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 | Aug. 2-8, 2018

It’s all about openings in this week’s curated column, including the Atlanta Musical Theatre Festival; the East by Southeast Festival for Asian-American Voices; the award-winning “Blackbird” at the Robert Mello Studios Blackbox; and the world premieres of  “On the Third Day” at Windmill Arts Center and “Woke,” joining the Essential New Play Fest. Pictured: Greg Kamp (center) as newsboys’ strike leader Jack Kelly with his cronies in Aurora Theatre’s “Newsies.” Photo by Chris Bartelski.

It’s all about openings in this week’s curated column, including the Atlanta Musical Theatre Festival; the East by Southeast Festival for Asian-American Voices; the award-winning “Blackbird” at the Robert Mello Studios Blackbox; and the world premieres of  “On the Third Day” at Windmill Arts Center and “Woke,” joining the Essential New Play Fest. Pictured: Greg Kamp (center) as newsboys’ strike leader Jack Kelly with his cronies in Aurora Theatre’s “Newsies.” Photo by Chris Bartelski.

 Recommended

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Atlanta Musical Theatre Festival. BEGINS MONDAY. 

One of the more enjoyable events of the year. The AMTF, now in its third year, offers four brand-new musicals. They look at family and faith, fairies in Britain, a confused crayon and Wonder Woman’s origin story. The schedule: Wonder Women by Greg Becker at 8 p.m. Monday; Red — A Crayon’s Musical by Ben Thorpe and John Burke at 8 p.m. Tuesday; Sundays at Four by Brittani Minnieweather, Jamie Walker and Jonathan Peacock at 8 p.m. Aug. 13; and The Fairy Hoax by Tom Diggs and Jay D’Amico at 8 p.m. Aug. 14.  

Festival pass $50 plus fees. Single show: $17 ($12 for Red — A Crayon’s Musical). Out Front Theatre, at 999 Brady Ave. in West Midtown, plays host.

Details, tickets HEREDiscounted full festival pass at PoshDealz.com.

Avery Sharpe. Photo: Dad’s Garage

Avery Sharpe. Photo: Dad’s Garage

Black Nerd. CLOSES SATURDAY.

Tough ticket. We’re hearing good things about this original dark comedy at Dad’s Garage Theatre Company.

The story concerns a black kid who prefers listening to Weird Al over Kendrick Lamar, attending Dragon Con to seeing Jay-Z, or watching Star Wars instead of Tyler Perry’s Madea. Black Nerd follows this young man as he navigates the expectations of his black family and his white friends, where race and geekdom collide.

The script is the first solo effort from Dad’s company member Jon Carr, who collaborated on the earlier Wrath of Con.

The cast: Mandy ButlerCandy McLellan, playwright/actor Avery Sharpe and Jon Wierenga. $15.50-$29.50. Dad’s is at 569 Ezzard St. SE. Details, tickets HERE (you’ll save money if you buy online) or at 404.523.3141.

Blake Burgess (from left), Shannon McCarren, Jessica De Maria. Photo: BreeAnne Clowdus

Blake Burgess (from left), Shannon McCarren, Jessica De Maria. Photo: BreeAnne Clowdus

 Titanic. THROUGH AUG. 19.

Tough ticket, but seats have been added to sold-out performances. The outdoors-only Serenbe Playhouse tops its Carousel (performed with a real carnival) and Miss Saigon (featuring a genuine Huey helicopter that took flight) with artistic director Brian Clowdus’ ambitious staging of this Tony Award-winning Broadway musical. The time: 1912. The place: aboard the RMS Titanic in the Atlantic Ocean.

Clowdus employs a cast of 40 (including regulars Niki BaduaBlake BurgessJessica De Maria, Chase Davidson and Robert Wayne) and a four-story Titanic replica that sinks nightly in the Inn Lake at Serenbe. But, as Clowdus says, “It’s not about the boat sinking. It’s about people on a voyage or quest for joy, hope and change.” All Serenbe shows can require a walk along a muddy path. Appropriate footwear recommended. There is seating for this show. For mobility assistance (parking, accessibility cart, etc.), contact the box office. $35 and up. 8 p.m. Wednesday-Sunday. Serenbe is at 9110 Selborne Lane in Chattahoochee Hills. Details, tickets HERE or at 770.463.1110.

Opening this week

Jayson Warner Smith, Heather Rule. Photo: Jamie Maciuszek

Jayson Warner Smith, Heather Rule. Photo: Jamie Maciuszek

Blackbird. OPENS FRIDAY.

Scottish playwright David Harrower’s 2005 drama follows a 27-year-old woman (Una) who surprises a 50-year-old man (Ray) at his office. Fifteen years earlier, Ray was convicted of sexually assaulting Una. He served his prison sentence, changed his name, moved and started a new life. When Una stumbles upon a recent photo of Ray, she decides to confront him. Jayson Warner Smith (TV’s The Walking Dead and Rectify) is Ray, Heather Rule is Una.

Marc Gowan directs. The staging comes from Right On Productions and Frat Pack Productions. Blackbird won London’s Olivier Award for best new play in 2007 and had a critically acclaimed Broadway run in 2016 with Jeff Daniels and Michelle Williams. It earned three Tony Award nominations.

$20 plus fees. Through Aug. 19. Robert Mello Studio Blackbox, 4048 Flowers Road, Suite 210, Doraville. Tickets at Brown Paper Tickets HERE.

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East by Southeast: A Festival of Asian-American Voices. OPENS SUNDAY. Free admission.

Dozens of Asian-American artists from a wide range of backgrounds and disciplines showcase their art over four nights at two venues. The lineup includes traditional Chinese dance, Bengali music, spoken word by Korean-American artists, an original devised piece of theater and staged readings of new plays. The festival’s goal is to engage Atlantans in a conversation about how the American story includes the Asian-American experience.

Co-presented by Aurora and Horizon theaters. Sunday, Monday and Tuesday performances are at Horizon, 1083 Austin Ave. N.E., 404.584.7450. Aug. 19 performances are at Aurora, 128 E. Pike St., 678.226.6222. Aurora offers free, covered, attached parking in a city deck at 153 E. Crogan St. Performance details and reservations at Brown Paper Tickets HERE.

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On the Third Day. OPENS FRIDAY.

A world premiere by Atlanta playwright Amina S. McIntyre.

Meet the Lansings. Three years ago their eldest son and oldest brother was killed. Now family members must come together to decide the fate of the two men who shot him. The drama, an examination of grief, ritual and family, is set in Atlanta and inspired by events in McIntyre’s life. Presented by Los Angeles/Atlanta-based VanguardRepMatthew Kellen Burgos directs a five-person cast. 

$20. Through Aug. 19. 7:30 p.m. Thursday-Friday; 2:30 + 7:30 p.m. Saturday; and 2:30 p.m. Sunday. Windmill Arts Center, 2823 Church St., East Point. Details, tickets HERE.

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Woke. OPENS FRIDAY. World premiere.

This prize-winning drama by Atlanta actor/playwright Avery Sharpe (the same artist in the cast of Dad’s Garage’s Black Nerd) begins its Essential New Play Festival run (in repertory with Built to Float). The script follows two close friends from different backgrounds who are already trying to navigate the high school-to-college transition when a calamitous event captures national attention. They’re forced to face their conflicting understandings of social awareness as they painstakingly and comically search for what it truly means to be “woke.”

Ellen McQueen directs. The 20-year-old Essential fest is dedicated to the work of Georgia playwrights. It includes a third world premiere Aug. 16-17 and three Bare Essentials staged readings. As can happen with new work and smallish budgets, quality can vary. $25. Through Aug. 26. Usually 8 p.m. Friday-Saturday and 2 + 7 p.m. Saturday but check dates and times before you go. West End Performing Arts Center, 945 Ralph David Abernathy Blvd. Details, tickets HERE.

Still running

Rachel Graf Evans

Rachel Graf Evans

Built to Float. THROUGH AUG. 25. World premiere.

Atlanta-based playwright Rachel Graf Evans’ surrealistic family drama, part of the 2018 Essential New Play Festival, asks: “Is Tess fine?” Tess tells her sister she is, but strange things keep happening in her home. The two women try to keep from drowning in the legacy of their troubled past. Essential founder Peter Hardy directs. Note: Woke, a world premiere by Avery Sharpejoins the repertory Friday.

The Essential fest, in its 20th season, is dedicated to the work of Georgia playwrights. It includes a third world premiere Aug. 16-17 and three Bare Essentials staged readings. As can happen with new work and smallish budgets, quality can vary. $25. Usually 8 p.m. Friday-Saturday and 2 + 7 p.m. Sunday but check dates and times before you go. West End Performing Arts Center, 945 Ralph David Abernathy Blvd. Details, tickets HERE.

Tinashe Kajese-Bolden, Gilbert Glenn Brown. Photo: Brenda Nicole Photography

Tinashe Kajese-Bolden, Gilbert Glenn Brown. Photo: Brenda Nicole Photography

Dot. THROUGH AUG. 12. At True Colors Theatre Company.

