BEST BETS | Feb. 28-Mar. 6, 2019

WELCOME TO ENCORE ATLANTA’S BEST BETS. A    weekly curated column. Feature photo: Cast of the US National Tour of  Les Misérables . Catch the show at the Fox Theatre this week! Photo by Matthew Murphy.

WELCOME TO ENCORE ATLANTA’S BEST BETS. A weekly curated column. Feature photo: Cast of the US National Tour of Les Misérables. Catch the show at the Fox Theatre this week! Photo by Matthew Murphy.

Les Misérables. Through March 3. Broadway in Atlanta @ Fox Theatre.

Broadway in Atlanta brings Les Misérables to the Fox Theatre! Les Misérables began its life as a concept album by creators Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg.  Now in its 32nd year, the show continues to break box offices records and is known worldwide. The show has been famously produced in 44 countries and translated to 22 languages. Set in 19th-century France and based on the eponymous novel by Victor Hugo, the show introduced many now-beloved songs to musical theatre repertoire, including “I Dreamed A Dream,” “On My Own,” “One Day More,” and many more. This epic and uplifting story has become one of the most celebrated musicals in musical theatre history.  Tickets and info on the Fox Theatre website.

FASHIONADO

BEST BETS | Nov. 15-21, 2018

best bets encore atlanta

“Knead,” an Alliance Theatre world premiere, runs on, as does Aurora Theatre’s festive “Christmas Canteen;” Steve Yockey’s bloody-fun-smart “Reykjavik” (Actor’s Express) and “Dry Land” (Atlanta Theatre Club) close; and the ASO does Tchaikovsky and Theofanidis. Details on these and more in this week’s curated column. Pictured: Mary Lynn Owen in “Knead.” Photo by Greg Mooney.

Top picks

Mary Lynn Owen

Mary Lynn Owen

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 plays the woman. Knead was developed in the Alliance’s Reiser Atlanta Artists Lab and was a semifinalist for the important O’Neill National Playwrights Conference in Waterford, Conn. David de Vries 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]

 

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Not About Heroes. CLOSES SUNDAY. 

Arís Theatre commemorates the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I with this story of friendship between a shell-shocked British soldier and a famous poet.

Wilfred Owen is 24 when he meets poet, protester and soldier Siegfried Sassoon at Scotland’s Craiglockhart War Hospital. Their mutual love of words and disillusionment with war draws them together.

The script is by British playwright Stephen MacDonald (1933-2009). Chris Harding is Owen; Eric Lang is Sassoon. Both are Atlanta-based actors. Frank Miller, a longtime theater lecturer at Georgia State University, directs. $18-$28. 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday; 2:30 p.m. Sunday. 7 Stages BackStage space, 1105 Euclid Ave. NE. Tickets HERE.

Ben Thorpe (top), Michael Vine. Photo: Casey Gardner

Ben Thorpe (top), Michael Vine. Photo: Casey Gardner

Reykjavik. CLOSES SUNDAY. 

Reykjavik at Actor’s Express unfolds beneath the otherworldly glow of the Northern Lights, where tourists and locals mingle in the shadows of Iceland’s capital city. As told by Los Angeles-based playwright Steve Yockey, an Atlanta favorite with a strong national reputation, eight interconnected vignettes play out. We eavesdrop on lovers, siblings, hotel employees, sex workers and opinionated birds. In true Yockey style (Pluto, Wolves, Octopus), this collision of sex and danger introduces a world in which the supernatural is closer than we think.

The six-person cast is directed by frequent Express and Yockey collaborator Melissa Foulger and features such familiar faces as Stephanie FriedmanEliana MarianesJoe Sykes and Ben Thorpe (Alliance Theatre’s Hand to God). This is a National New Play Network rolling world premiere, a pretty big deal.

$35 and subject to change based on demand. 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday; 2 p.m. Sunday. King Plow Arts Center, 887 W. Marietta St. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.607.7469. Discount tickets at PoshDealz.com.

This weekend only

Christopher Theofanidis

Christopher Theofanidis

Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. 

THURSDAY + SATURDAY. Music director Robert Spano returns to the podium to lead Symphony No. 1 by Christopher Theofanidis and Tchaikovsky’s famously difficult Piano Concerto No. 1 (with guest artist Louis Lortie).

Theofanidis, who has a long history with the ASO, is a professor at Yale and composer-in-residence and co-director of the composition program at the Aspen Music Festival in Colorado. Lortie, a French-Canadian pianist, is the master in residence at the Queen Elisabeth Music Chapel of Brussels.

