BEST BETS | Jan. 10-16, 2019

TessMalisKincaid

WELCOME TO OUR weekly curated column. Nora returns as the delicious Aurora Theatre / Actor’s Express co-pro of “A Doll’s House, Part 2” begins its Lawrenceville run. Among other notables: a one-night-only “Della’s Diner” reunion; and the approaching “Ever After” (Alliance) and  “Unexpected Play Festival” (Theatrical Outfit). Pictured: Tess Malis Kincaid as Nora Helmer in “Part 2.” Photo by Casey Gardner.

Recommended

Clarinetist Laura Ardan (left) and vocal soloists Sasha Cook, Joseph Lattanzi.

Clarinetist Laura Ardan (left) and vocal soloists Sasha Cook, Joseph Lattanzi.

All Bernstein. THURSDAY + SATURDAY ONLY.

Guest conductor Christopher Allen leads the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and two soloists in a program dedicated to the music of Leonard Bernstein (1918-1990). Expect to hear Symphonic Dances from West Side Story plus music from the composer’s 1971 Mass and the Broadway shows On the Town, Wonderful Town and Peter Pan. Soloists Sasha Cooke (mezzo-soprano) and Joseph Lattanzi (baritone) join the ASO, and principal clarinetist Laura Ardan is featured.

$22-$99. 8 nightly. Symphony Hall, Woodruff Arts Center, 1280 Peachtree St. NE. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.733.5000.

DellasDiner

Della’s Diner: Blue Plate Special. SATURDAY ONLY.

Tickets are going fast for this reunion show, which recalls Atlanta’s 1970s and ’80s cabaret heyday. You might know Morning Glory Mountain and the characters Della, daughter Ramona, country singer Connie Sue Day, Ricky Jim Robinson and Sheriff Ronnie Frank Flaugher from Libby Whittemore’s club act or Christmas shows. She returns for one more chapter in the musical comedy soap opera, as do singer-actor Megan McFarland and creator Tom Edwards. For the uninitiated, Della is the sassy, big-hearted café owner who dispenses love, wisdom and moral advice to the parade of oddballs who visit her small-town diner. There will be a whole lot goin’ on. 

$40. 8 p.m. Out Front Theatre999 Brady Ave. NW in West Midtown. Details HERE. Online tickets no longer available. Call the box office at 404.448.2755.

ADollsHousePart2

A Doll’s House, Part 2. OPENS THURSDAY.

Aurora Theatre takes its turn with this stunning Actor’s Express co-production, a sequel of sorts to master dramatist Henrik Ibsen’s 1879 classic, A Doll’s House (but you needn’t know that piece to enjoy this one). Well-known contemporary playwright Lucas Hnath’s Part 2 takes place 15 years after wife and mother Nora Helmer (Tess Malis Kincaid) leaves her husband and family to seek independence unheard of in her day. Now she’s knocking to get back in and ask a huge favor. The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, W Magazine and Time Out New York all called Part 2 the best play of Broadway’s 2017 season. It’s smart, funny and modern. Joining Kincaid onstage are Rob ClevelandShelli Delgado and Deadra Moore. AE artistic director Freddie Ashley directed.

$20 and up. Through Feb. 10. 8 p.m. Tuesday-Friday; 2:30 + 8 p.m. Saturday; 2:30 p.m. Sunday. Also at 10 a.m. Jan. 22. Aurora offers free, covered, attached parking in a city deck at 153 E. Crogan St. Details HERE or at 678.226.6222. Discount tickets at PoshDealz.com.

Opening this weekend

Moonlight&Magnolias

Moonlight & Magnolias. OPENS THURSDAY.

At Georgia Ensemble TheatreFrankly, my dear, it almost didn’t happen. Playwright Ron Hutchinson’s 2004 inside-Hollywood farce peeks behind the camera as producer-screenwriter David O. Selznick, director Victor Fleming and screenwriter Ben Hecht lock themselves in an office with a five-day supply of peanuts and bananas trying to rescue a disastrous 1939 movie. The title: Gone With the Wind. Great cast: William S. Murphey is Selznick, Bart Hansard is Fleming, and Googie Uterhardt is Hecht. All are Atlanta actors. Note: Contains mature language and content. 

$26-$40. Through Jan. 27. 7:30 p.m. Wednesday; 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday; 2:30 p.m. Sunday. Also at 4 p.m. Jan. 19 + 26. GET performs in the Roswell Cultural Arts Center, 959 Forrest St. Details, tickets HERE or at 770.641.1260. Discount tickets at PoshDealz.com

Last chance

MillionDollarQuartet

Million Dollar Quartet. CLOSES SATURDAY.

Georgia Ensemble Theatre reprises its popular staging and moves it to the Conant Performing Arts Center at Oglethorpe University. Return to Dec. 4, 1956, the first and only time in history that Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins made music together. The spot was Sun Records in Memphis. The score includes “Blue Suede Shoes,” “Fever,” “Sixteen Tons,” “Great Balls of Fire,” “Walk the Line,” “Folsom Prison Blues,” “Hound Dog” and 15 more. Chris Damiano directs, music directs and plays Cash, with Alex Canty as Elvis, Christopher Kent as Perkins and Sean McGibbon as Lewis.

$35-$40. 8 p.m. Thursday-Friday; 4 + 8 p.m. Saturday. The Conant is at 4484 Peachtree Road N.E. Details, tickets HERE or at 770.641.1260 (do not call the Conant box office).

Still running

ShakespeareTavernPlayhouse

Love’s Labour’s Lost. THROUGH JAN. 27.

At Shakespeare Tavern Playhouse. Can four young men honor their pledge to avoid the opposite sex, food, drink and sleep in order to become more intellectual and contemplative? Not in Shakespeare’s comedy, especially after four young women arrive on the scene. The cast: Tatyana Arrington, Kelly Criss, Chris Hecke, Amanda LindseySarah Newby Halicks, Tamil Periasamy, Cory Phelps and J.L. Reed, among others. Georgia Gwinnett College’s Jaclyn Hofmann directs.

$22-$45. 7:30 p.m. Thursday-Saturday; 6:30 p.m. Sunday. Food and drink, including libations, available. 499 Peachtree St. NE (parking suggested in the Emory University Hospital Midtown deck across the street). Details, tickets HERE or at 404.874.5299.

Next week

EverAfter

Ever After. BEGINS JAN. 15.

This musical update on the Cinderella story christens the Alliance Theatre’s new mainstage, the Coca-Cola Stage. The show is based on the 1998 Drew Barrymore movie (and the original 1729 fairy tale). Follow a young woman named Danielle de Barbarac, who risks everything to save a friend. With the help of Leonardo da Vinci (yes, da Vinci), she must decide who she is, what she’ll fight for and how far she’ll go for love. The show comes from the award-winning New York songwriting team of Zina Goldrich (music) and Marcy Heisler (book and lyrics). Alliance artistic director Susan V. Booth directs. Her 30-person cast is led by Broadway regulars Sierra Boggess (The Little Mermaid, School of Rock); Tony Award nominee David Garrison (A Day in Hollywood/A Night in the Ukraine); Jeff McCarthy (Urinetown, Side Show); and Rachel York (Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Head Over Heels). Also in the cast: Atlanta-based artists Terry Burrell (Ethel, Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill), Chris Kayser (Alliance, Georgia Shakespeare) and Rhyn McLemore Saver. We smell Broadway aspirations.

$25 and up. Through Feb. 17. 7:30 p.m. Wednesday-Thursday; 8 p.m. Friday; 2:30 + 8 p.m. Saturday; and 2:30 + 7:30 p.m. Sunday. Also at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 15 + 29. No shows Feb. 3. Woodruff Arts Center, 1280 Peachtree St. NE. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.733.5000.

[NO PUMPKINS IN THIS CINDERELLA STORY]

 

Johannes Moser

Johannes Moser

Shostakovich + Bernstein. JAN. 17 + 19.

Music director Robert Spano leads the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra in Dmitri Shostakovich’s “Leningrad” Symphony, a defiant and tuneful 1941 piece that was smuggled out of Russia during Hitler’s 900-day siege of the city. German-Canadian cellist Johannes Moser joins the ASO for Leonard Bernstein’s Three Meditations from Mass. Thursday’s concert includes a 6:45 p.m. chamber recital open to ticket holders for either night.

$22-$98. At 8 nightly. Symphony Hall, Woodruff Arts Center, 1280 Peachtree St. NE. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.733.5000. Discount tickets at PoshDealz.com.

The Unexpected Play Festival. JAN. 14-15. See three staged readings in two days at Theatrical Outfit. $10 per reading; $25 for all three. Balzer Theater at Herren’s, 84 Luckie St. NW. Details, tickets HERE or at 678.528.1500. The lineup …

TheUnexpectedPlayFestival
  •         Noon Jan. 14: If I Forget by Steven Levenson (Dear Evan Hansen). Three Jewish siblings gather for their father’s 75th birthday and negotiate how much of the past they’re willing to sacrifice for a chance at a new beginning. The cast includes Andrew BenatorLane Carlock and Brian Kurlander. Outfit education director Mira Hirsch directs.

  •           7:30 p.m. Jan. 14: Gershwin’s America. Concert pianist Alpin Hong interprets George Gershwin songs in a one-man tale about music, being a second-generation immigrant and what it means to be American. Presented in partnership with New York’s Flying Carpet Theatre Company. Flying Carpet artistic director Adam Koplan directs.

  •           7:30 p.m. Jan. 15: Bellwether by Steve Yockey. A 6-year-old girl’s disappearance uncovers what’s really beneath the surface in her nice, safe surburban town. The cast includes Suehyla El-Attar, Eliana Marianes, Diany Rodriguez and Joe Sykes. Outfit associate artistic director Clifton Guterman directs.

Coming up

K2

K2. JAN. 25-FEB. 9.

From Catalyst Arts Atlanta. Two climbers are stranded at 27,000 feet on their descent from an expedition to the peak of the world’s second-highest mountain. One has a broken leg; the other is trying to recover a lost rope. Playwright Patrick Meyers’ drama uses mountain climbing as a metaphor to explore a deeper theme: the recognition that human beings are free to choose whether they will live or die and do so calmly and objectively, even under the most severe conditions. The cast: Joel Coady and Dan Ford. Barrett Doyle directs. Catalyst, a six-person collective of Atlanta-based artists, storytellers, performers, designers, musicians, craftspeople and filmmakers, stages the piece in an immersive format that includes wandering through a snow-covered base camp in which sherpa tea will be served, a camp speakeasy for drinks and a cliffside environment. 

$15-$25 plus fees. 8 p.m. Monday and Thursday-Saturday; 2:30 p.m. Sunday. In the Hangar space at The Bakery Atlanta825 Warner St. SW. Details, tickets HERE.

Neal A. Ghant. Photo: Kevin Harry

Neal A. Ghant. Photo: Kevin Harry

An Octoroon. JAN. 26-FEB. 24.

At Actor’s Express. An imaginative new work from Branden Jacobs-Jenkins  (2016’s Appropriate) turns 19th-century melodrama on its ear. The script, which won off-Broadway’s 2014 Obie Award for best new play, puts the antebellum South on a collision course with 21st-century cultural politics. Trouble has been brewing at the Terrebonne Plantation ever since Judge Peyton died. Money is low, an evil overseer is up to no good, and the heir to the estate is in love with the wrong person. Jacobs-Jenkins, 33, is a MacArthur Foundation “genius” grantee and has twice been nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. Donya K. Washington, an Alliance Theatre producer, directs. Her cast of 11 includes Isake Akanke (Cardboard Piano), Neal A. Ghant (The Motherf**ker With the Hat) and Parris Sarter (Angels in America). 

