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Alliance Announces Selections For Its 3rd Reiser Atlanta Artists Lab

The ALLIANCE THEATRE is pleased to announce the three artistic projects chosen for development during its third annuAl Reiser Atlanta Artists Lab. Each project will receive $10,000 to use toward further exploration and development, as well as access to the Alliance's artistic, educational, and production staffs, and rehearsal spaces. The lab productions will be presented in free performances May 15-17, 2017.

In 2013, the ALLIANCE THEATRE launched the Atlanta Artists Lab to support and provide opportunities to artists of multiple theatre disciplines looking for a producing home for undeveloped work. Each year, three projects are chosen by a panel of judges representing local and national artists of varying disciplines. This year's judges were Susan V. Booth, Jennings Hertz Artistic Director, ALLIANCE THEATRE; Lex Liang, Costume Designer; Mark Kendall, Playwright, Actor, and past Reiser Atlanta Artists Lab recipient; Lisa Adler, Co-Founder and Co-Artistic/Producing Director, Horizon Theatre; and James Anderson, Senior Vice President of Communications, Turner Broadcasting.

It is the goal of the Reiser Atlanta Artists Lab to celebrate the breadth and vision of Atlanta-based artists, to encourage collaboration among Atlanta's artistic community, and to seed projects that will be produced here in Atlanta.

The three projects that were chosen for the second Reiser Atlanta Artists Lab are:

· Knead, Punch, Bake

Lead Artist: Mary Lynn Owen, Actor and Writer
Support Artists: David de Vries, Director; Kendall Simpson, Composer; Kat Conley, Set Designer; Rachel Parrish, Dramaturg

o In the middle of the night a woman bakes bread, using her mother's illegible recipe. But something is different. Her kitchen becomes host to both present and past as drawers are emptied, mess is made, and the bread-baking process - the kneading, rising, punching down, shaping and baking - becomes a journey of memory and discovery, and the unpredictability of, well, just about everything. Will there at least be butter? Knead, Punch, Bake is a one woman show with music, written and performed by Mary Lynn Owen.

· Idi Amin, America, and a Bar of Soap
Lead Artist: Patricia Henritze, Playwright/Collaborator
Support Artists: Derreck Kayongo, Performer/Collaborator; Matt Huff, Director/Collaborator

o Idi Amin, America and a Bar of Soap is a solo show inspired by the life of Derreck Kayongo, the CEO of the National Center for Civil and Human Rights. Written by Patricia Henritze and directed by Matt Huff, the play follows Derreck from his childhood in Uganda under Idi Amin's brutal regime, through his experiences in Kenya as a refugee, and finally into the U.S. as an immigrant and ultimately a citizen. In 2011 Derreck was chosen as a CNN Hero for founding the Global Soap project. This non-profit international aid organization recycles discarded soap from hotels and distributes newly processed soap to fight hygiene-related diseases, which is the #1 killer of children in vulnerable populations around the world. While Derreck has an amazing story to tell, this is not a documentary or motivational speech. Derreck's journey is filled with humor and the play has something for everyone: dangerous escapes, spies, firing squads, betrayal, hope and redemption. From refugee to CEO, Derreck has learned how to survive, always turning challenges into triumphs. Derreck performs the show with wit and enthusiasm, reminding us we all live in a world where one person can still make a difference

· A Cappella - An A Cappella Musical about Finding Your Own Voice
Lead Artist: Vynnie Meli, Playwright
Support Artists: Justin Anderson, Director; Naima Carter Russell, Actress; and Henry W. Kimmel, Dramaturg; Music by the Acappella Company

o A young gospel singer goes from the music of praise to the music that pays. Jeremiah leaves to go on tour with a popular boy-band for just a few months, yet several years fly by before he returns to his small southern town and the people who love him. Disillusioned by celebrity, he goes to the place where everything is familiar; except that nothing is. A Cappella follows Jeremiah's struggle to find his own voice. The new musical melds together two popular art forms: Musical Theatre and A Cappella. As one reviewer wrote, the music in A Cappella is "proud, big, soulful, joyous, organic, and unafraid." The show won several awards including the Steele Springs Publishing Award at the prestigious New York Musical Festival, where it was originally produced by Greg Cooper in 2015. Still, playwright Vynnie Meli felt the show, with music by the globally acclaimed Acappella Company, needed tightening. Meli reached out to Atlanta director Justin Anderson, musical theater powerhouse Naima Carter Russell, and playwright and dramaturg Henry Kimmel. The Reiser Lab is giving them the time, resources and platform needed for further development and to take A Cappella to the next level.

"We are excited for all of these artists and happy to be providing an artistic home to these developing projects," said Celise Kalke, ALLIANCE THEATRE Director of New Projects. "The applicants get more exciting and the selection process more competitive every year."

Funding for the Reiser Atlanta Artists Lab is provided by Margaret and Bob Reiser. Support is also provided by the Mark & Evelyn Trammell Foundation.

Learn more about the Reiser Atlanta Artists Lab at

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