Skip to content

‘The House That Will Not Stand’ at Horizon Theatre Stands Tall

2023 July 27
by Susan Asher

“The House That Will Not Stand” is just one more outstanding production at Horizon Theatre.

It’s 1836 in Louisiana, the dead body of a formerly well-to-do white man lies dead in his Black family’s living room. Although he had been in a legal loveless marriage to a white woman, he spent most of his time in his other home with his Black placée, Beatrice (Donna Biscoe) and their three teenage daughters. “Placee” stems from the term “placage,” which was an extralegal system in North America by which ethnic European men entered civil unions with Black women who were not slaves.

Now that the man who she lived with and the father of her three daughters is dead, Beatrice plans on inheriting the home. But that and the Black slave who lived with the family are both at risk of becoming the property of the man’s widow.

Beatrice, the richest Black woman in Louisiana, tries to hold onto the family home while trying to prevent her teenage bi-racial daughters from facing the same type of life she led– living with and placating a wealthy white man who ruled the family. Meanwhile, without understanding the repercussions of living life as a placee, her daughters are looking for a wealthy white man like their father who will provide for them in their accustomed fashion.

Playwright Marcus Gardley has written a stellar play and Horizon has a stellar cast.

“The House That Will Not Stand” runs through Aug. 6 at Horizon Theatre.



2023 July 13
by Susan Asher


Actor’s Express continues its 35th anniversary season with the critically acclaimed rock musical Hedwig and the Angry Inch with music and lyrics by Stephen Trask and book by John Cameron Mitchell. Join “internationally ignored” rock singer Hedwig as she searches the world for stardom and love in this groundbreaking musical that has become one of the great cult classics of all time. A rock and roll explosion for anyone who has ever felt like a misfit, Hedwig and the Angry Inch will have you singing along and unleashing your own inner rock star. Hedwig is directed by Quinn Xavier Hernandez and features music direction by Bucky Motter.


According to Freddie Ashley, “I believe that Hedwig and the Angry Inch has transcended its cult classic status to become a cultural touchstone for everyone who falls outside the margins of what society dictates to be ‘normal.’ Hedwig herself has become an almost mythical character onto whom we project our feelings of otherness and our need for completion on our own terms. I am absolutely thrilled to bring her back to the AE stage for the first time in fifteen years.”


Hedwig and the Angry Inch premiered Off-Broadway at the Jane Street Theatre on February 14, 1998, where it ran for over two years. The multi-award-winning film premiered in 2001. When a revival starring Neil Patrick Harris opened on Broadway in 2014, Hedwig and the Angry Inch took home four Tony Awards, including Best Revival of a Musical, and launched a massively successful national tour. Hedwig and the Angry Inch has been performed all over the world with productions spanning every continent, exploring themes of duality, queer identity, and a whole new perspective on what makes someone whole. The Daily News raves that Hedwig and the Angry Inch is “dynamite” and that “this frisky, raunchy fable of love, loss, fury and freedom thrives.”


For the brand new AE production, two different performers will embody the titular role in alternating performances, Christina Leidel (AE’s Lizzie) and Niko Carleo (AE’s Heathers and Urinetown). They are joined by Isa Martinez (Lizzie) as Yitzhak.


Directed by AE newcomer Quinn Xavier Hernandez, this production of Hedwig and the Angry Inch also marks a homecoming for Bucky Motter, who played Yitzhak in both of AE’s previous productions in 2002 and 2015. Motter returns in the capacity of Music Director. Joining Hernandez and Motter on the creative team is choreographer Precious West (AE’s Heathers and Urinetown). The cast will be accompanied by a full rock band that includes JoAnn Pfeiffer on guitar, Gamble on keys and guitar, Dan Bauman on bass, and Jen Hodges on drums.



ABOUT Quinn Xavier Hernandez



Quinn Xavier Hernandez makes their directorial debut with Hedwig and the Angry Inch. Hernandez is also AE’s commissioned playwright, currently working on a full length play called They Them Theirs. a new play commissioning program that focuses on Atlanta-based playwrights with a focus on BIPOC, women and LGBTQ+ playwrights, as well as other writers from other marginalized communities and intersectional experiences. Hernandez has also been a playwright with AE’s Amplify New Play Narrative Podcasts Season 1 “Crossroads’ ‘ and the Virtual Downstage Series. Their Atlanta and regional work includes the Woodstock Arts Theatre, SheATL Summer Theatre Festival, Working Title Playwrights, The Warehouse Theatre (Greenville, SC). Hernandez also serves as the Assistant Managing Director for Working Title Playwrights, the Southeast’s premier new play incubator. Hernandez received their Advanced Playwriting Certificate from the National Theater Institute, BA from Clemson University. You can find them on Instagram and Facebook as@quinnxaviertheatremaker


