Want to put a little culture to your weekend? Our top recommendations include the rock musical “Rent,” opening Friday at Actor’s Express with Patrick Schweigert (pictured) as filmmaker Mark Cohen. Photo by BreeAnne Clowdus.
Avenue Q. CLOSES SUNDAY. Horizon Theatre finishes its encore run of this irrepressible Tony and Suzi Bass-award-winning hit about life after college and finding your place in the world. $30 and up; $50 tickets include a reserved table pre-show and a drink. 8 tonight-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.
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. Discount tickets at PoshDealz.com.
As You Like It. CLOSES SUNDAY. 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 and tasty beverages. $18-$39. 7:30 p.m. tonight-Saturday; 6:30 p.m. Sunday. 499 Peachtree St. N.E. Tickets, details HERE or at 404.874.5299. Discount gift cards available at PoshDealz.com.
THIS WEEKEND ONLY
Breaking Ground: New Works Series. NOON SATURDAY. 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. Reservations, details: 404.727.5050.
Collision Project. FRIDAY-SATURDAY. 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: Inherit the Wind. FREE, but tickets must be reserved at 404.733.4749 or email@example.com. 7:30 p.m. Friday; 2:30 p.m. Saturday. Alliance’s Hertz Stage, Woodruff Arts Center, 1280 Peachtree St. N.E. (Pictured, from left: McColery and Cleage. Photo by Kathleen Covington)
OPENING THIS WEEKEND
Chasin’ dem Blues. PREVIEWS TONIGHT | OPENS FRIDAY. 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. 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.
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. July 23. 5339 Chamblee Dunwoody Road, Dunwoody. Details, tickets HERE or at 770.396.1726. (Pictured: Daniel Hilton as John Jasper)
Nelle’s Story: The World of Harper Lee. OPENS TONIGHT | THROUGH JULY 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 TONIGHT | OPENS FRIDAY. 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. Preview $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. (Pictured: Jeremiah Parker Hobbs as Roger and Julissa Sabino as Mimi. Photo by BreeAnne Clowdus)
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.
Uprising. JULY 17-AUG. 23. In this world premiere, Atlanta playwright Gabrielle Fulton tells a tale of freedom and romance, and laces it with blues-rooted spirituals, danger and sweet touches of magic realism. It all takes place in the aftermath of John Brown’s 1859 raid on Harpers Ferry, when a young woman named Sal encounters a revolutionary on the run after the would-be slave revolt. Fulton has been developing her script for at least three years, through Horizon Theatre and the inaugural season of the Alliance Theatre’s Reiser Atlanta Artists Lab. It’s the first of the Reiser projects to get a fully staged production, a very big deal! $25 and up. 8 p.m. Wednesday-Friday; 3 + 8:30 p.m. Saturday; and 5 p.m. Sunday. 1083 Austin Avenue at Euclid Avenue. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.584.7450. Discount tickets at PoshDealz.com.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org.