This gentle comedy by Colman Domingo uses humor to look at issues surrounding aging parents and midlife crises. The setting is Christmastime in urban West Philly. The playwright, says Variety.com, “sees the absurdity and human comedy in a messy, volatile, all-too-real family dynamic.” Atlanta-born, New York-based stage/film actor Denise Burse is Dot.

Also in the cast: such familiar faces as Gilbert Glenn BrownTinashe Kajese-BoldenRhyn McLemore Saver and Lee Osorio. True Colors co-founder and artistic director Kenny Leon directs. Contains adult language, situations.

$20-$35. 7:30 p.m. Wednesday-Friday; 2:30 + 7:30 p.m. Saturday-Sunday. True Colors performs at the Southwest Arts Center, 915 New Hope Road SW. Details, tickets HERE or at 877.725.8849 (Ticket Alternative).

Tinashe Kajese-Bolden, Gilbert Glenn Brown. Photo: Brenda Nicole Photography

Tinashe Kajese-Bolden, Gilbert Glenn Brown. Photo: Brenda Nicole Photography

Newsies. THROUGH SEPT. 2.

The 2012 Disney musical tells the real-life story of New York City’s Newsboy Strike of 1899, when publishing titans Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst tried to take advantage of the newsboys to increase profits. The newsboys’ response: Strike! Aurora Theatre uses a cast of 31 to tell the story, which features a Tony Award-winning score by Jack Feldman and Alan Menken (Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid)Justin Anderson directs, with musical direction by Ann-Carol Pence and choreography by Ricardo Aponte.

$30-$65. 8 p.m. Tuesday-Friday; 2:30 + 8 p.m. Saturday; and 2:30 p.m. Sunday. 10 a.m. matinee (tickets start at $20) on Aug. 7. (Note: The show, a co-production with Atlanta Lyric Theatre, plays the Lyric’s Marietta space Oct. 19-Nov. 4.) 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.

serenbe

Peter Pan. THROUGH AUG. 26. 

Serenbe Playhouse calls this a “world premiere musical pirate adventure.” If you’re so inclined, sail to the second star on the right and straight on till morning to revisit J.M. Barrie’s 1904 tale about Peter, Tinker Bell, the Lost Boys and Neverland. Complications arise when the Lost Boys get homesick and Captain Hook returns seeking revenge.

The story is by Roger Q. Mason, the score by London-trained, New York regular Ella GraceMichael Alvarez, who works largely in Britain, directs. Serenbe, which does outdoor, site-specific shows, sets Peter Pan at its Mado Hideaway. All shows take place in the woods and require a walk along a sometimes muddy path. Appropriate footwear recommended. For mobility assistance (parking, accessibility cart, etc.), contact the box office. $13-$30. 11 a.m. Thursday-Saturday; 2 p.m. Sunday. Serenbe is at 9110 Selborne Lane in Chattahoochee Hills. Details, tickets HERE or at 770.463.1110. Discount tickets at PoshDealz.com.

fashionado

BEST BETS | July 26-31, 2018

Our top picks in this week’s curated column offer variety — from the dark comedy “Black Nerd” at Dad’s Garage, to “Titanic” at Serenbe Playhouse, to pop-up performances by the one-of-a-kind Terminus Modern Ballet Theatre at the High Museum. Plus. Much. More. Note: All remaining performances of “The Color Purple” (Actor’s Express) + “Smokey Joe’s Cafe” (Stage Door Players) are sold out. Pictured: Rachel Van Buskirk and Heath Gill of Terminus Modern Ballet Theatre. 

Our top picks in this week’s curated column offer variety — from the dark comedy “Black Nerd” at Dad’s Garage, to “Titanic” at Serenbe Playhouse, to pop-up performances by the one-of-a-kind Terminus Modern Ballet Theatre at the High Museum. Plus. Much. More. Note: All remaining performances of “The Color Purple” (Actor’s Express) + “Smokey Joe’s Cafe” (Stage Door Players) are sold out. Pictured: Rachel Van Buskirk and Heath Gill of Terminus Modern Ballet Theatre. 

Recommended

Jon Wierenga, Avery Sharpe. Photo: Dad’s Garage

Jon Wierenga, Avery Sharpe. Photo: Dad’s Garage

Black Nerd. THROUGH AUG. 4. At Dad’s Garage Theatre Company.

We’re hearing good things about this original dark comedy, which examines what happens when a black kid prefers listening to Weird Al over Kendrick Lamar, attending Dragon Con over seeing Jay-Z, or watching Star Wars instead of Tyler Perry’s Madea. Black Nerd follows a young man as he navigates the expectations of his black family and his white friends, where race and geekdom collide.

The script is the first solo effort from Dad’s company member Jon Carr, who collaborated on the earlier Wrath of Con.

The cast: Mandy ButlerCandy McLellanAvery Sharpe and Jon Wierenga.

$15.50-$29.50. Dad’s is at 569 Ezzard St. SE. Details, tickets HERE (you’ll save money if you buy online) or at 404.523.3141.

Heath Gill, Rachel Van Buskirk. Photo: TMBT

Heath Gill, Rachel Van Buskirk. Photo: TMBT

Terminus Modern Ballet Theatre. FRIDAY-SATURDAY ONLY.

Two pop-up performances at the High Museum of Art feature Heath Gill’s Confronting Genius, described as “a whimsical duet that looks at unshackling the artist that lives inside us all.” Dancers from the company’s Advanced Summer Intensive program also perform. 

Terminus, founded in fall 2017, is dedicated to expanding ballet’s boundaries through contemporary movement and nontraditional approaches. Gill, along with co-founders Christian Clark, Tara Lee, Rachel Van Buskirk and John Welker, were longtime Atlanta Ballet dancers.

Free for High Museum members; $14.50 non-members. Seating limited. 7:30 p.m. Friday; 2:30 p.m. Saturday. The High Museum is at the Woodruff Arts Center, 1280 Peachtree St. NE. Details HERE. Tickets HERE or at 404.733.5000.

Chase Davidson as radioman Harold McBride, crew of the RMS Titanic. Photo: BreeAnne Clowdus

Chase Davidson as radioman Harold McBride, crew of the RMS Titanic. Photo: BreeAnne Clowdus

Titanic. THROUGH AUG. 19. 

The credo for major musicals at Serenbe Playhouse often seems to be “go big or go home.” Carousel and Miss Saigon come to mind. Both seem outpaced, however, by artistic director Brian Clowdus’ ambitious plan for this Tony Award-winning Broadway musical about the 1912 maritime disaster that killed 1,503 men, women and children.

Clowdus’ staging features a cast of 40 (including regulars Niki BaduaBlake BurgessJessica De Maria, Chase Davidson and Robert Wayne) and a four-story Titanic replica that sinks nightly in the Inn Lake at Serenbe. But, as Clowdus says, “It’s not about the boat sinking. It’s about people on a voyage or quest for joy, hope and change.”

All Serenbe shows take place outdoors and can require a walk along a muddy path. Appropriate footwear recommended. There is seating for this show. For mobility assistance (parking, accessibility cart, etc.), contact the box office.

$35 and up. 8 p.m. Wednesday-Sunday. Serenbe is at 9110 Selborne Lane in Chattahoochee Hills. Details, tickets HERE or at 770.463.1110.

Opening this week

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Built to Float. OPENS FRIDAY. World premiere.

Atlanta-based playwright Rachel Graf Evans opens this year’s Essential New Play Festival with a surrealistic family drama that asks: “Is Tess fine?” Tess tells her sister she is, but strange things keep happening in her home. The two women try to keep from drowning in the legacy of their troubled past. Essential founder Peter Hardy directs. Woke, a world premiere by Avery Sharpe, joins the repertory Aug. 3.

The Essential fest, in its 20th season, is dedicated to the work of Georgia playwrights. It includes a third world premiere Aug. 16-17 and three Bare Essentials staged readings. As can happen with new work and smallish budgets, quality can vary here.

$25. 8 p.m. Friday-Saturday; 2 + 7 p.m. Saturday, but check the schedule before you go. West End Performing Arts Center, 945 Ralph David Abernathy Blvd. Details, tickets HERE.

Closing this week

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Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type. CLOSES SUNDAY. At the Center for Puppetry Arts. 

Cows that type? Chickens on strike? Check out Farmer Brown’s topsy-turvy barnyard in this adaptation by the Center’s Jon Ludwig and Jason Hines. It’s based on the Caldecott Honor-winning children’s book published in 2000. The comedy uses marionette, rod and shadow puppets and is appropriate for age 4 and up. 

The cast/puppeteers: Dolph Amick, Brian Harrison, Mandy Mitchell, head puppeteer Amy Sweeney and Tim Sweeney.

$19.50. 10 a.m. + noon Tuesday-Friday; 11 a.m. + 1 p.m. Saturday; 1 + 3 p.m. Sunday. 1404 Spring St. NW. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.873.3391.

