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Brothers Breaking into the Film Industry

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David Alexander Kaplan

Photos by George Hunter (except for set and show pics)

Peachtree Corners Kaplan brothers Michael (13) and David (11) have been acting for about six and four years respectively. It all began when their parents, Alan and Zhenia Kaplan thought some acting classes might help their shy kindergartener, Michael, feel more at ease socially.

Michael Kendall Kaplan

Alan had enjoyed theater in high school and hoped his sons would also get bitten by the acting bug so he could share his passion for the performing arts with them.

Michael took to the stage and blossomed, growing noticeably more confident. “His teacher said, “Whatever you’re doing to help him speak up more in class seems to be working. I would ask that maybe you do a little bit less of it,” Alan recounted.

Having watched his big brother dive into the craft and come out of his shell, David followed suit, locking in acting as a Kaplan family affair.

Alan and David Alexander Kaplan

Hard work

“This beard was brown before we started getting into acting,” Alan laughed, pointing to his graying facial hair. Juggling a full-time job as a realtor with Atlanta Fine Homes Sotheby’s International, coaching his sons and filming/submitting their auditions, Alan understandably describes life as “pretty hectic.”

Auditions can be an arduous weekly grind. Memorizing lines, rehearsing and recording auditions is not an easy undertaking. Balancing and get quality products delivered on time is always the challenge,” Alan said.

Scripts are printed, the kids do a script analysis and auditions are recorded around everyone’s schedule. After having been at work and school all day, “it’s an exercise in fortitude,” he continued.

Working together

The Kaplans tackle script analysis and running lines as a team. “At first it was difficult but it’s sort of like muscle memory every time you do it,” Michael explained. His younger brother chimed in, “By now it’s pretty easy memorizing lines.”

The brothers study their lines together. “Sometimes I do it with my mom or say it in my head and see if I can remember all my lines,” David said.

Amazed by their ability to be off-book for auditions, regardless of the script size, Alan beamed. “Michael had a table read for a lead role with ten adults. He had the entire script memorized, including the other actors’ lines of a 90-page script.”

The boys’ IMDb pages

Resumés, headshots and websites from which casting directors will draw, like Actors Access, must be kept up to date. So, too, does Internet Movie Database (IMDb), an online site where actors list their work. Both Michael and David have been adding to their IMDb profiles.

A striking list of co-stars marked Michael’s initial experience. “When I was in Gifted, my first acting gig, I worked with Chris Evans, Octavia Spenser, Jenny Slate and Mckenna Grace,” Michael said. His resumé also includes eight episodes of the TV series Paradise Lost, (filmed in Baton Rouge and New Orleans, Louisiana) acting alongside Nick Nolte, Barbara Hershey, Josh Hartnett and Bridget Regan.

“I just filmed The Waltons. They’re making a 50-year anniversary of it,” Michael said. Shot in Conyers, The Waltons Homecoming will likely be released around the holidays on the CW.

The Resident (FOX) Ep308 Matt Czuchry, David Alexander Kaplan, Adam Stephenson. Photo courtesy of Alan Kaplan.

David has been in an episode of the TV show The Resident, two episodes of Creepshow, (a horror series similar to The Twilight Zone) an episode of MacGyver, the movie Embattled, the Lifetime movie A Sister’s Secret and the short film A Visitor.

Most recently, David completed filming several episodes of a popular TV show on a major streaming network. “I’m not allowed to say what it is until it comes out,” David said. We should be able to catch David in this undisclosed program by early next year or sooner.

Good Day Atlanta Fox 5 Michael Kendall Kaplan & Alyse Eady (photo courtesy of Alan Kaplan)

The Kaplans are helping the boys build fledgling yet noteworthy resumés which include commercials and voiceover work for MARTA, Toys “R” Us, Logitech, Cartoon Network and The Home Depot, in addition to the aforementioned bodies of work.

On location

Child actors and their families must be flexible. Traveling for work brings everything else to a grinding halt. Michael filming Paradise Lost in Louisiana meant a three-month absence from work for Alan, who accompanied him, although he was able to work remotely.

Meanwhile, an overseas family trip to visit Zhenia’s parents became a trip for two only. Michael views this aspect of the business as “a small hiccup.”

David looks on the bright side too. “We were all going to go on vacation, but just me and my mom went,” he said. “We were both having fun. Michael and my dad were filming and me and my mom were on vacation.”

