Looking for something cultural to do this this weekend and beyond? Our select list of recommendations includes Synchronicity Theatre’s musical “Peter Pan & Wendy,” featuring (kneeling, from left) Dane Troy and Evan McLean as Lost Boys, and Shelli Delgado as Tiger Lily, and (standing, from left): Suzanne Stroup as Wendy, Monte J. Howell as Captain Hook, Edward McCreary as Peter Pan and Daniel Hilton as Smee.
Buddhist Catnaps & Broken-Down Hymns. SUNDAY ONLY. Stop by Theatrical Outfit for a free night of storytelling by author Tommy Houseworth, who’ll be joined by Atlanta actors Steve Coulter, Mark Kincaid, Tara Ochs and David Silverman to share selections from his new short-story collection, Buddhist Catnaps & Broken-Down Hymns. Singer-actor Rob Lawhon will perform music that inspired the stories. Housworth, the head writer for The Cooking Channel’s “How to Live to 100,” is the author of Welcome to Storyville (2005). A book signing follows the reading. Books will be available at the theater for $13. Dessert and drinks will be available. Did we mention it’s free? 7:30 p.m. 84 Luckie St. N.W. Details HERE or at 678.528.1500.
A Christmas Carol. THROUGH DEC. 29. This annual Alliance Theatre staging marks 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. $20-$70; family four-packs are $149. Show times vary. Details HERE. Woodruff Arts Center, 1280 Peachtree St. N.E. Tickets HERE or at 404.733.5000. For more on Chris Kayser’s run as Scrooge, see this Encore FEATURE.
Peter Pan & Wendy. OPENS FRIDAY | THROUGH DEC. 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, 173 14th St. N.E. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.484.8636. Discount tickets at PoshDealz.com.
THIS WEEKEND ONLY
ASO Gospel Christmas. SUNDAY ONLY. The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra is joined by conductor Vincent Danner and the heavenly voices of the Atlanta Gospel Singers for a holiday performance that will raise the roof at Symphony Hall. $20-$45. 7 p.m. Woodruff Arts Center, 1280 Peachtree St. N.E. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.733.5000.
Atlanta Ballet’s Nutcracker. THROUGH DEC. 29. The tradition continues with another trip to the Sugar Candy Kingdom. This year’s staging features new illusions, and the Georgia Youth Choir performing in Act 1’s “Snow Scene.” Choreography by artistic director John McFall. The score, of course, is Tchaikovsky’s. Music by the Atlanta Ballet Orchestra. $20-$80. 7:30 p.m. Friday; 2 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday; and 2 p.m. Sunday. Also at 7 p.m. Dec. 22; 2 and 7:30 p.m. Dec. 23; 1 p.m. Dec. 24; 7:30 p.m. Dec. 26 and 2 p.m. Dec. 27. Fox Theatre, 660 Peachtree St. N.E. Tickets, details HERE. For more, see this Encore FEATURE.
Charles Busch at Actor’s Express. FRIDAY 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. For his play The Tale of the Allergist’s Wife (2000), he won the Outer Circle Critics John Gassner playwriting award and was nominated for a best-play Tony Award. $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.
Handel’s Messiah. TONIGHT & SATURDAY. Another holiday gift from the Atlanta Symphony. Maestro Norman Mackenzie leads the ASO and Chamber Chorus in Part 2 of Bach’s Christmas Oratorio and Part 1 of Handel’s Messiah. Soloists: Soprano Jeanine De Bique, mezzo-soprano Kelley O’Connor, tenor Thomas Glenn and bass Gerard Sundberg. $30-$60. 8 tonight; 2 p.m. Saturday. Woodruff Arts Center, Symphony Hall, 1280 Peachtree St. N.E. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.733.5000.
OPENING THIS WEEKEND
Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. OPENS TONIGHT | THROUGH DEC. 22. Aurora Theatre Producing Artistic Director Anthony P. Rodriguez slips into Victorian garb for a seventh season with his one-man telling of the classic tale. All the regulars show up, including Scrooge, Cratchit and Marley. In repertory with the one-woman show The 12 Dates of Christmas. $15. 8 p.m. Thursday; 7:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday; and 2:30 p.m. Sunday. 128 E. Pike St., Lawrenceville. Free, covered, attached parking in city of Lawrenceville deck at 153 Crogan St. Details, tickets HERE or at 678.226.6222.
