Mar 4, 1999 - Apr 10, 1999
Oct 27 - Nov 18, 2018
Steve Yockey returns to Actor's Express with a National New Play Network Rolling World Premiere.
January 26 - February 24, 2019
Winner! Obie Award for Best New American Play!
March 20 - April 28, 2019
Love can tell a million stories.
June 1 - 23, 2019
Sometimes in life you have to walk the bridge.
July 17 - August 25, 2019
A funny, sexy, entertaining romp featuring the songs of The Go-Go's.
September 4 - October 5, 2014
Passion and power collide in this sizzling classic
November 6 - December 7, 2014
A hot new musical that will keep you on the edge of your seat!
January 22 - February 24, 2015
A blistering comedy about the holier and the holier than thou!
March 28 - April 26, 2015
Friendship, love and coming of age in the Louisiana bayou
May 16 - June 14, 2015
A powerful drama aimed at the heart of modern America
July 10 - August 22, 2015
The groundbreaking rock musical you love is reimagined at Actor's Express this summer!
September 12 - October 11, 2015
Sometimes you just want to give the world the bird.
October 31 - November 15, 2015
Danger and vicious humor collide in this shocking revenge thriller.
November 6-22, 2015
When memory fades, love endures.
January 23 - February 28, 2016
Winner! Eight Tony Awards including Best Musical and Best Score!
April 2-24, 2016
A mother's brave journey of loss, love and learning to choose life.
May 21 - June 19, 2016
From the playwright of the smash-hit Bad Jews!
Sep 4, 2013 - Oct 6, 2013
Oct 30, 2013 - Nov 24, 2013
Jan 8, 2014 - Feb 9, 2014
Young Paul artfully cons himself into the lives of New York's bourgeois,After he's caught seducing a hustler in their home, the charade is revealed and Paul is soon back on the street where he sets his sights on a young couple new to the city.
Mar 19, 2014 - Apr 20, 2014
May 14, 2014 - Jun 15, 2014
It's December 1968, and Judy Garland makes one last stab at a comeback. In a London hotel room with her young new fiancee, pills and cocktail at her side, Garland prepares for a series of high profile concerts.
July 9 - August 9, 2014
Let's do the time warp again!
Aug 22, 2012 - Oct 7, 2012
Valentin, a Marxist revolutionary, and Molina, a gay window dresser, develop an uneasy friendship rooted in surviving life in a Latin American prison.
Nov 8, 2012 - Dec 2, 2012
Jan 10, 2013 - Feb 17, 2013
Mar 21, 2013 - Apr 21, 2013
May 15, 2013 - Jun 16, 2013
Runaway Broadway hit from the author of Actor’s Express hit Mauritius and creator of TV’s “Smash!”
Aug 25, 2011 - Oct 2, 2011
Oct 27, 2011 - Nov 26, 2011
Abandoned by their father, sixteen year-old Kenny cares for his little sister Edith on an isolated farm in middle America.
Jan 12, 2012 - Feb 11, 2012
When a tragic accident interrupts their perfect New York life, Adam must turn to Luke's friends and deeply religious family for support - and answers.
Mar 15, 2012 - Apr 14, 2012
When Jackie finds a mysteriously placed man’s hat in Veronica’s apartment, he suspects that she is having an affair – and the emotional cage match begins.
May 10, 2012 - Jun 16, 2012
Aug 26, 2010 - Sep 25, 2010
Newlywed Suzanna fixes her best friend Max up with her husband's beautiful but odd co-worker Becky Shaw.
Oct 21, 2010 - Nov 20, 2010
A married couple, Alice and Jim, return home after the funeral of an acquaintance. As they settle in for a quiet Tuesday night dinner, startling confessions threaten to interrupt their humdrum suburban routine.
Dec 2, 2010 - Dec 23, 2010
Think about every Christmas story you've ever heard - all told by three actors and a "reingoat" in 90 madcap minutes of nonstop hilarity.
Jan 13, 2011 - Feb 12, 2011
Former members of the heavy metal band Broadsword reunite for a funeral.
Mar 17, 2011 - Apr 16, 2011
Nothing is as it seems in Michael John LaChiusa's
staggeringly original musical about lust, greed, murder, faith and redemption. Based on Japanese short stories by Ryunosuke Akutagawa, See What I Wanna See consists of three short musicals.
