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My Fair Lady at Cobb Energy Center

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The Cobb Energy Center welcomed the Big League Productions production of “My Fair Lady” with a packed house and thunderous applause.  Based on the George Bernard Shaw play “Pigmalion,” this Lerner and Loewe musical is arguably the brightest spot in 20th Century musical theater and certainly one of the most familiar musicals among theater going audiences.   Telling the tale of a “poor flower girl” and her linguist mentor, it carries a sharpness of wit, a cornucopia of moral questions, and a subtle dance of relational psychology conveyed in piercing dialog and mesmerizing musical numbers.  This production of My Fair Lady captures the wit, the questions, and the relationships. The stage is alive with such surety that the stage explodes in a spectacular that is seldom reached in a touring company.

The Backstage Beats recommends My Fair Lady for an amazing value in entertainment with a dazzling performance of this timeless musical.  Plus, you might learn something about yourself and your dreams.

Director Jeffery B. Moss brilliantly succeeds in so many levels with this work.  In fact, the production’s only weakness is tied so much to its strength. Like many mid-century musicals that became films, it is often difficult to differentiate live productions from the film versions, and often the film imagery and characterizations dominate the live production.  This production of My Fair Lady does yeoman’s work in creating original performances.  The actors interpret the characters that are both true to the original script and yet uniquely incarnated for the stage.  Other aspects from the production are noticeably close to the film version.

Aurora Florence and Chris Carsten each provided new takes on Eliza Doolittle and Henry Higgins.  Supported strongly by Richard Springle as Colonel Pickering,  they work through this story of a mentor and protégé who struggle with mutual resentments as they also struggle with growing admiration and the prospected of budding romance.   Carsten in particular brings a new twist on “confirmed bachelor” and goes far afield of a Rex Harrison performances, leaning more to comic curmudgeon in a style of Nathan Lane.  Florence is more traditional in her role, but adds a hunger to the character that harkens back to Wendy Hiller in the film Pygmalion, yet stays distinctly her own Eliza.  Kudos also go Arthur Wise’ Alfred P. Doolittle. Wise’ Doolittle is both comic relief and an insightful and meaningful look at the twisting relationship between social status and morality.

My Fair Lady is a musical, and a musical tells it story through song and dance.  We are treated to a wonderful night of classics Broadway tunes that are arranged and delivered with such skill and enthusiasm that the audience broke into spontaneous applause after every number.  This was not polite appreciation, but thunderous revelry. A solid supporting cast of extremely talented dancers and singers supplemented Florence and Carsten.

A noticeable star in the show is the imaginative sets and backdrops.  Because this is a touring company, mobility is important and for many of the sets scrims are used instead of flats. These stage sized backdrops were able to beautifully recreate Covent Gardens, the Ascot Races, the “Street where she lives,” and other locals with vivid and glorious colors.

Occasionally the line blurred between respect for the film and imitation of the film.  Costuming in particular seemed to copy the designs of Cecil Beaton.  The costuming choice may have been a commercial decision to make the play more palatable to general audiences, or it could have been an artistic decision to honor the work of Beaton.  It would have nice to see more originality. This minor nitpick doesn’t represent the quality of the costuming. Overall, the costumes were brilliantly produced, helped to identify and reveal the characters and a wonderful addition to the overall production.  Choreography also was derivative though brilliant. Unless you are looking for an experimental evening of theater, this will not be a distractor for you.

If you enjoy fabulous productions and wonderful explorations of the human condition, take in My Fair Lady this weekend.  Running from December 9, 2011 through December 11, My Fair Lady does have availability tickets. Check the website for more detail.

 

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Holiday Fun

“A Christmas Carol” at Theatre in the Square Brings the Holiday Cheer!

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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!

 

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The New Theatre in the Square Marietta is Back and Better Than Ever!

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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.

Raul Thomas – Owner of Theatre on the Square

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.

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Pure Magic! Cinderella at The Fox Theatre!

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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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