“I got a call that Topol [who was originally scheduled for the tour] could not do it for health issues,” Fierstein says. “The producers asked me if I could jump in.”
After a handful of rehearsals, he returned to the part. He admits he loves the journey of the main character, a man whose religious beliefs get tested as he feels he is losing his family.
‘Fiddler on the Roof’ Through March 21 @ Cobb Energy Centre 2800 Cobb Galleria Parkway, Atlanta, GA 30339 800-982-2787, www.atlantabroadwayseries.com
‘A Catered Affair’ Through March 28 @ Aurora Theatre 128 Pike St., Lawrenceville, GA 30045 678-226-6222, www.auroratheatre.com
‘100 Saints You Should Know’ March 18 – April 17 @ Actor’s Express 887 W. Marietta St., Atlanta, GA 30318 404-607-7469, www.actorsexpress.com
“Fuddy Meers” March 19 – April 10 @ Onstage Atlanta 2597 North Decatur Road, Decatur, GA 30033 404-897-1802, www.onstageatlanta.com
“Master Class” March 19 – April 11 @ Stage Door Players 5339 Chamblee Dunwoody Rd., Dunwoody, GA 30338 770-396-1726, www.stagedoorplayers.net
“I love his world, and I like to take that journey with him,” Fierstein says. “I appreciate his sense of humor. But his relationship with God changes in the show. He talks to God as his best friend but at the end he is not speaking directly to God anymore.”
During the run of “Fiddler,” Aurora Theatre presents Fierstein’s adaptation of “A Catered Affair,” staged on Broadway a few seasons back. On Broadway, Fierstein starred in the lead role of gay character Winston. The actor will attend a special 10 a.m. matinee on March 19. It’s directed by Actor’s Express’ Freddie Ashley.
Speaking of Actor’s Express, the company just opened Kate Fodor’s “100 Saints You Should Know,” which in addition to openly gay actor Doyle Reynolds, features a supporting character – a teenage delivery boy – coming to terms with his sexuality.
Two other shows opening this weekend are Stage Door’s “Master Class” and Onstage Atlanta’s “Fuddy Meers.”
“Fuddy Meers” is directed by lesbian Cathe Hall Payne. The protagonist is Claire, a woman with amnesia who gets taken on a journey to find out who she really is – a journey led by a mystery man under her bed.
“It’s a zany piece,” Payne says. “To me, the message is to keep the humor in painful situations. If not you are done.”
Payne is not only directing her significant other, Angela Short, in the play, but also her son’s boyfriend, John Markowski. It helps, according to Short, that Payne is incredibly honest as a director. She can’t deny that the two bring their work home, but it helps that they have the kind of relationship where they can keep it real with what needs to be said professionally.
“Master Class” is gay playwright Terrence McNally’s look at opera star Maria Callas during the last years of her life. According to Stage Door’s gay artistic director Robert Egizio, Callas gave master classes in the early ’70s, a time when her career was virtually over, as was her romance with Aristotle Onassis.
“She seemed to have no problem with the men in the classes, but she did with the women,” says Egizio. “There seemed to be a bit of jealousy.” Out Alan Kilpatrick directs while Marcie Millard portrays Callas.
Photo: Cathe Hall Payne directs her partner, actor Angie Short, in ‘Fuddy Meers’ at Onstage Atlanta. (Photo courtesy Onstage Atlanta)