Want to get your culture on? Our recomendations include Samuel D. Hunter’s off-Broadway hit “The Whale,” opening Saturday at Actor’s Express. Pictured: Freddie Ashley in the title role. Photo by BreeAnne Clowdus.
Hands on a Hardbody. THROUGH MAY 31. Regional premiere. Dive deep into the heart of Texas at Aurora Theatre, where the lives of 10 strangers intertwine as they vie for a brand-new pickup truck. The soulful, rockabilly score is by Trey Anastasio and Amanda Green. The cast includes names you should recognize: Jeremy Aggers, Ricardo Aponte, Ben Davis, Laura Floyd, Randi Garza, Jill Hames, Steve Hudson, Rob Lawhon, Jessica Meisel, Wendy Melkonian, Eric Moore, Diany Rodriguez, Jeremy Wood. $30-$50. 8 p.m. Wednesday-Friday; 2:30 + 8 p.m. Saturday; 2:30 p.m. Sunday. Additional performance at 10 a.m. May 27 ($20-$30). 128 E. Pike St., Lawrenceville. Free, attached, covered parking in city deck at 153 E. Crogan St. Details, tickets HERE or at 678.226.6222. (Pictured: The Hardbody cast. Photo by Chris Bartelski)
Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike. OPENS FRIDAY | THROUGH JUNE 28. Regional premiere. Horizon and Aurora theaters team up to present playwright Christopher Durang’s Tony Award-winning riff on all things Chekhov. Vanya (Bill Murphy) and his adopted sister, Sonia (Lala Cochran), live a quiet life in a Pennsylvania farmhouse, while their sister, Masha (Tess Malis Kincaid), travels the world as a movie star. Just as they’re issued a warning about their future, Masha returns with her boy toy, Spike (Edward McCreary). And so begins an unforgettable family reunion. Aurora’s talented Justin Anderson directs. $25 and up. 8 p.m. Wednesday-Friday; 3 + 8:30 p.m. Saturday; and 5 p.m. Sunday. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.584.7450. The comedy moves to Aurora Theatre in Lawrenceville for an Oct. 1-25 run.) Discount tickets at PoshDealz.com.
The Whale. PREVIEWS TONIGHT-FRIDAY | OPENS SATURDAY. Actor’s Express ends a stellar season with Samuel E. Hunter’s multi-award-winning off-Broadway hit. Somewhere in Idaho, a 600-pound recluse named Charlie hides away in his apartment, slowly eating himself to death and desperate to see his estranged daughter. The story: One man’s last chance at redemption and of finding beauty in the most unexpected places. The cast: AE Artistic Director Freddie Ashley as Charlie, Kyle Brumley, Stephanie Friedman, Agnes L. Harty, Tiffany Porter. Through June 14. $26-$45. Previews at 8 tonight-Friday ($20). Opens at 8 p.m. Saturday ($40, includes post-show reception). Regularly 8 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday; 2 p.m. Sunday. 887 W. Marietta St. in the King Plow Arts Center. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.607.7469. Discount tickets at PoshDealz.com.
THIS WEEKEND ONLY
ASO: Roberto Abbado and Sergej Krylov. TONIGHT + SATURDAY. Italian conductor Roberto Abbado, a frequent Atlanta Symphony Orchestra guest, is on the podium for Berlioz’s Roman Carnival Overture, Boccherini’s Ritirate Notturna di Madrid and Mendelssohn’s Symphony No. 4, Italian. Violinist Sergej Krylov performs Paganini’s Violin Concerto No. 5. $25-$104. tonight; 7:30 p.m. Saturday. Symphony Hall, Woodruff Arts Center, 1280 Peachtree St. N.E. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.733.5000.
MAYhem. FRIDAY-SUNDAY. Atlanta Ballet’s annual program that looks at the future of dance. Featuring the premieres of Alexander Ekman’s Cacti, Yuri Possokhov’s Classical Symphony and John Heginbotham’s Angels’ Share. Runs about two hours with two 20-minute intermissions. Program subject to change. $23-$124. 8 p.m. Friday; 2 + 8 p.m. Saturday; 2 p.m. Sunday. Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre, 2800 Cobb Galleria Parkway, Atlanta. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.892.3303. (Pictured below: Boston Ballet artists performing Cacti. Photo by Rosalie O’Conner)
Xperimental Puppetry Theatre. TONIGHT-SUNDAY. More than 40 artists from 11 teams fill the Center for Puppetry Arts with short puppet performances and films. Among them: “Deus Ex Machina,” in which two explorers investigate a world of clockwork machinery; “The Nose,” a film in which a man loses his nose and finds it living a more interesting life on its own; and “A Penny Dreadful,” in which raconteurs tell a tall tale about a man driven crazy by the sun. For mature audiences. $12; $7 members. 8 tonight-Saturday; 5 p.m. Sunday (wine-beer bar opens an hour before curtain). Talkbacks follow each performance. 1404 Spring St. N.W. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.873.3391.
Crazyanity. THROUGH MAY 24. Paul and Samantha have been happily dating for six years when their relationship comes to a screeching halt. She realizes she wants more, an epiphany complicated when an elderly neighbor turns their routine game night into fight night. By Atlanta playwright Paris Crayton III. $15; $25 first-row reserved seats. Rising Sage Theatre at the West End Performing Arts Center, 945 Ralph David Abernathy Blvd. Details HERE, tickets HERE. (Pictured: Kenneth Camp and Dianne Butler. Photo by Jay Ray of Staticc Art & Life)
ASO: Music of the “Mad Men” Era. MAY 22-23. Grab a cocktail shaker and head back to the 1950s and ‘60s with guest conductor Steven Reineke and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. The music was hot, skirts were short, and the tunes were on the hi-fi. On the stack: standards by Henry Mancini and Irving Berlin, plus Burt Bacharach and Amy Winehouse. With vocalists Nikki Renée Daniels (Broadway’s Porgy and Bess, The Book of Mormon) and Ryan Silverman (Broadway’s recent Side Show). $25-$65. 8 nightly. Symphony Hall, Woodruff Arts Center, 1280 Peachtree St. N.E. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.733.5000.
Kathy Janich, Encore Atlanta’s managing editor, has been seeing, working in or writing about the performing arts for most of her life. Please email: firstname.lastname@example.org.