Maggie Birgel. Photo: Casey Gardner

Maggie Birgel. Photo: Casey Gardner

Enchanted April. CLOSES SUNDAY. From the Weird Sisters Theatre Project.

In 1922, two housewives find themselves in dreary marriages in post-World War I London. They decide to rent an Italian villa for a ladies-only escape with two reluctant recruits. Things lost are soon found as the women clash, then begin to bond and bloom under the Mediterranean sun. Matthew Barber’s romantic comedy, based on the 1922 novel by Elizabeth von Armin, had a four-month summer run on Broadway in 2003.

Kate Donadio MacQueen directs. The cast: Maggie Birgel, Josh Brook, Amanda CucherShelli Delgado, Stephanie Earle, J.L. Reed, Topher Payne and Holly Stevenson.

$15 plus fees. 8 p.m. Friday-Saturday; 7 p.m. Sunday. Performed at Out of Box Theatre, 585 Cobb Parkway South in Marietta. Tickets HERE.

Kenneth Wigley, Dani Herd. Photo: Shakespeare Tavern Playhouse

Kenneth Wigley, Dani Herd. Photo: Shakespeare Tavern Playhouse

A Midsummer Night’s Dream. CLOSES SUNDAY. Shakespeare Tavern Playhouse.

It’s the Midsummer season. The new Shakespeare Kennesaw recently finished its run, and September brings an outdoor version from the Alliance Theatre.

At the Tavern, Kenneth Wigley (Theseus, Oberon) and Dani Herd (Hippolyta, Titania) lead a large band of storytellers in a comic tale about two pairs of lovers (one requited, one not so much) and a ragtag bunch of thespians who stumble upon a chaotic fairy kingdom. J. Tony Brown directs. 

Pub menu and libations available. $21-$42. 7:30 p.m. Thursday-Saturday; 6:30 p.m. Sunday. 499 Peachtree St. NE (parking suggested in the Emory University Hospital Midtown deck across the street). Details, tickets HERE or at 404.874.5299, Ext. 0.

Ring of Fire: The Music of Johnny Cash. CLOSES SATURDAY. Georgia Ensemble Theatre reprises last season’s jukebox musical about the Man in Black. Ring of Fire tells Cash’s story through his songs — from vintage country to rockabilly to ballads — including “Daddy Sang Bass,” “A Boy Named Sue,” “Folsom Prison Blues,” “Going to Memphis,” “Jackson,” “If I Were a Carpenter,” “I Walk the Line” and 32 more. The run continues GET’s partnership with the Chattahoochee Nature Center for a fourth consecutive summer and features the same cast as last season: Chris DamianoScott DePoy, Christopher Kent, Laura Lindahl and Mark W. Schroeder. $16.50 general admission lawn seating; $36.50 reserved table seating under the pavilion; $365 for a 10-person table. Cash bar (no outside alcohol or glass allowed). 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday (grounds open at 6:30 p.m.). 9135 Willeo Road, Roswell. Details, tickets HERE or at 770.641.1260.

Walking the line (from left): Scott DePoy, Christopher Kent, Chris Damiano, Laura Lindahl, Mark W. Schroeder. Photo: GET

Walking the line (from left): Scott DePoy, Christopher Kent, Chris Damiano, Laura Lindahl, Mark W. Schroeder. Photo: GET

 Still running

Denise Burse, Lee Osorio. Photo: True Colors Theatre

Denise Burse, Lee Osorio. Photo: True Colors Theatre

Dot. THROUGH AUG. 12. At True Colors Theatre Company.

This gentle comedy by Colman Domingo uses humor to look at issues surrounding aging parents and midlife crises. The setting is Christmastime in urban West Philly. The playwright, says Variety.com, “sees the absurdity and human comedy in a messy, volatile, all-too-real family dynamic.” Atlanta-born, New York-based stage/film actor Denise Burse is Dot. Also in the cast: such familiar faces as Gilbert Glenn BrownTinashe Kajese-BoldenRhyn McLemore Saver and Lee Osorio

True Colors co-founder and artistic director Kenny Leon directs. Contains adult language, situations. $20-$35. 7:30 p.m. Wednesday-Friday; 2:30 + 7:30 p.m. Saturday-Sunday (no 2:30 p.m. show July 31). True Colors performs at the Southwest Arts Center, 915 New Hope Road SW. Details, tickets HERE or at 877.725.8849 (Ticket Alternative).

Adrianna Trachell, Greg Kamp. Photo: Chris Bartelski

Adrianna Trachell, Greg Kamp. Photo: Chris Bartelski

Newsies. THROUGH SEPT. 2.

The 2012 Disney musical tells the real-life story of New York City’s Newsboy Strike of 1899, when publishing titans Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst tried to take advantage of the newsboys to increase profits. The newsboys’ response: Strike! 

Aurora Theatre uses a cast of 31 to tell the story, set at the turn of the 19th century. Newsies features a Tony Award-winning score by Jack Feldman and Alan Menken (Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid)Justin Andersondirects, with musical direction by Ann-Carol Pence and choreography by Ricardo Aponte.

$30-$65. 8 p.m. Tuesday-Friday; 2:30 + 8 p.m. Saturday; and 2:30 p.m. Sunday. 10 a.m. matinees  (tickets start at $20) on July 31 + Aug. 7. (Note: The show, a co-production with Atlanta Lyric Theatre, plays the Lyric’s Marietta space Oct. 19-Nov. 4.) 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.

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Peter Pan. THROUGH AUG. 26. 

Serenbe Playhouse calls this a “world premiere musical pirate adventure.” If you’re so inclined, sail to the second star on the right and straight on till morning to revisit J.M. Barrie’s 1904 tale about Peter, Tinker Bell, the Lost Boys and Neverland. Complications arise when the Lost Boys get homesick and Captain Hook returns seeking revenge. The story is by Roger Q. Mason, the score by London-trained, New York regular Ella GraceMichael Alvarez, who works largely in Britain, directs. Serenbe, which does outdoor, site-specific shows, sets Peter Pan at its Mado Hideaway.

All shows take place in the woods and require a walk along a sometimes muddy path. Appropriate footwear recommended. For mobility assistance (parking, accessibility cart, etc.), contact the box office. $13-$30. 11 a.m. Thursday-Saturday; 2 p.m. Sunday. Serenbe is at 9110 Selborne Lane in Chattahoochee Hills. Details, tickets HERE or at 770.463.1110. Discount tickets at PoshDealz.com.

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BEST BETS | July 19-25, 2018

“The Color Purple” (Actor’s Express) and “Titanic” continue and lead this week’s curated edition of BEST BETS. Also worth noting: “Dot” continues at True Colors, the “The Book of Mormon” drops into the Fox Theatre and “Newsies” opens at Aurora Theatre. Pictured: Denise Burse and Gilbert Glenn Brown in “Dot” at True Colors. Photo: Brenda Nicole Photography.

“The Color Purple” (Actor’s Express) and “Titanic” continue and lead this week’s curated edition of BEST BETS. Also worth noting: “Dot” continues at True Colors, the “The Book of Mormon” drops into the Fox Theatre and “Newsies” opens at Aurora Theatre. Pictured: Denise Burse and Gilbert Glenn Brown in “Dot” at True Colors. Photo: Brenda Nicole Photography.

**  INDICATES AN ENCORE ATLANTA SPRING/SUMMER TOP PICK. 

Recommended

Latrice Pace (left) and Jeanette Illidge as Celie and Nettie. Photo: Casey Gardner

Latrice Pace (left) and Jeanette Illidge as Celie and Nettie. Photo: Casey Gardner

 ** The Color Purple. THROUGH JULY 29. At Actor’s Express.

Alice Walker’s landmark, Pulitzer Prize-winning novel became a musical at Atlanta’s Alliance Theatre in 2004, and on Broadway in 2005 and 2015. The Express telling hews most closely to the more intimate 2015/17 revival. The story follows the hardscrabble journey of a rural Georgia woman named Celie, who fights adversity to find strength, love and the power of her own voice over a 40-year span.

Atlanta-based actor/director/educator David Koté directs. Latrice Pace is Celie, Jasmyne Hinson is Shug Avery, Kevin Harry is Mister and Kayce Grogan-Wallace is Sophia.

$22-$44 and selling well. Don’t delay. 8 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday; 2 p.m. Sunday. In the King Plow Arts Center, 887 W. Marietta St. in West Midtown. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.607.7469.

 

Chris Sizemore as Thomas Andrews, chief designer of the RMS Titanic. Photo: BreeAnne Clowdus

Chris Sizemore as Thomas Andrews, chief designer of the RMS Titanic. Photo: BreeAnne Clowdus

Titanic. EXTENDED THROUGH AUG. 19. 

