November 16, 2010

The Last Night of Ballyhoo Opens This Weekend!

Mark Paladini

A Word From The Director:

The Last Night of Ballyhoo lovingly captures the plight of Jews in the South searching for a way to succeed and find acceptance as an integral part of the community in 1939.

Alfred Uhry’s frequently autobiographical look at the extended Freitag family captures the irony of their behavior with compassion, love and a post-Civil Rights Era wink. Ballyhoo transports us to a more innocent moment in time, a time when escapist entertainment on live radio and the movie screen insulated Americans from the sound of German troops marching into Poland.

Some scenes in our play take place on a famous train known as the Crescent Limited. The train brought travelers from New York to New Orleans via a crescent shaped route that stopped in major cities along the way, including Atlanta. Hop on that train with me and go back to a time when the crescent moon was a symbol of romance. This trip reminds us that we are all on this journey together.

The author also wants us to identify with the fears that Jews in Atlanta experienced in this period. The Freitag/Levy family lives in a city where a Jewish man named Leo Frank was unjustly lynched* in 1915. This event, though unspoken, helps us understand how the characters in this play have valid fears in regard to practicing their religion openly at this time in history in the South.
Tabitha Ray Strong as Lala
Come back with us to a time when there were Jews named Adolph, and many popular Jewish performers hosted Christmas specials on their radio shows. Some Jews in the South had never even seen a yarmulke (or kippah), the skull cap Jewish men wear for religious celebrations. Many Jews would light Shabbat (Sabbath) candles at sundown on Friday night prior to eating ham hocks and shrimp, decidedly non-kosher menu items. One might say that the dining car on this train has plenty of portions of humor, assimilation, romance, fear and warm memories.

Enjoy this nostalgic train ride and all the ballyhoo that comes along with it!

*Chronicled in the musical PARADE, book by Alfred Uhry, whose great-uncle owned the factory that Leo Frank managed

The Last Night of Ballyhoo runs
Nov. 19 - 21 and Dec. 2 - 5. 
Call the box office for tickets at 757.352.4245.

1 comment:

  1. We saw wonderful acting tonight in the Studio Theater! Thank you for a flawless show. One of the best we have seen in the past few years. It ranks up there with Harvey and Into the Woods as a favorite of mine. Every single character was well done. I can't even pick a favorite-- you were all great!