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 | 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

Center_for_Puppet_-_Click_Clack_Moo-1.jpg

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 | March 22-28, 2018

best bets encore atlanta

The Alliance Theatre closes one show and opens another. Both — the WWII-era “Sheltered” and Pearl Cleage’s “Hospice + Pointing at the Moon” — top this week’s curated Best Bets column. Also closing: Théâtre du Rêve’s “Il Etait Une Fois (Once Upon a Time).” Look, too, for Atlanta Ballet 2 to pop up at the High Museum of Art. Pictured, from left: Natalie Karp, Jennifer Schottstaedt and Eliana Marianes. Photo courtesy of Théâtre du Rêve.

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

Amanda Drinkall (left), Lauren Boyd Lane. Photo: Greg Mooney

Amanda Drinkall (left), Lauren Boyd Lane. Photo: Greg Mooney

Recommended

** Sheltered. CLOSES SUNDAY. Alliance Theatre world premiere.

This drama, by New York-based playwright Alix Sobler, is the 2018 winner of the Alliance/Kendeda National Graduate Playwriting Competition. Her suspense story is based on true events and takes place in 1939, as World War II threatens Europe. Two ordinary Philadelphians make an extraordinary decision — to bring 50 Jewish children from Nazi-occupied territory to safety in America. 

Kimberly Senior, a freelance director from New York, leads a cast comprising Lauren BoydAmanda Drinkall, Park Krausen, Lee Osorio and John Skelley

For ages 12 and up. $42; $10 teens. 7:30 p.m. Thursday; 8 p.m. Friday; 2:30 + 8 p.m. Saturday; 2:30 + 7:30 p.m. Sunday. Performed at Actor’s Express in the King Plow Arts Center, 887 West Marietta St. NW in West Midtown. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.733.5000.

[MEET THE PLAYWRIGHT + DIRECTOR BEHIND THE KENDEDA-WINNING ‘SHELTERED’]

New this week

Pearl Cleage

Pearl Cleage

 ** Hospice + Pointing at the Moon. PREVIEWS BEGIN FRIDAY | OPENS MARCH 29.

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-BoldenHospice dates to 1983; Pointing at the Moon is a world premiere. Both feature the same house in Atlanta’s West End and involve a character named Jenny Anderson, seen at two stages in life 30 years apart. Together, the one-acts wrestle 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 or middle school ID. Through April 15. 7:30 p.m. Tuesday-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.

[CLEAGE + HER ACTORS ON THIS PROJECT AND WORKING TOGETHER]

This weekend only

Nadia Mara

Nadia Mara

Atlanta Ballet 2. FRIDAY + SATURDAY.

The 12 members of Atlanta Ballet’s newest training ensemble give a pop-up performance at the High Museum of Art.

The program includes a world premiere by Viktor PlotnikovApasionado (choreographed by Atlanta Ballet dancer Nadia Mara); Eclipsed (choreographed by Tina Bohnstedt); Enchantress and the Pas de Deux from Beauty and the Beast (both choreographed by Bruce Wells); and an excerpt from Vespertine (choreographed by Liam Scarlett).

Free with High Museum admission ($14.50 age 6 and up; free age 5 and younger). 7 p.m. Friday; 1 p.m. Saturday. Performances last 45 minutes. Woodruff Arts Center, 1280 Peachtree St. NE. High Museum tickets HERE or at 404.733.5000.

 

Michael-Kurth

Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. THURSDAY + SATURDAY.

Music director Robert Spano leads the symphony, four soloists and the ASO Chamber Chorus in an evening of J.S. Bach music. Also scheduled: The world premiere of Miserere,  the newest work from ASO composer (and bassist) Michael Kurth.

The Bach lineup: Orchestral Suite No. 3, Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 and Cantata No. 80, “Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott.” The ASO’s guest soloists are British soprano Kim-Lillian Strebel, American mezzo-soprano Kelley O’Connor, American tenor David Walton and U.S.-based, New Zealand-born baritone Hadleigh Adams.

$22-$97 (selling very well). 8 nightly. Symphony Hall, Woodruff Arts Center, 1280 Peachtree St. NE. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.733.5000.

[ASO 18/19 SEASON SEES MORE BERNSTEIN, BEETHOVEN, BISS]

Last chance

Il-Etait-Une-Fois

Il Etait Une Fois (Once Upon a Time). CLOSES SUNDAY.