The 12 Dates of Christmas. OPENS FRIDAY | THROUGH DEC. 21. Follow the misadventures of a woman named Mary, who sees her her fiancé kiss another woman during the televised Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and, over the next year, is set up, hooked up, strung up and fed up as she attempts to negotiate the dating scene. This one-woman piece features Jaclyn Hofmann (Weird Sisters’ 5 Lesbians Eating a Quiche). In repertory with the one-man show Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. $15. 8 p.m. Wednesday; 9:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday. 128 E. Pike St., Lawrenceville. Free, covered, attached parking in city of Lawrenceville deck at 153 Crogan St. Details, tickets HERE or at 678.226.6222.
Christmas Canteen 2013. THROUGH DEC. 22. Aurora Theatre‘s nostalgic musical revue returns for an 18th season, bringing a winter wonderland to the South. The theater is decorated with almost 30 Christmas trees. Vote for your favorite by bringing a new, unwrapped toy or nonperishable food item for Toys for Tots or the Gwinnett Can Challenge. The cast: Airan Chase Baker, Randi Garza, Terry Henry, Brandon O’Dell, Lyndsay Ricketson and Bryant Smith, with Benjamin Davis and Akia Sembly. $30-$40. 8 p.m. Wednesday-Friday; 2:30 and 8 p.m. Saturday; and 2:30 p.m. Sunday. Discount Wednesday matinee ($20) at 10 a.m Dec. 18. Already sold out: matinees Dec. 7, 14 and 18, plus shows on Dec. 8, 12-13, 15. 128 E. Pike St., Lawrenceville. Free, covered, attached parking in city of Lawrenceville deck at 153 Crogan St. Details, tickets HERE or at 678.226.6222.
The Gifts of the Magi. THROUGH DEC. 22. Back for a second year at Theatrical Outfit. Christmas, the season of giving, doesn’t look very merry or bright to Jim and Della, penniless newlyweds who valiantly struggle to find the perfect gift for one another. This musical, based on O. Henry’s 1906 story, returns with half of last season’s cast (Nick Arapoglou, Caroline Freedlund, Jeff McKerley) and the booming voices of newcomers Kayce Grogan-Wallace, Kevin Harry and Rob Lawhorn. Show times vary; schedule HERE. $20-$50. 84 Luckie St. N.W. Details, tickets HERE, at the box office or at 877.725.8849.
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. Tickets HERE or at 404.873.3391.
Ho, Ho, Home for the Holidays and a Connie Sue Day Christmas! DEC. 13-22. Join Libby Whittemore, one of Atlanta’s most beloved singers, for an evening of her holiday favorites and ours — “Santa, Baby,” “Christmas in Dixie,” “River,” “Hard Candy Christmas” and more. Two weekends only at Actor’s Express. She’s joined by alter ego Connie Sue Day, the 31st Lady of Country Music, and Robert Strickland and his Super-Sized Combo. Expect powerhouse vocals and more than a bellyful of laughs. $40 plus fees (buy online, save money). 7:30 p.m. Dec. 13-14 and 20-22. 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.
CRUSH: A Valentine to the ’90s. FEB. 3 ONLY. Excited about The Book of Mormon coming to town? Now you have even more reason. TheBestArts.com will present cast members in a one-night-only cabaret event that will benefit Project Open Hand and Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. The evening is a chance for the company to loosen its Mormon ties and celebrate. More than 20 singers, dancers and actors will showcase their talents, backed by a live band. Includes a cash bar. $50; $100 VIP (includes pre-show reception with the show’s leading performers). 6:30 p.m. silent auction with Mormon memorabilia; 7:30 p.m. show. A live auction mid-show will let audience members bid for a chance to join the company backstage at the Fox Theatre, where Book of Mormon will play. 14th Street Playhouse, 173 14th St. N.E. in Midtown. Tickets HERE.
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: email@example.com.