Michael likes working on location in different areas so he can experience “wildlife instead of fake life.” David said he prefers working in a studio: “If it’s an outside scene it’s usually either really hot or really cold. You may be filming a winter scene in the heat of the day.”

According to Alan, Georgia leads the film industry in terms of number of productions. “Georgia opened up much quicker than Los Angeles and other markets. The fact that actors move here to be near more work speaks to the market,” Alan said.

Previously, leading roles were generally cast out of LA. Secondary roles were drawn from regional markets; those were the auditions you’d see coming through Georgia. Recently, more lead roles are getting cast here.

Living in the Atlanta area is a wonderful advantage for actors. “We love Peachtree Corners for a litany of reasons — aside from the acting part of it — including its central location. If projects are filmed in metro Atlanta, we can easily get to them,” Alan said.

“On a national level, Atlanta TV and film actors have a leg up,” he added. “With COVID, the other markets went to taped auditions as well, but actors in Atlanta have years of experience with taped auditions and Zoom callbacks.”

Auditions and callbacks

Michael divulged the family’s position on auditions. “Our job is to keep auditioning. We give something and shouldn’t expect anything back.

“The director, casting director, some of the producers and executive producers ask us different questions, press “record meeting” and run the scene with us,” he said. “Then they give us some critiques and we do it again.”

David added, “Each take gets better as we get more direction. Every audition, we get better and better.”
Commercial auditions were once typically held at the casting director’s office. Fortunately for actors, those also are recorded from home now. “I can’t imagine having them audition that way. I remember driving them to auditions. I don’t have time now, I don’t know how I would fit that in,” Alan said.

The down side

Most auditions result in rejection. “Thousands of kids audition. A couple hundred come back for the callback, then there’s another callback,” David explained. “It’s a long process.”

Alan and Zhenia stated that the audition is where their kids’ job stops. “Every now and then, you’ll get a random phone call that you booked something. That’s the great surprise,” Alan said. “But we turn off the camera from the audition and we don’t look back. That works 90% of the time. I’m sure that’ll get more difficult as they get older and become more aware of those things.”

The parents shield the boys from the unease and letdown they themselves feel. “When they get into the final consideration for a role, my nerves get the best of me. There’s a lot of hope, worry and disappointment when it doesn’t work out,” Alan said.

As a family, they believe ‘you book the roles that are meant for you.’

Regarding his experience in Paradise Lost, Michael said, “It was very scary because they booked me off tape. My dad and I worried that I might not fit the role they were looking for, but it all worked out.”

Alan recalled, “We showed up on set in Louisiana, excited that he got this job, but they had never seen him in person with the kid who played his brother. That kid’s mother and I were a nervous wreck. What if they didn’t like them? After they shot the first scene, the writer turned around, smiled and introduced himself. Then we knew we were going to be OK.”

After all the unknowns, even once a role is landed, “you still have to wait and see what makes it off the cutting room floor,” Alan said.

Behind the scenes

The brothers shared some of the movie magic they’ve seen. “They use a lot of green screens, paper backgrounds for landscapes. Sometimes they use mini models,” David said. “They use harnesses and fishing wire if someone with special powers throws someone or if there’s an explosion and someone gets knocked back.”

“They can do different lighting if it’s supposed to be day or night,” Michael added. “They mainly do everything on set, so they build a house with most of the rooms not finished. They can make a whole backdrop of woods or beachside. It’s very cool.”

“Getting a scene filmed can require a few takes or 20. They have to take different shots from different angles. That takes a lot of time,” Michael said. David noted that it could take from an hour to a couple of days to get one scene done.

“Usually kids don’t get much makeup,” David added, “unless they have a pimple to cover. It depends on whether it’s a bloody scene or anything like that.” Michael had about 20 minutes of make-up for one scene in Paradise Lost to create bug bites on his neck.

School work

Young actors must keep up with their studies while they work. On-set teachers are provided to that end. During his most recent job, which demanded over two months of filming, David had an on-set teacher.

“It was pretty simple because all my schoolwork was online. They basically supervised us and helped us with any problems,” he said. “It was a bit challenging before COVID, but with COVID, since I was doing online school, it’s very easy, like doing it at home.”

Feet on the ground

Fame could easily cause a minor’s sense of self to swell. To stave that off, the key quality stressed by the Kaplans is respect. It carries through their faith, who they are as a family and manifests in how they treat others.

