Marietta playhouse creates new troupe
by Rachel Miller
August 17, 2013 11:35 PM | 3969 views | 5 5 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Young Actors Playhouse, formerly the Theatre in the Square, will present ‘You Can't Take It With You’ as its first production by the newly formed Marietta Players troupe. Cast members act out their favorite quirks for the characters they are tasked with creating.<br>Staff/Rachel Miller
Young Actors Playhouse, formerly the Theatre in the Square, will present ‘You Can't Take It With You’ as its first production by the newly formed Marietta Players troupe. Cast members act out their favorite quirks for the characters they are tasked with creating.
Staff/Rachel Miller
slideshow
Actresses with the Young Actors Playhouse rehearse ‘Goldilocks and the Curse of the Porridge.’ From left, Kate Varner plays the black sheep, Jenna Rohrbach is Goldilocks and Marissa Celantano performs as Red Riding Hood.<br>Staff/Rachel Miller
Actresses with the Young Actors Playhouse rehearse ‘Goldilocks and the Curse of the Porridge.’ From left, Kate Varner plays the black sheep, Jenna Rohrbach is Goldilocks and Marissa Celantano performs as Red Riding Hood.
Staff/Rachel Miller
slideshow
MARIETTA — The artistic director of the Square’s youngest playhouse said their success has led the theater to create a troupe of more seasoned actors.

Don Goodner, who opened the Young Actors Playhouse at the Theatre in the Square in March, said their incredible growth will continue with a second company at the location called the Marietta Players.

After having difficulty finding a place that was a reliable spot to rehearse and perform, Goodner approached Councilman Philip Goldstein about renting the vacant theater at 11 Whitlock Ave. near the corner of Church Street, on a month-to-month basis.

The theater was sitting empty after the previous theater troupe decided to draw the final curtain on their history in the space due to lack of funding.

Goodner said the business side of the Young Actors Playhouse has been great, mostly due to their all-volunteer staff, including his wife Stacey, who runs the ticket office, their 15-year-old son Jacob, who works the concession stand and their 12-year-old daughter Jessica, who appears in many of the plays.

“We are real good at controlling cost,” Goodner said.

Goodner said having productions that almost exclusively feature children means there is a “built in audience of family and friends,” but that the packed house is also starting to get walk-ins who have no relationship to cast members.

Despite their success, city officials have seemed cautious in their support of the new company, Goodner said.

Their reservation, according to Goodner, could be to ensure the new theater group can stand on its own.

Act I

Young Actors Playhouse is not only seeing a boom at the box office, but it was recently nominated for six Metropolitan Atlanta Theatre Awards. The winners will be announced at ceremony Sept. 29 at the Roswell Cultural Arts Center.

The theater is also growing not just by audience numbers, but by the amount of talent making its way onto the stage.

“Young Actors Playhouse is the largest children’s theater organization in Georgia in terms of enrollment and number of productions we perform each year,” Goodner said.

Goodner writes most of the productions, including many musical numbers, which are a remix of classic fairy tales.

“They are very fun performances …and it is a chance for a family to do something together on a Saturday afternoon besides seeing a movie,” Goodner said.

Each production features child actors. Their next play, “Goldilocks and the Curse of the Porridge,” has a cast ranging in age from 4 to 14.

The casting process is more like workshops that introduce the play to the young actors and it allows Goodner to scope out the talent. The rehearsal period can be two months, with two or three meetings a week.

“It takes time for kids to get comfortable in a situation to see what kind of talent they have,” Goodner said.

He even writes a specific part or musical number for a young actor he thinks should be featured, and said it is not about finding one lead but many stand-out parts.

Each production typically has two casts. For Goldilocks there are 40 children total, but 20 kids at a time will alternate through eight performances.

Act II

Kids are about fun, which is why it can be hard to keep their attention, Goodner said. They do not have the “deep-seeded passion” of older actors.

That is why Theatre in the Square will now present plays by the newly formed Marietta Players, which will consist of adults from the community.

Their season will begin in September with “You Can’t Take It with You,” about a hectic family living in New York in 1937.

Beth Hale, who works at Chattahoochee Technical College and has been an actress for over 20 years, said being in this latest cast has allowed her to see life on the Square, which she claims is never empty.

She described the downtown area as “eclectic and an interesting place,” which might be the reason why there are two other stages just a couple of blocks away: The Earl Smith Strand Theatre at 117 North Park Square and The Alley Stage at 11 Anderson St.

Another actor in “You Can’t Take It With You,” Zac Phelps, 22, and who has acted since high school, is also in the professional production of “Footloose” at the Strand that opened this weekend.

Hale said she plans on cheering for Phelps at the competing venue.

Each Marietta company tries to present the best show in Cobb County in a supportive rivalry, Hale said.

But Hale said the Theatre in the Square is a prime venue that has elevated seats, which means there is not a bad seat in the house

“It’s intimate, but it’s not small,” Hale said.

Want to go?

* WHAT: ‘Goldilocks and the Curse of the Porridge’ by the Young Actors Playhouse

* WHEN: Saturday afternoons at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Oct. 19-Nov. 9

* COST: $7 for children, $10 for adults

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* WHAT: ‘You Can’t Take It With You’ by the Marietta Players

* WHEN: Wednesday to Saturday at 8 p.m., Sunday at 3 p.m. Sept. 12-28

* COST: $18 for children and seniors, $22 for adults

Comments
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Moysh
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August 21, 2013
There is even one more stage only a couple of blocks away. The Polk Street Players have been performing shows for over 30 years at the Stellar Cellar Theatre. They opened a new show this past weekend that will also be running for the next two weekends. Plenty to see, hear and do around the Marietta Square.
Lee B
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August 18, 2013
I saw To Kill A Mockingbird there and it was excellent! I highly suggest checking them out! You're supporting local art and local business but also introducing yourself and your family to entertainment that doesn't need lots of violence and gore or explosions every 5 minutes to keep you entertained.

Can't wait to come back!
anonymous
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August 18, 2013
Please don't use the name Theatre in the Square. This theatre is not Theatre in the Square. That theatre closed in March, 2012. This new theatre/troupe just happens to be in the original building. Get your facts straight.
anonymouslier
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August 19, 2013
For the matter, the Strand shouldn't use the name "The Strand." That theatre closed decades ago! And the Alley Stage shouldn't use the name Alley Stage either, because that's what it was called when Theatre in the Square ran it.
Agreed
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August 20, 2013
Thank you for your comment. Theatre in the Square, sadly, is GONE. The building remains...but Theatre in the Square was an organization of wonderful people and artists. I grow weary of hearing people refer to the new company as Theatre in the Square. I wish the new troupe the very, very best, and hope they can succeed. but they are not in any way associated with what once was a great theatre. It would probably help if Mr. Goldstein would take down the signs, but I suspect he has no intention of doing so. support the new group, wish them the best..but please don't call them "Theatre in the Square".
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