$19-$79. 8 nightly. Symphony Hall, Woodruff Arts Center, 1280 Peachtree St. NE. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.733.5000.


Last chance

Melissa McGrath (left), Samantha Binkerd. Photo: Casey Gardner

Melissa McGrath (left), Samantha Binkerd. Photo: Casey Gardner

Dry Land. CLOSES SUNDAY.

A regional premiere worth a look. Atlanta Theatre Club, a newish, female-driven theater company, does contemporary work that hasn’t been seen in the metro area before. Dry Land — a visceral play about abortion, female friendship, resiliency and what happens when Ester (Samantha Binkerd) and Amy (Melissa McGrath) are left alone in a locker room — was written in 2014, when playwright Ruby Rae Spiegel was a student at Yale. Ester is a swimmer trying to stay afloat. Amy is curled up on the floor. Contains adult content.

 Rebeca Robles, an actor-director-producer who founded the company, directs.

$35 plus fees ($17.50 for artists). 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday; 7 p.m. Sunday. Windmill Arts Center, 2823 Church St., East Point. Details HERE. Tickets (via Brown Paper Tickets) HERE

Jeff Watkins

Jeff Watkins

A Man for All Seasons. CLOSES SUNDAY. 

Shakespeare Tavern Playhouse concludes its 11-performance run of the 1960 Robert Bolt drama about the fatal struggle between King Henry VIII of England and his lord chancellor, Sir Thomas More. They clash over issues of religion, power and conscience. Artistic director Jeff Watkins as More and Troy Willis as Henry VIII lead a cast of 13.

$22-$45. Shows at 7:30 p.m. Thursday-Saturday; and 6:30 p.m. Sunday. Pub menu and spirited beverages available. 

499 Peachtree St. NE. Parking recommended in Emory University Hospital Midtown deck across Peachtree Street. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.874.5299, Ext. 0. Discount Tavern gift cards at PoshDealz.com.

Holiday shows

The 2017 cast of Aurora Theatre’s “Christmas Canteen.” Photo: Chris Bartelski

The 2017 cast of Aurora Theatre’s “Christmas Canteen.” Photo: Chris Bartelski

Christmas Canteen. THROUGH DEC. 23. Christmas arrives before Thanksgiving at Aurora Theatre, which stages its 23rd original holiday revue. This show sells quickly, so if you’re interested, don’t delay. 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 Masionet, 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. Aurora offers free, covered, attached parking in a city deck at 153 E. Crogan St. Details, tickets HERE or at 678.226.6222.

Jonathan Horne and Amelia Fischer return as Arthur and Mary. Photo: David Woolf

Jonathan Horne and Amelia Fischer return as Arthur and Mary. Photo: David Woolf

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, as do Devon Hales and Juan Carlos Unzueta. New to the cast are Stephanie Friedman,Jeanette IllidgeJasmine 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.

Jeremy Aggers. Photo: Chris Bartelski

Jeremy Aggers. Photo: Chris Bartelski

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 directorAnthony 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.


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Waffle Palace Christmas. BEGINS NOV. 15. 

Horizon Theatre has retired Crumpet and The Santaland Diaries in favor of this world premiere, a sequel of sorts to 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. Nov. 20 and Dec. 4, 11 + 18. Matinees at 11 a.m. Dec. 6, 13 + 19. Free parking. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.584.7450.

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ALSO FOR THE HOLIDAYS: Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, running through Dec. 30 at the Center for Puppetry Arts; Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, opening Nov. 23 at Aurora TheatreInvasion Christmas Carol, opening Nov. 23 at Dad’s GarageIrving Berlin’s White Christmas, running Nov. 27-Dec. 8 at the Fox Theatre; The Snow Queen, beginning Nov. 28 at Serenbe PlayhouseA Nice Family Christmas, opening Nov. 29 at Stage Door PlayersCurious Holiday Encounters, running Dec. 6-9 at 7 StagesThe Ethel Merman Disco Christmas Spectacular, running Dec. 6-22 at Out Front Theatre CompanyElf the Musical, opening Dec. 7 at City Springs Theatre CompanyA Year With Frog and Toad, opening Dec. 7 at Synchronicity TheatreAtlanta Ballet’s new production of The Nutcracker, opening Dec. 8 at the Fox Theatre; the Alliance Theatre’s A Christmas Carol, opening Dec. 12 at Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre; and Ho, Ho, Home for the Holidays and a Connie Sue Day Christmas, opening Dec. 14 at Actor’s Express.

fashionado

BEST BETS | July 12-18, 2018

The RMS Titanic

“The Color Purple” (Actor’s Express), “Titanic” (Serenbe Playhouse) and the final days of “Winnie-the-Pooh” (Alliance Theatre) top this week’s curated edition of BEST BETS. Learn why while you check out this week’s openings, closings and what’s just ahead. Pictured: The RMS Titanic at Serenbe Playhouse. Design and rendering by Adam Koch. Photo by BreeAnne Clowdus.

