Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Sex With Strangers is soooo HOT!

Yes, yes, you can have sex with strangers in lots of places, but Sex With Strangers at Horizon Theatre is incredibly hot! Especially with Megan and Michael steaming up the stage. 

Sex With Strangers, Horizon Theatre Company, Olivia (Megan Hayes) and Ethan (Michael Shenefelt), Photo: Bradley Hester
Sex With Strangers | Horizon Theatre Company
Ethan (Michael Shenefelt) and Olivia (Megan Hayes) | Photo: Bradley Hester

This is the Atlanta premiere of Sex With Strangers, an engaging play created by House of Cards writer Laura Eason. Its title actually comes from bad boy blogger Ethan (Michael Shenefelt) who is famous for his blog-turned-New-York-Times-best-seller book "Sex With Strangers" and his second book, also a New York Times best-seller, "More Sex With Strangers".

Don't worry...you won't be disappointed. Yes, it's peripherally about a blog, but there's sex, too. Not "actual" sex, but if you haven't figured it out yet, this play "contains mature language and situations", just for the record. Not surprisingly, it's one of the most produced plays in America for the 2015-2016 theatre season! Thank you, Horizon Theatre, for bringing it to Atlanta!

Sex With Strangers | Horizon Theatre Company
Ethan (Michael Shenefelt) and Olivia (Megan Hayes) | Photo: Bradley Hester

Olivia (Megan Hayes) is a brilliant writer, idolized by Ethan, but an unknown entity to cyberspace, and social media is light years from being on her radar. 

When Ethan appears, at a mutual friend's snowed-in cabin, Olivia is at first riddled with trepidation about the stranger who has arrived to stay the night at the writers getaway—and food and wine come into play almost immediately. Fascinated with Ethan's Internet popularity—which he can't prove because the Internet is down at the cabin—and his flirtations, garments begin to fall away.

Sex With Strangers | Horizon Theatre Company
Ethan (Michael Shenefelt) and Olivia (Megan Hayes) | Photo: Bradley Hester

From the sensuous beginning (who am I kidding...it's sensuous throughout) to the raised eyebrow, life-is-short mischievous curled lips at the climax, this play is a story that sets the stage with fame, cyber identity and huge ambition, begging the question, "What would you do, and who would you become, to get what you want?"

As a blogger and want-to-be writer, I totally identify with Ethan. As someone who has a glimmer of talent and wishes more people would notice, I totally identify with Olivia. Both of these characters speak to me, as a person with ambition and as someone who loves to write. As far as the steamy parts go, no admissions here, but...

Sex With Strangers | Horizon Theatre Company
Olivia (Megan Hayes) and Ethan (Michael Shenefelt) | Photo: Bradley Hester

"Cyber vs. real identity is at the core of the very contemporary story of love and ambition.  Expect a fiery emotional and intellectual ride in our intimate space with plenty of heat between these two talented, charismatic actors and Eason's crackling writing," says Co-Artistic Director Lisa Adler.

I absolutely love Lisa's in-person introductions to new plays at Horizon Theatre. She does so fearlessly, without seeking sensationalism, but with gusto and gumption. You have to love a woman with gumption...and a woman who courageously brings so much spectacular contemporary theatre to Atlanta!  

Sex With Strangers, Horizon Theatre Company, Ethan (Michael Shenefelt) and Olivia (Megan Hayes), Photo: Bradley Hester
Sex With Strangers | Horizon Theatre Company
Ethan (Michael Shenefelt) and Olivia (Megan Hayes) | Photo: Bradley Hester

I love the Horizon Theatre tradition of getting to meet and greet and make photos with the cast after performances. On Opening Night, after Megan and Michael had a chance to freshen up, we got to meet them at the Opening Night Reception, just down the street.

I immediately fell in love with Megan. She's totally engaging and incredibly sweet...and wait until you see her resume! Among her many, many accomplishments, she was in one of the Hunger Games movies. Her range is beyond impressive. I just wish she lived here! "Thank you, Megan!" for coming back to Atlanta to bring us Sex With Strangers.

Michael, too, is engaging and quite charming. On my way out of the Opening Night reception, I interrupted (trying to do so politely) his table conversation to share with him how much I enjoyed the performance, and to let him know that I also am a blogger (knowing that he's not, but his character is) and he was genuinely interested. I can't tell when actors are acting, but "Thank you, Michael!" for taking an interest...and thank you for your Horizon debut performance—you are magnificent! 

I briefly chatted with Megan and Michael after seeing the play a second time and they were just as charming and delightful as they were the first time. If I see them listed in the cast of anything else in town, I'll be there!  

El Bandido Mex Mex Grill | $5 Off Coupon
El Bandido Mex Mex Grill | $5 Off Coupon

When I found out that El Bandido Mex Mex Grill would be hosting the Opening Night reception, I was so excited! I started dining there about a week after the restaurant opened and have since been...oh, approximately 10 times, or more! It's that good! The food is consistently delicious, the service is consistently remarkable (Xavier, Christian, Chilango...all awesome!), and the atmosphere is festive. Clip the above coupon and give them a try!

Date Night? Sure! Girls Night Out? Sure! For a hot, steamy evening on the town? Absolutely! Do not miss this show...go see Sex With Strangers at Horizon Theatre by Sunday, May 1, 2016.

Be sure to subscribe to Horizon Theatre's social media channels (Facebook and Twitter) to be sure you don't miss a single event! Of course, a subscription is best way to ensure you hear about and see everything!

Coming up at Horizon...

The City of Conversation, May 20 - June 26: Being a former resident of our nation's capital, this D.C. politics-centric comedy promises to be as hilarious and entertaining as this year's presidential debates! 

The Toxic Avenger, June 9-12: That's right! Toxie, Sarah and the Mayor of Tromaville (who I saw FOUR times earlier this year) are back for a three-day run in Piedmont Park. General Admission will be free, the reserved section (near the stage) is only $15, and tables will be available for $30.

'Da Kink in My Hair, July 15 - August 28: Set in a salon where women are getting their hair done for dates, jobs and upkeep, there's more than hairdos going on here!

Freed Spirits, September 23 - October 30: Just in time for Halloween, this world-premiere mystery-comedy is set in Atlanta's own stunning Historic Oakland Cemetery (performed on stage at Horizon).

There you go...a whole season of magnificent theatre! 

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