$20-$50 and subject to change based on demand. 8 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday; 2 p.m. Sunday. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.607.7469. Discount tickets at PoshDealz.com.

fashionado

BEST BETS | Jan. 3-9, 2019

LeonardoBernstein

THE ATLANTA SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA continues its Leonard Bernstein celebration on Jan. 10 + 12; “Love’s Labour’s Lost” opens at the Shakespeare Tavern; and Georgia Ensemble’s “Million Dollar Quartet” continues at Oglethorpe University. Just ahead: a “Della’s Diner” reunion, the Alliance’s Cinderella-themed “Ever After” and “A Doll’s House, Part 2,” which moves to Aurora Theatre. Pictured: The great Leonard Bernstein (Los Angeles Times). 

Opening this weekend BEST BETS | Jan. 3-9, 2019

Tatyana Arrington (from left), Amanda Lindsey, Chris Hecke, Sarah Newby Halicks, Kelly Criss.

Tatyana Arrington (from left), Amanda Lindsey, Chris Hecke, Sarah Newby Halicks, Kelly Criss.

Love’s Labour’s Lost. BEGINS THURSDAY.

Shakespeare Tavern Playhouse. Can four young men honor their pledge to avoid the opposite sex, food, drink and sleep in order to become more intellectual and contemplative? Not in Shakespeare’s comedy, especially after four young women arrive on the scene. Leading the merry predicament are Tatyana Arrington, Kelly Criss, Chris Hecke, Amanda LindseySarah Newby Halicks, Tamil Periasamy, Cory Phelps and J.L. Reed. Georgia Gwinnett College’s Jaclyn Hofmann directs.

$15 preview Thursday; $20 preview Friday. Regularly $22-$45. Through Jan. 27. 7:30 p.m. Thursday-Saturday; 6:30 p.m. Sunday. Food and drink, including libations, available. 499 Peachtree St. NE (parking suggested in the Emory University Hospital Midtown deck across the street). Details, tickets HERE or at 404.874.5299.

Last chance

TheSnowQueen

The Snow Queen. CLOSES SUNDAY. 

At Serenbe Playhouse. The Hans Christian Andersen tale gets a site-specific, outdoor telling that emphasizes its wintry nature. Young Gerda fights fear on a journey to save her brother from the icy lady’s evil magic. Audiences travel with the actors (without seating). 

Request chairs or mobility assistance through the box office. Note: This is the queen’s fifth and final season. Serenbe plans to debut a new holiday show next season.

$25-$30; $13 or $15 children. 2 + 5 p.m. Thursday-Friday and Sunday; 2, 5 + 7 p.m. Saturday. GPS address: 10640 Serenbe Lane,  Chattahoochee Hills, GA 30268. Details, tickets HERE or at 770.463.1110.

This weekend only

RockofAges

Rock of Ages. THURSDAY-FRIDAY.

A 10th anniversary tour of the Broadway show visits the Fox Theatre and revisits the towering anthems and power ballads that made the sounds of the 1980s indelible. Think Styx, Journey, Bon Jovi, Pat Benatar, Twisted Sister and Foreigner, among others.

The 32-song score includes “I Wanna Rock,” “We’re Not Gonna Take It,” “To Be With You,” “Here I Go Again,” “Any Way You Want It” and “Don’t Stop Believing.” The Broadway original ran six years and earned five Tony Award nominations.

 $30-$106. 8 nightly. 660 Peachtree St. NE. Details, tickets HERE or at 855.285.8499.

[A LOVE LETTER TO THEATER, ROCK ‘N’ ROLL]

 

Still running

Chris Damiano. Photo: Cayce Calloway

Chris Damiano. Photo: Cayce Calloway

Million Dollar Quartet. THROUGH JAN. 12.

 Georgia Ensemble Theatre reprises its popular staging and takes it to the Conant Performing Arts Center at Oglethorpe University. Return to Dec. 4, 1956, the magical day that Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins made music together — for the first and only time ever — at Sun Records in Memphis.

The score includes “Blue Suede Shoes,” “Fever,” “Sixteen Tons,” “Great Balls of Fire,” “Walk the Line,” “Folsom Prison Blues,” “Hound Dog” and 15 more. Chris Damiano directs, music directs and plays Cash, with Alex Canty as Elvis, Christopher Kent as Perkins and Sean McGibbon as Lewis.

$35-$40. 8 p.m. Thursday-Friday; 4 + 8 p.m. Saturday; 2:30 p.m. Sunday. The Conant is at 4484 Peachtree Road N.E. Details, tickets HERE or at 770.641.1260 (do not call the Conant box office).

Just ahead

AllBernstein

All Bernstein. JAN. 10 + 12 ONLY.

Guest conductor Christopher Allen leads the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and two soloists in a program dedicated to the music of Leonard Bernstein (1918-1990). Expect to hear Symphonic Dances from West Side Story plus music from the composer’s 1971 Mass and the Broadway shows On the Town, Wonderful Town and Peter Pan. Soloists Sasha Cooke (mezzo-soprano) and Joseph Lattanzi (baritone) join the ASO, and principal clarinetist Laura Ardan is featured. 

$22-$99. 8 nightly. Symphony Hall, Woodruff Arts Center, 1280 Peachtree St. NE. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.733.5000. Discount tickets at PoshDealz.com.

DellasDiner

Della’s Diner: Blue Plate Special. JAN. 12 ONLY.

Tickets going fast for this reunion show, which dates to Atlanta’s 1970s and ’80s cabaret heyday. You also may know the characters — Della, daughter Ramona, country singer Connie Sue Day, Ricky Jim Robinson and Sheriff Ronnie Frank Flaugher — and Morning Glory Mountain from Libby Whittemore’s club act or Christmas shows. She returns for one more chapter in the musical comedy soap opera, as do singer-actor Megan McFarland and creator Tom Edwards. For the uninitiated, Della is the sassy, big-hearted café owner who dispenses love, wisdom and moral advice to the parade of oddballs who visit her small-town diner. Rest assured, there will be a whole lot goin’ on. 

$40. 8 p.m. Out Front Theatre999 Brady Ave. NW in West Midtown. Details, tickets HERE.

Tess Malis Kincaid, Rob Cleveland. Photo: Casey Gardner

Tess Malis Kincaid, Rob Cleveland. Photo: Casey Gardner

A Doll’s House, Part 2. JAN. 10-FEB. 10.

 Aurora Theatre gets its turn with this stunning Actor’s Express co-production, a sequel of sorts to master dramatist Henrik Ibsen’s 1879 classic, A Doll’s House (but you needn’t know that piece to enjoy this one). Well-known contemporary playwright Lucas Hnath’s Part 2 takes place 15 years after wife and mother Nora Helmer (Tess Malis Kincaid) leaves her husband and family to seek out independence unheard of in that day. Now she’s knocking to get back in and ask a big favor. The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, W Magazine and Time Out New York all described Part 2 as the best play of Broadway’s 2017 season. It’s smart, funny and modern. Joining Kincaid onstage are Rob ClevelandShelli Delgado and Deadra Moore. AE artistic director Freddie Ashley directed.

$20 and up. 8 p.m. Tuesday-Friday; 2:30 + 8 p.m. Saturday; 2:30 p.m. Sunday. Also at 10 a.m. Jan. 22. Aurora offers free, covered, attached parking in a city deck at 153 E. Crogan St. Details, tickets HERE or at 678.226.6222. Discount tickets at PoshDealz.com.

Creators Zina Goldrich (left) and Marcy Heisler.

Creators Zina Goldrich (left) and Marcy Heisler.

Ever After. JAN. 15-FEB. 17.

This musical update on the Cinderella story christens the Alliance Theatre’s new mainstage, named the Coca-Cola Stage. It’s based on the 1998 Drew Barrymore movie (and the original 1729 fairy tale). Follow a young woman named Danielle de Barbarac, who risks everything to save a friend. With the help of Leonardo da Vinci (yes, da Vinci), she must decide who she is, what she’ll fight for and how far she’ll go for love. The musical comes from the award-winning songwriting team of Zina Goldrich (music) and Marcy Heisler(book and lyrics). Alliance artistic director Susan V. Booth directs. Her 30-person cast is led by Broadway regulars Sierra Boggess (The Little Mermaid, School of Rock); Tony Award nominee David Garrison (A Day in Hollywood/A Night in the Ukraine); Jeff McCarthy (Urinetown, Side Show); and Rachel York (Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Head Over Heels). Also in the cast: Atlanta-based artists Terry Burrell (Ethel, Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill), Chris Kayser (Alliance, Georgia Shakespeare) and Rhyn McLemore Saver. This show has the scent of Broadway-bound about it.

$25 and up. 7:30 p.m. Wednesday-Thursday; 8 p.m. Friday; 2:30 + 8 p.m. Saturday; and 2:30 + 7:30 p.m. Sunday. Also at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 15 + 29. No shows Feb. 3. Woodruff Arts Center, 1280 Peachtree St. NE. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.733.5000.

[NO PUMPKINS IN THIS CINDERELLA STORY]

William S. Murphey (left), Bart Hansard, Googie Uterhardt.

William S. Murphey (left), Bart Hansard, Googie Uterhardt.

Moonlight & Magnolias. JAN. 10-27. 

Georgia Ensemble Theatre. Playwright Ron Hutchinson’s 2004 inside-Hollywood farce peeks behind the camera as producer-screenwriter David O. Selznick, director Victor Fleming and screenwriter Ben Hecht lock themselves in an office with a five-day supply of peanuts and bananas trying to rescue a disastrous 1939 movie. Its title: Gone With the Wind. Great cast: William S. Murphey is Selznick, Bart Hansard is Fleming and Googie Uterhardt is Hecht. All are Atlanta actors. Note: Contains mature language and content. 

$26-$40. 7:30 p.m. Wednesday; 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday; 2:30 p.m. Sunday. Also at 4 p.m. Jan. 19 + 26. GET performs in the Roswell Cultural Arts Center, 959 Forrest St. Details, tickets HERE or at 770.641.1260. Discount tickets at PoshDealz.com.

Brandon Jacobs-Jenkins

Brandon Jacobs-Jenkins

An Octoroon. JAN. 26-FEB. 24. 

Actor’s Express. An imaginative new work from Branden Jacobs-Jenkins  (2016’s Appropriate) turns 19th-century melodrama on its ear in what’s being called a riotous romp. The script puts the antebellum South, says the Express, on a collision course with 21st-century cultural politics. The piece won off-Broadway’s 2014 Obie Award for best new play. The plot: Trouble has been brewing at the Terrebonne Plantation ever since Judge Peyton died. Money is low, an evil overseer is up to no good, and the heir to the estate is in love with the wrong person. Jacobs-Jenkins, 33, is a MacArthur Foundation “genius” grantee and has twice been nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. Donya K. Washington, an Alliance Theatre producer, directs. Her cast of 11 includes Isake Akanke (Cardboard Piano), Neal A. Ghant (The Motherf**ker With the Hat) and Parris Sarter (Angels in America). 

$20-$50 and subject to change based on demand. 8 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday; 2 p.m. Sunday. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.607.7469. Discount tickets at PoshDealz.com.

TheUnexpectedPlayFestival

The Unexpected Play Festival. JAN. 14-15.

