“Burnpile” opens at Aurora, Shakespeare’s in love, “Hunchback” returns, and something “Wicket” this way comes. Pictured: Taylor M. Dooley in “Throw Me on the Burnpile and Light Me Up.” Photo by Daniel Parvis.
** Indicates an Encore Atlanta fall/winter season recommendation.
The Hunchback of Notre Dame. IN PREVIEWS | OPENS SATURDAY. This Theatrical Outfit / Aurora Theatre co-production takes its turn downtown at the Rialto Center for the Arts. The Alan Menken-Stephen Schwartz-scored show is based on the Victor Hugo novel and the 1996 Disney movie, and follows a deformed bell ringer named Quasimodo and his travails in 1482 Paris. Haden Rider returns as Quasimodo and Julissa Sabino as Esmeralda. $18-$51 and subject to change. Through Sept. 17. 7:30 p.m. Wednesday-Friday; 2:30 + 7:30 p.m. Saturday; and 2:30 p.m. Sunday. Additional matinee at 11 a.m. Sept. 14. 80 Forsyth St. NW. Details, tickets HERE or at 678.528.1500. Discount tickets at PoshDealz.com.
** Shakespeare in Love. IN PREVIEWS | OPENS SEPT. 6 | 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 Academy Awards including best picture. Young Will Shakespeare (Thomas Azar) has writer’s block as the deadline for his new play looms, and is desperate for inspiration. Enter his muse, Viola (Bethany Anne Lind). The 23-member cast includes one-time Georgia Shakes regulars Barrett Doyle, Allan Edwards, Neal A. Ghant, Chris Kayser, Tess Malis Kincaid, Joe Knezevich and Lind. $10-$75. Through Sept. 24. 7:30 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday; 8 p.m. Friday; 2:30 + 8 p.m. Saturday; 2:30 + 7:30 p.m. Sunday. (No 8 p.m. show Sept. 24.) Conant Performing Arts Theatre at Oglethorpe University, 4484 Peachtree Road NE. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.733.5000.
Throw Me on the Burnpile and Light Me Up. OPENS FRIDAY. 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. Through Oct. 1. 8 p.m. Thursday-Friday; 2:30 + 8 p.m. Saturday; and 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
Wicket. OPENS FRIDAY | 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 will sing, dance and share the true story of life inside the Galactic Federation. Not recommended for anyone not old enough to experience adult humor or anyone who doesn’t like 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 and always cheapest to buy online. 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday. 569 Ezzard St. SE. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.523.3141. Discount tickets at PoshDealz.com.
Mother Goose. THROUGH SEPT. 17. In this Center for Puppetry Arts staging, audience members must sing, wiggle and clap to help Mary Mary (Jimmica Collins) find a missing Mother Goose. Also on the case: all the citizens of Rhymeville, including Humpty Dumpty, Little Bo Peep, and both Jack and Jill. For ages 2 and up. Uses rod, hand-and-rod and glove puppets. $19.50. 10 + 11 a.m. Thursday-Friday; 11 a.m., 1 + 3 p.m. Saturday; and 1 + 3 p.m. Sunday. 1404 Spring St. NW. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.873.3391.
The Taming of the Shrew. THROUGH SEPT. 17. The untamed, unwed Katherine is wooed for convenience by the charismatic but bawdy bachelor Petruchio in one of Shakespeare’s best-known comedies. Shakespeare Tavern Playhouse regulars Dani Herd and Matt Nitchie play the warring duo. Pub menu and libations available. $22-$45. 7:30 p.m. Thursday-Saturday; 6:30 p.m. Sunday. 499 Peachtree St. NE (across from Emory University Hospital Midtown). Details, tickets HERE or at 404.874.5299, Ext. 0. Discount gift cards at PoshDealz.com.
Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo. PREVIEWS SEPT. 14 | OPENS SEPT. 15. 7 Stages opens 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. Through Oct. 8. 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday; 5 p.m. Sunday. No show Sept. 17. Additional show at 8 p.m. Sept. 18. 1105 Euclid Ave. NE. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.523.7647.
** The Christians. PREVIEWS SEPT. 13-15 | OPENS SEPT. 16. 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 bills this big-little drama, as it’s been called, as “a provocative excavation of modern faith.” The setting is a megachurch that’s rocked when its pastor discards fundamentalist Christianity in favor of something more inclusive. Director Freddie Ashley’s cast is led by Brian Kurlander and Enoch King. Expect to hear church choirs, too. $20 previews; $40 opening night; regularly $28 and subject to change. Through Oct. 15. 8 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday; 2 p.m. Sunday. At the King Plow Arts Center, 887 West Marietta St. NW. Details, ticket HERE or at 404.607.7469.
Once on This Island. IN PREVIEWS SEPT. 13 | OPENS SEPT. 14. 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, thunder crackles, making 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 grand homme. Nominated for eight 1991 Tony awards, including best musical. Ricardo Aponte directs and choreographs. His cast includes Robert John Connor, Marcus Hopkins Turner, Christian Magby and India S. Tyree. $15 preview. Regularly $33-$43. Through Oct. 1. 8 p.m. Sept. 13; regularly 7:30 p.m. Wednesday; 8 p.m. Thursday-Friday; 4 + 8 p.m. Saturday; and 2:30 p.m. Sunday. No 4 p.m. show Sept. 16. 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.
Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. SEPT. 21 + 23. Music director Robert Spano and the ASO begin a new season with An American in Paris, George Gershwin’s postcard from the French capital. The swinging showpiece that inspired the Academy Award-winning film and recent Broadway musical caps a night of American music. The program includes “A Thousand Words” by ASO bassist Michael Kurth, and pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet, an Atlanta favorite, as soloist in Bernstein’s jazz-inspired Symphony No. 2, The Age of Anxiety. $32-$113. 8 nightly. Symphony Hall, Woodruff Arts Center, 1280 Peachtree St. NE. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.733.5000.
The Seven Deadly Sins. OPENS SEPT. 28. The Atlanta Opera opens its season with an intimate cabaret experience that centers on the duality of the opera’s characters, Anna I and Anna II. She/They embark 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. Through Oct. 6. Note: Sept. 28, 30 and Oct. 6 performances are sold out. Remaining shows: 7:30 p.m. Sept. 28, Oct. 3-5; 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.