0

Southern icon to come to life at ART Station

"I love Grizzard's work," Bill Oberst Jr. said. "He and Woody Allen are the only people who've made me laugh out loud."

Oberst will reincarnate the late Southern author, newspaper columnist and humorist Lewis Grizzard in a performance he was chosen to give by Grizzard's widow and his manager just five years after the Southern cultural icon's death in 1994.

The 42-year-old has performed as Grizzard for more than 600 shows.

"Lewis Grizzard: In His Own Words" includes two acts, the first featuring Grizzard's stand-up comedy and the second featuring readings from his books and columns.

"It's a lot of laughs, a few tears and really good memories," Oberst said. "If you're over 40 and you grew up in the south, you'd probably really like it."

David Thomas, artistic director for ART Station, first saw Oberst perform as Grizzard at the Spoleto Festival in Charleston, S.C., Oberst's home state, nine years ago.

"His performance was amazing and the audience was truly spellbound," Thomas said. "It was as if Lewis Grizzard had come back from the grave. He was so good that it was a little eerie."

Thomas called Oberst after that performance to see if he would do a show at ART Station. Oberst agreed and has performed sold out shows in Stone Mountain for eight consecutive years.

"Bill knows all of Lewis' material and his show is never the same," Thomas said. "It has the same structure, but you never know what 'Lewis' might come up with during the course of the evening. That's why people return to the show year after year and sometimes night after night."

Oberst will perform his show, "Lewis Grizzard: In His Own Words," at 8 p.m. today and Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday. ART Station is located at 5384 Manor Drive in Stone Mountain.

"It's one of my very favorite theaters because it's so intimate," Oberst said of ART Station. "It's a one-man show and its success depend entirely on the audience feeling like they're just sitting down with this guy."

Ticket prices for Oberst's three remaining performances range from $21 to $27.

"You'd be very hard pressed to find someone as talented as Bill," Thomas said, "and we've been so lucky to share his talents with our audiences for eight years."

SideBar: If you go

What: "Lewis Grizzard: In His Own Words,"

performed by Bill Oberst Jr.

When: 8 p.m. today and Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday

Where: ART Station, 5384 Manor Drive, Stone Mountain

Cost: $21 to $27

For more information: Call 770-469-1105 or visit www.artstation.org