Looking for something cultural to do in the next week or so? Here’s our select list of recommendations. Pictured: Joe Roesner and Tara Lee in Stanton Welch’s “Madame Butterfly,” part of this weekend’s “Love Stories” program. Photo: Charlie McCullers.

Apnea. A comedy about one man’s struggle to sleep, written — from personal experience — and performed by Mike Schatz. His fever dream includes video, a visit from the wise old Spirit Moose, bumbling sex-capades and a trash-talking Winnie the Pooh. Performed in Dad’s Garage‘s Top Shelf space. $7-$20. Through June 1. 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday. 280 Elizabeth St. N.E. (The Top Shelf is around the back, so you may want to enter off North Highland Avenue.) Details, tickets HERE or at 404.523.3141. Read more about Schatz in this Encore Q&A.

Atlanta Symphony Orchestra’s 43rd annual Decorators’ Show House & Gardens. CLOSES SUNDAY. The Tuffeau estate in Buckhead, a French-inspired home in the West Paces Ferry area, gets the magic touch from 40 or so designers in this annual fundraiser. 10 a.m.-7:30 p.m. today; 10 a.m.-3:30 p.m.  Friday-Saturday; and noon-4:30 p.m. Sunday. Please note: Under age 8 not allowed in house; no photography, backpacks, strollers or bulky shoulder bags allowed. Parking available at 3292 Northside Parkway at the Piazza at Paces Development. $25. Two dealz available through PoshDealz.com: An “anytime ticket” plus a $50 IKEA gift card is $25; single tickets for today, Friday and Saturday are $12.50.

Atlanta Symphony Youth Orchestra Finale. Catch a glimpse of the future of orchestral music with the 120 talented players of the ASYO (ages 13-18), led by staff conductor and Youth Orchestra music director Jere Flint. Concerto competition winners Cassie Pilgrim and Myrtil Mitanga are featured. Oboist Pilgrim, a sophomore at Wesleyan School in Peachtree Corners, performs the Pasculli concerto La Favorita. Cellist Mitanga, a senior at the Atlanta International School, performs Schelomo, Bloch’s Hebrew Rhapsody for Cello and Orchestra. Also featured: the Introduction to Act 3 of Wagner’s Lohengrin and Grofe’s Grand Canyon Suite. 3 p.m. Sunday. $10. Symphony Hall, Woodruff Arts Center, 1280 Peachtree St. N.E. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.733.5000.

Brer Rabbit & Friends. Competition can be heated, even among friends. In this family story, told with hand-and-rod, rod, body, and shadow puppets at the Center for Puppetry Arts, the whole gang battles for bragging rights. Who’s the swiftest? The strongest? The smartest? Join Brer Rabbit, Brer Fox, Sister Mud Turtle and Sister Bird to find out. Recommended for age 4 and up. $9.25 and $16.50 (nonmembers). Through May 26. 10 and 11:30 a.m. Tuesday-Friday; noon and 2 p.m. Saturday; and 1 and 3 p.m. Sunday. Details HERE or at 404.873.3391.

Lady Lay. U.S. PREMIERE. A joy ride through life’s rules and regulations by American ex-pat Lydia Stryk. What is freedom, it asks. And can Bob Dylan take you there? The questions in this comedy revolve around MariAnne, who has worked at the Berlin Employment Office all her life. When she hears Dylan on the radio she can hardly understand the words, but that moment sets her on a path that’s both joyful and terrifying. The cast features 7 Stages‘ co-founders Del Hamilton and Faye Allen, and Stacy Melich (2007’s My Left Breast) as MariAnne, among others. New artistic director Heidi S. Howard directs. The critics: “Lady Lay truly rocks. … What distinguishes [it] as such a departure for Melich — and her performance is something of a revelation — is how beautifully she conveys MariAnne’s developing sense of self and humanity, how deeply she makes us care” (Bert Osborne, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution); “The story would make far more sense set in the 1960s, when Dylan’s music was new, the situation in Berlin somewhat drearier and the situation in America more spirited” (Andrew Alexander, ArtsATL.com).$20.37. Through May 19. 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday; and 5 p.m. Sunday. 1105 Euclid Ave. N.E. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.523.7647. Ticket discounts at PoshDealz.com.

Lark Eden. Aurora Theatre stages this comedy by Natalie Symons about best friends who feel like family. Follow Emily, Mary and Thelma from their days of passing notes in school to a series of letters that span 75 years. A perfect outing to share with your best friend, a close family member or your soul mate. The cast: Rachel Garner, Naima Carter Russell and Minka Wiltz. Melissa Foulger directs. The critics: “Feels more like an old-fashioned three-hanky tearjerker than any kind of broader or deeper statement about empowerment, feminist or otherwise” (Bert Osborne, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution). $20-$30. Through May 26. 8 p.m. Wednesday-Friday; 2:30 and 8 p.m. Saturday; and 2:30 p.m. Sunday (no evening show May 22). 128 E. Pike St., Lawrenceville. Free, attached and covered parking garage at 153 E. Crogan St. Details, tickets HERE or at 678.226.2222. For ticket discounts, visit PoshDealz.com.

Love Stories. Atlanta Ballet explores the theme of love in a program that includes the “White Swan Pas de Deux” from Matthew Bourn’s Swan Lake, Stanton Welch’s “Wedding Night Pas de Deux” from Madame Butterfly, Helen Pickett’s “Prayer of Touch” and Annabelle Lopez Ochoa’s “Requiem for a Rose.” $20-$12., 8 p.m. Friday; 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday; 2 p.m. Sunday. Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre, 2800 Cobb Galleria Parkway. Details, tickets HERE.

Runnicles & Spano Share the Spotlight. Music director Robert Spano moves to the piano for this concert led by principal guest conductor Donald Runnicles. Spano joins concertmaster David Coucheron and principal cellist Christopher Rex in Beethoven’s Triple (Concerto in C Major). Beethoven’s Overture to Egmont is also on the program, as is Walton’s Symphony No. 1. $24-$75. 8 tonight and Saturday; 3 p.m. Sunday. Symphony Hall, Woodruff Arts Center, 1280 Peachtree St. N.E. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.733.5000.



MONDAY: The Weird Sisters Theatre Project holds a Speakeasy benefit to support its summer play series. Come for food and drinks, a quirky giveaway suite, entertainment booths and brief performances. The Weird Sisters will stage 5 Lesbians Eating a Quiche in July at the New American Shakespeare Tavern and Lauren Gunderson’s Emilie: La Marquise Du Chatelet Defends Her Life Tonight in July at Fabrefaction Theatre Company. 7-11 p.m. $25; $40 couple. At the Tavern, 499 Peachtree St. N.E. Recommended parking: Emory University Hospital Midtown parking deck across Peachtree. Details HERE. Tickets HERE or at 404.874.5299, Ext. 0 (use code “Easy” for couples discount).

WEDNESDAY: See a Director’s Rough Cut sneak peek of Seminar, Actor’s Express’ season finale. The comedy by Theresa Rebeck (Mauritius, TV’s “Smash”) follows four aspiring writers who take a class from a brilliant, egomaniacal, world-famous author. Cast: Andrew Benator (at right), Barrett Doyle, Cara Mantella, David Plunkett and Bryn Striepe. Artistic director Freddie Ashley directs. Previews May 16-17, opens May 18 and runs through June 16. Director’s Cut tix are pay-what-you-can. Previews $15. Opening night $40. Regularly $22-$45. Save money by buying online. Details HERE or at 404.607.SHOW.


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 Weird Sisters Theatre Project. 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