Chamblee, GA, August 3, 2017 – by Renee Turner for The Post – Originally formed in Chicago in 2003, Onion Man Productions (OMP) was founded by playwright James Beck. The name “onion man” was derived from a character in his first play. Referring to it as a metaphor, like peeling back the layers of an onion, is at the heart of what they do.
As creator and managing Artistic Director, Beck is foremost a playwright who through the years has become a producer and director. “I’m a native Atlantan,” he said. “It was coming home for me. I grew up in the Dunwoody area, but the Chamblee and Brookhaven neighborhoods have always been a big part of my life.”
Being in Atlanta since 2009, and in the Chamblee space for just over a year, he and others are working hard to provide the community with live theatre as a source of entertainment for Chamblee, Brookhaven and the surrounding areas.
With their primary focus being on producing plays, OMP also offers workshops, classes, and programs for writers, actors, and other performers. The theatre company provides affordable space as a venue for smaller theatrical companies and interested groups.
Jillian Walzer, Executive Artistic Director of OMP, has drive and ambition. She first took to the stage in 2000, and later joined the theatre company in 2014. She is a Operations Coordinator at Northside Hospital Cancer Institute during the day, and is on stage by night by supporting playwrights, bringing new works to life, and creating a life up on stage.
“I am lucky enough to be working with James who encourages those around him to grow artistically; and, he has been doing just that with me!,” Walzer told The Post. “Earlier this year, he opened my eyes to directing where I worked as the assistant director to Patrick Marbar’s Closer at Onion Man. We are working together on some exciting projects and I am being pushed artistically down avenues I never imagined.”
Onion Man Productions says another motivation of theirs is to provide and open door for people looking to find an outlet in Atlanta for getting their plays produced, and for actors and directors to grow in their craft. Programs and classes for youth including acting and writing are also part of their offerings.
Coming up on August 3rd, 4th, and 5th (Thursday, Friday and Saturday), Onion Man will feature a one-hour comedy show involving a mix of sketch and improvisation comedy called “The Onion Heads”. Beck explains that while improvisation is spontaneously creating or performing a scene, sketch comedy is more structured.
Each evening performances will begin at 7:30 PM. Tickets are $10.
OMP is located at Plaza del Sol, 5522 New Peachtree Road, Suite 111, Chamblee, GA 30341. For more information on performances, classes and workshop visit Onion Man Productions or www.facebook.comonionmanproductions.