A world premiere from Théâtre du Rêve (Theatre of the Dream), Atlanta’s French-language theater company. This piece, written and directed by Atlanta theater artist Carolyn Cook, was inspired by female writers who lived during the reign of Louis XIV and the stories they crafted in the salons of Paris. These stories carried subtle but subversive political ideas about the suppression of women’s legal rights, centuries before the #MeToo movement. The cast: Natalie Karp, Eliana Marianes and Jennifer Schottstaedt. In French, with English supertitles.

$25; $21 senior citizens; $18 students. 8 p.m. Friday-Saturday; 3 p.m. Sunday. 7 Stages Backstage Theatre, 1105 Euclid Ave. NE. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.523.7647.

 

Jeff Watkins. Photo: Daniel Parvis

Jeff Watkins. Photo: Daniel Parvis

William Luce’s Barrymore. CLOSES SUNDAY. At the Shakespeare Tavern Playhouse.

Catch up with idolized stage and screen actor John Barrymore a few months before his 1942 death, as he rehearses a revival of his 1920 Broadway triumph, Richard III. He mostly reminisces about his life, his loves and his alcoholism. Playhouse artistic director Jeffrey Watkins is Barrymore, with Nicholas Faircloth as Frank the Prompter. For mature audiences (profanity, sexual innuendo).

$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.

Still running

Jeff Watkins. Photo: Daniel Parvis

Jeff Watkins. Photo: Daniel Parvis

Dr. Seuss’ The Cat in the Hat. THROUGH MAY 13.

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 Center for Puppetry Arts’ version was first produced by the National Theatre of Britain. The center’s Jon Ludwig directs here.

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 (no shows April 1).. 1404 Spring St. NW. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.873.3391.

Next week

Niki Badua as Ariel. Photo illustration: BreeAnne Clowdus

Niki Badua as Ariel. Photo illustration: BreeAnne Clowdus

The Little Mermaid. OPENS MARCH 28. 

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, Flotsam and Jetsam and the rest will be spinning their musical tale at the Grange Lake at Serenbe. 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 Ursula. Look closely at the set: It’s made entirely of recycled items.

$30-$43. Through April 22. 7:30 p.m. Wednesday-Thursday; 8 p.m. Friday; 2 + 8 p.m. Saturday; 2 + 7:30 p.m. Sunday. Details, tickets, directions HERE or at 770.463.1110. Discount tickets at PoshDealz.com.

 

 

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VIVA LA VIE BOHEME: RENT at the Fox Theatre!

Rent at the fox

RENT CREATOR JONATHAN LARSON LIVED HIS BOHEMIAN LIFE IN THE MOMENT.  HIS INNOVATIVE MUSICAL ENCOURAGES US ALL TO DO THE SAME.

“Rent” runs Feb. 20-28 at the Fox Theatre. Tickets HERE or at 855.285.8499.

Jonathan Larson (1960-1996).

Jonathan Larson (1960-1996).

IT HAS BEEN 23 YEARS, and five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes, since Jonathan Larson gifted the world with Rent and left an indelible mark on American musical theater.

The convention-busting musical opened on Broadway on April 29, 1996, and ran for more than 12 years. But its roots go back to 1993 and the New York Theatre Workshop, where the show was nurtured, had its off-Broadway home and suffered an unbelievable loss.

Larson died suddenly of an aortic dissection, likely caused by undiagnosed Marfan syndrome, on Jan. 25, 1996, the night before the show’s off-Broadway opening. He was 35. The bohemians, the friends with whom he created Rent, were left to share it with the world.

You might know their names: Idina Menzel, Taye Diggs, Jesse L. Martin, Anthony Rapp, Daphne Rubin-Vega. Eight actors in the 15-member cast were making their Broadway debuts. Larson’s baby went on to win the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and four 1996 Tony awards, including best musical. Two went to Larson, posthumously, for his book and score. Wilson Jermaine Heredia (Angel) won the fourth. Rent won six Drama Desk and two Theatre World awards.

American musical theater wasn’t quite sure what had happened to it, but it was exciting, and the rules were changing. Larson’s Rent became a watershed moment, like Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Oklahoma! in 1943, Stephen Sondheim’s work in the 1970s and, of course, Hamilton.

