** Indicates an Encore Atlanta winter season top pick.
Atlanta Ballet’s Nutcracker. CLOSES THURSDAY. Atlanta Ballet dances its John McFall-choreo-graphed Nut for the 23rd and final time. A new version debuts in 2018. McFall, the company’s artistic director from 1994 to 2016, slipped out of retirement to lead the company one more time. You know the story. A nutcracker doll comes to life, turns into a prince and takes young Marya on a fantastical adventure. $21.25-$125.25. 7:30 p.m. Fox Theatre, 660 Peachtree St. NE. Details, tickets HERE or at 855.285.8499. Tickets also at the Fox and Atlanta Ballet box offices.
Heidi. CLOSES SUNDAY. At Synchronicity Theatre. Johanna Spyri’s 19th-century children’s novel becomes a family musical in this staging for ages 3 and up. Heidi brings joy to everyone she meets, from her crusty grandfather in the Swiss Alps to a wheelchair-bound friend in the city. Even the goats sing. The score is by Joan Cushing (Junie B. Jones, Miss Nelson, Petite Rouge). Every Friday is PJs & Play (kids in pajamas get free milk, cookies and — for this show only — Swiss chocolates). $15-$22. 7 p.m. Friday; 1 + 4 p.m. Saturday; and 2 + 5 p.m. Sunday. Also at 2 p.m. Dec. 28. A KidNight Countdown, with a kid-friendly toast and treat, follows the 5 p.m. show Dec. 31. Synchronicity is in Midtown’s One Peachtree Pointe complex at 1545 Peachtree St. NE. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.484.8636.
- Invasion: Christmas Carol. CLOSES SATURDAY. Dad’s Garage Theatre Company. $17.50-$39.50 (buy online and save). Details, tickets HERE or at 404.523.3141.
- The Santaland Diaries. CLOSES SUNDAY. Not for children! Horizon Theatre. $25 and up. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.584.7450.
- The Snow Queen. CLOSES SATURDAY. Serenbe Playhouse. $15-$28. Directions, parking info HERE. Details, tickets HERE or at 770.463.1110. Discount tickets at PoshDealz.com.
Opening this week
The Adventures of Gingerbread Man. JAN. 2-7. The folktales “Hansel and Gretel,” “Androcles and the Lion,” “The Frog Prince” and “The Three Wishes” are told with glove, rod and hand-and-rod puppets by Atlanta’s All Hands Productions. For ages 4 and up. $11.25-$19.50. 10 + 11:30 a.m. Tuesday-Friday; 11 a.m., 1 + 3 p.m. Saturday; and 1 + 3 p.m. Sunday. Center for Puppetry Arts, 1404 Spring St. NW. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.873.3391.
Angels in America. JAN. 12-FEB. 17. 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 is titled Millennium Approaches, Part 2 is titled Perestroika. The entire piece is subtitled A Gay Fantasia on National Themes. Its characters are real (Ethel Rosenberg, Roy Cohn) and imagined (an Eskimo, an angel). Kushner’s achievement, one of the landmark theatrical events of the 20th century, won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and four 1993 Tony awards, including best play and best direction (by George C. Wolfe). Angels, incidentally, returns to Broadway in March with Nathan Lane and Andrew Garfield. The Express cast: Robert Bryan Davis as Roy Cohn and Grant Chapman as Prior Walter, with Carolyn Cook, Thandiwe DeShazor, Louis Greggory (new spelling), Cara Mantella, Parris Sarter and Joe Sykes. $22-$40. King Plow Arts Center, 887 West Marietta St. NW. Millennium Approaches details, tickets HERE; Perestroika details, tickets HERE. Or call 404.607.7469.
** Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill. PREVIEWS JAN. 11-12. OPENS JAN. 13. At Theatrical Outfit. Philadelphia, 1959. An audience gathers at Emerson’s, a seedy bar on the city’s south side, to witness, unknowingly, one of legendary singer Billie Holiday’s last solo performances. She died four months later at age 44. The evening, both intimate and epic, includes stories about her down-and-out life and a songlist that features “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. The 2014 Broadway version earned Audra McDonald her sixth Tony Award. $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.
The Lion King. JAN. 10-28. Broadway in Atlanta brings Disney’s circle of life back to the Fox Theatre for a three-week run. A cast of more than 40 breathes life into a lion cub named Simba as well as 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 new North American tour is named for the character of Rafiki. $39-$169 plus fees. Seats for the first week of the run and weekends are selling well. 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.
The Magic Flute. JAN. 13-14. The Atlanta Opera Studio performs an hourlong 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.
** Maytag Virgin. JAN. 11-FEB. 11. A regional premiere at Aurora Theatre. Audrey 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. 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.