Atlanta Arts and Culture Blog 

Previews, reviews and commentary on Atlanta's cultural scene

More on Atlanta Symphony leader’s resignation; petition launches; notes from musician lockout

  • 4:48 pm Tuesday, September 30th, 2014 by Howard Pousner

When the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra announced the surprise resignation Monday of its president and CEO Stanley Romanstein, he said in a statement that he did so out of concern that his leadership would be an “impediment” to reaching a collective bargaining agreement with ASO musicians.

But when ASO Players’ Association President Paul Murphy was asked if indeed Romanstein represented a roadblock to a new deal, his answer was, well, not exactly.

“Stanley was never empowered to negotiate an agreement with the Musicians of the ASO; neither this negotiation nor in 2012,” Murphy said in an email to the AJC on Tuesday.

Murphy [More]

Annie Potts drops out of Alliance Theatre’s ‘Steel Magnolias’ cast

  • 12:22 pm Tuesday, September 30th, 2014 by Yvonne Zusel

It was a “Designing Women” reunion that wasn’t meant to be — Annie Potts, who played Mary Jo Shively on the much-loved sitcom, has withdrawn from the cast of the Alliance Theatre‘s production of “Steel Magnolias.” The show is being directed by her “Women” co-star Judith Ivey, who played B.J. Poteet, and also features “Girls” actress Becky Ann Baker, “The Wire” actress Deirdre Lovejoy and stage actresses Sarah Stiles and Zoe Winters.

Potts, who was set to play the role of matriarch M’Lynn, dropped out of the cast due to health considerations following knee surgery, according to a press release [More]

Kenny Leon will return to Broadway for revival of ‘Children of a Lesser God’

  • 7:00 am Tuesday, September 30th, 2014 by Melissa Ruggieri
Kenny Leon attended The 2014 American Theatre Wing Gala Honoring Dame Angela Landsbury on Sept. 15 in New York. Photo: Getty Images

Kenny Leon will return to Broadway for the 2015-16 season to direct a revival of “Children of a Lesser God.”

The drama about a relationship between a deaf woman and a teacher at a school for the deaf was written by Mark Medoff and first landed on Broadway in 1980. It ran for more than two years and scored Tony Awards for best play, as well as best actor in a play for John Rubinstein and best actress in a play for the groundbreaking performing from Phyllis Frelich, a deaf actress on whom the story was loosely based.

“Children” was turned into [More]

Updated: Atlanta Symphony CEO Romanstein resigns; retired Coke exec to serve as interim leader

  • 2:32 pm Monday, September 29th, 2014 by Howard Pousner
Stanley Romanstein, shown in 2010 when he joined the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, tendered his resignation as president and CEO on Monday.

With the lockout of its musicians now in its fourth week, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra made a surprise announcement Monday afternoon that its president and CEO Stanley Romanstein has resigned.

“I believe that my continued leadership of the ASO would be an impediment to our reaching a new labor agreement with the ASO’s musicians,” Romanstein said in a statement released by the orchestra administration.

The lockout is the second in two years of ASO musicians, and much of their aggrievement during tense collective bargaining agreement negotiations in 2012 — and over eight months of unsuccessful talks this year — has [More]

Two sides in Atlanta Symphony dispute dispute whether they’re heading into arbitration

  • 12:40 am Sunday, September 28th, 2014 by Howard Pousner
Musicians cross Peachtree Street on their way to a silent protest Thursday evening September 25, 2014 over the musician lockout. Musicians silently gathered in Callaway Plaza at the Woodruff Arts Center as supporters applauded.  BEN GRAY / BGRAY@AJC.COM

The two sides in the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra labor dispute haven’t been able to agree on much as the musician lockout enters its fourth week. But the crossed signals reached a new level of confusion on Saturday night when the administration and players released contradictory statements about their acceptance — or lack thereof — of the help of a federal mediator to restart stalled negotiations.

