My parents cultivated my interest in the arts at an early age. Although I fell in love with dance, I found theatre beautifully intriguing. Daddy and mama made sure I went to almost every stage show that came to Atlanta’s Civic Center & Fox Theatre. I think I attended my first major production at age 5. Decked in my swankiest “after 5” dresses and patent leather shoes (I need to track down some pictures), I was always so proud and felt so big when they treated me to a night out on the town. Now my first shows were far from Broadway productions. But, my parents planted a seed that continued to bloom as I grew older. Since my days of orchestra seats for stage plays like Beauty Shop, I’ve gone on to see theatre in London, several productions on Broadway, numerous Alvin Ailey Dance Theatre shows, and several other riveting stage performances. But nothing beats local theatre to me.
I love local theatre. They often offer a diverse season of shows that appeal to various audiences. There’s normally plenty of seating available (not a fan of crowds). Local theatre is personable, yet they produce PHENOMENAL playwrights, directors, and productions with talented, rising stars. Annnnnndddd, the show tickets are a fraction of the cost for what you’d pay for a nationally traveling production. You can’t beat that!
My favorite local theatre group is True Colors Theatre Company (TCTC) where Kenny Leon is the artistic director. My 1st TCTC production was about 3 years ago when I saw Ntozake Shange’s For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enuf, directed by Jasmine Guy. It was a powerful performance with an impressive cast-Nicole Ari Parker, Robin Givens, Nevania Rhodes, and Crystal Fox. Not bad for a local show huh? I’d say that’s darn good for only $30 bucks. I later saw TCTC’s Gut Bucket Blues about the life of Bessie Smith, the Empress of Blues, and I’m planning on seeing Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner this summer. Care to join me?
I’m also a fan of university theatre and arts programs. Yes college students! When I was in college, my girlfriends and I (shout out to Stephanie, Tasondra, Jennifer, Kia, Vicki, Gabby, Ellen, and Megan) made a habit of supporting Hampton University’s Players & Company and Terpsichorean Dance Troupe. We went to almost EVERY production during our 4 years as students. Today, I continue that tradition by taking in productions at Clark Atlanta University & Spelman College. I think they only cost $5 or $10. It’s worth every penny too! These students need our support and the experience of being on stage. You never know, you might be watching a future Oscar, Tony, or Emmy winner. Now, I’ll admit I haven’t gone to a university production since I had my son (I’ve forgone my social life for Friday & Saturday nights with baby). But know this. It’s on this summer! Well it’s on this fall since colleges have summer break. Well maybe late fall since students have to return, and then rehearse. You get what I mean!
So this weekend (and summer), I ask you to support the arts either through your local theatre group or university. Take your kids too! It’s a wonderful way to incorporate family time. Who knows, you might be planting a seed for the future.
If you’re in the Atlanta area, here are some local theatre productions coming your way. If you’re not in ATL, send us some of your city’s upcoming local shows. We’d love to know about them. Enjoy!
Peace. Love. Sales.
Cyn-The Bargain Bella
From births to marriages, to police chases and lottery wins, anything can happen at 3 AM in the Waffle Palace. Inspired by amazing real life events at Waffle House restaurants, Larson and Lee (award winning playwrights of Horizon’s Charm School) let loose with this roller coaster of humor, music, and imagination in which John Pickett and his multi-racial staff battle to keep their Midtown diner open against heavy odds. The Waffle Palace: a place where everyone is welcome, and the only unforgivable sins are throwing waffles and under-tipping .