See three staged readings in two days at Theatrical Outfit. In If I Forget by Steven Levenson (noon Jan. 14), three Jewish siblings gather for their father’s 75th birthday and negotiate how much of the past they’re willing to sacrifice for a chance at a new beginning. The cast includes Andrew BenatorLane Carlock and Brian Kurlander. Outfit education director Mira Hirsch directs. In Gershwin’s America (7:30 p.m. Jan. 14), concert pianist Alpin Hong interprets George Gershwin songs in a one-man tale about music, being a second-generation immigrant and what it means to be American. Presented in partnership with New York’s Flying Carpet Theatre Company. Flying Carpet artistic director Adam Koplan directs. In Bellwether by Steve Yockey, (7:30 p.m. Jan. 15), a 6-year-old girl’s disappearance uncovers what’s really beneath the surface in her nice, safe surburban town. The cast includes Suehyla El-Attar, Eliana Marianes, Diany Rodriguez and Joe Sykes. Outfit associate artistic director Clifton Guterman directs. $10 per reading; $25 for all three. Balzer Theater at Herren’s, 84 Luckie St. NW. Details, tickets HERE or at 678.528.1500.

fashionado

BEST BETS | Dec. 20-31, 2018

NUT-2018-Jacob-Bush-Jackie-Nash-w-chicks-Gene-Schiavone.jpg

WELCOME TO OUR LAST COLUMN of the year. With it, a jolly holiday to all. Many holiday shows exit after this weekend, although four hold onto a bit longe (“Christmas Carol Experience,” “Frog and Toad,” “Rudolph,” “Snow Queen”). Then set your sleigh’s GPS for some of the bigger openings of the season: “A Doll’s House, Part 2” (Aurora); “Ever After” (Alliance); and “An Octoroon” (Actor’s Express). Pictured: The Dolls and Officer Dolls of Atlanta Ballet’s “The Nutcracker.” Photo by David Woolfe. 

Holiday shows: Last chance 

Cecil Washington Jr., Briana Young. Photo: Chris Bartelski

Cecil Washington Jr., Briana Young. Photo: Chris Bartelski

Christmas Canteen. CLOSES DEC. 23. Recommended.

 Aurora Theatre wraps its 23rd original holiday revue with a singing, dancing cast of eight that channels the golden days of TV Christmas specials (think Bing Crosby and Andy Williams) and mixes in a few contemporary moves to create a show that will have you glowing with the magic of the season. Ricardo Aponte and Anthony P. Rodriguez co-direct. Aponte choreographs, with musical direction by Ann-Carol Pence, who also performs. The merrymakers are Galen Crawley, Jimi Kocina, Christian Magby, Kristin Markiton, Chani Maisonet, Kenny Tran, Cecil Washington Jr. and Briana Young. Check the Aurora website for sold-out dates before you go. $30 and up. 8 p.m. Thursday-Friday; 2:30 + 8 p.m. Saturday; and 2:30 p.m. Sunday. Aurora offers free, covered, attached parking in a city deck at 153 E. Crogan St. Details, tickets HERE or at 678.226.6222.

Courtney Patterson, David de Vries. Photo: Greg Mooney

Courtney Patterson, David de Vries. Photo: Greg Mooney

A Christmas Carol. CLOSES CHRISTMAS EVE.

The biggest “bah humbug” of them all winds down. The Alliance Theatre has taken its musical, multicultural telling (by one-time associate artistic director David H. Bell) to Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre for a second season of family-friendly revelry. David de Vries returns as Ebenezer Scrooge. He’s joined by such familiar faces as Neal A. Ghant (Bob Cratchit); Bart Hansard (Fezziwig, Ghost of Christmas Present); and Courtney Patterson(Ghost of Christmas Past). Rosemary Newcott again directs. The caroling is gorgeous. Note: Metal detectors are in place for every performance, so allow extra time to enter the venue.

$14-$115. 8 p.m. Thursday-Friday; 2:30 + 8 p.m. Saturday; 2:30 + 7:30 p.m. Sunday; 2:30 p.m. Monday. 2800 Cobb Galleria Parkway, Atlanta. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.733.5000. Discount tickets at PoshDealz.com.

[DIRECTOR ROSEMARY NEWCOTT GOES ‘CAROL’-ING ONE MORE TIME]

 

Libby Whittemore

Libby Whittemore

Ho, Ho, Home for the Holidays and a Connie Sue Day Christmas. CLOSES DEC. 23. Recommended.

Singer and funny lady Libby Whittemore returns to Actor’s Express with her 10th edition of this happy holiday songfest. It dates back even further, though, to her entrepreneurial days as the headliner at Buckhead’s late, great Libby’s, A Cabaret. She’s joined, as always, by Connie Sue Day, the 31st Lady of Country Music. Expect holiday classics old and new (“Hard Candy Christmas,” “River”), novelty tunes (“Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree”) and perhaps a verse or two penned by Connie Sue herself. You’ll hear plenty at the two-hour show and go home merry and bright. Just beware of Connie Sue’s Dynel wig.

$40. 7:30 p.m. Friday-Sunday. Actor’s Express is in the King Plow Arts Center, 887 W. Marietta St. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.607.7469.

Jonathan Horne, Amelia Fischer. Photo: David Woolf

Jonathan Horne, Amelia Fischer. Photo: David Woolf

Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley. CLOSES DEC. 23. Recommended. 

Theatrical Outfit reprises its 2017 holiday hit with a script by Decatur-born, San Francisco-based playwright Lauren Gunderson and colleague Margot Melcon. This witty sequel to Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice focuses on socially awkward sister Mary and a potential romantic entanglement. Miss Bennet is the fourth-most-popular play in America this season, with productions at 13 theaters nationwide. Notable Atlanta theater artist Carolyn Cook directs the Outfit staging. Amelia Fischer and Jonathan Horne return as Mary Bennet and Arthur De Bourgh. Also returning are Devon Hales and Juan Carlos Unzueta. New to the cast are Stephanie Friedman,Jeanette IllidgeJasmine Thomas and Justin Walker

$18-$51 plus fees. 7:30 p.m. Thursday-Saturday; 2:30 p.m. Sunday. The Outfit performs downtown at the Balzer Theater at Herren’s, 84 Luckie St. NW. Details, tickets HERE or at 678.528.1500.

Jonathan Horne, Amelia Fischer. Photo: David Woolf

Jonathan Horne, Amelia Fischer. Photo: David Woolf

The Nutcracker. CLOSES CHRISTMAS EVE. Recommended. Atlanta Ballet‘s first new Nutcracker in 23 seasons is a $3.7 million staging choreographed by Russian-born Yuri Possokhov, an old friend and colleague of artistic director Gennadi Nedvigin. It returns to the original source material: German author E.T.A. Hoffmann’s 1816 fantasy story “Nutcracker and Mouse King,” and sets the opening Christmas Eve party in a small German village. Look for new scenic, costume and lighting designs as well as projections to tell the story of a little girl named Marie and her come-to-life Nutcracker Prince. $35-$140. 7:30 p.m. Thursday-Saturday; 2 + 7 p.m. Sunday; 1 p.m. Christmas Eve. Fox Theatre, 660 Peachtree St. NE. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.892.3303.

Jacob Bush and Jackie Nash (standing) with their chicks. Photo: Gene Schiavone

[A NUTCRACKER FOR A NEW GENERATION]

Jeremy Aggers. Photo: Chris Bartelski

Jeremy Aggers. Photo: Chris Bartelski

This Wonderful Life. CLOSES DEC. 23.

New this season. This one-man version of the Jimmy Stewart film classic joins Aurora Theatre’s holiday lineup. Jeremy Aggers (Singles in Architecture, Hands on a Hardbody) plays everybody — George Bailey, Clarence, Mr. Potter, Uncle Billy, Mary, Mr. Gower, Zuzu, etc. The script is by playwright Steve Murray (whom you might know from his days as an Atlanta Journal-Constitution critic). In repertory with the company’s one-man Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol (featuring producing artistic director Anthony P. Rodriguez). Associate artistic director Justin Anderson directs. $20. Three performances remain: 8 p.m. Dec. 20 + 22; 2:30 p.m. Dec. 23. Aurora offers free, covered, attached parking in a city deck at 153 E. Crogan St. Details, tickets HERE or at 678.226.6222. Discount tickets at PoshDealz.com.

Holiday shows: Still running

Daniel Burns (left), Jordan Patrick, Lilliangina Quiñones. Photo: BreeAnne Clowdus

Daniel Burns (left), Jordan Patrick, Lilliangina Quiñones. Photo: BreeAnne Clowdus

The Christmas Carol Experience. THROUGH DEC. 30.

New this season. Charles Dickens’ Scrooge story is spun on its head in this immersive event from Brian Clowdus Experiences. Follow Ebenezer and his otherworldly goings-on through the rooms of the historic Wren’s Nest, where you’ll find holiday merriment, carols and lessons to remember. Atlanta-based actor Daniel Burns is Ebenezer Scrooge. Also in the cast of five: Rosie Gyselinck, Jordan Patrick as Jacob Marley, Lilliangina Quiñones and Julie Trammel. Clowdus, known for his environmental, site-specific work at Serenbe Playhouse, directs. The Wren’s Nest, once the home of Uncle Remus and Brer Rabbit creator Joel Chandler Harris (1848-1908), is now a cultural center that preserves Harris’ legacy and the heritage of African-American folklore through storytelling, tours and student publishing.

$50; $45 under age 18, senior citizens and military. 7 p.m. Wednesday-Sunday. Also at 9 p.m. Friday-Saturday. 1050 Ralph David Abernathy Blvd., Atlanta. Tickets HERE.

Greg Maurice Hunter (left), Matt Baum. Photo: Jerry Siegel

Greg Maurice Hunter (left), Matt Baum. Photo: Jerry Siegel

A Year With Frog and Toad. THROUGH DEC. 30. Recommended.

A rare family show that speaks to adults as well as the kiddos. This musical tale about a year in the lives of two best friends returns to Synchronicity Theatre. The Tony-nominated show follows the cheerful, popular Frog (Matt Baum) and the rather grumpy Toad (Greg Maurice Hunter) through four, fun-filled seasons. It’s part vaudeville and part make-believe as well as funny and moving. Also in the cast: Taryn Carmona, Elliott Folds and Lyndsay Ricketson. Jenna Tamisea, artistic director of GLOW Lyric Theatre in Greenville, S.C., directs. Synchronicity’s 2006 staging won Suzi Bass awards for outstanding musical, direction and costume design. The show is based on the Newbery and Caldecott Medal-winning books by Arnold Lobel.

$16-$31 (under age 2 free). 7 p.m. Friday; 1 + 4:30 p.m. Saturday; 2 + 5:30 p.m. Sunday. School matinees available. Every Friday is PJs and Play (kids in PJs get free milk and cookies). Synchronicity is in the Peachtree Pointe Complex, 1545 Peachtree St. NE. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.484.8636.

Still running (non-holiday)

MDQ-logo-250x200.jpg

Million Dollar Quartet. THROUGH JAN. 12. 

Georgia Ensemble Theatre reprises its popular staging and takes it to the Conant Performing Arts Center at Oglethorpe University. Return to Dec. 4, 1956, the magical day that Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins made music together — for the first and only time ever — at Sun Records in Memphis. The score includes “Blue Suede Shoes,” “Fever,” “Sixteen Tons,” “Great Balls of Fire,” “Walk the Line,” “Folsom Prison Blues,” “Hound Dog” and 15 more. Chris Damiano directs, music directs and plays Cash, with Alex Canty as Elvis, Christopher Kent as Perkins and Sean McGibbon as Lewis.

