So the Downtown Marietta Development Authority is spending $4,500 in tax money to provide shuttle service for theatergoers from the Jennie T. Anderson Theatre to Marietta Square during the run of the next show by the Atlanta Lyric Theatre? There is speculation the city might do this on an ongoing basis. I presume the goal is to increase the dollars spent on the Square and give the Lyric a selling point. As a theatergoer and an avid fan of the Square, I can appreciate both motives.
However, there is not enough attention paid to the fact there are three theater groups on the Square, one which brings 200 or more people to the Square every weekend. These are theatergoers and parents of performers, all of whom come to see shows or bring their kids to rehearsals. Most eat and shop on the Square. I’m pretty sure Marietta Pizza can attest to the crowds on show nights.
In the area known as The Alley Stage, Rob Hardie and his organization bring professional quality musicals to the stage on a regular basis. At present, “Jesus Christ, Superstar” is the fare from Next Stage Theatre, with “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” to follow.
Don Goodner’s Young Actors Playhouse, performing in the Theatre in the Square venue, has new shows monthly for the young and young at heart. In addition, his group the Marietta Players brings outstanding drama to the big stage 10 times a year. In September you can see “You Can’t Take it With You,” a fun family show. Following that, the October show is “The Boys Next Door” and in November, an original play by MDJ columnist Pete Borden. It is called “The Back Side of Stone Mountain.” I will definitely have to see that one. The teaser I read from it says that one of the principal characters and I share the same name.
A few steps north of the Square is the second oldest continuously performing community theater in Cobb. The Polk Street Players, beginning their 35th season with a redneck comedy called “Rex’s Exes,” performs four shows a year in the basement of St. James Episcopal.
The point is I don’t see a lot of support for any of these theaters in the local media, or among the local merchants, aside from Schillings. If the DMDA is willing to spend $4,500 to transport people from nearby theater to downtown Marietta and back, it seems to me that it would be more worth their while and that of the businesses on the Square to get behind and promote the theaters already there and in continuous operation. They bring hundreds to the Square every weekend, which is at least as many as, or maybe more than, the Lyric and the Strand bring to town
George B. Middleton