1. (USE FIRST)XPT-AmongsttheBirds (Stephanie Richardson)Looking for something cultural to do in the next week or so? Here’s our select list of recommendations. Pictured: A scene from “Amongst the Birds” by Stephanie Richardson, part of 2012’s Xperimental Puppetry Theater at the Center for Puppetry Arts. 


Lady Lay (87a) cropLady Lay. FINAL WEEKEND. This U.S. premiere at 7 Stages is 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 fast-paced comic-drama revolve around Marianne (a wonderful Stacy Melich, pictured), who toils day in and day out at the Berlin Employment Office … until she hears Bob Dylan on the radio. 7 Stages co-founder Del Hamilton is Dylan. Tara Ochs and vocalist Jed Drummond are standouts. Heidi S. Howard directs, with a gentle hand on details and lots of heart. 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). $20.37. 8 tonight-Saturday; 5 p.m. Sunday. 1105 Euclid Ave. N.E. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.523.7647. Ticket discounts at PoshDealz.com.

Xperimental Puppetry Theater (XPT). FOUR NIGHTS ONLY. Artists of all disciplines join forces to create bold, original performances for grown-ups at the Center for Puppetry Arts in this annual event. At $12 per ticket for nonmembers, this is quite a bargain. A talkback with the artists follows every performance. A beer and wine bar will be open before the show and at intermission. The lineup: “The Ghost News,” a news show about ghosts, for ghosts (an installation by Johnny Drago); “Fall of Man,” a piece about the Garden of Eden (Hannah Rose Broom directs); “Sunflowers and Starry Nights,” about the  life and troubled times of Vincent van Gogh (Tim Hand directs); “Waiting for GA-DOT,” a parody of Waiting for Godot, featuring truckers stuck on the side of a Georgia highway (by Jessika Cutts and PostModernCollapse Improv Theatre); “Floating,” a black-light piece about astronauts and aliens (by the Kennesaw State  University Puppet Troupe); “Time to Eat the Dogs,” about an ill-fated arctic expedition (Lee Bryan directs); and “Ed Is a Portal,” a film about creatures from another world entering our world through one man’s head (Sam Carter directs). And more. For ages 18 and up. $7; $12 nonmembers. 8 tonight-Saturday; 5 p.m. Sunday. 1404 Spring St. N.W. Details, tickets HERE or 404.873.3391.



Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. An all-French program features Messiaen’s Les offrandes oubliées (The Forgotten Offerings), Debussy’s La damoiselle élue (The Blessed Damozel) and Durufle’s Requiem. Principal guest conductor Donald Runnicles is on the podium. The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Chorus is featured along with three soloists: soprano Kiera Duffy, mezzo-soprano Kelley O’Connor and baritone Edward Parks. $24-$75. 8 tonight and Saturday. Symphony Hall, Woodruff Arts Center, 1280 Peachtree St. N.E. Details, tickets HERE or 404.733.5000.

Modern Atlanta Dance Festival. The 18th annual MAD fest, hosted by Full Radius Dance, features performances by Rule of 3 Productions, Zoetic Dance Ensemble, SWADance Collective and T. Lang Dance. $15; $12 senior citizens and children. 8 p.m. Friday-Saturday. Fabrefaction Theatre, 999 Brady Ave. Details HERE. Tickets HERE.



mariaThe Book Club Play. OPENS FRIDAY. A comedy about life, love and literature written by Karen Zacarías in 2008 and revised in 2011 at Arena Stage in Washington, D.C. (Horizon Theatre staged Zacarías’ time-travel comedy Legacy of Light in 2011.) The Horizon cast: John Benzinger, Bryan Brendle, Danielle Deadwyler, Wendy Melkonian, Maria Rodriguez-Sager (pictured) and Dan Triandiflou. Horizon co-founder Jeff Adler directs. $20-$30 plus tax. Through June 23. 8 p.m. Wednesday-Friday; 3 and 8:30 p.m. Saturday; and 5 p.m. Sunday. For a list of weekly author events, go HERE. 1083 Austin Ave. N.E. (at Euclid Avenue). Details, tickets HERE.

Dancing at Lughnasa. OPENS FRIDAY. Stage Door Players presents this 1992 Tony Award-winning best play by Brian Friel, detailing the lives of five unmarried sisters in 1930s Ireland. Tess Malis Kincaid directs a cast featuring Erin Considine, Rachel Frawley, Gina Rickicki, Mary Saville and Ann Wilson. Through June 9. $12-$27. 8 p.m. Friday-Saturday; 2:30 p.m. Sunday. Also at 8 p.m. June 6. No show May 26. 5339 Chamblee-Dunwoody Road, Dunwoody. Details, tickets HERE or at 770.396.1726.

Seminar. PREVIEWS TONIGHT-FRIDAY | OPENS SATURDAY. Actor’s Express finishes its season with this comedy by Theresa Rebeck (Mauritius, TV’s “Smash”). It follows four aspiring writers who take a class from a brilliant, egomaniacal, world-famous author (Andrew Benator). Cast includes Barrett Doyle, Cara Mantella, David Plunkett and Bryn Striepe. Artistic director Freddie Ashley directs. Through June 16. Previews $15. Opening night $40. Regularly $22-$45. Save by buying online. 887 W. Marietta St. in West Midtown. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.607.SHOW.



Apnea. To sleep, perchance to dream. Or not. Mike Schatz takes over the Top Shelf space at Dad’s Garage‘s for his one-man comedic fever dream about sleep apnea. Expect video, a visit from the wise old Spirit Moose, bumbling sex-capades and a trash-talking Winnie the Pooh.  $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.

Hamlet-cropHamlet. Jonathan Horne (pictured, right) plays the melancholy Dane in this New American Shakespeare Tavern staging directed by Heidi Cline McKerley. $15-$36. Through June 23 in repertory with Tom Stoppard’s Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead. 499 Peachtree St. N.E. Details (including show dates), tickets HERE. Get a $50 gift card at PoshDealz.com for only $25.

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. Take your best friend, buy an adult beverage at the bar and enjoy. The cast: Rachel Garner, Naima Carter Russell and Minka Wiltz. Melissa Foulger directs. $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.



imagesMichael Feinstein and the ASO. ONE WEEKEND ONLY. The popular singer-pianist, arguably the reigning expert on the Great American Songbook, mixes songs by and stories about the great George and Ira Gershwin. Feinstein,  a multiplatinum-selling, five-time Grammy-nominated recording artist, is as much anthropologist and archivist as he is a performer. He spent six years in the 1970s and ’80s working for Ira Gershwin, from whom many of his tales come. Expect to hear such classics as “Strike Up the Band,” “Rhapsody in Blue,” ” ‘S Wonderful,” “Embraceable You” and many more. $29-$65. 8 p.m. May 24-25. Symphony Hall, Woodruff Arts Center, 1280 Peachtree St. N.E. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.733.5000.

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead. PREVIEWS MAY 23-24 | OPENS MAY 25. A hilarious inversion of Hamlet, as seen through the eyes of two minor characters from that tragedy. The bumbling gravediggers R&G live in a surreal, existential world while the plot of Hamlet unfolds in the background. Through June 22 in repertory with Hamlet. Previews $15; regularly $24-$36. New American Shakespeare Tavern, 499 Peachtree St. N.E. Details (including show dates), tickets HERE. Get a $50 gift card at PoshDealz.com for only $25.


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.

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