Want to put some culture in your weekend? Our recommendations include “Chasin’ Dem Blues,” in its final week at True Colors Theatre. Pictured (from left): Brad Raymond, Anthony David (background), Maiesha McQueen and Jeremy Cohen. Photo by Josh Lamkin.
Chasin’ dem Blues. CLOSES SUNDAY. True Colors Theatre Company stages the musical drama about the untold story of Chicago’s Paramount Records, based on bluesman Willie Dixon’s belief that “blues is the roots, the other musics are the fruits.” $15-$60. 8 tonight-Friday; 2:30 + 8 p.m. Saturday; and 2:30 p.m. Sunday. Southwest Arts Center, 915 New Hope Road S.W. Details, tickets HERE.
Evita. THROUGH AUG. 16. Serenbe Playhouse wraps its summer season with this dramatized account of the life, rise and demise of Argentine first lady Eva Duarte de Péron, the role that made Patti LuPone a Broadway star and gave Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice an early hit. Randi Garza is Eva. For ages 12 and up. Performed, as all Serenbe shows are, in an outdoor location, rain or shine. This time, it’s the Open Air Room. $30-$35. 8:30 p.m. Wednesday-Sunday. 10950 Hutchesons Ferry Road, Chattahoochee Hills. Details, tickets HERE or art 770.463.1110. Discount tickets at PoshDealz.com. (Pictured: Randi Garza as Eva. Photo by BreeAnne Clowdus)
Memphis. THROUGH AUG. 30. This Aurora Theatre–Theatrical Outfit co-pro is playing the Lawrenceville stage before moving to downtown Atlanta in September. The 2010 Tony Award-winning best musical, inspired by true events, features pioneering disc jockey Huey Calhoun who moves the iconic sound of Southern rock ‘n’ roll from radio to TV while in the midst of an interracial romance. Adult situations and violence. $25-$60. 8 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday; 2:30 p.m. Sunday. The theater is at 128 Pike St. Free, attached and covered parking in city lot at 153 E. Crogan St. Details, tickets HERE or at 678.226.6222. (Pictured: Travis Smith and Naima Carter Russell. Photo by Chris Bartelski)
Rent. THROUGH AUG. 22. 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 can feel a bit dated, but Actor’s Express promises to blow the dust off with an environmental staging (think Murder Ballad). It’s selling out, so plan ahead. $26-$45. 8 p.m. Wednesday-Friday; 2 + 8 p.m. Saturday; and 2 p.m. Sunday. King Plow Arts Center, 887 West Marietta St. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.607.7469. (Pictured: Austin Tijerina as Angel Dumott Schunard. Photo by BreeAnne Clowdus)
Almost Heaven, John Denver’s America. CLOSES SATURDAY. Georgia Ensemble Theatre reprises its popular 2013 staging at the Chattahoochee Nature Center’s Ben Brady Pavilion. The score includes “Rocky Mountain High,” “Sunshine on My Shoulders,” “Annie’s Song,” “Leaving on a Jet Plane” and many more. The original cast returns: Dolph Amick, Mary Nye Bennett, Christopher Damiano, Scott DePoy and Jeremy Wood. Theatergoers can bring a picnic or order from Talk of the Town’s catering menu for pickup on-site. Cash bar. $15 lawn seating; $30 table seating. 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday. 9135 Willeo Road, Roswell. Details, tickets, catering info HERE or 770.641.1260. (Pictured: Mary Nye Bennett and Jeremy Wood)
Nelle’s Story: The World of Harper Lee. CLOSES SUNDAY. Nelle’s Story by Melita Easters 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 (no relation) as the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of To Kill a Mockingbird. Directed by Carolyn Cook. 8 tonight-Saturday; 3 p.m. Sunday. 1545 Peachtree St. N.E. in the Peachtree Pointe building. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.484.8636. (Pictured: Easters, Mandi Lee)
The Reluctant Dragon. THROUGH AUG. 9. What happens when a dragon moves into your neighborhood? That’s what a curious boy and suspicious villagers find out in this piece from the award-winning Tears of Joy Theatre (Stellaluna) in Portland, Ore. Told with rod and tabletop puppets. Recommended for ages 4 and up. $9.25 for members age 2 and up; $16.50 non-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.
CREATE ATL: Family Fun at the Woodruff Arts Center. THROUGH AUG. 30. An afternoon of free family programming led by the Alliance Theatre, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and High Museum of Art. Activities include family festivals, art-making activities, interactive musical story times, composers-in-training sessions, instrument making, drop-in acting classes and more. Noon-5 p.m. Free, but reservations are requested HERE. Woodruff Arts Center, 1280 Peachtree St. N.E. Questions at 404.733.4200.
Lillian Likes It. THROUGH AUG. 23. In repertory with The Old Ship of Zion by Natalia Naman as part of the 2015 Essential Theatre Festival. Lillian, a world premiere by Joshua Mikel of Conyers, is a quirky comedy that begins as a satirical look at social media. It deepens when Lillian thinks she’s found the perfect guy. Does it matter that he’s dead if she can chat with him online? Winner of the 2015 Essential Theatre Playwriting Award. Be forewarned: The Essential fest, which celebrates Georgia playwrights, can produce blindingly wonderful work as well some unfortunate misses. $15-$20 advance. This week: 8 p.m. Saturday; 2 p.m. Sunday. Check schedule for future performances. Details HERE. Tickets HERE or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Old Ship of Zion. THROUGH AUG. 21. In repertory with Lillian Likes It by Joshua Mikel as part of the 2015 Essential Theatre Festival. Zion, a world premiere by Natalia Naman of Columbus, is a drama with music about people searching for a spiritual life in trying times. The characters include an elder and a church-loving young man who’s beginning to realize he’s gay. Note: The Essential fest, which celebrates Georgia playwrights, can produce blindingly wonderful work as well some unfortunate misses. $15-$20 advance. This week: 8 p.m. Friday, Tuesday and Aug. 13; 7 p.m. Sunday. Check schedule for future performances. West End Performing Arts Center, 945 Ralph David Abernathy Blvd. S.W. Details HERE. Tickets HERE or at email@example.com.
The Secret Garden. THROUGH AUG. 16. World premiere. This coming-of-age story about recently orphaned Mary Lennox is adapted by playwright and frequent Serenbe collaborator Rachel Teagle and performed in the new (and permanent) English Garden at Serenbe. Based on the 1911 Frances Hodgson Burnett novel. $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.
Uprising. THROUGH AUG. 23. In this world premiere, Atlanta playwright Gabrielle Fulton tells a tale of freedom and romance, lacing it with blues-rooted spirituals, danger and magic realism. It takes place in the aftermath of John Brown’s 1859 raid on Harpers Ferry, when a young woman named Sal (the wonderful Cynthia D. Barker) encounters a revolutionary on the run after the would-be slave revolt. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.584.7450. (Pictured: Barker as Sal)
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 mentioned above. Please email: firstname.lastname@example.org.