Friday, May 30, 2008

Main Street Players Holding Auditions for the Musical "Li'l Abner."

The Main Street Players will hold auditions for actors ranging in ages from 8-25 for the musical “Li’l Abner” next Thursday, June 5th and Friday, June 6th at 7:00PM in the theater located at 115 North Hill Street, Griffin, GA.

Inspired by the satirical comic strip by Al Capp, “Li'l Abner,” the 1956 Tony Award winning show, is a broad spoof of hillbillies but also a pointed satire taking on any number of topics, ranging from the United States government to a mixture of hillbilly nonsense, mixed with sharp, critical humor that has a universal appeal.

“I have always wanted to do this upbeat musical extravaganza,” says Nancy Gresham, director. “If you're looking for a fun-filled, foot-stompin' musical that is taken directly from the comics, then “Li’l Abner” is for you. It's pure entertainment: a side-splitting extravaganza for all.

“We are looking for all the mad-cap characters created in the famous comic strip that ran from1934 through 1977: the flirtatious Daisy Mae; the corporate titan General Bullmoose; the con-man, maryin' Sam; the dynamite-in-a-small-package Mammy Yokum and her hen-pecked husband, Pappy Yokum (Li'l Abner's mother and father); the shapely Appassionata von Climax; Stupifyin' Jones; the pig-toting Moonbeam McSwine; the affable, blustering politician, Senator Jack S. Phogbound; everyone’s black-sheep-of-the family Lonesome Polecat; and the squirrelly Evil Eye Fleegle.

“In casting for this production, we will need several singing and dancing “citizens” of improvised Dogpatch, the setting of the hillbilly musical.

“And, of course, we are looking for the next “Griffin Idol,” the title character --- the obstinate, sweet-natured, muscular (and very naïve) Li’l Abner.

“Please prepare one song and a one-to-two minute monologue or read from the script,” says Gresham. “An accompanist will be available.

“A head shot and resume is a bonus, but not required. However, all applicants must be available for evening rehearsals three weeks prior to the performance dates and, or course, available, for every performance during the run of the show.

“Call 770-867-9821 or 770-229-9916 to set an audition appointment time. Leave name and call back number.

“I think that this fun-filled musical romp, apropos in an election year, is the perfect summer vehicle for Main Street Theatre’s annual Summer Program for Youth,” says Gresham.

The Main Street Players’ Program for Youth, 115 North Hill Street, Griffin, brings “Li’l Abner” to the stage for eight performances only; weekends: Thursday, July 24th through Sunday, August 3rd, 2008.

All tickets are $10. For tickets and information please call 770 229-9916.

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Friday, May 23, 2008

Accomplished Improv Performers Keep Audience Laughing


Offshoot Productions, the Southside’s oldest professional theatre, has successfully recreated itself as a touring and special event company. In addition to touring the current children’s participation play, Tales from Near and Far, and preparing for its upcoming mystery, Rehearsal for Murder, Offshoot has increased the cast size of its improvisation troupe, The Gallery Players.

The Gallery Players actors—Elizabeth Clausen, Andy Fleming, Kristi Israel, Betty Mitchell, Paige Steadman and Joey Waldrop—bring a wide range of performing experience to the seemingly effortless improvisation they create for delighted audiences.
Drawing from dozens of improv structures, the troupe can design a performance for a particular occasion or venue. Because the audience is always different, and the cast line-up for a particular performance varies, each show is surprisingly unique.

Every performance begins with a song. Then, according to audience suggestions and predilections, the company presents a wacky interpretation of common—and uncommon--experiences, such as a “dating game” in which the audience assigns different characters (real or fictional, from Cleopatra to Orphan Annie) to the women competing for a guy. At times, the actors may transform a mundane scene into a Shakespearean tragedy or a piece in the style of film noir or Dr. Seuss. Sometimes performers are limited to lines suggested by the audience, or beginning with a letter of the alphabet, or that contain a certain number of words.

There are also opportunities for a few brave souls in the audience to join the actors on stage.

The troupe’s director, Susan M. Steadman, Ph.D., has been producing artistic director of Offshoot Productions since 1993. She has spent over thirty years teaching improvisation in universities, at theatre conferences, or for recreation departments and other organizations.

For information on the Gallery Players and on Offshoot Productions, call (770) 631-2362 or send e-mail to offshootpr@aol.com. For general information on the company, visit www.offshoot.org.
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AJack and the Amazing Beanstalk@ Theatre Camp Set for Tyrone Recreation

Once again, Fayette County based Offshoot Productions is partnering with the Tyrone Recreation Department to offer a unique summer camp. From Monday, July 28, through Friday, August 1, young actors aged 7 to 15 may participate in AJack and the Amazing Beanstalk@ at the Roger Spencer Community Center, 145 Commerce Drive in Tyrone.

