What to see? What to do? Our top recommendation? The inaugural weekend of Actor’s Express’ Threshold New Play Festival, featuring new works from Atlanta playwrights (from left) S.M. Shephard-Massat, Johnny Drago and Lee Nowell. There’s also a holiday show or two from which to choose.


AEbugThreshold New Play Festival. SATURDAY-SUNDAY. In the inaugural year of its new-play-readings fest, Actor’s Express focuses on local writers Johnny Drago, S.M. Shephard-Massat and Lee Nowell. Clifton Guterman, National New Play Network producer in residence at AE, curates the event. $10 per reading; $20 festival pass. 887 West Marietta St. in the King Plow Arts Center. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.607.7469. The lineup:

  • Trick Church by S.M. Shephard-Massat. 2 p.m. Saturday. One fateful Christmas, secrets converge at the Tee Tee Room Lounge and the Kimono My Place Bowling and Bar. Andrea Frye directs.
  • Playwrights panel discussion. 4 p.m. Saturday. Guterman moderates a conversation with the three playwrights. Free.
  • I Love My Brother by Johnny Drago. 8 p.m. Saturday. This pair of one-acts examines the ways queer people relate to their straight siblings. Melissa Foulger directs.
  • Obsession by Lee Nowell. 2 p.m. Sunday. A theater director becomes dangerously obsessed with his leading lady in this thriller from the writer of the 2010 AE world premiere Albatross. David Crowe directs.

New this week

Black Nativity. THROUGH DEC. 20. This gospel adaptation of Langston Hughes’ original Broadway song-play tells the Nativity story through Scripture, poetry, dance and song that connects a contemporary church revival to the time of the birth of Christ. Presented by Dominion Entertainment Group in association with Fulton County. $15-$50. 8 tonight-Friday and Dec. 10-11 + 17-18; 2 + 8 p.m. Saturday and Dec. 12 + 19; 4 p.m. Sunday and Dec. 13 + 20; and 11 a.m. Dec. 9 + 16. Southwest Arts Center, 915 New Hope Road. Tickets HERE.

Ken Clement (left) and Daniel Patrick Smith in “Elf.” Photo: Chris Bennion

Elf the Musical. THROUGH SUNDAY. The Broadway show based on the 2003 Will Ferrell movie about an orphan  who grows up at the North Pole unaware he’s actually human. All grown, he travels to New York City to find his birth father and help the Big Apple remember the true meaning of Christmas. $40-$100. 7:30 tonight-Friday; 2 + 8 p.m. Saturday; and 1 + 6:30 p.m. Sunday. Presented by Broadway in Atlanta at the Fox Theatre, 660 Peachtree St. N.E. Details HERE. Tickets HERE or at 855.285.849. For more, see this ENCORE FEATURE.

CX-dismayLet Nothing You Dismay. OPENS FRIDAY | THROUGH DEC. 20. A world premiere comedy by Atlanta playwright Topher Payne at Stage Door Players in which eight actors play 22 characters. It’s Christmas, and Kevin and Allie are about to become parents. Although they’ve asked their families to stay away until the baby is home, no one listens. Cast: Bryan Brendle, Amanda Kucher, Mark Gray, Shelly McCook, Doyle Reynolds, Gina Rickicki, Emily Sams, Ben Silver. $15-$30. 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday; 2:30 p.m. Sunday. Also at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 16. 5339 Chamblee Dunwoody Road,  Dunwoody. Details, tickets HERE or at 770.396.1726.

