Friday, February 24, 2017

A Kid Like Jake

This play isn't about Jake. You never actually see the kid. It's about emotional turmoil, love and concern for one's child, and parents wanting to do what's best for a child who's "different". Seriously, how do parents get their four-year old into the best private school when he likes Cinderella more than G.I. Joe?

This is the final weekend for A Kid Like Jake, its Southeastern debut, and I highly recommend seeing it. But know will leave your heart torn and touched. If you see a play this weekend, head to Out Front Theatre...THIS is a must-see play!

A Kid Like Jake | Out Front Theatre | Photo: Brian Wallenberg
A Kid Like Jake | Out Front Theatre | Photo: Brian Wallenberg
See this show...! Written by Daniel Pearle, A Kid Like Jake debuted at Lincoln Center in New York City in 2013 to rave reviews.

The first few scenes are steeped in character development and concerted setting the scene. Then all of a sudden the stage explodes...with drama!

Alex, Jake's mom (Lauren Megan McCarthy), is in conflict. Does she highlight Jake's being different to the area's top schools, not knowing if his love affair with Disney is only a phase, or does she hide it. She wants the best of the best for her son. 

Greg, Jake's dad (Justin Dilley) and a psychiatrist, is less conflicted with what to do about Jake and more concerned about how Alex's actions are affecting his wife. Words are exchanged that stress their least temporarily.

A Kid Like Jake | Out Front Theatre | Photo: Brian Wallenberg
A Kid Like Jake | Out Front Theatre | Photo: Brian Wallenberg

See this show...! Part of Out Front's inaugural season, and only its second play, A Kid Like Jake is Directed by Paul Conroy, who is also the founder and artistic producing director of Out Front Theatre, as well as an entrepreneur I wish great success. 

I didn't go to private school, but I have many friends who did and many friends who have kids that are in private school, so I have in fact witnessed first hand how stressful certain decisions can be. The competition is fierce and that competition is what fuels the primary story line of A Kid Like Jake.

Judy (Lisa Boyd), who is Alex and Greg's private school "placement counselor", is a character that you want to like, but from time to time you're not sure if she's giving Alex and Greg the best advice or only what she thinks they want to hear. In the end, she turns out to be yet another character who wants to do—what she thinks is—the best thing for Jake.

There's certainly no shortage of controversial topics in this exploration of emotional struggle. Personally, I liked the character Judy the most. Not only because Lisa's acting is superb, but because the character is steely, trying to do "the right thing", and unforgiving in what she feels is right...often all admirable qualities, but that will be up to you in this particular story.

A Kid Like Jake | Out Front Theatre | Photo: Brian Wallenberg
A Kid Like Jake | Out Front Theatre | Photo: Brian Wallenberg

See this show...! Much of the cast is relatively new to Atlanta, but I believe each has a promising acting career here. I'd like to offer a personal "Congratulations!" to Paul and others for tackling such a sensitive, rarely discussed topic.

In a particularly tender scene, grown-up Jake (remember, we never see the 4-year old) appears in a dream to his mother Alex when he's dressed as Snow White—the personification of young Jake's fascination with Disney princesses. 

What do Jake's loving parents do. See the show to find out!

Small world story: I didn't know until I saw the show that my friend Michael did the set design for A Kid Like Jake! I knew that he has a love for theatre and stuied theatre in college, but didn't know he had contributed to this show. 

Even before I realized that Michael was the Set Designer, I'd already made mental notes to mention how awesome the set is. The stage at Out Front is huge! For this play, instead of having set changes between scenes, there are five vignettes on stage where various scenes are acted out. None distract from the other...the flow is seamless and each vignette is exacting for its specific scene. I particularly liked the vignette of Judy's office. 

I saw Out Front's inaugural play, Priscilla, Queen of the Dessert, starring Robert Ray of Broadway fame (and Atlanta fame, too), and loved it. A Kid Like Jake is the second of three plays in Out Front's first season. Keep an eye on their website and Facebook page for the announcement on Wednesday, March 8th of the FOUR plays in their second season...I hear it's going to be exciting!

The final show in Out Front's inaugural season opens Thursday, April 27. Written by Paul Rudnick, The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told promises to be a...fabulous show! You can get tickets now!

A Kid Like Jake is running through this Sunday, February 26 and the theatre is located in West Midtown, where there are many fantastic restaurants to enjoy pre- or post-theatre dinner!

About Out Front Theatre

Out Front Theatre Company was established to tell stories of the LGBTQIA (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intergender, Allied) experience and community, giving voice to LGBTQIA authors, composers, artists, and creators through the medium of theatre and the performing arts. Out Front plans to develop new works and produce classic pieces of theatre that have communicated these stories of the LGBTQIA population to a wider audience over time.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I recommend a link to the theatre so people can program GPS.