12/31/2021     The Buzz Looks Back on 2021

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For the past {Mumble Mumble} years, I have spent New Year’s Eve recapping the year in Atlanta Theatre.  It is with not a little dread that I anticipate that task for this year.  But traditions are traditions, so, for the sake of Auld Lang Syne, let’s dive into the mixed bag of tricks and treats that defined theatre in 2021.

 

The year started out much like 2020, with pandemic-forced closings driving theatre production into Zoom and other video formats.  The good news is that stages eventually began to reopen, albeit with many safety restrictions.  But theatre was live again!  Unfortunately, the December rise of the Omicron variant forced some premature closings and some 2022 delays.

 

So, for most of the year, local theatre was experienced through a computer screen, with a lot of outstanding work blossoming under those restrictions.  Technical skills abounded, and local venues began to get very good at remotely staging quality productions.

 

The bottom line is that I saw far fewer plays than in any year since I started this task, and, as such, this recap will be depressingly brief.

I liked Theatrical Outfit’s Memorial Day, The Catastrophist, A Hundred Words for Snow, Fires in the Mirror, and Raising the Dead (which was also staged in a live version by this year’s Essential Play Festival).   Also memorable was The Arsonists from Agnes Scott College, The Mother of God Visits Hell from Merely Players, and Nine from the Jennie T. Anderson Concert Series.

 

The Anderson Concert series later came through with some outstanding live performances, particularly Sunday in the Park With George (brilliantly staged by Heidi Cline McKerley) and Chess.

 

Other Live Shows I enjoyed this year were Into the Woods at City Springs, An Iliad at Theatrical Outfit, Hometown Boy at Actor's Express, Darling Cory at the Alliance, Ain’t Misbehavin’ at Georgia Ensemble, The Bluest Eye at Synchronicity, and tick, tick ...Boom! at Act 3 Productions.

 

Once the theatres came back to life, I stopped promoting National/International streams, but the year did see a lot of memorable Videos – Apple TV+’s Come From Away, Hulu’s In & Of Itself, The Wolves from Lincoln Center Archives, Wilde Salomé / Salomé  and  London’s [title of show] and First Date from BroadwayHD.

 

This year also saw some very good stage-to-film adaptations, most recently West Side Story and tick tick...Boom!, but also, Oslo and In the Heights.

 

Here’s to the promise of 2022!  May we stay safe, healthy, and, if at all possible, sane!

 

     -- Brad Rudy (BK Rudy@aol.com    @bk_rudy   #2021InReview)

 

For a deeper dive, here are links to the reviews of the shows I cited.  To get back to this page, go to “2021 Reviews” and click on the title of this essay.

 

Memorial Day

The Catastrophist

A Hundred Words for Snow

Fires in the Mirror

Raising the Dead

The Arsonists

The Mother of God Visits Hell

Nine

Sunday in the Park With George

Chess

Into the Woods

An Iliad

Hometown Boy

Darling Cory

Ain’t Misbehavin’

The Bluest Eye

 tick, tick ...Boom! (Act 3 Productions)

Come From Away

In & Of Itself

The Wolves

Wilde Salomé / Salomé  

 [title of show]

First Date

West Side Story

 tick tick...Boom  (Movie)

Oslo

In the Heights