While creating a magical tale that includes offbeat characters, a fast-paced plot, music and stylized movement, the participants will learn acting techniques for developing an ensemble performance. Part of the time campers work in small groups according to age, and part of the time everyone works together to mold the show.

The camp, which is suitable both for those with theatre experience and for newcomers to the stage, meets from 1:00 to 4:15 p.m. daily, with a presentation for invited guests on Friday. The cost is $98.

Instructors for the camp include Susan M. Steadman, Ph.D., Offshoot ‘s producing artistic director since 1993, and Paige Steadman, Offshoot’s musical director and a member of the Gallery Players improvisation troupe.

For registration information, contact the Tyrone Recreation Department at (770) 487-4694 or tyronerec@numail.org. For information on class content, call or e-mail Offshoot Productions at (770) 631-2362 or offshootpr@aol.com.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Important Seating Information For Sweeny Todd Ticketholders

Atlantans planning to attend a performance of SWEENEY TODD, The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, at The Fabulous Fox Theatre during its local engagement May 27 – June 1 should be advised that those arriving late to the show will NOT be seated for the first 30 minutes of the production due to a seating hold. Please allow extra travel time to arrive at the theatre and access your seats before the curtain time printed on your ticket. Planning accordingly will ensure patrons have the chance to thoroughly enjoy a complete performance.


WHO: Broadway Across America – Atlanta

WHAT: 30-minute Seating Hold for Latecomers to Performances of “SWEENEY TODD”

WHEN: May 27 – June 1

WHERE: The Fox Theatre
660 Peachtree Street
Atlanta, GA 30308
404-817-8700

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

Visit www.broadwayacrossamerica.com.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Casting Announced for Atlanta Engagement of The Color Purple at the Fabulous Fox from July 15 - August

Oprah Winfrey, Scott Sanders and the producing team of the Broadway smash hit THE COLOR PURPLE, The Musical about Love, are proud to announce casting information for the Atlanta date of the first North American Touring production of THE COLOR PURPLE. The show will play the Fabulous Fox Theatre for 24 performances from July 15 through August 3. Tickets are on sale NOW through www.ticketmaster.com and 404-817-8700. Group tickets can be purchased through the Fox Theatre Group Sales Dept. at 404-881-2000.

Nominated for eleven Tony Awards®, including Best Musical, THE COLOR PURPLE 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.

“We are thrilled to host the tour of THE COLOR PURPLE here in Atlanta in association with the National Black Arts Festival,” states Christopher B. Manos, Producer of Theater of the Stars. “Its powerful and timeless message is sure to resonate with our audiences. And we are thrilled to welcome this marvelous ensemble cast including Stu James, who is originally from Atlanta.”

The cast of THE COLOR PURPLE includes:

JEANNETTE BAYARDELLE (Celie) is a Hunter College graduate from NYC. This Gospel recording artist released her debut CD entitled Praise Report in September 2005, which is available online at www. jeannettebayardelle.com. She starred on Broadway as Celie in The Color Purple and has performed in national and international tours of Big River, Rent, and Sister Act.

FELICIA P. FIELDS (Sofia) is a native Chicagoan who earned a Tony Award Nomination for her portrayal of Sofia in The Color Purple on Broadway. Her performance also earned her a 2006 Theatre World Award, a Clarence Derwent Award, two Broadway.com Awards and she was a 2006 Drama League honoree. Felicia has worked throughout the Chicagoland area in Jammin’ With Pops (Ella Fitzgerald), Hot Mikado (Katisha), Show Boat (Queenie), Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (Ma Rainey), Ain’t Misbehavin’ (Nell/Amelia) and Dreamgirls (Effie Melody White), to name a few. Felicia’s stellar performance in Chicago’s Drury Lane production of Sophisticated Ladies earned her the Joseph Jefferson Award for Best Actress in a Musical.

ANGELA ROBINSON (Shug Avery) portrayed Shug Avery on Broadway in The Color Purple. She also appeared on Broadway in: Wonderful Town, Bells Are Ringing, Play On! Her tour credits include: Wizard of Oz, and Dreamgirls (Deena) [Black Theatre Alliance nomination]. She’s performed extensively in regional theatre including the Baltimore Center Stage, Paper Mill, Pittsburgh Public, The Alliance, Prince Music Theatre, and TheatreWorks CA. Her roles on television include “A Diva’s Christmas Carol,” and “Law & Order: SVU.”