When Michael’s schoolmates started asking him for his autograph because he had become “famous,” his parents told both kids they should reply, “I’d be happy to give you my autograph if you give me yours.”

Alan and Zhenia decided that if the ego ever comes into play and overcomes who they are, then it’s time to move on. “The greatest benefit of any attention they may get from acting is the opportunity to use it for good and to reach out to others, not to feed our own egos,” Alan said.

They emphasize the skill of acting, not the celebrity. “The boys started out in theater before they ever had an agent or booked a commercial,” Alan said. “We gravitate towards drama and horror, something that really taps into the art of acting.”

David said his favorite part is meeting new people and having the experience,“but mostly the Craft Services, which is the food on set. They have someone cooking the food right there. And they have a snack bar with chips and candy — anything you can think of.”

Michael added, “I remember they were making lobster on set once. It was really good.”

A bright spot for the Kaplans has been watching how their sons genuinely care for one another. “The beauty of these two souls…when one brother finds out the other booked something, he’s almost more excited than if he had booked it himself,” Alan said. “There is no competitiveness between them. They are truly supportive of each other, which is nice to see.”

How to Break into Show Biz

The Kaplan family is pleased to share advice with others who are contemplating the same path. “It’s learn-as-you-go,” Alan said. “You reach out to people who have already been there for guidance and reach back to those starting out to try to pass it along.”

Acting lessons

“Get your child into some acting classes. See if it’s their thing,” Alan continued. “If that’s the case, stay with it. Submit them to agencies if you want them to pursue it further. It may take long to get picked up by a good agent.”

He also mentioned that parents should beware. “There are a lot of pitfalls out there. Go with a reputable agency if you’re seeking representation. Representation should never cost you anything upfront.”

Regardless of which acting school you choose – there are a variety to fit every preference – Alan suggested searching for a local school associated with credible casting directors. Specifically, one with lessons culminating in a showcase where actors perform before those casting directors.

After taking various acting classes, the Kaplan boys are thriving with help from their parents and a private coach who sometimes films auditions with them.

“We just try to become the character,” Michael said.

“Roll with it,” added David, who occasionally practices in the mirror. They work on the scripts, emotions, realism and on becoming more natural in their portrayals.

Headshots and audition set up

Aspiring actors need promotional pictures. Seasoned agencies can recommend skilled photographers. Depending on the number of looks captured, photos can start at a few hundred dollars. It’s not exactly a snap to keep headshots current as children grow up, but it is worth the investment as these are the first impressions made on casting directors.

A decent video camera with a memory card from Best Buy, a tripod, lighting and a backdrop ordered from Amazon are all that’s needed to film auditions from home. Alan said he has found that easier than trying to clear enough iPhone memory.

Advice on agents

After a few twists and turns in the road, Michael and David are currently both represented by
Joy Pervis at J Pervis Talent Agency near Peachtree Corners.

“I could not have hoped for better. They’ve been phenomenal,” Alan said. “They keep the boys extremely busy with auditions. They’re good people and great with kids. They’re nationally well-known and highly respected.”

While some agents will take advantage of aspiring actors by demanding they pay to play, they should only get compensated when an actor is booked for a job they found. Alan wants parents to avoid such pitfalls.

Paradise Lost: Michael Kendall Kaplan & Shane McRae (from Sneaky Pete)

“Agents work hard to find auditions that are a good fit. Our job is to prepare the kids, have them do the best they can and send the recorded audition in quickly,” Alan explained.

“The agent sends it to the casting director,” David added.

When the boys book a job, the agents get a percentage of what they earn. This is agreed upon up front and is consistent across projects. “Their job is to negotiate the terms on your behalf when you book something and try to get the best deal for you,” Alan said.

Find a manager

More recently, the Kaplans brought on Child Actor Manager, Wendi Green of Atlas Artists in Los Angeles. “She gives us a lot of auditions in LA,” David said.

“We brought her on to advocate for them and get them some additional exposure in that market,” Alan said. “Our agent helped identify a few managers that were good prospects. We interviewed them, vice versa, and selected Wendi.”

The same type of contract is drawn up with a manager as with an agent. Actors will net less to pay both, but if a manager can open doors previously unavailable, it’s worth it.

“Their job is to use their contacts to get you additional work, to promote you behind the scenes both pre-consideration and post-consideration, particularly when it’s between you and a few other kids. Managers make calls to get you the best consideration possible for a project,” Alan elaborated.