May 12, 2011 - Jun 11, 2011
All of London has the taste of salacious scandal on its lips as Oscar Wilde faces trial on indecency charges.
Aug 27, 2009 - Oct 10, 2009
Actor's Express is pleased to bring you the Atlanta Premiere of Grey Gardens, the hit Broadway musical based on the acclaimed film that documents the lives of Jacqueline Kennedy-Onassis’ flamboyantly eccentric aunt Edith Bouvier Beale and her daughter “Little Edie.
November 5 - December 5, 2009
Sy, an ambitious attorney, is in love with her co-counsel Madi, who in turn is involved with Chris, another lawyer in the firm who is just not quite sure how to express himself.
January 14 - February 13, 2010
From one of the writers of the HBO hit “Big Love.”
March 18 - April 17, 2010
Through vividly poignant character sketches, we find sometimes that God really is in the details – even when those details get messy.
May 20 - June 19, 2010
This raucous comedy was an audience favorite at the 2009 Humana Festival of New American Plays.
September 4 - October 4, 2008
In this sexually charged thriller, ghosts of the past haunt two sisters, Rhoda and Gwen, packing away their ancestral home
October 23 - November 22, 2008
The New Century promises to be the comedy event of the fall and will leave a laugh in your belly and a smile in your heart.
January 22 - February 21, 2009
This spellbinding, exhilarating roller coaster of a play will keep you guessing until the final flip.
March 19 - April 18, 2009
Secrets and denial explode on a steamy New Orleans afternoon in this scorching classic by the master of the American stage.
May 14, 2009 - Jun 20, 2009
Sep 9, 2007 - Oct 6, 2007
A teenage boy’s fictional Internet identity begins as a harmless game. But the game takes on a frightening reality when real emotion overtakes his online relationship. When Nick’s virtual world collides with the real world, his fantasies of love, intimacy, obsession and betrayal spiral into consequences that lead him to the brink of death.
Oct 25, 2007 - Nov 24, 2007
One of the most fascinating and acclaimed musicals of the past decade, The Last Five Years tenderly follows the five-year marriage between Cathy and her husband Jamie. The story is at once told in reverse from Cathy's point of view, and forward beginning with their first date from Jamie's. The ingenious storytelling mixed with some of the most beautiful music written for the stage in the last decade maks The Last Five Years one of the top musical events of the Atlanta theatre season.
Jan 27, 2008 - Feb 23, 2008
After young couple Kevin and Blake engage in an adventurous and hastily planned night of group sex with the older Max and Andy, they are left to salvage their relationship from a mix of jealousy, betrayal, telegrams from a soaking wet delivery boy and a ravenous sea monster from the ocean floor. This universal love story rendered through a post-modern gay lens slips from domestic comedy into a darkly fantastic fable and examines what it really means to say the words "I love you."
May 1, 2008 - May 31, 2008
Continuing its 20th Anniversary Season, Actor’s Express is proud to offer the Atlanta Premiere of legendary playwright Terrence McNally’s Some Men, a sweeping comedy-drama that spans nearly a century of gay life in America. This landmark play celebrates all the complexities of the American gay experience. From laughter to tears and from struggle to triumph, Some Men is McNally’s most important and vital work since Love! Valour! Compassion!
Some Men spans the Twentieth Century and into the Twenty-First, looking at gay relationships and how society has influenced their evolution.
May 4, 2008 - May 31, 2008
After the death of her mother, Sherry's family home goes up for sale. Sifting through memories of a simpler time as she packs up her baby-boom childhood, Sherry begins to connect the dots between her Barbie collection and America’s place in the rest of the world. A touching, funny, deeply personal and daringly global play.
Jun 22, 2008 - Jul 26, 2008
Atlanta, She’s Back!!!! Artistic Director Freddie Ashley directs an anniversary reinvention of the smash rock hit about an internationally ignored rock singer, Hedwig, and her search for stardom and love.
March 22 - May 19, 2007
February 1 - March 3, 2007
One of those events in the theatre that invites a string of adjectives--funny, edgy, existential, honest, engaging, raw--and yet defies classification or description.
January 25 - March 3, 2007
Based on personal interviews with von Mahlsdorf, Doug Wright’s Pulitzer and Tony-winning play tells a complex tale about tyranny, sexuality, morality, and survival.