The credo for major musicals at Serenbe Playhouse often seems to be “go big or go home.” Carousel and Miss Saigon come to mind. Both might be outdone, however, by artistic director Brian Clowdus’ ambitious plan for this Tony Award-winning Broadway musical about the 1912 maritime disaster that killed 1,503 men, women and children. Clowdus’ staging features a cast of 40 (including regulars Niki BaduaBlake BurgessJessica De Maria, Chase Peacock and Robert Wayne) and a four-story Titanic replica that sinks nightly in the Inn Lake at Serenbe. But, as Clowdus says, “It’s not about the boat sinking. It’s about people on a voyage or quest for joy, hope and change.”

All Serenbe shows take place outdoors and can require a walk along a muddy path. Appropriate footwear recommended. For mobility assistance (parking, accessibility cart, etc.), contact the box office.

$35 and up. 8 p.m. Wednesday-Sunday. Serenbe is at 9110 Selborne Lane in Chattahoochee Hills. Details, tickets HERE or at 770.463.1110.

Opening this week

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Newsies. OPENS JULY 19.

The 2012 Disney musical tells the real-life story of New York City’s Newsboy Strike of 1899, when publishing titans Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst tried to take advantage of the newsboys to increase profits. The newsboys’ response: Strike!! 

Aurora Theatre uses a cast of 31 to tell the story, set at the turn of the 19th century. Newsies, a Disney musical, features a Tony Award-winning score by Jack Feldman and Alan Menken (Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid). Justin Anderson directs, with musical direction by Ann-Carol Pence and choreography by Ricardo Aponte.

$30-$65. 8 p.m. Tuesday-Friday; 2:30 + 8 p.m. Saturday; and 2:30 p.m. Sunday. 10 a.m. matinees  (tickets start at $20) on July 31 + Aug. 7. Through Sept. 2.

(Note: The show, a co-production with Atlanta Lyric Theatre, plays the Lyric’s Marietta space Oct. 19-Nov. 4.) 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.

Still running

Jon Carr

Jon Carr

Black Nerd. THROUGH AUG. 4. At Dad’s Garage Theatre Company.

What happens when a black kid prefers listening to Weird Al over Kendrick Lamar, attending Dragon Con over seeing Jay-Z, or watching Star Wars instead of Tyler Perry’s Madea? This dark comedy follows a young man as he navigates the expectations of his black family and his white friends, where race and geekdom collide. The script is the first solo effort from Dad’s company member Jon Carr, who collaborated on the earlier Wrath of Con.

The cast: Mandy ButlerCandy McLellanAvery Sharpe and Jon Wierenga.

$15.50-$29.50. Dad’s is at 569 Ezzard St. SE. Details, tickets HERE (you’ll save money if you buy online) or at 404.523.3141.

Conner Peirson as Elder Cunningham. Photo: Julieta Cervantes

Conner Peirson as Elder Cunningham. Photo: Julieta Cervantes

 The Book of Mormon. THROUGH SUNDAY. 

Those shiny-faced Mormon missionaries revisit Atlanta (and Uganda) for more equal-opportunity offensiveness and a surprising amount of heart.

The Broadway company is in its seventh year; Atlanta sees the national touring company. The show, by Matt Stone and Trey Parker (“South Park”) and Robert Lopez (Avenue Q), won nine 2011 Tony awards, including best musical.

$34-$139 plus fees. Fox Theatre, 660 Peachtree St. N.E. Details, tickets HERE, in person at the Fox ticket office or at 855.285.8499.

 

Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type. THROUGH JULY 29. At the Center for Puppetry Arts. Cows that type? Chickens on strike? Check out Farmer Brown’s topsy-turvy barnyard in this adaptation by the Center’s Jon Ludwig and Jason Hines. It’s based on the Caldecott Honor-winning children’s book published in 2000. The comedy uses marionette, rod and shadow puppets and is appropriate for age 4 and up. The cast-puppeteers: Dolph Amick, Brian Harrison, Mandy Mitchell, head puppeteer Amy Sweeney and Tim Sweeney. $19.50. 10 a.m. + noon Tuesday-Friday; 11 a.m. + 1 p.m. Saturday; 1 + 3 p.m. Sunday. 1404 Spring St. NW. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.873.3391.

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Dot. THROUGH AUG. 12.

At True Colors Theatre Company. This gentle comedy by Colman Domingo uses humor to look at issues surrounding aging parents and midlife crises. The setting is Christmastime in urban West Philly. The playwright, Variety.com says, “sees the absurdity and human comedy in a messy, volatile, all-too-real family dynamic.” Atlanta-born, New York-based stage/film actor Denise Burse is Dot.

Also in the cast: such familiar faces as Gilbert Glenn BrownTinashe Kajese-BoldenRhyn McLemore Saver and Lee Osorio. True Colors co-founder and artistic director Kenny Leon directs. Contains adult language, situations.

$20-$35. 8 p.m. Wednesday-Friday; 2:30 + 8 p.m. Saturday; 2:30 p.m. Sunday. True Colors performs at the Southwest Arts Center, 915 New Hope Road SW. Details, tickets HERE or at 877.725.8849 (Ticket Alternative).

J.L. Reed, Amanda Cucher. Photo: Casey Gardner

J.L. Reed, Amanda Cucher. Photo: Casey Gardner

Enchanted April. THROUGH JULY 29.

From the Weird Sisters Theatre Project. In 1922, two London housewives find themselves in dreary marriages in post-World War I society. They decide to rent an Italian villa for a ladies-only escape with two reluctant recruits. Things lost are soon found as the women clash, then begin to bond and bloom under the Mediterranean sun.

 Matthew Barber’s romantic comedy, based on the 1922 novel by Elizabeth von Armin, had a four-month summer run on Broadway in 2003.

Kate Donadio MacQueen directs. The cast: Maggie Birgel, Josh Brook, Amanda CucherShelli Delgado, Stephanie Earle, J.L. Reed, Topher Payne and Holly Stevenson.

$15 plus fees. 8 p.m. Friday-Saturday; 7 p.m. Sunday. Performed at Out of Box Theatre, 585 Cobb Parkway South in Marietta. Tickets HERE.

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A Midsummer Night’s Dream. THROUGH JULY 29. Shakespeare Tavern Playhouse.

‘Tis the Midsummer season. The new Shakespeare Kennesaw recently finished its run, and September brings an outdoor version from the Alliance Theatre. At the Tavern, Kenneth Wigley (Theseus, Oberon) and Dani Herd (Hippolyta, Titania) lead a large band of storytellers in a comic tale about two pairs of lovers (one requited, one not so much) and a ragtag bunch of thespians who stumble upon a chaotic fairy kingdom. J. Tony Brown directs. 

Pub menu and libations available. $21-$42. 7:30 p.m. Thursday-Saturday; 6:30 p.m. Sunday. 

499 Peachtree St. NE (parking suggested in the Emory University Hospital Midtown deck across the street). Details, tickets HERE or at 404.874.5299, Ext. 0.

Photo: BreeAnne Clowdus

Photo: BreeAnne Clowdus

Peter Pan. THROUGH AUG. 26. 

Serenbe Playhouse calls this a “world premiere musical pirate adventure.” If you’re so inclined, sail to the second star on the right and straight on till morning to revisit J.M. Barrie’s 1904 tale about Peter, Tinker Bell, the Lost Boys and Neverland. Complications arise when the Lost Boys get homesick and Captain Hook returns seeking revenge.

The story is by Roger Q. Mason, the score by London-trained, New York regular Ella GraceMichael Alvarez, who works largely in Britain, directs. Serenbe, which does outdoor, site-specific shows, sets Peter Pan at its Mado Hideaway.

All shows take place in the woods and require a walk along a sometimes muddy path. Appropriate footwear recommended. For mobility assistance (parking, accessibility cart, etc.), contact the box office. $13-$30. 11 a.m. Thursday-Saturday; 2 p.m. Sunday.

Serenbe is at 9110 Selborne Lane in Chattahoochee Hills. Details, tickets HERE or at 770.463.1110. Discount tickets at PoshDealz.com.

Christopher Kent (from left), Chris Damiano, Scott DePoy, Laura Lindahl and Mark W. Schroeder. Photo: Georgia Ensemble Theatre

Christopher Kent (from left), Chris Damiano, Scott DePoy, Laura Lindahl and Mark W. Schroeder. Photo: Georgia Ensemble Theatre

Ring of Fire: The Music of Johnny Cash. THROUGH JULY 28. 

Georgia Ensemble Theatre reprises last season’s jukebox musical about the Man in Black. Ring of Fire tells Cash’s story through his songs — from vintage country to rockabilly to ballads — including “Daddy Sang Bass,” “A Boy Named Sue,” “Folsom Prison Blues,” “Going to Memphis,” “Jackson,” “If I Were a Carpenter,” “I Walk the Line” and 32 more. 

The run continues GET’s partnership with the Chattahoochee Nature Center for a fourth consecutive summer and features the same cast as last season: Chris DamianoScott DePoy, Christopher Kent, Laura Lindahl and Mark W. Schroeder.

