Looking for something cultural to do this weekend and beyond? Our select list of holiday weekend recommendations includes “Harabel: A sparrow over a minefield,” written and performed by Jonida Beqo (aka Gypsee Yo). She’s doing two final performances at Theatrical Outfit this week, before moving back to her native Albania. Photo by BreeAnne Clowdus.
Decatur Arts Festival. SATURDAY-SUNDAY ONLY. The 26th annual event includes more than 165 artists displaying their works along with musical entertainment, children’s activities and more. The festival is held in the Old Courthouse Square and surrounding streets in downtown Decatur. Singer-songwriter Kristian Bush of the country music duo Sugarland headlines the live music schedule. Most events are free. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday; 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday. Details HERE. See this ENCORE FEATURE for more on the happenings in Decatur.
Harabel: A sparrow over a minefield. THURSDAY-FRIDAY ONLY. Join Theatrical Outfit in saying good-bye to actor, poet, spoken-word artist Jonida Beqo (Yo-NEE-duh BAY-chow), who does her indescribable one-woman show in Atlanta for the last time. Ever. She’s returning to her native Albania to focus on other things, particularly arts education. Friday’s performance is followed by a party onstage. The critics: “An artist of the first order. A very rare bird indeed” (Wendell Brock, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution); “Jonida Beqo is a performance artist whose gifts transcend genres. The word ‘artist’ is vastly overused these days; but, truly, that’s what she is” (Manning Harris, Atlanta INtown). $20. 7:30 both nights. Theatrical Outfit at the Balzer Theater at Herren’s, 84 Luckie St. N.W. Details, tickets HERE or at 1.877.725.8849.
THIS WEEKEND ONLY
The Secret History of Love. THURSDAY-SUNDAY. Expect full-throttle dancing, storytelling and firsthand tales of the risk, love, courage, loss and resistance found within the human heart. This piece at 7 Stages reveals the underground ways that LGBT people managed to love each other and survive in decades past. Performed by Sean Dorsey Dance. $15-$25. 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday; 2 p.m. Sunday. 1105 Euclid Ave. N.E. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.523.7647.
Voice of the People. THURSDAY & SATURDAY. The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra performs Bloch’s Hebraic Rhapsody for solo cello and orchestra, written to illustrate, in the composer’s words, “the complex, glowing, agitated soul” of the Jewish people. ASO principal cellist Christopher Rex solos. Israel-born Ilan Volkov is on the podium. The program includes Verdi’s Overture to I vespri siciliani and Shostakovich’s Tenth Symphony, written after the death of Stalin and the composer’s own oppression at the hands of the tyrannical Russian leader. $24-$75. 8 tonight; 7:30 p.m. Saturday. Atlanta Symphony Hall, Woodruff Arts Center, 1280 Peachtree St. N.E. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.733.5000.
The Comedy of Errors. THROUGH JUNE 1. Shakespeare’s tale of the merchant twins Antipholus and the servant twins Dromio is full of errors, upsets and fun at the New American Shakespeare Tavern. Featuring Annie York Hester, Jaclyn Hofmann, Vinnie Mascola and Michael Taver. Go early and avail yourself of the pub menu and fine selection of beer. $15-$36. 7:30 p.m. Thursday-Saturday; 6:30 p.m. Sunday. 499 Peachtree St. N.E. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.874.5299.
Cowgirls. THROUGH JUNE 29. Horizon Theatre reprises its 1999 hit with a whole new cast of singers and instrumentalists. It’s Beethoven-meets-bluegrass when the classical Coghill Trio is mistakenly booked for the grand reopening of a country music roadhouse. The critics: “Depending on your own appreciation of ‘hillbilly music,’ you may or may not believe a minute of Cowgirls” (Bert Osborne, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution). $25-$60. 8 p.m. Wednesday-Friday; 3 and 8:30 p.m. Saturday; and 5 p.m. Sunday. 1083 Austin Ave. N.E. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.584.7450.
