The 2002-03 season will be a historical one at Atlanta's Alliance Theatre. There'll be a singing and dancing revue of African-American life in the U.S. (Bring in da Noise, Bring in da Funk with original star Savion Glover), a Kabuki-style examination of Japan's Westernization (Stephen Sondheim's Pacific Overtures) and the American premiere of Keith Reddin's look at the Kennedy assassination Frame 312.
Glover kicks off (or taps off) the season with his return to Noise/Funk, a big Broadway hit for the star dancer back in 1995. Utilizing percussion, tap dance, blues and jazz, Bring in da Noise, Bring in da Funk covers black history in America from arrival on the slave ships to the Northern migration to the advent of hip hop. Previews begin Aug. 21 on the Alliance Stage.
Pacific Overtures, considered one of Sondheim's most difficult musicals, also recounts the history of a people, although this time, the Japanase are the focus as they are invaded and influenced by the West. A noble flop in its Broadway run, Pacific Overtures recently enjoyed a hit staging at the Chicago Shakespeare Theatre. The Alliance revival, directed by Kent Gash, begins previews April 30, 2003 on the Alliance Stage.
Frame 312, fresh from its world premiere in London, refers to a specific moment in the Kennedy assassination film. A Life magazine secretary is one of three people to view the historic frame and, thirty years later, she's the only one left to talk about it. Susan V. Booth, Alliance Theatre's new artistic director, will direct. Frame 312 begins previews Oct. 16 on the Alliance Stage.
Further highlights include the world premiere of The Bench and a regional premiere of Saint Lucy's Eyes starring film and stage star Ruby Dee. The Bench, written by Larry Larson and Eddie Levi Lee, is billed as an antidote to sugary Christmas fare. In the comedy, two guys sit on a mall bench, talking about the season and life's greatest mysteries while they wait for their wives to finish shopping. A hit Off-Broadway, Saint Lucy's Eyes takes place in 1968's Memphis, where confused young women seek out a grandmotherly figure for abortions, but get life-changing advice as well. The Bench begins previews Nov. 8 on the Hertz Stage. Saint Lucy's Eyes, directed by Bridgett Wimberly, previews March 19, 2003 on the Alliance Stage.
Also planned for the season are the annual A Christmas Carol (Alliance Stage, Nov. 22-Dec. 29), Shakespeare's R&J (Hertz Stage, previews from Jan. 24, 2003) and a revival of Beth Henley's Crimes of the Heart (Alliance Stage, previews from Feb. 5, 2003). The Alliance Theatre's children's company has two productions planned: The Music Lesson (Nov. 2-24) and Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse (Jan. 11-26, 2003).
Season tickets ($36-$300) are on sale now. Single tickets go on sale July 27. The Alliance Theatre is located at 1280 Peachtree Street. For information and reservations, call (404) 733-5000. The Alliance Theatre is on the web at http://www.alliancetheatre.org.
— By Christine Ehren