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Playbill: The week ahead in Triad theater

by Lenise Willis

Billy Holiday to be celebrated in drama coming to Twin City Stage.

Theatre Alliance, I’ve noticed, is developing a reputation for performing (or supporting) not just entertaining shows, but those that highlight trending topics or issues in society, and this week is no exception.For a limited run this weekend, Friday through Sunday, the young Spirit Gum Theatre Company will perform Stop Kiss at Theatre Alliance. The group got its start just two years ago, performing its first production at Arts Community Café. After the shop closed its doors last spring, the troupe was left searching for a performance space and is thankful for Theatre Alliance’s support as host for its final show this season. The drama is about the courage it takes to love and express oneself, even in the face of adversity. Next week, the newly created summer stock theatre of The Academy of Theatrical Arts (located in the Triad Civic Center) will present The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee Aug. 6-8. The last time I saw the production it was performed by UNCG. The show is absolutely hilarious and just good fun. It takes the intrigue from the televised spelling bees and pairs it with one awkward group of kids, whom you just can’t help but laugh at. All of them have their own special set of quirks. Also coming soon is Twin City Stage’s Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill Aug. 14-15. The play highlights Billie Holiday, the legendary jazz singer, by featuring an intimate bar in South Philadelphia that shares stories about her life, interspersed with some of her classics like “God Bless the Child,” “What a Little Moonlight Can Do,” and “Taint Nobody’s Biz-ness.” “Billie Holiday was as unique as they come, and fought a number of battles in a white America that loved her music but treated her as a second-class citizen,” Maureen Daly, executive director, said in a press release. “She worked with other musical icons””Artie Shaw, Lester Young, Benny Goodman””and proved influential in the world of jazz.” Look in next week’s Drama for more information on the Triad’s newest theaters.

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