What to see, what to do? We haven’t seen everything out there yet, but our GPS this weekend is pointed toward Carousel (Serenbe Playhouse), Ethel (Alliance Theatre), Serial Black Face (Actor’s Express) and Sex With Strangers (Horizon Theatre). Pictured: Kelly Chapin Martin and Edward McCreary as Julie Jordan and Billy Bigelow in Carousel. Photo by BreeAnne Clowdus.

Top picks

Carousel. THROUGH APRIL 10. In the spirit of go big or go home, Serenbe Playhouse opens its seventh season with its own spin on the Rodgers & Hammerstein classic about a carnival barker, the girl he marries and the townsfolk of coastal Maine at the end of the 19th century. Serenbe’s staging returns much of the cast from 2014’s Oklahoma!, and the production — either a gimmick or a stroke of genius — pops out of an actual working fair, which theatergoers can experience before the show. All Serenbe shows take place outdoors, rain or shine. $30-$35. 8 p.m. Wednesday-Sunday; also 2:30 p.m. April 3 + 10. Fair opens an hour before show time and noon-5 p.m. April 2 + 9. Serenbe is in Chattahoochee Hills south of Atlanta. Carousel directions HERE. Details, tickets HERE or at 770.463.1110.


Terry Burrell as Ethel Waters. Photo: terryburrell.com

Ethel. EXTENDED THROUGH APRIL 24. A one-woman glimpse into the magnificent and complicated life of legendary radio/stage/film star Ethel Waters (“Stormy Weather,” Cabin in the Sky). It’s written and performed by Atlanta-based Terry Burrell (Broadway’s original Dreamgirls, Threepenny Opera, Into the Woods, Thoroughly Modern Millie). Profanity, adult situations. For ages 11 + up. $20-$39. Hertz Stage, Alliance Theatre, Woodruff Arts Center, 1280 Peachtree St. N.E. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.733.5000.


Tinashe Kajese-Bolden as the single mother. Photo: BreeAnne Clowdus

Serial Black Face. IN PREVIEWS  | OPENS SATURDAY. One of the most-anticipated shows of the Atlanta season. This world premiere from Janine Nabers is set against the backdrop of the Atlanta Child Murders. In 1979, a single mother copes with her son’s disappearance while dealing with a difficult teenage daughter. Then love walks in. Nabers’ script won the 2014 Yale Drama Series, besting more than 1,600 entries from 41 countries. Through April 24 at Actor’s Express. $20-$40. 8 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday; 2 p.m. Sunday. King Plow Arts Center, 887 W. Marietta St. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.607.7469. Discount tickets at PoshDealz.com.


Shenefelt, Hayes. Photo: Horizon Theatre

Sex With Strangers. OPENS FRIDAY | THROUGH MAY 1. Playwright Laura Eason’s comedy about fame, cyber-identity and ambition made this year’s list of the Top 10 most-produced plays in America. The contemporary romantic dram-com concerns a 24-year-old sexcapades blogger and a 30-year-old failed writer, who meet at a Michigan retreat. The two-person cast: Megan Hayes (The Hunger Games: Catching Fire), a longtime Atlanta actor-writer now based in Los Angeles, and Florida’s Michael Shenefelt. $25 + up. At Horizon Theatre, 1083 Austin Ave. N.E. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.584.7450.

Last chance

Galapagos George, the Little Tortoise. CLOSES SUNDAY. This eco-fable by Barefoot Puppets of Richmond, Va., tells the true story of a not-so-little tortoise who’s the last of his kind. Performed with rod, shadow and tabletop puppets. For ages 4 + up. $20.50. 10 + 11:30 a.m. today-Friday; 11 a.m., 1 p.m. + 3 p.m. Saturday; 1 + 3 p.m. Sunday. Center for Puppetry Arts, 1404 Spring St. N.W. (at 18th Street). Details, tickets HERE or at 404.873.3391.

