Want to get your culture on? Our recommendations this week include “Vanya, Sonia, Masha and Spike,” a joint effort by Aurora Theatre and Horizon Theatre being performed at Horizon. The cast (seated, from left): Bill Murphey and Lala Cochran. Standing, from left: Danielle Deadwyler, Edward McCreary, Tess Malis Kincaid and Denise Arribas.
Hands on a Hardbody. CLOSES SUNDAY. 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 performed by Atlanta actors whose 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 tonight-Friday; 2:30 + 8 p.m. Saturday; 2:30 p.m. Sunday. 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.
Vanya 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 PoshDealz.com.
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, while 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 PoshDealz.com.
THIS WEEKEND ONLY
Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. TONIGHT + SATURDAY. 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 tonight; 7:30 p.m. Saturday. Symphony Hall, Woodruff Arts Center, 1280 Peachtree St. N.E. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.733.5000.
Three Decembers. FRIDAY-SUNDAY. Atlanta Opera stages this chamber piece by contemporary composer Jake Heggie (Moby-Dick, Dead Man Walking). It features three artists and an onstage chamber orchestra that tell 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.
OPENING THIS WEEKEND
Coriolanus. PREVIEWS TONIGHT | OPENS FRIDAY. Shakespeare’s tale of extreme betrayal is one of his bloodiest and most political tragedies. Jonathan Horne is the title character, forced into the Senate by his overbearing mother and eventually banished by his own people. His revenge: Lead his enemy’s army to kill the people he was supposed to serve. Cast includes Chris Kayser, Tony Larkin and Jacob York. Through June 14. $15-$39. 7:30 p.m. Thursday-Saturday; 6:30 p.m. Sunday. New American Shakespeare Tavern (with a full pub menu and bar), 499 Peachtree St. N.E. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.874.5299. Discount gift certificates at PoshDealz.com. (Pictured, from left, Jacob York as Aufidius and Jonathan Horne as Coriolanus).
The Secret Garden. OPENS FRIDAY | THROUGH AUG. 2. World premiere. The coming-of-age story about recently orphaned Mary Lennox is adapted by playwright Rachel Teagle and performed in the new (and permanent) English Garden at Serenbe. Shelby Folks is Mary. Based on the Frances Hodgson Burnett book. $10-$20. 11 a.m. Friday-Saturday; 2 p.m. Sunday. Serenbe Playhouse, 10950 Hutchesons Ferry Road, Chattahoochee Hills. Details, tickets HERE or at 770.463.1110
My Life as a Fairy Tale: The Ugly Duckling. THROUGH JUNE 7. Hans Christian Andersen comes to life to tell the story of The Ugly Duckling in this piece by Open Eye Figure Theatre of Minneapolis. Told with actors and found objects. $16.50 nonmembers age 2 and up; $9.25 members. 10 a.m. + noon Tuesday-Friday; 11 a.m., 1 p.m. + 3 p.m. Saturday; and 1 + 3 p.m. Sunday. Center for Puppetry Arts, 1404 Spring St. N.W. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.873.3391.
Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Musical. THROUGH JUNE 28. The Alliance Theatre and director Rosemary Newcott present a musicalized version of the Mo Willems story about Trixie and Daddy, who take a trip to the Laundromat. The tunes are by Grammy Award-winning composer Michael Silversher. $15; $8 ages 6-17; 5 and under free. 10 + 11:30 a.m. Wednesday-Friday; 1 + 3:30 p.m. Saturday-Sunday. Also at 7 p.m. May 29 and 5 p.m. June 5. No show June 3. Alliance Theatre’s Hertz Stage, Woodruff Arts Center, 1280 Peachtree St. N.E. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.733.5000. For more, see this ENCORE FEATURE.
ASO Season Finale. JUNE 4 + 6. Maestro Robert Spano conducts Saint-Saën’s Samson et Dalila, the final offering in the Atlanta Symphony’s 2014-15 classical series season. This ultimate story of love, seduction and betrayal features tenor Stuart Skelton as Samson and mezzo-soprano Stephanie Blythe as Dalila. Also taking part: bass-baritone Greer Grimsley and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Chorus. $20-$99. 8 p.m. June 4; 7:30 p.m. June 6. Symphony Hall, Woodruff Arts Center, 1280 Peachtree St. N.E. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.733.5000.
Atlanta Fringe Festival. JUNE 4-7. This one-of-a-kind live performance celebration returns for a fourth consecutive year. Twenty shows at five venues showcases everything from family-friendly cabaret to puppetry, modern dance, aerial acrobatics, satire and comedy. $10 single shows; $40-$99 passes. A $3 Fringe Fest button is required for every patron. The venues: 7 Stages (mainstage and Black Box), 11105 Euclid Ave. N.E.; Highland Ballroom, 644 North Highland Ave. N.E.; the Wrecking Bar, 292 Moreland Ave. N.E.; and the International Montessori Academy, 1240 Euclid Ave. N.E. Complete festival details HERE. Tickets HERE.
Avenue 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. (Pictured: Suzi Bass Award winner Nick Arapoglou as Princeton)
The 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 is culled from interviews, letters, transcripts and case files. It 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.
Spring 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. On 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.” On 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. On 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.
The Artist Man and The Mother Woman. JUNE 4-21. When Geoffrey discovers that art teachers are off-the-charts sexy, he decides to seek a wife, which doesn’t sit well at all with his doting mum. Scottish playwright Morna Pearson’s piece gives us a savagely funny glimpse into the surreal universe of a spectacularly dysfunctional mother/son relationship. At Arís Theatre, Atlanta’s stage for Celtic culture. Note: Not appropriate for young audiences. $15-$25. 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday; 5 p.m. Sunday. Studio B, Georgia Public Broadcasting, 260 14th St. N.W. Free, covered parking. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.692.0053.
The 4th Atlanta One-Minute Play Festival. JUNE 7-9. Scripted, split-second mayhem returns to Actor’s Express with very short plays by very many playwrights with Atlanta ties. Among them: Margaret Baldwin, Paris Crayton III, Jessica De Maria, Suehyla El-Attar, Megan Hayes, Patricia Henritze, Karla Jennings, Hank Kimmel, Matt Myers, Theroun Patterson, Topher Payne, Jordan Pullman, Pamela Turner, Steve Yockey, Pat Young and Jacob York. The One-Minute Play Festival is the brainchild of Dominic D’Andrea, who does 20 such events nationwide. $20. 6 p.m. Sunday; and 7:30 p.m. Monday-Tuesday. Actor’s Express, 877 West Marietta St. N.W. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.607.7469.
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: email@example.com.