‘Peachtree Battle,’ ‘Six Dance Lessons’ bring engaging gay characters back to ATL stages


‘Peachtree Battle’
July 16 – September 30
Ansley Park Playhouse
1545 Peachtree St., Atlanta, GA 30309

‘Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks’
July 15 – August 7
Stage Door Players
5339 Chamblee Dunwoody Road
Dunwoody, GA 30338

Gentry played the role in 2008 and then again in 2010 before taking time off to travel and make a documentary film. Hte wasn’t the original actor but he has played the role longer than anyone else and appreciates Holcomb’s layers.

“What I like about Holcomb is that he is fully dimensional,” says Gentry. “He is such a real character and not a caricature.”

Long time cast members Deborah Childs and Anna House are back as Trudy Habersham and Azalea Wieuca, respectively, for the special run.

“This show is so very much Atlanta,” he says. “You can go and know these people, although you would never admit it was your family.”

Lessons in dance, life

“Six Dance Lessons” was staged at Georgia Ensemble Theatre back in 2008 for a limited run, but weather issues caused some performances to be canceled. The cast and crew knew they wanted to stage a remount, and now they are taking the stage at the Dunwoody theater company Stage Door Players.

Robert Egizio, openly gay artistic director of Stage Door, and Jackie Prucha are reprising their original roles, while director Robert Farley is back too. Prucha stars as Lily Harrison, a retired school teacher and the wife of a Southern Baptist minister. She hires Michael Minetti (Egizio), an Italian with a quick temper, to give her introductory dance lessons.

“He tells her he has a girlfriend in his life but she does some investigative journalism and learns that isn’t true,” Egizio says. “So he tells her the truth — that he is gay — and she isn’t as mad at the fact that he is gay as that he lied to her.”

Over the course of the play the two learn more secrets about each other.

“This is the first time she has been friends with a gay man,” says Egizio. “She has known gay men before but not been friends with them, while he thinks because of who her husband is, he would be fired if she found out about him.”

Egizio thinks the two characters eventually find some common ground amidst events that have happened in their own lives.

The popularity of series such as “Dancing With the Stars” has given added attention to the Richard Alfieri play, Egizio feels. A former dancer himself, Egizio had no problem with the dance elements of the show — involving swing, tango, waltz, cha-cha, foxtrot and a contemporary dance — but he is trying hard to resurrect the exact moves he had with Prucha.

He jokingly refers to this as a “Max and Kirstie” relationship – where an experienced pro teaches an unlikely newbie how to dance in a short period of time.


Top photo: ‘Peachtree Battle,’ the long running comedy from the hands of gay playwrights (and couple) John Gibson and Anthony Morris, returns July 16 to play through September. (via Facebook)