Setting up lifelong lessons

Alan advises setting the tone and expectation with children upfront, and encouraging them to hang in. He also recommends consulting a trusted acquaintance with experience in the business when something seems too good to be true. “It’s probably not a real Disney audition after a $500 weekend class,” he said. Steer clear!

Sometimes it helps to be reminded why the family is going to such lengths. “When I’m ready to give up because I see how hard they’re working and something may not have hit for a while, that’s when they book something great,” Alan said. The boys have never expressed a desire to quit although Alan checks in with them on occasion to make sure.

Learning the value of persevering will serve them well throughout their lifetimes.

“Just be natural, be yourself. Never give up because if you give up, you’ll never book something,” David advised. “We film an audition and move on. If we get a callback, great. If we don’t get it, great.”

The Kaplans assure others that it’s a numbers game. If you keep doing it, eventually you’ll book something — that’s the reward.

Patrizia hails from Toronto, Canada where she earned an Honors B.A. in French and Italian studies at York University, and a B.Ed. at the University of Toronto. This trilingual former French teacher has called Georgia home since 1998. She and her family have enjoyed living, working and playing in Peachtree Corners since 2013.

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Arts & Literature

Local Students Show Off Their Artistic Creations

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Courtney Escorza, Colleen Nikopour, Laura Hwang, Jennifer Jackson, Norcross. Laura ELizabeth Martin, Payton Hirschmann, Paul Duke HS

From May 11 through May 18, the Norcross Gallery & Studios kicked off a fantastic exhibition, Reflections at Rectory, which showcased the works of 36 rising stars: AP and IB art students from our local high schools.

The opening reception celebrated their creativity and dedication. Gallery director Anne Hall presented a dozen awards generously sponsored by the community, a testament to the local support for these young artists.

One prestigious award, the Terri Enfield Memorial Award, holds special significance. 

Established by Terri’s daughters, it recognizes not just artistic excellence, but also leadership, work ethic and the spirit of collaboration. Last year’s winner, Aidan Ventimiglia, even played a part in selecting this year’s recipient Jasmine Rodriguez

Reflections at Rectory

Congratulations to all the student artists.

Students in the second annual Reflections at the Rectory exhibit

Norcross High School:

  • Gustavo Benumea-Sanchez
  • Maycol Cruz Padilla 
  • Dorie Liu
  • Harlet Martinez Castro
  • Paulina Santana
  • Gisela Rojas Medina
  • Clare Fass 
  • Ava Netherton
  • Ubaldo Diaz
  • Katia Navas-Juarez
  • Mariah Ingram 
  • Arisdelcy Juan
  • Max Kaiser
  • Dani Olaechea
  • Christina Bonacci 
  • Diana Ortiz Ventura 
  • Katie Yerbabuena-Padierna 

Paul Duke High School:

  • Adamu Abdul-Latif 
  • Salma Noor Alabdouni 
  • Samrin Zaman
  • Camryn Vinson 
  • Liz Damian
  • Cecelia Berenguer
  • Jasmine Rodriguez
  • Angelina Bae 
  • Dahyana Perez
  • Jonah Swerdlow
  • Kyra Allicock
  • Anni Brown 
  • Kaleb Fields 
  • Destiny Jones
  • Gabriela Leal-Argueta
  • Madisyn Mathis 
  • Ashley McDonough 
  • Ahtziri Pinones
  • Alondra Valiente-Torres

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Arts & Literature

Book, TV and Podcast Recommendations for this Summer

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Beat the heat this Summer with a good book, show or podcast. This year, Peachtree Corners Magazine received over 30 recommendations from more than a dozen city residents. There is something for everyone on this list, so let’s dive in.

Machine Made: Tammany Hall and the Creation of Modern American Politics
by Terry Golway  

This 400-page book offers readers a comprehensive and insightful exploration of one of the most influential political machines in American history. It provides valuable lessons and perspectives on the intersection of politics, power and society.

Turning Point: The Bomb and the Cold War
Stream on Netflix

This nine-part series offers viewers a thought-provoking exploration of one of the most consequential periods in modern history. It provides deep insights into the complexities of nuclear politics and the enduring legacy of the Cold War.

Fareed Zakaria GPS  
Listen on CNN Audio

This podcast comprehensively examines foreign affairs. It enhances a listener’s global awareness, fosters critical thinking and sheds light on complex issues shaping our world today.