End of the Rainbow. THROUGH JUNE 15. Actor’s Express closes its season with this look at the last year in the life of Judy Garland. It’s December 1968, and Garland is making one last stab at a comeback, in London. Features such Garland standards as “The Man That Got Away,” “Come Rain or Come Shine” and “Over the Rainbow.” With Natasha Drena (Aurora’s Les Miserables) as Garland. The critics: “Drena imbues the Garland mystique with the megawatt intensity of a supernova” (Wendell Brock, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution). $15-$40 plus fees (buy online, save money). King Plow Arts Center, 887 W. Marietta St. N.W. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.607.7469. (Note: The new parking decks at King Plow do not accept cash.) Pictured: Drena as Garland. Photo by BreeAnne Clowdus.
Godspell. THROUGH JUNE 8. The 1970s musical based on the gospel according to St. Matthew was updated during a 2012 run on Broadway, and that’s what audiences will see at Stage Door Players. Brian Clowdus (Serenbe Playhouse artistic director) directs a cast of young professionals. $12-$27. 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday; 2:30 p.m. Sunday. 5339 Chamblee-Dunwoody Road. Details, tickets HERE or at 770.396.1726.
The Ark. JUNE 3 ONLY. Atlanta’s diverse improv community comes together for the first time in a single event at the Plaza Theatre. Two improvisers from each theater will form one super improv team. Featured theaters include Automatic Improv, Basement Theatre, Dad’s Garage Theatre Company, Laughing Matters, Village Theatre and Whole World Theatre. This is the culmination and celebration of the birth of improv in Atlanta 30 years ago. $15 in advance; $18 at the door. 1049 Ponce de Leon Ave. Details, tickets at 404.873.1939.
Atlanta Fringe Festival. JUNE 5-8. The third annual Atlanta theater festival celebrates works “on the fringe” of mainstream offerings. This year’s lineup features 22 eclectic productions, whose names were pulled from a hat full of applicants. Each production will perform five times over four days for a total of 110 performances. The acts come from 11 states and Canada. Full lineup HERE. This year’s venues are 7 Stages’ mainstage, the Big House on Ponce, the Highland Inn Ballroom, Horizons School and the Wrecking Bar Brewpub’s Marianna event space. $10 single tickets; festival passes TBA.
Atlanta Symphony Orchestra & Joshua Bell. MAY 29-31. The popular Bell brings his technical prowess to Brahms’ Violin Concerto, considered by some to be the Mount Everest of violin concertos. Also on the program: the world premiere of a work from new composer Charles Zoll, the 2012 Rapido! Composition Competition winner, and Hindemith’s Mathis der Maler Symphony. Maestro Robert Spano is on the podium. $24-$75. 8 p.m. Thursday-Friday; 7:30 p.m. Sunday. Atlanta Symphony Hall, Woodruff Arts Center, 1280 Peachtree St. N.E. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.733.5000.
One-Minute Play Festival. JUNE 8-9. Atlanta’s third annual One-Minute Play Festival (#1MPF), part of a New York-based franchise, features the work of more than 50 Atlanta or Georgia-based playwrights (and a few who used to call the ATL home), more than 10 directors and an untold number of actors. It’s smart, fast, frantic fun. $20. 6 and 8 p.m. June 8; 8 p.m. June 9. Actor’s Express, 887 West Marietta St. N.W. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.875.1606. See who’s writing in this ENCORE FEATURE.
Shakespeare in the Park: As You Like It. JUNE 4-8. Georgia Shakespeare returns to Piedmont Park with this frothy tale of mistaken identity, disguises and the magical forest of Arden. Producing artistic director Richard Garner directs. All 3,000 of the free tickets available are gone. $10; $250 for tables of six. 7:30 nightly, rain or shine. 1071 Piedmont Ave. N.E. Details HERE. Tickets HERE or at 404.504.1473.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org.