Theater Review - Weird Sisters" prom-inspired fundraiser in line with overall mission

Local theater project continues to provide opportunities for and put spotlight on women lady thespians

The Weird Sisters Theatre Project, a group of locals who since 2012 have worked together to advance the role of women in Atlanta theater, is hosting its annual fundraiser. The event will be an '80s prom-style party where you can wear your brightest neon and tease your hair to the heavens while having the totally awesome time that you didn't have at your actual high school dances.

As the story goes, the women of Weird Sisters met through the New American Shakespeare Tavern, and they currently hold positions and perform at a variety of theaters around town, including Aurora Theatre, Horizon Theatre, the Alliance Theatre, and Actor's Express, among others. "All of the theaters that we work for have been really cool and supportive of us," says co-founder Jaclyn Hofmann.

The prom party benefit will help the group to produce its summer season of shows. Hofmann, one of the five co-founders of Weird Sisters, along with Kelly Criss, Veronika Duerr, Tiffany Porter, and Megan Rose, describes the group as people who are just looking to provide another avenue for lady thespians. "While there are men involved in the productions, the goal of the project is to create more opportunities for women, particularly behind the scenes in Atlanta theater," she says.

In 2013, the Atlanta Shakespeare Company became the official fiscal sponsor of Weird Sisters. This year, Weird Sisters' season will include two productions. First up: A Night of Twisted Tales. "In July we're going to be doing a bunch of acts," Hofmann says. "Basically different fairy tales that have been re-examined to look at them from the female heroine's point of view, examining how, if you give them their own voice, the story changes a bit." There will be eight to 10 different stories featured in the evening, including comedies as well as poignant moments, and they will be written by both local and nationally recognized playwrights. Performances will take place at the Shakespeare Tavern and at Aurora Theatre in July.

In August, the group will perform a new play by local playwright Johnny Drago called Hot Pink, or Ready to Blow, which Hofmann teases as being a comedy about a small town's annual sacrificial virgin ritual intended to appease their local volcano The prom party ties into this piece, as it is set in the '80s as well. Look for Hot Pink at the Black Box Theatre at the Alliance in mid- to late-August.

Speaking of the party, guests can expect themed drinks, fun silent auction items, and lots of dancing to covers performed by local talents Jessica De Maria and Jeremiah Hobbs. While Hofmann recognizes that everyone involved with the Sisters' productions has a passion for promoting women in theater, fundraisers like this one allow the group to compensate its performers in keeping with professional standards, which is even more crucial now that the group has attained Suzi Bass-eligible status.

This year the Weird Sisters' productions will be eligible for the Atlanta community's prestigious awards, placing the project in the company of other local groups such as the Alliance, Actor's Express, Pinch 'n' Ouch Theatre, and Fabrefaction Theatre Company. Being Suzi-recommended or winning one of the awards is an important landmark status for local theater groups, and the theaters must meet certain performer pay and performance minimum requirements to be considered. "We want to be sure that we're paying people the professional rates and making it worth our artists' time as well," Hofmann says.

In addition to being a fun night out and a chance to have the John Hughes-esque prom experience you always wanted, the party will help Weird Sisters maintain its Suzie-eligible status and provide even more opportunities for women in Atlanta theater.

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