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

Recommended

Kevin Harry as Mister. Photo: Casey Gardner

Kevin Harry as Mister. 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.

 

Dash Clowdus-Howe. Photo: BreeAnne Clowdus

Dash Clowdus-Howe. Photo: BreeAnne Clowdus

Titanic. THROUGH AUG. 12. 

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 plans for this Tony Award-winning Broadway musical about the 1912 maritime disaster that killed 1,503.

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 Serenbe’s Inn Lake. 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. Discount tickets at PoshDealz.com.

 

Joe Sykes (Eeyore), Mabel Tyler (Piglet). Photo: Greg Mooney

Joe Sykes (Eeyore), Mabel Tyler (Piglet). Photo: Greg Mooney

Winnie-the-Pooh. CLOSES SUNDAY.

It’s nearly time to bid the Hundred Acre Wood goodbye. The Alliance Theatre opens its 50th anniversary season with this fanciful family musical based on the A.A. Milne books. Spend a life-affirming hour with Pooh, Piglet, Rabbit, Eeyore, Kanga, Roo and Owl as one adventure (or misadventure) turns into another, friendship triumphs and a certain donkey’s birthday is celebrated.

The cast is led by Atlanta actors Isake Akanke(Synchronicity’s Eclipsed), Grant Chapman (Actor’s Express’ Angels in America), Maria Rodriguez-Sager (Theatrical Outfit’s Christmas at Pemberley) and Joe Sykes (Angels in America).

$15; $10 ages 6-17; $5 ages 3-5; age 2 and under free. 10 + 11:45 a.m. through Friday; 10:30 a.m., 1 p.m. + 3:30 p.m. Saturday; and 3 p.m. Sunday. Rich Theatre, Woodruff Arts Center, 1280 Peachtree St. NE. Details, tickets HERE. Note: The High Museum of Art exhibition, Winnie-the-Pooh: Exploring a Classic, runs through Sept. 2. Museum details, tickets HERE. For either the musical or the exhibit, call 404.733.5000. Discount tickets for the musical at PoshDealz.com.

[FOR THE LOVE OF POOH + THE HUNDRED ACRE WOOD]

Opening this week

Photo: Dad’s Garage

Photo: Dad’s Garage

Black Nerd. OPENS FRIDAY. 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?

This dark comedy follows a young man as he navigates the expectations of his black family and 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.

$15.50-$29.50. Through Aug. 4. Dad’s is at 569 Ezzard St. SE. Details, tickets HERE (you’ll save money if you buy online) or at 404.523.3141.

 

The Book of Mormon. OPENS TUESDAY. 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.

[WHY MORMON STILL WORKS, AFTER 6-PLUS YEARS ON BROADWAY AND TOUR]

 

dot

Dot. OPENS TUESDAY.  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: 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. Through Aug. 12. 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).

Amanda Cucher (from left), Shelli Delgado, Holly Stevenson, Maggie Birgel. Photo: Casey Gardner

Amanda Cucher (from left), Shelli Delgado, Holly Stevenson, Maggie Birgel. Photo: Casey Gardner

Enchanted April. OPENS FRIDAY. From the Weird Sisters Theatre Project.

In 1922, two London housewives find themselves in dreary marriages in a 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.

$10 plus fees for July 12 preview; otherwise $15 plus fees. Through July 29. 8 p.m. Friday-Saturday; 7 p.m. Sunday. Performed at Out of Box Theatre,  585 Cobb Parkway South in Marietta. Tickets HERE.

Still running

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.

Photo: Center for Puppetry Arts

Photo: Center for Puppetry Arts

A Midsummer Night’s Dream. THROUGH JULY 29. Shakespeare Tavern Playhouse. ‘Tis the Midsummer season. Shakespeare Kennesaw, new this summer, 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.

Alexandria Joy as Tinker Bell. Photo: BreeAnne Clowdus

Alexandria Joy as Tinker Bell. 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.

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

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

Ring of Fire: The Music of Johnny Cash. OPENS THURSDAY. 

Georgia Ensemble Theatre reprises last season’s jukebox musical about the Man in Black. Ring of Firetells Cash’s story through his songs — from vintage country to rockabilly and 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). Through July 28. 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday (grounds open at 6:30 p.m.). 9135 Willeo Road, Roswell. Details, tickets HERE or at 770.641.1260.

