4. Donadio_Benzinger.Clowdus

Looking for something cultural to do this weekend and beyond? Our select list of recommendations includes the dark comedy “Maple and Vine” at Actor’s Express. Pictured: Kate Donadio and John Benzinger. Photo by BreeAnne Clowdus.



1001 Nights: A Love Story About Loving Stories. THROUGH APRIL 6. Using only her imagination — and her Broadway voice — a princess saves a whole kingdom from an evil decree. Genies, jesters, 40 thieves and other fantastical creations come to life in this inventive staging of an early hit by Tony Award winner Robert Lopez (Avenue Q, The Book of Mormon). A co-production of New York’s Flying Carpet Theatre Company and the Center for Puppetry Arts. The hand-and-rod, rod and shadow puppets used were designed by the Center’s Jason von Hinezmeyer and built in Atlanta. $16.50; under 2 free. 10 a.m. & noon Tuesday-Thursday; 10 a.m. & 8 p.m. Friday; 3 & 8 p.m. Saturday; and 2 & 5 p.m. Sunday. 1404 Spring St. N.W. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.873.3391.

Maple and Vine. THROUGH APRIL 20. The “darkly playful” (The New York Times) story of a modern couple who’ve grown weary of their 21st-century lives and attempt to escape by joining a community of 1950s re-enactors. At Actor’s Express. The cast, led by Kate Donadio and Michael Sung-Ho, includes John Benzinger, Jeremy Harrison and Tiffany Morgan. The playwright is Jordan Harrison (2008’s Finn in the Underworld). $26-$45. The critics: “The lighter and less serious, the better” (Bert Osborne, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution). Through April 20. 8 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday; 2 p.m. Sunday. 887 W. Marietta St. in the King Plow Arts Center. Details, tickets (buy online and save) HERE or at 404.607.SHOW. Ticket discounts through April 6 at PoshDealz.com.


A Tribute to Marvin Hamlisch. FRIDAY-SATURDAY ONLY. The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra celebrates the musical achievements of award-winning composer Marvin Hamlisch (Broadway’s A Chorus Line, the movie The Way We Were). Larry Blank is on the podium. He’s joined by vocalists Donna McKechnie (a Tony Award winner for A Chorus Line), Jodi Benson (Broadway’s Crazy for You, Disney’s The Little Mermaid) and Doug LaBrecque. $22-$60. 8 p.m. Atlanta Symphony Hall, Woodruff Arts Center, 1280 Peachtree St. N.E. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.733.5000.

SamanthaBrown_Aurora 068aThe Unauthorized Autobiography of Samantha Brown. THROUGH APRIL 6. Regional premiere. Aurora Theatre stages this 2009  musical about a high school grad who has everything a teenager wants: brains, a boyfriend, functional parents and an acceptance letter to the college of her choice. Her bags are packed, and she’s ready to take off, but something is holding her back. This staging is a chance to see work by the young New York composing team of Kait Kerrigan and Brian Lowdermilk. The critics: “What ultimately makes Samantha Brown worth seeing, aside from many catchy songs, is the cast” (Jim Farmer, ArtsATL.com); “A fresh, interesting take on a coming-of-age story” (Kenny Norton, Atlanta Theater Fans). $25-$35. 8 p.m. Wednesday-Friday; 2:30 & 8 p.m. Saturday; and 2:30 p.m. Sunday. Also at 10 a.m. April 2 (replacing evening show, $16). 128 East Pike St., Lawrenceville. Free, attached, covered parking in city of Lawrenceville deck at 153 Crogan St. Details, tickets HERE or at 678.226.6222. Discount tickets at PoshDealz.com. (Pictured: Wendy Melkonian, left, as Mom and Kylie Brown as Sam. Photo: Chris Bartelski)


The Best Game. OPENS FRIDAY | THROUGH APRIL 13. A highly driven New York University student takes a risky detour when she decides to seek out her long-lost father in this world premiere from Rising Sage Theatre (formerly 3 Hill Productions). The script is by Rising Sage co-founder Paris Crayton III and features Isake Akanke and Gerard Catus (“Law & Order: SVU,” “The Wire”). $20 advance; $25 at the door. 8 p.m. Thursday-Friday; 2 & 8 p.m. Saturday; and 2:30 p.m. Sunday. Porter Sanford Performing Arts Center, 3181 Rainbow Drive, Decatur. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.500.SAGE. (Pictured: Akanke, left, and Catus. Photo: Willis Miles Photography)



