During the early part of the coronavirus pandemic, Atlanta restaurateur Mitchell Anderson and former TV actor was doing what many of us were: Reflecting on life. The result is a ‘musical scrapbook of life at 60.’
As a sort of therapy, the former actor began writing, and soon had the concept and much of the content for a performance. Come November, lucky Atlanta audiences can see Anderson – who is also the chef-owner of MetroFresh – at Synchronicity Theatre for a limited run of You Better Call Your Mother, a cabaret-style evening of anecdotes and songs.
“When I walked off stage after going off-script and telling the audience I was gay at the 1996 GLAAD Awards in Los Angeles, I was advised – literally by someone I was passing as I left the stage, ‘You better call your mother,'” Anderson says. “At the time, I was a little bit famous after 10 years on television and I was playing a gay character on Party of Five. As it turned out, the spontaneous decision to ‘come out’ at that moment, made after years of trying to figure out how to live sort of in and sort of out of the closet, changed the trajectory of my life.”
That’s how, 25 years later, the now-60-year-old Anderson spent part of his COVID isolation writing about his life. In four performances in November, audiences will accompany a somewhat nerdy, over-achieving little boy who spent his school years trying to get elected class president and not disappoint his parents, as he comes to terms with being gay.
Anderson started his professional career as an actor while the AIDS crisis was raging in a very homophobic and closeted Hollywood. You Better Call Your Mother is a collection of monologues and songs that examines this journey and how, in the end, he discovered the only way to a full, happy, and productive life, was to claim and celebrate all of who he is.
Written and performed by Anderson, You Better Call Your Mother is directed by Atlanta theatre favorite Courtenay Collins, with musical direction by theatre veteran Bill Newberry. The 90-minute show is in two acts with a brief intermission, concessions available. Audiences will accompany Anderson from the warmth of his grandmother’s favor in Jamestown, NY, through early romances, star turns in Doogie Howser and The Karen Carpenter Story, realizing his father’s respect and finding love in Atlanta with his husband of 24 years, Richie Arpino.
Tickets are available now for the Nov. 4-7 show, with choices of three evening shows and one matinee performance, for $25.
Synchronicity Theatre is located at 1545 Peachtree Street, just North of Anderson’s second restaurant location, MetroFresh Uptown. Ticket holders can enjoy specially priced meals at both MetroFresh locations prior to the evening performances and before or after the matinee. Synchronicity’s COVID-19 Statement can be found here.