“The Christians” (Actor’s Express), “Burnpile” (Aurora) & “Sense and Sensibility” (Synchronicity) lead a list of great stuff. If our week was eight days long, we’d also see “Abigail/1702” (Aurora), “Bengal Tiger” (7 Stages), “Project Dawn” (Horizon), the last gasp of “Shakespeare in Love” (Alliance) and the ASO season opener. Pace yourselves. Pictured: Kathleen Wattis, Brian Kurlander and the choir. Photo by Studio 7 Photography
** Indicates an Encore Atlanta fall/winter season top pick. See them all HERE.
** The Christians. THROUGH OCT. 15. This 2014 script by Lucas Hnath (Broadway’s A Doll’s House, Part 2) asks how far you’ll go for something to believe in. Actor’s Express calls it “a provocative excavation of modern faith.” The setting is a megachurch that’s rocked when its pastor discards fundamentalist Christianity for something more inclusive. Director Freddie Ashley’s cast is led by Brian Kurlander and Enoch King. Expect to hear church choirs, too. $28 (subject to change). 8 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday; 2 p.m. Sunday. At the King Plow Arts Center, 887 West Marietta St. NW. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.607.7469. Discount tickets at PoshDealz.com.
** Shakespeare in Love. CLOSES SUNDAY. The Alliance Theatre‘s fall opener features a reunion of some of the most talented folks from the late, lamented Georgia Shakespeare, including artistic director Richard Garner. He directs this love letter to the bard, based on the 1998 film that won seven Oscars, including best picture. Young Will Shakespeare (Thomas Azar), who’s on a tight deadline, has writer’s block. Enter his muse, Viola (Bethany Anne Lind). $10-$75. 7:30 tonight; 8 p.m. Friday; 2:30 + 8 p.m. Saturday; 2:30 p.m. Sunday. Conant Performing Arts Center at Oglethorpe University, 4484 Peachtree Road NE. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.733.5000.
Throw Me on the Burnpile and Light Me Up. THROUGH OCT. 1. A lecherous goat, Pentecostals on the radio, a clutter of in-bred cats, phone calls from death row and Daddy’s burnpile are among the elements in this Southern coming-of-age tale from Lucy Alibar, the Oscar-nominated screenwriter of Beasts of the Southern Wild. Atlanta actor Taylor M. Dooley, a Dad’s Garage regular seen too infrequently on other stages, is the sole cast member. Part of Aurora Theatre’s Harvel Lab Series. $20-$30. 8 p.m. Thursday-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.
Opening this week
** Abigail/1702. OPENS TONIGHT. Aurora Theatre catches up with the evil Abigail Williams from Arthur Miller’s The Crucible. It’s 10 years later, and she’s haunted by the lives she ruined and the blood on her hands. Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa’s 2012 script finds her in Boston, seeking salvation. Justin Anderson directs a cast led by Diany Rodriguez. You may know Aguirre-Sacasa from Say You Love Satan (Dad’s Garage, 2001), Weird Comic Book Fantasy (Dad’s, 2003) and Good Boys and True (Actor’s Express, 2010). This 90-minute drama has no intermission and contains mature themes. $20-$55. Through Oct. 15. 8 p.m. Tuesday-Friday; 2:30 + 8 p.m. Saturday; 2:30 p.m. Sunday. Also at 10 a.m. Oct. 3 ($16 and up). 128 E. Pike St., Lawrenceville. $20-$55. Free, covered, attached parking in city deck at 153 E. Crogan St. Details, tickets HERE or at 678.226.6222. Discounts at PoshDealz.com.
Dial M for Murder. OPENS FRIDAY. At Stage Door Players. Frederick Knott’s killer drama follows a man who married his wife for her money and now plans to kill her. An alibi, a blackmail scheme and Scotland Yard are all part of the action before the case gets cracked. Kate Donadio MacQueen directs a cast that includes Charles Green, David Alan Grindstaff, Kristin Markiton, Chad Martin, Doyle Reynolds and Robert Egizio, Stage Door’s producing artistic director. Through Oct. 15. $15-$33. 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday; 2:30 p.m. Sunday. At the North DeKalb Cultural Center, 5339 Chamblee-Dunwoody Road, Dunwoody. Details, tickets HERE or at 770.396.1726.