Hernandez says, “Hedwig has always been an anthem dedicated to the outcasts and misfits. In this production, we’ve really leaned into the way in which Hedwig allows everyone to confront their own preconceived notions about queerness and gender identity. I’m excited for audiences to interact with this iconic show in a totally new way–one that celebrates all things genderqueer, nonbinary, and gender non-conforming.”


ABOUT Hedwig and the Angry Inch

Music and Lyrics by Stephen Trask

Text by John Cameron Mitchell

Directed by Quinn Xavier Hernandez

Musical Directed by Bucky Motter

Choreographed by Precious West

July 20-August 19, 2023 at Actor’s Express

Hedwig and the Angry Inch begins previews July 20 and opens July 22. Performances are Wednesday through Saturday at 8 PM and Saturdays at 12 AM. Tickets start at $20 and may be purchased online at or by calling 404-607-7469.


‘Jesus Hopped the A Train’ at Actor’s Express June 8-30

2023 May 18
by Susan Asher

Actor’s Express continues its 35th anniversary season with Jesus Hopped the ‘A’ Train  by Pulitzer Prize-winning American playwright Stephen Adly Guirgis. At Rikers Island, a frightened young inmate confronts complex issues of faith when he crosses paths with a charismatic serial killer, a sadistic guard, and a jaded public defender. This potent play will hit you where you live and make you question what happens when God’s justice differs from man’s. “Guirgis’ benchmark prison drama about faith and humanity remains as potent as ever in the two decades since its premiere, surely earning its place among great American classic plays” comments Artistic Director Freddie Ashley on why he chose to present this play.


Jesus Hopped the ‘A’ Train is a powerful drama that explores the crisis of faith, identity and the search for redemption. This play challenges audiences to reflect on forgiveness, resilience and the American Justice system.


Jesus Hopped The A Train premiered in 2000 at the LABrynth Theatre Company in a production directed  by Philip Seymour Hoffman, followed by a London production at the Donmar Warehouse in 2002 that was nominated for the Olivier Award for Best New Play of 2003. The Evening Standard  raved, “This pumping, pounding, pulsing play blazes.” The New York Times called Jesus Hopped the ‘A’ Train “Fire-Breathing…a probing, intense portrait of life behind bars.”

This ensemble cast features five Atlanta actors, including AE vets Luis R.Hernandez (The Crucible, The Motherfucker with the Hat and Six Degrees of Separation) and Cara Mantella (Angels in America, Significant Other and Mauritius). Making their Actor’s Express debuts are Sekou Laidlow (Alliance Theatre’s Toni Stone), Jacob York (Shakespeare Tavern’s Twelfth Night)and Cristian Gonzalez (True Colors’ Between Riverside and Crazy). Acting Apprentice Andrew Randolph rounds out the cast. The production is directed by Eric J. Little (AE’s Neat and The Brothers Size).


According to Artistic Director Freddie Ashley, “Stephen Adly Guirgis is a giant among American playwrights. He weaves vivid language with muscular storytelling, creating plays that pack a huge emotional wallop. Jesus Hopped the ‘A’ Train is one of his very best and has become a modern American classic while still feeling very much of the present moment.”



ABOUT Stephen Adly Guirgis


Stephen Adly Guirgis is an American playwright, screenwriter, director, and actor. His play Between Riverside and Crazy won the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. He is a member and a former co-artistic

director of New York City‘s LAByrinth Theater Company. Guirgis has produced plays both on an Off- Broadway as well as in the UK.


Guirgis’ play The Motherfucker With the Hat was nominated for seven TONY Awards and premiered on Broadway in 2011. Produced at AE in 2012, this production featured Luis R. Hernandez who will be playing Valdez in Jesus Hopped the ‘A’ Train.


Previews: Thursday-Friday, June 8-9, 2023 at 8:00 PM

Opening Night: June 10th, 2023 at 8:00 PM

Regular Performances: June 8- July 2nd, 2023

Wednesdays-Saturdays at 8:00 PM (Sunday, June 11th, additional evening performance at 7:30 PM)

Sundays at 2 PM


Purchase tickets online at or by calling 404-607-7469.