RUFUS BONDs, JR. (Mister) performed the role of Mufasa in Julie Taymor’s Broadway production of The Lion King. Mr. Bonds recently won the L.A. Weekly nomination, Best Ensemble, for his work in the Los Angeles premier of Because They Have No Words, directed by Emilie Beck. Bonds received critical acclaim for his portrayal of Jim in the Los Angeles Deaf West production of Big River. He has worked with such greats as Stephen Sondheim in Merrily We Roll Along, William Finn in Romance In Hard Times and Harold Prince in Parade for which Bonds was nominated for both the Drama Desk and the FANY Award.

STU JAMES (Harpo) is thrilled to be a part of such a timeless and amazing story as The Color Purple. He’s a native of Atlanta, Georgia and a graduate of Morehouse College. He performed on Broad­­way as Benny in RENT. His movie credits include Bill Condon’s Dreamgirls; Downtown A Street Tale; House of Grim and the D.K. Holmes feature Burning Sands. Television audiences know him from roles on “General Hospital,” “All My Children” and “Barbershop.” Stu is currently putting the finishing touches on his debut Album Love Is (www.myspace.com/stujameslive) and he’s working on a one man show entitled Son of the South.

LaTOYA LONDON (Nettie). Being part of The Color Purple is a dream come true for LaToya. Now known to her fans simply as “London,” she was named the early front runner to win season three of “American Idol” by Simon Cowell and Elton John. On-air she joined the ranks of “The Three Divas” alongside Jennifer Hudson and Fantasia Barrino before she was shockingly voted off, ending up in fourth place. London later garnered a Peak Records recording contract and two Billboard-topping singles. Regional credits and tours include: Beehive, Issues, Handles Messiah and Quincy Jones’ Blues In The Night at The Hollywood Bowl. Her debut album Love & Life is in stores now. For more information and the latest news about Latoya visit www.latoyalondon.com

STEPHANIE ST. JAMES (Squeak) is a Los Angeles-based actress, singer and songwriter. She’s a proud advocate for the disease endometriosis. You can learn more about her campaign to raise awareness, her own personal story and struggle with the disease, and more on her acting credits and music at www.stephaniestjames.com

Also starring in the North American Tour are Ensemble members: Lynette DuPree, Kimberly Ann Harris and Virginia Ann Woodruff as the Church Ladies, Bridgette Bentley as the Church Soloist, and Adam Wade as Ol’ Mister. Rounding out the cast are Shani Borden, Brian Harlan Brooks, Reneé Monique Brown, LaTrisa Coleman, Darius Crenshaw, Tiffany Daniels, Quentin Earl Darrington, Alex de Castro, Lesly Terrell Donald, Aliyah D. Flowers, André Garner, Rhett George, Phyre Hawkins, Dameka Hayes, Warner Robins natives LaTonya Holmes and Jenna Ford Jackson, Chauncey Jenkins, Trent Armand Kendall, Keith Byron Kirk, Kristopher Thompson-Bolden, Diamond White, and Anthony Williams II.

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) were 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, and is produced in special 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 Mutual Funds is a proud sponsor of THE COLOR PURPLE.

THE COLOR PURPLE will play the Fabulous Fox Theatre in association with the National Black Arts Festival as follows:
Tues, July 15 at 8 pm Tues, July 22 at 8 pm Tues, July 29 at 8 pm
Wed, July 16 at 8 pm Wed, July 23 at 8 pm Wed, July 30 at 8 pm
Thurs, July 17 at 8 pm Thurs, July 24 at 8 pm Thurs, July 31 at 8 pm
Fri, July 18 at 8 pm Fri, July 25 at 8 pm Fri, Aug 1 at 8 pm
Sat, July 19 at 2 pm Sat, July 26 at 2 pm Sat, Aug 2 at 2 pm
Sat, July 19 at 8 pm Sat, July 26 at 8 pm Sat, Aug 2 at 8 pm
Sun, July 20 at 1:30 pm Sun, July 27 at 1:30 pm Sun, Aug 3 at 1:30 pm
Sun, July 20 at 7 pm Sun, July 27 at 7 pm Sun, Aug 3 at 7 pm

For more information about THE COLOR PURPLE, please visit www.colorpurple.com

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Georgia Boosts Incentives for Entertainment Industry

Governor Sonny Perdue today (May 12, 2008) signed into law the 2008 Entertainment Industry Investment Act (HB 1100), new legislation designed to encourage entertainment industry productions in Georgia. The signing ceremony took place at the studios of Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. (TBS, Inc.), where the Governor was joined by Phil Kent, chairman and CEO of TBS, Inc., and over 100 attendees including legislators, industry leaders and members of the entertainment industry.