05/18/2006 - 07/01/2006
03/23/2006 - 04/29/2006
01/19/2006 - 02/25/2006
The relationship of two adult brothers is tested in this unforgettable musical which explores the long-term affects of child abuse on a family. This unblinkingly honest account is woven with original music that has the lyrical quality of traditional folk music, and is as mesmerizing as any blues standard. This world premiere musical will strike a resounding chord with anyone who has been torn between betrayal and forgiveness. Directed by the Alliance Theatre's Kent Gash.
11/10/2005 - 12/17/2005
Visions of Christmas past haunt a family as they recall the events behind second-hand gifts and under-cooked turkey, and reveal why all moments are not captured in the family album.
09/15/2005 - 10/29/2005
Get ready to "Buckle up and brace yourself for the theatre season's wildest ride." (New York Times) This REGIONAL PREMIERE, directed by AE Artistic Director Jasson Minadakis, is Tracy Letts'(Killer Joe) new theatrical thriller featuring a pair of star-crossed lovers facing a bug invasion in an Oklahoma City motel.
06/02/2005 - 07/23/2005
A Three-Way World Premiere with Actor's Theatre of Louisville and Kitchen Dog Theatre of Dallas!
In Hazard County Ruth is losing everything - her home and her family's business, and her two 8 year-old twins are sleeping on her cousin's floor. Why won't she use the $100K Memorial Fund that was created for the twins when her husband was murdered? Enter Blake, a Hollywood TV producer who decides Ruth is the next great American story. But in Hazard County, the truth is rarely easy to find and does anyone really want to trust a producer from FOX News? Peppered with hysterical recollections of THE DUKES OF HAZZARD this slyly subversive comedy is a great Southern summer-evening adventure.
Hazard County will be a National New Play Network World Premiere with Actors Theatre of Louisville, Kitchen Dog Theatre in Dallas, and Actor's Express. Hazard County will be fully produced at the Actors Theatre of Louisville's 2005 Humana Festival for New Plays under the direction of Actor's Express Founding Artistic Director Chris Coleman. Coleman's theatre company, Portland Center Stage has conducted workshops of the play through the Just Add Water West New Play series. Those who remember the earliest days of Actor's Express won't want to miss this exciting opportunity to see the kind of work Coleman is currently fostering at Portland Center Stage.
Contains strong language and adult situations.
03/17/2005 - 05/07/2005
J. Robert Oppenheimer: physicist, genius, lover-- the man who built the bomb. In this poetic mixture of truth and fantasy, Oppenheimer meets a mythical femme fatale and confronts soldiers and spies; cocktails and Communists; women and war. Oppenheimer's rise and fall erupts in a kaleidoscopic new play that explores questions of faith, conscience and the consequences of the never-ending pursuit of knowledge.
01/06/2005 - 02/12/2005
Where in the body does the soul reside? Is our brain who we are, or is it merely a piece of the puzzle? When a patient wakes from an unprecedented brain transplant, he is bombarded by confusing memories, emotions and sensations that seem like faded ghosts of someone else's past. Using elements of art, music, athletics and medicine, the World Premiere of Echoes of Another Man is both a scientific and existential tale about the ultimate identity crisis.
11/04/2004 - 12/18/2004
Pulp is an irreverent comedy that serves as a sexy homage to the sultry, jazzy world of 1950's lesbian pulp fiction. Rough-edged Terry Logan finds herself booted out of the post-World War II Women's Army Corp after an intimate brush with the General's daughter. Her wanderlust lands her in "The Well," a Chicago watering hole for women who love women. Pulp is a fast moving, stylized piece featuring drag kings, cabaret jazz, love triangles and forbidden Sapphic lust.
09/09/2004 - 10/23/2004
Hold onto your hats (and your chaps!) for this x-rated comedy set in the double-wide heartland of Texas! Chris Smith is down on his luck and finds himself on the run from outlaws looking to collect. Enter Killer Joe Cooper, a full time cop and part-time assassin who might have just the right tools to pull Chris up by his bootstraps -- for the right price, that is.
Killer Joe is a thrilling black comedy that will leave you hoarse from guffawing, if you don't choke on the fried chicken first...
01/30/2003 - 03/08/2003
Wiletta Mayer is a successful actress by all standards. She works steadily, respected by her fellow artists and beloved by audiences. When "just another role" provokes a quiet revolution in her conscience, Wiletta must choose between her life's calling and a new understanding of her place in the world. Never before produced professionally in Atlanta, The Express is proud to present Carol Mitchell-Leon in this bracing, little-seen comedy-drama -- a 1955 Obie Award winner, even -- by a remarkable playwright who dedicated her life to the depiction of the extraordinary strength of ordinary people.
