Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Top 10 Atlanta Restaurants "By the Numbers" - Bar Margot at Four Seasons

This month Nikki and I visited Bar Margot at Four Seasons, my second visit and Nikki's first! A magical dining experience, evidenced by our three-hour stay!

Welcome back to our Top 10 Atlanta Restaurants "By the Numbers", a monthly series by wanderlust ATLANTA and super-popular food Instagramer atlantafoodie! Our fourth stop on this 10-restaurant tour was Bar Margot at Four Seasons, on April 4th (See what we did there?), a place I hope more Atlantans will make a more frequent special occasion destination, and that visitors to Atlanta will treat themselves to.

What we believe is a unique spin on 'Top 10' lists, we're not counting down, but instead we're showcasing some of Atlanta's restaurants with numbers in their names! Some we've been to before and others will be a first-time experience. We're going to make all of them FUN!


Top 10 Atlanta Restaurants "By the Numbers" | Bar Margot at The Four Seasons | Photo: @atlantafoodie
Top 10 Atlanta Restaurants "By the Numbers"
Bar Margot at Four Seasons | Photo: @atlantafoodie

Nikki jokes that she's not the greatest driver, but somehow manages to beat me to nearly every destination when we're driving separately. I used to think I was traffic savvy, but now I wonder. We usually meet at the bar when we're on one of our "By the Numbers" outings, as we did this time.


Being a gin-girl, Nikki started with the Gin Margot, composed of Plymouth gin, lime cordial, amontillado sherry, tonic and Thai basil. She liked it! 

We'd arrived early so we enjoyed our time at the bar, delightfully entertained by the bartenders, our drinks, people watching, and stimulating conversation.

I love that Nikki and I seamlessly navigate morphing conversation topics. We go from cuisine to pop culture to philosophy to travel and back to cuisine in a most eloquent colloquy, of course filled with lots of laughs.   


Top 10 Atlanta Restaurants "By the Numbers" | Bar Margot at The Four Seasons | Photo: @atlantafoodie
Top 10 Atlanta Restaurants "By the Numbers"
Bar Margot at Four Seasons | Photo: @atlantafoodie


The complimentary bar snacks are fantastic! The bread flats and mixed nuts are crowned by the OMG-this-is-so-good beer cheese, featuring Samuel Adams cheese and cream cheese.

Since we had made great time getting to the restaurant, we enjoyed a leisurely stay at the bar, grateful for such delicious bar snacks, as well as the precision performance by the lady bartender who waited on us that evening. She makes Tom Cruise in Cocktail look like an amateur!


Top 10 Atlanta Restaurants "By the Numbers" | Bar Margot at The Four Seasons | Photo: Travis S. Taylor
Top 10 Atlanta Restaurants "By the Numbers"
Bar Margot at Four Seasons | Photo: Travis S. Taylor

I'd read about Bar Margot's partnership with Absolute Elyx. During the month leading up to the recent Earth Day, every purchase of this specialty cocktail, coupled with a posting and particular hashtag, resulted in a donation of a week's worth of water for someone in need via Water for People. Quite admirable.

The Royal Antidote--awesome name, by the way--has Absolut Elyx vodka, benedictine, sparkling wine, and pomegranate caviar. It's also a handsome libation.

I've had a long-time fascination with molecular gastronomy and love the dining experiences I've had that incorporated it, which haven't been often enough. But, I'd never before had a cocktail that used molecular gastronomy....but I did this night! 

Caviar is one thing--and I've enjoyed some of the best when visiting Moscow--but "pomegranate caviar", I'd never had. Great fun!


Top 10 Atlanta Restaurants "By the Numbers" | Bar Margot at The Four Seasons | Photo: Travis S. Taylor
Top 10 Atlanta Restaurants "By the Numbers"
Bar Margot at Four Seasons | Photo: Travis S. Taylor

Nina, the Supervisor that evening and a wholly delightful person, treated us to an order of the Crab Toast, composed with avocado coulis, rooftop garden herbs and radish. 

I'd heard about this dish, but hadn't tried it before. I've never really been a crab fan, but "Wow!", this dish is amazing...surprisingly light and refreshing with delightful flavors. We totally see why it's so popular at Bar Margot. 


