Natascia Diaz and Andrea Goss in the 2013 production of Zorro. Photo by Greg Mooney.

Reiser Atlanta Artists Lab

In 2013, the Alliance Theatre launched the Reiser Atlanta Artists Lab to support and provide opportunities to artists of multiple theatre disciplines looking for a producing home for undeveloped work. Each year, the Alliance extends an open call for Atlanta artists to submit their projects for consideration. Three projects are chosen by a panel of judges representing local and national artists of varying disciplines.  Each project receives $10,000 to use toward further exploration and development, as well as access to the Alliance’s artistic, educational and production staffs, and rehearsal spaces. In its inaugural year the Alliance received 68 applications, representing 204 individual artists. 

It is the goal of the Reiser Atlanta Artists Lab to celebrate the breadth and vision of Atlanta-based artists, to encourage collaboration among Atlanta’s artistic community, and to seed projects that will be produced here in Atlanta. The outpouring of applications for inclusion in the inaugural year of the program shows the vibrancy of the artistic community living in Atlanta and the need for further support of local art.

Artists Lab

May 15, 2017

Two performances:
» Monday, May 15 at 2:30 p.m.
» Monday, May 15 at 8:00 p.m.

A young gospel singer goes from the music of praise to the music that pays. Jeremiah leaves to go on tour with a popular boy-band for just a few months, yet several years fly by before he returns to his small southern town and the people who love him. Disillusioned by celebrity, he goes to the place where everything is familiar; except that nothing is. A Cappella follows Jeremiah’s struggle to find his own voice. The new musical melds together two popular art forms: Musical Theatre and A Cappella. As one reviewer wrote, the music in A Cappella is “proud, big, soulful, joyous, organic, and unafraid.” The show won several awards including the Steele Spring Publishing Award at the prestigious New York Musical Festival, where it was originally produced by Greg Cooper in 2015. Still, playwright Vynnie Meli felt the show, with music by the globally acclaimed Acappella Company, needed tightening. Meli reached out to Atlanta director Justin Anderson, musical theater powerhouse Naima Carter Russell, and playwright and dramaturg Henry Kimmel. The Reiser Lab is giving them the time, resources and platform needed for further development and to take A Cappella to the next level.

Lead artist: Vynnie Meli (playwright)
Artistic team: Justin Anderson (director), Naima Carter Russell (actor), Henry W. Kimmel (dramaturg), Acappella Company (music)

» More event and reservation information
May 15, 2017

Idi Amin, America and a Bar of Soap is a solo show inspired by the life of Derreck Kayongo, the CEO of the National Center for Civil and Human Rights. Written by Patricia Henritze and directed by Matt Huff, the play follows Derreck from his childhood in Uganda under Idi Amin’s brutal regime, through his experiences in Kenya as a refugee, and finally into the U.S. as an immigrant and ultimately a citizen. In 2011 Derreck was chosen as a CNN Hero for founding the Global Soap project. This non-profit international aid organization recycles discarded soap from hotels and distributes newly processed soap to fight hygiene-related diseases, which is the #1 killer of children in vulnerable populations around the world. While Derreck has an amazing story to tell, this is not a documentary or motivational speech. Derreck’s journey is filled with humor and the play has something for everyone: dangerous escapes, spies, firing squads, betrayal, hope and redemption. From refugee to CEO, Derreck has learned how to survive, always turning challenges into triumphs. Derreck performs the show with wit and enthusiasm, reminding us we all live in a world where one person can still make a difference

Lead artist: Patricia Henritze (playwright)
Artistic team: Matt Huff (director/collaborator), Derreck Kayongo (performer/collaborator)

» More event and reservation information
May 17, 2017

Two performances:
» Wednesday, May 17 at 2:30 p.m.
» Wednesday, May 17 at 8:00 p.m.

In the middle of the night, a woman bakes bread using her mother's illegible recipe. But something is different. Her kitchen becomes host to both present and past as drawers are emptied, mess is made, and the bread-baking process—the kneading, rising, punching down, shaping, and baking—becomes a journey of memory and discovery and the unpredictability of, well, just about everything. Will there at least be butter? Knead, Punch, Bake is a one-woman show with music, written and performed by Mary Lynn Owen.

Lead artist: Mary Lynn Owen (playwright/performer)
Artistic team: David de Vries (director), Kendall Simpson (composer/sound designer), Kat Conley (set designer), Rachel Parish (dramaturg)

» More event and reservation information

The Reiser Atlanta Artists Lab Round 3 selections are:

A Cappella—A musical about finding your own voice
By Lead Artist Vynnie Meli; directed by Justin Anderson and featuring Naima Carter Russell

Idi Amin, America, and a Bar of Soap
By Lead Artist Patricia Henritze; directed by Matt Huff and featuring Derrick Kayongo

Knead, Punch, Bake
By Lead Artist Mary Lynn Owen; directed by David de Vries with music by Kendall Simpson

Submit your project to the fourth year of the Reiser Atlanta Artists Lab by October 15, 2016.


To mark the end of the Alliance Stage as we know it, and to welcome the new era with the start of the big renovation, Pearl Cleage, our Mellon Playwright in Residence, wrote a piece to commemorate this special occasion.

As a spunky gal in touch with nature in the kingdom of Kashoogie, India S. Tyree portrays a unique Cinderella in the world-premiere production of Cinderella and Fella. In between performances, India took a few minutes to give us the inside scoop on her role in the musical.

A quick glance at Magic Negro director Anthony LeBlanc's resume reveals a robust string of achievements likely to be the envy of any comedian in the business. One particular credit to his name may cause others to take pause: a Computer Science and Physics B.S. degree.



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