Coming up

Rachel Van Buskirk, Christian Clark. Photo: Kyle Sager / TMBT

Rachel Van Buskirk, Christian Clark. Photo: Kyle Sager / TMBT

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.

 

fashionado

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.

fashionado

BEST BETS | April 11-18, 2018

best bets

by Kathy Janich

The opening of “Ripe Frenzy,” a world premiere at Synchronicity Theatre, tops this week’s curated BEST BETS. Joining it are “Hospice + Pointing at the Moon” (Alliance Theatre) and “Out of Darkness: Two Remain” (Atlanta Opera), both in their final days. This weekend only:  Atlanta Ballet’s “Tu Tu & More.” Pictured: Parker Fox Ciliax (left) and Taylor M. Dooley in “Ripe Frenzy.” Photo by Maddie Mahood.

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

Recommended

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** Hospice + Pointing at the Moon. CLOSES SUNDAY. Alliance Theatre.

Two one-acts become a single piece of theater in the hands of playwright Pearl Cleage and A-list Atlanta actors Terry Burrell and Tinashe Kajese-Bolden

Hospice dates to 1983; Pointing at the Moon is a world premiere. Both feature the same house in Atlanta’s West End and a character named Jenny Anderson, seen at two stages in her life. The piece wrestles with the complexities of womanhood and how a parent’s love — or a longing for that love — shapes us.

$60-$75; $10 teens with high school/middle school ID. 7:30 p.m. Thursday; 8 p.m. Friday; 2:30 + 8 p.m. Saturday; 2:30 + 7:30 p.m. Sunday. Southwest Arts Center, 915 New Hope Road SW. Details, tickets HERE or 404.733.5000.

[PLAYWRIGHT PEARL CLEAGE: ‘I WONDERED WHAT CHOICES SHE HAD MADE’]

 

Maria Kanyova as the Polish dissident. Photo: Jeff Roffman

Maria Kanyova as the Polish dissident. Photo: Jeff Roffman

Out of Darkness: Two Remain. CLOSES SUNDAY. Atlanta Opera

Composer Jake Heggie and librettist Gene Scheer’s two-act piece centers on Holocaust survivors visited by ghosts of their past. In Act 1, Krystyna shares her survival story with a journalist and is helped by the spirits of Auschwitz who were inspired by her lyrics. In Act 2, Gad Beck (Tom Key) is visited by his first true love, the poet Manfred Lewin (Ben Endquist), who died in Auschwitz. As Manfred implores Gad to remember and celebrate their love, the truth of their stories and fates emerges.

Based in part on the true stories of Polish dissident Krystyna Zywulska (1914-1993) and Beck (1923-2012), a gay German Jew. General & artistic director Tomer Zvulun directs.

$50. 7:30 p.m. Thursday-Sunday. Performed in English with English supertitles and presented in collaboration with Theatrical Outfit at the Outfit’s Balzer Theater at Herren’s downtown, 84 Luckie St. NW. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.881.8885.

 

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

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

** Ripe Frenzy. OPENS FRIDAY. Synchronicity Theatre

This world premiere by Jennifer Barclay won the National New Play Network’s 2016 Smith Prize for Political Theater. It tells the story 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); Megan Cramer (Georgia Shakespeare, back in the day); Danyé Evonne; Parker Fox Ciliax; and Lizzy Liu. 

$27-$31 ($10 preview at 8 p.m. Thursday; swanky seat upgrades available). Through May 6. 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

Christian Arming

Christian Arming

 Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. THURSDAY + SATURDAY.

Guest conductor Christian Arming and 23-year-old American pianist/composer Conrad Tao (YouTube, Tumblr, Twitter) join the ASO for Janáček’s Taras Bulba, Shostakovich’s Piano Concerto No. 1 and Dvořák’s stormy Symphony No. 1. Arming, an Austrian conductor, is music director of Belgium’s Orchestre Philharmonique Royal de Liège.

$22-$97. 8 nightly. Saturday’s concert is Atlanta PRIDE Night. Use the promo code ATLPRIDE for concert tickets plus a post-concert reception.

Some proceeds benefit Atlanta Pride. Symphony Hall, Woodruff Arts Center, 1280 Peachtree St. NE. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.733.5000.

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

 

Ohad Naharin

Ohad Naharin

Tu Tu & More. FRIDAY-SUNDAY. Atlanta Ballet.