Top 10 Atlanta Restaurants "By the Numbers" | Bar Margot at The Four Seasons | Photo: @atlantafoodie
Top 10 Atlanta Restaurants "By the Numbers"
Bar Margot at Four Seasons | Photo: @atlantafoodie

We were seated at a booth situated in the center of the restaurant, the perfect vantage point to observe everything happening in the restaurant--when we weren't totally fixated on the next dish about to capture our full attention. Our server, Rafaet (I think that was his name) was polite, professional, fun, and meticulously attended to our every need and want. Impressive, memorable service. 

I enjoyed a lovely sauvignon blanc with dinner and Nikki further explored the House Cocktails menu. When she ordered the Lady Victoria--composed of Hangar One vodka, lemon, cocchi americano, and rosemary--Rafaet told us that it and the Gin Margot were the two most popular cocktails on the menu, and standards for quite some time. Nikki evidently has a sense about these things!


Top 10 Atlanta Restaurants "By the Numbers" | Bar Margot at The Four Seasons | Photo: @atlantafoodie
Top 10 Atlanta Restaurants "By the Numbers"
Bar Margot at Four Seasons | Photo: @atlantafoodie

Nikki and I both highly recommend indulging in the Tasting Board, your choice of three each from the Cheese and Charcuterie menus, served with traditional garnishes. Bar Margot takes "traditional garnishes" to a whole other bountiful level! 

Everything on the board was delicious, but the star of the board--Nikki and I agree--was the Brillat Savarin, a triple crème French cow's milk cheese. It's silky, creamy, buttery, absolutely delicious and is followed by a "Yum!" or "Mmmmm!" after every bite. I want to say it's like brie on steroids, but it's really in a class all its own.


Top 10 Atlanta Restaurants "By the Numbers" | Bar Margot at The Four Seasons | Photo: Travis S. Taylor
Top 10 Atlanta Restaurants "By the Numbers"
Bar Margot at Four Seasons | Photo: Travis S. Taylor

We were enjoying the Tasting Board as streams of sunset light etched their way across our table, so we took advantage of the opportunity to make a number of photos, as stealthily as possible, of course. 

We've enjoyed many conversations about photography lighting since starting "By the Numbers", as well as respective perspectives--you'll notice that the above photo is from the opposite side of the table from the one above it. 

I have a great time sorting through all the photos after a dining adventure--as does Nikki--reliving the dining experience. We both have histories in photography, but more on that another time. 


Top 10 Atlanta Restaurants "By the Numbers" | Bar Margot at The Four Seasons | Photo: @atlantafoodie
Top 10 Atlanta Restaurants "By the Numbers"
Bar Margot at Four Seasons | Photo: @atlantafoodie

While many restaurants have a "____ of the Day", Bar Margot offerings are so fresh that they're called a "____ of the Moment". Nikki enjoyed their Fish of the Moment, a branzino (we think...so sorry we didn't make notes this evening) in an amazing broth, mussels, and veggies topped with generous slices of grilled focaccia.

I mentioned earlier the rooftop garden greens. Bar Margot is a collaborative effort with Chef Ford Fry and Four Seasons Atlanta Executive Chef Robert Gerstenecker. Chef Robert, who I just found out is no longer with the restaurant, had maintained a chef's garden on the roof of the hotel from which he harvested greens for many of the restaurant's dishes, evidently a continuing practice. I love that!

I've never met Chef Ford Fry, but I have met Chef Robert on a number of occasions. He's an unassuming, pleasant and shyly charming person...and a magnificent chef! I've enjoyed his food at industry events, as well as at Park 75, the restaurant--across the atrium--at Four Seasons Atlanta.

I don't know who the new executive chef is, or will be, but General Manager Yvette Thomas-Henry says, "Four Seasons Hotel Atlanta is going through an evolution as we selectively align ourselves with people and brands that share our commitment to luxury, service and the local community." I can attest that they're on the right track!


Top 10 Atlanta Restaurants "By the Numbers" | Bar Margot at The Four Seasons | Photo: Travis S. Taylor
Top 10 Atlanta Restaurants "By the Numbers"
Bar Margot at Four Seasons | Photo: Travis S. Taylor

I had the Spicy Scallop Sugo, composed with scallions and toasted sesame. The flavors tickle the entirety of the tongue! 