$35-$40. 8 p.m. Thursday-Friday; 4 + 8 p.m. Saturday; 2:30 p.m. Sunday. The Conant is at 4484 Peachtree Road N.E. Details, tickets HERE or at 770.641.1260 (do not call the Conant box office).

 

Returning for the holidays

IN ALPHABETICAL ORDER:

Yukon Cornelius in “Rudolph.”

CHARLES DICKENS’ A CHRISTMAS CAROL. Closes Dec. 22. The one-man telling with actor/artistic director Anthony P. Rodriguez. At Aurora Theatre’s Harvel Lab. 678.226.6222. 

CHARLES DICKENS’ A CHRISTMAS CAROL. Closes Dec. 23. As they have for 20-plus years, a handful of actors brings the story alive at the Shakespeare Tavern Playhouse. 404.874.5299, Ext. 0.

RUDOLPH THE RED-NOSED REINDEER. Through Dec. 30. Based on the timeless Rankin/Bass stop-motion animated TV special from 1964. At the Center for Puppetry Arts404.873.3391.

THE SNOW QUEEN. Through Jan. 6. A traveling, site-specific show done outdoors and based on the Hans Christian Andersen tale. At Serenbe Playhouse770.463.1110.

Coming up

A Doll’s House, Part 2. JAN. 10-FEB. 10. Recommended. Aurora Theatre gets its turn with this stunning Actor’s Express co-production, a sequel of sorts to master dramatist Henrik Ibsen’s 1879 classic, A Doll’s House (but you needn’t know that piece to enjoy this one). Well-known contemporary playwright Lucas Hnath’s Part 2 takes place 15 years after wife and mother Nora Helmer (Tess Malis Kincaid) leaves her husband and family to seek out independence unheard of in that day. Now she’s knocking on that door, wanting a favor. The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, W Magazine and Time Out New York all described Part 2 as the best play of Broadway’s 2017 season. It’s smart, funny and modern. Joining Kincaid onstage are Rob ClevelandShelli Delgadoand Deadra Moore. AE artistic director Freddie Ashley directed. $20 and up. 8 p.m. Tuesday-Friday; 2:30 + 8 p.m. Saturday; 2:30 p.m. Sunday. Also at 10 a.m. Jan. 22. Aurora offers free, covered, attached parking in a city deck at 153 E. Crogan St. Details, tickets HERE or at 678.226.6222. Discount tickets at PoshDealz.com.

Ever After. Jan. 15-Feb. 17. Recommended. This musical update on the Cinderella story christens the Alliance Theatre’s new mainstage, aka the Coca-Cola Stage. It’s based on the 1998 Drew Barrymore movie (and the original 1729 fairy tale). Follow a young woman named Danielle de Barbarac, who risks everything to save a friend. With the help of Leonardo da Vinci (yes, da Vinci), she must decide who she is, what she’ll fight for and how far she’ll go for love. The musical comes from the award-winning songwriting team of Zina Goldrich (music) and Marcy Heisler (book and lyrics). Alliance artistic director Susan V. Booth directs. Her 30-person cast is led by Broadway regulars Sierra Boggess (The Little Mermaid, School of Rock) as Danielle, Tony Award nominee David Garrison (A Day in Hollywood/A Night in the Ukraine) as da Vinci, Jeff McCarthy (Urinetown, Side Show) and Rachel York (Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Head Over Heels), along with Atlanta-based artists Terry Burrell (Ethel, Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill), Chris Kayser (Alliance, Georgia Shakespeare) and Rhyn McLemore Saver. This one has the scent of Broadway-bound all about it. $25 and up. 7:30 p.m. Wednesday-Thursday; 8 p.m. Friday; 2:30 + 8 p.m. Saturday; and 2:30 + 7:30 p.m. Sunday. Also at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 15 + 29. No shows Feb. 3. Woodruff Arts Center, 1280 Peachtree St. NE. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.733.5000.

Moonlight & Magnolias. JAN. 10-27. Georgia Ensemble Theatre. Playwright Ron Hutchinson’s 2004 inside-Hollywood farce peeks behind the camera as producer-screenwriter David O. Selznick, director Victor Fleming and screenwriter Ben Hechtlock themselves in an office with a five-day supply of peanuts and bananas trying to rescue a near-disaster 1939 movie. Its title: Gone With the Wind. Great cast: William S. Murphey is Selznick, Bart Hansard is Fleming and Googie Uterhardt is Hecht. All are Atlanta actors. Note: Contains mature language and content. $26-$40. 7:30 p.m. Wednesday; 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday; 2:30 p.m. Sunday. Also at 4 p.m. Jan. 19 + 26. GET performs in the Roswell Cultural Arts Center, 959 Forrest St. Details, tickets HERE or at 770.641.1260. Discount tickets at PoshDealz.com.

An Octoroon. JAN. 26-FEB. 24. Recommended. Actor’s Express. An imaginative new work from Branden Jacobs-Jenkins(2016’s Appropriate) turns 19th-century melodrama on its ear in a riotous romp. The script puts the antebellum South, says the Express, on a collision course with 21st-century cultural politics. The piece won off-Broadway’s 2014 Obie Award for best new play. The plot: Trouble has been brewing at the Terrebonne Plantation ever since Judge Peyton died. Money is low, an evil overseer is up to no good, and the heir to the estate is in love with the wrong person. Jacobs-Jenkins, 33, is a MacArthur Foundation “genius” grantee and has twice been nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. Donya K. Washington, an Alliance Theatre producer, directs. Her cast of 11 includes Isake Akanke (Cardboard Piano), Neal A. Ghant (The Motherf**ker With the Hat) and Parris Sarter (Angels in America). $20-$50 and subject to change based on demand. 8 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday; 2 p.m. Sunday. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.607.7469. Discount tickets at PoshDealz.com.

fashionado

BEST BETS | Dec. 13-19, 2018

best bets encore atlanta fashionado

CHRISTMAS, ANYONE? Your best bets this week range from concerts to a ballet and include musicals, puppets, dramas, satires, one-person shows and something for families, kids, grown-ups and the biggest “bah, humbugs” in your bunch. Pictured: Greg Maurice Hunter (left) and Matt Baum as best buddies Toad and Frog, respectively, at Synchronicity Theatre. Photo by Jerry Siegel.

Cecil Washington Jr. (left), Jimi Kocina. Photo: Chris Bartelski

Cecil Washington Jr. (left), Jimi Kocina. Photo: Chris Bartelski

Top picks

Christmas Canteen.THROUGH DEC. 23.

 Aurora Theatre joyously stages its 23rd original holiday revue. A singing, dancing cast of eight channels the golden days of TV Christmas specials (think Bing Crosby and Andy Williams) and mixes in a few contemporary moves to create a show that will have you glowing with the magic of the season. Ricardo Aponte and Anthony P. Rodriguez co-direct. Aponte choreographs, with musical direction by Ann-Carol Pence, who also performs. This year’s merrymakers are Galen Crawley, Jimi Kocina, Christian Magby, Kristin Markiton, Chani Maisonet, Kenny Tran, Cecil Washington Jr. and Briana Young.

Check the Aurora website for sold-out dates before you go. $30 and up. 8 p.m. Tuesday-Friday; 2:30 + 8 p.m. Saturday; and 2:30 p.m. Sunday. 10 a.m. matinee ($20 and up) Dec. 18. Aurora offers free, covered, attached parking in a city deck at 153 E. Crogan St. Details, tickets HERE or at 678.226.6222.

David de Vries

David de Vries

A Christmas Carol. THROUGH DEC. 24.

The biggest “bah humbug” of them all. The Alliance Theatre takes its musical, multicultural telling (penned by David H. Bell) back to Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre for a second season. David de Vries returns as Ebenezer Scrooge. Joining him are many familiar faces, including Neal A. Ghant (Bob Cratchit); Bart Hansard (Fezziwig, Ghost of Christmas Present); and Courtney Patterson (Ghost of Christmas Past). Rosemary Newcott once again directs.

The caroling is gorgeous, and irresistible. Family-friendly. Note: Metal detectors are in place for every performance, so allow extra time to enter the venue. $14-$115. 7:30 p.m. Wednesday; 8 p.m. Thursday-Friday; 2:30 + 8 p.m. Saturday; 2:30 p.m. Sunday.

Also at 7 p.m. Dec. 23. 2800 Cobb Galleria Parkway, Atlanta. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.733.5000. Discount tickets at PoshDealz.com.

[DIRECTOR ROSEMARY NEWCOTT GOES ‘CAROL’-ING ONE MORE TIME]

 

Justin Walker, Jasmine Thomas. Photo: David Woolf

Justin Walker, Jasmine Thomas. Photo: David Woolf

Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley.THROUGH DEC. 23. 

Theatrical Outfit reprises its 2017 holiday hit with a script by Decatur-born, San Francisco-based playwright Lauren Gunderson and colleague Margot Melcon.

This witty sequel to Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice focuses on socially awkward sister Mary and a potential romantic entanglement. 

Miss Bennet is the fourth-most-popular play in America this season, with productions at 13 theaters nationwide. Notable Atlanta theater artist Carolyn Cook directs the Outfit staging. Amelia Fischer and Jonathan Horne return as Mary Bennet and Arthur De Bourgh. Also returning are Devon Hales and Juan Carlos Unzueta. New to the cast are Stephanie FriedmanJeanette IllidgeJasmine Thomas and Justin Walker

$18-$51 plus fees. 7:30 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday; 2:30 p.m. Sunday. Also at 11 a.m. Dec. 13 + 20. The Outfit performs downtown at the Balzer Theater at Herren’s, 84 Luckie St. NW. Details, tickets HERE or at 678.528.1500. 


nutcracker ballet

The Nutcracker. THROUGH DEC. 24. 

Atlanta Ballet unveils its first new Nutcracker in 23 seasons, a $3.7 million staging choreographed by Russian-born Yuri Possokhov, an old friend and colleague of artistic director Gennadi Nedvigin.

This telling returns to the original source material: German author E.T.A. Hoffmann’s 1816 fantasy story “Nutcracker and Mouse King.” It sets the opening Christmas Eve party in a small German village, and features new scenic, costume and lighting designs as well as projections to tell the story of a little girl named Marie and her come-to-life Nutcracker Prince.

$35-$140. 7:30 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday; 2 + 7 p.m. Sunday. Also at 1 p.m. Dec. 24. Fox Theatre, 660 Peachtree St. NE. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.892.3303.

[A NUTCRACKER FOR A NEW GENERATION]

 

frog-toad-logo.jpg

A Year With Frog and Toad. THROUGH DEC. 30.

A rare family show that speaks to adults as well as kiddos. This musical tale about a year in the lives of two best friends returns to Synchronicity Theatre. The Tony-nominated show follows the cheerful, popular Frog (Matt Baum) and the rather grumpy Toad (Greg Maurice Hunter) through four, fun-filled seasons. It’s part vaudeville and part make-believe as well as funny and moving. Also in the cast: Taryn Carmona, Elliott Folds and Lyndsay Ricketson. Jenna Tamisea, artistic director of GLOW Lyric Theatre in Greenville, S.C., directs. Synchronicity’s 2006 staging won Suzi Bass awards for outstanding musical, direction and costume design. The show is based on the Newbery and Caldecott Medal-winning books by Arnold Lobel.

$16-$31 (under age 2 free). 7 p.m. Friday; 1 + 4:30 p.m. Saturday; 2 + 5:30 p.m. Sunday. School matinees available. Every Friday is PJs and Play (kids in PJs get free milk and cookies). Synchronicity is in the Peachtree Pointe Complex, 1545 Peachtree St. NE. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.484.8636.