Three works spotlight the range of dance today: Blink, a world premiere by former Atlanta Ballet dancer Tara Lee, a founder of the new Terminus Modern Ballet TheatreMinus 16 by frequent collaborator and Israeli choreographer Ohad Naharin; and the Atlanta Ballet premiere of Tu Tu, promising a highly stylized classical work with a twist (choreography by frequent collaborator Stanton Welch, music by Maurice Ravel).

$20-$129. 8 p.m. Friday; 2 + 8 p.m. Saturday; 2 p.m. Sunday. Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre, 2800 Cobb Galleria Parkway, Atlanta. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.892.3303. Discount tickets at PoshDealz.com.

[A NEW ‘NUT,’ BIG NAMES FOR ATLANTA BALLET IN 18/19]

Still running

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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.

For ages 4 and up. $11.25-$19.50. 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.

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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. 

Freaky Friday: A New Musical. THROUGH APRIL 22. Horizon Theatre. When an overworked mother and her teenage daughter magically swap bodies, they have one day to put things right again before Mom’s big wedding. The musical is based on the Mary Rodgers novel and the Disney movies. The score comes from Tom Kittand 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. Wednesday-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.

Randi Garza (center) and the “Freaky Friday” ensemble. Photo: Greg Mooney

Randi Garza (center) and the “Freaky Friday” ensemble. Photo: Greg Mooney

India S. Tyree as Sebastian. S/he’s a crab. Photo: BreeAnne Clowdus

India S. Tyree as Sebastian. S/he’s a crab. Photo: BreeAnne Clowdus

The Little Mermaid. THROUGH APRIL 22. 

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. Wednesday-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.

Corey Phelps (from left), Seun Soyemi, Chris Hecke, J.L. Reed.

Corey Phelps (from left), Seun Soyemi, Chris Hecke, J.L. Reed.

Love’s Labours Lost. THROUGH APRIL 22. 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, Anthony P. Rodriguez, Aurora Theatre’s artistic director. Jaclyn Hofmanndirects.

$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.

Next week

Nicola Benedetti

Nicola Benedetti

Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. APRIL 19 + 21.

Scottish violinist Nicola Benedetti joins the ASO for Beethoven’s “monumental” Violin Concerto, a piece she says is a favorite, calling it “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 April 19). Woodruff Arts Center, 1280 Peachtree St. NE.

Details, tickets HERE or at 404.733.5000.

 

Stacy Melich, and friends. Photo: Chris Bartelski

Stacy Melich, and friends. Photo: Chris Bartelski

** The Flower Room. PREVIEWS APRIL 18-20 | OPENS APRIL 21. 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 writes 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.

Coming up

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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 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’ AND WHY NOW AT 7 STAGES]

 

fashionado

“A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder” - APPOINTMENT(S) WITH DEATH

PICTURED ABOVE: James Taylor Odom as Lord Adalbert D’Ysquith (and friend). Photos by Jeremy Daniel.

PICTURED ABOVE: James Taylor Odom as Lord Adalbert D’Ysquith (and friend). Photos by Jeremy Daniel.

Anglophile — and Georgia native — James Taylor Odom plays 8 ‘deliciously nasty’ characters in Gentleman’s Guide, the American-made musical comedy set in Edwardian England.

“A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder” runs March 13-18 at the Fox Theatre, 660 Peachtree St. NE. Details, tickets HERE or at 855.285.8499.

ATLANTA AUDIENCES seem never to tire of certain musical spectacles. Think Phantom of the Opera or Wicked, which pull into town every few years.

Blake Price as the scheming Monty Navarro, Colleen McLaughlin as Sibella, one of his loves.

Blake Price as the scheming Monty Navarro, Colleen McLaughlin as Sibella, one of his loves.

It’s anybody’s guess if they’ll be just as smitten with the giddy Brit-themed A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder, which won the 2014 Tony Award for best musical.

Think “Downton Abbey” meets Gilbert & Sullivan meets Oscar Wilde with a dash of Monty Python tossed in. You might also deduce an Edwin Drood vibe. Still, Gentleman’s Guide is a fully American invention. And, a deliciously cheeky one, at that.

The songs are “streams of memorable melody” and “fizzily witty turns of phrase,” said The New York Times. Might theatergoers leave the Fox singing the suspiciously up-tempo “Why Are All the D’Ysquiths Dying?” (The surname is pronounced DIES-quith.)

The musical, described by USA Today as “morbidly hilarious,” is based on the 1949 movie Kind Hearts and Coronets, a British black comedy. It, in turn, was inspired by the 1907 Roy Horniman novel Israel Rank: The Autobiography of a Criminal.

The plot turns on Monty Navarro, who’s in love with the social-climbing Sibella. Monty can’t marry her because he’s a pauper. But, when his mother dies, he learns he has aristocratic blood. What luck! Monty is ninth in line to inherit the family fortune and earldom of Highhurst.