Nov 14, 2002 - Dec 15, 2002
Jane Eyre was adapted for the stage by Julie Beckman, a company member of Seattle's Book-It Repertory Theatre. Book-It's mission is "to transform great literature into great theatre through simple and sensitive production, and to inspire."
09/12/2002 - 11/02/2002
Just how far will a mother go to make her little girl a star? The last, desperate gasps of vaudeville provide the backdrop for Gypsy, a timeless story of ambition and family. Featuring classic songs like "Let Me Entertain You" and "Everything's Coming Up Roses," Gypsy is a vivid retelling of the emergence of the little girl who would become the notorious Gypsy Rose Lee--with a little help from mom. The Express production of this landmark of musical theatre features cabaret sensation Libby Whittemore and a posse--say, 22--of Atlanta's finest performers.
04/29/2002 - 06/16/2002
Who's never had a rock-n-roll fantasy? Hedwig, an East German "slip of a girly boy" claws her way across the Berlin wall to the land where dreams really do come true. Dwayne's Range, a tattered country music bar outside Philips Arena, may not seem fertile ground, but armed with an arsenal of AquaNet and a throbbing rhythm section, Hedwig dares the world to "Try and tear me down". Beyond the dancing fans, under the inches of makeup, and deep inside the words of her songs, Hedwig shows us all the path to real self-acceptance and love.
03/04/2001 - 04/10/2001
A World Premiere Coproduction with Theater Emory
It's 2002 and the world is spinning faster now. And faster still from credit cards and cell phones and phone sex and stop it all--for the love of a boy with puppy dog eyes. One sunny day little rich Lily meets Derek, a sweet boy who does research for Anna, an anthropologist who wants Richard really nastylike and he's, well, Lily's dad. Manna, the latest from the brilliant Steve Murray, turns out to be an intricate clockwork of a farce. When they tell us it's a small world, it's only because technology and "convenience" have crushed us real tight...
04/29/2002 - 06/05/2002
Jamie and Ste (short for Steve) are teenage neighbors in a working-class housing project in London. Jamie is bookish and shy while Ste is more athletic. Neither one has an ideal home life: Jamie's mother Sandra is bitter over her financial situation and her romantic life, but she's willing to settle for a bloke named Tony and cover up her disappointment with scathing humor; Ste's father and brother abuse him in the form of escalating domestic squabbles and actual beatings. After one such fight, Ste asks Sandra if he can stay at her house and she lets him and Jamie bunk together.
As their friendship grows, Jamie begins to realize he has stronger feelings for Ste, and one night, after Ste suffers a particularly bad beating, the two boys decide to experiment together. Both realizing they're gay, Ste and Jamie begin a tentative relationship. Soon, Sandra hears the rumor that her son's gay, and knowing that he's been having trouble in school, she confronts him and he admits the truth. Ste and Jamie's friend, Leah, is also in on the secret and she's supportive of them, probably because of her own outsider status as a Mama Cass worshipper. The play ends with the two boys feeling less alone in the world than before; they have each other, and even the bickering Sandra and Leah call a truce and accompany the boys in a slow dance for all their neighbors to see.
03/04/2002 - 04/10/2002
Lovemaking and undertaking are both major elements in Actor's Express' The Wooden Breeks, but in its simplest terms, the play is the tale of a quirky town. It unfolds as a hearthside story told by a cynical tinker (Theo Harness) to a much-abused orphan boy (Andrew Bracken), who find themselves both audience and participants in the tale's telling. The narrative self-consciousness is just one of The Wooden Breeks' heady, ambitious touches, not all of which catches fire.
Playwright Glen Berger places the action in Brood, a benighted British village populated by Dickensian archetypes. Its citizens include a mousy vicar (Bill Murphey) desperately in love with a perpetually mourning widow (Joanna Daniel) who has a comic fascination with suicide. The town's bullying gravedigger (Matt Stanton) moonlights as a grave robber who wears the finery of the disinterred, while a pair of facile lovers (Jessie Andary and Nathan Mobley) coos romantic trifles at one another.