$16.50 general admission lawn seating; $36.50 reserved table seating under the pavilion; $365 for a 10-person table. Cash bar (no outside alcohol or glass allowed). 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday (grounds open at 6:30 p.m.). 9135 Willeo Road, Roswell. Details, tickets HERE or at 770.641.1260.

Next week

TMBT founders (from left) John Welker, Rachel Van Buskirk, Heath Gill, Tara Lee and Christian Clark.

TMBT founders (from left) John Welker, Rachel Van Buskirk, Heath Gill, Tara Lee and Christian Clark.

Terminus Modern Ballet Theatre. JULY 27-28.

Two pop-up performances at the High Museum of Art feature Heath Gill’s Confronting Genius, described as “a whimsical duet that looks at unshackling the artist that lives inside us all.”

Dancers from the company’s Advanced Summer Intensive program also perform. 

Terminus, founded in fall 2017, is dedicated to expanding ballet’s boundaries through contemporary movement and nontraditional approaches. Gill, along with co-founders Christian Clark, Tara Lee, Rachel Van Buskirk and John Welker, were longtime Atlanta Ballet dancers.

Free for High Museum members; $14.50 non-members. Seating limited. 7:30 p.m. Friday; 2:30 p.m. Saturday. The High Museum is at the Woodruff Arts Center, 1280 Peachtree St. NE. Details HERE.Tickets HERE or at 404.733.5000.

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TONY AWARDS: STONEMAN DOUGLAS KIDS, DE NIRO DOMINATE TONY TALK

ABOVE: Tony Shalhoub and Katrina Lenk, both 2018 Tony winners, in a scene from the winning best musical  The Band’s Visit.  Photo by Matthew Murphy.

ABOVE: Tony Shalhoub and Katrina Lenk, both 2018 Tony winners, in a scene from the winning best musical The Band’s Visit. Photo by Matthew Murphy.

The Band’s Visit and Harry Potter win big at Broadway’s 2018 honors, respectively outpacing the splashier musicals and the less splashy plays.

THE MOST MOVING MOMENT of the 2018 Tony awards telecast came about 9:15 Sunday night, when drama students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School took the stage to sing about friendship, struggle and life in “Seasons of Love” from Rent. Broadway’s best, dressed to the nines in New York’s Radio City Music Hall, teared up, then gave the group a loud and extended standing ovation.

Moments earlier, their teacher Melody Herzfeld had been recognized with a special Tony for Excellence in Theater Education. She sheltered and saved 65 students on Feb. 14, when a gunman killed 17 and wounded 17 at the school in Parkland, Fla. Since then, the drama kids have led prominent protests and ignited a movement for gun safety all across the country.

The second-biggest talking point in living rooms and on social media? What did Robert De Niro say that got him so very bleeped? De Niro was onstage to introduce a Bruce Springsteen performance but began by connecting a couple of F-bombs to a certain sitting president. The audience roared and applauded raucously. The internet blew up.

Affable hosts Josh Groban and Sara Bareilles.

Affable hosts Josh Groban and Sara Bareilles.

Sara Bareilles (who wrote the score and eventually joined the cast of Waitress) and Josh Groban (The Great Comet is his only Broadway credit) turned out to be nimble and likable hosts, laughing at themselves, and others, and keeping the three-hour event moving forward.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Parts 1 and 2, topped all play nominees with six wins (out of 10 nominations), including best play. It’s based on a new Harry Potter story written by Jack Thorne, J. K. Rowling and John Tiffany and is performed in repertory. The story begins 19 years after the events of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Harry is married and has three children, the youngest of which grapples with the family legacy.

The Band’s Visit, a smaller show about an Egyptian police band stranded and taken in by Israeli locals, won 10 of the 11 Tonys for which it was nominated, including best musical. It easily bested its bigger, splashier competitors, all based on Hollywood movies.

Bye, bye, SpongeBob SquarePants, Frozen and Mean Girls, see you all on the road? All three are likely to tour and may show up at the Fox Theatre in the next few years. Look too, perhaps, for the revivals of Carousel and My Fair Lady and, eventually, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.  It’s not a musical, but it likely has enough wizardry magic and name recognition to pull in an audience.

By choosing The Band’s Visit, voters might have been sending a message about what’s called the “Disneyfication” of Broadway, the trend toward bigger, fluffier musicals that throw a lot of money and glitter on the stage but lack an emotional core. We’ll see. The most recent Broadway season set box-office records but lacked the cachet of a Hamilton (2016) or the heart of a Fun Home (2015) or Dear Evan Hansen (2017).

From “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child”: Adult versions of Hermione Granger (Noma Dumezweni, left), Harry Potter (Jamie Parker) and Ron Weasley (Paul Thornley). Photo: Manuel Harlan

From “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child”: Adult versions of Hermione Granger (Noma Dumezweni, left), Harry Potter (Jamie Parker) and Ron Weasley (Paul Thornley). Photo: Manuel Harlan

Tony voters did the same with Fun Home (cast of nine) and Dear Evan Hansen  (cast of eight, with a multitude of prerecorded voices). The Band’s Visit is a 14-actor musical. On the flip side, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is a 40-person play, which is quite rare.

A total of 33 productions opened on Broadway in the 2017/18 season, the smallest number in more than a decade, according to Playbill.com, which tracks such things. The Tonys, which recognize excellence on Broadway, began in 1947 and are named for Antoinette Perry, an actress, director, producer and co-founder of the American Theatre Wing.

A few noncompetitive honorees were announced before the telecast and given the briefest of prerecorded moments: composer/producer Andrew Lloyd Webber and legendary performer Chita Rivera (West Side Story, Bye Bye Birdie, Chicago, The Rink, Kiss of the Spider Woman, Nine, The Mystery of Edwin Drood) received Lifetime Achievement awards; the Nederlander Organization’s Nick Scandalios received the Volunteerism Award for his work as an advocate for gay parents and their children; and New York Times theater photographer Sara Krulwich, costume beader Bessie Nelson and Ernest Winzer Cleaners, a 100-year-old business that specializes in costume work, were honored for excellence.

Special Tony Award winners: theater photographer Sara Krulwich (from left), Chita Rivera, Andrew Lloyd Webber and Florida teacher Melody Herzfeld. Krulwich photo by Walter McBride / Getty Images.

 La MaMa Etc., the 57-year-old New York-based experimental theater company, won the Regional Tony Award, the same award that Atlanta’s Alliance Theatre won in 2007.

Here are the results of the competitive categories. The winners are highlighted.

Best play

Winner: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Parts 1 and 2 by Jack Thorne

Other nominees:

  • The Children, a drama by Lucy Kirkwood, from London’s Royal Court Theatre
  • Farinelli and the King, a play with music by Claire van Kampen
  • Junk, a drama by Pulitzer Prize winner Ayad Akhtar
  • Latin History for Morons, a comedy by John Leguizamo

Best musical

Winner: The Band’s Visit

Other nominees:

  • Frozen
  • Mean Girls
  • SpongeBob SquarePants: The Broadway Musical

Best revival / play

Winner: Angels in America by Tony Kushner (from 1983)

Other nominees:

  • Lobby Hero by Kenneth Lonergan (from 2001)
  • Three Tall Women by Edward Albee (from 1991, won the 1994 Pulitzer Prize for Drama)
  • The Iceman Cometh by Eugene O’Neill (from 1946)
  • Travesties by Tom Stoppard (from 1975)

Best revival / musical

Winner: Once on This Island by Lynn Ahrens + Stephen Flaherty (from 1990)

Other nominees:

  • Carousel by Rodgers + Hammerstein (from 1945)
  • My Fair Lady by Lerner + Loewe (from 1956)

Best book of a musical

Winner: The Band’s Visit

Other nominees:

  • Frozen, Jennifer Lee
  • Mean Girls, Tina Fey
  • SpongeBob SquarePants, Kyle Jarrow

Best original score

Winner: The Band’s Visit

Other nominees:

  • Angels in America, Adrian Sutton
  • Frozen, music + lyrics by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez
  • Mean Girls, music by Jeff Richmond + lyrics by Nell Benjamin
  • SpongeBob SquarePants, various

Best leading actor / play

Winner: Andrew Garfield in Angels in America

Other nominees:

  • Tom Hollander in Travesties
  • Jamie Parker in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
  • Mark Rylance in Farinelli and the King
  • Denzel Washington in The Iceman Cometh

Best leading actress / play

Winner: Glenda Jackson in Three Tall Women. She returned to Broadway for the first time in 20 years, time she spent in Britain’s Parliament.

Other nominees:

  • Condola Rashad in St. Joan
  • Lauren Ridloff in Children of a Lesser God
  • Amy Schumer in Meteor Shower

Best leading actor / musical

Winner: Tony Shalhoub in The Band’s Visit. His first Tony. He was nominated for Golden Boy in 2013 and Act One in 2014.

