Looking for something cultural to do in the next week or so? Here’s a select list of recommendations from Encore managing editor Kathy Janich (in alphabetical order). Pictured: Jonida Beqo, aka Gypsee Yo, in “Harabel” at Theatrical Outfit.

Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. WORLD PREMIERE. Principal clarinetist Laura Ardan debuts “The Nature of a Light,” a piece written for her by Michael Gandolfi, who’s part of the ASO’s Atlanta School of Composers. Finland’s Juho Pohjonen performs Prokofiev’s final Piano Concerto (No. 5). Also on the program: Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade. Robert Spano conducts. $23-$67. 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.733.5000.

Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson. OPENING SATURDAY. This sexy explosion of theater and music re-imagines our nation’s seventh president as a rock god maverick who fights for the common man and looks hot in skinny jeans. Critics (in other cities): “An explosive, soot-black musical comedy that is an absurdist delight reminiscent of Christopher Durang’s looniest works” (TheaterMania.com); “A wildly exhilarating theatrical ride. It forges its own blazingly original artistic identity, pulsating with wit, melody, energy and dazzling theatricality” (BackStage). Word on the street is that this show is already selling out — get your tickets now. $26-$47. Previews ($15) at 8 tonight-Friday. Through Feb. 17. 8 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday; and 2 p.m. Sunday. Actor’s Express, 887 West Marietta St. Details, tickets HERE (buy online and save fees) or at 404.607.7469. For discounts, visit PoshDealz.com. (Pictured: Maxim Gukhman as Jackson. Photo by BreeAnne Clowdus.)

Blue Man Group. Theater of the Stars presents these performance artists who blend light, sound, experimental music, antics and amazement. See what they do with marshmallows and gum balls! $23-$58. Fox Theatre, 660 Peachtree St. N.E. Details, tickets HERE or at 1.800.745.3000. More on Blue Man Group in this Encore FEATURE.

Brother Coyote and Sister Fox. In this bilingual Mexican folktale, Brother Coyote conspires to eat Doña Conchita’s plump chickens, but quick-witted Sister Fox stays one step ahead of him! In Spanish and English (and perhaps some chicken-speak). Comes to the Center for Puppetry Arts from Thistle Theatre of Seattle. Recommended for ages 4+. $16.50. Through Jan. 27. 10 and 11:30 a.m. Tuesday-Friday; 11 a.m., 1 and 3 p.m. Saturdays; and 1 and 3 p.m. Sundays. 1404 Spring St. N.W. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.873.3391.

Fugitive: EROS. NEW PLAY READING. In this cycle of short plays, playwright Theroun D’arcy Patterson tours the sometimes harrowing edges of relationships. Readings like this one, which happen fairly regularly around town, are some of the most exciting theater you can see. Sponsored by Working Title Playwrights. $5 at door. Academy Theatre, 119 Center St., Avondale Estates. Details, reservations at managing@workingtitleplaywrights.com or 404.585.7695.

Harabel. TWO SHOWS ONLY. This world premiere may qualify as one of the season’s best. Jonida Beqo (Yo-NEE-duh BAY-chow), best known locally as a costume designer, is called Gypsee Yo on the international slam and performance poetry scene. Her autobiographical Harabel, told in a series of poetic snapshots, follows the journey of one brave girl from her home in war-torn Albania to the American South and her transition from stranger to American. Justin Anderson directs. $22-$44. 7:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday. Theatrical Outfit, 84 Luckie St. N.W. Details, tickets HERE  or at 1.877.725.8849. For discounts, visit PoshDealz.com. More on Beqo in this Encore SNAPSHOT.

A Night at the Beam. Professional dancers and Moving in the Spirit alumni perform in this program designed to raise funds for the group’s teen touring company. Moving in the Spirit, a nationally recognized program founded 25 years ago by executive and artistic director Dana Lupton, uses dance to positively transform the lives of children and teens in Atlanta. Guest artists include Lori Teague, Lillian Ransijn, David Fuller and artists from Crossover Movement Arts. $12. 6 and 8 p.m. Saturday. The Beam Theatre (middle building), 750 Glenwood Ave. S.E. Details, tickets HERE or 404.624.5295.

Swell Party. OPENING WEEKEND. Playwright-about-town Topher Payne penned this world premiere comedy about a tobacco heir; his new wife, a Northerner; a wild wedding party; and the mystery it produces. His intention: To prove that for Southerners, the truth isn’t nearly as important as a good story. Cast includes Kate Donadio, Suehyla El-Attar, Tess Malis Kincaid and Tony Larkin. $23-$33. Tonight-Jan. 27. 7:30 p.m. Wednesday; 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday; and 2:30 p.m. Sunday. Additional shows at 4 p.m. Jan. 19 and 26. Georgia Ensemble Theatre at the Roswell Cultural Arts Center, 950 Forest St., Roswell. Details, tickets HERE or at 770.641.1260.

The Waffle Palace: Smothered, Covered & Scattered 24/7/365. OPENING WEEKEND. Horizon Theatre gets smothered, covered and scattered all over again with an open-ended encore run of its summer hit. The script, by Larry Larson and Eddie Levi Lee, is inspired by real-life news stories about Waffle Houses everywhere. It follows a Midtown diner owner, his staff and a crazy cast of customers as they battle to save the eatery from encroaching real estate developers. Six of seven original cast members return. $20-$40. Opens Friday. 8 p.m. Wednesday-Friday; 3 and 8:30 p.m. Saturday; and 5 p.m. Sunday. 1083 Austin Ave. N.E. (at Euclid Avenue). Details, tickets HERE or at 404.584.7450. (Pictured: Eric Mendenhall, who plays many, mostly hilarious, characters.)

Waiting for Balloon. Recommended for ages 18 months to 5 years. Two childlike hobo-clowns wait near railroad tracks for “balloon,” but neither knows exactly what “balloon” is. Shades of Waiting for Godot, anyone? Directed by Rosemary Newcott as part of the Alliance Theatre‘s acclaimed Theatre for the Very Young. $10. 9:30 and 11 a.m. Saturday and Jan. 19. Black Box Theatre (third floor), Woodruff Arts Center, 1280 Peachtree St. N.E. Details HERE or at 404.733.4702.


Kathy Janich, Encore Atlanta’s managing editor, has been seeing, covering or working in the performing arts for most of her life. 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