Opening this week

Chris Damiano. Photo: Cayce Callaway Photography

Chris Damiano. Photo: Cayce Callaway Photography

Million Dollar Quartet. DEC. 14-JAN. 12. 

Georgia Ensemble Theatre reprises its popular staging and takes it on the road to the Conant Performing Arts Center at Oglethorpe University. Return to Dec. 4, 1956, the magical day that Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins made music together — for the only time ever — at Sun Records in Memphis. The score includes “Blue Suede Shoes,” “Fever,” “Sixteen Tons,” “Great Balls of Fire,” “Walk the Line,” “Folsom Prison Blues,” “Hound Dog” and 15 more. Chris Damiano directs, music directs and plays Cash, with Alex Canty as Elvis, Christopher Kent as Perkins and Sean McGibbon as Lewis.

$35-$40. 8 p.m. Thursday-Friday; 4 + 8 p.m. Saturday; 2:30 p.m. Sunday. The Conant is at 4484 Peachtree Road N.E. Details, tickets HERE or at 770.641.1260 (do not call the Conant box office). Discount tickets at PoshDealz.com.

New holiday shows

Jordan Patrick. Photo: BreeAnne Clowdus

Jordan Patrick. Photo: BreeAnne Clowdus

The Christmas Carol Experience. THROUGH DEC. 30.

Charles Dickens’ Scrooge story gets spun on its head in this immersive event from Brian Clowdus Experiences. Follow Ebenezer and his otherworldly goings-on through the rooms of the historic Wren’s Nest, where you’ll find holiday merriment, carols and lessons to remember. Atlanta-based actor Daniel Burns is Ebenezer Scrooge. The cast of five includes Rosie Gyselinck, Jordan Patrick as Jacob Marley, Lilliangina Quiñones and Julie Trammel. Clowdus, known for his environmental, site-specific work at Serenbe Playhouse, directs. The Wren’s Nest, once the home of Uncle Remus and Brer Rabbitcreator Joel Chandler Harris (1848-1908), is now a cultural center that preserves Harris’ legacy and the heritage of African-American folklore through storytelling, tours and student publishing.

$50; $45 under age 18, senior citizens and military. 7 p.m. Wednesday-Sunday. Also at 9 p.m. Friday-Saturday. 1050 Ralph David Abernathy Blvd., Atlanta. Tickets HERE.

Jerry Aggers. Photo: Casey Gardner

Jerry Aggers. Photo: Casey Gardner

This Wonderful Life. THROUGH DEC. 23.

This one-man version of the Jimmy Stewart film classic is new to Aurora Theatre’s holiday lineup. Jeremy Aggers (Singles in Architecture, Hands on a Hardbody) plays everybody — George Bailey, Clarence, Mr. Potter, Uncle Billy, Mary, Mr. Gower, Zuzu, etc. The script is by playwright Steve Murray (whom you might know from his days as an Atlanta Journal-Constitution critic). In repertory with the company’s one-man Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol (featuring producing artistic director Anthony P. Rodriguez). Associate artistic director Justin Anderson directs.

$20. Performances at 8 p.m. Dec. 13, 15, 18, 20 + 22; and 2:30 p.m. Dec. 16 + 23. Aurora offers free, covered, attached parking in a city deck at 153 E. Crogan St. Details, tickets HERE or at 678.226.6222. Discount tickets at PoshDealz.com.

Returning holiday shows of note

Libby Whittemore

Libby Whittemore

Ho, Ho, Home for the Holidays and a Connie Sue Day Christmas. DEC. 14-23.

Singer and funny lady Libby Whittemore returns to Actor’s Express with her 10th edition of this happy holiday songfest. It dates back even further, though, to her entrepreneurial days as the headliner at Buckhead’s late, great Libby’s, A Cabaret.

She’s joined, as always, by Connie Sue Day, the 31st Lady of Country Music. Expect holiday classics old and new (“Hard Candy Christmas,” “River”), novelty tunes (“Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree”) and perhaps a verse or two penned by Connie Sue herself. You’ll hear plenty at the two-hour show and go home merry and bright. Just beware of Miss Day’s Dynel wig.

$40. 7:30 p.m. Friday-Sunday. Actor’s Express is in the King Plow Arts Center, 887 W. Marietta St. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.607.7469.

Holiday shows: This week only

a-christmas-memory-2018-165x200.jpg

HANDEL’S MESSIAHDec. 13-14. Two performances. Featuring the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Chamber Chorus. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.733.5000.

A FESTIVE FAMILY HOLIDAY. Dec. 16 only. Two performances. Join the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and conductor Stephen Mulligan to hear favorite holiday tunes and … maybe … see Santa. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.733.5000.

A CHRISTMAS MEMORY. Dec. 17 only. A one-man telling of the Truman Capote story about an Alabama boy and his elderly, eccentric cousin with actor/artistic director Tom Key.  At Theatrical Outfit. 678.528.1500.


Also for the holidays (ongoing)

IN ALPHABETICAL ORDER:

Anthony P. Rodriguez. Photo: Chris Bartelski

Anthony P. Rodriguez. Photo: Chris Bartelski

CHARLES DICKENS’ A CHRISTMAS CAROL. Through Dec. 22. The return of the one-man telling with actor/artistic director Anthony P. Rodriguez. At Aurora Theatre’s Harvel Lab. 678.226.6222. Discount tickets at PoshDealz.com.

CHARLES DICKENS’ A CHRISTMAS CAROL. Through Dec. 23. As they have for 20-plus years, a handful of actors brings the story alive at the Shakespeare Tavern Playhouse. 404.874.5299, Ext. 0.

ELF THE MUSICAL. Through Dec. 16. The stage version of the 2003 Will Ferrell movie comedy. Allow extra time to get through venue security at the Sandy Springs Performing Arts Center. City Springs Theatre Company. 404.477.4365.

INVASION: CHRISTMAS CAROL. Through Dec. 20. An improvised version of the Dickens classic with surprise special guests. Even cast members don’t know who will show up, or when. Dad’s Garage. 404.523.3141. Discount tickets at PoshDealz.com.

RUDOLPH THE RED-NOSED REINDEER. Through Dec. 30. Based on the timeless Rankin/Bass stop-motion animated TV special from 1964. At the Center for Puppetry Arts404.873.3391.

THE SNOW QUEEN. Through Jan. 6. A traveling, site-specific show done outdoors and based on the Hans Christian Andersen tale. At Serenbe Playhouse770.463.1110.

fashionado

BEST BETS | Dec. 6-12, 2018

The-Alliance's-Christmas-Carol

FESTIVE OUTINGS await. The bad news: “Knead” (Alliance) closes Sunday. The good news: “Christmas Canteen” (Aurora),  “A Christmas Carol” (Alliance), Atlanta Ballet’s new “Nutcracker” and “Frog and Toad” (Synchronicity) open or continue; and the ASO plays its first holiday concert. Intriguing: Aurora’s one-man “This Wonderful Life.” Pictured: The Alliance’s “Christmas Carol” company. Photo by Greg Mooney.

Top picks

Christian Magby, Chani Maisonet. Photo: Chris Bartelski

Christian Magby, Chani Maisonet. Photo: Chris Bartelski

Christmas Canteen.THROUGH DEC. 23.

Aurora Theatre joyously stages its 23rd original holiday revue. A singing, dancing cast of eight channels the golden days of TV Christmas specials (think Bing Crosby and Andy Williams) and mixes in a few contemporary moves to create a show that will have you glowing with the magic of the season. Ricardo Aponte and Anthony P. Rodriguez co-direct. Aponte also choreographs, with musical direction by Ann-Carol Pence, who also performs. This year’s merrymakers are Galen Crawley, Jimi Kocina, Christian Magby, Kristin Markiton, Chani Maisonet, Kenny Tran, Cecil Washington Jr. and Briana Young. Check the Aurora website for sold-out dates before you go.

$30 and up. 8 p.m. Tuesday-Friday; 2:30 + 8 p.m. Saturday; and 2:30 p.m. Sunday. 10 a.m. matinees ($20 and up) Dec. 11 + 18. Aurora offers free, covered, attached parking in a city deck at 153 E. Crogan St. Details, tickets HERE or at 678.226.6222.

Bart Hansard as the Ghost of Christmas Present (he also plays Fezziwig). Photo: Greg Mooney

Bart Hansard as the Ghost of Christmas Present (he also plays Fezziwig). Photo: Greg Mooney

A Christmas Carol. OPENS DEC. 12.

The biggest “bah humbug” of them all. The Alliance Theatre takes its musical, multicultural telling (penned by David H. Bell) back to Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre for a second season. David de Vries returns as Ebenezer Scrooge. Joining him again are many familiar faces, including Neal A. Ghant (Bob Cratchit); Bart Hansard (Fezziwig, Ghost of Christmas Present); and Courtney Patterson (Ghost of Christmas Past). Rosemary Newcott once again directs. The caroling is gorgeous, and irresistible. Family-friendly. Note: Metal detectors are in place for every performance, so allow extra time to enter the venue.

$14-$115. Through Dec. 24. 7:30 p.m. Wednesday; 8 p.m. Thursday-Friday; 2:30 + 8 p.m. Saturday; 2:30 p.m. Sunday. Also at 7 p.m. Dec. 23. 2800 Cobb Galleria Parkway, Atlanta. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.733.5000. Discount tickets at PoshDealz.com.

[DIRECTOR ROSEMARY NEWCOTT GOES ‘CAROL’-ING ONE MORE TIME]

Mary Lynn Owen. Photo: Greg Mooney

Mary Lynn Owen. Photo: Greg Mooney

Knead. CLOSES SUNDAY.

An Alliance Theatre world premiere. In the wee hours, a woman attempts to bake bread from her mother’s incomprehensible recipe. But the ingredients of time and memory keep interfering, and the process — the kneading, rising, shaping and baking, all in real time — becomes a journey into unpredictability. Bread will be baked and, perhaps, shared. Two-time Suzi Bass Award-winning actor Mary Lynn Owen wrote the one-person script, her first, and is the lone cast member. Knead was developed in the Alliance’s Reiser Atlanta Artists Lab and was a semifinalist for the prestigious O’Neill National Playwrights Conference. David de Vries (the same artist who plays the Alliance’s Ebenezer Scrooge) directs. Recommended for age 14 and up.

$45; $10 teens. 7:30 p.m. Thursday; 8 p.m. Friday; 2:30 + 8 p.m. Saturday; 2:30 + 7:30 p.m. Sunday. Hertz Stage, Woodruff Arts Center, 1280 Peachtree St. NE. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.733.5000.

[MORE: HOW A PLAYWRIGHT RISES]

Theatrical Outfit’s “Miss Bennet” company (from left) Stephanie Friedman, Juan Carlos Unzueta, Jeanette Illidge, Devon Hales, Amelia Fischer, Jonathan Horne, Justin Walker, Jasmine Thomas. Photo: David Woolf

Theatrical Outfit’s “Miss Bennet” company (from left) Stephanie Friedman, Juan Carlos Unzueta, Jeanette Illidge, Devon Hales, Amelia Fischer, Jonathan Horne, Justin Walker, Jasmine Thomas. Photo: David Woolf

 Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley. THROUGH DEC. 23. Theatrical Outfit reprises its 2017 holiday hit with this script by Decatur-born, San Francisco-based playwright Lauren Gunderson and colleague Margot Melcon. This witty sequel to Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice focuses on socially awkward sister Mary and a potential romantic entanglement. Miss Bennet is the fourth-most-popular play in America this season, with productions at 13 theaters nationwide. Notable Atlanta theater artist Carolyn Cook directs the Outfit staging. Amelia Fischer and Jonathan Horne return as Mary Bennet and Arthur De Bourgh. Also returning are Devon Hales and Juan Carlos Unzueta. New to the cast are Stephanie Friedman,Jeanette IllidgeJasmine Thomas and Justin Walker

$18-$51 plus fees. 7:30 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday; 2:30 p.m. Sunday. Also at 11 a.m. Dec. 13 + 20. The Outfit performs at the Balzer Theater at Herren’s, 84 Luckie St. NW. Details, tickets HERE or at 678.528.1500. Discount tickets at PoshDealz.com.

