AuroraHardbodyProduction022-1024x681 (2)Want to get your culture on? Our recommendations this week include the musical “Hands on a Hardbody” at Aurora Theatre in Lawrenceville. Pictured: The cast. Photo by Chris Bartelski.



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-image-longVanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike. THROUGH JUNE 28. Regional premiere. Horizon and Aurora theaters partner to present playwright Christopher Durang’s Tony Award-winning riff on all things Chekhov. Vanya (Bill Murphey) 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 — until  she returns home with her boy toy, Spike (Edward McCreary). $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 (Pictured: Murphey, Cochran, Kincaid, Spike)

whale-prod-1 (2)The Whale. THROUGH JUNE 14. Actor’s Express tops a stellar season with Samuel E. Hunter’s multi-award-winning off-Broadway hit about one man’s last chance at redemption and finding beauty in the most unexpected places. At the center of the storm is a 600-pound recluse named Charlie, who’s hiding away in his apartment and eating himself to death, yet desperate to reconnect with his estranged daughter. $26-$45. 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 (Pictured: Freddie Ashley as Charlie. Photo by BreeAnne Clowdus)



11080625_10153152306358917_3696488237062873967_oCrazyanity. CLOSES SUNDAY. Paul and Samantha have been happily dating for six years when their relationship hits a bump. She wants more, a realization complicated by an older neighbor who 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.

Paul Bunyan and the Tall Tale Medicine Show. CLOSES SUNDAY. The Center for Puppetry Arts’ musical recounts how Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox invented logging, how Hekeke saved her tribe from a people-eating ogre, how John Henry became a steel-driving man and how Pecos Bill became king of the cowboys. Told with hand, rod and shadow puppets. Adapted and directed by Jon Ludwig. $16.50; under 2 free. 10 + 11:30 a.m. today-Friday; noon + 2 p.m. Saturday; 1 + 3 p.m. Sunday. 1404 Spring St. N.W. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.873.3391.




ASO: Music of the “Mad Men” Era. FRIDAY-SATURDAY. 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 tunes were on the hi-fi. Expect standards by Henry Mancini and Irving Berlin, plus Burt Bacharach and Amy Winehouse. With vocalists Nikki Renée Daniels (Broadway’s Porgy and BessThe 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.




Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. MAY 28 + 30. Maestro Robert Spano conducts a program featuring Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade, Sibelius’ The Bard and Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 4 with guest artist Yefim Bronfman. $20-$99. 8 p.m. Thursday; 7:30 p.m. Saturday. Symphony Hall, Woodruff Arts Center, 1280 Peachtree St. N.E. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.733.5000. (Photo by Jennifer Taylor / The New York Times)

1415_Dec_218x218Three Decembers. MAY 29-31. Atlanta Opera stages this chamber piece by contemporary composer Jake Heggie (Moby-Dick, Dead Man Walking.) It features three artists and a chamber orchestra onstage telling the story of a glamorous stage actress (Theodora Hanslowe) and her two unhappy grown children (Jennifer Black and Jesse Blumberg). Based on a short play by Tony Award winner Terrence McNally. $50. 8 p.m. Friday-Saturday; 6 p.m. Sunday. Alliance Theatre mainstage,  Woodruff Arts Center, 1280 Peachtree St. N.E. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.881.8885.



Horizon_-_Avenue_q2Avenue Q. JUNE 3-7. Horizon Theatre takes its irreverent hit to Piedmont Park for five performances. Rest easy (or not), this version of the smart, hilarious and risqué Tony and Suzi Bass Award-winning musical is rated PG-13. As many of us now know, the neighbors are nice on Avenue Q, the only address you can afford when you’re fresh out of college, out of a job or just trying to find your purpose. Returning cast members: Suzi winner Nick Arapoglou, Jill Hames, J.C. Long, Jeff McKerley, Matt Nitchie and Spencer Stephens. New are Molly Coyne as Kate Monster and Natalie Gray as Christmas Eve. $35 table seating; $15 reserved seating; general admission is free (bring your own blanket or low beach chair for lawn seating). 7:30 nightly. The Promenade in Piedmont Park (parking in the Sage garage at the Atlanta Botanical Garden), 1345 Piedmont Ave. N.E.  Details, tickets HERE or at 404.584.7450.

ST_-_The_ExoneratedThe Exonerated. JUNE 1. Some of Atlanta’s top actors come together to raise funds for the Georgia Innocence Project. The script by Jessica Blank and Erik Jensen, culled from interviews, letters, transcripts and case files, tells the true stories of six wrongfully convicted survivors of death row.  The cast: Cynthia D. Barker, Keith Bolden, Amber Chaney, Rob Cleveland, Lala Cochran, Brian Kurlander, Eric J. Little, Daniel Thomas May, Robert Mello and Mike Pniewski. Susan G. Reid directs. Afterward, two men tell their stories of wrongful imprisonment. $35 plus fees. 7:30 p.m. Synchronicity Theatre, 1545 Peachtree St. N.E. (in the Peachtree Pointe building). Details, tickets HERE.

logo_tctcSpring Play Reading Series. JUNE 2-4. True Colors Theatre Company invites you to three nights of free readings to help choose work for an upcoming season. All start at 7 p.m. June 2: Sunset Baby by Dominique Morisseau (Detroit ’67), directed by Synchronicity Theatre’s Rachel May and described as “an energetic, daring look at the point where the personal and political collide.” June 3: The Box by Marcus Gardley (Every Tongue Confess), directed by Kamilah Forbes of New York’s Hi-ARTS and inspired by Gardley’s own experience with police harassment. June 4: Exit Strategy by Chicago playwright Ike Holter, directed by Kenny Leon and about tensions surrounding a Chicago public high school slated for closure. At Theatrical Outfit’s Balzer Theatre at Herren’s, 84 Luckie St. N.W. Details HERE or at 404.532.1901.


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:

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.

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