Dante Santacroce

At the close of its 44th season in Spring 2014, the curtain will fall on Atlanta’s longest-running community theater, The Underground Theatre. Founded in the fall of 1970 by Dante and Mary Nell Santacroce, by the end of its run the theatre will have produced 85 comedies and dramas in the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Atlanta’s (UUCA’s) downstairs space.

The Underground Theatre has specialized in revivals of Broadway’s “golden oldies,” including classics by Jean Paul Sartre, Lillian Hellman, Arthur Miller and Thornton Wilder. In recent years it has added a few contemporary plays to the mix: David Auburn’s 2001 Pulitzer Prize-winner Proof, Edward Albee’s modern classic A Delicate Balance, and acclaimed writer A.R. Gurney’s Love Letters.  This fall’s presentation of The Glass Menagerie, which will be staged Nov. 14-23, will be the theatre’s first and only production of a Tennessee Williams play. The name of the final play will be announced soon.

The Santacroces are theater legends in Atlanta. The late Mary Nell is probably best known for her role as Daisy Werthan on the Atlanta stage and international touring production of Driving Miss Daisy. Dante, an architect by trade, had acted on the side, performing with The Theatre Guild, The Civic Theatre and Georgia Tech’s DramaTech, but before co-founding The Underground Theatre, had never directed. He wound up shepherding the theatre through its 44 seasons.

A celebration of the theatre and its founders is set for April 11, 2014. More details are to be announced. For more information about the theatre or the church, go to uuca.org.

Collin Kelley

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.

3 replies on “Underground Theatre to close after 44th season”

  1. Thank you so much for posting this, Collin. Many years ago I was in a play that Dante directed there called “Separate Tables.” It was a wonderful experience; and I was so young! But I had the good fortune to know both Dante and the legendary Mary Nell. I’m saddened that Underground is leaving us. But what a run! Sic transit gloria (I think that’s right.)

  2. Thank you so much for posting this, Collin. Many years ago I was in a play that Dante directed there called “Separate Tables.” It was a wonderful experience; and I was so young! But I had the good fortune to know both Dante and the legendary Mary Nell. I’m saddened that Underground is leaving us. But what a run! Sic transit gloria (I think that’s right.)

  3. Thank you so much for posting this, Collin. Many years ago I was in a play that Dante directed there called “Separate Tables.” It was a wonderful experience; and I was so young! But I had the good fortune to know both Dante and the legendary Mary Nell. I’m saddened that Underground is leaving us. But what a run! Sic transit gloria (I think that’s right.)

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