Did you learn the "tongue map" when you were a kid? Have you unlearned that bogus myth? Great! Then you know when I say "entirety of the tongue" you know that its deliciousness fills your mouth, with the perfect amount of "kick"...a wholly amazing taste experience! 


Top 10 Atlanta Restaurants "By the Numbers" | Bar Margot at The Four Seasons | Photo: Travis S. Taylor
Top 10 Atlanta Restaurants "By the Numbers"
Bar Margot at Four Seasons | Photo: Travis S. Taylor

Your wonderful experience at Bar Margot begins as soon as you pull up to the valet stand and increases as you ascend the broad grand staircase to Bar Margot. It's truly a special experience. 

Bar Margot at Four Seasons is situated in the heart of Atlanta's Arts District. A few of the nearby experiences include the High Museum of Art, Alliance Theatre, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Museum of Design Atlanta, Rhodes Hall, Atlanta Botanical Garden, and Piedmont Park.

THINGS TO KNOW before going to Bar Margot at Four Seasons:
  • A popular Internet search for Bar Margot is "Bar Margot dress code". I don't see a published dress code, but this is the Four Seasons, so I recommend resort, business or upscale casual attire. Just dress nice and then relax into your visit.
  • Bar Margot will validate your valet ticket...so, what would have been $22 for parking is only $2. That's a sweet deal!
  • Excellent for special occasions or just treating yourself!
  • Bar Margot is in the heart of Midtown, close to a plethora of pre- or post-dining entertainment options.
  • Bar Margot's "Late Nite" menu is as amazing as their lunch and dinner menus.
OF NOTE: Bar Margot's former award-winning mixologist, Joe Haywood, was so amazing--I'd read about him and had the pleasure of meeting him during a prior Bar Margot visit--is overseeing all bar operations, cocktail programs and events revolving around One-Ninety, the lobby bar at Four Seasons Hotel Singapore! The bartenders on our visit were amazing, too. Four Seasons obviously only engages superior cocktail talent.

Here's our planned Top 10 Atlanta Restaurants "By the Numbers", one per month in 2017:

ONE midtown kitchen
599 Dutch Valley Road, NE, Atlanta, GA 30324

TWO urban licks
820 Ralph McGill Boulevard, NE, Atlanta, GA 30306

Local Three Kitchen & Bar
3290 Northside Parkway, NW, Atlanta, GA 30327

Bar Margot at Four Seasons
75 14th Street, NE, Atlanta, GA 30309

5Church Atlanta
1197 Peachtree Street, NE, Atlanta, GA 30361

Six Feet Under
437 Memorial Drive, SE, Atlanta, GA 30312

Seven Lamps
3400 Around Lenox Road, NE, Atlanta, GA 30326

8ARM
710 Ponce de Leon Avenue, NE, Atlanta, GA 30306

Nine Mile Station
675 Ponce de Leon Avenue, NE, Atlanta, GA 30308

10th & Piedmont
991 Piedmont Avenue, NE, Atlanta, GA 30309

Disclaimer: If you live in Atlanta or visit on a regular basis, you know how quickly the Atlanta restaurant scene can change. Our lineup is subject to change based on the Atlanta restaurant landscape over the first 10 months of 2017. Also, all opinions are our own and not at all influenced by the restaurant owners, staff or PR firms, whether we treated ourselves or were hosted by the said restaurant.

If you're enjoying this series, please follow:

atlantafoodie on Instagram
wanderlust ATLANTA on Facebook Twitter Instagram


Thank you for coming along on what we think will be a FUN food journey over 10 months in 2017. Our selection of restaurants is a subjective choice of what we think will be an exciting new way to experience Atlanta restaurants: "By the Numbers". Please, tell your friends and family what we're doing and invite them to also come along for the taste tour!


Monday, April 17, 2017

Atlanta by Helicopter

Perhaps the ultimate tour of Atlanta is a helicopter tour of Atlanta! Barry and I recently treated ourselves to a Select Helicopters 45-minute tour of Atlanta, which included the destinations Stone Mountain, Midtown Atlanta, Downtown Atlanta, Mercedes-Benz Stadium, and the King & Queen Towers in Sandy Springs. It was spectacular!