“We know that our excellent talent base and outstanding locations make Georgia a very desirable place to film,” said Governor Sonny Perdue. “This legislation puts in place the economic cornerstone that will encourage producers to convert that desire into action.”

The 2008 Entertainment Industry Investment Act reinforces and strengthens Georgia’s position within the entertainment industry. The new, more competitive incentives replace those currently in use by offering a 20 percent tax credit for qualified productions, which are then eligible for an additional 10 percent tax credit if they include an animated Georgia promotional logo within the finished product.

The incentives apply not only to qualified films, TV series, commercials and music videos, but also to video game productions. The economic impact of all these entertainment segments in Georgia was $413 million in 2007.

“We’re proud of this legislation; alot of the credit goes to Governor Perdue for setting up the film commission,” said Rep. Butch Parrish, a sponsor of the legislation. “I think this bill will jump start the Georgia film industry.”

“This new incentive allows Georgia to once again compete for an industry we used to be famous for,” said Sen. Mitch Seabaugh. “It will be a catalyst that will spur immediate economic investment and create jobs. Georgia will once again be on center stage where it belongs.”

“The new incentives will put Georgia among the top five states in the U.S. in terms of financial competitiveness for entertainment projects,” said Ken Stewart, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD). “We expect to see an increase in the number of industry jobs and overall economic impact for the state in the coming years.”

The state has seen success in the past with competitive incentives. The 2005 Entertainment Industry Investment Act (HB 539), signed by Governor Perdue in 2005, led to a record-setting economic impact in 2006 when film, television and video game companies contributed $475 million to Georgia’s economy, up from $124 million in 2004. The total economic impact of entertainment productions from 2005 through 2007 has been over $1.17 billion, due in large part to Georgia’s entertainment incentives. Since then, however, film activity in the state has decreased as other states, regions and nations boosted their competitive packages.

“The 2008 Entertainment Industry Investment Act (HB 1100) will return Georgia to its rightful place of prominence in all major entertainment industry segments,” stated Bill Thompson, deputy commissioner of the Film, Music and Digital Entertainment Office, a division of GDEcD. “We expect a significant increase in film and television projects, and Georgia will be the most competitive state in the country for video game productions.

Georgia is one of the few states whose entertainment incentives support the video game industry.”

Governor Perdue was joined at the event by Sen.Greg Goggans, who carried the legislation in the Senate, Rep. Ron Stephens, and Rep. Rich Golick.

“House Bill 1100 is a key piece to the puzzle in sustaining Georgia's entertainment industry for the long haul,” said Ric Reitz, an actor and producer from Atlanta. “It will provide many new jobs for Georgians, improve the state's entertainment infrastructure, and grow Georgia's indigenous companies.”

The Film, Music and Digital Entertainment Office, formerly known as the Film, Video and Music Office, conducts extensive business development, sales, marketing and promotional activities in order to attract entertainment projects and businesses to the state. The office also assists the local, national and international entertainment industries with information, expertise and resources. The staff points movie production companies to Georgia’s highly-trained crews, state-of-the-art facilities, and diverse locations. Georgia’s temperate climate and easy access afforded by Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport are also factors that attract the industry’s interest.

Georgia has been investing in the entertainment industry for over 35 years. Since the inception of the Georgia Film Commission in 1973, more than 575 major motion pictures, independent films, television series and pilots, and TV movies have filmed on location in the state. As a result, over $5 billion has been generated for the state’s economy. Georgia’s music industry continues to thrive with an economic impact of $1.97 billion in 2007. Movies were first produced in Georgia as early as 1912, and have continued without interruption during every decade since then.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Little Red Riding Hood Little Ones Production Workshop

Ages: 5 to 8 years Fee: $90.00 ~ Monday, May 19, Tuesday, May 20 and Wednesday, May 21 from 5:00 to 6:30 p.m. daily. Performance: Wednesday, May 21 at 6:45 p.m. for family and friends. A shop for the youngest of performer. Participants will make simple costumes and sets, experience stage makeup, participate in rehearsals and take part in fun theatre games as they work toward presenting the 20 minute narrated production of "Little Red Riding Hood" at the conclusion of class. No memorization is required and each child gets a great role! Only 12 spaces available, so register early to secure your spot in this fun and creative shop! Preregistration is required!770-599-0051 or fcftdirector1@aol.com