The-Nutcracker

The Nutcracker. OPENS SATURDAY. 

Atlanta Ballet debuts its first new Nutcracker in 23 seasons, a $3.7 million staging choreographed by Russian-born Yuri Possokhov, an old friend and colleague of artistic director Gennadi Nedvigin.

This telling returns to the original source material: German author E.T.A. Hoffmann’s 1816 fantasy story “Nutcracker and Mouse King.” It sets the opening Christmas Eve party in a small German village, and features new scenic, costume and lighting designs as well as projections to tell the story of a little girl named Marie and her come-to-life Nutcracker Prince.

$35-$140. Through Dec. 24. 7:30 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday; 2 + 7 p.m. Sunday. Also at 1 p.m. Dec. 24. Fox Theatre, 660 Peachtree St. NE. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.892.3303. (Pictured: Designer Sandra Woodall’s costume rendering for the Act 2 Nutcracker Prince.)

[A WHOLE NEW NUTCRACKER]

Frog-and-Toad

 A Year With Frog and Toad. OPENS FRIDAY.

A rare family show that speaks to adults as well as the kiddos. This musical tale about a year in the lives of two best friends returns to Synchronicity Theatre

The Tony-nominated show follows the cheerful, popular Frog (Matt Baum) and the rather grumpy Toad (Greg Maurice Hunter) through four, fun-filled seasons. It’s part vaudeville and part make-believe as well as funny and moving. Also in the cast: Taryn Carmona, Elliott Folds and Lyndsay Ricketson. Jenna Tamisea, artistic director of GLOW Lyric Theatre in Greenville, S.C., directs. Synchronicity’s 2006 staging won Suzi Bass awards for outstanding musical, direction and costume design. The show is based on the Newbery and Caldecott Medal-winning books by Arnold Lobel.

$16-$31 (under age 2 free). Through Dec. 30. 7 p.m. Friday; 1 + 4:30 p.m. Saturday; 2 + 5:30 p.m. Sunday. School matinees available. Every Friday is PJs and Play. Kids in PJs get free milk and fresh-baked cookies. Synchronicity Theatre is in the Peachtree Pointe Complex, 1545 Peachtree St. NE. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.484.8636.

This weekend only

Christmas-With-ASO

Christmas With the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. SATURDAY-SUNDAY ONLY.

Four performances. These concerts continue a tradition started decades ago by then-music director Robert Shaw. The Gwinnett Young Singers and the Morehouse College Glee Club join the orchestra and ASO Chorus to perform carols and hymns. Norman Mackenzie conducts.

$29-$79. Selling well.  Limited seating remains (best availability is 8 p.m. Sunday). 3 + 8 p.m. Saturday-Sunday. Symphony Hall, Woodruff Arts Center, 1280 Peachtree St. N.E.  Details, tickets HERE or at 404.733.5000.

 

Curious-Holiday-Encounters

Curious Holiday Encounters. THURSDAY-SUNDAY ONLY.

This festival of interactive performances takes place throughout the 7 Stages building. Expect an offbeat brand of holiday cheer as you stroll around and check out offerings from the Little Five Points Rockstar Orchestra, Arís Theatre, the Weird Sisters Theatre Project, Atlanta theater artist Rebekah Suellau and others. Artistic director Heidi S. Howard curates.

$15-$25. 7 p.m. Thursday-Saturday (last entry at 9 p.m.); 5 p.m. Sunday (last entry at 7 p.m.). 1105 Euclid Ave. NE in Atlanta’s Little Five Points neighborhood. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.523.7647.

Deb Bowman

Deb Bowman

A Merry Little Christmas With Deb Bowman. SATURDAY ONLY.

Singer-actor Deb Bowman (Serenbe Playhouse’s Little Mermaid and A Streetcar Named Desire; Actor’s Express’ Sweeney Todd) serenades the holidays in a sultry style all her own for one night only, backed by keyboards and percussion.

$40; $60 VIP table. Grange Hall at Serenbe, 10640 Serenbe Lane, Chattahoochee Hills (about 33 miles southwest of downtown Atlanta). Details, tickets HERE or at 770.463.1110.


New holiday shows

Lilliangina Quiñones. Photo : BreeAnne Clowdus

Lilliangina Quiñones. Photo : BreeAnne Clowdus

The Christmas Carol Experience. DEC. 12-30.

See Charles Dickens’ Christmas classic in a new way. The Scrooge story gets spun on its head in this immersive event. Follow Ebenezer and his otherworldly goings-on through the rooms of the historic Wren’s Nest. Expect holiday merriment, carols and lessons to remember. Atlanta-based actor Daniel Burns is Ebenezer Scrooge. The cast of five includes Rosie Gyselinck, Jordan Patrick, Lilliangina Quiñones and Julie Trammel. Presented by Brian Clowdus Experiences. Clowdus directs. The Wren’s Nest, once the home of Uncle Remus and Brer Rabbit creator Joel Chandler Harris (1848-1908), is now a cultural center that preserves Harris’ legacy and the heritage of African-American folklore through storytelling, tours and student publishing.

$50; $45 under 18, seniors, military. 7 p.m. Wednesday-Sunday. Also at 9 p.m. Friday-Saturday. 1050 Ralph David Abernathy Blvd., Atlanta. Tickets HERE.

Cansler McGhee (from left), Michael Dotson, Max Mattox.

Cansler McGhee (from left), Michael Dotson, Max Mattox.

The Ethel Merman Disco Christmas Spectacular. OPENS THURSDAY.

Out Front Theatre Company imagines what the great Ethel Merman’s unaired 1979 Christmas TV special would look like. It takes place onstage at the iconic Studio 54, the same year the Queen of Broadway released her infamous disco record. The show features classic Christmas songs done to a dance-floor beat and visited by a cavalcade of celebrities, including Andy Warhol, Donna Summer and Truman Capote. The world premiere is written and directed by Out Front artistic director Paul Conroy.

$15-$25. Through Dec. 22. 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday; 3 p.m. Sunday. Also at 8 p.m. Monday, Dec. 17. 999 Brady Ave. NW in West Midtown. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.448.2755

This Wonderful Life. THROUGH DEC. 23. This one-man version of the Jimmy Stewart film classic is new to Aurora Theatre’s holiday lineup. Jeremy Aggers (Singles in Architecture, Hands on a Hardbody) plays everybody — George Bailey, Clarence, Mr. Potter, Uncle Billy, Mary, Mr. Gower, Zuzu, etc. The script is by playwright Steve Murray (whom you might know from his days as an Atlanta Journal-Constitution critic). In repertory with the company’s one-man Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol (featuring producing artistic director Anthony P. Rodriguez). Associate artistic director Justin Anderson directs.

$20. Performances at 8 p.m. Dec.13, 15, 18, 20 + 22; and 2:30 p.m. Dec. 8, 16 + 23. Aurora offers free, covered, attached parking in a city deck at 153 E. Crogan St. Details, tickets HERE or at 678.226.6222. Discount tickets at PoshDealz.com.

Jeremy Aggers as George Bailey and everyone else in “This Wonderful Life.” Photo: Casey Gardner

Jeremy Aggers as George Bailey and everyone else in “This Wonderful Life.” Photo: Casey Gardner

Returning holiday shows of note

Miss Connie Sue Day

Miss Connie Sue Day

Ho, Ho, Home for the Holidays and a Connie Sue Day Christmas. DEC. 14-23.

Singer and funny lady Libby Whittemore returns to Actor’s Express with her 10th edition of this happy holiday songfest. It dates back even further, though, to her entrepreneurial days as the headliner at Buckhead’s late, great Libby’s, A Cabaret. She’s joined, as always, by Connie Sue Day, the 31st Lady of Country Music. Expect holiday classics old and new (“Hard Candy Christmas,” “River”), novelty tunes (“Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree”) and perhaps a verse or two penned by Connie Sue herself. You’ll hear plenty at the two-hour show and go home merry.  But beware the Dynel wig.

$40. 7:30 p.m. Friday-Sunday.  Actor’s Express is in the King Plow Arts Center, 887 W. Marietta St. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.607.7469.

Also for the holidays (ongoing)

IN CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER:

CHARLES DICKENS’ A CHRISTMAS CAROL. Ongoing. Through Dec. 22. The return of the one-man telling with actor/artistic director Anthony P. Rodriguez. At Aurora Theatre’s Harvel Lab. 678.226.6222. Discount tickets at PoshDealz.com.

Drew Reeves (left), Enoch King.

Drew Reeves (left), Enoch King.

CHARLES DICKENS’ A CHRISTMAS CAROL. Ongoing. Through Dec. 23. As they have for 20-plus years, a handful of actors brings the story alive at the Shakespeare Tavern Playhouse. 404.874.5299, Ext. 0.

INVASION: CHRISTMAS CAROL. Ongoing. through Dec. 20. An improvised version of the Dickens classic with surprise special guests. Even cast members don’t know who will show up, or when. Dad’s Garage. Discount tickets at PoshDealz.com.  404.523.3141.

RUDOLPH THE RED-NOSED REINDEER. Ongoing. Through Dec. 30. Based on the timeless Rankin/Bass stop-motion animated TV special from 1964. At the Center for Puppetry Arts404.873.3391.

THE SNOW QUEEN. Ongoing. Through Jan. 6. A traveling, site-specific show done outdoors and based on the Hans Christian Andersen tale. At Serenbe Playhouse770.463.1110.

ELF THE MUSICAL. Dec. 7-16. The stage version of the 2003 Will Ferrell movie comedy. Allow extra time to get through venue security at the Sandy Springs Performing Arts Center.  City Springs Theatre Company. 404.477.4365.

Also for the holidays (limited performances)

IN CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER:

HANDEL’S MESSIAHDec. 13-14 only. Two performances. Featuring the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Chamber Chorus. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.733.5000.

A FESTIVE FAMILY HOLIDAY. Dec. 16 only. Two performances. Join the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and conductor Stephen Mulligan to hear favorite holiday tunes and … maybe … see Santa. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.733.5000.

A CHRISTMAS MEMORY. Dec. 17 only. A one-man telling of the Truman Capote story about an Alabama boy and his elderly, eccentric cousin with actor/artistic director Tom Key.  At Theatrical Outfit. 678.528.1500.

fashionado

BEST BETS | Nov. 21-28, 2018

The outlook turns tinselly, with holiday shows dominating the calendar. We highly recommend Aurora Theatre’s “Christmas Canteen” and Theatrical Outfit’s “Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley.” If you’re not yet ready for ugly Christmas sweaters, check out the world premiere of “Knead,” running through Dec. 9 at the Alliance Theatre. Pictured: Amelia Fischer as Mary Bennet. Photo by David Woolf.

The outlook turns tinselly, with holiday shows dominating the calendar. We highly recommend Aurora Theatre’s “Christmas Canteen” and Theatrical Outfit’s “Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley.” If you’re not yet ready for ugly Christmas sweaters, check out the world premiere of “Knead,” running through Dec. 9 at the Alliance Theatre. Pictured: Amelia Fischer as Mary Bennet. Photo by David Woolf.