Brenna McConnell (from left), Christy Baggett and Emerson Steele. Photo: BreeAnne Clowdus
Brenna McConnell (from left), Christy Baggett and Emerson Steele. Photo: BreeAnne Clowdus

A Little Princess. PREVIEWS TONIGHT-FRIDAY | OPENS SATURDAY. Privileged Sara Crewe, daughter of an adventurer in Africa, finds herself in Victorian London, where she’s forced to become a servant. Emerson Steele (Broadway’s recent Violet) plays Sara. This family musical by Brian Crawley and Andrew Lippa is based on the Frances Hodgson Burnett novel. $25-$50. 7:30 p.m. Wednesday-Friday; 2:30 + 7:30 p.m. Saturday; 2:30 p.m. Sunday. Also at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 22 and 2:30 p.m. Dec. 23. At Theatrical Outfit. The Balzer Theatre at Herren’s, 84 Luckie St. N.W. Details, tickets HERE or at 678.528.1500. Discount tickets at

CX-snowThe Snow Queen. OPENS TONIGHT | THROUGH DEC. 30. The story of best friends Gerda and Kai, and the evil queen who separates them, returns for a second season at Serenbe Playhouse. Adapted by frequent Serenbe collaborator Rachel Teagle from the Hans Christian Andersen tale. The 50-minute show takes place outdoors in the Natural Playground at Serenbe. It’s family-friendly, performed rain or shine, requires walking and takes place in a dark environment. Warm clothing advised. Note: Many shows are sold out, so please check ahead. $15-$20. 8 p.m. Wednesday-Friday; 6 + 8 p.m. Saturday-Sunday. 10642 Serenbe Lane, Chattahoochee Hills. Directions HERE. Details, tickets HERE or at 770.463.1110.

Toad (Robert Lee Hindsman, left) and Frog (Chase Davidson) contemplate friendship. Photo: Chris Bartelski

A Year With Frog and Toad. OPENS FRIDAY | THROUGH DEC. 27. Synchronicity Theatre reprises its popular musical with a mostly new cast. The cheerful Frog and grumpy Toad might get hopping mad at each other sometimes, but their friendship sees them through a year of adventures, from growing seeds to sledding down a snowy hill at breakneck speed. Chase Davidson (Actor’s Express’ Rent) is Frog; Robert Lee Hindsman (AE’s Stupid F*cking Bird) is Toad. $15-$35. 7:30 p.m. Friday; 1 + 4:30 p.m. Saturday; 2 + 5:30 p.m. Sunday; 2 p.m. Dec. 21-23; 11 a.m. Dec. 24. Student matinees (call ahead) at 10:30 a.m. through Dec. 17. Synchronicity Theatre at Peachtree Pointe, 1545 Peachtree St. N.E. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.484.3686.

Now playing


The 12 Dates of Christmas. THROUGH DEC. 19. Funny lady Jaclyn Hofmann (pictured at left) returns for a third season as Mary who, unfortunately, sees her fiancé kiss another woman on national TV during the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. At Aurora Theatre, in repertory with artistic director Anthony P. Rodriguez’s one-man A Christmas Carol. $20-$30. 8 p.m. Friday and Dec. 10, 12, 16 + 18; 2:30 p.m. Saturday and Dec. 13 + 19. Free, covered, attached parking in city deck at 153 E. Crogan St. Details, tickets HERE or at 678.226.6222.

Christmas Canteen 2015. THROUGH DEC. 20. Aurora Theatre’s annual holiday revue turns 20 with more of the audience-pleasing jokes and songs for which it’s known. $30-$65; 8 p.m. Wednesday-Friday; 2:30 + 8 p.m. Saturday; and 2:30 p.m. Sunday. Many shows are sold out, so please check ahead. 128 E. Pike St., Lawrenceville. Free, covered, attached parking in city deck at 153 E. Crogan St. Details, tickets HERE or at 678.226.6222.

Chris Kayser (left) is Marley, with David de Vries as Scrooge. Photo: Greg Mooney

A Christmas Carol. THROUGH DEC. 27. Bah, humbug, indeed. The Alliance Theatre’s  multicultural, musical staging of the Dickens classic returns with David de Vries as Scrooge for a second season; longtime Scrooge Chris Kayser returns, after a year off, as Marley. Let the caroling begin! Tickets start at $20. Show times vary; details HERE. Tickets HERE or at 404.733.5000. Discount tickets at for Sunday night show only. For more, see this ENCORE FEATURE.