Hamilton auteur Lin-Manuel Miranda saw Rent when he was 17, later recalling:

Mimi, Roger and Co. “ Rent  rocked my perception of what a musical theater could be,” says Lin-Manuel Miranda ( Hamilton ). Photo: Carol Rosegg

Mimi, Roger and Co. “Rent rocked my perception of what a musical theater could be,” says Lin-Manuel Miranda (Hamilton). Photo: Carol Rosegg

Rent rocked my perception of what musical theater could be. It was the first musical I had ever seen with a cast as diverse as the subway riders I saw on the way to school. It was the first musical I had ever seen that took place in the present day and sounded like the present day. The characters were worried about the things I worried about.”

Larson had dreamed of being an actor after graduating from Adelphi University, but Stephen Sondheim pushed him toward composing. In short order, Larson won a Richard Rodgers Studio Production Award from the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a Rodgers Development Grant and a Stephen Sondheim Award from the American Musical Theater Festival.

He lived much like his Rent characters — on love, friendship and survival. “Our apartment is what you see in Rent,” Larson roommate Jonathan Burkhart told Playbill in 2016. “We literally had one extension cord that snaked all the way through the apartment. There was no heat except from the oven, and the shower was in the kitchen.”

Despite his lack of funds, Larson quit his job at a SoHo diner two months before Rent made its off-Broadway debut. He dreamed of earning enough money to afford cable TV. Ten days before he died, he sold books to get money for a movie ticket.

His musical drama, loosely based on Puccini ‘s La bohème, depicts an unforgettable year in the lives of seven artists — a filmmaker, a musician, a performance artist and a drag queen among them — struggling to celebrate life in the shadow of drugs, poverty and AIDS. The characters in Rent’s AIDS support group (the number “Life Support”) are named for real-life friends of his who died. Larson’s score uses pop, dance, salsa, R&B, gospel, Broadway and rock music.

Angel and Tom Collins. Writing in The New Yorker, critic John Lahr said Larson’s “songs have urgency — a sense of mourning and mystery which insists on seizing the moment.” Photo: Carol Rosegg

Angel and Tom Collins. Writing in The New Yorker, critic John Lahr said Larson’s “songs have urgency — a sense of mourning and mystery which insists on seizing the moment.” Photo: Carol Rosegg

In The New Yorker, John Lahr wrote: “The show features, among 40 well-sung numbers, songs that are as passionate, unpretentious and powerful as anything I’ve heard in musical theater for more than a decade. His songs have urgency — a sense of mourning and mystery which insists on seizing the moment.”

Like many creative people, Larson has been called contradictory. He was shaken by his lack of professional success but confident of his talent. (He once broke up with a woman because she said he couldn’t write an authentic gospel song.) He came from a comfortable suburban home but seemed to relish his ragtag lifestyle. He expected musical theater to be literate, bracing and up to date. To Larson, a friend recalled at his memorial, “Stephen Sondheim was God; Jerry Herman was the devil.”

The idea for Rent was suggested to Larson by a young playwright named Billy Aronson, who is still credited with the lyrics to “Santa Fe,” “La Vie Boheme” and “I Should Tell You.” Aronson wearied of the project, but Larson carried on — for seven years. He envisioned a Hair for the 1990s.

Rent’s six-week off-Broadway run at the 150-seat New York Theatre Workshop sold out. It was extended and sold out again. A bidding war began for the right to produce the $240,000 show on Broadway. It reopened April 29 at the Nederlander Theatre with a budget of more than $2 million. Tony Award nominations seemed inevitable. Record deals were being discussed.

Larson, of course, wasn’t there to see it. But his friends were.

“Every night we got up on the stage, and we had one responsibility,” Idina Menzel recalls on Live: Barefoot at the Symphony, her 2012 CD. “That was to communicate Jonathan’s music, his work and his story. He taught us to try to live in the moment.”

No day but today.

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The Jungle Book: BEARLY FAMOUS Feb. 2, 2018

thejunglebook

THE JUNGLE BOOK’S MARKELLE GAY ISN’T A MARQUEE NAME … YET. BUT YOU’LL LIKELY BE HEARING FROM HIM.