What’s a clever fellow to do?

Knock off the eight D’Ysquiths who precede him, perhaps?

James Taylor Odom (center) as Lady Hyacinth D’Ysquith.

James Taylor Odom (center) as Lady Hyacinth D’Ysquith.

The conceit: One actor plays all eight corpses-to-be. On film, Alec Guinness played the ill-fated eccentrics. On Broadway, Jefferson Mays won critical bouquets, a Tony Award nomination and a Drama Desk Award for playing the role/roles billed as “The D’Ysquith Family.”

Gentleman’s Guide also won Tonys for director Darko Tresnjak, librettist Robert L. Freedman and costume designer Linda Cho. The revenge fantasy is on its second national tour but making its inaugural trip to Atlanta. James Taylor Odom comes home to do the D’Ysquith Family sprint.

Odom, 27, grew up in Lawrenceville and got a theater degree from Brenau University. He endured a months-long audition process before being cast as the “Family.”

He’s always been something of an Anglophile,” Odom says. As a kid, he and his dad watched the Blake Edwards Pink Panther movies endlessly (A Shot in the Dark is his favorite). He recalls running around the house imitating Peter Sellers and “breaking things.”

Regionally, he has done a bunch of Brits: Henry Higgins in My Fair Lady, Mr. Banks in Mary Poppins, Sherlock Holmes in Ken Ludwig’s Baskerville, Charles Marlow in She Stoops to Conquer. At Berkmar High in Lilburn, he played Harold Hill in The Music Man and the Elvis-inspired Conrad Birdie in Bye Bye Birdie.

James Taylor Odom as Henry D’Ysquith (from left), Kristen Kane and Blake Price as Monty Navarro.

James Taylor Odom as Henry D’Ysquith (from left), Kristen Kane and Blake Price as Monty Navarro.

News of the Gentleman’s Guidecasting call came while he was doing nine shows a week as Henry Higgins at Dutch Apple Dinner Theatre in Lancaster, Pa. “I couldn’t pass up the chance,” he says. “After a two-show day I got myself to New York for that open call. I was fifth in line, and nobody knew me.”

His 32-page “audition packet” included songs and sides for all eight characters — from several gentlemen to the impossible Lady Hyacinth and the terribly bad actress Lady Salome. Each is ridiculously snooty. Odom’s favorite D’Ysquith changes nightly, depending on the audience, his fellow actors and how any particular character decides to live in the moment of that performance.

“They all come alive and always surprise me,” he says. “That’s where the fun lies. The minute I put on a costume, that informs my moves and helps me create that character.

“I will say this,” he offers, confidentially. “How Henry the beekeeper dies is a particularly favorite death of mine.”

If you’re seeing the musical for the first time, Odom says, just sit back and enjoy. Don’t worry about who’s who or the order of succession. “You’re going to meet them all, and I think each of them is deliciously nasty.”

Odom has dressers and a makeup artist in the wings to help him morph from one D’Ysquith to the next. For one change, he has a mere 14 seconds.

“It really is a beast of a role. It does a number on the body and the mind,” he says. “But, when you love it so much, it’s all worth it.”

fashionado

BEST BETS | Jan. 18-24, 2018

See any of these. Better yet, see all of them: “Angels in American, Parts 1 & 2” (Actor’s Express); “Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill” (Theatrical Outfit); “Maytag Virgin” (Aurora Theatre); “Native Guard” (Alliance Theatre at the Atlanta History Center); “Tenderly” (Georgia Ensemble); “Klook and Vinette” (Horizon Theatre). Pictured: Courtney Patterson and Brad Brinkley in “Maytag Virgin.” Photo by Chris Bartelski.

See any of these. Better yet, see all of them: “Angels in American, Parts 1 & 2” (Actor’s Express); “Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill” (Theatrical Outfit); “Maytag Virgin” (Aurora Theatre); “Native Guard” (Alliance Theatre at the Atlanta History Center); “Tenderly” (Georgia Ensemble); “Klook and Vinette” (Horizon Theatre). Pictured: Courtney Patterson and Brad Brinkley in “Maytag Virgin.” Photo by Chris Bartelski.

**  INDICATES AN ENCORE ATLANTA WINTER SEASON TOP PICK.

Recommended

Thandiwe DeShazor (left) and Grant Chapman.

Thandiwe DeShazor (left) and Grant Chapman.

** Angels in America, Parts 1 and 2. PART 2 BEGINS SATURDAY.

See both, in repertory on different days or the same one, at Actor‘s Express.

