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Macon theater groups’ special performances show how ambitious local stage has become

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Here is a list of events happening the weekend of June 14, 2019 in Middle Georgia.
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Here is a list of events happening the weekend of June 14, 2019 in Middle Georgia.

There’s something new afoot beyond the footlights for both of Macon’s premier community theater groups this weekend.

Macon Little Theatre presents a Macon Little Kids Theatre production of Disney’s “Frozen Jr.,” one of the first times it’s been performed anywhere, and Theatre Macon opens not only a new show but its new Stage 2 Series as well.

“ ’Frozen Jr.’ just became available for groups to do and I was online within two minutes of it coming available to contract it as part of our annual summer camp,” said Sylvia Haynie, MLT artistic manager and one of the directors of “Frozen Jr.” along with musical director Laura Voss.

“We always try to do something that’s relevant that the kids and audiences really like and kids and audiences certainly do like ‘Frozen.’ ”

Haynie said “Frozen Jr.” is a slightly scaled-down version of the Broadway adaptation of Disney’s immensely popular animated movie “Frozen.” She said where the movie had just over a dozen songs, the Broadway musical has about 20. “Frozen Jr.” has all the Broadway songs, she said, but shortened versions keyed to kids’ ranges.

Haynie said the group’s production is one of the first in the country and to her knowledge the first in Georgia. She said they could stage the show quickly due to its two-week summer camp, now in its 15th year.

The camp and production are in partnership with the Academy of the Performing Arts.

For Theatre Macon, the new Stage 2 Series is apart from the company’s primary subscription series and brings four added Theatre Macon-produced shows to town, ones that allow for expanded expression and experimentation.

“The series is a new platform involving community directors other than myself who submit ideas and stage and direct shows,” said Richard Frazier, artistic director at TM. “It gives the chance to expand what we present and who presents it while keeping the same quality expected from Theatre Macon. We can showcase things we wouldn’t normally do as part of our subscription series and let new directors, writers and other artists take the lead. ‘Sylvia’ is the first and will be followed through the year by ‘The Dining Room,’ ‘The Last Five Years’ and ‘Love, Loss, and What I Wore.’”

Frazier said Stage 2 Series productions allow for things like smaller cast sizes, letting directors and actors follow their own interests and even pursue presentations that aren’t strictly “plays,” such as dramatic readings and even comedy nights.

“We’re starting it,” he said. “We’ll see how it evolves in the years ahead.”

Frazier said “Sylvia” is a good example of the intent of Stage 2 with its cast of just four people — and one of them in the title role as a dog. It’s directed by Erin Ferrell who submitted the work. Ferrell is part of the TM family as a previous actor and director.

“’Sylvia’ is hilarious,” Frazier said. “There’s some adult language, which makes it more of a Stage 2 piece plus just the fact we’re staging it at Tattnall Square Center for the Arts makes it different for us. There’s only one production now that will be at Tattnall but doing it there let us have four versus three Stage 2 shows this year. Because it’s the Stage 2 Series, we could easily do that.”

Contact Michael W. Pannell at mwpannell@gmail.com.

“Sylvia”

Where: Theatre Macon/Tattnall Square Center for the Arts, 1096 College St.

When: 8 p.m. June 14-15, 21-22; 2:30 p.m, June 16, 23

Cost: $15

Information: www.theatremacon.com/stage2series

“Frozen Jr.”

Where: Macon Little Theatre/Macon Little Kids Theatre, 4220 Forsyth Road

When: 7:30 p.m. June 14-15; 2:30 p.m. June 16

Cost: $12, $5 children 15 and younger

Information: www.maconlittletheatre.org

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