** Project Dawn. OPENS FRIDAY. At Horizon Theatre. Audiences will be on both sides of the judicial system in this fact-based story about an innovative program dedicated to rehabilitating sex workers instead of punishing them. Seven actors double as victims/participants and court staff. Artistic director Lisa Adler leads a cast of familiar Atlanta faces (Lane Carlock, Carolyn Cook, Marianne Fraulo, Maria Rodriguez-Sager, Bobbi Lynne Scott) and some that will be familiar soon: Brooke Owens, a Suzi Bass Award nominee for Synchronicity’s Anne Boleyn; and Christy Clark, Horizon’s Blackberry Daze). This National New Play Network rolling world premiere was written by Karen Hartman, who used a revolutionary Philadelphia court as the basis for her script, which tests the thin line between freedom and slavery, and activism and obsession. Through Oct. 29. 8 p.m. Wednesday-Friday; 3 + 8:30 p.m. Saturday; 5 p.m. Sunday. 1083 Austin Ave. at Euclid Avenue. $25 and up. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.584.7450.
The Reign of King Edward III. OPENS SATURDAY. Two weeks only at the Shakespeare Tavern Playhouse. In this two-part history play, Edward claims the French throne and the Hundred Years War begins. In Part 1, Edward woos the Countess of Salisbury. Both married, they strike a deal to kill the other’s spouse. In Part 2, a young Edward, known as the Black Prince, takes to the battlefield to win his father’s respect and the right to rule England. Mary Ruth Ralston directs. With Drew Reeves as King Edward, Kati Grace Brown as the Countess of Salisbury and David Sterritt as Edward, Prince of Wales. Pub menu and libations available. $15 preview tonight; $20 preview Friday; regularly $22-$45. Through Oct. 1. 7:30 p.m. Thursday-Saturday; 6:30 p.m. Sunday. 99 Peachtree St. NE (across from Emory University Hospital Midtown). Details, tickets HERE or at 404.874.5299. Discount gift cards at PoshDealz.com.
** Sense and Sensibility. OPENS FRIDAY. A regional premiere at Synchronicity Theatre. Jane Austen is fun, just ask playwright Kate Hamill. Her 2014 adaptation of the beloved novel ratchets up the energy level, using inventive staging and a cast of 10 to play the Dashwoods, the Ferrars and a busy bunch of gossips that show just how much privacy the private lives of Georgian-era Brits lacked. Wall Street Journal critic Terry Teachout, one of the best writing today, calls it “a version so full of galloping comic vitality as to suggest a bunch of stupendously clever kids playing dress-up in the nursery.” Artistic director Rachel May directs an athletic cast led by Shelli Delgado as Elinor Dashwood, Jennifer Schottstaedt as Marianne Dashwood, Justin Walker as Edward Ferrars and Bryant Smith as Colonel Brandon. Through Oct. 15. 8 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday; 5 p.m. Saturday. One Peachtree Pointe, 1545 Peachtree St. NE. $30. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.484.8636.
This weekend only
Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. TONIGHT + SATURDAY. Music director Robert Spano and the ASO begin a new season with An American in Paris, George Gershwin’s postcard from France. The swinging showpiece, which inspired the Oscar-winning film and recent Broadway musical, caps a night of American music. The program includes “A Thousand Words” by ASO bassist Michael Kurth and Leonard Bernstein’s jazz-inspired Symphony No. 2 with pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet, an Atlanta favorite. $32-$113. 8 nightly. Symphony Hall, Woodruff Arts Center, 1280 Peachtree St. NE. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.733.5000.
** The King and I. THROUGH OCT. 1. At the Fox Theatre. East meets West — and they don’t always get on nicely — in what is, by all accounts, a definitive version of the Rodgers & Hammerstein classic. It comes from Lincoln Center and director Bartlett Sher, both responsible for the wonderfully inventive, picture-perfect South Pacific that played the Fox in 2010. If you need a refresher, The King and I takes place in the 1860s, when the King of Siam hires an English schoolteacher to tutor his wives and children. There’s an undeniable emotional and intellectual attraction between them; a slave girl from Burma (Tuptim) and her forbidden lover (Lun Tha) have the primary romance, with the King’s favorite wife (Lady Thiang) playing a key role, as well. The score includes “I Whistle a Happy Tune,” “Hello, Young Lovers,” “A Puzzlement,” “Getting to Know You,” “We Kiss in a Shadow,” “Something Wonderful” and “Shall We Dance,” among others. 660 Peachtree St. NE. $30-$135. 7:30 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday; 8 p.m. Friday; 2 + 8 p.m. Saturday; 6:30 p.m. Sunday. Details, tickets HERE or at 855.285.8499.
Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo. THROUGH OCT. 8. 7 Stages begins its season with this Pulitzer-nominated drama from playwright Rajiv Joseph (Gruesome Playground Injuries). The lives of two U.S. Marines and their Iraqi translator are irrevocably changed when they meet a tiger who haunts Baghdad’s rubble-strewn streets. Co-artistic director Michael Haverty directs a cast that features Kevin Stillwell as the Tiger and includes Paris Benjamin, Marium Khalid, Rudy Roushdi, Joe Sykes, Markell Williams and Sam Younis. The drama had a limited run on Broadway in 2011 with Robin Williams as the tiger. $22 and up. 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday; 5 p.m. Sunday. 1105 Euclid Ave. NE. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.523.7647.
Once on This Island. THROUGH OCT. 1. Georgia Ensemble Theatre begins its 25th season with this 1991 musical by Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty (Ragtime, Anastasia). It’s a beautifully told story of life, pain, love, grief, faith, hope and buoyant Caribbean rhythms. One stormy night on an island in the French Antilles, insistent thunder makes a small girl cry. To comfort her, the village storytellers share the tale of Ti Moune, a peasant girl who falls in love with a man who’s off-limits. Nominated for eight 1991 Tony awards, including best musical. Ricardo Aponte directs and choreographs. $33-$43. 7:30 p.m. Wednesday; 8 p.m. Thursday-Friday; 4 + 8 p.m. Saturday; and 2:30 p.m. Sunday. GET performs at the Roswell Cultural Arts Center, 950 Forrest St., Roswell. Details, tickets HERE or at 770.641.1260. Discount tickets at PoshDealz.com.
Wicket. THROUGH OCT. 7. World premiere. Many Bothans died in the making of this musical parody, say the folks at Dad’s Garage Theatre Company. Wicket tells the classic Star Wars tale from the Ewoks’ perspective, which means they’ll sing, dance and share the true story of life inside the Galactic Federation. Not recommended for anyone not old enough or who doesn’t enjoy adult humor. Kennesaw State’s Rick Lombardo (Little Shop of Horrors at Actor’s Express) directs, with script & lyrics by Travis Sharp and score & lyrics by Haddon Kime. $12.50-$29.50 (always cheapest online). 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday. 569 Ezzard St. SE. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.523.3141.
** Boy. OPENS SEPT. 28. At Theatrical Outfit. The Huffington Post called this “a smart, fresh transgender-play twist” and said, “It’s likely there are none like this one, certainly not any more beautifully realized.” Anna Ziegler’s 2016 drama spans 22 years and begins in 1968 Iowa after an accident, when a doctor convinces the parents of an infant boy to raise him as a girl. The drama is based on a true story. Atlanta actor Clifton Guterman, the Outfit’s associate artistic director, plays the title role, and is directed by frequent collaborator Melissa Foulger, who makes her Outfit debut. Also in the cast: Daryl Lisa Fazio, Matt Lewis, Annie York and Outfit artistic director Tom Key. 7:30 p.m. previews Sept. 28-29 ($18-$36); opens at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 30 ($23.50-$51); regularly $22.50-$49. 7:30 p.m. Wednesday-Friday; 2:30 + 7:30 p.m. Saturday; and 2:30 p.m. Sunday. The Balzer Theater at Herren’s, 84 Luckie St. NW. Details, tickets HERE or at 678.528.1500. Discount tickets at PoshDealz.com.
The Seven Deadly Sins. OPENS SEPT. 28. The Atlanta Opera begins its season with an intimate cabaret experience that looks at the duality of the character(s) Anna I and Anna II, two sides of the same woman. She embarks on a seven-city pursuit of the American Dream, uncovering each of the seven deadly sins along the way: envy, gluttony, greed, lust, pride, sloth and wrath. The Kurt Weill–Bertolt Brecht piece was first performed in 1933. Serenbe Playhouse Artistic Director Brian Clowdus directs his first opera; Rolando Salazar conducts. $50 all seats (VIP upgrades available). Through Oct. 6. 7:30 p.m. Sept. 28-30 + Oct. 3-6; 3 p.m. Oct. 1. Performed at Le Maison Rouge at Paris on Ponce as part of the opera’s Discoveries series, 716 Ponce de Leon Place NE. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.881.8885.