Sex, religion, politics and history collide in Tony Kushner’ssweeping, time-traveling, two-part saga set at the beginning of the AIDS epidemic. Part 1 is titled Millennium Approaches; Part 2 is Perestroika

Kushner’s achievement, a 20th-century theatrical landmark, won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and four 1993 Tony awards. The Express cast: Robert Bryan Davis as Roy Cohn and Grant Chapman as Prior Walter, with Carolyn CookThandiwe DeShazorLouis GreggoryCara MantellaParris Sarter and Joe Sykes, several of whom play multiple roles. 

$22-$40. Through Feb. 17. 7:30 p.m. Tuesday-Friday; 2 + 8 p.m. Saturday-Sunday. 

King Plow Arts Center, 887 West Marietta St. NW. Millennium Approachesdetails, tickets HEREPerestroika details, tickets HERE. Or call 404.607.7469. 

[MORE: THE STAGES OF WINTER —  ENCORE’S PICKS OF THE SEASON]

Terry Burrell. Photo: Chris Bartelski

Terry Burrell. Photo: Chris Bartelski

** Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill. THROUGH FEB. 4.

Highly recommended. At Theatrical Outfit. Singer/actor Terry Burrell shimmers in this bruising bio of Billie Holiday, performing months before her death at age 44. 

It’s Philadelphia, 1959. The evening, both intimate and epic, includes stories about Lady Day’s down-and-out life and a song list that includes “God Bless the Child,” “Strange Fruit,” “What a Little Moonlight Can Do” and about a dozen others. Burrell’s considerable credits include Thoroughly Modern Millie, Dreamgirls and Into the Woods on Broadway; Lady Day off-Broadway; and Ethel, among others, at the Alliance Theatre.

$18-$51. 7:30 p.m. Wednesday-Friday; 2:30 p.m. Jan. 14, 18, 20-21, 25, 27-28 and Feb. 1, 3, 4. 

Balzer Theater at Herren’s, 84 Luckie St. NW. Details, tickets HERE or at 678.528.1500. Discount tickets at PoshDealz.com.

 

poshmaytag

** Maytag Virgin. THROUGH FEB. 11.

A regional premiere at Aurora TheatreAudrey Cefaly’s dramatic comedy follows an Alabama schoolteacher (Courtney Patterson) and her new neighbor (Brad Brinkley) for a year after the unexpected death of her husband.

DC Theatre Scene called the play “a witty and earnest meditation on how people connect even when they feel they’re not ready.” Melissa Foulger, an Actor’s Express regular and a name you should know, directs.

$20-$55. 8 p.m. Tuesday-Friday; 2:30 + 8 p.m. Saturday; 2:30 p.m. Sunday.

128 E. Pike St., Lawrenceville. Free, covered, attached parking in city deck at 153 E. Crogan St. Details, tickets HERE or at 678.226.6222. Discount tickets at PoshDealz.com.

 

January LaVoy. Photo: Greg Mooney

January LaVoy. Photo: Greg Mooney

Native Guard. THROUGH FEB. 4. 

Alliance Theatre at the Atlanta History Center.

A reprise of the 2014 staging based on poet Natasha Trethewey’s Pulitzer Prize-winning collection, which juxtaposes her life as a mixed-race child with the lives of the Native Guard — black soldiers fighting for the Union in the Civil War.

The twist this time: It’s performed near the History Center’s Civil War exhibition.

The entire cast returns: Neal A. Ghant as the Native Guard, January LaVoy as the Poet, vocalist Nicole Banks Long and composer/music director Tyrone Jackson. Recommended for age 12 and up.

$20-$47; $10 teens. 7:30 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday; 8 p.m. Friday; 2:30 + 8 p.m. Saturday; and 2:30 + 7:30 p.m. Sunday. 

130 West Paces Ferry Road NW. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.733.5000.

 

[ATTENTION MUST BE PAID: REVISITING ‘NATIVE GUARD’]

Rachel Sorsa as Rosemary Clooney and Mark Cabus as Bing Crosby. Photo: Dan Carmody / Studio 7

Rachel Sorsa as Rosemary Clooney and Mark Cabus as Bing Crosby. Photo: Dan Carmody / Studio 7

Tenderly: The Rosemary Clooney Musical. THROUGH JAN. 28.

At Georgia Ensemble Theatre.

Described as a “fresh, personal and poignant” picture of the singer/actor who became a Hollywood legend. 

