ART Station's 2010-11 season to open with Ferrol Sams' play

ART Station will stage two regional premieres, including a completely new version of Ferrol Sams' "Christmas Gift!" during its just-announced 2010-11 theater season.

The Stone Mountain Village theater, one of only a handful of metro Atlanta professional troupes located outside I-285, will also give a Southeastern premiere to "Bonnie and Clyde, the Two Person, Six-Gun Musical," about the notorious American outlaws.

A third play, "Married Alive!" a musical about one couple's "journey from Niagara to Viagra," also might be considered a regional premiere of sorts, having had only limited stagings in Virginia and South Florida.

Though ART Station premiered "Christmas Gift!" in 1998, its season-opening production in December will be dramatically different, said David Thomas, who wrote the adaption of Sams' memoir of his Depression childhood.

"The original version had eight characters in it and what I learned was that it was too busy," said Thomas, also the founding director of the performing and visual arts community center. "I've cut the characters down to just Ferrol Sams and his three sisters."

Sams is the Fayetteville physician whose folksy writings about his Fayette County boyhood have found their way onto best-seller lists and gained him entrance into the Georgia Writers Hall of Fame in 2007.

Thomas believes the time is right for a revival of "Christmas Gift!," which features new music by Patrick Hutchison.

"The play takes place just after the Depression when the country is in a very slow recovery," he said, "and our audience can relate to that considering our current economic situation."

Here's ART Station's lineup:

  • "Christmas Gift!" Dec. 1-23.
  • "Lewis Grizzard: In His Own Words," Jan. 13-16. Bill Oberst Jr. portrays the late AJC columnist and humorist in a 10th anniversary production.
  • "The Big Bang," Feb. 16-March 6. A duo has written a history of the world, and now all that's needed is $83 million to stage it in this quick and quick-witted comedy.
  • "Bonnie & Clyde, the Two Person, Six-Gun Musical," April 27-May 15.
  • "Married Alive!" July 20-Aug. 7.

ART Station is located at 5384 Manor Drive in Stone Mountain Village. Information: 770-469-1105,