Brian Johnson, City Manager for Peachtree Corners

Empowering Nurses Through Self-care: Unleashing Your Potential and Thriving in the Nursing Profession
by Audrey Boyce

Audrey Boyce offers a practical guide to help nurses find balance and fulfillment in their personal lives and professions. With a comprehensive overview of self-care strategies, this book is essential for nurses looking to recharge, reduce stress and increase job satisfaction.

The Go-Giver, Expanded Edition: A Little Story About a Powerful Business Idea by Bob Burg and John David Mann

The Go-Giver tells the story of Joe, an ambitious young man striving for success. Through Joe’s journey, this book imparts powerful lessons about the significance of giving, collaboration and building meaningful relationships in achieving success.

Special Ops: Lioness
Stream on Paramount+

The protagonist, Joe, attempts to balance her personal and professional life as the tip of the CIA’s spear in the war on terror. The Lioness Program enlists Cruz to operate undercover alongside Joe among the power brokers of State terrorism.

Money and Wealth
Listen on Apple Podcasts

In Money and Wealth, John Hope Bryant provides valuable insights into financial literacy and wealth-building strategies. With a clear and accessible approach, Bryant aims to empower listeners with practical knowledge to achieve financial stability and success.

Bobby Cobb, CEO of Cobb Global Outreach Inc.

1984 
by George Orwell

The new audio drama of George Orwell’s 1984 on Audible is nothing short of phenomenal. With a full cast of film stars and sound effects in stereo, you’ll feel like you’re actually in Oceania, being watched by Big Brother.

Jill Tew, local author of the forthcoming young adult dystopian novel The Dividing Sky

Enter Ghost 
by Isabella Hammad 

I recently read this and loved the writing. The author plays around with formatting between narrating the story and switching to the format of a play to show the dynamics between characters.

Ruwa Romman, Georgia State Representative

Seeing Eye Girl
by Beverly Armento

Beverly Armento’s account of her life in Seeing Eye Girl is truly remarkable. I was captivated by her story of resilience, strength and, ultimately, forgiveness. 

Erin Griffin, Norcross High School Foundation for Excellence Co-President

Never Enough: When Achievement Pressure Becomes Toxic – And What We Can Do About It
by Jennifer B. Wallace

This book presents research on how to raise healthy, joyful achievers in a hyper-competitive world. The author was a guest speaker at Greater Atlanta Christian’s (GAC) Parent Partnership Series this year, and we heard about the importance of children knowing that their intrinsic self-worth is not contingent solely upon external achievements. 

The Anxious Generation
by Jonathan Haidt

Discover the root causes behind the epidemic of today’s teen mental illness. With compelling data, Jonathan Haidt unveils the decline of play-based childhood and offers practical solutions for a healthier, more fulfilling upbringing. We have asked GAC faculty to add this to their personal summer reading list.

Dr. Scott Harsh, President of Greater Atlanta Christian School

Glad You’re Here
by Craig Cooper and Walker Hayes

Glad You’re Here tells the true, redemptive story of country music singer Walker Hayes and his unlikely friendship with pastor Craig Cooper. In alternating chapters, each individual shares their unique perspective on pivotal moments in their friendship, and the book reminded me to prioritize the patient and persistent cultivation of community.

Ann Cousins, Communications Director and Wesleyan School

The Boredom Experiment
Listen on Apple Podcasts

The Boredom Experiment, hosted by Jeremy and Ashley Parsons, is a short, heartfelt podcast series that documents and explores the effect of removing digital distractions and social media from their family’s lives for a year. 

Over eight episodes, they share their experiences and insights into how this experiment impacts their creativity, relationships and overall well-being. The Parson’s storytelling thoughtfully weaves together interviews, music and their musings in such a creative, personal way that makes it an absolute delight to listen to. 

The 1000 Hours Outside Podcast
Listen on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Youtube 

Digital Minimalism 
by Cal Newport 

Digital Minimalism advocates for a thoughtful and intentional approach to technology use. Newport argues that constant connectivity and digital distractions hinder productivity and well-being and encourages individuals to choose tools and habits that align with their values and long-term goals. In a digitally crowded world, this book was a needed reminder to be intentional with my time and strategic with how I use technology. 

Natalie Dettman, Creative Director at Wesleyan School

Sideline C.E.O.
by Marty Smith

While on this surface this book offers great wisdom from some of the most successful coaches of our time, it also provides a behind-the-scenes look at the lives of many people we admire. 