Also~ If you would like to take part in both our June Summer Arts Camps Hansel and Gretel and Dance Camp those dates/times WILL NOT conflict, as the dress rehearsals for the dance camp will be from 3:30 t0 5:30 on June 26 and 27 with the recital being on Sunday, June 29 at 2:30 p.m.

www.fcft.net/Shops
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Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Susan V. Booth to Direct New Musical at the Alliance Theatre

Artistic Director Susan V. Booth of Atlanta’s nationally acclaimed Alliance Theatre has been selected to direct the revolutionary new musical Jesus Christ Superstar GOSPEL. The musical will run Jan. 14 – Feb. 22, 2009 on the Alliance Stage with rehearsals scheduled to begin in December 2008. Booth was selected to direct the show after meeting with senior producers of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Really Useful Group in London.

“It’s a terrific honor and a humbling challenge to take on a work so iconic and beloved as Superstar,” said Booth. “While my enthusiasm for the project was already high as a producer, the opportunity to wrap my directing arms around this utterly Atlanta-centric production in partnership with Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Really Useful Group is just fantastic.”

Directing musicals is not new to Booth as she has recently directed two highly successful musicals since her arrival at the Alliance in 2001: My Fair Lady (January 2004) and Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris (September 2007). As a stage director, her work has been seen at theatres including the Alliance, Chicago’s Goodman Theatre, La Jolla Playhouse, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Cincinnati Playhouse, St. Louis Repertory, New York Stage and Film, and many others. During her tenure at the Alliance, she has produced numerous world premieres including The Color Purple, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, SISTER ACT the Musical and The Women of Brewster Place.

Reflecting on Booth’s selection, American songwriter Louis St. Louis (who conceived this new gospel version) said, “I feel blessed to have the incredible Susan Booth working on this project. I thought I'd hit the jackpot when she opted to include this in the 40th Anniversary season, but the icing on the cake is having her in the position of director. Wow!”

Booth was scheduled to direct Smart Cookie, the fifth winner of the nationally recognized Kendeda Graduate Playwriting Competition, which runs Jan. 30 – Feb. 22, 2009. A replacement director has not yet been identified.

As conceived by Louis St. Louis, Jesus Christ Superstar GOSPEL is a new version arranged from the Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber hit musical Jesus Christ Superstar. The production traces the last seven days of the life of Christ in a vividly contemporary gospel setting with an inspirational beat to classics like “I Don’t Know How to Love Him” and “Everything’s Alright.” This is a unique, innovative musical experience.

St. Louis said, “I must add I am also infinitely honored to have been granted this opportunity by Andrew Lloyd Webber. You must understand, for a [child] product of Detroit's Pentecostal Church, this is the greatest full-circle moment in my career, and I am thrilled to share this experience with Susan and the Alliance.”

Visit www.alliancetheatre.org for more information about the 2008-09 season.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Tales from Near and Far Tour Off to a Rousing Start

Offshoot Productions, based in Fayette County, has begun its spring-summer tour of Tales from Near and Far in the greater metro-Atlanta area and beyond. After the company-developed show debuted at the Fayette Family YMCA on April 24, the set was folded and loaded in the van, the costumes neatly folded and packed, and the actors equipped with maps and directions.

This engaging participation play has been met with enormous enthusiasm in its initial performances for schools in Fayette and Clayton counties. The next couple of weeks will see this versatile cast of professional actors touring to Fairburn, Newnan and Lithonia, providing end-of-the-school-year festivity. After school is out, the company is scheduled for libraries and camps in locations ranging from Jackson to Carrolton.

A collection of stories from around the world, Tales requires versatile actors who take on different characters as easily as they don the costume pieces decorating the set.

Original music, audience interaction, humor and energy are among the expertly-mixed ingredients that help account for the show’s success.

Susan M. Steadman, Ph.D., Offshoot’s artistic director, says that the show has come together even better than expected. “We rehearsed five terrific actors for a show which calls only for four at any given time. This way we have all performances covered over the four-month period, and the actors enjoy portraying a wide variety of characters.”

The cast includes Elizabeth Clausen, Andy Fleming, Yolanda Hernandez, Amanda Leigh Pickard and Paige Steadman, all of whom have a varied performance background ranging from musical theatre to storytelling and improvisation.

For additional information or to book Tales from Near and Far, contact Offshoot at (770) 631-2362 or offshootpr@aol.com. To learn more about the company, now in its fifteenth season, visit www.offshoot.org.