Atlanta Life and Culture

The AJC Features Team spotlights arts previews, reviews, profiles, news features and breaking news on Atlanta's cultural and life scene.

Theater notes: Alliance Theatre casting notes; Out of Box's '15-'16 highlights

Kayser to return to Alliance ‘Christmas Carol’

There were some interesting casting tidbits at the Alliance Theatre’s recent Taste of the Season preview of its 2015-16 lineup.

One well-received bit of news was that Chris Kayser, who retired from the role of Scrooge in “A Christmas Carol” after playing the role a 16th time in 2013, will return to the production for the run starting Nov. 19. This time, he’ll be in the role of Scrooge’s (David de Vries) business partner Jacob Marley, a part he’s played at the Alliance twice before.

Also of note: The cast for “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” which opens the Alliance Stage (main stage) season on Sept. 2, shapes up as a who’s who of Atlanta theater.

That’s intentionally in the vein of the troupe 2011’s hit staging of Tracy Letts’ “August: Osage County,” said artistic director Susan V. Booth. The idea then, as now, was to select an ensemble whose close working relationships over the years would lend the play that extra crackle.

The cast Booth herself will direct includes Tess Malis Kincaid (Nurse Ratched), Thomas Neal Antwon Ghant (Randle Patrick McMurphy), de Vries (Dr. Spivey), Kayser (Ruckly), Richard Garner (Scanlon), Andrew Benator (Dale Harding), Ann Marie Gideon (Nurse Flinn), Bethany Ann Lind (Candy Starr), Joe Knezevich (Cheswick) and Anthony Rodriguez (Martini).

Later in the program, BeBe Winans drew a laugh about the casting of his nephew, Juan Winans, in the title role of “Born for This: The BeBe Winans Story,” which begins its world premiere run April 13, 2016. (It has switched previously announced slots with "Disgraced," which now opens on Jan. 27, 2016.)

“It’s my honor to introduce to you my talented nephew,” the gospel star said, before wryly adding, “I did say ‘talented’ because there are some who aren’t talented … but they’re not here tonight.”

BeBe’s real-life niece, Deborah Joy, will play his sister, CeCe Winans.

Moral issues in Out of Box’s ‘15-‘16 season

Out of Box Theatre has announced its 2015-16 season, with several plays exploring the theme of moral ambiguity.

That wasn’t by design.

“As we choose the plays, a theme begins to make itself very clear,” artistic director Carolyn Choe said in announcing the Marietta troupe’s fourth season. “The plays that spoke to us this year clearly show that there is a large area in which it is hard to define and choose what is morally the correct thing to do.”

Those include:

  • “Blackpool and Parrish,” the season opener, on the boards July 17-Aug. 1. David Belke’s comedy pits Agent for All Good against Agent for All Evil in, well, Armageddon.

  • “Mama Bear” by Sharon Harris Warrick, Aug. 14-29, centers on a mother dealing with an out-of-control son and an escalating series of events that drives this stressed-out parent to an act of desperation that has a profound ripple effect.

  • “Other Desert Cities” from Jon Robin Baitz (creator of ABC’s “Brothers & Sisters”), Sept. 11-26, finds a writer returning home after many years and announcing that she is about to publish a memoir dredging up a pivotal and tragic event in the family’s history. It’s a wound her kin do not want reopened.

  • “The Spins” by Sara Crawford, Jan. 22-31, 2016, focuses on a young woman haunted by the death of her musician brother. It was a finalist in the 2011 Essential Theatre Playwriting Award competition.

  • “Rapture, Blister, Burn,” the season closer, June 10-25, 2016. In Gina Gionfriddo’s comedy, three generations of women share approaches to navigating work, love and family.

Out of Box’s 13-play season at the Artisan Resource Center (585 Cobb Parkway S.) also includes Neil LaBute’s “In a Forest, Dark and Deep,” Stephen Sondheim’s “Company” and two holiday shows.

Season flex passes and individual tickets are now available. Full details: 678-653-4605,

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The AJC Features Team spotlights arts previews, reviews, profiles, news features and breaking news on Atlanta's cultural and life scene.