Things are bad in Brood in the best of times, but they get worse when the poverty-stricken town gets caught up in the 19th-century phobia of premature burial. The fear is stoked as a ploy to sell special coffins outfitted with bells to be rung by "corpses" who are not quite dead yet. The townsfolk are shocked to learn that the coffin saleslady, Miss Spoon (Jennifer Crumbley-Bonder), is a dead ringer -- pun intended -- for the orphan's late mother.
Miss Spoon's strongest and strangest sales pitch is to the lighthouse-keeper (Daniel May), a young scholar who never sleeps or goes outdoors and spends all his time with his books. But Miss Spoon begins sending him beguiling letters that inject sex into his scholarship and derail his train of thought.
The title draws on an obsolete slang term for a coffin, and Berger employs songs, rhymed verse and antiquated turns of phrase reminiscent of Naomi Wallace or Caryl Churchill. A complex work of worthy ambition, The Wooden Breeks attempts much with its poetry and theatricality, but at times the grasp is not equal to the reach.
01/08/2002 - 02/13/2002
Alva Rogers wrote the doll plays to pay tribute to a real woman named Lenon Hoyte, aka "Aunt Len" (Mitchell-Leon), who devoted her life to collecting thousands of rare dolls and maintaining a Harlem doll museum. The real Aunt Len died in 1999, and the doll plays imagines the elderly woman on her death bed, her life flashing before her eyes -- only acted out by her dolls.
The play offers a sequence of vignettes, with some dolls telling Aunt Len's life story, others relating their history as toys and collectibles. A French dress-up doll (Anne Towns) recalls her past as a cast-off plaything, while a Grace Kelly doll (Lane Carlock) describes how the movie star had to abandon Hollywood for life as a princess.
01/08/2002 - 02/13/2002
Shelita Burns (Donna Biscoe), who edits a line of reprinted "lost" African-American classics, is the protagonist. Shelita has found a surprise best seller with the memoir Bee-luther-hatchee (an expression referring to the place you go "after hell"), and we get glimpses of the work in speeches by author Libby Price (Mitchell-Leon) describing her life in the Jim Crow South.
But despite being a successful, award-winning author, Libby remains an enigma, never photographed or interviewed, and even Shelita has never met her in person. Shelita dedicates herself to tracking Libby down, and after several blind alleys discovers in a Charlotte hotel room that the author is not at all whom she expected. The playwright provides a juicy mystery in the first act that sets up a provocative debate in the second, wrestling with such matters as authenticity, entitlement, fraud and "Why is the writer more important than the words?"
09/11/2001 - 10/18/2001
04/29/2001 - 06/05/2001
In The Mystery of Irma Vep, the late playwright Charles Ludlam set out to spoof as many gothic clich's using as few actors as humanly possible. Thus two men play multiple roles -- at times making costume changes that seem virtually instantaneous -- in a plot that riffs on pulp novels, Rebecca, Gaslight and innumerable vampire, werewolf and mummy movies from Universal and Hammer studios.
David Crowe plays both Lord Edgar of Hillcrest manor and the sinister housekeeper Jane. Yet despite giving Edgar a milquetoast manner and Jane a nasal voice worthy of Mel Blanc, Crowe is the more reserved of the two-man cast. He gives plenty of space to Hugh Adams, who flounces hilariously as Edgar's dim new wife Enid, limps lasciviously as a one-legged Scottish servant and lisps flamboyantly as an Egyptian guide (who pronounces "sarcophagus" as "sarco-fag-us").
03/04/2001 - 04/10/2001
Irene Maria Fornes' Fefu and Her Friends depicts a gathering of eight women at a large New England mansion, and the middle act consists of four scenes held at separate places in the facility. The audience divides into four groups, files through the theater and watches each episode in turn.
Thus the entrance to the theater doubles as the lawn, a storage room, a study, etc. It's a gimmicky device, but it puts an interesting spin on the notion of the "fourth wall" of a performing space, as well as offering a fun tour of the playhouse's backstage area. But mostly, it's like being on a scavenger hunt, only the object of the game isn't to find a physical prize, but the meaning of the play itself.
Fefu and Her Friends, written in 1977 and only now having its Southeastern professional premiere, is not a play that's easily puzzled out. In exploring the ways women see themselves and how they believe men see them, Fornes shows little concern for adhering to narrative rules or meeting audience expectations. Fornes' Fefu is driven not by plot, but an odd combination of cheerful party dynamics and deeper, darker forces, and its scenes can please or provoke, but rarely fully satisfy.