The Alliance Theatre’s Jungle Book runs Feb. 10-March 4 at the Porter Sanford III Performing Arts Center. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.733.5000.

MARKELLE GAY BEGAN ITCHING to act early on. He was 10 and playing Chip the teacup in a national tour of Beauty and the Beast at the Fox Theatre when he realized his life would be about what he calls “my art and other people’s art.”

Children’s theater is a new experience for Markelle Gay (left, with understudy  Avery Sharpe ). Gay doubles as Baloo the bear and the Monkey King. Photo: A’riel Tinter

Children’s theater is a new experience for Markelle Gay (left, with understudy Avery Sharpe). Gay doubles as Baloo the bear and the Monkey King. Photo: A’riel Tinter

He worked at filling that metaphorical cup with all he could glean from fellow performers and his own imagination.

Musical theater is his first love, but there are others. Gay, now 23, discovered non-musical drama and comedy while in boarding school at Walnut Hill School for the Arts near Boston. He has done a number of TV and film roles, including CBS’ “Kid Nation” (2007) and the 2006 feature Dirty Laundry. 

In commercials, he helped sell cars and burgers. He’s a dancer, a rapper, a beatbox artist and a Morehouse College sophomore majoring in theater and minoring in journalism.

Now he’s Baloo, the upbeat bear in The Jungle Book, a family-friendly piece with a script by Canadian playwright Tracey Power, based on the 1894 stories by Britain’s Rudyard Kipling. You may also recall the 1967 animated version from Disney, with songs (“The Bare Necessities”) by Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman, the team behind Mary Poppins.

The Alliance Theatre’s Jungle Book script came without music, so Atlanta’s S. Renee Clark composed the score and music-directs.

Gay, who’s 6-feet-1, feels more than ready to inhabit Baloo’s oversized persona.

Costume renderings by designer Sydney Roberts. Baloo is second from the left in the top row. Photo: A’riel Tinter

Costume renderings by designer Sydney Roberts. Baloo is second from the left in the top row. Photo: A’riel Tinter

“This is a new experience, performing for children’s theater,” he says. “When I finally got the role, after some callbacks … I can’t put it into words. It felt right. I’m also really excited because I get to play with my voice a bit.” He also plays the Monkey King.

“I think Baloo fits my acting personality,” Gay says. The bear’s main mission is to teach young Mowgli, the feral boy at the center of Kipling’s tale, the ways of the world. He does so with the help of Bagheera the black panther and Akela the old wolf, telling Mowgli, “We be of one blood, you and I.”

Caleb Baumann  (left, with understudy CJ Cooper) is Mowgli. Photo: A’riel Tinter

Caleb Baumann (left, with understudy CJ Cooper) is Mowgli. Photo: A’riel Tinter

Of course, there’s an antagonist, Shere Khan the tiger, who does not believe that Mowgli belongs. The story reflects Kipling’s own lonely childhood.

“I’m a chipper, cool kind of guy, especially when I’m working,” Gay says. “I can see myself as Baloo, who is very serious but teaches in a way that doesn’t bash you over the head. “

Director Rosemary Newcott specifically asked Gay to audition, eventually casting him. “Baloo has a kind spirit about him, and Markelle was able to tap into that,” she says, “and also demonstrate strong physical and vocal abilities.”

Says Gay: “I can’t wait to see what I learn from her.”

“I’ve been working since I was 10,” he says. “I had a teacher who told me it takes 20 years to master your craft. It’s a blessing to be 13 years in and still learning.”

Gay thinks about a Broadway future. He loves touring and wants to see the world from every stage he’s on. And, like most performers, he has a dream role: Audrey II, the carnivorous plant at the center of the musical Little Shop of Horrors. Although historically played by a puppet, more theater companies of late have been casting human actors in the role.

Gay also wants to give back and share with other artists what he’s learned so far:

“Take advantage of all the opportunities you get in this business.”

“Build connections.”

“Absorb all the knowledge you can.”

“Audition for everything. You never know who will see you and remember you.”

“Keep pursuing your craft. Always try to grow.”

