Want to put some culture in your weekend? See a show! Our recommendations include “Memphis” at Aurora Theatre with Travis Smith as disc jockey Huey Calhoun and Naima Carter Russell as up-and-coming R&B sensation Felicia Farrell. Photo by Chris Bartelski.
Memphis. THROUGH AUG. 30. This Aurora Theatre/Theatrical Outfit co-pro is playing the Lawrenceville stage before moving to downtown Atlanta in September. This musical, inspired by true events, isn’t the best you’ll ever see, but Aurora’s 27-member cast and nine-piece band joyfully tear up the joint. The show, which won the 2010 Tony Award for best best musical (weak season), features pioneering disc jockey Huey Calhoun who moves Southern rock ‘n’ roll from radio to TV. $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. (Beware the construction on Ga. 316.) Details, tickets HERE or at 678.226.6222. Discount tickets at PoshDealz.com.
OPENING THIS WEEKEND
Hot Pink, or Ready to Blow. OPENS TONIGHT | THROUGH AUG. 30. A world premiere by Atlanta playwright Johnny Drago, the second show in the Weird Sisters Theatre Project‘s short summer season. When New Pompeii’s annual sacrifice fails to satisfy the volcano’s appetite for virgins, three totally ’80s teenagers concoct a plan to save themselves. Weird Sisters co-founder Veronika Duerr directs. $20. 8 nightly. Alliance Theatre’s 3rd floor black-box, Woodruff Arts Center, 1280 Peachtree St. N.E. Details, tickets HERE. (Pictured, from left, Parris Sarter, Casey Gardner and Bryn Striepe)
CREATE ATL: Family Fun at the Woodruff Arts Center. SUNDAY ONLY. An afternoon of free 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. CLOSES SUNDAY. In repertory with The Old Ship of Zion by Natalia Naman as part of the 2015 Essential Theatre Festival. Lillian, a world premiere by Conyers’ Joshua Mikel, is a quirky comedy that begins as a satirical look at social media but 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. $15-$20 advance. Remaining performances: 8 tonight; 2 + 8 p.m. Saturday; and 7 p.m. Sunday. Details HERE. Tickets HERE or at email@example.com.
Motown the Musical. CLOSES SUNDAY. The story of Motown Records’ founder Berry Gordy Jr. is told through the music and artists that made the label an American icon — the Supremes, the Jackson 5, the Temptations, Smokey Robinson, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, etc. Nominated for five 2015 Tony awards. Presented by Broadway in Atlanta. $30-$150. 7:30 tonight; 8 p.m. Friday; 2 + 8 p.m. Saturday; and 1 + 6:30 p.m. Sunday. Fox Theatre, 660 Peachtree St. N.E. Details HERE. tickets HERE. For more on the show, see this ENCORE FEATURE. (Pictured: Julius Thomas III as Berry Gordy Jr. Photo by Joan Marcus)
The Old Ship of Zion. CLOSES FRIDAY. In repertory with Lillian Likes It by Joshua Mikel as part of the 2015 Essential Theatre Festival. This world premiere by Columbus’ Natalia Naman 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. $15-$20 advance. 8 p.m. Friday. West End Performing Arts Center, 945 Ralph David Abernathy Blvd. S.W. Details HERE. Tickets HERE or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rent. CLOSES SATURDAY. Jonathan Larson’s groundbreaking (Tony Award, Pulitzer Prize) rock musical reimagines Puccini’s la Boheme in New York City’s East Village. Actor’s Express’ staging is vibrant and mostly well-sung, if over the top in some places. This week’s shows feature Kevin Harry as Tom Collins. Rent has become the best-selling show in AE history, so plan ahead. $26-$45. 8 tonight-Friday; and 2 + 8 p.m. Saturday. King Plow Arts Center, 887 West Marietta St. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.607.7469. (Pictured: Michael Stiggers, left, as Benjamin Coffin III and Jeremiah Parker Hobbs as Roger Davis. Photo by BreeAnne Clowdus)
Uprising. CLOSES SUNDAY. Atlanta playwright Gabrielle Fulton tells a tale of freedom and romance in this world premiere, 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. It moves to Metro Stage in Alexandria, Va., in September with some of the same actors. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.584.7450.
THIS WEEKEND ONLY
New Mavericks Film Series. FRIDAY + SATURDAY. A celebration of women in film presented by the Atlanta Film Festival and Synchronicity Theatre. It features the work of emerging and established female filmmakers and includes feature films, local shorts and a children’s animation workshop. The opening night feature is Watermelon Women, directed by Cheryl Dunye (8 p.m.). Saturday events run noon-10 p.m. Receptions both evenings. $5-$10 plus fees for single tickets; $20 series passes. Synchronicity Theatre, 1545 Peachtree St. N.E. in the Peachtree Pointe building. Details, tickets HERE or at 470.296.0170. (Pictured: Jasmine Guy in a short film that’s part of “FEMLANTA”)
Wabi Sabi at the High Museum of Art. 8 P.M. This small troupe of Atlanta Ballet dancers performs WHIM, which includes the pieces “IDYLL,” “between” and “swimmer,” all new works by choreographer Robyn Mineko Williams. Wabi Sabi, which performs modern works by up-and-coming choreographers, takes its name from a Japanese worldview that finds beauty in the sincerity, simplicity and integrity of the natural world. On the Sifly Piazza. Free. 1280 Peachtree St. N.E. (Pictured: Wabi Sabi dancers at play. Photo by Kim Kenney)
Wabi Sabi at Serenbe. 5 P.M. This small troupe of Atlanta Ballet dancers performs WHIM by choreographer Robyn Mineko Williams, along with premieres by the ballet’s Tara Lee, Heath Gill and Sarah Hillmer. Free. Serenbe Playhouse, 10950 Hutchesons Ferry Road, Chattahoochee Hills. Details, reservations HERE or at 770.463.1110.
Pericles, Prince of Tyre. OPENS AUG. 28 | THROUGH SEPT. 6 (two weeks only). A dark and troubling riddle starts the heroic adventure of one man’s lifetime, a story of love gained, lost and gained again. Join the New American Shakespeare Tavern as it follows the noble Pericles (Paul Hester, pictured) over continents and decades, goddesses and pirates, jousts and tempests. $15-$39. 7:30 p.m. Thursday-Saturday; 6:30 p.m. Sunday. Pub menu and delicious pints. 499 Peachtree St. N.E. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.874.5299. Discount Tavern gift cards available via PoshDealz.
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: email@example.com.