Other nominees:

  • Harry Hadden-Paton in My Fair Lady
  • Joshua Henry in Carousel
  • Ethan Slater in SpongeBob SquarePants

Best leading actress / musical

Winner: Katrina Lenk for The Band’s Visit

Other nominees:

  • Lauren Ambrose in My Fair Lady
  • Hailey Kilgore in Once on This Island
  • LaChanze in Summer: The Donna Summer Musical
  • Taylor Louderman in Mean Girls
  • Jessie Mueller in Carousel

Best featured actor / play

Winner: Nathan Lane for Angels in America. This is his third Tony. He won awards for best leading actor in a musical for A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum in 1996 and The Producers in 2001.

Other nominees:

  • Anthony Boyle in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
  • Michael Cera in Lobby Hero
  • Brian Tyree Henry in Lobby Hero
  • David Morse in The Iceman Cometh

Best featured actress / play

Winner: Laurie Metcalf for Three Tall Women. This is her second Tony. She won best leading actress last season for her work on Lucas Hnath’s A Doll’s House, Part 2.

Other nominees:

  • Susan Brown in Angels in America
  • Noma Dumezweni in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
  • Deborah Findlay in The Children
  • Denise Gough in Angels in America

Best featured actor / musical

Winner: Ari’el Stachel in The Band’s Visit. Broadway debut.

Other nominees:

  • Norbert Leo Butz in My Fair Lady
  • Alexander Gemignani in Carousel
  • Grey Henson in Mean Girls
  • Gavin Lee in SpongeBob SquarePants

Best featured actress / musical

Winner: Lindsay Mendez in Carousel

Other nominees:

  • Ariana DeBose in Summer: The Donna Summer Musical
  • Renée Fleming in Carousel
  • Ashley Park in Mean Girls
  • Diana Rigg in My Fair Lady

Best direction / play

Winner: John Tiffany for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Other nominees:

  • Marianne Elliott for Angels in America
  • Joe Mantello for Three Tall Women
  • Patrick Marber for Travesties
  • George C. Wolfe for The Iceman Cometh

Best direction / musical

Winner: David Cromer for The Band’s Visit

Other nominees:

  • Michael Arden for Once on This Island
  • Tina Landau for SpongeBob SquarePants
  • Casey Nicholaw for Mean Girls
  • Bartlett Sher for My Fair Lady

Best choreography

Winner: Justin Peck for Carousel in his Broadway debut as a choreographer. Peck, 30, choreographs and dances with New York City Ballet.

Other nominees:

  • Christopher Gattelli for My Fair Lady
  • Christopher Gattelli for SpongeBob SquarePants
  • Steven Hoggett for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
  • Casey Nicholaw for Mean Girls

Best scenic design / play

Winner: Christine Jones for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. She won her first Tony in 2010 for American Idiot.

Other nominees:

  • Miriam Buether for Three Tall Women
  • Jonathan Fensom for Farinelli and the King
  • Santo Loquasto for The Iceman Cometh
  • Ian MacNeil and Edward Pierce for Angels in America

Best scenic design / musical

Winner: David Zinn for SpongeBob SquarePants. He also won in 2016 for The Humans.

Other nominees:

  • Dane Laffrey for Once on This Island
  • Scott Pask for The Band’s Visit
  • Scott Pask, Finn Ross and Adam Young for Mean Girls
  • Michael Yeargan for My Fair Lady

Best costume design / play

Winner: Katrina Lindsay for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. She won in 2008 for Les Liaisons Dangereuses.

Other nominees:

  • Jonathan Fensom for Farinelli and the King
  • Nicky Gillibrand for Angels in America
  • Ann Roth for Three Tall Women
  • Ann Roth for The Iceman Cometh

Best costume design / musical

Winner: Catherine Zuber for My Fair Lady. This is the 8th Tony for the perennial nominee.

Other nominees:

  • Gregg Barnes for Mean Girls
  • Clint Ramos for Once on This Island
  • Ann Roth for Carousel
  • David Zinn for SquareBob SpongePants

Best lighting design / play

Winner: Neil Austin for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. This is his 2nd Tony. He won in 2010 for Red.

Other nominees:

  • Paule Constable for Angels in America
  • Jules Fisher and Peggy Eisenhauer for The Iceman Cometh
  • Paul Russell for Farinelli and the King
  • Ben Stanton for Junk

Best lighting design / musical

Winner: Tyler Micoleau for The Band’s Visit. Broadway debut.

Other nominees:

  •  Kevin Adams for SquareBob SpongePants
  • Jules Fisher and Peggy Eisenhauer for Once on This Island
  • Donald Holder for My Fair Lady
  • Brian MacDevitt for Carousel

Best orchestrations

Winner: Jamshied Sharifi for The Band’s Visit. Broadway debut.

Other nominees:

  • John Clancy for Mean Girls
  • Tom Kitt for SquareBob SpongePants
  • AnnMarie Milazzo and Michael Starobin for Once on This Island
  • Jonathan Tunick for Carousel

Sound design / play

Winner: Gareth Fry for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. He won a special Tony Award in 2017 for The Encounter.

Other nominees:

  • Adam Cork for Travesties
  • Ian Dickinson for Angels in America
  • Tom Gibbons for 1984
  • Dan Moses Schreier for The Iceman Cometh

Sound design / musical

Winner: Kai Harada for The Band’s Visit

Other nominees:

  • Peter Hylenski for Once on This Island
  • Scott Lehrer for Carousel
  • Brian Ronan for Mean Girls
  • Walter Trarbach and Mike Dobson for SpongeBob SquarePants

Wins by show

In descending order, with the number of nominations in parentheses.

  • The Band’s Visit — 10 (11)
  • Harry Potter and the Cursed Child — 6 (10)
  • Angels in America — 3 (11)
  • Carousel — 2 (11)
  • Three Tall Women — 2 (7)
  • My Fair Lady — 1 (10)
  • Once on This Island — 1 (8)
  • SpongeBob SquarePants — 1 (12)
  • Mean Girls — 0 (12)
  • The Iceman Cometh — 0 (10)
  • Farinelli and the King — 0 (5)
  • Travesties — 0 (4)
  • Lobby Hero — 0 (3)
  • The ChildrenFrozen, Junk, Summer: The Donna Summer Musical — 0 (2)
  • 1984, Children of a Lesser God, Latin History for Morons, Meteor Shower, St. Joan — 0 (1)

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HAMILTON - A THEATRICAL REVOLUTION

Hamilton

Who knew our Founding Fathers could be this cool?

Tony- and Pulitzer Prize-winning Lin-Manuel Miranda, that’s who.

“Hamilton” runs May 22-June 10 at the Fox Theatre. Details, tickets (which can top $600) HERE or at  855.285.8499.

YOU MIGHT NOT have given him much thought until recently, but the guy on the $10 bill has become the most popular Founding Father in the land. His name is Hamilton, and here’s how it happened.

Vanessa Nadal and Tony Award-winning husband Lin-Manuel Miranda. Photo: Getty Images

Vanessa Nadal and Tony Award-winning husband Lin-Manuel Miranda. Photo: Getty Images

In the summer of 2007, just before his In the Heights moved to Broadway, playwright-composer Lin-Manuel Miranda was vacationing in Mexico with then-girlfriend Vanessa Nadal. He was reading Ron Chernow’s 818-page Alexander Hamilton.

Choosing that biography was some sort of crazy fate, Miranda says. At one point he turned to Nadal and said, “I think this is a great hip-hop musical.”

“That sounds cool,” she replied.

Miranda and Nadal had known each other since high school, and he held great stock in her opinions, even though she’s not particularly fond of musicals. Her response was all the encouragement he needed.

“Can you have Angelica rap?” Nadal asked Miranda. “That would be cool.”

Miranda spent the next seven years writing the book, music and lyrics for Hamilton. Nadal came home from work one day and said, “Your king tune was stuck in my head all day — that’s probably a good sign.” She was right. King George’s witty Beatle-esque “You’ll Be Back” became a showstopper for Tony Award nominee Jonathan Groff.

Miranda, now 38, considers Hamilton a love letter to his wife. “This show simply doesn’t exist without Vanessa,” he says. He calls her the “best of wives and best of women,” just as Hamilton does his wife, Eliza.

Julia K. Harriman, who plays Eliza in Atlanta, says the role “is easily the coolest thing to ever happen to me.”

Best of wives, best of women

Julia K. Harriman is Eliza Schuyler Hamilton.

Julia K. Harriman is Eliza Schuyler Hamilton.

Harriman, 25, has worked mostly as a singer-songwriter and voice-over artist, with little theater experience. She often had trouble getting cast, she says, citing her Asian-Caucasian heritage.

“I’d go in for a commercial, and they’d try to match me up with parents, but then they couldn’t be convinced that I looked like I could be the child of those parents. I never saw someone that looked like me.”

In Hamilton, that’s an advantage. From the get-go, Miranda envisioned a multicultural cast — to represent a nation born to welcome immigrants and to signal America’s diversity today.

