Looking for something cultural to do this weekend and maybe even beyond? Here are our recommendations (in alphabetical order). Pictured: The March family from “Little Women” at Fabrefaction Theatre Company is (from left) Paige Mattox as Meg, Mary Rogers as Marmee, Mary Raines Battle as Jo, Lyndsay Ricketson as Beth and (bottom) Emily Diamond as Amy. Photo: BreeAnne Clowdus.

Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. Emmanuel Ax joins music director Robert Spano and the ASO for Brahms’ Piano Concerto No. 2. The program includes Sibelius’ symphonies No. 6 and 7, as well. 8 tonight-Saturday. Ticketholders who arrive by 6:45 tonight can catch a pre-concert performance by Ax and the ASO’s four principal string players — concertmaster David Coucheron, violinist David Arenz, violist Reid Harris and cellist Christopher Rex. $24-$75. Symphony Hall, Woodruff Arts Center, 1280 Peachtree St. N.E. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.733.5000.

A Christmas Carol. God bless us, everyone. Celebrate the season with this annual gift from the Alliance Theatre, featuring some of the metro area’s finest actors. You know the story: miserly Ebenezer Scrooge, the poor Cratchit family, the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future. This staging features gorgeous harmonies, sumptuous sets and characters that fly. Through Dec. 23. 7 p.m. Thursday; 8 p.m. Friday; 2:30 and 8 p.m. Saturday; and 2:30 and 7:30 p.m. Sunday. $21-$60. Alliance Mainstage, Woodruff Arts Center, 1280 Peachtree St. N.E. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.733.5000.

A Diva’s Christmas. Serenbe Playhouse reprises its holiday tour of this cabaret show featuring Alison Brannon Wilhoit, Kylie Brown and Dasie Thames. You’ll experience an eclectic mix of Christmas standards and contemporary favorites belted out by the sassy threesome. Brian Clowdus directs, with music direction by Seth Davis and a script by Rachel Teagle. The tour begins Friday and continues through Dec. 21. Dinner pairings are available at most venues. Upcoming dates: 7 p.m. Friday at Montaluce Winery, Le Vigne in Dahlonega ($65 with dinner, reservations at 706.867.4060); 10 p.m. Dec. 1 at The Hil at Serenbe ($20, reservations at 770.463.1110); 7 p.m. Dec. 2 at West and Mill in West Midtown ($60 with dinner, reservations at 678.974.8953); 6:30 p.m. Dec. 3 at 10 East Washington in Newnan ($60 with dinner, reservations at 770.502.9100). Details HERE.

The Exonerated. THIS WEEKEND ONLY! One of those under-the-radar things that more people should know about — and check out. Culled from interviews, letters, transcripts, case files and the public record, The Exonerated tells the true stories of six wrongfully convicted survivors of death row in their own words. Moving between first-person monologues and scenes set in courtrooms and prisons, the six interwoven stories paint a picture of an American criminal justice system gone horribly wrong and six brave souls who persevered. Written by Jessica Blank and Erik Jensen, and the winner of 2003 Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle awards. 7:30 p.m. Thursday-Saturday; and 2:30 p.m. Sunday. $10 general admission. Alliance Theatre’s Black Box Theatre (third floor), 1280 Peachtree St. N.E. Details HERE. Tickets at the door or HERE.

The Gifts of the Magi. Theatrical Outfit presents a musical version of the famous O. Henry story about Jim and Della, a young married couple down on their luck during Christmas in 1905 New York. Features Nick Arapoglou as Jim and Caroline Freedlund at Della (right). Opens at 7:30 p.m. Saturday. Through Dec. 23. 7:30 p.m. Wednesday-Friday; 2:30 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday (except Dec. 1); and 2:30 p.m. Sunday. $20-$40. Theatrical Outfit at the Balzer Theater at Herren’s, 84 Luckie St. N.W. Details, tickets HERE or at 678.528.1500. For discounts, visit PoshDealz.com.

Holidays With the Chalks. The Hertz Stage at the Alliance Theatre becomes a honky-tonk drinkin’ bar for this show featuring sisters Judeen, Judelle and Belva Chalk, the country-singing, joke-cracking, big-haired trio from Boggy Depot, Okla. For them, Christmas is a very American holiday. “It’s a time when Americans can show their patriotism by shopping a lot,” says Belva. Their music is original and their storytelling hilarious. So come raise a glass of good cheer (or two, or three) and hear the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the Chalky truth. The more you drink, the better they’ll sound. They promise. Previews Friday-Sunday and Tuesday. Opens at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday. Through Dec. 23. 7:30 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday; 8 p.m. Friday; 2:30 and 8 p.m. Saturday; and 2:30 and 7:30 p.m. Sunday. $20-$45. 1280 Peachtree St. N.E. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.733.5000. For discounts, visit PoshDealz.com.

