Openings this week include “Strait of Gibraltar” (Synchronicity, world premiere) and “Geoffrey Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales” (Shakespeare Tavern). Recommended: “Georgia McBride” (Actor’s Express); “Magic Negro” (Alliance); and “White Woman” (7 Stages). Pictured: Maggie Birgel and Benjamin Sims in “Strait of Gibraltar.” Photo by Jerry Siegel Photography.
** Indicates an Encore Atlanta winter season recommendation.
The Legend of Georgia McBride. THROUGH APRIL 16. At Actor’s Express. What do you do when your Elvis act gets the ax? With a pregnant wife, no money and eviction looming, Casey (the terrific Nick Arapoglou) swaps his jumpsuit for sequins and becomes the Florida Panhandle’s newest drag queen. (Alliance Theatre, 2013). $21-$45. 8 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday; 2 p.m. Sunday. King Plow Arts Center, 887 West Marietta St. NW. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.607.7469. Discount tickets at PoshDealz.com.
** The Magic Negro. THROUGH APRIL 15. The full title of this one-man show by Atlanta improv artist Mark Kendall is The Magic Negro and other Blackity Blackness, as told by an African-American Man who also happens to be Black (his capitalization). The title and the fact that Kendall does improv should be clues. Here he shines a light on the “Magic Negro” stereotype and covers everything from the race card to white flight, from Aunt Jemima to Black Jesus. He’s going for laughs, of course, and something more. An earlier version was developed and staged at Dad’s Garage Theatre Company. $15-$25. 7:30 p.m Wednesday-Thursday. 8 + 10:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday (8 p.m. only March 31). Alliance Theatre’s Hertz Stage, Woodruff Arts Center, 1280 Peachtree St. NE. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.733.5000.
** Strait of Gibraltar. OPENS FRIDAY. World premiere. At Synchronicity Theatre. In this sexy romantic thriller, a Jewish New Yorker (Maggie Birgel) and a Moroccan man (Benjamin Sims) meet at a party and fall hard for each other. When he tells her he’s undocumented, she offers to help him and his family. What they face is anything but happily-ever-after. This smart drama by Andrea Lepcio (Synchro’s Looking for the Pony in 2009) looks at love, truth, prejudice and civil rights in the age of the Patriot Act. Also in the cast: Suehyla El-Attar, Brian Ashton Smith and Kathleen Wattis. Rachel May directs. $15-$50. Through April 23. 8 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday; 5 p.m. Sunday. Synchronicity Theatre at One Peachtree Pointe, 1545 Peachtree St. NE. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.484.8636.
** White Woman in Progress. THROUGH APRIL 9. World premiere. At 7 Stages. Highly recommended. Tara Ochs’ one-woman crackerjack of a play comes from her work as civil rights activist Viola Liuzzo in the 2014 Oscar-nominated feature film Selma. Although she didn’t have a great deal of screen time, the story of Liuzzo — a Detroit housewife who drove South to help marchers and was murdered — wouldn’t let go. Ochs’ funny, approachable drama champions individual power and conversations about privilege, race and social justice. Don’t miss it. $22.50 and up. 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday; 5 p.m. Sunday. 1105 Euclid Ave. NE. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.523.7647.
This weekend only
Eddie Palmieri. SATURDAY ONLY. The mambo master and 10-time Grammy Award winner celebrates his 80th birthday at Georgia State University’s Rialto Center for the Arts. A pre-show performance by Latin and world percussionist Frankie Quinones starts at 7 p.m. Palmieri, considered one of the best pianists of the past 50 years, takes the stage at 8 p.m. $39-$74. 80 Forsyth St. NW. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.413.9849.
Brewsical. 8 P.M. The Atlanta Musical Theatre Festival announces its 2017 selections at this event, featuring brews, auctions and performances. Admission includes six beer tastings at Blue Tarp Brewing, pizza and salad from DaVinci’s Pizzeria, silent and live auctions, and performances from Atlanta singers. $20; $50 VIP (includes private access at 7 p.m. plus preview performances). 8 p.m. Blue Tarp Brewing, 731 E. College Ave. Decatur. Details, tickets HERE.
Opening this week
Geoffrey Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales. PREVIEWS TONIGHT-FRIDAY | OPENS SATURDAY. The Shakespeare Tavern Playhouse promises a medieval romp through boisterous and bawdy olde England. This adaptation, intended to be funny, draws on the Celtic and British influences in Chaucer’s writing, reintroducing six tales in forms ranging from classical to Spaghetti Western. The cast: Kirstin Calvert, Laura Cole, Nicholas Faircloth, Adam King, Enoch King, Rivka Levin, Amanda Lindsey and Drew Reeves. Pub menu and festive spirits available. $15-$36 (previews $15 + $20). Through April 23. 7:30 p.m. Thursday-Saturday; 6:30 p.m. Sunday. April 7 show begins at 11 p.m. (dessert and drinks for sale before show). No show April 16 (Easter). 499 Peachtree St. NE. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.874.5299.
This week only
Penelope. TUESDAY ONLY. Join Arís!, Atlanta’s Celtic-themed theater company, for a reading of this contemporary drama by Irish playwright Enda Walsh. It reimagines the final day in Homer’s epic adventure The Odyssey. The cast: John Ammerman, Theo Harness, Steve Hudson, Eliana Marianes and Matthew Welch. Arís! co-founder Kathleen McManus directs. $10. 7:30 p.m. At Stage Door Players, 5339 Chamblee-Dunwoody Road, Dunwoody. Details HERE. Tickets HERE.