Helicopter Tour of Atlanta | Photo: Travis S. Taylor
Helicopter Tour of Atlanta | Photo: Travis S. Taylor

I got to sit in the front seat!!! It was so exciting! 

When I was in 10th grade, I wanted nothing more than to be a helicopter pilot. That didn't work out, which is a story I'll share if I ever write an autobiography, but my love for helicopters never faded. It was fun chatting with our very entertaining pilot, Austin.

Flying over Midtown Atlanta was AMAZING! I do not currently live in Midtown (I'm about a 10-minute interstate drive away), but Midtown and Downtown are where I spend a great deal of my leisure time, so I know the areas relatively well. But I'd never seen them from this perspective.


Helicopter Tour of Atlanta | Photo: Travis S. Taylor
Helicopter Tour of Atlanta | Photo: Travis S. Taylor

I've lived in Midtown a number of times, and would love to move back at some point. One Atlantic Center (formerly known as the IBM Tower) was the newest addition to the skyline when I first moved to Atlanta in 1987. It was also Atlanta's tallest building until 1992. 

Its glowing copper roof and Gothic flourishes are unmistakable on the evening Atlanta skyline. I wish I had the words to tell you how special it was to get up close and personal with this amazing skyscraper! 


Helicopter Tour of Atlanta | Photo: Travis S. Taylor
Helicopter Tour of Atlanta | Photo: Travis S. Taylor

I grew up mostly in small towns, some quite charming. But, after living in Athens, Greece, I would forever be a "big city guy". I love visiting quaint small towns, but I love the hustle and bustle of a big city. 

I wasn't sure if we were going to get to fly around Downtown Atlanta on our tour. Depending on major sporting events and other restrictions, it's not always on the tour path. We were fortunate to have amazing weather and getting to see everything we wanted. We even flew directly over Barry's house!

If you're a local or if you've been visiting Atlanta for any period of time, you know how quickly our skyline changes. At the lower right of the above photo you'll see a big patch of Georgia red clay. That's where "Pym Technologies Headquarters" once stood (also the former Georgia Archives Building), demolished only days before our flight.  


Helicopter Tour of Atlanta | Photo: Travis S. Taylor
Helicopter Tour of Atlanta | Photo: Travis S. Taylor

I've seen many professional sports live. Baseball, Basketball, Tennis (I've met Andy Roddick and Andre Agassi, and the Bryan Twins), Soccer (I went to two soccer competitions during the 1996 Olympics), Hockey (I've sat chatting distance from Ovechkin's mother while watching the Washington Capitals), but I've never seen a professional Football game. 

That's about to change.

I've long supported the Atlanta Falcons because they're the home team, but I've never seen a live game. The new Mercedes-Benz Stadium is so alluring, I'm sure I'll see a number of Falcons games this coming season!

I've been a soccer fan since high school, when satellite TV first became popular. I'd watch games all over the world and they were on all the time. I first became a fan of Australian Rules Football, and then soccer. Super excited that Atlanta United FC is doing so well...can hardly wait to see them play in Mercedes-Benz Stadium! I'll definitely be attending games--jersey purchase coming up soon!


Helicopter Tour of Atlanta | Photo: Travis S. Taylor
Helicopter Tour of Atlanta | Photo: Travis S. Taylor

Home to the Atlanta Hawks, Atlanta Dream, and a host of concerts and other events, Philips Arena is an Atlanta icon--I love that they incorporated the word "ATLANTA" into the building's design. They were also home to the Atlanta Thrashers (hockey) before they moved to Canada...I loved that team! 

Today, the Arena attracts global sensations such as Lady Gaga, Chris Brown and Red Hot Chili Peppers. I've been to so many concerts there I can't keep up, but some of the best were Janet Jackson, multiple tours. Also, one time when I was there for a Hawks game, a little kid walked up to me and asked if I was Larry Bird. Adorable as the kid was, I told the truth, that I was just a fellow fan. I'm tall, but can't pass for 6'9"!