Early Saturday evening, an Atlanta Symphony Orchestra spokesperson emailed media a release that said that management and the ASO Players’ Association have agreed to resume collective bargaining agreement discussions using federal mediator Allison Beck. The [More]

Lasso family fun at Cathy’s ranch on Saturdays through Nov. 15

  • 1:34 pm Friday, September 26th, 2014 by Howard Pousner

One of the late S. Truett Cathy’s favorite getaway places, the Rock Ranch near Barnesville, about an hour south of downtown Atlanta, will be open to the public for a series of themed Fall Family Fun Days on Saturdays starting this weekend.

The 1,500-acre cattle ranch that the Chick-fil-A founder purchased in 1989 offers a variety of agritourism and just plain tourism activities, including a corn maze (this year’s celebrates “The Wizard of Oz” on its 75th anniversary), a train, zip lines, cane pole fishing, pony rides, a pumpkin cannon, hay rides and live bands.

10 a.m.-8 p.m. Saturdays through Nov. 15. [More]

Atlanta Symphony musicians protest on what would have been opening night.

  • 12:26 am Friday, September 26th, 2014 by Howard Pousner

The musicians of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra were wearing black, which would have been appropriate for Thursday night’s scheduled opening concert of its 70th anniversary season.

But the concert was cancelled earlier this week, another development in a whirlwind three-week lockout of the players by management of the orchestra and its parent nonprofit, the Woodruff Arts Center, that went into effect after the two sides failed to reach an accord on a new collective bargaining agreement.

Instead, the musicians donned their tuxes and gowns for a wordless demonstration that they dubbed “A Deafening Silence” on Callaway Plaza, outside the 15th Street entrance [More]

14 composers issue statement in support of Atlanta Symphony musicians

  • 5:39 pm Thursday, September 25th, 2014 by Howard Pousner
ASO music director Robert Spano (center) with composers  Michael Gandolfi (from left), Adam Schoenberg, Christopher Theofanidis and Jennifer Higdon.

Some of the top composers of contemporary music, including John Adams, John Corigliano and Richard Prior, have issued a statement in support of the locked-out musicians of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra.

“We unanimously encourage those involved in its management, board and funders to do whatever necessary to keep this great orchestra vital and thriving,” the 14 composers wrote. “The ASO must not be allowed to degrade, piecemeal, into a second-class entity.”

Their letter was issued on Thursday, on what was to have been the opening night of the ASO’s 70th anniversary season.

ASO and Woodruff Arts Center management locked out musicians for [More]

ASO musicians plan ‘Deafening Silence’ observance tonight, KSU concerts Friday

  • 1:35 pm Thursday, September 25th, 2014 by Howard Pousner

On what was to have been the opening night of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra’s 70th anniversary season, locked-out ASO musicians and their supporters are planning “A Deafening Silence,” a silent observance, at 7:30 p.m. Thursday across Peachtree Street from the Woodruff Arts Center in Midtown.

The musicians will, however, be back to music-making on Friday, when they independently perform two free concerts at Kennesaw State University.

Speaking of “A Deafening Silence,” Daniel Laufer, an ASO cellist and ASO Players Association negotiating committee member, said, “There will not be any speeches or music during the actual event.  “We expect ASO musicians, the ASO Chorus [More]

Updated: ASO music director Spano: Atlanta ‘in danger of losing the flagship of its culture’

  • 7:15 am Wednesday, September 24th, 2014 by Howard Pousner

But as the lockout moves through its third week, it’s becoming loud and clear that the disagreement isn’t merely over pay and benefits but the future of the ASO.

Management’s final offer before the lockout was for a four-year deal with a modest raise that Players’ Association leaders said would be negated by health coverage cost increases. Who controls the size of the orchestra, however, may prove a thornier issue.

ASO president and CEO Stanley Romanstein wants final say on filling openings, after consultation with Spano and Players’ Association representatives. The players say they don’t trust him with that power.

A recent public [More]