“I was the youngest person in the room when I did Beauty and the Beast,” he says. “It’s not too early or too late to work. You never know where that next opportunity will come from.”

fashionado

BEST BETS | Jan. 25-31, 2018

An especially fertile winter season brings us “Angels in America,” “Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill,” “Maytag Virgin,” “Native Guard,” “Tenderly,” “Klook and Vinette” and ASO concerts. Read on for details.   Pictured: Terry Burrell as Billie Holiday in “Lady Day” (Theatrical Outfit). Photo by Chris Bartelski.

An especially fertile winter season brings us “Angels in America,” “Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill,” “Maytag Virgin,” “Native Guard,” “Tenderly,” “Klook and Vinette” and ASO concerts. Read on for details. Pictured: Terry Burrell as Billie Holiday in “Lady Day” (Theatrical Outfit). Photo by Chris Bartelski.

 **  INDICATES AN ENCORE ATLANTA WINTER SEASON TOP PICK.

Recommended

 

Carolyn Cook, in one of her many roles. Photo: Casey Gardner

Carolyn Cook, in one of her many roles. Photo: Casey Gardner

 ** Angels in America, Parts 1 and 2. IN REPERTORY THROUGH FEB. 17.

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

Sex, religion, politics and history collide in Tony Kushner’s sweeping, 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.

Your time investment will be richly rewarded.

$22-$40. 7:30 p.m. Tuesday-Friday; 2 + 8 p.m. Saturday-Sunday. King Plow Arts Center, 887 West Marietta St. NW. Millennium Approaches details, tickets HEREPerestroika details, tickets HERE. Or call 404.607.7469. 

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

 

Amari Cheatom, Brittany Inge. Photo: Greg Mooney

Amari Cheatom, Brittany Inge. Photo: Greg Mooney

 ** The Ballad of Klook and Vinette. THROUGH FEB. 18.

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 Lucasand Omar Lye-Fook, with musical direction by Atlanta’s Christian Magby.

$23 and up, plus fees. 8 p.m. Wednesday-Friday; 3 + 8 p.m. Saturday; 5 p.m. Sunday. N0 show Feb. 4 (Super Bowl Sunday).

1083 Austin Ave. at Euclid Avenue. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.584.7450.

 

lady-day

** 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 jazz singer 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. 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.

 

Brad Brinkley, Courtney Patterson. Photo: Chris Bartelski

Brad Brinkley, Courtney Patterson. Photo: Chris Bartelski

 ** Maytag Virgin. THROUGH FEB. 11. A regional premiere at Aurora Theatre

Audrey Cefaly’s dramatic comedy follows an Alabama schoolteacher (Courtney Patterson) and her new neighbor (Brad Brinkley) in the year following her husband’s unexpected death.

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.

 

Natasha Trethewey

Natasha Trethewey

 Native GuardTHROUGH 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. Photo: Dan Carmody / Studio 7

Rachel Sorsa as Rosemary Clooney. Photo: Dan Carmody / Studio 7

Tenderly: The Rosemary Clooney Musical. CLOSES SUNDAY. At Georgia Ensemble Theatre.

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

Tenderly follows 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. 8 p.m. Thursday-Friday; 4 + 8 p.m. Saturday; and 2:30 p.m. Sunday. 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

Tess Malis Kincaid

Tess Malis Kincaid

Picnic. OPENS FRIDAY. At Stage Door Players

William 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 Thursday. 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.

This weekend only

 

Michael Kurth

Michael Kurth

Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. THURSDAY + SATURDAY.

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.

Last chance

 

Nia Holloway. Photo: Joan Marcus

Nia Holloway. Photo: Joan Marcus

The Lion King. CLOSES SUNDAY. 

Broadway in Atlanta brings Disney’s circle of life back to the Fox Theatre, with a cast of 40-plus breathing 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]

Still running

 

Photo: Center for Puppetry Arts

Photo: Center for Puppetry Arts

Rainforest Adventures. THROUGH MARCH 4.

Return to the Amazonian jungle 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 Sweeney and Anna Claire Walker.

For ages 4 and up. $19.50 non-members; $9.75 members. 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.

Next week

 

Christopher Rex

Christopher Rex

Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. FEB. 1 + 3.

Join music director Robert Spano and guest pianist Jorge Federico Osorio for an all-Beethoven concert, featuring the German master’s Symphony No. 1, Piano Concerto No. 2 and Piano Concerto No. 3.

Includes a Christopher Rex Farewell Recital at 6:45 p.m. Thursday, free for anyone with a ticket for either night.

