The Alliance Theatre in Midtown and its artistic director, Susan V. Booth, March 26 announced the productions of the theater’s 50th anniversary season. Since opening in 1968 the Alliance has been dedicated to expanding hearts and minds on stage and off with diverse programming for all ages, including 110 world premieres.
“The Alliance turns 50 this year. Half a century of exploring what it means to be human in a world that renders that inquiry more complicated every day,” Booth said in a news release. “The best part of theatre, I’ve always thought, is the living and breathing pulse it gives to human language. The elevation of the spoken word to an art form, and the pure wonder that a mere mortal can say exactly the right thing at exactly the right time. And in the time honored tradition of marking zero-birthdays with large parties, we’re celebrating 50 years of art by throwing a season-long doozy.”
Following a season on the road, performing in multiple venues around metro Atlanta while its theater space at the Woodruff Arts Center underwent a complete renovation, the Alliance will open its new performance space – Coca-Cola Stage at Alliance Theatre – in October with a series of open house events for subscribers, patrons, artists and the community.
The remodel of the Alliance’s main stage will provide significant enhancements to the patron experience, creating a much more intimate, comfortable, and sound sensitive environment. The renovation project also includes upgrades to the theater’s rehearsal spaces, education spaces, and artist support spaces.
While the theatre renovation finishes and the open house events begin, the Alliance’s season will kick off on the road with “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” at the Atlanta Botanical Garden in Midtown. Adapted and directed by David Catlin, founding ensemble member of Lookingglass Theatre Company in Chicago, this world premiere adaptation has been developed specifically to showcase the beauty of the garden and incorporate Lookingglass’ renowned style of physical storytelling.
Also this fall, the Alliance will produce two world premieres by Atlanta playwrights in its 200-seat Hertz Theatre starting with “Nick’s Flamingo Grill” by playwright and songwriter Phillip DePoy. Inspired by the true story of the first integrated nightclub in Atlanta and featuring 10 original jazz songs in the style of the era, it is a story of hope and brotherly love.
The second premiere is “Knead,” written and performed by Mary Lynn Owen. Originally developed as a project from the Alliance’s third Reiser Atlanta Artists Lab and a semifinalist for the 2017 O’Neill National Playwright’s Conference, it is a journey through memory and accepting the unpredictability of life.
The Alliance will open its first production on the Coca-Cola Stage in January with “Ever After,” a captivating new musical based on the hit film. From award-winning songwriting team Zina Goldrich and Marcy Heisler, and boasting a creative team led by Booth (“Native Guard,” “Troubadour”) and choreographer JoAnn M. Hunter (“Disaster!,” “School of Rock”), it celebrates the true magic at the heart of the beloved Cinderella tale – the strength of the human spirit.
Also on the new Coca-Cola Stage this season is “Angry, Raucous and Shamelessly Gorgeous,” an exciting world-premiere by Atlanta-based writer and playwright Pearl Cleage, and “Ride the Cyclone,” the critically acclaimed musical described by The New York Times as “high spirited and just plain fun from start to finish.”
This season’s winner of the Alliance/Kendeda National Graduate Playwriting Competition will receive its world premiere on the Hertz Stage in February, “Goodnight, Tyler,” by B.J. Tindal.
The final production on the Hertz Stage is the world premiere of “Approval Junkie,” by and starring Faith Salie, a comedian and Emmy Award-winning journalist.
In addition to the Alliance Series on the Coca-Cola Stage and Hertz Series, the Alliance will produce four productions for Youth and Families including, “Winnie-The-Pooh;” “Paige In Full,” written and choreographed by Paige Hernandez as one multicultural girl’s journey through hip-hop to self-discovery; the Alliance’s 29th annual production of “A Christmas Carol” (performed for the second year at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre); and “The Wizard of Oz,” a family friendly adaptation featuring iconic songs from the original movie score.
“Our hope at the Alliance is that audiences will join us in a yearlong celebration of all that is messy, wonderful, dark, and magical about being human,” said Booth. “I can’t think of a better way to celebrate a 50th anniversary than that.”
The 2018-19 season is as follows:
o June 7 through July 8: “Winnie-the-Pooh” – Rich Theatre, Woodruff Arts Center. From the classic, endearing stories of A.A. Milne comes a charming and joyful journey through the Hundred-Acre Wood. Join the beloved Pooh Bear and friends Piglet, Rabbit, Eeyore, Kanga, Roo, and even Owl as one adventure turns into another.
o Sept. 5 through Oct. 21: “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” (a world premiere adaptation) – Atlanta Botanical Garden. In a whimsical, outdoor adaptation of Shakespeare’s most popular comedy, two couples deal with love and all its complications – confusion, jealousy, and passion.