Top picks

Kristin Markiton (center) backed by Briana Young (from left), Chani Maisonet and Galen Crawley. Photo: Chris Bartelski

Kristin Markiton (center) backed by Briana Young (from left), Chani Maisonet and Galen Crawley. Photo: Chris Bartelski

Christmas Canteen.THROUGH DEC. 23.

Aurora Theatre joyously stages its 23rd original holiday revue. It sells quickly, so if you’re interested, don’t delay. Performances are already selling out. A singing, dancing cast of eight channels the golden days of TV Christmas specials (think Bing Crosby and Andy Williams) and mixes in a few contemporary moves to create a show that will have you glowing with the magic of the season. Ricardo Aponte and Anthony P. Rodriguez co-direct. Aponte also choreographs, with musical direction by Ann-Carol Pence, who also performs. This year’s merrymakers are Galen Crawley, Jimi Kocina, Christian Magby, Kristin Markiton, Chani Maisonet, Kenny Tran, Cecil Washington Jr. and Briana Young.

$30 and up; $20 and up for Tuesday matinees. 8 p.m. Tuesday-Friday; 2:30 + 8 p.m. Saturday; and 2:30 p.m. Sunday. 10 a.m. matinees Nov. 27, Dec. 11 + Dec. 18. Limited Thanksgiving week performances, so please check ahead. Aurora offers free, covered, attached parking in a city deck at 153 E. Crogan St. Details, tickets HERE or at 678.226.6222.

Mary Lynn Owen. Photo: Greg Mooney

Mary Lynn Owen. Photo: Greg Mooney

Knead. THROUGH DEC. 9.

An Alliance Theatre world premiere. In the wee hours, a woman attempts to bake bread from her mother’s incomprehensible recipe. But the ingredients of time and memory keep interfering, and the bread-baking process — the kneading, rising, shaping and baking, all in real time — becomes a journey into unpredictability. Bread will be baked and, perhaps, shared. Two-time Suzi Bass Award-winning actor Mary Lynn Owen wrote the one-person script, her first, and is the lone cast member. Knead was developed in the Alliance’s Reiser Atlanta Artists Lab and was a semifinalist for the prestigious O’Neill National Playwrights Conference in Connecticut. David de Vries (who takes the Alliance stage as Ebenezer Scrooge next month) directs. Recommended for age 14 and up.

$45; $10 teens. 7:30 p.m. Thursday; 8 p.m. Friday; 2:30 + 8 p.m. Saturday; 2:30 + 7:30 p.m. Sunday. No show Thanksgiving Day. Hertz Stage, Woodruff Arts Center, 1280 Peachtree St. NE. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.733.5000. Discount tickets at PoshDealz.com.

[MORE: HOW A PLAYWRIGHT RISES]

Miss-Bennet

 Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley. BEGINS NOV. 21.

Theatrical Outfit reprises its 2017 holiday hit with a script by Decatur-born, San Francisco-based playwright Lauren Gunderson and colleague Margot Melcon. This romantic and witty sequel to Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice focuses on socially awkward sister Mary and a potential romantic entanglement. Well-known Atlanta theater artist Carolyn Cook directs. Amelia Fischer and Jonathan Horne return as Mary Bennet and Arthur De Bourgh, along with Devon Hales and Juan Carlos Unzueta. New to the cast are Stephanie FriedmanJeanette Illidge,Jasmine Thomas and Justin Walker

$18-$51 plus fees. Through Dec. 23. Previews at 2:30 p.m. Nov. 21 + 24 and 7:30 p.m. Nov. 23. Opens at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 24. Regularly at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday; 2:30 p.m. Sunday. Also at 11 a.m. Nov. 29, Dec. 13 + Dec. 20. No show Thanksgiving Day. The Outfit performs at the Balzer Theater at Herren’s, 84 Luckie St. NW.

Details, tickets HERE or at 678.528.1500. Discount tickets at PoshDealz.com.

New holiday shows

Curious-Holiday-Encounters

Curious Holiday Encounters. DEC. 6-9.

This festival of interactive performances takes place throughout 7 Stages’ entire building. Expect an offbeat brand of holiday cheer as you stroll and check out offerings from the Little Five Points Rockstar Orchestra, Arís Theatre, the Weird Sisters Theatre Project, Atlanta theater artist Rebekah Suellau and others. Artistic director Heidi S. Howard curates.

$15-$25. 7 p.m. Thursday-Saturday (last entry at 9 p.m.); 5 p.m. Sunday (last entry at 7 p.m.). 1105 Euclid Ave. NE in the Little Five Points neighborhood. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.523.7647.

The-Ethel-Merman-Disco-Christmas-Spectacular

The Ethel Merman Disco Christmas Spectacular. DEC. 6-22.

Out Front Theatre Company imagines what the great Ethel Merman’s unaired 1979 Christmas TV special would look like. It takes place onstage at the iconic Studio 54, the same year the Queen of Broadway released her infamous disco record. The show shimmers with classic Christmas songs set to a dance-floor beat and visited by a cavalcade of celebrities, including Andy Warhol, Donna Summer and Truman Capote. The world premiere is written and directed by artistic director Paul Conroy.

$15-$25. 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday; 3 p.m. Sunday. Also at 8 p.m. Monday, Dec. 17. 999 Brady Ave. NW in West Midtown. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.448.2755

Irving-Berlin's-White-Christmas

Irving Berlin’s White Christmas. NOV. 27-DEC. 1. National tour.

The stage version of the classic Christmas movie visits the Fox Theatre with all the familiar songs and a few others from the Berlin songbook. The 17-tune lineup includes “Sisters,” “The Best Things Happen While You’re Dancing,” “Happy Holiday,” “Snow,” “Count Your Blessings Instead of Sheep,” “I Love a Piano,” “Let Me Sing and I’m Happy” and “What Can You Do With a General?” You might recognize Karen Ziemba (a Tony Award winner for Contact) as Martha Watson and Conrad John Schuck (a longtime Daddy Warbucks) as General Waverly. Presented by Broadway in Atlanta.

$31-$116. 7:30 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday; 8 p.m. Friday; 2 p.m. Sunday. 660 Peachtree St. NE. Details, tickets HERE or at 855.285.8499.

[HOW THE CREATIVE TEAM GUARANTEES SNOWS]

The-Nutcracker

 The Nutcracker. DEC. 8-24.

Atlanta Ballet debuts its first new Nutcracker in 23 seasons, a $3.7 million staging choreographed by Russian-born dancer Yuri Possokhov, an old friend and colleague of artistic director Gennadi Nedvigin. This telling returns to the original source material: German author E.T.A. Hoffmann’s 1816 fantasy story “Nutcracker and Mouse King.” It sets the opening Christmas Eve party in a small German village, and features new scenic, costume and lighting designs as well as projections to help tell the story of a little girl named Marie and her come-to-life Nutcracker Prince. The production features some 40 dancers.

$35-$140. 7:30 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday; 2 + 7 p.m. Sunday. Also at 1 p.m. Dec. 24. Fox Theatre, 660 Peachtree St. NE. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.892.3303.

Jeremy Aggers. Photo illustration: Chris Bartelsk

Jeremy Aggers. Photo illustration: Chris Bartelsk

This Wonderful Life. OPENS NOV. 24.

This one-man version of the Jimmy Stewart film classic is new to Aurora Theatre’s holiday lineup. It features Jeremy Aggers (Singles in Architecture, Hands on a Hardbody) as, well, everybody — George Bailey, Clarence, Mr. Potter, Uncle Billy, Mary, Mr. Gower and even Zuzu. The script is by playwright Steve Murray (a name you might know from his days as an Atlanta Journal-Constitution critic). In repertory with the company’s one-man Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol (featuring producing artistic director Anthony P. Rodriguez). Associate artistic director Justin Anderson directs.

$20. Performances at 8 p.m. Nov. 24 and Dec. 1, 5, 13, 15, 18, 20 + 22; 2:30 p.m. Nov. 25 and Dec. 1, 8, 16 + 23. Aurora offers free, covered, attached parking in a city deck at 153 E. Crogan St. Details, tickets HERE or at 678.226.6222. Discount tickets at PoshDealz.com.

Marguerite Hannah (front) and (back, from left) Maria Rodriguez-Sager, playwright Larry Larson and Markell Williams.

Marguerite Hannah (front) and (back, from left) Maria Rodriguez-Sager, playwright Larry Larson and Markell Williams.

Waffle Palace Christmas. THROUGH DEC. 30.

New. Horizon Theatre has retired The Santaland Diaries in favor of this world premiere, a sequel of sorts to its Waffle Palace, the Larry LarsonEddie Levi Lee comedy it developed and staged thrice. The vintage, once-endangered Waffle Palace is now thriving as part of a modern multi-use complex. As the holiday season arrives, the staff is adjusting to new roles, an inexperienced employee and quirky regulars. Four cast members return: Lala CochranAllan EdwardsMarguerite Hannah and Maria Rodriguez-Sager. The newcomers are Jennifer Alice AckerRob ClevelandBarry Stolze and Markell Williams. Co-artistic director Lisa Adler directs.

Tickets begin at $30 on weeknights, $35 on weekends plus fees and are subject to change based on demand. 8 p.m. Wednesday-Sunday. Additional shows at 8 p.m. Dec. 4, 11 + 18. Matinees at 11 a.m. Dec. 6, 13 + 19. Free parking. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.584.7450.

Returning holiday shows of note

David de Vries

David de Vries

A Christmas Carol. DEC. 12-24.

The Alliance Theatre takes its musical, multicultural telling, penned by David H. Bell,back to Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre for a second season. David de Vries returns as Ebenezer Scrooge. Joining him again are Neal A. Ghant (Bob Cratchit); Bart Hansard (Fezziwig, Ghost of Christmas Yet to Be); and Courtney Patterson (Ghost of Christmas Past), among many others. Rosemary Newcott once again directs. The caroling is gorgeous, and irresistible. Family-friendly. Note: Metal detectors are in place for every performance, so allow extra time to enter the venue.

$14-$115. 7:30 p.m. Wednesday; 8 p.m. Thursday-Friday; 2:30 + 8 p.m. Saturday; 2:30 p.m. Sunday. Also at 7 p.m. Dec. 23. 2800 Cobb Galleria Parkway, Atlanta. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.733.5000. Discount tickets at PoshDealz.com.

Connie Sue Day

Connie Sue Day

Ho, Ho, Home for the Holidays and a Connie Sue Day Christmas. DEC. 14-23.

Singer and funny lady Libby Whittemore returns to Actor’s Express with her 10th edition of this joyful holiday songfest. It dates back even further, to her entrepreneurial days as the headliner at the late, great Libby’s, A Cabaret in Buckhead. She’s joined, as always, by Connie Sue Day, the 31st Lady of Country Music. Expect holiday classics old and new, novelty tunes and perhaps a verse or two penned by Connie Sue Day herself. You’ll hear plenty at the two-hour show and go home happy. Beware the Dynel wig. $40. 7:30 p.m. Friday-Sunday.  Actor’s Express is in the King Plow Arts Center, 887 W. Marietta St. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.607.7469.

Frog-and-Toad

A Year With Frog and Toad. DEC. 7-30.

