaToya London as Nettie, and Tiffany Daniels as Squeak.

Nominated for eleven Tony Awards®, including Best Musical, THE COLOR PURPLE opened on December 1, 2005 at the Broadway Theatre where it ran for over two record breaking years. It is based on the classic Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Alice Walker and the moving film by Steven Spielberg. It is the unforgettable and inspiring story of a woman named Celie, who finds the strength to triumph over adversity, and discover her unique voice in the world. With a joyous GRAMMY®-nominated score featuring gospel, jazz, pop and the blues, THE COLOR PURPLE is about hope and the healing power of love.

As on Broadway, the first North American Tour of THE COLOR PURPLE is directed by Gary Griffin. THE COLOR PURPLE features a libretto by Pulitzer Prize-winner Marsha Norman, music and lyrics by Grammy Award®-winning composers/lyricists Brenda Russell, Allee Willis and Stephen Bray, and choreography by Donald Byrd. The original creative team of Tony Award®-winner John Lee Beatty (sets), Paul Tazewell (costumes), Tony Award®-winner Brian MacDevitt (lighting), Jon Weston (sound), Jonathan Tunick (orchestrations) and Kevin Stites (Music Supervisor) was reunited for the tour.

The first North American Tour is produced by Oprah Winfrey, Scott Sanders, Roy Furman, Quincy Jones, Creative Battery, Anna Fantaci & Cheryl Lachowicz, Independent Presenters Network, Lowy Family Group, Stephanie McClelland, Gary Winnick, Jan Kallish, Nederlander Presentations, Inc., Bob and Harvey Weinstein, Andrew Asnes & Adam Zotovich and Todd Johnson in association with AEG Live.

The original cast recording is available on EMI/Angel Records, and THE COLOR PURPLE: A Memory Book of the Broadway Musical (Avalon/Carroll & Graf) is available in bookstores now. Ariel Investments is a proud sponsor of THE COLOR PURPLE.

THE COLOR PURPLE will play the Fabulous Fox Theatre in Atlanta from September 15-27. Performances are scheduled for Tuesday-Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. and Sunday at 1:30 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. Tickets are on sale NOW at all Ticketmaster outlets, at 800-982-2787 and online at Ticket prices range from $29.50 to $67.50. Special group rates are available through the Fox Group Sales Dept. at 404-881-2000.

Theater of the Stars celebrates our 57th Anniversary as one of the nation’s premier regional theater companies. A civic not-for-profit cultural treasure, Theater of the Stars is dedicated to presenting and producing the best in musical theater. To learn more about our history of excellence and our upcoming season, visit
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Tuesday, May 5, 2009

NCTC Presents Its First One-Man Show

Most one-man shows are monologues espousing the author’s core beliefs. However, this is not what Newnan Community Theatre Company’s first one man show is. What it is is a hilarious comedy written by Becky Mode. On May 15 and 16, Trey Stephens will star in “Fully Committed.”

In its simplicity, “Fully Committed” is a side-splitting satire about people who are desperate to book a table at New York City’s hottest French restaurant, and the employee who has to deal with them all.

Actor Stephens stated the play selection was pretty easy. Although he liked the idea of being on stage on a rant, he wanted to appeal to a wider audience. “Fully Committed” is not a difficult play to understand or follow. The show follows a young, naïve, unemployed actor in New York City. He works for a restaurant reservations desk where the requests are non-stop. Sam, the main character, is taken advantage of by all the people who desire to get their own way. Throughout the course of the play Sam must try to cope with fulfilling everyone’s needs. This is an impossible task as the needs of others are in direct competition with one another. Sam eventually decides to take control. By the end of the show, Sam goes from being a boy with a dream to a man with a plan.

Stephens chose to do a one-man show because he wanted to expand what he is capable of accomplishing. He also stated he “wanted to set a good example for the artists of Newnan to try and push the envelope a little more. Do something uncomfortable and scary, because that is when the true magic happens.”

“Fully Committed” is comprised of 36 different characters (37 if you count a pre-recorded voice-over), all portrayed by Stephens. He states “Sometimes I disagree with myself, other times I am trying to make sure that I don’t feel too bad about something that I did to myself. I obviously get to talk in silly voices, and playing 10 different women is not easy!”

Trey has been volunteering at NCTC for the past three years. He directed “Noises Off!,” and “Daddy’s Dyin’,” and appeared in “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” and “The Odd Couple.” Stephens is a regular participant in the NITWITS, NCTC’s improvisational comedy troupe. He graduated from the University of Georgia with a BA in Drama and is proud to currently teach Mathematics at Mt. Zion High School in Carroll County.

Playwright Becky Mode developed “Fully Committed” with Mark Setlock. It premiered in New York in 1999 and was an immediate success. Mode is a former actress, waitress, and coat check girl. She was a staff writer on “The Cosby Show.”

“Fully Committed” will be performed in NCTC’s black box theatre, May 15 and 16, at 8 pm. Seating is limited. The cost is $10 per person. Tickets may be purchased from the theatre’s website, You can make a reservation by emailing NCTC at or calling the theatre at 770-683-6282. Newnan Community Theatre Company is located in downtown Newnan at 24 1st Avenue. The non-profit organization is completely volunteer-run.
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Friday, May 1, 2009

Twilight Auditions for Oliver! Monday and Tuesday

The Twilight Theatre will hold auditions for Lionel Bart's Oliver! this Monday and Tuesday, May 4 and 5. Auditions are from 5:00-9:00 at Fayetteville First United Methodist Church. Oliver! will be the first of Twilight’s 2009 Summerstock productions at the Frederick Brown, Jr. Amphitheater in Peachtree City. Show dates are July 24, 25, 31, and August 1 at 8:00 p.m.

Based on Charles Dickens' novel Oliver Twist, Oliver! tells the story of young orphan Oliver Twist, who runs away and winds up in London. There he meets Fagin and the Artful Dodger, who is leader of a band of pick-pockets. Some of the music from the show - "Food, Glorious Food," "I'd Do Anything," "Where is Love?," "Consider Yourself," "As Long As He Needs Me," "Who Will Buy," and "Reviewing the Situation" are musical theatre classics. The production team includes Director Alison Chambers, Music Director Barbara Zellner, Assistant Director Chelsea
Rhoades, and Choreographer Kathy Senger of Peachtree City School of Dance.

“I’m very excited about Oliver!,” says Chambers. “I grew up watching this show, and I can’t wait to introduce one of my favorites to another generation. We have an outstanding production team for what is going to be Twilight’s biggest show to date, and I plan on putting 100 people on the stage. We need a large cast of kids and adults, and we’re encouraging families to audition together. Twilight loves having a cast full of families.”

Audition requirements and a character breakdown can be found on Twilight's website. A large cast of children ages 8 and up and adults is needed, but 7 year-olds may audition if at least one parent is also auditioning. Boys and girls may audition for the lead parts and chorus of Fagin's boys. There are still a few spaces left in the small groups audition workshops on Saturday, 5/2 and for individual vocalizing/ auditioning/coaching sessions for those over 12 years of age. For more information go to
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