thislyleWant to get your culture on? Our recommendations include “Lyle the Crocodile” at Synchronicity Theatre with (from left) Sarah Peavy as Mrs. Primm, Matt Baum as Lyle (center), Joseph Masson as Joshua Primm and Daniel Hilton as Mr. Primm.  Although the musical is based on two children’s books, there’s plenty of sly wit for the grownups. (Photo by KVC Photography)



murderballad-1Murder Ballad. CLOSES SUNDAY. Highly recommended. The New York Times called this 2013 off-Broadway hit about a love triangle gone bad a “savvy guilty pleasure.” Director Freddie Ashley puts you close to the action with his Actor’s Express cast — Kristen Browne, Jessica De Maria, Jeremy Harrison and Kevin Harry — playing in and around and dangerously close to the audience. The reviews: “An exuberant, intoxicating piece of theater” (Jim Farmer,; “Winningly straddles the line between musical theater and gritty little club gig” (Wendell Brock, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution). 8 tonight-Saturday; 2 p.m. Sunday. $26-$45 plus fees (buy online and save $2). $41-$60. VIP tickets include bistro table seating and a drink voucher. King Plow Arts Center, 887 W. Marietta St. Tickets, details HERE or at 404.607.7469. Ticket discounts at (Pictured: Harry, Browne. Photo by BreeAnne Clowdus)



SWAC_-_black_NativityBlack Nativity. OPENS TONIGHT | THROUGH DEC. 21. An African-American telling of the Nativity story, written by acclaimed poet and playwright Langston Hughes. The first act re-creates the journey of Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem, accompanied by old-fashioned spirituals. Act 2 takes place at a modern-day African-American church on Christmas, filled with testifying deacons, sanctified ladies and down-home preaching. 8 p.m. Thursday-Friday; 2 & 8 p.m. Saturday; and 4 p.m. Sunday. $15-$35. Southwest Arts Center, 915 New Hope Road S.W. Details, tickets HERE. Venue questions at 404.613.3220.

SNOW 102The Snow Queen. OPENS TONIGHT | THROUGH DEC. 23. World premiere. Serenbe Playhouse stages its first winter show with this  classic tale of  loyalty, redemption and love. Adapter Rachel Teagle (Alice in Wonderland, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz) introduces us to brave, young Gerda, who’s on an epic quest to save her brother from the mysterious Snow Queen and the chill creeping into his heart. Like the feature film Frozen, Serenbe’s Snow Queen is based on Hans Christian Andersen’s original tale. 8 tonight-Sunday, Dec. 10-14 & 17-21. Note: Many shows are selling out, so call before you go! Performances added at 8 p.m. Dec. 22-23. $15 & $20. Swann Ridge in Serenbe, 10640 Serenbe Lane, Chattahoochee Hills. Directions HERE. Details, tickets HERE or at 770.463.1110. Ticket discounts at (Pictured: Allie Southwood as Gerda and Will Skelton as the King. Photo by BreeAnne Clowdus)




Morgan Freeman Presents the Magic Negro and Other Blackness. CLOSES SATURDAY. Ever wonder whether Dr. Seuss’ Green Eggs and Ham is racially charged or just whose uncle Uncle Ben is? Using sketches, improv and character pieces, this one-man show from the mind of Dad’s Garage’s Mark Kendall examines how black men are presented in the media, as told by the character of Morgan Freeman. From prison to white flight, Aunt Jemima and even Black Jesus, Kendall explores how these images influence views on race in everyday life. 8 tonight-Saturday. $10.50-$27.50. Dad’s Garage Theatre at 7 Stages, 1105 Euclid Ave. N.E. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.523.3141.



The 12 Dates of Christmas. THROUGH  DEC. 20. Actor-director Jaclyn Hofmann laces up her funny shoes to reprise the sad story of Mary, who, while watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on TV, sees her scalawag of a fiancé kiss another woman. Over the next year, she’s set up, hooked up, strung up and fed up as she navigates the dating world. Times vary (runs in repertory with Anthony P. Rodriguez’s one-man A Christmas Carol). Details HERE. This week: 8 p.m. Friday & 2:30 p.m. Sunday. $20. 128 E. Pike St., Lawrenceville. Free, covered, attached parking in city of Lawrenceville deck at 153 E. Crogan St. Details, tickets HERE or at 678.226.6222. Ticket discounts at

canteenChristmas Canteen. THROUGH DEC. 21. This nostalgic revue is Gwinnett’s longest-running theatrical holiday tradition. Its singing, dancing cast includes Randi Garza, Brandon O’Dell and Bryant Smith, among others. Runs in conjunction with Aurora Theatre‘s Festival of Trees. You can’t get much merrier than that. 8 p.m. Wednesday-Friday; 2:30 & 8 p.m. Saturday; and 2:30 p.m. Sunday. Sold out: Dec. 6 (matinee), 7 & 11; both shows Dec. 10; and Dec. 13 (matinee). Check before you go! $20 and up. 128 E. Pike St., Lawrenceville. Free, covered, attached parking in city of Lawrenceville deck at 153 E. Crogan St. Details, tickets HERE or at 678.226.6222. Ticket discounts at

