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Atlanta's Alliance Theatre Announces Upcoming Season: Barry Manilow's HARMONY - A NEW MUSICAL and More


Atlanta's ALLIANCE THEATRE, recipient of the Regional Theatre Tony Award, has announced the 2013/14 Season for the Alliance Stage, Hertz Stage and Theatre for Youth and Families series.

"The plays of the 2013/14 season live in times and places of change. Germany in the 1930s. Hollywood in the 70s. Atlanta in 1895 as it hosted the world. And there are right-here, right-now stories of teenage boys becoming men, an activist becoming a politician, and a cynic becoming a romantic," said Booth. "Stories told with song, with laughter, with gripping drama - and all of them with big doors and windows for you to walk through and discover what you believe."

The 2013/14 Alliance Stage season will open on September 6, 2013, with Harmony - A New Musical, by the legendary Barry Manilow and his longtime collaborator, songwriter and theatre veteran Bruce Sussman. Harmony tells the story of The Comedian Harmonists, a close harmony ensemble of six young men in 1930s Germany, who took the world by storm - from the stages of Europe to Carnegie Hall. The Comedian Harmonists' sophisticated music, paired with hilarious comedy, made them the brightest of stars, until the group's religious composition - a mixture of Jews and gentiles - put them on a collision course with history.

"We are both thrilled to finally return to our first love - writing a musical together. Especially this one," Manilow and Sussman shared. "It has been an indescribable honor to spend all this time in the company of these six extraordinary men."

Also on the Alliance Stage this season - the Off-Broadway hit By the Way, Meet Vera Stark, by Pulitzer-Prize winning playwright Lynn Nottage, tells the story of an aspiring actress trying to break the mold of stereotypical African-American film roles of the 1930's and the legacy she leaves on the film industry seventy years later. The Alliance will also produce the world premiere The Geller Girls by beloved Atlanta playwright Janece Shaffer (Broke; Bluish), a romantic comedy about two Jewish sisters whose lives are forever changed by Atlanta's Cotton Exposition of 1895. This production marks Shaffer's fifth world premiere at the Alliance and will be the third to be directed by Jennings Hertz Artistic Director Susan V. Booth. The Alliance Stage season will close with the musical Tappin' Thru Life starring tap legend Maurice Hines who narrates his and brother Gregory's life story, featuring performances by the astounding contemporary tap icons the Manzari Brothers and musical accompaniment by the Diva Orchestra, an all-female nine-piece big band.

The 2013/14 Hertz Stage season will celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Alliance/Kendeda National Graduate Playwriting Competition with three plays written by past competition winners and the world premiere of the 2014 competition winner. The Hertz season will open on September 20 with the American Premiere of Choir Boy, a coming of age story about a difference kind of boy, by Tarell Alvin McCraney. McCraney's play In the Red and Brown Water won the 2008 Alliance/Kendeda competition and received its world premiere on the Hertz Stage. Also on the Hertz will be Warrior Class, a political thriller by Kenneth Lin who won the competition in 2006 with his play ...,"said Said, as well as the world premiere of The Tall Girls, a play about the depression-era Midwest where the success of a girls' basketball team may be the only way to a better life for the team's members. The Tall Girls is written by Meg Miroshnik who won the competition in 2012 with her play The Fairytale Lives of Russian Girls.

The Alliance has announced the winner of the 2014 Alliance/Kendeda National Graduate Playwriting Competition, In Love and Warcraft, by Madhuri Shekar. In Love and Warcraft takes a look at relationships in our very digital age through the eyes of an avid gamer who feels safer in her relationships behind a monitor than IRL (in real life). Shekar is currently working toward an MFA in Dramatic Writing from the University of Southern California. In addition to the full production the play will receive, Shekar and four other competition finalists will be given development and networking opportunities at the Lark Play Development Center in New York.

"It's amazing that for the past ten years the Alliance has dedicated a show each season to playwrights right out of graduate school," said Celise Kalke, Director of New Projects. "It's even more amazing that these same writers have worked so hard to have such astonishing careers but still think of the Alliance as a theatrical home! This 10th anniversary season will be a springboard look at the present and future of American playwriting."

In addition to the four Hertz stage productions, the ALLIANCE THEATRE will produce eight readings, one each month throughout the season, both at the Woodruff Arts Center and in vibrant locations around Atlanta, of plays by former winners and finalists of the Alliance/Kendeda competition. It will also produce the readings of the four finalists of the 2014 Alliance/Kendeda competition in its annual Festival of New Plays scheduled for February 4-6, 2014.

Over the past ten years, the Alliance/Kendeda National Graduate Playwriting Competition has been supported by a gift from the Kendeda Fund. Other supporters of the competition include The Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust, The Edgerton New American Plays Award, and the National Endowment for the Arts, among others.

The 2013/14 Youth and Families season includes three family productions - a new production created for middle school audiences, The Grimm Lives of the Inbetweens, and Shrek The Musical, based on the popular DreamWorks character, as well as the 24th Alliance production of the Dickens classic A Christmas Carol.

"We love embracing the changing world with the stories and images and spectacle of this art form," said Booth. "And what we love even more is our community who joins us for the shared experience of live theatre, making the art form complete."

The Alliance is also pleased to announce the launch of its new website today. The new website project was supported by a grant from the John H. and Wilhelmina D. Harland Charitable Foundation and was developed by Cool Blue Interactive. The site was designed to highlight the quality and breadth of programming at the Alliance while fostering patron engagement. The Alliance believes the updated site will make it easier for patrons to find information about productions, classes, and events; participate in discussions; and attend performances. www.alliancetheatre.org.

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