Big Mike Geier and his Kingsized Rock ‘n Roll Orchestra, along with the Dames Aflame Dancers, Lil’ Santa and other special guests, bring tidings of comfort and joy with their signature glitz and glamour in what has become a tinsel-time tradition at the Variety Playhouse. The all-ages 90-minute show features your Holiday favorites by the likes of Bing Crosby, Nat King Cole, Andy Williams, Heat Miser, The Grinch and more!
We caught up with Big Mike to ask a few questions.
TBB: Big Mike! It’s been a couple years since we had the pleasure of seeing you perform live. We are so excited to be back in Atlanta and we are ready for this show. What can you tell us about this years event?
Big Mike: Welcome back to Atlanta, Ange! We’re also excited to be in town for another wild and wonderful Holiday Jubilee. We like to honor the tradition that the Jubilee has become and don’t mess too much with the format. You can expect the always magnificent sounds of the 12-piece Kingsized Rock ‘n Roll orchestra performing your favorite holiday classics and the dazzling Dames Aflame dancers providing the glamour. The show is all about holiday nostalgia, whatever that means to you: Bing Crosby, Andy Williams, Donnie Hathaway, The Grinch, Rankin Bass, Peanuts, the Dreidel Song? It’s all in there.
Atlanta Ballet’s “Nutcracker” Enchants
This year, the Atlanta Ballet marks the 20th anniversary of Artistic Director John McFall’s “The Nutcracker.” Attendance is a familiar holiday season tradition for many area families, who line up to see the changes and improvements that occur each year. While the story of the young girl who receives a Nutcracker-who-comes-to-life is familiar to thousands of ballet fans, there are many versions. The Atlanta Ballet’s production is richly designed and elegantly danced.
Originally a failure in St. Petersburg, Russia, in 1892, “The Nutcracker” is now a holiday staple in the United States. Nobody dances it any better than the Atlanta Ballet, and nobody loves it more than a matinee house full of children! Whether they are watching their peers on-stage; hearing the Georgia Youth Choir singing in the Snow scene from the boxes; absorbing the live music from the Atlanta Ballet Orchestra in the pit; laughing with joy at Mother Matrushka’s children, emerging from under her skirts; screaming with glee at the capering Chinese Dragon; or reaching far above their heads to capture a snowflake, the children are enraptured for the two-plus hours the ballet is on the stage—and the adults are mesmerized right beside them.
There are some elements of this version of the ballet that are not my favorites, but the dancers didn’t make that list. Casting is impeccable, and, for me, part of the excitement of revisiting the old standby is seeing the dancers mature, improve, and demonstrate new abilities. The other part is watching the children captivated by the allure of the Fabulous Fox Theatre, the live music, the dancers, and the dancing—and being enthralled myself.
My list of this year’s positives goes like this:
John McFall has to contend with decreasing audience attention spans as we move further into the age of technology, and he tweaks Act I each year to make it more exciting. It is fast-paced. You may want to see the ballet more than once to catch everything! The foreshadowing during Act I was clear and well-conceived, and had the audience eagerly anticipating the return of the dancers to the stage after intermission.
“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!
Ice Skating at Centennial Olympic Park! Great Family Memories!
It had been close to 30 years since I donned a pair of ice skates and got out on that cold, slippery ice. Naturally, I was a little nervous but gave it a go for my kids sake. They were cheering me on and I couldn’t resist.
All I could think about was when I went ice skating a couple times when I was kid and my mom would constantly say, “Be careful! You could really hurt your ankles!” I know she meant well, but it that thought did stop me from trying for, oh say. . . 30 years!!! :)
We got our kids ice skates on and tighten up then put ours on. Both my husband and I were nervous walking up to the ice but of course we had to smile and show the kids that this was the best idea ever!
As I stepped out I imagined myself skating smoothly across the ice and just as I imagined, I did. I zipped right around the edge the first time, holding the rail and thought to myself, “This is so fun! Why haven’t I done this!”
My kids held the railings and few times around and so did their dad but after a few times around, they were out in the middle!
We all laughed, we all pushed past our anxiety and fears and ended up have the best family time! And yes, I did fall once and bruised my tail bone but the memories we made that day will last long after the pain subsides!
Get out and make some chilly family memories of your own! Centennial Olympic Park’s Ice Skating rink is open until January 10th so there is plenty of time to get there. Check the full list of times and ticket prices HERE.
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