Tenderlyfollows Clooney (1928-2002) from her Kentucky childhood to Tinseltown and beyond, showing the bumps, bruises and successes along the way. The score includes “Come On-a My House,” “It’s Only a Paper Moon,” “Count Your Blessings,” “Hey There,” “Mambo Italiano” and more. The cast: Rachel Sorsa as Clooney and Mark Cabus as the Doctor (and 11 other roles).

$30-$46. 7:30 p.m. Wednesday; 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday; 2:30 p.m. Sunday. Also at 4 p.m. Jan. 20 +27.

At the Roswell Cultural Arts Center, 950 Forrest St., Roswell. Details, tickets HERE or at 770.641.1260. Discount tickets at PoshDealz.com.

Opening this week

Amari Cheatum, Brittany Inge. Photo: Greg Mooney

Amari Cheatum, Brittany Inge. Photo: Greg Mooney

** The Ballad of Klook and Vinette.OPENS FRIDAY.

American premiere. Horizon Theatre begins its 2018 season with a contemporary love story that comes with a soulful jazz score. Klook is a drifter who’s tired of drifting; Vinette is on the run but doesn’t know what’s chasing her. Together, they make a tentative stab at love. Amari Cheatom (a Freddie Hendricks Youth Ensemble of Atlanta alum, the film Django Unchained) is Klook. Brittany Inge(Horizon’s Blackberry Daze) is Vinette.

The script is by London-based playwright Ché Walker, who directs. Music and lyrics by Anoushka Lucas and Omar Lye-Fook, with musical direction by Atlanta’s Christian Magby.

$23 and up, plus fees. Through Feb. 18. 8 p.m. Wednesday-Friday; 3 + 8 p.m. Saturday; 5 p.m. Sunday.

No matinee Jan. 20; no show Feb. 4 (Super Bowl Sunday). 1083 Austin Ave. at Euclid Avenue. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.584.7450.

 

Photo: Center for Puppetry Arts

Photo: Center for Puppetry Arts

Rainforest Adventures. OPENS TUESDAY.

Return to the Amazonian jungle once again with the Center for Puppetry Arts. Brazilian music accompanies this communion with 30-plus exotic plants and animals, including howler monkeys, bats, harpy eagles and pink river dolphins.

Performed in Czech Black style by puppeteers Brian Harrison, Jake Krakovsky, Emily MarshTim Sweeneyand Anna Claire Walker. For ages 4 and up.

$19.50 non-members; $9.75 members (discounted previews at 10 + 11:30 a.m. Jan. 23-24).

Through March 4. 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.

Still running

TheLionKingBroadway

The Lion King. THROUGH JAN. 28. 

Broadway in Atlanta brings Disney’s circle of life back to the Fox Theatre.

A cast of 40-plus breathes life into a lion cub named Simba, strutting giraffes, lumbering elephants, swooping birds and leaping gazelles.

The original production, which won six Tony awards, is in its 21st season on Broadway. This is a new North American tour.

$39-$169, plus fees. 7:30 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday; 8 p.m. Friday; 2 + 8 p.m. Saturday; 1 + 6:30 p.m. Sunday. 660 Peachtree St. NE. Details, tickets HERE or at 1.855.285.8499.

[MORE: THIS TOUR’S GROWN-UP NALA GREW UP IN NORCROSS]

Next week

Jorge Federico Osorio

Jorge Federico Osorio

Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. JAN. 25 + 27.

Join music director Robert Spano and the ASO for a program comprising Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 5, “Emperor”; Leonard Bernstein’s Symphony No. 1, “Jeremiah”; and the graffiti-inspired “Everything Lasts Forever,” composed by ASO bassist Michael Kurth

The ASO is joined by Mexico-born pianist Jorge Federico Osorio and American mezzo-soprano Jennifer Johnson Cano. Includes a pre-concert chamber music recital at 6:45 p.m.

Thursday, free for anyone with tickets to either concert.

$22-$97. Symphony Hall, Woodruff Arts Center, 1280 Peachtree St. NE. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.733.5000.

picnic

Picnic. OPENS JAN. 26.

At Stage Door PlayersWilliam Inge’s 1953 Pulitzer Prize-winning drama argues that youth is a gift to be savored, not squandered.

When Labor Day weekend arrives in the Kansas backyards of two middle-aged widows, so does a vital young man who upsets the social order. The cast: Blake BurgessKara Cantrell, Larry Davis and Shelby Folks. Tess Malis Kincaid directs.

$33. Previews Jan. 25. Through Feb. 18. 8 p.m. Friday-Saturday; 2:30 p.m. Sunday. Also at 8 p.m. Feb. 15. 

5339 Chamblee Dunwoody Road, Dunwoody. Details, tickets HERE or at 770.396.1726.

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