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New Leadership at The Atlanta Lyric Theatre

 

Brandt Blocker will become the new Artistic Director and General Manager of The Atlanta Lyric Theatre, the twenty-seven-year-old musical performing arts company, effective May 16th.

 

Blocker, 34, a native of New Orleans, is currently the Producing Director of Brandt Blocker Presents, LLC, a full scale production company that presents large scale, award-winning theatrical entertainments in southeastern Louisiana.

 

Before starting his own production company, Blocker was Director of Development and Marketing of Le Petit Theatre du Vieux Carre, the country’s oldest continuously operating community theatre, and also served as a stage and musical director for the New Orleans company’s main stage musicals and children’s shows.

 

He is a recent recipient of five Big Easy Entertainment Awards, New Orleans’ premiere event honoring the musical and theatrical talent of a city renowned for its outstanding performing arts. Blocker has also been recognized for his work with The Jefferson Performing Arts Society and The Rivertown Repertory Theatre.

 

Mr. Blocker studied vocal music at Loyola University under the tutelage of Philip Frohnmayer and Mona Bond. In his role as an educator, his students have received scholarships from New York University, Oxford University, Cincinnati Conservatory of Music, Florida State University, Tulane University, Loyola New Orleans, and The American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York City. Additionally, his students have appeared on and off Broadway stages in several acclaimed productions.

 

Mr. Blocker has had the privilege to serve as a vocal music clinician teaching alongside famed choreographer Dee Dee Wood, actress Anita Gillette and Tony Award winner Chita Rivera.

 

Mr. Blocker will join The Lyric shortly after the departure of Executive Director Dan Britt, who resigned in January to take a job in marketing, and Artistic Director J. Lynn Thompson, who along with his wife, Adelia, will move to Birmingham after conducting The Lyric’s production of “Evita” on April 27 through 29. Maestro Thompson, who was also the company’s founding Music Director twenty-seven-years ago, will remain as Artistic Director Emeritus of The Lyric.

 

“I am honored and grateful for the opportunity given me by the board of The Lyric,” said Blocker from his home in New Orleans. “I look forward to working closely with the talented artists of the Atlanta community to continue the great work of Mr. Thompson.”

 

Susan Atkinson, Chair of The Lyric’s board, added, “Brandt brings an amazingly diverse skill set to The Lyric, with recognized success as both an artistic leader and as an arts administrator. We are extremely pleased to have Brandt leading the company into its next chapter of producing great musical theatre for our Atlanta audiences.”

 

Background --- A native of New Orleans, Brandt Blocker recently produced and directed critically acclaimed, sold-out productions of “The Musical of Musicals: The Musical!” (winner of three Big Easy Entertainment Awards), “The All Night Strut,” “Schoolhouse Rock Live!,” “A Year with Frog and Toad,” “Some Enchanted Evening: The Songs of Rodgers & Hammerstein” (2005 Marquee Award for Best Musical), “Seussical the Musical,” and “Little Shop of Horrors” (winner of five Big Easy Entertainment Awards).

 

He was stage and musical director of Le Petit Theatre’s main stage productions of “And The World Goes ‘Round,” “Grease!,” “Five Guys Names Moe,” “Leader of the Pack” (2002 Marque Award for Best Musical, Best Director of a Musical and Best Musical Direction), and “The Sound of Music.” Blocker was also stage and musical director for the critically acclaimed Big Easy, Storer Boone and Marquee Award-winner for Best Musical 2004, “Smokey Joe’s Café,” for the Jefferson Performing Arts Society.

 

As director of Le Petit’s Corner Theatre, Blocker directed sold-out productions of “Snoopy!!!,” “Bye, Bye Birdie,” “Free To Be…You and Me,” “Honk!” (2002 Storer Boone Award for Best Children’s Show), “Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “Cinderella,” “Schoolhouse Rock, Live!,” and “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown” ( 2001 Storer Boone Award for Best Children’s Show and a Marquee Award for Best Musical Direction.)

 

He recently staged the New Orleans Opera Association’s Metropolitan Opera “Hansel and Gretel” and “Too Many Sopranos” for Southeastern Louisiana University’s department of music and dramatic arts.

 

From 1994-1998, Blocker was the resident musical director at the Rivertown Repertory Theatre where he served as both vocal director and/or conductor for “Evita,” “Nunsense,” “The Will Rogers Follies,” “I Do, I Do!,” “Oliver,” “Romance/Romance,” “Into the Woods,” “George M!,” “My Fair Lady” and “Baby.”

 

He was the Big Easy Entertainment Award winner as Best Musical Director of 1997 and 2004 as well as Best Director of a Musical 2004 & 2006. Blocker is also a four-time Storer Boone Theatre Award winner as Musical Director of the Year for 1994, 1995, 1996 and 2004.

 

Additionally, his work has been seen at the Louise S. McGehee School, Mount Carmel Academy, Jesuit High School, Destrehan High School and Immaculata High School as Director of Music and Theater from 1994-1998.

 

History of The Atlanta Lyric Theatre --- Originally called “The Southeastern Savoyards,” “The Savoyards Light Opera” and “The Savoyards Musical Theatre,” The Lyric has grown from a fledgling amateur theatre troupe into a highly regarded regional company boasting a budget of $600,000 annually, the highly-acclaimed Lyric Orchestra and a season of six productions, often highlighted with a Gilbert and Sullivan musical.

 

The Lyric began at the Emory Student Center with portable risers and movable chairs, then moved to Marist High School, the 14th Street Playhouse, Center Stage and finally to the Robert Ferst Center at Georgia Tech in 1990 where two large scale musicals are presented each season.

 

In May, 2005, The Atlanta Lyric Theatre relocated its headquarters into a new office and performance space off Northside Drive at the edge of the Berkeley Park neighborhood. The space, called The Byers Studio Theatre at The Lyric, is located at 1705 Commerce Drive (near I-75 at Northside Drive and Bellemeade). The black box theatre is a generous gift from Ken and Trish Byers. Four smaller musicals are staged each season in this 125-seat theatre.

 

For more press information, Joe McKaughan, 770-228-0796 or joemckaughan@msn.com.

 

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