The family favorite about a year in the lives of two best friends returns to Synchronicity Theatre. The Tony-nominated musical follows the cheerful, popular Frog (Matt Baum) and the rather grumpy Toad (Greg Maurice Hunter) through four, fun-filled seasons. It’s part vaudeville and part make-believe as well as funny and moving. Also in the cast: Taryn Carmona, Elliott Folds and Lyndsay Ricketson. Jenna Tamisea, artistic director of GLOW Lyric Theatre in Greenville, S.C., directs. The 2006 telling won Suzi Bass awards for outstanding musical, direction and costume design. The show is based on the Newbery and Caldecott Medal-winning books by Arnold Lobel.

$16-$31 (under age 2 free). 7 p.m. Friday; 1 + 4:30 p.m. Saturday; 2 + 5:30 p.m. Sunday. School matinees available. Every Friday is PJs and Play. Kids in PJs get free milk and fresh-baked cookies. Synchronicity Theatre is in the Peachtree Pointe Complex, 1545 Peachtree St. NE. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.484.8636.

Also for the holidays

CHARLES DICKENS’ A CHRISTMAS CAROL, a one-man telling with actor/artistic director Anthony P. Rodriguez, returns. Nov. 23-Dec. 22 at Aurora Theatre’s Harvel Lab.

A CHRISTMAS MEMORY, a one-man telling of the Truman Capote story about an Alabama boy and his elderly, eccentric cousin with actor/artistic director Tom Key. Dec. 17 only at Theatrical Outfit.

ELF THE MUSICAL, a stage version of the 2003 Will Ferrell movie comedy. Dec. 7-16 at City Springs Theatre Company. Discount tickets at PoshDealz.com.

Hermey the Elf and Rudolph.

Hermey the Elf and Rudolph.

INVASION CHRISTMAS CAROL, another season of an improvised version of the Dickens classic with surprise special guests. Even cast members don’t know who will show up, or when. Nov. 30-Dec. 20 at Dad’s Garage. Discount tickets at PoshDealz.com.

A NICE FAMILY CHRISTMAS, a 2017 script about the goings-on at one dysfunctional family’s Christmas reunion. Nov. 30-Dec. 16 at Stage Door Players

RUDOLPH THE RED-NOSED REINDEER, based on the timeless Rankin/Bass stop-motion animated TV special from 1964. Through Dec. 30 at the Center for Puppetry Arts.

THE SNOW QUEEN, a traveling show done outdoors and based on the Hans Christian Andersen tale. Nov. 28-Jan. 6 at Serenbe Playhouse.

fashionado

Critics like Alliance-bred Broadway musical ‘The Prom’

ABOVE: Josh Lamon (from left), Beth Leavel, Brooks Ashmanskas, Angie Schworer and company in a scene from the new musical comedy “The Prom.” Photo by Deen van Meer.

ABOVE: Josh Lamon (from left), Beth Leavel, Brooks Ashmanskas, Angie Schworer and company in a scene from the new musical comedy “The Prom.” Photo by Deen van Meer.

THE PROM, the new American musical born in 2016 at the Alliance Theatre, opened on Broadway on Thursday night to positive reviews from The New York Times, Deadline Hollywood, Variety, the Hollywood Reporter and the Wall Street Journal.

prom-playbill.jpg

The show, the ninth Alliance production to reach Broadway since 1996, looks at what happens when four stars leave the bright lights of Broadway and take leading roles in a small-town controversy that’s making national headlines. The controversy: a shy lesbian in Indiana wants to take her date to the high-school prom.

The creators — book by Bob Martin and Chad Beguelin, songs by Beguelin (lyrics) and Matthew Sklar (music) — have on their combined résumés The Drowsy Chaperone, that delightfully dizzy 1920s showbiz spoof, and The Wedding Singer, an underrated show about an entertainer so humbled he winds up in a dumpster. Tony Award winner Casey Nicholaw again directs and choreographs.

Four leading actors seen by Atlanta audiences reprise their roles and lead a cast of 27: Tony Award winner Beth Leavel (The Drowsy Chaperone) as Broadway diva Dee Dee Allen, Tony nominees Christopher Sieber (Shrek the Musical) and Brooks Ashmanskas (Something Rotten!) as fellow actors, and Caitlin Kinnunen as the high-school lesbian named Emma. Atlanta-based actor Courtenay Collins also returns, making her Broadway debut as PTA President Mrs. Greene.

The show has an open-ended run at the Longacre Theatre on West 48th Street. Here’s a recap of what the critics said.

JESSE GREEN OF THE NEW YORK TIMES: “A joyful hoot with kinetic dancing, broad mugging and belty anthems that make you believe in musical comedy again. These days, that takes some doing. How, after all, with so much pain in the air and so many constraints on what’s allowed to be funny, do we find the heart and permission to laugh? … Delicious despite its flaws, moving so  fast that you can hardly see the cracks in the road. …  Consistently delivers on its entertainment promises as well as its Golden Age premise: that musicals, however zazzy, can address the deepest issues dividing us.”

The “Prom” cast on Broadway includes (bottom row, from left) Courtenay Collins, Michael Potts, Brooks Ashmanskas, Josh Lamon, Angie Schworer, and (top row, from left) Beth Leavel, Caitlin Kinnunen, Isabelle McCalla and Christopher Sieber. Photo: Deen van Meer

The “Prom” cast on Broadway includes (bottom row, from left) Courtenay Collins, Michael Potts, Brooks Ashmanskas, Josh Lamon, Angie Schworer, and (top row, from left) Beth Leavel, Caitlin Kinnunen, Isabelle McCalla and Christopher Sieber. Photo: Deen van Meer

GREG EVANS FOR DEADLINE HOLLYWOOD: “As the full-of-themselves hoofers and belters, Beth Leavel, Brooks Ashmanskas, Christopher Sieber and Angie Schworer, along with their more spirited than effective publicist, played by Josh Lamon, chew the scenery to great delight, descending on small-town America like bedazzled locusts. Their big numbers — “Changing Lives,” “It’s Not About Me,” “The Lady’s Improving” — show just the hoped-for levels of All About Eve self-satisfaction anyone could want.”

FRANK RIZZO FOR VARIETY: “This original musical has laughs, tears and joy — not to mention jaw-dropping star turns — in a clash-cultures hoot that earns a big Broadway corsage. … It’s a 21st century Bye Bye Birdie, with showbiz interlopers causing havoc before finding their better selves — but reimagined with a millennial slant and an echo of Dear Evan Hansen empowerment. … Matthew Sklar’s easy melodies and Chad Beguelin’s witty lyrics are a mix of classic Broadway show tunes (for the adult players) and exuberant or wistful pop songs (for the younger ones). Nearly everyone gets their musical moment or two.”

Isabelle McCalla (left) and Caitlin Kinnunen, as the lesbian couple — one closeted, one not — at the center of a small-town prom-troversy. Photo: Sara Krulwich

Isabelle McCalla (left) and Caitlin Kinnunen, as the lesbian couple — one closeted, one not — at the center of a small-town prom-troversy. Photo: Sara Krulwich

DAVID ROONEY FOR THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER: “If Forbidden Broadway and the John Hughes teen films that ruled the ’80s had a queer baby, it might look something like the frothy new musical comedy, The Prom. That means the show is one part satire, packed with delicious theatrical in-jokes delivered with aplomb by game stage veterans playing caricatures of themselves; and one part inclusivity teaching moment, reminding us there’s a place for everyone beneath the Mylar balloons at a high school dance, even in conservative Indiana. If the two halves aren’t entirely seamless, especially in the uneven second act, the show has enough humor and heart to paper over the cracks. Any musical that makes it to Broadway these days without a familiar movie source or a popular jukebox score is an achievement, so this original story is a rainbow unicorn that wins points right there. Although The Prom will not go down as a classic, it’s an enjoyable, old-fashioned entertainment that provides a tonic for these bellicose times.”

TERRY TEACHOUT FOR THE WALL STREET JOURNAL: “The results are a bit sanctimonious in spots, but most of The Prom is really, really funny — and much of it, to my happy surprise, is funny at the expense of the good guys. … This show is clearly aimed at those who already think that anyone should be able to bring anyone else to the senior prom. Should you fit the bill, The Prom will make you laugh — I can’t remember the last time I laughed so hard at a new musical — and it will also fill you with the toasty-warm glow of unchallenged righteousness. That’s a surprising combination, especially nowadays.”

The Alliance-to-Broadway pipeline

Atlanta’s Alliance, one of the largest regional theaters in the Southeast, has incubated eight musicals and two plays with Broadway aspirations. Eight have made the jump successfully. Two have yet to get there. This rundown begins with the most recent shows first and includes when each ran, how long and whether it received any Tony Award nominations.

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TUCK EVERLASTING. Opened in spring 2016 and had a five-week run (39 performances excluding previews). It received a Tony nomination for Gregg Barnes’ costume design.

BRING IT ON: THE MUSICAL. Opened in summer 2012 and ran for more than five months (171 performances excluding previews). It received Tony nominations for best musical and Andy Blankenbuehler’s choreography. It toured nationally for seven months in 2011/12.

SISTER ACT: A DIVINE MUSICAL COMEDY. Opened in spring/summer 2011. and ran for almost 1.5 years (561 performances excluding previews). It received Tony nominations for best musical, musical book, original score (Glenn Slater and Alan Menken) and featured actress (Victoria Clark as Mother Superior). It toured nationally for more than 1.5 years in 2012-14.

LaChanze and Elisabeth Withers-Mendes (as Celie and Shug Avery) in the original Broadway production of “The Color Purple.” Photo: Paul Kolnik

LaChanze and Elisabeth Withers-Mendes (as Celie and Shug Avery) in the original Broadway production of “The Color Purple.” Photo: Paul Kolnik

COME FLY AWAY. Opened in spring/fall 2010 and ran almost six months (188 performances excluding previews). It received Tony nominations for Twyla Tharp’s choreography and featured actress Karine Plantadit-Bageot and toured nationally for 11 months in 2011/12.

THE COLOR PURPLE. Opened Dec. 1, 2005, and ran  for almost 2.5 years (910 performances excluding previews). The show has 11 Tony Award nominations — for best musical, best book, best actress, best featured actor and actress, choreography, and scenic, costume and lighting design. LaChanze (as Celie) won for best actress/musical. A 2015 Broadway revival, which emphasized intimacy and storytelling, ran 14 months and won Tony awards for best musical revival and Cynthia Erivo’s Celie, plus nominations for director and featured actress Danielle Brooks (Sofia). Each version produced a national tour.

AIDA (titled Elaborate Lives at the Alliance). Opened March 23, 2000, and ran for nearly five years (1,852 performances excluding previews). It won four Tony awards — for best original score (by Elton John and Tim Rice), best actress for Heather Headley’s Aida, Bob Crowley’s scenic design and Natasha Katz’s lighting design. It was nominated for costume design. Aida toured nationally for nearly 2.5 years in 2001-03 .

THE LAST NIGHT OF BALLYHOO. Alfred Uhry’s comedy was commissioned for the 1996 Olympic Arts Festival and ran on Broadway for almost 1.5 years (556 performances excluding previews). It was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize, won the Tony Award for best play and earned three performance nominations — for featured actor Terry Beaver and featured actresses Dany Ivey and Celia Weston.

SO LONG ON LONELY STREET. The Sandra Deer-penned comedy opened in spring 1986 and ran about 1.5 months (53 performances excluding previews).

Two Alliance-incubated shows with Broadway aspirations have not made it yet. The 2014 musical Bull Durham announced a tentative spring 2017 opening, according to Playbill.com, but that date came and went. The 2012 musical Ghost Brothers of Darkland County by Stephen King and John Mellencamp also took aim at Broadway. A concert version toured the South and Midwest in 2013.

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