Group pricing is available. For info, email ti*****@ac***********.com.


‘Prayer for the French Republic’ at Actor’s Express Through May 14

2023 April 30
by Susan Asher

Prayer for the French Republic by multi-award-winning playwright Joshua Harmon (Bad Jews/Skintight) at Actor’s Express is “not one to miss,” according to Broadway World, Atlanta.  And I look forward to seeing it this weekend.

On the eve of the 2016 French presidential elections, a Parisian doctor fears for the safety of her family amid the rise of antisemitism in France. As she considers relocating to Israel, we flashback to her great-grandparents anxiously awaiting the return of their loved ones who have recently been liberated from the concentration camps. Making its regional debut, this emotionally rich family saga introduces us to five generations of a Jewish family yearning for the safety of home in this award-winning landmark play about Jewish identity and navigating antisemitism in today’s world.

Prayer for the French Republic was a hit in its January 2022 World Premiere at Manhattan Theatre Club, winning the 2022 Drama Desk Award for Best Play and the 2022 Outer Critics Circle Award for Best Off-Broadway Play. The New York Stage Review raved, “FIVE STARS! A brave, articulate, and necessary new play.” The New York Theatre Guide called Prayer for the French Republic, “A breathtaking work that skillfully balances the humanity of its characters with sprawling history.”

This ensemble cast features Carolyn Cook, Ross Benjamin, Jared Simon, Susan Shalhoub Larkin, Barry Stoltze and Aliya Rose Kraar, Clayton Landey, Shaun Maclean, Faina Khibkin, Israeli-American actor Adire Lev Mann, and Jacob Sherman.

Joe Alterman (Neranenah Jewish Music Festival) composed original music for the production. Other creative members include Isabel and Moriah Curley-Clay (Scenic Design), Jen J. Madison (Costume Design), Joseph P. Monaghan III (Lighting Design), Kate Hoang, (Sound Design), Nick Battaglia (Props Design and Set Decoration) and Amy Levin (Dramaturg).

Performances run Wednesdays-Saturdays at 7:30 PM and Sundays at 2 PM.

Purchase tickets online at or by calling 404-607-7469.

Group pricing is available. For info, email ti*****@ac***********.com.

‘Support Group for Men” at Horizon Theatre

2023 April 21
by Susan Asher

“Support Group for Men” has received glowing accolades in Chicago and Washington, so I’m looking forward to seeing this play at Horizon Theatre.

Written by Ellen Fairey, a writer/producer on “Nurse Jackie” and “Masters of Sex,” the play follows a diverse group of four everyman-type guys who gather on Thursdays to vent over glasses of rosé – with a “No Ladies” policy strictly enforced. Passing a baseball bat as a “talking stick,” this motley crew supports each other through stalled careers, dashed romances and a fast-changing world. When an unexpected visitor crashes the party, their notions of what it means to be a man in today’s America are suddenly upended. Set in 2017 as conversations on #MeToo and gender issues captured public attention, this comedy captures the voices of a group of friends as they graciously reconcile their worldviews and ideas of masculinity with an ever-evolving social landscape.

The cast includes many faces new to Horizon. Brian (Louis Kyper, long-time member of the Blue Man Group) is the support group founder who gathers the guys at his Chicago apartment each week to pass the talking stick. He’s a career Apple Store worker in an oddly “perfect” relationship with a much younger woman. Brian’s high school friend, black executive Delano (Marcus Turner-Hopkins*, Hands Up and A Christmas Carol, Alliance Theatre) is happily married and living in the suburbs but is looking for something more. New to the group is Brian’s younger, “hip,” Latinx co-worker Kevin (Sariel Toribio, Romeo at Atlanta Shakespeare Tavern) who is their window into his more youthful world of YouTubing, music and sexual fluidity. Roger (Atlanta newcomer Evan Bergman, MFA, U of VA), Brian’s unmarried blue-collar friend from his softball league has the farthest to go in understanding the new expectations of 21st century men. He never pictured himself drinking pink wine and talking about his feelings, but now he’s trying to muddle through a mid-life crisis. Then Alex, a young stranger (Roberto Mendez, City Springs’ Spamalot), suddenly turns the support group on its head.  The Chicago cops who show up to investigate a crime and up the stakes are the tart and tough Officer Caruso (Kelly Criss Morningside and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Georgia Ensemble, and Horizon veteran Suehyla E. Young sharing the role) and her macho partner Officer Nowak (Brad Brinkley, Horizon’s How to Use a Knife).

