It’s a robust time at local theater companies this season. With musicals in every corner of the city and more dramatic fare popping up, here are some of the best offerings — many gay-themed — taking the stage this summer.
Out Front Theatre Company, fresh off its big hit with the Paul Rudnick comedy “The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told,” has a summer production of “Zanna Don’t! A Quantum Football Fable,” in which a high school – Heartsville High – has a role-reversal scenario. Here, being gay is the norm and heterosexuals are subject to scorn. When a young woman and a young man fall in love with each other, chaos erupts. The production is a world premiere reboot – playwright Tim Acito rewrote most of it with the goal of high schools performing it.
The musical “Little Shop of Horrors,” about a plant that grows to gargantuan size and begins munching on humans to survive, makes an anticipated bow at Actor’s Express. The talented Kylie Brown takes on the role of flower shop employee Audrey. We’re excited already.
In ART Station’s “Life Could Be a Dream,” a fledgling doo-wop singing group prepares to enter the Big Whooper Radio contest to realize their dreams of making it to the big time. The song list includes “Fools Fall in Love,” “Tears on My Pillow,” “Runaraound Sue,” “Earth Angel,” “Stay,” “Unchained Melody,” “Lonely Teardrops” and “The Glory of Love.”
The big touring show of the season is Broadway Across America’s take on “An American in Paris,” adapted from the 1951 Academy Award-winning film. It follows an American soldier who, after World War II is over, decides to stay in France and is reunited with a young woman he has become haunted by. Big and splashy and full of heart, it should be a summer treat.
What’s your damage? At Decatur’s OnStage Atlanta comes a musical based on a cult classic film with a high school completely different from the one in “Zanna Don’t.” “Heathers The Musical” is set in 1989, where Westerberg High is ruled by a three Queen Bees: the Heathers. Veronica Sawyer is the school misfit who falls for a murderous new student.
As if the season didn’t have enough musicals, the second-annual Atlanta Musical Theatre Festival bows in late July. It features a trio of new shows – Beverly Trader Austin and Bryan Mercer’s “Cakewalk,” Chris Alonzo’s “In the Middle of the Ocean” and Christian Albright and Christian Magby’s “Mother of God.”
On the more serious side is the 2015 Pulitzer Prize winner for Best Drama, “Between Riverside and Crazy,” in which a retired police officer is faced with eviction. This should be worth a peek given the play is a production of Kenny Leon’s high quality True Colors Theatre,.
Finally, never ones to relax, Serenbe Playhouse has two new shows, in addition to the recently opened “Robin Hood.” First out of the gate is the company’s take on “Macbeth,” starring film and television star Justin Deeley. The second entrée might be more mouthwatering – the legendary “Cabaret,” with Brian Clowdus, the company’s artistic director, taking on the iconic role of Emcee. Sally Bowles is played here by Broadway actress Molly Tynes. It will be interesting to see what kind of fun Clowdus and crew can have with an outdoor version of the Kit Kat Club.