Amy Zipperer is an award-winning playwright whose short plays have been produced across the United States and Canada. She currently teaches creative writing at Georgia Military College in Milledgeville, Georgia.
When Aurora Theatre announced that its 22nd season would open with a production of The Hunchback of Notre Dame, a production offered in partnership with Theatrical Outfit, screams of giddy delight could be heard in the Broadway-themed living rooms of theatre nerds all across Atlanta. The 2014 tuner, showcasing the only collaboration between musical theatre legends Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz, seemed destined for Broadway, but, despite the mostly favorable reviews coming out of its premiere at the La Jolla Playhouse and its subsequent transfer to the Papermill Playhouse, a prime destination for shows on the Broadway fast-track, the production just never made it to the Great White Way. Given that disappointing history, it's safe to say that theatergoers' appetities have been whetted for regional premieres of this highly-anticipated musical, and this powerful production, with Justin Anderson at the helm, definitely satisfies those cravings.BWW Previews: JOHN CLEESE WITH A SCREENING OF MONTY PYTHON AND THE HOLY GRAIL at Atlanta Symphony Hall June 21, 2017
Funny man John Cleese will take the stage for a conversation and Q&A after a special screening of Monty Python and the Holy Grail on the big screen at Atlanta Symphony Hall on November 12 at 7:30 p.m. Cleese will tell stories of his life and career, and you may finally find out the air-speed of an unladen swallow. This promises to be one unforgettable evening.BWW Interview: Tinashe Kajese of ECLIPSED at Synchronicity Theatre June 16, 2017
The regional premiere of Eclipsed, Danai Gurira's play that opened at the Public Theater in 2015 to significant critical praise before transferring to Broadway in 2016, is currently running at Synchronicity Theatre through June 25. The play, which garnered six Tony Award nominations, tells the story of five Liberian women and their struggles to survive during the Second Liberian Civil War. I caught up with Tinashe Kajese, a notable Atlanta actor and the director of Synchronicity's production of Eclipsed, to talk to her about her experience with the show.BWW Review: BEAUTY AND THE BEAST at Atlanta Lyric Theatre June 13, 2017
The live-action remake of Disney's Beauty and the Beast that opened in March of this year has made over $1 billion at the box office so far. That's nine zeros, which easily makes the film the highest earning movie musical of all time. And if all those gold coins in the studio coffers are any indication, there's something about this story that keeps us coming back. That something - let's call it the promise of a world where deep and meaningful connectedness between two lovers is built on important things like mutual interests and selflessness - is on full display at Atlanta Lyric Theatre in Robert Adams' production of Disney's Beauty and the Beast, which boasts a stellar cast as well as a buffet of delightful magic.BWW Review: MY SON THE WAITER: A JEWISH TRAGEDY at 7 Stages Theatre May 29, 2017
Funnyman Brad Zimmerman has come to 7 Stages Theatre in Atlanta with his critically acclaimed one-man show, My Son The Waiter: A Jewish Tragedy. Zimmerman calls the show a hybrid. Part stand-up. Part theatre. And the stand-up part is funny. Really funny. That's not surprising given that Zimmerman has spent much of his professional performance career opening for comedy giants like Joan Rivers and George Carlin. As the title suggests, a good deal of the comedy hinges upon stereotypes of the overbearing Jewish mother, and Zimmerman has realized a sharply honed portrait of his own Jewish mother that generates an abundance of laughter. But this isn't what earns the show its most substantive praise. The theatre part is what's particularly worthy of note, and, setting aside a few moments that fall a bit too far from the carefully drawn thesis of the piece which maintains that the best life is the one in which fear has not been an inhibitor of running after one's dreams, Zimmerman achieves a level of truth-bearing intimacy that makes this piece feel like a beautifully executed motivational speech.BWW Previews: Summer Stages CABARET, THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME, & More Lead BWW'S Top Atlanta Theatre Picks for Summer May 27, 2017