For her first 10 months in Hamilton, Harriman stood by for the three Schuyler sisters, which meant learning four key roles, a time she calls “terrifying and intense.” She only knew a song or two from the score when she auditioned and was cast before ever seeing it.

One historic day in 2015 …

Hamilton opened on Broadway on Aug. 6, 2015, and became an immediate box-office hit and critical favorite.

“I am loath to tell people to mortgage their houses and lease their children to acquire tickets to a hit Broadway show,” New York Times critic Ben Brantley wrote. “But Hamilton … might just about be worth it.”

Hamilton won the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and the Tony Award for best musical. It won 11 of the 16 Tony categories in which it was nominated, including direction (Thomas Kail), leading actor (Leslie Odom Jr.’s Aaron Burr), featured actress (Renee Elise Goldsberry’s Angelica Schuyler), featured actor (Daveed Diggs’ Marquis de Lafayette and Thomas Jefferson), book and score (Miranda), choreography, orchestrations, costumes and lights.

Chris De’Sean Lee as Thomas Jefferson (center, he also plays the Marquis de Lafayette) and the “Hamilton” company. Photo: Joan Marcus

Chris De’Sean Lee as Thomas Jefferson (center, he also plays the Marquis de Lafayette) and the “Hamilton” company. Photo: Joan Marcus

The one-of-a-kind musical shows no signs of slowing. Four productions are playing simultaneously around the country, a feat never before accomplished. That means that more than 8,000 people experience Hamilton somewhere in North America each night, the Hollywood Reporter says. It’s also in London, and Miranda is planning to reprise his leading role and take Hamilton to Puerto Rico.

How to account for this watershed moment in theater history? The words “epic” and “contemporary” come to mind.

A musical for non-musical lovers

Hamilton’s theme — the birth of a nation — is likely as big as they get. Among its cast of characters are three presidents, several vice presidents, a king, assorted U.S. Cabinet members and that scrappy title character introduced as “a bastard, orphan, son of a whore and a Scotsman dropped in the middle of a forgotten spot in the Caribbean by providence, impoverished in squalor …”

The Schuyler sisters — Eliza, Angelica and Peggy — sneak into New York City to watch the men at work.

The Schuyler sisters — Eliza, Angelica and Peggy — sneak into New York City to watch the men at work.

The show’s up-to-the-minute vibe, multiracial casting, earth-tone design, energetic choreography, layered lyrics and melodic score (incorporating rap, soul, R&B and traditional Broadway sounds) have won over throngs who claim to have never liked musicals before.

“The show in New York is different from our show,” Harriman says admiringly, “and our show is different from any of the others.” The freewheeling combinations of 28 diverse cast members “bring a whole new light every single time to this beautiful material and stunning choreography.”

Harriman says she enjoys meeting and chatting with kids who see Hamilton as part of the show’s educational outreach.

“My favorite thing of all is when kids who’ve just seen the show say that now they can see themselves up onstage someday. This show is opening doors, crashing down barriers.”

As Vanessa Nadal might say: “That’s cool.”

***

HAPPY HOMECOMING

Four Hamilton cast members come from Georgia. They are:

Chris De’Sean Lee (from left), Jeffrey Duffy, Jennifer Geller, Hope Endrenyi.

Chris De’Sean Lee (from left), Jeffrey Duffy, Jennifer Geller, Hope Endrenyi.

CHRIS De’SEAN LEE (Marquis de Lafayette/Thomas Jefferson) was born in Augusta and raised in Atlanta. He recently completed his junior year at Belmont University in Nashville.

JEFFERY DUFFY (Ensemble) has roots in Atlanta’s Adamsville neighborhood. He attended Pebblebrook High School/Cobb County Center for Excellence in the Performing Arts and received his B.F.A. from The Juilliard School. In 2017, Dance Magazine named him one of “25 to Watch.”

JENNIFER GELLER (Ensemble) grew up in Marietta and attended Pebblebrook High’s CCCEPA. She has performed in regional theater and toured with Bring It On: The Musical.

 HOPE ENDRENYI (Swing) grew up and trained in Marietta. She, too, attended Pebblebrook High’s CCCEPA. She has a B.F.A. in dance from Southern Methodist University in Dallas.

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BEST BETS | April 19-25, 2018

Flower Room

World premieres — the opening of “The Flower Room” at Actor’s Express and the continuing run of “Ripe Frenzy” at Synchronicity — lead this week’s curated BEST BETS. Say goodbye, meanwhile, to “Freaky Friday” (Horizon), “Little Mermaid” (Serenbe), “Love’s Labours Lost” (Shakespeare Tavern) and “Something Rotten!” (Fox Theatre). Pictured (from left): Matthew Busch, Joshua Quinn, Stacy Melich and Eliane Marianes in “Flower Room.” Photo by Chris Bartelski.

**  INDICATES AN ENCORE ATLANTA WINTER/SPRING SEASON TOP PICK.

Recommended

TheFlowerRoom

** The Flower Room. IN PREVIEWS  | OPENS SATURDAY. Actor’s Express. World premiere. 

Atlanta playwright Daryl Lisa Fazio’s comedy follows an uptight academic named Ingrid (Stacy Melich), who researches sexual behavior in primitive cultures while remaining closed off from her own sexual side. When she loses her university job, she turns to writing erotica to pay the bills — unleashing her own journey of, well, discovery.

Express regular Melissa Foulger directs a cast that includes Matthew Busch (The Thrush and the Woodpecker)Eliana Marianes and Joshua Quinn

$31-$44 (previews cheaper, opening night most expensive). Through May 13. King Plow Arts Center, 887 West Marietta St. NW. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.607.7469. Discount tickets at PoshDealz.com.

 

Megan Cramer (from left), Taylor M. Dooley, Danyé Brown. Photo: Jerry Siegel

Megan Cramer (from left), Taylor M. Dooley, Danyé Brown. Photo: Jerry Siegel

** Ripe Frenzy.THROUGH MAY 6. Synchronicity Theatre

This world premiere by Jennifer Barclay won the National New Play Network’s 2016 Smith Prize for Political Theater. It tells the before and after of a mass shooting in a small American town from multiple points of view and through the lens of Thornton Wilder’s classic play Our Town. “It’s about what got us here,” says director Rachel May. “And what we do afterward.” Community conversations follow each performance.

The cast: Taylor M. Dooley (Aurora Theatre’s Burnpile); Danyé Brown; Megan Cramer (Georgia Shakespeare, back in the day); Parker Fox Ciliax; and Lizzy Liu. 

$27-$31 (swanky seat upgrades available). 8 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday; 5 p.m. Sunday. Synchronicity Theatre in Midtown’s One Peachtree Pointe building, 1545 Peachtree St. NE. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.484.8636.

 

This weekend only

Matthias Pintscher

Matthias Pintscher

Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. THURSDAY + SATURDAY.

Scottish violinist Nicola Benedetti joins the ASO for Beethoven’s “monumental” Violin Concerto, a piece she calls a favorite because it’s “tender, and sensitive, and intimate.” The program, conducted by Matthias Pintscher, includes his Ex nihilo and Brahms’ Symphony No. 2. Pintscher is in his fifth season as music director of the Ensemble Intercontemporain, a world-renowned, Paris-based ensemble dedicated to contemporary chamber music. He also is principal conductor of the Lucerne Festival Academy Orchestra in Switzerland.

$32-$108. 8 nightly (all ticket holders are invited to attend a 6:45 p.m. chamber recital in Symphony Hall on Thursday). Woodruff Arts Center, 1280 Peachtree St. NE.

Details, tickets HERE or at 404.733.5000.

[ASO IN 18/19: MORE BERNSTEIN, BEETHOVEN + BISS]

 

Natural-Shocks-logo

Natural Shocks. SUNDAY ONLY.

The latest from Decatur-born, San Francisco-based playwright Lauren Gunderson is an unpublished piece about guns in America. It’s being performed at more than 100 locations around the country this weekend in conjunction with the National School Walkout and the 19th anniversary of the Columbine school shooting. In Atlanta, Sheri Mann Stewart performs the one-woman piece, with narration by Yvonne Singh.

A panel of Atlanta artists and activists will discuss arts and activism following the 65-minute piece. Gunderson, incidentally, is the most-produced playwright in America this season. 

$20. 3 p.m. Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Atlanta, 1911 Cliff Valley Way NE (off the I-85 north frontage road).  Details HERE or at 404.634.5134.

 

Last chance

Abby Holland, Jennifer Alice Acker. Photo: Greg Mooney

Abby Holland, Jennifer Alice Acker. Photo: Greg Mooney

Freaky Friday: A New Musical. CLOSES SUNDAY. Horizon Theatre.

When an overworked mother and her teenage daughter magically swap bodies, they have one day to put things right before Mom’s big wedding. The musical is based on the Mary Rodgers novel and the Disney movies. The score comes from Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey (Next to NormalIf/Then).