From learning about Greg Sankey figuring out how to lead the SEC through Covid as he sat on his front porch to Mack Brown processing through how to lead his football team through racial tensions at UNC, you realize that these men [and women] are normal human beings that face the same difficult choices as the rest of us. 

Not to mention, Marty Smith captures the lives and insight of these coaches in a fun, compelling way!

Practicing the Way
by John Mark Comer

New Kid
by Jerry Craft

Where Do We Go from Here
by Martin Luther King Jr.

Joseph Antonio, Middle School Principal at Wesleyan School

West with Giraffes
by Linda Rutledge

This is lightly based on a true story. It is the story of moving giraffes who survived a hurricane, were rescued in the Atlantic, and were carried cross-country to the San Diego Zoo. It is well-written, and the character development is fantastic. 

Crossing the country with two giraffes during the Depression created excitement in all the small struggling areas. The joy of those who had never dreamed of seeing a giraffe in real life will bring joy to anyone reading this book.

Housewives of True Crime
Listen on Apple Podcasts and Youtube

Moms and Mysteries
Listen on Apple Podcasts, iHeart Radio and Spotify 

Southern Fried Crime
Listen on Apple Podcasts and Youtube

Wiser than Me with Julia Louis-Dreyfus
Listen wherever you get your podcasts

Nancy Minor, The Nancy Minor Team

The Women 
by Kristen Hannah. 

A great read about the Army nurses in Vietnam. 

Laurie Rogers, The Nancy Minor Team

In The Woods
by Tana French

This book is a real page-turner. The author is a gifted writer, so even though it is a crime thriller, it reads like a novel. There are six books in the series, and I have read all of them.

Casefiles
Listen on Apple Podcasts and Spotify

This is a true crime podcast that has been around for several years. The stories are detailed and very interesting and cases are examined from all over the world. 

Shameka Allen, MBA, MA, CEO of Good Samaritan Health Centers of Gwinnett

Over the Edge of the World
by Laurence Bergreen

Over the Edge of the World is a captivating account of Magellan’s expedition around the world. We all know Magellan’s name but few of us know the rich details behind the adventure and how it unfolded. I was inspired by the courage and bravery of those who took part in the great Age of Exploration.

Arrested Development
Stream on Netflix

This is easily one of our favorite shows. My wife, Meredith, and I have watched and re-watched it so many times and still find it so hilariously funny. The show blends clever writing with quirky characters and intricate, running gags. There’s always money in the Banana Stand!

Dr. Death
Listen on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Wondery

This gripping true-crime podcast explores the shocking story of a dangerous surgeon. It’s a must-listen for its compelling narrative, deep investigative journalism and critical insights into medical malpractice and systemic failures. The podcast has since been made into a limited streaming TV series.

Scott Hilton, Georgia State Representative

Sleep Wrecked Kids
by Sharon Moore

This book explains how inadequate sleep affects children’s growth, development and learning. This is a great guide to creating better sleep routines. 

Healthy Sleep Happy Kid
by Meghna Dassani

This quick, easy read offers valuable insights into how sleep impacts a child’s health. It provides practical tips for improving your child’s sleep environment and habits and is a go-to resource for parents aiming to enhance their child’s sleep and overall wellness.

I can’t overstate the importance of good sleep habits for the overall well-being of your child and the entire household. Quality sleep is the foundation for happy, healthy kids and stress-free parents, setting the stage for the best possible summer with your family.

Dr. Gia Grannum, Board Certified Pediatric Dentist of Agape Pediatric Dentistry

The Measure
by Nikki Erlick

I recommend The Measure by Nikki Erlick, which is about to come out in paperback! It’s a great pick for summer reading or a book club!

Poured Over, the Barnes & Noble Podcast
Stream on the Barnes & Noble website and Apple Podcasts

Check out the Poured Over podcast for interviews with your favorite authors, book recommendations for your TBR pile and more.

Amanda Couch, Assistant Manager at Barnes & Noble at The Forum

Want even more recommendations? Check out last year’s list here.

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Arts & Literature

8 Theatrical Performances Coming to the Peachtree Corners Area

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Discover local theatrical performances: mystery, musicals, comedies, and Shakespeare in the Park. Support the arts with every ticket.
Photo by cottonbro studio

Mean Girls: High School Version
Thursday-Friday, April 11-12
Thursday and Friday, 6 p.m.; Saturday, 2 p.m.
Paul Duke STEM High School
5850 Peachtree Industrial Blvd., Norcross
Tickets: Adults, $12; students, $10 and children (ages 5 and under), $5

Adapted from Tina Fey’s hit 2004 film, the Mean Girls musical has been nominated for a staggering 12 Tony Awards. Now, Paul Duke STEM brings the high school version of the show to life.