The summer months usher in all the things we love about summer in Atlanta: visits to the Atlanta Zoo, Braves baseball, evening strolls through the Atlanta Botanical Garden. This year, the summer months are also playing host to some of the best theatre offerings of the year, and there are so many that you might need help narrowing the playing field.BWW Interview: Brad Zimmerman of MY SON THE WAITER: A JEWISH TRAGEDY at 7 Stages Theatre May 25, 2017
When Pulitzer Prize winner Suzan-Lori Parks's Father Comes Home from the Wars (Parts 1, 2, & 3) premiered at The Public Theater in New York in 2014, The New York Times called it 'extraordinary' and Huffington Post declared it to be a 'triumphant' work with 'soaring language and provocative debate.' Now Actor's Express is bringing Parks'sstory to Atlanta audiences under the direction of Martin Damien Wilkins, and this new production, in addition to garnering the 'extraordinary' and 'triumphant' superlatives of its New York predecessor, is both simply rendered and breathtakingly powerful.BWW Previews: AURORA CHILDREN'S PLAYHOUSE SUMMER EDITION at Aurora Theatre May 15, 2017
It's a Saturday morning, and I'm at the Aurora Children's Playhouse at Aurora Theatre. We're waiting for Wendy Bennett's interactive performance of Cinderella to begin. That exciting electricity of patrons eagerly anticipating a show dances in the air. Most of this morning's patrons are between the ages of 4 and 10. And many are dressed like princesses. I've counted two Jasmines, three Cinderellas, and a Belle. Wendy Bennett, bouncy and bright, walks onto the stage and comments excitedly on the number of princesses in the audience. One little girl in a white summer dress pops up from her chair and says, 'Look at me.' Another little girl in the back who's wearing a blue tulle ballerina skirt won't be outdone. She stands on her chair and shouts, 'Look at me!' And those exchanges are perfectly indicative of the spirit of this fun presentation where, at any moment, children might become pumpkins or white mice or even Prince Rupert (who's giving a ball) all while Wendy Bennett sings songs and waltzes with puppets. It's a morning of sheer delight.BWW Interview: Christine Dwyer of FINDING NEVERLAND at Fox Theatre Atlanta May 12, 2017
The North American tour of Finding Neverland, the Broadway musical that tells the inspirational story of the creation of Peter Pan, is making its home at Atlanta's Fox atre from May 16 - 21, and it's bringing with it an extraordinary cast, including Christine Dwyer in the role of Sylvia Llewelyn Davies. Dwyers was gracious enough to share a little bit about her experience with the tour.BWW Interview: A Conversation with Bronson Pinchot at Dad's Garage Theatre May 1, 2017
I'm at Dad's Garage Theatre for the latest installment of Scandal, the weekly improvised soap opera that tells the story of the proprietors, employees, and guests of a 5-star hotel called The Four Sleazins and Danglerzzzz, a seedy strip club that shares the building space. A man in front of me raises his beer high above his head during the show, offering accolades to the weekend's special guest, Bronson Pinchot, best known for his work as Balki Bartokomous on the long-running sitcom Perfect Strangers. Pinchot plays a character named Klemm, an uber-famous director who's come to The Four Sleazins to deliver important news: his lover, Ashley Andover, is also his (gasp) daughter. Pinchot, as one might expect, looks at home on the stage as he reclines in a not-for-reclining chair and suggestively strokes a bottle he's shoved into his pocket, begging a fellow cast member to "touch it." Oh, and he does all of this while pretending to be blind, a character trait of his cross-eyed Klemm.
After the show, I'm hurried into a backstage area. I enter from the left. Pinchot enters from the right. He moves fast, shoving a sandwich into his mouth with one hand and holding a drink in the other. It is impossible for us to shake hands, so he suggests that we bump elbows instead, and I comply. He drops into a chair and beckons me to pull up another. There is an openness about his body language and a warmth in his familiar eyes that sets me at ease. I feel like I'm sitting down with an old friend. And, in a way, I am. Because even though he doesn't know me, I know him. He's our cousin from Mypos. The one who's always involved in some misunderstanding. The one with the crazy accent. The one whose pictures I pulled out of Rolling Stone magazine to decorate the back of my bedroom door.
