The Waffle Palace
By Larry Larson & Eddie Levi Lee
From births to marriages, to police chases and lottery wins, anything can happen at 3 AM in the Waffle Palace. Inspired by amazing real life events at Waffle House restaurants, Larson and Lee let loose with this roller coaster of humor and imagination in which John Pickett and his staff battle to keep their Midtown diner open against heavy odds. The Waffle Palace: a place where everyone is welcome, and the only unforgivable sins are throwing waffles and under-tipping.
Come on in…everyone is welcome at The Waffle Palace! From births to marriages to funerals to shootings, taserings, and lottery wins, anything can happen at 3AM here at The Waffle Palace. And everyone can find a safe harbor in the storm of life amidst the coffee, hash browns, and waffle goodness.
This World Premiere was commissioned and developed as part of Horizon’s New South Play Festival, which has been dedicated to producing new plays from, for, and about the contemporary South since 1999. The Festival focuses on new plays by writers who live or have roots in the South, creating stories that are relevant to our community today.
This play began when playwright Larry Larson was speaking to students at our New South Young Playwrights Festival in 2009. When asked by the young writers where he found ideas for his plays, he talked about newspaper articles as a fertile source. As an example, he mentioned he had a file of clippings on all of the crazy events that had happened in Waffle House restaurants. As luck would have it, I had also been collecting the same articles in my own new-play-ideas file. And so a match was made, and a journey launched. Horizon commissioned long-time writing partners Larry Larson and Eddie Levi Lee to write a new play inspired by real events at Waffle House restaurants over the past decade.
As veteran dramatists of award-winning plays such as Tent Meeting, Some Things You Need to Know Before the World Ends: A Final Evening with the Illuminati, The Bench and other plays, Larson and Lee have worked together as a writing team for nearly 40 years. Horizon had great success with the world premiere of their play Charm School in 2007, so this play continues our relationship with these talented writers on a project that is a perfect fit for Horizon’s New South Play Festival mission.
The Waffle Palace is a smart, ensemble-based comedy set in Atlanta that brings our diverse community on stage in a highly theatrical story with music, dance, waffles, and audience interaction. The writers like to call this style “children’s theatre for adults;” they use many of the same tools that helped them create engaging children’s theatre— song, dance, physical comedy, larger than life characters, energetic acting, actors playing multiple roles, funny and colorful costumes and set, special effects, audience participation, surprise events, and actors talking directly to the audience.
The Waffle Palace of our story is a well-loved Southern icon, a place where people of all kinds meet, but it is in danger (as are many of our gathering places, small businesses, and neighborhoods) of becoming a victim of progress, swallowed up into a shining, new mixed use development. John Pickett and his Waffle Palace staff battle to keep the diner open against heavy odds. Seven actors play 21 roles in a roller-coaster of a play that takes on the changing face of our communities. What’s worth keeping? What can we give up? How can we choose to transform ourselves and our city?
Having run a not-for-profit theatre for nearly three decades, I can’t help but relate to John Pickett and the Waffle Palace. Because of loyal customers, hard-working staff and some combination of luck, naiveté and stubbornness, Horizon remains open, striving to serve you unique theatrical treats that feed your heart, mind, and soul. Everyone’s welcome. Enjoy the show—and the waffle donuts. Y’all come back.
Lisa Adler, Director and Dramaturg, The Waffle Palace
JANUARY 23 – MARCH 8, 2015
Wednesday, Thursday & Friday at 8:00 PM
Saturday at 3:00 PM and 8:30 PM
Sunday at 5:00 PM
$25 – $40*
Upgrade to VIP for $15 (includes reserved seating & complimentary beverage)
*Ticket prices are subject to availability. Order early for best pricing. 8% sales tax will be added to all ticket orders.
John – Larry Larson*
Connie – Marguerite Hannah*
Esperanza – Maria Rodriguez-Sager
Walter, Vince, Kenneth – Dane Troy
Hugo, Bubba, Roadie, Hank – Allan Edwards*
Ralphie, Tommy, Rocker, Waffle Fact Man, Blues Singer, Gary, Vivien – Eric Mendenhall*
Tootie, Charlie – Lala Cochran
Playwrights – Larry Larson & Eddie Levi Lee
Directors – Lisa Adler & Jeff Adler
Scenic and Costume Designers – Isabel A. Curley-Clay & Moriah Curley-Clay
Lighting Designer – Mary Parker
Sound Designer – Thom Jenkins
Prop Designers – Kate Bidwell LaFoy and Heather Cap
Stage Manager – Julianna M. Lee*
*Member of Actors’ Equity Association
Atlanta Jewish Times – Waffle Palace is Tasty Fun
Sapporta Report – Waffle House,Waffle Palace Set Stage for Family Memories & Cult Status
Encore Atlanta – SNAPSHOT/Eric Mendenhall
Atlanta INtown – Review
EDGE on the NET – The Waffle Palace: Smothered, Covered and Scattered 24/7/365
Atlanta Journal-Constitution – Comic Waffle Palace Stirs in Some Unexpected Ingredients
Atlanta Magazine – Waffle House Takes the Stage
The Backstage Beat – The Waffle Palace at the Horizon Theatre
Fenuxe – Satisfy Your Hunger for Comedy
Dekalb Neighbor – The Waffle Palace continues its run at Horizon Theatre
Porch Press – Horizon Theatre Premieres The Waffle Palace