Fefu (Patricia French) plays host to seven friends in 1935 for a meal and a politically motivated meeting. Aggressively nonconformist, she's prone to outlandish remarks and behavior, like firing at her off-stage husband with a rifle that may or may not contain a blank cartridge. Of the other women, some are longtime companions, some are strangers with shared beliefs. The most unsettling character is Julia (Jennifer Levison), confined to a wheelchair having suffered spinal damage -- and lingering delusions -- after a hunting accident.
The first and third acts, each roughly a half-hour, take place on Rochelle Barker's cozily realistic set, and show the women first coming together, and later holding their meeting and clowning around. For the middle sequence, director Wier Harman largely succeeds with the striking logistic feat of having four scenes happening simultaneously, with some women leaving one scene to appear in another. You can even overhear scenes from different rooms, like the events of an actual party.
01/08/2001 - 02/13/2001
Once upon a time there was a theme park called the Great Hole of History. It was a popular spot for honeymooners who, in search of "post-nuptial excitement," would visit this hole and watch the daily historical parades. One of these visitors was a man who has now come to call himself The Foundling Father. He was a digger by trade--a grave digger--and he was struck by the size of the Hole and the pageantry of the place. He returns home with his wife, Lucy, a woman who keeps secrets for the dead, and together they start a mourning business. Unfortunately, our hero can't get the Great Hole pageantry out of his head; the echoes of history speak to him and call him to greatness. At rise we meet this Foundling Father. He has left his wife and child and gone out west to dig a huge replica of the Great Hole of History.
In the hole sits our hero. He is dressed like Abraham Lincoln, complete with beard, wart, frock coat and stove pipe hat. He tells us the story of his own life (in the third person) and tells us that he has become a very successful Abraham Lincoln impersonator! He's so successful that people actually pay a penny to re-enact Lincoln's assassination, using our impostor-hero and a phony gun. Eventually the Father dies and the second act sees his wife Lucy and thrity-five-year-old son, Brazil, a professional weeper, visit the hole to dig for his Father's remains. Listening to the past through her deaf-horn, Lucy hears echoes of gunshots and lurid stage-shows. When they dig up the Foundling Father's body (he's alive) they decide they have to lay him to rest for good. In the play's last image, his son is trying to climb a ladder out of the Hole of History while the
11/06/2000 - 12/13/2000
We find McLeavey (Daniel Burnley), "the leading Catholic layman in a radius of 40 miles," grieving over the casket of his late wife. It's the day of the funeral, and the widower must contend with his faithful, randy Nurse Fay (Donna Wright) and his shiftless son Hal (Daniel Pettrow), neither of whom want to attend the ceremony.
Hal's plan to be a no-show has nothing to do with mourning his mother. He and his mate Dennis (Brit Whittle), a funeral parlor-employee, have nicked a small fortune from the bank next door to the mortician. The problem is making off with the money, with Dennis and Hal already under suspicion. They seize upon stowing the cash in the coffin, but what to do with the body?
09/11/2000 - 10/18/2000
A dominant figure in seventeenth-century French theater, Pierre Corneille created over thirty dramatic works including The Illusion written in 1635. Corneille later characterized the play as a strange monster, bizarre and extravagant. In The Illusion, Corneille fuses the role of the artist with that of the sorcerer and sparks a lively debate on the nature of the theater itself that remains both provocative and timely.
Commissioned to adapt The Illusion, playwright Tony Kushner became enamored with Corneille's stark depiction of the darkness that haunts the play's many varieties of passionate love. Kushner's treatment of Corneille's text highlights the risks that accompany affairs of the heart. It asks us, as Alcandre asks Pridamant, to consider what is real in this world and not seeming?
April 29, 2000-June 5, 2000
March 4, 2000-April 10, 2000
THE GIMMICK tells the story of Alexis and Jimmy, a pair of outsiders who forge a friendship through their shared passion for art. Theirs is a love more powerful than the ghetto gimmicks that devastate much of the Harlem of their youth. When one falls, the bond that has kept them whole threatens to destroy them both.
Violet" makes its Southeastern Premiere at Actor's Express. Since 1988, Actor's Express has delivered some of the most creative and award-winning theatre in Atlanta, and this season has proven to be no exception. Actor's Express presents the Southeastern Premiere production of "Violet," a new musical with music by Jeanine Tesori with book and lyrics by Brian Crawley. Performances begin March 23 and continue through May 12, Thursdays through Sundays.
