Wednesday, December 5, 2012




“Doing something for Jim makes time move faster for Della than it would otherwise. It's her love for her husband animates her and gives her energy.”
                                                                The Gifts of the Magi

By Doc Lawrence

ATLANTA-They don’t call this exciting city the cultural capital of the New South for nothing. Along with the Atlanta Symphony, the Atlanta High Museum of Art, Alliance Theatre Company and the Carlos Museum at Emory stands the Balzer, a downtown gem and headquarters of the Tom Key led Theatrical Outfit.

The holiday production of “The Gifts of the Magi” will satisfy that itch to do something worthwhile with family and friends during this wonderful season. The timeless story features a talented cast that includes one of my favorites, the irrepressible Bernadine Mitchell. The holiday musical by Mark St. Germain is based on the classic O. Henry story.

It’s Christmas in New York and Jim and Della are out of work and penniless. To afford presents for each other, both secretly part with their most precious possessions. In the classic holiday story, the two lovers' gesture of giving creates a warm and intimate Christmas in a cold, unfriendly city. Set to the music of Randy Courts, this charming musical kindles the holiday heart of Atlanta.

Atlanta native Bernardine Mitchell has performed nationally and internationally in a wide range of roles that includes Mahalia Jackson in Mahalia, Bessie Smith in Bessie’s Blues, Mrs. Potts in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, Velma and Mother Shaw in Crowns, Alice in Big River and the Matron in Chicago. I treasure precious memories of her jazz and blues singing here in Atlanta clubs.

Theatrical Outfit holds true to its mission of providing diverse audiences, actors and artists with a rich theater experience and to produce works that stimulate thoughtful discussion, using local talent to tell its “Stories that stir the soul” – which often come from classic and contemporary literature – featuring themes that are both relevant and revelatory. “Magi” provides all this and more. “Magi” or any musical blessed with the special touch of Atlanta’s S. Renee Clark elevates the spirit with rhythm and harmony.

Since 1995, Tom Key has led the organization at the award-winning downtown Balzer Theater at Herren’s.  The Balzer Theater is also the historical site of Herren’s, the first restaurant in Atlanta to voluntarily desegregate. Key has produced many of the best writers of the American South: Truman Capote, Horton Foote, Harper Lee, Flannery O’Connor, Walker Percy, Hank Williams, Tennessee Williams, as well as the new dramatists Carlyle Brown, S.M. Shephard-Massat and Elyzabeth Gregory Wilder.

“Gifts of the Magi” runs through December 23.  Performances are Wednesday – Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays at 2:30 p.m.

Photographer credit: Josh Lamkin.

No comments:

Post a Comment