Photo Flash: Alliance Theatre Heads Into Rehearsal for CANDIDE!
The ALLIANCE THEATRE has announced its upcoming production of CANDIDE, directed by ALLIANCE THEATRE Jennings Hertz Artistic Director Susan V. Booth with musical direction by Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Music Director Robert Spano. Performances are May 9 - 20, 2018 in Symphony Hall, while the ALLIANCE THEATREundergoes a complete renovation. Opening night is Friday, May 11.
In this popular adaptation by Hugh Wheeler and Leonard Bernstein of Voltaire's satirical novel, the naïve Candide is separated from his love and journeys around the world to find her, while fiercely retaining his mentor's belief that "this is the best of all possible worlds" in the face of ever-increasing catastrophes.
"We look forward to bringing Leonard Bernstein's CANDIDE to life on the Symphony Hall stage in partnership with the ALLIANCE THEATRE," said Robert Spano, Music Director of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. "Audiences will be delighted by the rich tapestry of this one-of-a-kind interpretation of this classic work."
CANDIDE will feature a cast of seventeen actors, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, and the Atlanta Symphony Chorus in this historic ALLIANCE THEATRE-Atlanta Symphony Orchestra collaboration. With so many people onstage and Little Room for traditional scenic elements, Director Susan V. Booth decided to embrace additional mediums to enhance the storytelling - puppetry and film.
"When you have the opportunity to work with musicians as skilled as the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra you don't put them in the pit. We will have about 170 people on stage and a story that involves shipwrecks, warfare, jungle expeditions, and the odd burning of heretics. There was a basic square footage challenge to be solved," said Booth. "I started to think about how, as kids, we could make whole worlds in our sandboxes. In our dollhouses. And I remembered seeing something called "micro-puppetry" on a trip to Eastern Europe many years back and being deeply moved by these tiny figures. All of those impulses came crashing together when I came across an essay on Voltaire's philosophical evolution toward the end of his life. He came to a belief that whatever deity was ordering the universe seemed almost to be a disinterested puppeteer. And that was the answer - marrying miniature puppetry theatre with a live video feed that will project these epic scenes from the story as we're telling it on stage, all in real time."
Matt A. Acheson of New York's Acheson Walsh Studios will serve the production as Toy Theatre Designer/Fabricator and will perform during each performance as the Puppeteer. Acheson's Puppet Design/Directing credits include the Broadway revival of On the Town and the touring production of War Horse. Tony Award nominee Sven Ortelserves as Projection Designer. The creative team also includes Daniel Pelzig, Choreographer; Tony Award-winning Set Designer, Todd Rosenthal; Lex Liang, Costume Designer; Clay Benning, Sound Designer; and Ken Yunker, Lighting Designer.
Aaron Blake leads the cast as Candide, with Alexandra Schoeny as Cunegonde, and two-time Tony Award nominee Christopher Sieber as the Narrator and Pangloss. Sieber last appeared at the Alliance in the role of Trent Oliver in the Broadway-bound production, THE PROM. Also featured in the cast are Jeremy Aggers, Kathleen Farrar Buccleugh, Terry Burrell, Bradley Dean, Logan Denninghoff, Janine DiVita, Hunter Ryan Herdlicka, Jimm Kieffer, Christian Magby, Jeff McKerley, Alecia Robinson, Ben Thorpe, and Corey James Wright.
"I think CANDIDE has a lot to say to audiences today," said Booth. "Voltaire wrote Candide in the 18th century following the Seven Years War and a devastating earthquake that had left tens of thousands of innocent people dead at a time when the popular thinking was 'everything happens for a reason.' In the end, it's not blind hope, but resolved resilience that wins the day. The answer to a feeling of desperation and confusion is to find community, and just get to work. That feels like a parable we could all use right now."
Performances of CANDIDE are May 9 - 20, 2018. There are no performances on Thursday, May 10, Monday, May 14, or Friday, May 18. All performances are at 8:00 p.m. except Sunday performances, May 13 and May 20, which are at 3:00 p.m. Opening Night is Friday, May 11, 8:00 p.m.
The Side Interpretation Sign Language Performance will take place on Sunday, May 13, at 3:00 p.m.
Tickets start at $20 and are available at the Woodruff Arts Center Box Office in person or by calling 404.733.5000, or by going online to www.alliancetheatre.org/candide.
Photos by A'riel Tinter.
Lee Mills and Carol Wyatt
Julie Key and Jeff McKerley
Matt A. Acheso
Matt A. Acheso and the Company
Toy theatre objects
The first day of rehearsals for the ALLIANCE THEATREâ€™s 2017/18 production Candide
Clayton Mote and Jeremy Aggers
The first day of rehearsals for the ALLIANCE THEATREâ€™s 2017/18 production Candide.
Toy puppet piece
Toy puppet piece
Matt A. Acheson
Skeleton and army toy puppet pieces