Helicopter Tour of Atlanta | Photo: Travis S. Taylor
Helicopter Tour of Atlanta | Photo: Travis S. Taylor

I've visited the Georgia Capitol Building Museum on numerous occasions (and have written about it), but have never been in Liberty Plaza, which has been open for more than two years. With a maximum capacity of more than 3,000 people, the plaza is a "major focal point for large groups to hold public rallies and assemblies both during and between legislative sessions". Call me a conspiracy theorist, but why is the space "sunken" instead of "elevated"? Hmmmm...

If you're a local and wonder where the Liberty Bell and Statue of Liberty replicas formerly located on Capitol Building grounds went, they're now in Liberty Plaza! Go visit as a tourist or come on down and protest, like we Americans do so well.

Helicopter Tour of Atlanta | Photo: Travis S. Taylor
Helicopter Tour of Atlanta | Photo: Travis S. Taylor

This is embarrassing, but for years after the Bank of America Plaza was completed (formerly known as Nation's Bank Plaza), I kept wondering when they were going to finish the top. As it turns out, the lattice pyramid atop the skyscraper was originally planned to be glass-covered, so I wasn't totally wrong. That's what I keep telling myself anyway. 

It's been the tallest building in Atlanta since 1992 and I love that it's Art Deco design! You can't miss the eye-catching 90' spire, most of which is covered in gold leaf.


Helicopter Tour of Atlanta | Photo: Travis S. Taylor
Helicopter Tour of Atlanta | Photo: Travis S. Taylor

Did you know that Stone Mountain is Georgia's most visited tourist attraction? I'm not surprised...there's so much to do there, year-round! Actually, I'm not at all surprised because I've known that for years and years. When I first moved here in the late 80s, it was one of the first attractions I visited...and, yes, I climbed to the summit, more than once, on foot.

The view from the top of Stone Mountain is spectacular, but the view of the top of Stone Mountain from a helicopter is even better! Wow! 


Helicopter Tour of Atlanta | Photo: Travis S. Taylor
Helicopter Tour of Atlanta | Photo: Travis S. Taylor

A staple of Atlantan summer entertainment is the Stone Mountain Laser Show, complete with popular music, fireworks, and fire effects! Bring a blanket and a picnic...it's a great evening on a gorgeous Atlanta spring/summer/autumn evening!

Get to know Stone Mountain intimately at Memorial Hall--which is so much more than a museum! And it'll totally enhance your Park experience! 


Helicopter Tour of Atlanta | Photo: Travis S. Taylor
Helicopter Tour of Atlanta | Photo: Travis S. Taylor

The final "stop" on our Atlanta helicopter tour was the King & Queen Towers in Sandy Springs. You know how much I love Atlanta, but to not admit that Sandy Springs has it going on, would be totally wrong. There's a lot going on here...check out their amazing restaurants (perhaps start with this year's "Food That Rocks") and their many tourist destinations!

Aside from cutting our tour by 10 minutes, due to a scheduling error on their end, everything about our Select Helicopter tour was fantastic. I do recommend them and I'd happily go for another tour! 

Our flight departed from Peachtree-DeKalb Airport, aka PDK (they have tours originating at Lake Lanier, too). We enjoyed post-flight dinner and drinks at 57th Fighter Group, situated near PDK runways where diners can watch planes (and helicopters) take off and land.

I wish I could share better in words how fantastic it is to see you home city from above. If you have any inclination to go on a helicopter tour...do! 

Sunday, April 16, 2017

A Little Trouble Is Fun!

If you've not yet discovered Little Trouble, grab a fun friend—or a few—and go!


Little Trouble | Nikki, aka @atlantafoodie
Little Trouble | Nikki, aka @atlantafoodie | Photo: Travis S. Taylor

On my second visit to Little Trouble, with Nikki—on our way to Actor's Express to see a show—a couple of other theatre enthusiast friends joined us for pre-show dinner and drinks. Nikki and I just had to make snapshots next to the "Little Trouble" sign.

This "destination"—it's more than a bar and more than a restaurant—is tucked away in burgeoning West Midtown, aka Westside. And there's free parking in the parking deck adjacent to Little Trouble. 


