Our Own Community Theater Deserves Applause
If you’re a fan of theatre, you should make the trip to Dunwoody and check out a production by Stage Door Players, a unique theatre company beloved by locals and theatre buffs alike.
Stage Door Players was originally a community theatre, founded in 1974 by the Dunwoody Woman’s Club as a community improvement project. After 14 years of performing in different locations around North Atlanta, the troupe settled at the North DeKalb Cultural Center on Chamblee Dunwoody Road next to the Dunwoody library.
In 2004, Stage Door Players made the transition to a completely professional company under the guidance of director Robert Egizio. Now employing actors, designers, directors, and other professionals from all over Atlanta, Stage Door not only puts on a full six shows each season but also remains involved with community outreach and hosts other special events throughout the year.
Seasons run from September until August; Stage Door Players has completed two successful shows so far this season and is in rehearsal for I Hate Hamlet, a comedy about a television-turned-stage actor who is hired to play Hamlet despite the fact that he hates the story. Hail Mary, a dramedy about a nun gone rogue, is slated for early spring. If you’re a fan of mystery, suspense and classic comedy, The 39 Steps is set for early summer, and Kiss Me Kate, Cole Porter’s classic musical, will end the season, running mid-July through early August. Six shows are planned each season, each running for four weekends, and other events such as the Stage Door Canteen cabaret series and Stage Door Jr., theater for children and families, are scheduled as well. Egizio begins reading scripts in January for the upcoming season, and by May the season is cemented and the preparation and planning begins.
“I normally look at submissions from local and national playwrites, as well as research what’s new in New York,” Egizio says. “I try to keep in mind what my audience will respond to when picking a particular show. There’s a lot of reading, a lot of research, and help from a few trusted individuals.”
After the season is announced, auditions are held. Atlanta is fondly known as the Hollywood of the South, so there is no shortage of available actors, playwrites, and crew members for hire.
“Atlanta has a very large pro theatre base – you’ll see the same actors at all the local theatres around the city, so we simply tap into the local market,” Egizio explains. “We invite certain pro actors to addition, but we’re always searching for talent.”
Including talent from the Dunwoody area, Stage Door Players home base. Egizio can’t think of a better place to call home, for several reasons. Firstly, their location. Located close to the intersection of Mt. Vernon and Chamblee Dunwoody Roads, Stage Door Players has no competition from other intown theatres, not to mention their amazing venue. Secondly, their history. Stage Door Players has been a beloved Dunwoody landmark for more than 40 years, and the community support is invaluable.
“Our audience is from this area,” says Egizio. “We found our niche. There was no reason to move.”
Egizio has been both an actor and choreographer for more than 25 years, and he says he loves what he does.
“What drives me? I’m my own boss. I went from corporate America to doing what I’m passionate about.” That passion is clear in anyone involved with the company, no matter their role, and is part of what keeps Stage Door Players at the forefront of Atlanta theatre.