Recommended for teens and adults, Support Group for Men contains some adult language and themes. Performances run until May 28.  Tickets start at $30 on weekdays and $35 on weekends (plus taxes and fees). Prices are subject to change and prices rise as performances fill up, so patrons are encouraged to order early for the best prices and availability. Students under 25 can purchase $20 tickets with valid student ID by calling the box office. Single ticket seating is general admission, with a reserved seating section for season subscribers. For ticket sales and more information on single tickets and subscriptions, visit or call the Box Office at 404.584.7450.

Regular show times are as follows:

  • Wednesday, Thursday, Friday: 8 p.m.
  • Saturday: 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. (no matinee on April 29)
  • Sunday: 5 p.m.

Hershey Felder as George Gershwin Alone: A Play with Music

2023 April 14
by Susan Asher

April 22, 2023    8:00pm

Presented in association with Neranenah Arts, the international hit comes to Sandy Springs on its final world tour! As the only artist ever permitted to create the role of George Gershwin on the stage by the Gershwin heirs, Hershey Felder illuminates the composer’s short but extraordinary life and performs A Rhapsody in Blue in its entirety.

Felder’s exploration of George Gershwin’s short but extraordinary life has played to audiences worldwide for over 3,000 performances from Los Angeles to South Korea, and spotlights Gershwin’s work as a master tunesmith whose work shaped a distinctly American style of music.

Illuminating this brilliant composer’s prolific partnership with his brother, lyricist Ira Gershwin, Felder incorporates beloved songs ranging from “Fascinating Rhythm,” “I Got Rhythm,” “’S Wonderful,” and “They Can’t Take That Away from Me,” to excerpts from groundbreaking musicals Porgy and Bess and An American In Paris, and a complete performance of Rhapsody In Blue.

Prices INCLUDE taxes and fees.

Series: Presented by City Springs

Venue: Byers Theatre

Cost: $48.5-$75.4

Get tickets here.

Musical Performance and View of Atlantic Records, Saturday Jan. 28

2023 January 26
by Susan Asher

In a tribute to Atlantic Records, Neranenah (formerly the Atlanta Jewish Music Festival) is partnering with ATL Collective to bring a unique look behind-the-scenes of the record company through song and spoken-word storytelling.

This concert will be delving into the label behind voices such as Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles, and Otis Redding. This is the second version of this type of event. The first told the story of Chess Records.

The show will include music performances interwoven with spoken word-like monologues from poet and rapper Adán Bean. The performance includes music and storytelling to transport you to a moment in American history. On & Off The Record presents classic music designed to honor tradition, peek behind the scenes of cultural movements, and ask fundamental questions about our nation’s history and identity.

Conceptualized by jazz pianist Joe Alterman, Executive Director of the Neranenah – Concert & Culture Series, the show will be feature Atlanta musicians, hand-picked for their individual artistic strengths and talents.

Musicians are listed below:

The show will be held at the Atlanta History Center’s McElreath Hall, Saturday, Jan. 28 at 8 p.m.

Presented through a collaboration between Neranenah (formerly the Atlanta Jewish Music Festival) and ATL Collective, “On & Off The Records: The Music of Atlantic Records” is set for Jan. 28 at the center’s at 8 p.m.

Tickets can be purchased here.

Melissa Rivers to speak at MJCCA on “Lies My Mother Told Me”

2022 October 15
by Susan Asher

Joan Rivers, one of the most famous comics of the last century, was known for her acerbic barbs, her TV talk- and reality-shows, commercials, sales pitches on QVC, movies, books, and–according to her daughter Melissa Rivers in her memoir “The Book of Joan: Tales of Mirth, Mischief and Manipulation”–for her more than 300 cosmetic and plastic surgery procedures.

In her latest book, “Lies My Mother Told Me,” New York Times best-selling author Melissa Rivers dishes up a comedic look at the lies people tell their children. While the stories in this book aren’t actual lies that Joan told Melissa, they are stories that may have ever the slightest basis of truth built into them based on their lives.

Melissa worked alongside her mother for years, producing TV shows and working as a comedy duo. She will speak with CNN editorial producer Nadia Bilchik about the book and her life with Joan at the 31st Edition of the Book Festival of the MJCCA on Nov. 5 at 8 p.m. Tickets start at $38 and can be purchased here.

The talk will be held at the Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta5342 Tilly Mill Road
Atlanta, GA 30338.