Rex retires this weekend, after spending the past 39 years as the ASO’s leading cellist. He’ll play Beethoven’s Cello Sonata No. 5 in D Major and Schubert’s Piano Trio No. 2 in E Flat (2nd movement).

$22-$102. 8 nightly.

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

 

Lowery Brown. Photo: 7 Stages

Lowery Brown. Photo: 7 Stages

 ** The Followers; A Retelling of the Bacchae. OPENS FEB. 3. At 7 Stages. 

The 38-year-old L5P company looks to ancient Greece for its first production of 2018. Euripides’ The Bacchae delves into opposite sides of human nature: the rational, civilized side represented by the king of Thebes (Lowrey Brown) and the instinctive side represented by Dionysus, the god of wine and ecstasy (Israel’s Ofir Nahari).

This world premiere telling comes from Margaret Baldwin, an Atlanta playwright of note, and uses opera, dance, puppetry and physical theater to tell its story of blind faith, abuse of power and vengeance.

Michael Haverty directs. Klimchak, who builds and plays unusual instruments, provides original music, with musical direction by Bryan Mercer, and Nahari choreographing. In the Back Stage Black Box.

$15-$25 (Feb. 1 preview is $15). Through Feb. 25. 8 p.m. Wednesday-Thursday + Saturday; 5 p.m. Sunday. Also at 8 p.m. Feb. 5. 

1105 Euclid Ave. NE. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.523.7647.

 

Lowery Brown. Photo: 7 Stages

Lowery Brown. Photo: 7 Stages

The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane. OPENS FEB. 2. At Synchronicity Theatre

Edward Tulane is an expensive toy rabbit made of china. He is loved by a little girl but has no interest in anyone but himself. He’s accidentally thrown overboard while at sea, and so begins his miraculous journey.

This family-friendly adaptation is based on Newbery Medalist Kate DiCamillo’s 2006 novel.

The cast: Josh Brook, Jimmica Collins, Caitlin Hargraves and Justin Walker. Mira Hirsch directs. 

Every Friday is PJs & Play. Kids in pajamas get complimentary milk and cookies.

$15-$22. Through Feb. 25. 7 p.m. Friday; 1 + 4 p.m. Saturday; 2 + 5 p.m. Sunday. One Peachtree Pointe, 1545 Peachtree St. NE. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.484.8636. 

fashionado

BEST BETS | Jan. 11-17, 2018

LADY DAY

Wow, what a weekend for openings! “Angels in America,” Billie Holiday, a “Maytag Virgin,” a Native Guardsman, and Rosemary Clooney. Your dance card this weekend, and beyond, should be very full. Pictured: Images from Theatrical Outfit’s “Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill.” Illustration by Daryl Fazio.

**  INDICATES AN ENCORE ATLANTA WINTER SEASON TOP PICK.

Recommended

Parris Sarter, as the Angel.

Parris Sarter, as the Angel.

** Angels in America, Parts 1 and 2. OPENS FRIDAY.

In repertory, at Actor‘s Express. Sex, religion, politics and history collide in Tony Kushner’s sweeping, time-traveling, two-part saga set at the onset of the AIDS epidemic.

Part 1,  Millennium Approaches opens Friday; Part 2, Perestroika, begins Jan. 19. 

Kushner’s achievement, one of the landmark theatrical events of the 20th century, 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

$22-$40. In repertory 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 Approaches details, tickets HEREPerestroika details, tickets HERE. Or call 404.607.7469. 

[READ: THE STAGES OF WINTER, ENCORE’S PICKS OF THE SEASON]

 

Terry Burrell

Terry Burrell

 ** Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill. IN PREVIEWS. OPENS SATURDAY.

At Theatrical Outfit. Philadelphia, 1959. An audience gathers at Emerson’s on the city’s south side to witness, unknowingly, one of the last performances of legendary singer Billie Holiday. The evening, both intimate and epic, includes stories about her 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. 

Terry Burrell (Broadway’s Thoroughly Modern Millie, Dreamgirls, Into the Woods; the Alliance Theatre’s Ethel) plays Holiday, a role she’s done off-Broadway. 

