Good Day Atlanta viewer information: May 9, 2022

Powerhouse creative team mounts Trading Places at Alliance Theatre: 

Crafting a successful piece of musical theater is notoriously difficult — but if anyone can do it, it’s the powerhouse creative team behind "Trading Places: The Musical."

Based on the 1983 comedy film starring Eddie Murphy and Dan Aykroyd, "Trading Places" is set to make its world premiere at Atlanta’s Alliance Theatre on May 25. At the helm of the production is Tony Award-winning director Kenny Leon, who recently staged an acclaimed revival of "A Soldier’s Play" on Broadway. 

"It’s kind of surreal, you know? I mean, I love Atlanta. It’s always been home," says Leon. "I did about 10 years as the Alliance Theatre’s artistic director and then over 10 years as artistic director of True Colors Theatre Company, but I maintained a home base here, even though I’m gone 80% of the time."

As to what drew him to "Trading Places," Leon says he wanted to explore the ways the original film could be updated to speak — and sing — to today’s audiences.

"Black women, especially in Georgia, politically have been doing some heavy lifting. So, it’s like, I want to put a Black woman at the center of it. And what if we have a gay male to play this role? And so, the team said, ‘Yeah, we like the idea of ‘Trading Places’ and we’re laughing together and we’re thinking together and we leave this place inspired.’"

That team includes book writer Thomas Lennon, best known to audiences as the creator and star of the comedy hit "Reno 911!" 

"When they say that these things don’t happen overnight, they really don’t happen overnight," laughs Lennon. "There have been movies that I’ve written, like on ‘Starsky & Hutch’ or ‘Night at the Museum’ or things like that, where they’re like, ’This films tomorrow!’ And then it’s done forever. So, this has been amazing process. I think by the time it opens we will have been 5 or 6 years on the project."

Joining Lennon are the composing team of Alan Zachary and Michael Weiner ("First Date"), who say the experience of mounting the production at the Alliance Theatre has been a blessing.

"It’s a first-class theater where you’re essentially doing the Broadway production," says Weiner. "You have the resources, you’re taken care of. So, if you need the best musicians, the best actors…you have the advantage of all the resources that a theatre like this has to really elevate your development process."

The experience of working with Kenny Leon brought legendary choreographer Fatima Robinson to the project.

"I love working with Kenny," says Robinson. "I feel like I am in school on scholarship when I get to be in a room with him. You know, I’m always learning and growing. And also I’m really interested in working in theatre more. It’s something I haven’t done as much in my life, and I’m really interested in cultivating that side of my art."

"Trading Places: The Musical" is scheduled to run from May 25 through June 26; for more information on the show and to purchase tickets, click here.

Dr. Winawer gives the latest on COVID-19 vaccines and more: Moderna announced that it hopes to get emergency authorization use from the FDA for children 6 months to 5 years old. Dr. Winawer gives the latest on what this means. 

Judge Toler announces new series "Commit or Quit" on WE TV: Couples in crisis turn to the honorable Judge Lynn Toler for a life-altering decision to get married or break up for good. The show premieres Thursday May 12, at 10 p.m. For more information on the show click here.

Big Brothers, Big Sisters partner with the Atlanta Falcons for the Fashion Play campaign: This upscale fashion show will have athletes hitting the runway to flex their most important muscle – their hearts! This exclusive event with an all-star lineup of alumni NFL players, Falcons Cheerleaders, Freddie Falcon, and surprise guest appearances. It's happening Wednesday from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Atlanta History Center. Former Falcons great Harry Douglas will serve as host. Douglas and Big Brothers, Big Sisters CEO Kwame Johnson visited Good Day to discuss the event. For ticket information click here. 

Pet of the Day with Humane Society of Cobb County: Woody is a full-grown cat with year-round allergies easily treated with simple medication. He has been neutered, microchipped, and is up-to-date on all vaccinations. For more information on Woody call 770-428-LOST (5678).