Happy Fourth of July weekend! Want to add a little culture to your celebration? Our top recommenda-tions include “A Night of Twisted Tales” from the Weird Sisters Theatre Project, opening Sunday, and, beginning previews Wednesday, “Rent” at Actor’s Express. “Rent”-ers, pictured, top row from left: Julissa Sabino as Mimi Marquez, Patrick Schweigert as Mark Cohen and Jennifer Alice Acker as Maureen Johnson; bottom row, from left: Austin Tijerina as Angel Dumott Schunard, Jeremiah Parker Hobbs as Roger Davis and Greg Hunter as Tom Collins. Photo by BreeAnne Clowdus.
A Night of Twisted Tales. JULY 5-11. Weird Sisters Theatre Project stages an evening of short new works by nationally recognized playwrights and up-and-coming Atlanta playwrights, all directed by women. The writers: Katie Causey, Annie Harrison Elliott, Daryl Fazio, Rachel Frawley, Lauren Gunderson, Deborah Zoe Laufer, Wendy MacLeod and Anna Ziegler. The acting company includes Blanca Aguero, Chelcy Cutwright, Barrett Doyle, Rachel Frawley, Jennifer Lamourt, Betty Mitchell, Stephen Ruffin, Jayme Smith and Annie York. $15; $10 students. Pick your night, pick your location: 7:30 p.m. July 5 at Emory University’s Schwartz Lab, 1700 North Decatur Road; 7:30 p.m. July 6-7 at the New American Shakespeare Tavern, 499 Peachtree St. N.E.; and 8 p.m. July 10-11 at Aurora Theatre, 128 E. Pike St., Lawrenceville. Tickets HERE. (Pictured, from left: Stephen Ruffin, Blanca Aguero and Jayme Smith)
Avenue Q. THROUGH JULY 12. Horizon Theatre takes its irreverent puppet-and-people–powered hit to the former home of Georgia Shakespeare, with both the original and PG-13 versions of the Tony and Suzi Bass Award-winning musical. 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. (See the PG-13 version at 8 p.m. July 8.) $30 and up; $50 tickets include a reserved table pre-show and a drink. 8 p.m. Wednesday-Friday; 3 + 8:30 p.m. Saturday; and 5 p.m. Sunday. Conant Center for the Performing Arts at Oglethorpe University, 4484 Peachtree Road N.E. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.584.7450. Discount tickets at PoshDealz.com. (Pictured: Jill Hames, Nick Arapoglou and their alter egos)
The Secret Garden. 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. Based on the 1911 Frances Hodgson Burnett book of the same name. $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.
As You Like It. THROUGH JULY 12. Let the New American Shakespeare Tavern take you into the woods with Orlando, Rosalind, romance and mistaken identities. With Jonathan Horne as Orlando, Dani Herd as Rosalind and Chris Kayser as Jaques. Pub menu. $18-$39. 7:30 p.m. Thursday-Saturday; 6:30 p.m. Sunday. Pub menu. No show July 4. 499 Peachtree St. N.E. Tickets, details HERE or at 404.874.5299. Discount gift cards available at PoshDealz.com. (Pictured: Horne, left, and Herd)
Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type. THROUGH JULY 26. See what happens when Farmer Brown’s chickens go on strike and his cows learn to type. Adapted from the children’s book by Caldecott honoree Doreen Cronin. Created by artistic director Jon Ludwig and resident puppet-builder Jason Hines with marionette and rod puppets. For ages 4 and up. $16.60; under 2 free. 10 a.m. + noon Tuesday-Friday; 11 a.m., 1 p.m. + 3 p.m. Saturday; and 1 + 3 p.m. Sunday. No shows July 4. Center for Puppetry Arts, 1404 Spring St. N.W. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.873.3391.
Breaking Ground: New Works Series. JULY 11 ONLY. This Emory University series — which develops new theater and performance pieces from students, faculty, staff and the community — culminates with 4:48. This “playwriting bake-off” will result in new plays by Atlanta playwrights Johnny Drago, Daryl Fazio and Michael Winn and Emory playwriting fellow Edith Freni. All are inspired by The New York Times best-seller Sex at Dawn. Free. Noon. Emory’s Schwartz Center for Performing Arts, 1700 North Decatur Road. Details: 404.727.5050.
Chasin’ dem Blues. PREVIEWS JULY 10-12 | OPENS JULY 13. True Colors Theatre Company closes its 2014-15 season with this musical drama about the untold story of Chicago’s Paramount Records and bluesman Willie Dixon’s belief that “blues is the roots, the other musics are the fruits.” Through Aug. 2. $15-$60. 8 p.m. Tuesday, July 7. Regularly 8 p.m. Wednesday-Friday; 2:30 + 8 p.m. Saturday; and 2:30 p.m. Sunday. No show July 31. Additional shows at 11 a.m. July 15, 23 (no evening show). Performed at the Southwest Arts Center, 915 New Hope Road S.W. Details, tickets HERE. Discount tickets at PoshDealz.com.
Collision Project. JULY 10-11. For the fifth year, the Alliance Theatre brings together a diverse group of metro teenagers to “collide” with a classic text under the guidance of playwright Pearl Cleage and director Patrick McColery. This year’s project: the drama Inherit the Wind. FREE, but tickets must be reserved at 404.733.4749 or firstname.lastname@example.org. 7:30 p.m. Friday; 2:30 p.m. Saturday. Alliance’s Hertz Stage, Woodruff Arts Center, 1280 Peachtree St. N.E.
The Mystery of Edwin Drood. OPENS JULY 10 | THROUGH AUG. 2. Stage Door Players’ final show of the season is this dark, wild and twisty musical by Rupert Holmes (“The Piña Colada Song”) that begins when the Music Hall Royale “puts on” its rendition of an unfinished Dickens mystery. Drood, the title character, inexplicably disappears and, by the end of the night, the audience votes on who his murderer might be. $15-$30 in advance. 8 p.m. Friday-Saturday; 2:30 p.m. Sunday. Additional show at 8 p.m. Thursday, July 23. 5339 Chamblee Dunwoody Road, Dunwoody. Details, tickets HERE or at 770.396.1726.
Nelle’s Story: The World of Harper Lee. JULY 9-19. Nelle’s Story by Melita Easter is the inaugural production of Synchronicity Presents, a new series of curated theatrical events at Synchronicity Theatre in Midtown. This one-woman show features Mandi Lee as the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of To Kill a Mockingbird. 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday; 3 p.m. Sunday. 1545 Peachtree St. N.E. in the Peachtree Pointe building. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.484.8636.
Rent. PREVIEWS JULY 8-9 | OPENS JULY 10. Jonathan Larson’s groundbreaking (Tony Award, Pulitzer Prize) rock musical reimagines Puccini’s la Boheme in New York City’s East Village. The 1996 show feels a bit dated, but Actor’s Express promises to blow the dust off with an environmental staging (think this season’s Murder Ballad). Through Aug. 9. Previews $20; opening night (with reception) $40; otherwise $26-$45. 8 p.m. Wednesday-Friday; 2 + 8 p.m. Saturday; and 2 p.m. Sunday. AE at King Plow Arts Center, 887 West Marietta St. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.607.7469. Discount tickets at PoshDealz.com. (Pictured: Jeremiah Parker Hobbs as Roger and Julissa Sabino as Mimi. Photo by BreeAnne Clowdus)
Kathy Janich, Encore Atlanta’s managing editor, has been seeing, working in or writing about the performing arts for most of her life. Full disclosure: She’s affiliated with Synchronicity Theatre listed above. Please email: email@example.com.