Learn more about the various celebrities and authors who will be presenting at the Book Festival Nov. 3-19.

World Premiere of Water for Elephants at the Alliance Theatre

2022 September 21
by Susan Asher






Tickets are now on sale for the Alliance Theatre’s upcoming world premiere musical, WATER FOR ELEPHANTS.  Based on the critically acclaimed and best-selling novel by Sara Gruen, WATER FOR ELEPHANTS is an adventure filled with romance, deception, and a little bit of magic, all under the big top of a traveling circus.  Closing the Alliance’s 54th season, WATER FOR ELEPHANTS will premiere on the Coca-Cola Stage June 4 – July 9, 2023.

In WATER FOR ELEPHANTS, Jacob Jankowski is running towards a new life when he hitches a ride on a mysterious train.  He finds himself in the heart of a traveling circus, the Benzini Bros Most Spectacular Show On Earth, with a new job, a new home, and a new family. When charismatic ringmaster August brings Rosie the elephant on as the new star attraction, Jacob and August’s wife Marlena join forces to train her.  As Jacob and Marlena’s shared compassion develops into love, August’s cruel nature surfaces, threatening to derail Jacob’s life once more.  Brought to theatrical life by an internationally acclaimed and innovative creative team, WATER FOR ELEPHANTS will reignite your dreams of running away with the circus.

WATER FOR ELEPHANTS is helmed by an exciting creative team led by Director Jessica Stone (Kimberly Akimbo), with a book by Rick Elice (Jersey Boys, Peter and the Starcatcher), and a score by the award-winning PigPen Theatre Co.  Additional casting and creative team information for WATER FOR ELEPHANTS will be announced in early 2023.

Tickets for WATER FOR ELEPHANTS are available now at

‘The Outrage Machine’ at The Essential Theatre

2022 August 11
by Susan Asher
Evrett (Mattthew Ferro, left), Rina (Hannah Morris, right) photo by Elisabeth Cooper

 “The Outrage Machine” looks at today’s media – newspapers, magazine, social media posts – and the way readers and publishers react to so-called journalism. It’s an excellent play that is making its world premiere at The Essential Theatre, and it deserves to be performed on many more stages.

Rina (Hannah Morris), an Uber driver, picks up a passenger, Marlen (Jeff Hathcoat), who offers to give her $50 to drop him off at a bar, keep the meter running and stop the meter two blocks away. He’s planning to avenge the death of a leopard who died in a hunt at the hands of a tycoon. Rina has to choose: ethics or money, and that’s the crux of life in “The Outrage Machine.”

Living with her sister Ellie (Ellie Styron) to make ends meet until she finds a full-time job, Rina goes out on a blind date to cheer herself up. She meets Neil (David Soyka), an entrepreneur who runs a website known for its sensational headlines and outrageous stories created to capture readers and clicks. Only at the very bottom of the story does he disclose the truth: the story is a lie. Rina is appalled at the lies and says this type of writing is deceitful.

Soon thereafter, Rina writes a social media headline that gets lots of clicks and receives an offer from a publisher, Henry (Ajejandro Guitierrez) to work as a freelancer creating sensational headlines for his new alternative newspaper, The Centurion. Her headlines attract an inordinate amount of clicks, bringing her notoriety and increasing her drive for telling stories that aren’t being told. But in time Rina, realizes that even the alternative newspaper out to tell the truth about stories that typically never get written in traditional newspapers, won’t publish stories that might be contradictory to environmental activist points of view.  

However, the superstar headline writer discovers that there can be bad consequences to telling the truth as organizations can fight back and fight dirty. Interspersed throughout the play on the screen behind the actors are real news headlines that strike a reader like a thunderbolt and hail from both yellow journalism newspapers and reputable ones like Vox, the New York Times and BuzzFeed.

While the overall acting may be lacking from this production—except from Guitierrez who is believable in his scenes—the writing and storyline make this production worthwhile. This is a smartly written play that deserves to be performed in well-known theaters around the country.

Written by Daniel Carter Brown, directed by Peter Hardy, “The Outrage Machine” was the co-winner of the 2020 Essential Theatre Playwriting Award and runs through Aug. 27. Due to COVID, it is just now making its premiere. Festival tickets are now on sale at


Daryl Patrice (Val Moon)
Matthew Ferro (Ari, Evrett, Host)
Anna Fontaine (Blair)
Jeff Hathcoat (Marlen, Jude, Whit)
Kelly Nguyen (Tay, Corie, Kennedy)