Review Roundup: Alliance Theatre's Starry CANDIDE With Christopher Sieber, Aaron Blake and More!
The ALLIANCE THEATRE in Atlanta is currently staging 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 through May 20th in Symphony Hall, while the ALLIANCE THEATREundergoes a complete renovation.
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.
CANDIDE features 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.
Aaron Blake leads the cast as Candide, with Alexandra Schoeny as Cunegonde, and two-time Tony Award nominee Christopher Sieberas 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.
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.
Let's see what the critics have to say!
Sally Henry, BroadwayWorld: Back for his second ALLIANCE THEATRE appearance, Tony-nominated Broadway actor Christopher Sieber (Alliance's THE PROM, Broadway's MATILDA, SHREK) portrays both Narrator and the all-wise teacher Dr. Pangloss. Trading his broad character acting for which Broadway patrons remember him for a subtle humor and winking naïveté, Sieber immediately establishes a connection with the audience that ends up being the backbone of the show. He narrates the evening as though showing one of his favorite musicals to his friends, personal commentary and all. The audience barely gets a taste of his singing voice, which is the only drawback to this casting.
Bert Osborne, My AJC: Tenor Aaron Blake (as Candide) beautifully delivers the impassioned ballad "It Must Be So." Soprano Alexandra Schoeny (as Cunegonde) skillfully scales the decidedly demanding aria "Glitter and Be Gay." The show's powerful finale culminates with the uplifting anthem "Make Our Garden Grow," resoundingly performed by the entire company.
Manning Harris, Atlanta in Town: This sounds corny, but if I were an actor, I think I'd be honored to be in this cast. There are Jeremy Aggers, Kathleen Farrar Buccleugh, Bradley Dean, Logan Denninghoff, Janine DiVita, Hunter Ryan Herdlicka (a handsome and funny Maximilian), Jimmy Kieffer, Christian Magby, Jeff McKerley, Alecia Robinson, Ben Thorpe, and Corey James Wright. Oh yes, Conductor Spano makes his debut (or perhaps it isn't) as an actor!