A Christmas Carol. THROUGH DEC. 24. David de Vries takes over the “bah, humbugs” this season — the 25th for this staging — succeeding longtime Ebenezer Scrooge Chris Kayser. You know the story: miserly Scrooge, the ghosts, the Cratchit family and a spiritual reawakening. What sets the Alliance Theatre staging apart is its multicultural casting, its sumptuous sets and costumes, and its cast of finely tuned choristers. Show times vary. Schedule HERE. This week: 8 p.m. Friday; 2:30 & 8 p.m. Saturday; 2:30 p.m. Sunday and 7:30 p.m. Wednesday. $17.50-$72. Alliance Theatre, Woodruff Arts Center, 1280 Peachtree St. N.E. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.733.5000. For more on de Vries, see this ENCORE FEATURE.

s20-scripted-invasion--detailIt’s a Wonderful Laugh. THROUGH DEC. 20. Dad’s Garage Theatre Company parodies the classic movie It’s a Wonderful Life as only it can, with a scripted work by artistic director Kevin Gillese and his team of impish improvisers. Bedford Falls never saw it coming; an invader lurks. Ages 18 and up only. May contain cursing, sexual innuendo, violence and/or nudity. Dad’s Garage at the Alliance Theatre’s Hertz Stage, Woodruff Arts Center, 1280 Peachtree St. N.E. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.733.5000. For more on Kevin Gillese and It’s a Wonderful Laugh, see this ENCORE FEATURE.

Lyle the Crocodile. THROUGH DEC. 28. Synchronicity Theatre greets the holidays with this family musical about a crocodile who turns up in a New York family’s bathtub. He tap dances, too. Based on the books Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile and The House on East 88th Street by Bernard Waber. Although the kids will be entertained, there’s also plenty of wit for the adults to enjoy. 7:30 p.m. Friday; 1 & 4 p.m. Saturday; and 2 & 5 p.m. Sunday. Also at 2 p.m. Dec. 22-23; 11 a.m. Dec. 24; and 2 p.m. Dec. 26. $10-$40. Synchronicity Theatre at Peachtree Point, 1545 Peachtree St. N.E. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.484.8636.



Atlanta Ballet’s Nutcracker. OPENS DEC. 11 | THROUGH DEC. 28. Join the sugar plum fairies, mischievous mice and inhabitants of lands near and far in the dreamscape brought to life by the ballet’s athletic, artful dancers and Tchaikovsky’s timeless score. The Georgia Youth Choir sings in Act 1’s snow scene. Performance times vary, schedule HERE. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.892.3303. $27-$142. Fox Theatre, 660 Peachtree St. N.E. For more on this season’s Nut, see the ENCORE FEATURE.

Christmas With the ASO. DEC. 11 & 13. For more than four decades, these classic concerts have featured the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, Morehouse College Glee Club and Gwinnett Young Singers, conducted by the ASO’s Norman Mackenzie. Capture the spirit of the holidays with the orchestra’s iconic story of Christmas, created by the great Robert Shaw. 8 p.m. Dec. 11; 2 & 8 p.m. Dec. 13. $25-$70. Atlanta Symphony Hall, Woodruff Arts Center, 1280 Peachtree St. N.E. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.733.5000.

aso-chorus206x160.ashxHandel’s Messiah. TONIGHT-FRIDAY. Another Atlanta tradition. Join the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Chamber Chorus, conductor Norman Mackenzie and several guest soloists for this spine-tingling concert that will have you on your feet by evening’s end. 8 p.m. $25-$70. Atlanta Symphony Hall, Woodruff Arts Center, 1280 Peachtree St. N.E. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.733.5000.

Xmas-Apocalypse-2012-7-Stages-1_5662-LKrampus Xmas. DEC. 18-20. 7 Stages presents its fifth annual anti-Christmas rock ‘n’ roll fest with the help of the Little Five Points Rockstar Orchestra, Syrens of the South (burlesque) and a bagful of anti-Santas including La Befana, a sexy witch who’ll rip out your internal organs and replace them with trash. Ho, ho, ho, indeed. You’re invited to leave the kids at home, grab an ice-cold bucket of PBR and dig into some perverse glee. Age 18 and up only; IDs will be checked at the door. 8 p.m. $20 in advance; $25 at the door. 1105 Euclid Ave. N.E. Details, tickets HERE.

connie sue day
Connie Sue Day

Libby at the Express. DEC. 12-13 & 19-21. For many of us, it’s not Christmas in Atlanta without singer Libby Whittemore and her alter ego, Miss Connie Sue Day, the 31st Lady of Country Music. Thank goodness both could clear their schedules for this annual holiday gig at Actor’s Express. If you see Connie Sue’s Blue Bird Wanderlodge parked in the deck, you’ll know she has arrived. Prepare yourself. Expect holiday favorites and more than several stockings full of laughs. 7:30 p.m. $40 plus tax.  887 W. Marietta St. in the King Plow Arts Center. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.875.2791. (Photo by BreeAnne Clowdus)


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.

View all posts by Kathy Janich