Don Pasquale. THROUGH SUNDAY. The Atlanta Opera stages Donizetti’s bel canto classic and sets it in 1950s Hollywood. The Don is an aging silent film star in search of a wife and heir to his fortune, a search that doesn’t go well. The tale also features a chorus dressed as Hollywood film stars (Lucille Ball, Eartha Kitt, Carmen Miranda, John Wayne). Turkish bass-baritone Burak Bilgili (2013’s The Italian Girl in Algiers) sings the title role. In Italian with English supertitles. $25-$140. 8 p.m. Friday; 3 p.m. Sunday. Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre, 2800 Cobb Galleria Parkway, Atlanta. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.881.8885.
** The Bridges of Madison County. THROUGH APRIL 16. Southeastern premiere. Aurora Theatre stages the Jason Robert Brown musical (Parade, The Last Five Years) based on the 1992 best-seller and subsequent feature film. Onstage, the story opens up to include more characters and more scenes but, at its heart, is still about a lonely Iowa farm wife named Francesca (Kristin Markiton) and her unexpected love affair with a traveling photographer (Travis Smith). The show had a three-month Broadway run in 2014. $30-$65. 8 p.m. Tuesday-Friday; 2:30 + 8 p.m. Saturday; and 2:30 p.m. Sunday. Also at 10 a.m. April 12 (tickets start at $20). 28 E. Pike St., Lawrenceville. Free, covered and attached parking in city deck at 153 E. Crogan St. Details, tickets HERE or at 678.226.6222. Discount tickets at PoshDealz.com.
Cinderella and Fella. THROUGH APRIL 9. World premiere. At the Alliance Theatre. In this updated telling of the Cinderella story, kindness counts, friendship beats romance, and magic lies just outside your back door. The script is by Janece Shaffer, the score by S. Renee Clark (who also plays Mother Tree) and the direction by Rosemary Newcott. $18-$32. 1 + 3:30 p.m. Saturday-Sunday; and 7 p.m. April 7. Alliance mainstage, Woodruff Arts Center, 1280 Peachtree St. NE. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.733.5000. Discount tickets at PoshDealz.com.
Grease. THROUGH APRIL 16. Will it rain on prom night? Will Danny and Sandy ever find true love? Will Frenchy flunk out of beauty school? Find out in this outdoor staging by the always inventive Serenbe Playhouse. Join the gum-chewing, hot-rod-loving boys in leather jackets and their wisecracking girls in poodle skirts in a setting that evokes a drive-in movie. VIP vintage car seating (seating for four, a special drink menu, a dedicated wait staff, car-side bottle service, and unlimited food and drink) is available. Randi Garza (Evita) plays Sandy; Michael Stiggers is Danny. $30-$35; VIP seats $500 per foursome. The Wildflower Meadow at Serenbe. 10950 Hutchesons Ferry Road, Chattahoochee Hills. Details, tickets HERE or at 770.463.1110. Discount tickets at PoshDealz.com.
Nobody Loves You. THROUGH APRIL 30. At Horizon Theatre. The game of love is on in this musical about cluelessly self-obsessed contestants who compete for love and adoring fans on a reality-TV show. Heidi Cline McKerley directs a cast that includes Leslie Bellair, Jeanette Illidge, Wendy Melkonian and Brad Raymond. $25-$40. 8 p.m. Wednesday-Friday; 3 + 8:30 p.m. Saturday; and 5 p.m. Sunday. 1083 Euclid Ave. NE (at Austin Avenue). Details, tickets HERE or at 404.584.7450.
Simply Simone: The Music of Nina Simone. THROUGH APRIL 15. Prodigy. Superstar. Activist. Exile. Vocal powerhouse. Nina Simone, one of the true divas of the 20th century, defied classification and defined a generation. This musical revue at Theatrical Outfit shares the rich legacy of an American icon whose work encompassed jazz, gospel, blues, Broadway and rock ‘n’ roll. Four performers play Simone in a show that includes such classics as “I Loves You, Porgy,” “The Look of Love,” “My Baby Just Cares for Me,” and “Here Comes the Sun.” Patdro Harris directs. $20-$48. The Balzer Theater at Herren’s. Details, tickets HERE or at 678.528.1500. Discount tickets at PoshDealz.com.
ASO Does Rachmaninoff. APRIL 6-7. Music director Robert Spano conducts the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra in Vocalise, Piano Concerto No. 1 and Symphonic Dances from the Russian pianist, composer and conductor (1873-1943). Onetime MacArthur “genius” grant recipient Stephen Hough solos on the concerto. $25-$94. 8 nightly. Symphony Hall, Woodruff Arts Center, 1280 Peachtree St. NE. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.733.5000.
Pete the Cat. APRIL 4-MAY 21. Premiere. The Center for Puppetry Arts presents this all-new production based on the book series by Georgia artist James Dean. It features the imagined adventures of the scrawny black kitten he adopted in 1999 and named Pete. With marionette, rod and shadow puppets. Artistic director Jon Ludwig wrote the adaptation and directs. The cast: Luis Hernandez, Amy Sweeney, Tim Sweeney, Anna Claire Walker and puppeteer/composer Dolph Amick, who wrote original music. $20.50 nonmembers; $10.25 members. 10 + 11:30 a.m. Tuesday-Friday; noon + 2 p.m. Saturday; and 1 + 3 p.m. Sunday. 1404 Spring St. NW. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.873.3391.