Atlanta Art Reviews by Susan K Asher
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Performers Revive Vaudeville at Actor’s Express

2009 June 11
Todd Key

Todd Key

Pining for the theatrics of the Marx Brothers, W.C. Fields, and Buster Keaton? Vincenzo Tortorici is, so he’s bringing Vaudeville to Atlanta.

Although no one can compare to “the inimitable Groucho,” Tortorici is doing his best to bring back the feeling of the era with a one-night-only show that will include the highest caliber of variety acts in Georgia. He will present “HAVE VAUDE, VILLE TRAVEL” this Friday, June 12 at 11 p.m. at Actor’s Express.

“We have amazing performers who are at the tops at what they do,” Tortorici said. They include a juggler, musicians, comics, a mime, and a magician.

Juggler and comic Todd Key, who is known for his precarious feats of standing on two-legged ladders while juggling knives and hatchets, will do his famous hand-shadow routine and his “exploding poodle trick,” which involves balancing a wine glass on a mouth-stick while creating an explosion. He said he also will “juggle the eight most dangerous objects that can be juggled throughout history.” Key has performed at corporate shows for Coca-Cola, IBM, and 3M, and has toured four times overseas for the USO. In his 30 years of performing, Key said one of his greatest compliments came from a U.S. soldier, who said his show was “Better than the Hooter’s Girls.”

The Dukes of Uke, a quartet featuring singers and ukulele players, will sing classic Hawaiian tunes, as well as music by The Beatles and political satirist Tom Lehrer. Known for its comedy relief, the band features Tim Settimi who has played comedy clubs, festivals and colleges for more than 20 years. He was voted “Performing Artist of the Year” six times by the National Association for Campus Activities. He has appeared in feature films with Tim Conway and Goldie Hawn, and on TV for A&E’s “Comedy Tonight” and “Comedy on the Road,” and for Showtime’s “Atlanta Laff-Off.” Additionally, he’s been the opening act for numerous entertainers, including Little Richard, Gloria Estefan & Miami Sound Machine and Steve Martin.

Renowned throughout the country as a teacher and a performer, Tom Pierce blends improvisation, slapstick, and pantomime to fascinate audiences with his physical comedy. In addition to working with The Big Apple Circus and Cirque Du Soleil, he has performed for nearly 30 years in schools, theaters, and festivals in 40 states, as well as in Japan, Korea, the Philippines, Hong Kong, England, Mexico and Cuba.

Internationally known magician Baffle-o Bill can make ripped up newspapers whole again and people disappear. When describing his Wild West act, Tortorici said imagine “David Copperfield meets Davey Crocket.”

Impersonator Dean Crownover will reincarnate Elvis Presley. Crownover has performed in numerous films, commercials and in corporate theater. He played Elvis at Dr. Laura Schlessinger’s 50th Birthday Bash.

Sarah Onsager, an actor in theaters around Atlanta, will sing classic tunes from Vaudeville’s heyday.

A 20-year theater veteran who will serve as master of ceremonies, Tortorici has performed commedia del ‘arte around the world. He said, “We are the finest variety performers in the United States at this price.”

Tickets at Actor’s Express are $15 each.

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