pluto-kw-jjs-cropLooking for something cultural to do in the next week or so? Here’s our select list of recommendations. Pictured: Kathleen Wattis and Joe Sykes in “Pluto” at Actor’s Express (yes, it’s that good). Photo: BreeAnne Clowdus


Pluto. FINAL WEEK. Don’t miss this world premiere at Actor’s Express, one of the best shows of this (or any) season. Atlanta-bred, Los Angeles-based playwright Steve Yockey (WolvesOctopus) turns his dark and twisty imagination to a mother and son, who, in the wake of tragedy, try to jump-start their relationship. It’s a wild, inventive and mesmerizing 80-minute ride. Melissa Foulger directs. The cast: L.A.-based Wyatt Fenner and Atlantans Stephanie Friedman, Alison Hastings, Joe Sykes and Kathleen Wattis. The critics: “Yockey delivers an American tragedy as important as it is disturbing” (Wendell Brock, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution); “Impressively finds the right balance of dysfunctional family drama, dark comedy and rich metaphor” (Curt Holman, Creative Loafing). $26-$45 plus fees (buy online, save money). 8 tonight-Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. 887 W. Marietta St. Note: The King Plow Arts Center parking lot is under construction. Alternate parking options HERE. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.607.SHOW. For more, read this Encore SNAPSHOT on Pluto actor Stephanie Friedman.




Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. TONIGHT AND SATURDAY. Latvian violinist Baiba Skride, described by The Irish Times as a “force of nature,” makes her ASO debut with Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto. Danish conductor Thomas Søndergård makes his ASO debut, as well. Also on the program: Arvo Pärt’s Cantus in Memory of Benjamin Britten and Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 5. $24-$75. 8 tonight; 7:30 p.m. Saturday. Woodruff Arts Center, Symphony Hall, 1280 Peachtree St. N.E. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.733.5000.

Michael W. Smith with the ASO. FRIDAY ONLY. Grammy-winning pop and Christian artist Michael W. Smith joins the Atlanta Symphony for a night of music. $29.50-$75.50. 8 p.m. Woodruff Arts Center, Symphony Hall, 1280 Peachtree St. N.E. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.733.5000.

Urban Nutcracker. TONIGHT-SUNDAY. Ballethnic Dance Company‘s inventive take on the classic holiday ballet has only four performances, so don’t delay! Urban Nut is set on Atlanta’s Sweet Auburn Avenue in the 1940s, a high-stepping street populated by the Reggae Ragdolls, the Black Russian, Mother Spice and her tumbling Spice Drops, the bubbly Coca-Cola Pas de Six, and Brown Sugar and her Chocolatier. $29-$52. 7:30 tonight; 8 p.m. Friday-Saturday; and 2 p.m. Sunday. Ferst Center for the Arts on the Georgia Tech campus, 349 Ferst Drive N.W. Details, tickets HERE.



The Santaland Diaries. FRIDAY-DEC. 31. Back for a 15th season at Horizon Theatre and dedicated to those who like a little snark in their ho-ho-ho’s. Harold M. Leaver returns as Crumpet, a most unhappy elf at Macy’s Department Store, a character based on the real-life experiences of satirist David Sedaris. It’s a nontraditional show distinctly for adults only. Crumpet’s cohorts are Lala Cochran (her second season) and Enoch King (his eighth). $25-$40 (VIP and Platinum VIP seats available at a higher price). 8 p.m. Tuesday-Friday; 8:30 p.m. Saturday; and 6 p.m. Sunday including Christmas Eve (no shows Nov. 26 and 28 or Dec. 3 and 25). 1083 Austin Ave. N.E. at Euclid Avenue. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.523.1477. (Photo by Greg Mooney, 2013)



Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. THROUGH DEC. 29. He’s back! Our little red-nosed reindeer friend; his pal, Hermie; and even the Bumble. The Center for Puppetry Arts‘ holiday adaptation is based on the classic 1964 stop-motion animated TV special. A live-camera, behind-the-scenes demonstration will follow select performances. $16.50-$20.50; age 2 and under free. Show times vary; check the schedule HERE. 1404 Spring St. N.W. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.873.3391.




Charles Busch at Actor’s Express. DEC. 6 ONLY. The actor, playwright, novelist, screenwriter, director, drag legend, Broadway and off-Broadway performer is joined by Tom Judson on piano. Busch is the author and leading lady of such plays as The Divine Sister, The Lady in Question, Red Scare on Sunset and Vampire Lesbians of Sodom. His play The Tale of the Allergist’s Wife (2000) won him the Outer Circle Critics John Gassner playwriting award and was nominated for a best-play Tony. $50. 8 p.m. 887 W. Marietta St. Note: The King Plow Arts Center parking lot is under construction. Alternate parking options HERE. Tickets  HERE or at 404.607.SHOW.

A Christmas Carol. NOV. 29-DEC. 29. This annual Alliance Theatre staging features an ending: Chris Kayser’s 16th and final season as Ebenezer Scrooge (although he doesn’t rule out returning in another role). Celebrate him and many of Atlanta’s finest actors in a magical, musical staging of the Dickens classic. A multicultural cast, clothed in gorgeous period costumes, tells the tale and sings classic carols in rich harmonies. God bless us, everyone. $20-$70; family four-packs are $149. Show times vary. Details HERE. Woodruff Arts Center, 1280 Peachtree St. N.E. Tickets, details HERE or at 404.733.5000. Tickets discounts at For more in Chris Kayser’s run as Scrooge, see this Encore FEATURE.

Dads_Garage_-_Invasion_Christmas6Invasion: Christmas Carol. OPENS NOV. 29. Two locations. Dad’s Garage Theatre‘s ensemble again skewers the quintessential Christmas play, as a different character visits each night, surprising the cast (seriously) and propelling the improv in a different direction. At Fabrefaction Theatre through Dec. 23: $15-35; 8p.m. Thursday-Saturday; 999 Brady Ave. in West Midtown. At the Alliance Theatre (mainstage) Dec. 15 and 18: $25-$37; 8 p.m. Sunday and Wednesday; 1280 Peachtree St. N.E. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.523.3141 (buy online, save money).

Peter Pan & Wendy. DEC. 6-29. In this musical version of the popular tale, Wendy is the one who won’t grow up. To avoid the inevitable, she flies off to Neverland with Peter Pan, where the Lost Boys, Tinkerbell, Tiger Lily, Captain Hook and his misfit pirates offer challenges and joys. A swashbuckling adventure from Synchronicity Theatre, in which young audience members can help tell the story and decorate a Neverland-ish holiday tree. A co-production with Aurora Theatre. Recommended for ages 4 and up. $10-$40. Show times vary; details HERE. Synchronicity at the 14th Street Playhouse, Stage 2, 173 14th St. N.E. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.484.8636.


Kathy Janich, Encore Atlanta’s managing editor, has been seeing, working in or covering the performing arts for most of her life. Full disclosure: She’s affiliated with Synchronicity Theatre listed above. Please email:

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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