A Welcomed Tradition Returns for 30th Anniversary Season
Last night Marietta’s Acclaimed Theatre in the Square continued to celebrate the 30th Anniversary Season with another play that returns the theater to its roots, with a revival of the Sanders Family Christmas. This 2011 production provides over two hours of solid entertainment as the story of one family’ 1941 Christmas Eve bring the audience to a small church house in North Carolina. It is the story of a family on the brink of war and finding their faith tested.
The Reverend Mervin Oglethorpe, played by co-director Alan Kilpatrick, and June Sanders, played by Jennifer Akin, open the play by setting both the circumstances of the evening, and the tone of the play. The Sanders are musical family that has been using their talents to spread the Christian Gospel during the late depression and is not transitioning to World War II. June is the non-musical Sanders, but it clear that the good pastor is interested in the young lady, and that June is quite taken with the pastor. There is an amazing chemistry between these two actors. Kilpatrick creates a realistic and likable Reverend Oglethorpe; Akin brings a refreshing and adept physicality to her role.
The pair is soon joined by the rest of the Sanders Family. Co-director Karen Howell plays stern matriarch and amateur bible scholar Vera Stanley; Bob Payne is Burl Sanders the patriarch of the group. Scott E. DePoy, takes on the role of Stanley Sanders, Burl’s brother, who has recently returned from California with a secret. Rounding out the cast are Laura Floyd and Jeremy Wood as the 18-year-old twins Denise and Dennis. Dennis is enjoying his last Christmas eve before going into the Marine Corp. The singing side of the Sanders Family bring with them amazing harmonies, accomplished musical talent, and a breathtaking ability to shift from comedy to earnest caring as naturally as they change keys.
It was a pleasure to watch this well-crafted theater piece work its way out on stage. The acting and direction were top-notch and the entire ensemble worked so well together, at times I wondered if they were related, or at least member of the same church. The themes they tackled are universal and timeless. The maturation of the next generation, the loss of the previous one, the need for true forgiveness, the limits of faith, the question of one’s own righteousness versus arrogance, and the call to duty.
One would not need to be raised Christian to enjoy this, but it might help to understand the dogged determination of the elder characters as they use bible verses to correct and dominate the other characters. It also explains the need for Dennis to enlist, though in 1941 enlisting was a routine for eighteen year olds as today’s Buddy Holly glasses and oversized scarf. It also explains Denise’s determination to fly free from rural North Carolina and join the USO as a performer.
When I was first given the assignment to see the family friendly Sanders Family Christmas, my initial reaction was that it would so family friendly it would be boring. I stand corrected and entertained. This musical comedy brings a heartwarming story with three-dimensional characters, real underlying drama in a time of tragedy and change, rich and nuanced performances and amazing vocals and musicianship. If there was no story-line, and it was merely a concert of the songs, then it would be enough for admission. Wrapping the music around a compelling story that is well told? Well as they said in 1941…that’s all gravy!
Get yourself some tickets to the Sander Family Christmas, playing now until January 1, 2012.
“A Christmas Carol” at Theatre in the Square Brings the Holiday Cheer!
Nothing makes me feel more like Christmas is just around the corner than seeing a live performance of “A Christmas Carol.” We have been fortunate to see it performed all over the country with highlights in Boston at the North Shore Music Theatre and now a wonderful performance at the resurrected Theatre in the Square!
The intimate theater is the perfect setting for a story this classic. Even if you are sitting in the back, you will still get a great view and feel the story just fine.
From the opening of the story, through the highly appreciated musical numbers, and a wonderful full cast finale, this adaptation is simply delightful.
The cast, comprised of some amazing local talent, is as good as they get! Some of the best and stand out performances go to Bruce Speer as Scrooge, Cindy Copeland as Christmas Past, Vance West as Bob Cratchit and how could we leave out Davie DeWitt as Tiny Tim!
After the show we talked to the owner of the Theatre, Raul Thomas and he told us this. ” This adaptation by Director Tony Smithey he has been producing in a variety of forms for 18 years. Originally written to tour in schools the running time was about 55 min. With the addition of music and dancing it now runs about an hour and a half with the intermission.
In the production Tony has done a little fleshing out to Scrooge’s relationships with his Mother, his only friend Jacob Marley and his one and only true love Belle. ”
This is a must on our Holiday Fun list so get your tickets now HERE as it opens tonight!
The New Theatre in the Square Marietta is Back and Better Than Ever!
Three years ago one of my favorite local theaters took their final bow and closed up shop. Ever since I can I remember, I loved going to see performances at the Theatre on the Square in the beautiful Marietta Square. I can remember going to see some great Christmas shows with my parents and one of my favorites, the “1940’s Radio Hour”. Ahhh, the memories. But, it was all over in 2012.
Three years have come and gone and I spent two of those years in Boston and one in Florida, so imagine my delight to come back to Atlanta to find that the Theatre on the Square was revamped and ready to amaze again with great local talent.
We took a few minutes to get to know the lovely Roxanne Johnson of the Theatre and ask her a few questions.
TBB: We are so excited that the beloved Theatre in the Square in Marietta is making it’s glorious comeback. Tell me about this revival, who is involved and what we can expect?
Roxanne: It was more than heart breaking to the community as a whole to see Theatre in the Square close up shop in 2012. Immediately seeing huge potential Raul Thomas; Executive Chef, Film Maker and avid supporter of all the arts, took over the theatre in September of this year. From the community he hand picked a team of top notch creative and business professionals. We all quickly went to bring this sacred space back to it’s former glory.
Wanting to court previous supporters of the theatre we offer through our resident company standards and favorites of the community. There will also be more contemporary entertainment offered as well as concerts and comedy and other events. The former green room has now been transformed into a small film and photography studio.
The studio is available to the community. As well as classes for children and adults. We are already working closely with Marietta Middle School and Kennesaw State University. The ultimate goal is creating a multi-cultural center bringing entertainment and education to the area through art and theatre.
Information regarding what is currently running and what is coming up for us, as well as purchasing tickets can be found on our website HERE.
After the 1st of the year we will be offering season tickets, flex tickets and reserved seating.
Pure Magic! Cinderella at The Fox Theatre!
Once upon a time, there lived a little girl who dreamed of happiness, played with her animal friends and loved her daddy. She loved to pretend that she was the beautiful princess at a ball, dancing the night away. Yes, once upon a time.
As the years went by, the girl grew older but her dreams never died. She still loves her daddy, her animal friends and of course, dreams of happiness and princess gowns.
Last night, that little girl witnessed the most amazing thing! A true princess transform on stage and she knew that anything was possible! So, she began to dream some more!
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