Georgia Writers Hall of Fame claims a space of its own in Athens

Established in 2000 as part of the University of Georgia’s Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library, the Georgia Writers Hall of Fame has existed mainly as an informational Web site and as a growing archive. But with its move to the Richard B. Russell Building Special Collections Libraries building on the UGA campus earlier this year, it is establishing a higher profile.

A free public celebration will be held Thursday to mark the opening of the first exhibit in the hall of fame’s new home. The untitled show will feature most of the 43 authors already inducted into the hall, incorporating video, photos, papers, rare editions and related memorabilia.

Hall of Fame members Coleman Barks, David Bottoms, Judith Ortiz Cofer, Terry Kay and Philip Lee Williams will participate in a literary salon at 10 a.m., discussing Georgia’s literary legends and the current writer landscape in the state and more.

At 11:15 a.m. the exhibit, featuring a new video narrated by Kay, will formally open, and tours will be given in the Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library Gallery. It will remain on view through Dec. 20.

“Our location in the university’s new Richard B. Russell Building Special Collections Libraries raises our profile on campus and gives us more opportunities to showcase our state’s exceptional literary heritage,” university librarian and associate provost William Potter said in a statement.

The hall of fame’s most recent inductees are U.S. Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey of Decatur, Atlanta author Melissa Fay Greene, James Kilgo (1941-2002) and Johnny Mercer (1909-1976).

Copies of a special fall issue of the literary magazine Georgia Review focusing on the hall of fame will be available at the Thursday celebration, and books by many of the authors, including a number of hard-to-find titles, will be for sale.

300 S. Hull St., Athens. www.georgiawritershalloffame.org.

THEATER

Tony Carlin joins ‘Apples & Oranges’ cast

David Rasche, who was to have starred opposite Patricia Richardson in the Alliance Theatre’s world premiere of “Apples & Oranges,” has dropped out of the cast for “personal family reasons,” according to the theater. Instead, Tony Carlin will co-star in Alfred Uhry’s adaption of Vanity Fair writer Marie Brenner’s memoir of mending fences with her dying brother.

The two-person show, running Oct. 5-28 on the intimate Hertz Stage, is now in rehearsals in New York at the Manhattan Theatre Club, which commissioned the adaption from the “Driving Miss Daisy” playwright.

Carlin recently finished a run of “The Best Man” on Broadway with James Earl Jones and Angela Lansbury and has numerous Great White Way credits, from “Chinglish” to “Mamma Mia!” He’s also appeared in films including “The Bourne Legacy” and the final “Seinfeld” episode.

Tickets: 404-733- 5000, alliancetheatre.org/apples.

‘Macabre’ doublebill in Marietta

This year has “really rocked” for playwright Raymond Fast, whose plays, “Scorned” and “Touched,” open at Out of Box Theatre in Marietta on Friday. Raised in Cobb County and now a resident of the Paulding County town of Dallas, Fast has had seven world premieres produced in 2012.

He referred to “Scorned” and “Touched” as “macabre” in Out of Box promotional materials, and said that marks them as departures for him. “Actually, I’m not a big fan of horror,” explained Fast, who graduated from Osborne High School. “But I do like the macabre style of bringing a story with a purpose or message. I am a big fan of Hitchcock, for example. In fact, when I was working on the first draft of ‘Touched’ I took time out to sit and watch the original version of ‘Psycho’ for inspiration. These plays are horrific, but that’s because what they are about is just how wrong things can go. It’s not horror for the sake of horror. It’s real life — or potentially real life.”

“Scorned” and “Touched” run through Oct. 6 at the Alley Stage, the smaller space in the playhouse just off the Marietta Square that formerly housed Theatre in the Square at 11 Whitlock Ave. N.W. Tickets, $10, via www.outofboxtheatre.com. Information: 678-653-4605.

Hensley’s heavy role off-Broadway

Marietta’s Shuler Hensley next stars in “The Whale,” playing a 600-pound Idaho recluse trying to reclaim his life and desperate to reconnect with his long-estranged daughter (Reyna de Courcy). Samuel D. Hunter’s play opens Oct. 12 at Playwrights Horizons’ Peter Jay Sharp Theater.

Tony winner Hensley starred here last spring in “Ghost Brothers of Darkland County,” the John Mellencamp-Stephen King gothic musical that had its world premiere at the Alliance Theatre.

Hunter won the a 2011 Obie Award for “A Bright New Boise.” His “The Whale” runs through Nov. 25. 212-279-4200, www.playwrightshorizons.org.

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