Calamari | Little Trouble
Calamari | Little Trouble | Photo: Travis S. Taylor

I fell in love with calamari when I lived in Greece and today I try it at most every restaurant I go to, if they offer it. The calamari at Little Trouble is amazing! The crispy seaweed strips are a fun garnish and the ponzu-calabrian dipping sauce is excellent! I could make this dish dinner and be perfectly happy.


Little Trouble, Atlanta
Little Trouble, Atlanta | Photo: Travis S. Taylor

I love the decor! I keep saying that it feels like I'm on the set of Blade Runner and others have likened it to Tron. It's wholly unique...I've seen nothing else in Atlanta that even approaches Little Trouble.


Daily Taco Special | Little Trouble
Daily Taco Special | Little Trouble | Photo: Travis S. Taylor

You won't see it on the online menu, but Chef offers a daily taco special! Always ask what the day's tacos are. The ones I've enjoyed so far have been amazing!


Salmon Bowl | Little Trouble
Salmon Bowl | Little Trouble | Photo: Travis S. Taylor

All their dishes are shareable, but the Salmon Bowl above was mine, all mine! Listen to this: crispy salmon, lobster broth, coconut red curry, bok choy and sticky rice. To say it's delicious would be an understatement!


Make a Little Trouble
Make a Little Trouble

Also on the menu is "Everything". Of course we (Nikki and I on our first visit) had to ask. The "Everything" is probably what you've said jokingly to more than one server when you see an awesome menu..."I'll have one of everything!" Yep...order an "Everything" and you get: one...of...everything! We're definitely going to do that on a future visit!

From the first visit, Little Trouble hit the top of my favorites list! Perhaps I'll see you there sometime soon!

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

The Legend of Georgia McBride is Legendary!

Who is Georgia McBride? She's a legend! Well, he's a legend. And they're mega-fans of The King of Rock 'n' Roll. See for yourself at Actor's Express!


The Legend of Georgia McBride | Actor's Express | Photo: Christoper Bartelski
The Legend of Georgia McBride | Actor's Express | Photo: Christoper Bartelski

The Legend of Georgia McBride is epic! It's hilarious! And...it's a love story. Yes, there are drag queens, too, and pizza, and a nightclub...multiple wardrobe changes, brilliant acting, and some of the most enthusiastic singing you've ever heard. It's a musical!


The Legend of Georgia McBride | Actor's Express | Photo: Christoper Bartelski
The Legend of Georgia McBride | Actor's Express | Photo: Christoper Bartelski

I was already a fan of Nick Arapoglou (Casey) from The Toxic Avenger and Avenue Q, and he's done a bit of television, including locally filmed, The Vampire Diaries. What a treat to see him in this show! 

In The Legend of Georgia McBride, Casey is a super-dedicated entertainer who is also a mega-fan of Elvis Presley. For other reasons he's wiling to put on a dress to keep a job. Complexity ensues in his relationship with his wife and others who want the same gig.

Casey's wife, Jo (Falashay Pearson), has huge news...the catalyst for her husband's putting on a dress, but she's in the dark. Drama, drama!


The Legend of Georgia McBride | Actor's Express | Photo: Christoper Bartelski
The Legend of Georgia McBride | Actor's Express | Photo: Christoper Bartelski

Casey's former job in the nightclub is being replaced with a drag show. Miss Tracy Mills (Jeff McKerley) shows up and steals the show...in the story and onstage! But she's also a "mentor". The entire cast is going to have you laughing out loud...and don't be surprised if there's a little (innocent) audience participation.

In fact, there are tables on the floor in front of the "stage", giving the show an authentic nightclub feel. If you can snag one of those tables, you're in for a real treat, but know that there's not a bad seat in the house! 


The Legend of Georgia McBride | Actor's Express | Photo: Christoper Bartelski
The Legend of Georgia McBride | Actor's Express | Photo: Christoper Bartelski

Everyone I've talked with who has seen the show—including the three friends I went with—has raved about it and can't stop smiling when recounting their evening with Georgia McBride and Miss Tracy.

See The Legend of Georgia McBride at Actor's Express through this Sunday, April 16...don't miss this show!



Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Simply Simone is Simply Spectacular

I've never seen a performance quite like Simply Simone: The Music of Nina Simone

Four women portray Nina Simone , each at a different "era" in her life. They're onstage together for the majority of the performance and they divinely, and with great power, sing the story of Nina Simone's life. Aside from knowing Nina personally, I don't think any biography, tribute concert, or even the Oscar-nominated documentary tells her life as magnificently as these four women.


Simply Simone: The Music of Nina Simone | Theatrical Outfit | Artwork: BreeAnne Cloudus
Simply Simone: The Music of Nina Simone | Theatrical Outfit | Artwork: BreeAnne Cloudus

I didn't know Nina Simone before this performance. I knew she was famous and a favorite of many, but I didn't know her life...her ambition to become the world's first African-American classical pianist, her contributions as a civil rights activist, her superstar fandom, or her world travels. What an introduction!

This was also my very first visit to Theatrical Outfit. It's been on my want-to-visit list for years. I'm so grateful that Simply Simone was my first experience of this wonderful theatre. And I'm absolutely aligned with its mission of "Starting the Conversations that Matter".


Simply Simone: The Music of Nina Simone | Theatrical Outfit | Photo: Christopher Bartelski
Simply Simone: The Music of Nina Simone | Theatrical Outfit | Photo: Christopher Bartelski

I find it fascinating that growing up Nina was, through her musical training—beginning at the age of three—sheltered from so much, yet she became the amazing, catalyst for action in the civil rights movement that she did. And thank goodness she did. She said she couldn't possibly be separate from it, that she couldn't not include the fight for civil rights in her music. 
"Everything that happened to me as a child involved music. It was part of everyday life, as automatic as breathing." - Nina Simone
Simply Simone: The Music of Nina Simone | Theatrical Outfit | Photo: Christopher Bartelski
Simply Simone: The Music of Nina Simone | Theatrical Outfit | Photo: Christopher Bartelski

The entire show is powerful, but the telling and music recounting the atrocious bombing of a church that killed four young girls moved me most. I'd, of course, read about that Birmingham bombing—11 days after a Federal order to integrate the Alabama school system—but "hearing" it like this...it broke my heart and brought me to tears.

Remember Cynthia Wesley, Carole Robertson and Addie Mae Collins—all 14 years old—and 11-year-old Denise McNair.

"I tell you what freedom is to me: no fear."Nina Simone
Simply Simone: The Music of Nina Simone | Theatrical Outfit | Photo: Christopher Bartelski
Simply Simone: The Music of Nina Simone | Theatrical Outfit | Photo: Christopher Bartelski

I'd had the great pleasure of seeing Marliss Amiea (Nina 4) perform in 'da Kind in my Hair just last year. I was already a fan having seen her in that musical, but now...I'm an enthusiastic fan, forever! What a magnificent actress and singer!

Keep an eye on Chelsea Reynolds (Nina 1)...she has a truly promising acting career ahead of her. All four women are absolutely amazing and they perform beautifully together.

"We will shape and mold this country or it will not be molded and shaped at all anymore. So, I think we don't have a choice. How can you be an artist and not reflect the times?" - Nina Simone

Simply Simone: The Music of Nina Simone | Theatrical Outfit | Photo: Christopher Bartelski
Simply Simone: The Music of Nina Simone | Theatrical Outfit | Photo: Christopher Bartelski

The music for Simply Simone is performed by a live band, situated stage left, and they offer a few words during the performance, but it's the ladies who own the stage. They even portray the male characters—a father, a husband—a transformation convincingly accomplished by simply donning a hat.

The set, lighting, sound, wardrobe, choreography, acting, singing...this musical is perfection!

"You've got to learn to leave the table when love's no longer being served." - Nina Simone

Simply Simone: The Music of Nina Simone | Theatrical Outfit | Photo: Christopher Bartelski
Simply Simone: The Music of Nina Simone | Theatrical Outfit | Photo: Christopher Bartelski

This is the final week of Simply Simone: The Music of Nina Simone. See this magnificent musical by Saturday, April 15 at Theatrical Outfit
"Life is short. People are not easy to know. They're not easy to know, so if you don't tell them how you feel, you're not going to be anywhere, I feel." - Nina Simone