Tickets are on sale and can be purchased here.

The Curse of the Hopeless Diamond
Thursday, April 18. 6:30 p.m.
Anna Balkan Jewelry and Gifts
51 S. Peachtree St., Norcross
Ticket: $25, includes snacks and one glass of wine

The audience-participation murder mystery is a fundraiser for Lionheart Theatre’s summer theatre camp for kids and teens; it’s being hosted by Anna Balkan and 45 South Coffee House.

About the show: Reginald and Daphne Potter are touring extensively, along with their world-famous Potter Diamond, in the company of four detectives. It’s well-known that the Potter Diamond is beautiful…and cursed!

Purchase tickets here.

Anastasia
Thursday-Sunday, April 25-28
Thursday and Friday, 7 p.m.; Saturday, 2 and 7 p.m.; Sunday, 3 p.m.
Valor Christian Academy
4755 Kimball Bridge Rd., Alpharetta
Tickets: $20 per person

About the show: Presented by CYT Atlanta, the show spans from the twilight of the Russian Empire to the euphoria of Paris in the 1920s as a brave young woman sets out to discover the mystery of her past. Pursued by a ruthless Soviet officer determined to silence her, Anya enlists the aid of a dashing con man and a lovable ex-aristocrat. Together they embark on an epic adventure to help her find home, love and family.

Click here to learn more.

Little Shop of Horrors
Thursday-Sunday, April 25-28
Thursday, Friday, Saturday, 7 p.m.; Sunday, 2 p.m.
Norcross High School
5300 Spalding Dr., Norcross
norcrosshigh.org, nhs-drama.com, 770-448-3674
Tickets: $10

About the show: A horror comedy rock musical, Little Shop of Horrors centers around a florist shop worker who raises a carnivorous plant that eats humans.

Secure your spot.

Seussical
Thursday-Saturday, May 2-4
Wesleyan School Powell Theatre
5405 Spalding Dr., Peachtree Corners
wesleyanschool.org, 770-448-7640

About the show: The fantastical, magical musical is based on the children’s stories of Dr. Seuss.

Discover more here.

Breaking Legs
May 3-19
Fridays and Saturdays, 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, May 18 and Sunday matinees, 2 p.m.
Lionheart Theatre Company
10 College St., Norcross
lionhearttheatre.org, 678-938-8518
Tickets: Adults, $18; students and seniors, $16

About the show: In this madcap comedy, an Italian restaurant is owned by a successful mobster and managed by his beautiful unmarried daughter. When the daughter’s former college professor asks for financial backing for a play he’s written about a murder, the three main Mafiosi are intrigued with the idea of producing a play. The daughter becomes enamored of the playwright who discovers, through the ‘accidental’ death of a lesser thug, that his backers are gangsters.

Find tickets here.

Finding Nemo JR
Friday-Sunday, May 10-12
Greater Atlanta Christian School King’s Gate Theatre
1575 Indian Trail Rd., Norcross
greateratlantachristian.org, 770-243-2000

About the show: The hour-long musical adaptation of the Pixar film features Marlin, a nervous clownfish who lives with his adventurous child, Nemo, in the Great Barrier Reef. When Nemo is carried off to Sydney, Marlin must overcome his fears and travel across the ocean to find him.

Learn more here.

Much Ado About Nothing
Saturday-Sunday, May 11-12
Saturday, 2 and 5 p.m.; Sunday, 3 p.m.
Simpsonwood Park
411 Jones Bridge Circle, Peachtree Corners
crewofpatches.org

About the show: Contemporary Classics Theatre presents Shakespeare’s romantic comedy May 11-26 at Simpsonwood Park in Peachtree Corners, Christ Church Episcopal in Norcross and Autrey Mill Nature Preserve in John’s Creek. Director Susanna Wilson’s version of the play is set in Italy during a 21st century film festival. Love at first sight, jealousy and confusion, an illegitimate sibling, mixed-up lovers, three weddings and a funeral fill this amusing look at love, betrayal and acceptance. Performances will be outside for a “Shakespeare in the Park” experience. Audience members should bring blankets and lawn chairs as no seating is provided. Shows run approximately 100 minutes with no intermission. 

Click here for more information.

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