Posted by | Ray Cornelius 

A new year means all new stage plays and musicals and I have compiled a few Atlanta theatrical productions that I think are worth checking out. They feature a number of the city’s rising talent and veteran players who can still command an audience.

First up is Horizon Theater‘s production of Che Walker‘s “The Ballad of Klook and Vinette.” It stars Amari Cheatom and my girl Brittany Inge. The show is adapted from Walker’s book of the same name and features Cheaton as Klook, a drifter who’s tired of drifting and Inge as Vinette, a beauty who is on the run but she doesn’t know what’s chasing her. Together, they make a tentative stab at love and reach for hope until the past catches up to the future and smacks it in the face. Horizon kicks off its 2018 season with this love story set against poetry and jazz. “The Ballad of Klook and Vinette” plays 1/19-2/18.

Tony-winning Broadway director Kenny Leon and his True Colors Theatre Company continues to uplift the legacy of his mentor and friend August Wilson by presenting a new production of his classic, “King Hedley II.” The show is directed by True Colors’ new Associate Artistic Director Jamil Jude and will feature an array of amazing ATL stars (pssst the cast hasn’t been announced yet but I know who they are). Set in the 1980’s inner city Pittsburgh, King Hedley II is an ex-con peddling stolen refrigerators to save up for his own business and hopefully a new life. Desperately fighting to overcome his record, his family and a world that’s against him, King spends his time trying to plant seeds in a garden where nothing can grow. This becomes the perfect metaphor for his life and his dreams seemingly doomed to a violent end. “King Hedley II” is the eighth play in Wilson’s Pittsburgh Cycle, a haunting and challenging tragedy of Shakespearean proportions. “King Hedley II” runs 2/13-3/11.

Theatrical Outfit will take on the award-winning Broadway musical, “Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill.” The show is directed by my fraternity brother, Eric J. Little and features veteran stage actress—Terry Burrell—as the one and only Billie Holiday.

The show is set in 1959 at Philly’s seedy Emerson Bar on the south side and features songs that Lady Day performed four months before her death at the age of forty-four. Full of heart-melting numbers like “God Bless the Child,” “Strange Fruit,” and “What a Little Moonlight Can Do,” Billie shares with the audience tunes about her loves and losses.  The show’s musical director is S. Renee Clark. “Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill” plays 1/11-2/4.

See you at the theatre!

Photo Credits: Horizon Theatre + True Colors Theatre + Theatrical Outfit