Based on the Doris Betts story, "The Ugliest Pilgrim," Brian Crawley's book for Violet follows the 1964 bus journey of a backwoods North Carolina woman desperate to find a televangelist who'll pray away her prominent facial scar. Enroute, the spunky, but obviously na�ve Violet finally enters the wider world and she quickly cozies up with two young soldiers on the bus: the handsome, cocky Monty and more sensitive Flick, a black man Violet at first insults but soon cares for. This 25-year-old Violet's odyssey intersects with glimpses of her adolescent self, leading up to the accident that scarred her. We witness young Vi's closeness with her widowed father, a humble man who encourages her strength but is the unintentional agent of her anguish.
The score, written by one of America's hottest new composers Jeanine Tesori, who also created the well-praised, highly eclectic incidental music for the Lincoln Center version of Twelfth Night, (which starred Helen Hunt), is a jazzy Southern mix of gospel, country ballads and blues. Her melodic music flows forth and it expresses much about the Southern community Violet belongs to, and the black and white tensions and attractions that wrack it. With rippling piano and guitar-banjo-mandolin figures and rich vocal harmonies, Tesori's score is both folksy and sophisticated, lush and spare, a smart amalgam of country, church and blues idioms. Of the team of Tesori and Crawley one critic said, "...one must applaud the artistic team that created this adapation -- they have an ear for Southern music with its endless promise of honky-tonk angels and the sweet hereafter."
�Violet" will be directed by Bill Fennelly, one of America's hottest and youngest musical theatre directors. Fennelly, a native of Hartford, Connecticut, has directed on- and off-Broadway as well as in some of the foremost theatres that produce musical theatre. A regular director at Hartford Stage Company and the Goodspeed Opera House, Fennelly was hired as one of the youngest staff stage directors in the history of the New York City Opera at Lincoln Center where he assisted in the remounting of seven different productions.
On "Violet," Fennelly states, "I like the honesty of the love story at the heart of this play (it reminds me of "The Enchanted Cottage," in which two people become beautiful because they see beauty in each other)." As for the music, "The gospel numbers are especially rousing. Tesori likes to twist and elongate her melodies just enough to avoid conventional song structure, which befits Crawley's largely conversational lyrics."
"Violet" will feature a talented cast of Express veterans and newcomers. Rebekah Baty steps back onto the Express stage in the title role of Violet after playing Ado Annie in the highly acclaimed Express production of "Oklahoma!" and Ruth in "Wonderful Town." Baty, one of Atlanta's best musical theatre performers, has also been seen recently in "Chess" and "The Grapes of Wrath" at the Alliance, "Wuthering Heights! The! Musical!" and "The Waiting Room" at Theatre in the Square, and in Cowgirls at Horizon.
As Violet's partners on her journey Geoff Schmith (Monty) & Gavin Gregory (Flick) are no strangers to Atlanta's musical theatre scene as well. Both Schmith and Gregory recently performed with Baty in the Alliance production of "Chess" as well as being seen here at the Express in last season's "Once Upon a Mattress."
Other Express veterans include: Wayne Coleman, Bryan Davis and Megan Stern. New to the Express but not new to Atlanta audiences are: Valerie Payton, Christine Horn, Brandon O'Dell, Jayson Smith, Donna Wright, Rachelle Alston, Dion Jackson, J. Wesley Robertson, Mary Stewart, Nina Lakatos, Aimee Lasseigne and Richard Dillon.
The Express once again has assembled some of the southeast's foremost designers and collaborators for this production. Rochelle Barker (Scenery), H. Bart McGeehon (Lighting), and Jill Melancon (Sound) collaborate again after teaming up for "Handler" while Kenton McGhee (Costumes), Robert Egizio (Choreographer), Sheila Oliver (Props) and Britt Davis (Musical Direction) help complete the landscape upon which the audience will travel.
November 6, 1999-December 13, 1999
The rural South. Present day. Geordi has just been released from prison. He and his wife, Terri, a member of the Holiness Way sect, struggle to re-build their marriage. One night in service, Geordi handles snakes for the first time and is bitten in the throat and dies. Three days later, before the astonished eyes of the congregation, Geordi resurrects. What happened to Geordi? Who gets saved? Who gets forgiven?
September 11, 1999- October 19, 1999
01/08/1999 - 02/14/1999
11/06/1998 - 12/14/1998
Adapted from the Dostoevskey novel.