The Alliance Theatre will stage four world premieres in its 2012-13, including new work from playwrights Pearl Cleage and Alfred Uhry, and the Tony Award-winning musical Next to Normal. The company’s 12 plays are split among its mainstage series, its series in the 200-seat Hertz Stage and its family series.

The mainstage season opens Sept. 5 with What I Learned in Paris by Atlanta playwright-novelist Pearl Cleage (Flyin’ West, Blues for an Alabama Sky, The Nacirema Society Requests the Honor of Your Presence at a Celebration of Their First One Hundred Years). The romantic comedy, set in 1973 Atlanta on the night of Maynard Jackson’s election as mayor, features a politically ambitious lawyer, his second wife and his ex-wife, who returns from her Bohemian life in Paris to see a changing Atlanta for herself.

The Hertz Stage season opens Oct. 5 with Apples & Oranges by Atlanta native Uhry (Driving Miss Daisy, The Last Night of Ballyhoo, Parade). It’s based on a 2009 memoir by journalist and author Marie Brenner, who details her sibling rivalry with her gun-toting, apple growing brother.

The Theatre for Youth and Families Series opens Oct. 27 with Real Tweenagers of Atlanta: Final Assembly, a world premiere musical conceived and directed by Rosemary Newcott. The piece is based on the writings of Atlanta middle school students and allows for audience participation.

The 2013 winner of the Alliance/Kendeda National Graduate Playwriting Competition — a one-of-a-kind program for young American playwrights — is Mike Lew of the Juilliard School, whose play Bike America details a cross-country road trip and the restlessness of a millennial generation that will go to any length to find a place that always seems just out of reach.

The full season lineup looks like this:


  • What I Learned in Paris. Sept. 5-30. Artistic Director Susan V. Booth directs this world premiere by Pearl Cleage.
  • Next to Normal. Oct. 17-Nov. 11. This Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize-winning powerhouse musical mines the humor and pathos of a suburban family dealing with mental illness. Directed by Scott Schwartz. Book and lyrics by Brian Yorkey, music by Tom Kitt.
  • A Christmas Carol. Nov. 23-Dec. 23. The holiday favorite is again directed by Rosemary Newcott. God bless us, every one.
  • Good People. Jan. 16-Feb. 10, 2013. Playwright David Lindsey-Abaire takes us to Southie, the Irish-American enclave in Boston, where neighbors dream of getting out. The fierce and funny piece is a clash of class and values, American dreams and “doing the right thing.” Audiences may know Lindsey-Abaire from his plays Fuddy Meers and Kimberly Akimbo, which have both been staged in Atlanta, or the film version of his play Rabbit Hole. Booth directs.
  • Zorro. April 3-May 5, 2013. A new American adaptation of the famous story (and 1950s TV series) revisits lover-fighter Zorro and his alter ego Don Diego, with songs by the Gipsy Kings. Book by Stephen Clark and Helen Edmundson, lyrics by Clark. Director TBA.


  • Apples & Oranges. Oct. 5-28. This world premiere by Alfred Uhry was originally commissioned by Manhattan Theatre Club and will be directed here by its artistic director, Lynne Meadow.
  • Holidays With the Chalks. Nov. 30-Dec. 23. Celebrate Christmas in a honky tonk with the Chalks, an all-sister country band permanently down on itsa luck and stuck at a local dive. Book, music and lyrics by Mary Brienza, Kathryn Markey and Leenya Rideout. Booth directs.
  • Bike America. Feb. 1-24, 2013. The world premiere by Kendeda winner Mike Lew. Mark your calendars for the last week of January. As Bike America wraps rehearsals and moves into previews, free staged readings of plays by four Kendeda runners-up will be held for anyone who wants to see them. It’s a good time. Director TBA.
  • The Whipping Man. March 8-April 7, 2013. A twisty drama by Mathew Lopez set in Richmond, Va., during the Civil War. Its main players: a wounded Confederate soldier who’s Jewish and two of his family’s former slaves, who create one memorable Seder. Alex Greenfield directs.


  • Real Tweenagers of Atlanta: Final Assembly. Oct. 27-Nov. 3.
  • Charlotte’s Web. Feb. 20-March 10, 2013. The children’s classic features Wilbur the pig, Charlotte the spideer and acrobatics. Rosemary Newcott directs.
  • Theatre for Very Young. Dates TBA. For audiences ages 18 months to 3 years.

Season tickets are on sale at or 404.733.4600 (10 a.m.-6 p.m. weekdays). Single tickets go on sale in mid-July.


About Kathy Janich

Kathy Janich is a longtime arts journalist who has been seeing, working in or writing about the performing arts for most of her life. She's a member of the Theatre Communications Group, the Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas, Americans for the Arts and the National Arts Marketing Project. Full disclosure: She’s also an artistic associate at Synchronicity Theatre.

View all posts by Kathy Janich