Little Women. Fabrefaction Theatre Company gives us the musical based on Louisa May Alcott’s well-loved 1868 novel. It explores themes of family, ambition, poverty and, well before its time, the fight for a woman’s right to publish books in her own name. The show earned a 2005 Tony Award nomination for Sutton Foster as Jo March (Mary Raines Battle has the role here) and contains such musical gems as “Astonishing,” “Days of Plenty” and “Small Umbrella in the Rain.” Opens at 8 p.m. Friday. Also in the cast: Dan Ford, Daniel Hilton and Paige Mattox, late of Fabrefaction’s “Assassins.” Through Dec. 23. 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday; and 3 p.m. Sunday. Additional show at 8 p.m. Monday, Dec. 17. $18-$27. Fabrefaction Theatre, 999 Brady Ave. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.876.9468. For discounts, visit PoshDealz.com.

Naked City. The push-the-envelope folks at PushPush Theater launch this monthly literary performance variety show at the Goat Farm Arts Center. December’s theme is “Regret.” Facilitators Bernard Setaro Clark and Gina Rickicki give first-come, first-served performers five minutes at the mic. If they exceed the time limit, things get trickier. 8 p.m. Dec. 5 (come early to sign up to perform). The Warhorse coffeehouse at the Goat Farm, 1200 Foster St. $10-$25 on a pay-what-you-can basis. Note: Age 21 and older only (that should get you interested)! Details HERE. Even more details HERE.

The Santaland Diaries. Want a little snark with your Santa? Look no further than Horizon Theatre Company‘s Santaland Diaries, featuring the sarcastic, put-upon Crumpet. This David Sedaris-penned piece — back for a 14th season — tells the true-life tale of an out-of-work writer who spent one unhappy holiday season as a Macy’s department store elf. Harold Leaver returns as Crumpet with Megan Hayes and Enoch King as his able assistants (pictured). Note: Contains mature language and content. Don’t bring the kids! Through Dec. 30 (no Christmas Day show). 8 p.m. Tuesday-Friday; 8:30 p.m. Saturday; and 6 p.m. Sunday. $25-$40. 1083 Austin Ave. N.E. (at Euclid Avenue). Details, tickets HERE. For discounts, visit PoshDealz.com.

The Theory of Everything: Solve for “X.” This theatrical experiment from the Collective Project features all-new shorts in which pistols are drawn over Old West gender roles, a boy is sued by his own mother over confectionary thievery and robots get a little too sexy for their own good. You get the idea. Each evening’s show is crafted by audience vote that begins 15 minutes before show time. Every ride is different. The cast: Marie Barker, Josh Brook, Andrew Crigler, Greg Garrison, Sean Haley, Elizabeth Jarrett, Melissa Oulton and Dylan Schettina. Previews Dec. 6-7. Opens Dec. 8 and runs through Dec. 22. 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday; and 2:30 p.m. Sunday. Additional show at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 19. $20; age 25 and under with ID are $15. Note: Age 18 and older only. Rodriguez Room at the Goat Farm Arts Center, 1200 Foster St. Details, tickets HERE.

Wolves. FINAL WEEKEND. This savagely funny fairy tale for grown-ups has been the talk of the town. The world premiere tells the story of a timid young city dweller who freaks out when his roommate brings home someone, who may or may not be a wolf. Melissa Foulger directs this Actor’s Express staging. The script comes from the wild imagination of playwright Steve Yockey (Octopus), a former Atlantan now living and working in Los Angeles. The first-rate cast: Brian Crawford, Kate Donadio, Clifton Guterman in a tour de force, and Joe Sykes. The critics: “At a brisk 70 minutes, Wolves is the rare production that I wish were longer” (Curt Holman, Creative Loafing); “Smart, funny, dark contemporary theater that has found a good home at Actor’s Express” (Andrew Alexander, ArtsATL.com); “A prime example of what theater should be: bold, provocative and deep” (Kenny Norton, AtlantaTheaterFans.com). 8 nightly through Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. $22-$45 and least expensive when purchased online. King Plow Arts Center, 887 W. Marietta St. Details, tickets HERE or via human at 404.607.7469. For discounts, visit PoshDealz.com. Learn more about Guterman, who plays the ax-wielding Ben, in this ENCORE SNAPSHOT. Pictured: Brian Crawford (left) and Joe Sykes. Photo: BreeAnne Clowdus.

The WTP Chain Play. Another under-the-radar event worth your time. One play, 10 mystery playwrights and a 20-week writing relay is the backstory here. Join Working Title Playwrights as it celebrates its 10th anniversary with a staged reading like nothing you’ve seen before. The audience will be invited to guess the  playwright’s identity after each scene before his/her identity is revealed. 7:30 p.m. Monday. $5-$25 donation requested. Academy Theatre, 119 Center St., Avondale Estates.


Kathy Janich, Encore Atlanta’s managing editor, has been seeing, covering or working in the performing arts for most of her life. FULL DISCLOSURE: She’s affiliated with Fabrefaction Theatre Company listed above. Please email: kathy@encoreatlanta.com.

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