A Christmas Carol. THROUGH DEC. 20. Aurora Theatre artistic director Anthony P. Rodriguez again delivers his one-man version of Dickens’ classic holiday parable. In repertory with the one-woman comedy The 12 Dates of Christmas. $20-$30. 8 p.m. Thursday, Saturday and Dec. 9, 11, 17 + 19; 2:30 p.m. Sunday and Dec. 12 + 20. Free, covered, attached parking in city deck at 153 E. Crogan St. Details, tickets HERE or at 678.226.6222.

Horizon_-_Santaland2013The Santaland Diaries. THROUGH DEC. 31. Crumpet’s back, and he’s not happy about it. Crumpet (Harold Leaver, pictured, at left) recounts the true-life tale of an unemployed writer working as a Macy’s Department Store elf. By David Sedaris — and not for children. Enoch King and Lala Cochran complete the cast. $25-$45. 8 p.m. Wednesday-Friday; 8:30 p.m. Saturday; and 6 p.m. Sunday. Horizon Theatre, 1105 Euclid Ave. N.E. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.584.7450.

Next week

CX-ABnutbugAtlanta Ballet’s Nutcracker. OPENS DEC. 11 | THROUGH DEC. 27. One of the hallmarks of metro Atlanta’s holiday season. This year is the 20th anniversary staging of artistic director John McFall’s version; McFall has announced he’ll retire at the end of the season. $20-$127, plus ticketing fees of up to $17.95 per ticket. 7:30 p.m. Thursday-Friday; 2 + 7:30 p.m. Saturday; and 2 + 7:30 p.m. Sunday. Also at 2 p.m. Dec. 22; 2 + 7:30 p.m. Dec. 23; 1 p.m. Dec. 24; and at 2 p.m. only on Dec. 27.  Fox Theatre, 660 Peachtree St. N.E.  Details, tickets HERE or at 404.892.3303. Discount tickets at For more, see this ENCORE FEATURE.

CX-connie-sue-cropHo, Ho, Home for the Holidays and a Connie Sue Day Christmas. OPENS DEC. 11 | THROUGH DEC. 20. Funny lady and singer extraordinaire Libby Whittemore returns to Actor’s Express for her seventh annual holiday show. Expect holiday classics, a few surprises and tunes made classic by Whittemore herself (including, perhaps, “The 12 Days of a White Trash Christmas” by alter ego Connie Sue Day, the 31st Lady of Country Music). $40 (plus tax). 7:30 nightly. Dec. 11-12 and 18-20. 887 West Marietta St. in the King Plow Arts Center. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.607.7469. (Pictured: Whittemore as Connie Sue Day. Photo: BreeAnne Clowdus)


Home Brew Series: Richard Garner and Lee Nowell. DEC. 12 ONLY. 7 Stages continues its free play development series with Commission, a piece based entirely on historical fact that explains why Shakespeare wrote Macbeth. Garner, an actor, director and writer, was the longtime artistic director at Georgia Shakespeare. Nowell, an actor, playwright and arts administrator, is managing director at Synchronicity Theatre. Free. 2 p.m. Includes free local craft beer sponsored by Red Hare Brewery. 1105 Euclid Ave. N.E. Details HERE or at 404.523.7647. Details on upcoming Home Brew events, go HERE.

CX-viennaVienna Choir Boys. DEC. 9 ONLY. For six centuries, this famous singers have delighted music lovers around the world with their pure, angelic sound and a repertoire that ranges from Austrian folk songs to classical masterpieces. This concert features holiday hits, traditional carols and a sing-along. $19.50-$59.50. 7:30 p.m. Symphony Hall, Woodruff Arts Center, 280 Peachtree St. N.E. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.733.5000.






About Kathy Janich

Kathy Janich is a longtime arts journalist who has been seeing, working in or writing about the performing arts for most of her life. She's a member of the Theatre Communications Group, the Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas, Americans for the Arts and the National Arts Marketing Project. Full disclosure: She’s also an artistic associate at Synchronicity Theatre.

View all posts by Kathy Janich