Georgia Ensemble Theatre opens 2011-12 Season with Panhandle Slim and the Oklahoma Kid

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Georgia Ensemble Theatre (GET), North Fulton’s only professional theater company, opens its 19th season on September 1, 2011 with Panhandle Slim and the Oklahoma Kid, a fresh new play from Broadway and film star Jeff Daniels, and directed by Artistic Director Robert J. Farley.

Panhandle Slim and the Oklahoma Kid will take audiences on a journey to the Wild West of days-gone-by.  Thrown together by unfortunate circumstances, an ornery vagrant outlaw and a singing cowboy argue the virtues of mayhem, music, true love, and the meaning of life as they try to live by the cowboy code. This prairie showdown features original songs, as well as scoundrels, six-guns and a horse named Buttermilk.

Artistic Director Robert J. Farley says of directing the play, “As a baby boomer, I grew up on the early days of television where my heroes rode horses across the black and white screen allowing me to create an imaginary dreamscape of mythical heroes and villains. Of course, I was the hero in these quests with trusty companions by my side. That sense of companionship and heroism carries on to this very day. This Southeastern premiere is part Wild West show (in the spirit of singing cowboys like Roy Rogers and Gene Autry) and part ‘Twilight Zone’ (conjuring the mysteries of what is perceived and what is real). It uses humor and some great Jeff Daniels songs to create a window into our hearts.”

In a statement to “Playbill” about writing the script, film and Broadway star Jeff Daniels said, “In this play, my characters led the way. They spoke to each other, fed me information, held things back, stopped me when I veered off … They took me to my ending, and before I knew it, had showed me what it was I had been trying to write…”

The cast of Panhandle Slim and the Oklahoma Kid features Rob Lawhon (Suzi Bass Award-winner for the title role in GET’s Buddy: the Buddy Holly Story) and Ryan Richardson (GET’s Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story, Diamond Studs), Laura Floyd (GET’s Beyond the Rainbow) and making his GET debut, Geoff McKnight. The design team includes GET Technical Director Jonathan Rollins as Scenic Designer, Mike Post as Lighting Designer, Linda Patterson as Costume Designer, and Thom Jenkins as Sound Designer.  GET’s Production Manager Gretchen E. Butler serves as Stage Manager for this production.

The show runs September 1 through September 18, with previews on August 30 and 31. All performances are at the Theatre’s home in the Roswell Cultural Arts Center, 950 Forrest St., Roswell, GA 30075. Tickets range from $23 to $33 and are on sale now at the box office (770-641-1260) or online at http://www.get.org./

The Georgia Ensemble Theatre and Conservatory provides quality theater productions and arts education to the north metro Atlanta area. The Company annually produces five mainstage productions, attended by more than 20,000 patrons, as well as two Theatre for Youth productions and year-round classes for all ages. In 2008, Georgia Ensemble Theatre was named Readers’ Choice for Best Theatre Company in Atlanta by “Atlanta Magazine.” Artistic Director Robert J. Farley was recently named the recipient of Kennesaw State University’s Flourish Award for his contribution to the arts in metro Atlanta.