And he's hardly changed at all.BWW Preview: Must-See Shows in Atlanta in May April 28, 2017
If his four shows currently running on Broadway are any indication, 2017 is the year of Andrew Lloyd Webber. Webber is the first composer to have four simultaneously-running Broadway shows since Rodgers and Hammerstein managed the feat in 1953. And Atlanta Lyric Theatre is joining in the Webber conversation this spring with their production of Jesus Christ Superstar, a rock opera with music by Webber and lyrics by Tim Rice. The popular show, which has seen an impressive three Broadway revivals since its Broadway debut in 1971, has always been and is still beset with difficulties. Most problematic is that Rice's lyrics aren't nearly as worthy of note as Webber's music. As the show is sung- through with no spoken dialogue, the lyrics are responsible for the bulk of the storytelling, but the characterizations of nearly all of the principal characters are thin and unsatisfying. Still, Alan Kilpatrick, the director of Atlanta Lyric Theatre's production, does a nice job with his retelling. Though the choreography is somewhat uneven, the cast is, for the most part, musically strong, especially in the case of Haden Rider who, in his role of Jesus, turns out to be this production's superstar.BWW Preview: BAREFOOT IN THE PARK at The Vineyard Cafe And Dinner Theatre April 14, 2017
The Vineyard Cafe and Dinner Theatre will present Neil Simon's Barefoot in the Park later this month in their intimate venue in Marietta Square, and they'll be serving up their comedy with a side of Italian dinner favorites. That combo makes this the perfect date-night outing.BWW Review: DRIVING MISS DAISY at The Vineyard Cafe And Dinner Theatre April 10, 2017
The Vineyard Cafe and Dinner Theatre is serving up great Southern classics in Marietta Square. There's the Southern food. Delicious. Then there's the Southern drama. Also delicious. This perfect combination invites us to welcome back the idea of the traditional dinner theater, a mythological place where one can enjoy both good food and good theatre. If The Vineyard Cafe and Dinner Theatre's production of Alfred Uhry's Driving Miss Daisy is any indication of what this quaint, intimate venue has in store for us in the future, it's time to put out the welcome banners.BWW Review: CINDERELLA AND FELLA at Alliance Theatre April 9, 2017
Imagine a prince. Now imagine Cinderella. Now imagine they are 13 year olds. That's basically the fun new spin on the familiar Cinderella story that Alliance Theatre is serving up with their world premiere of Cinderella and Fella, a charming little musical for children with a book by Janece Shaffer and music by S. Renee Clark. Under the direction of Rosemary Newcott, the talented cast aptly showcases the message of the play which is one that bears repeating: it's important to be kind.BWW Review: STRAIT OF GIBRALTAR at Synchronicity Theatre April 7, 2017
President Trump's hard-line stance on immigration during the 2016 presidential election fueled the already-heated partisan debate, a debate that was largely born out of the response to legislation like the Patriot Act which has sparked serious questions regarding how to mitigate significant security risks without infringing on the personal freedoms of American citizens and without fostering a climate of xenophobia towards Muslims. The world premiere of Andrea Lepcio's Strait of Gibraltar at Synchronicity Theatre, with its provocative storytelling and effective staging, adds to the ongoing conversation in a meaningful way.BWW Preview: Must-See Shows in Atlanta in April March 31, 2017
April is here, and we're all gearing up for the things we love about it: Spring Break, opening day at the ballpark, and those Cadbury mini-eggs that change the color of your tongue. This year, April also brings with it some exciting must-see shows in the Atlanta area.BWW Review: GREASE at Serenbe Playhouse March 27, 2017
In 1978, I went with neighbors to the local movie theater to see the film adaptation of Grease. That was the first time I had ever gone to the movies without my parents. It was also the first time I had ever looked around the theater to make sure that the other people understood that we were seeing something extraordinary. It turned out that I was right that day in my 6-year-old assessment of Grease, at least if the fact that it went on to become one of the highest grossing musical films of all time is any indication. So when I see that there's a production of the stage musical coming to a theaternear me, I always feel giddy. Unfortunately, I rarely leave a production having retained that delicious feeling of giddiness because it turns out once I get there that Danny Zuko isn't being played by John Travolta and Sandy isn't Olivia Newton John. But Serenbe Playhouse, under the direction of the oh-so-talented Brian Clowdus, with their gift for inventive, site-specific staging and their knack for finding the perfect cast, made me forget all about the Danny and Sandy of my childhood and left me with an acute awareness of the fact that Grease is still the word.