$18-$51. Through Feb. 4. 7:30 p.m. Wednesday-Friday; 2:30 p.m. Jan. 14, 18, 20-21, 25, 27-28 and Feb. 1, 3, 4. The Balzer Theater at Herren’s, 84 Luckie St. NW. Details, tickets HERE or at 678.528.1500. Discount tickets at PoshDealz.com.

 

Courtney Patterson, Brad Brinkley. Photo: Chris Bartelski

Courtney Patterson, Brad Brinkley. Photo: Chris Bartelski

 ** Maytag Virgin. OPENS THURSDAY.

A regional premiere at Aurora TheatreAudrey Cefaly’s dramatic comedy follows Alabama schoolteacher Lizzy Nash (Courtney Patterson) and her new neighbor, Jack Key (Brad Brinkley), in the year following the unexpected death of Lizzy’s 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. Through Feb. 11. 8 p.m. Tuesday-Friday; 2:30 + 8 p.m. Saturday; 2:30 p.m. Sunday. Jan. 16 show sold out. 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.

 

Neal A. Ghant as the Native Guard. Photo: Greg Mooney

Neal A. Ghant as the Native Guard. Photo: Greg Mooney

Native Guard. OPENS SATURDAY. 

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. Through Feb. 4. 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’]

 

Opening this week

 

Mark Cabus, Rachel Sorsa. Photo: Dan Carmody / Studio 7

Mark Cabus, Rachel Sorsa. Photo: Dan Carmody / Studio 7

Tenderly: The Rosemary Clooney Musical. OPENS THURSDAY. At Georgia Ensemble Theatre.

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

Tenderly follows Clooney (1928-2002) from her Kentucky childhood, through her girl-singer days and on 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). James Donadio directs.

$30-$46 (previews cheaper). Performed at the Roswell Cultural Arts Center, 950 Forrest St., Roswell. Details, tickets HERE or at 770.641.1260. Discount tickets at PoshDealz.com.

This weekend only

Leonard Bernstein and the Beethoven Seventh

Leonard Bernstein and the Beethoven Seventh. THURSDAY + SATURDAY.

Ludwig van Beethoven and Leonard Bernstein were lifelong champions of music and liberty. The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra celebrates them throughout the 2017/18 season.

Join guest conductor Peter Oundjian for the toe-tapping ballet Fancy Free (the basis for the movie On the Town and written when Bernstein was 25) and Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony, the last piece Bernstein conducted before dying in 1990 at age 72.

Also on the program: ASO concertmaster David Coucheron performing the Saint-Saëns Violin Concerto No. 3.

$22-$107 (some sections, especially on Saturday, are already sold out). 8 nightly. Symphony Hall, Woodruff Arts Center, 1280 Peachtree St. NE. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.733.5000.

atlanta opera

The Magic Flute. SATURDAY-SUNDAY. 

The Atlanta Opera Studio performs an hour long version of the Mozart piece about Prince Tamino’s quest to rescue the beautiful Pamina, a story of good and evil and love, told with singing actors and puppets.

The Studio artists, part of the opera company’s artist-in-residence program, will sing in English.

$20. 11 a.m. + 1 p.m. Saturday; 1 p.m. Sunday (a 3 p.m. performance is sold out). Center for Puppetry Arts, 1404 Spring St. NW. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.881.8885.

Still running

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. Be warned, seats for the first week of the run and weekends are selling briskly. 7:30 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday; 8 p.m. Friday; 2 + 8 p.m. Saturday; 1 + 6:30 p.m. Sunday. Also at 1 p.m. Jan 11. 660 Peachtree St. NE. Details, tickets HERE or at 1.855.285.8499.

Nia Holloway and company. Photo: Joan Marcus

Nia Holloway and company. Photo: Joan Marcus

Amari Cheatom, Brittany Inge. Photo: Greg Mooney

Amari Cheatom, Brittany Inge. Photo: Greg Mooney

** The Ballad of Klook and Vinette. OPENS JAN. 19.

Put this on your radar. 

Horizon Theatre opens 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 (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 plus fees and up. Through Feb. 18. 8 p.m. Wednesday-Friday; 3 + 8 p.m. Saturday; 5 p.m. Sunday. No matinee on Jan. 20; no show Feb. 4 (Super Bowl Sunday). 1083 Austin Ave. at Euclid Avenue. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.584.7450.

 

fashionado