Elemeno Pea. THROUGH APRIL 13. A dark comedy set at summer’s end on Martha’s Vineyard, where the haves and have-nots are flying without a net. The cast: Cynthia D. Barker (Third Country), Adam Fristoe (Venus in Fur, Actor’s Express), Tony Guerrero, Cara Mantella and Tiffany Porter. Includes explicit language and adult situations. The critics: “Playwright Molly Smith Metzler’s script keeps things at a broad, sitcom-level pitch, and director Heidi Cline McKerley cranks it up to 11…. The show’s greatest strength is its cast” (Andrew Alexander, ArtsATL.com); “A juicy drama about truth and consequences” (Kenny Norton, Atlanta Theater Fans). At Horizon Theatre. $20-$30. 8 p.m. Wednesday-Friday; 3 & 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. For more on Horizon’s season, see this ENCORE FEATURE.

miracle_on_south_division_streetMiracle on South Division Street. THROUGH APRIL 13. Regional premiere. Stage Door Players takes on this comedy/drama about the Nowak family of Buffalo, N.Y., led by matriarch Clara, who runs a soup kitchen and tends to the family heirloom, a 20-foot shrine commemorating the day in 1942 when the Blessed Virgin Mary materialized in her father’s barber shop. The cast features the mother-son duo of Susan Shalhoub-Larkin and Tony Larkin, who’ve never been on a professional stage together before, as well as Kara Cantrell and Kelly Criss. $22-$27. 8 p.m. Friday-Saturday; 2:30 p.m. Sunday. 5339 Chamblee-Dunwoody Road, Dunwoody. Details HERE. For tickets, call 770.396.1726.



Atlanta Symphony Orchestra: First Fridays. FRIDAY ONLY. The ASO invites you to skip traffic and get a classical jump on the weekend. The bars open early and a shorter program with no intermission means you’ll be out the door by 7:45 or so. Principal guest conductor Donald Runnicles leads the ASO in Brahms’ Symphony No. 4. $25. 6:30 p.m. Symphony Hall, Woodruff Arts Center, 1280 Peachtree St. N.E. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.733.5000.


Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. SATURDAY-SUNDAY. Principal guest conductor Donald Runnicles and mezzo-soprano Kelley O’Connor, an ASO favorite, join the orchestra and chorus for an all-Brahms program featuring Symphony No. 4, Gesang der Parzen, Schicksalslied and Alto Rhapsody. $24-$75. 7:30 p.m. Saturday; 2 p.m. Sunday. Atlanta Symphony Hall, Woodruff Arts Center, 1280 Peachtree St. N.E. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.733.5000.

Blackberry Winter. APRIL 12-19. Out of Hand Theater presents a workshop production of this new play about Alzheimer’s disease. The script is by Atlanta-bred, Los Angeles-based playwright Steve Yockey (Pluto, Wolves, Octopus, etc.) and features actor Carolyn Cook. The piece recounts one woman’s memories of caring for her aging mother and the challenging decisions they face. A portion of the proceeds will go to the Alzheimer’s Association. $15. 8 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday. Horizon Theatre, 1083 Euclid Ave. N.E. at Austin Avenue. Details, tickets HERE.

DTEDividing the Estate. PREVIEWS APRIL  2-4 | OPENS APRIL 5. Matriarch Stella Gordon is determined not to divide her 100-year-old Texas estate, despite her family’s declining wealth and  looming financial crisis. Her three children, however, have other ideas. Theatrical Outfit stages Horton Foote’s dark comedy with a stellar 13-member cast featuring the husband-wife teams of Mary Lynn Owen (Stella) and Rob Cleveland, and Tess Malis Kincaid and Mark Kincaid, along with Elizabeth Wells Berkes, S. Renee Clark, Danielle Deadwyler, Caroline Freedlund, Marianne Hammock, Bart Hansard, Jessica Miesel, Maria Rodriguez-Sager and Scott Warren. Tom Key directs. $20-$50. Through April 20. 7:30 p.m. Wednesday-Friday; 2:30 & 7:30 p.m. Saturday;  and 2:30 p.m. Sunday. Balzer Theater at Herren’s, 84 Luckie St. N.W. Details, tickets HERE or at 1.877.725.8849. Discount tickets (April 2-11) at PoshDealz.com.


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 Theatrical Outfit mentioned above. 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