o Sept. 29 through Oct. 28: “Nick’s Flamingo Grill” – Hertz Stage at the Alliance Theatre. Two friends, ex-World War II GI’s turned jazz musicians, have had great success performing in Paris nightclubs for the past 10 years. Convinced that their mixed-race act will also be a hit in the U.S., they decide to return home, to 1950s Georgia.
o Oct. 6 through 13: “Paige in Full” – Hertz Stage at the Alliance Theatre. The Alliance’s fall production for middle-school audiences blends poetry, dance, media and music that tell the tale of a multicultural girl’s journey through hip-hop to self-discovery.
o Nov. 13 through Dec. 9: “Knead” (world premiere; winner of the Reiser Atlanta Artists Lab) – Hertz Stage at the Alliance Theatre. In the wee hours, a woman bakes bread, determined that her mother’s incomprehensible recipe will finally work. But something is different about this night. The ingredients of time and memory keep interfering.
o Dec. 12 through 24: “A Christmas Carol” – Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre. On Christmas Eve, Ebenezer Scrooge, an old man well-known for his miserly ways, is visited by ghosts offering him a chance at a better future – his old partner Jacob Marley and the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future – who teach him it is never too late to change.
o Jan. 19 through Feb. 17: “Ever After” (musical) – Coca-Cola Stage at Alliance Theatre. From award-winning songwriting team Zina Goldrich and Marcy Heisler comes a captivating musical based on the hit film. Share the journey of Danielle de Barbarac as she risks everything to save a friend from an unjust fate, capturing the heart and imagination of a country along the way.
o Feb. 16 through March 10: “Goodnight, Tyler” (world premiere; winner of the 2019 Alliance/Kendeda National Graduate Playwriting Competition) – Hertz Stage at the Alliance Theatre. Depending on whom you ask, “Tyler Evans was a beloved best friend, grandson, mentor and fiancée,” or “Tyler Evans was a young black man killed by a police officer.” Desperate to control the contradicting narratives of his untimely death, Tyler haunts his best friend as his other friends and relatives quibble over his legacy, seeking an elusive common ground.
o March 9 through April 14, 2019: “The Wizard of Oz” (musical) – Rich Theatre at the Woodruff Arts Center. Introduce your children to the kind of magic only found in the Land of Oz. This 70-minute, family friendly production features iconic songs like “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” and “Follow the Yellow Brick Road” from the original movie score.
o March 20 through April 14, 2019: “Angry, Raucous and Shamelessly Gorgeous” (world premiere) – Coca-Cola Stage at Alliance Theatre. When two former activists set out to find a candidate they can back in an upcoming Congressional race, they find a political landscape very different from the one they remember from their 1970s glory days.
o April 5 through 28, 2019: “Approval Junkie” (world premiere) – Hertz Stage at Alliance Theatre. From winning her (very Southern) high school beauty pageant to picking the perfect outfit to wear to her divorce, Faith Salie is the ultimate approval seeker – an “approval junkie,” if you will.
o May 1 through 26, 2019: “Ride the Cyclone” (regional premiere; musical) – Coca-Cola Stage at Alliance Theatre. The St. Cassian High School Chamber Choir will board the Cyclone roller coaster at 8:17 p.m. At 8:19 the front axle will break, sending them to their tragic demise. A mechanical fortune teller invites each to tell the story of a life interrupted—with the promise of a prize like no other.
Theatre for the Very Young:
o June 9 through July 15: “The One-Acre Wood” (interactive play-space) – Joe Bankoff Gallery at the Woodruff Arts Center. A delightful, tiny play-space designed for children newborn through 2 years old and inspired by the magical Hundred-Acre Wood from the “Winnie-the-Pooh” stories by A.A. Milne. Join us for this one-of-a-kind experience as you and your toddler explore textures and sounds and discovers the fun and adventure that awaits you in the woods.
o Oct. 2 through Nov. 4: “Little Raindrop Songs” – Black Box Theatre at Alliance Theatre. A whimsically theatrical and imaginative journey through an anything-but-normal day, it combines unexpected puppetry, a vibrantly colorful and transformative two-dimensional set design, comic performances and the catchy pajama-pop of Lullatone.
o Jan. 15 through Feb. 17: “La Tortuga and The Hare” – Black Box Theatre at Alliance Theatre. The race is today! Join in the fun and excitement as the tortoise and the hare hit the starting line. The audience is invited into the center of the race track to experience the action all around them.
o March 9 through 31: “Gimme Please” (world premiere) – Black Box Theatre at Alliance Theatre. A play about the evolving nature of friendship, “Gimme Please” follows the journey of two friends—from initial meeting to lasting connection.
The 2018-19 season tickets are on sale now, along with single tickets for “Winnie-the-Pooh.” Single tickets for the rest of the season will go on sale in August. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit www.alliancetheatre.org.