Director Heidi Cline McKerley’s cast includes Jennifer Alice AckerRandi Garza, Jill Hames, Christian Magby and Juan Carlos Unzueta. 

$25-$45. 8 p.m. Thursday-Friday; 3 + 8:30 p.m. Saturday; 5 p.m. Sunday. 1083 Austin Ave. NE at Euclid Avenue (Inman Park + Little Five Points). Free parking.

Details tickets HERE or at 404.584.7450.

Niki Badua. Photo: BreeAnne Clowdus

Niki Badua. Photo: BreeAnne Clowdus

The Little Mermaid. CLOSES SUNDAY. 

Go under the sea (or at least lakeside) with Serenbe Playhouse in Chattahoochee Hills. All Serenbe shows are outdoors and site-specific, so Ariel and Prince Eric, Flounder, Flotsam, Jetsam and the rest will spin their musical tale at the Grange Lake. The Tony Award-nominated score includes “Part of Your World,” “Poor Unfortunate Souls” and, of course, “Under the Sea.” Miss Saigon‘s Niki Badua and Chase Peacock return as Ariel and Eric, with Deborah Bowman (Cabaret) as the deliciously evil sea witch Ursula. Look closely at the set: It’s made entirely of recyclables.

$30-$43. 7:30 p.m. Thursday; 8 p.m. Friday; 2 + 8 p.m. Saturday; 2 + 7:30 p.m. Sunday. Note: Beachfront seats have been added to previously sold-out performances. Details, tickets, directions HERE or at 770.463.1110.

 

Love’s Labours Lost. CLOSES SUNDAY. Shakespeare Tavern Playhouse

Can four young men honor their pledge to avoid the opposite sex, food, drink and sleep for the sake of becoming more intellectual and contemplative? Not in Shakespeare’s comedic universe, especially when four young women arrive on the scene. The 17-person cast includes Chris Hecke, Cory PhelpsJ.L. ReedSeun Soyemi and, as Don Armado, Aurora Theatre Artistic Director Anthony P. RodriguezJaclyn Hofmann directs. $22-$45. 7:30 p.m. Thursday-Saturday; 6:30 p.m. Sunday. Pub menu and full bar 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, Ext. 0.

Adam Pascal. Photo: Joan Marcus

Adam Pascal. Photo: Joan Marcus

Something Rotten! CLOSES SUNDAY. 

Broadway in Atlanta presents the national tour of the musical-inventing musical. We’re in the 1590s, where brothers Nick and Nigel Bottom are tired of rocking Will Shakespeare’s shadow and  desperate to write their own hit. When a soothsayer foretells a singing-dancing-acting future for theater, the brothers set out to write the world’s very first musical. The show had a 20-month Broadway run. Adam Pascal (Rent) plays Shakespeare here.

$33.50-$99 plus fees. 7:30 p.m. Thursday; 8 p.m. Friday; 2 + 8 p.m. Saturday; and 1 + 6:30 p.m. Sunday. Fox Theatre, 660 Peachtree St. NE. Details, tickets HERE or at 855.285.8499.

[READ MORE: RENT, ROTTEN + ADAM PASCAL TODAY]

 

Still running

Jeremy Aggers. Photo: Dan Carmody / Studio 7

Jeremy Aggers. Photo: Dan Carmody / Studio 7

Buddy — The Buddy Holly Story. THROUGH APRIL 29. Georgia Ensemble Theatre.

The true story of Holly’s meteoric rise to fame, from the moment in 1957 when “That’ll Be The Day” hit the airwaves until his death less than two years later. The show features more than 20 of Buddy Holly’s greatest hits (“That’ll Be The Day,” “Peggy Sue,” “Everyday,” “Oh Boy,” etc.), plus Ritchie Valens’ “La Bamba” and the Big Bopper’s “Chantilly Lace.” 

Jeremy Aggers (Edward Foote at the Alliance) makes his GET debut as Holly, with Ricardo Aponte (who also directs) as Valens and Ethan Ray Parker as the Big Bopper.

$33-$43. 7:30 p.m. Wednesday; 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday; 2:30 p.m. Sunday (some shows sold out). 950 Forrest St., Roswell. Details, tickets HERE or at 770.641.1260.

 

cat-in-the-hat

Dr. Seuss’ The Cat in the Hat. THROUGH MAY 13. Center for Puppetry Arts

It’s fun to have fun, but you have to know how, says the sassy cat in the red-and-white hat. He’s feline full of mischief (and magic) in this stage telling, done with rod puppets and based on the 1957 children’s book by Theodor Geisel, aka Dr. Seuss. This version was first produced by the National Theatre of Great Britain.

The center’s Jon Ludwig directs here. For age 4 and up.

$11.25-$19.50. Showtimes: 10 + 11 a.m. Tuesday-Friday; 11 a.m. + 1 p.m. Saturday; and 1 + 3 p.m. Sunday. 1404 Spring St. NW. 

Details, tickets HERE or at 404.873.3391.

 

Limara Meneses Jimenez. Photo: Casey Gardner

Limara Meneses Jimenez. Photo: Casey Gardner

El Gran Día de la Madre (The Great Mother’s Day). THROUGH APRIL 29. Aurora Theatre.

A mother, daughter and granddaughter — all keepers of dark secrets — have a Mother’s Day reckoning in a family mausoleum. Expect multigenerational love, tears and laughs in this comedy from Chile, which next travels to Spain. Part of Teatro Aurora and performed in Spanish with English supertitles.

The script is by Chascas y Quintanilla. Daniel Jáquez directs.

$20-$30. 8 p.m. Thursday-Friday; 2:30 + 8 p.m. Saturday; and 2:30 p.m. Sunday. In Aurora’s Harvel Lab. Free, covered, attached parking in city deck at 153 E. Crogan St. Details, tickets HERE or at 678.226.6222. 

Next week

Elizabeth Koch Tiscione

Elizabeth Koch Tiscione

Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. APRIL 26, 28, 29.

Italian conductor Carlo Rizzi leads the ASO in a program featuring Prokofiev’s Symphony No. 1, “Classical”; Beethoven’s Symphony No. 2; and Mozart’s Oboe Concerto. The latter is performed by the symphony’s principal oboist, Elizabeth Koch Tiscione,who joined the ASO in the 2007/08 season.

$22-$102. 8 p.m. Thursday + Saturday; 3 p.m. Sunday. Symphony Hall, Woodruff Arts Center, 1280 Peachtree St. NE. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.733.5000.

Carmen. APRIL 28-MAY 6. The Atlanta Opera

Georges Bizet’s opéra comique might be the most beloved opera of all time. It tracks the downfall of Don José, a naïve soldier seduced by a Gypsy. Its story was groundbreaking in the 19th century. Franco-Armenian mezzo-soprano Varduhi Abrahamyan sings Carmen. Italian tenor Gianluca Terranova, seen as Rodolfo in Atlanta Opera’s La bohème, sings Don José. Carmen was last seen in Atlanta in 2012 and played to sold-out houses. It’s sung in French with English supertitles.

$50-$156. 8 p.m. April 28 + May 4; 7:30 p.m. May 1; and 3 p.m. May 6. Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre, 2800 Cobb Galleria Parkway, Atlanta. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.881.8885. Discount tickets at PoshDealz.com

Photo: The Atlanta Opera

Photo: The Atlanta Opera

aris

Lazybed. APRIL 26-MAY 13. 

Arís!, Atlanta’s stage for Celtic culture, takes on Scottish playwright Iain Crichton Smith’s dark philosophical comedy about a man in the midst of a metaphysical crisis, essentially a meditation on life, death, love and the meaningfulness of the things we all hold dear. Murdo, the man in question, is a Scottish crofter (farmer) who has taken to his bed. While he malingers, he’s visited by his brother, his gossipy neighbor, his girlfriend, an insurance salesman, a minister, a medical specialist, Immanuel Kant and Death — who keeps stopping by to chat. Kyle Crew directs. 

$23-$28 (April 26 preview is $18). 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday; 2:30 p.m. Sunday. 7 Stages Back Stage Theatre, 1105 Euclid Ave. NE. Details, tickets HERE.

 

Mary Lynn Owen

Mary Lynn Owen

** Revolt. She Said. Revolt Again. APRIL 26-MAY 13. 7 Stages.

British playwright Alice Birch’s 2014 script has a way of making you question everything you say when it comes to discussing women and their relationships with men, one another and the world. 7 Stages says it decided to produce Revolt “to address the urgent mood in our community and nation surrounding issues of women’s rights and systemic prejudice.” Atlanta-based theater artist Rachel Parish directs.

Her cast: Dorothy Victoria Bell-Polk, Christopher Hampton, Renita JamesBrooke OwensMary Lynn Owen (a two-time Suzi Bass Award winner) and Patrick Wade. On the mainstage.

$22.50-$28. 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday; 5 p.m. Sunday. 1105 Euclid Ave. NE. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.523.7647.

[WHY ‘REVOLT’ + WHY NOW AT 7 STAGES]

 

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