Kinky Boots. THROUGH SUNDAY. Inspired by true events. Journey from a gentlemen’s shoe factory in England to the glam catwalks of Milan, where Charlie Price, struggling to keep the family factory alive, finds help in the unlikely but spectacular form of Lola, a performer in need of new stilettos. Winner of six 2013 Tony awards, including best musical. Presented here by Broadway in Atlanta. $30-$125. 7:30 tonight; 8 p.m. Friday; 2 + 8 p.m. Saturday; and 1 + 6 p.m. Sunday. Fox Theatre, 660 Peachtree St. N.E. Details, tickets HERE or at 855.285.8499.


This weekend only

24hour-logoThe 24-Hour Opera Project. FRIDAY-SATURDAY. Atlanta Opera‘s sixth annual mini-opera madness begins at 9 a.m. Friday, when five teams of composers and lyricists learn their theme, then have 12 hours to make creative magic. At 9 p.m. the operas go to stage directors, who have 12 hours to draft singers, rehearse and have their operas performed live. Show time is 8 p.m. Saturday. Friday’s free kickoff is at the First Presbyterian Church of Atlanta, 1328 Peachtree St. N.E., near the Woodruff Arts Center. Saturday’s performance is at SCADShow (formerly the 14th Street Playhouse), 173 14th St. N.E. (at Juniper Street). $10. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.881.8885.

ASO: All-Night Vigil (Vespers). SUNDAY ONLY. The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Chamber Chorus sings Rachmaninoff’s Vespers, Opus 37, a purely choral work performed a cappella. Part of the ASO’s monthlong April Centennial Celebration of Robert Shaw’s birth. $25. 3 p.m. Symphony Hall, Woodruff Arts Center, 1280 Peachtree St. N.E. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.733.5000.


ASO: Debussy, Ravel & Berlioz. TONIGHT + SATURDAY. Danish conductor Thomas Søndergård leads the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra in a program comprising Berlioz’s overture for Le corsaire, Opus 21; Debussy’s seafaring La Mer; and Ravel’s Rapsodie espagnole and Piano Concerto for the Left Hand. French pianist Alexandre Tharaud solos on the concerto. A free chamber recital preceding tonight’s concert begins at 6:45 and is open to anyone with a ticket for either night$39-$79. 8 nightly. Symphony Hall, Woodruff Arts Center, 1280 Peachtree St. N.E. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.733.5000.

Still playing

Hail Mary! THROUGH APRIL 17. A comic-drama by Tom Dudzick (Miracle on South Division Street) about a young nun who finds herself at odds with old-time religion. Critics have called it a show for “audiences who want a bracing combination of laughter and deep thoughts.” The Stage Door Players cast: Theo Harness, Jeff K. Lester, Eliana Marianes, Ann Wilson and Suzanne Zoller. $22-$30. 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday; 2:30 p.m. Sunday. 5339 Chamblee-Dunwoody Road, Dunwoody. Details HERE. Tickets HERE or at 770.396.1726.

Jack (Brian Walker, right) with his mother (Bernardine Mitchell) and his cow, Milky White. Photo: Chris Bartelski
Jack (Brian Walker, right) with his mother (Bernardine Mitchell) and his cow, Milky White. Photo: Chris Bartelski

Into the Woods. THROUGH APRIL 17. Atlanta’s season of Sondheim continues at Aurora Theatre with this award-winning musical (three Tonys, five Drama Desk awards), a collection of fractured fairy tales that explores what happens after “happily ever after.” Aurora’s take isn’t wholly successful, but it does include some fine Atlanta talent: Caroline Arapoglou (Rapunzel), Natasha Drena (the Witch), Wendy Melkonian (the Baker’s Wife). Adult content. Not. For. Children. Selling fast. 128 E. Pike St., Lawrenceville. Free, covered, attached parking in city deck at 153 E. Crogan St. Details, tickets HERE. Discount tickets at PoshDealz.com.

Next week

beyond-reasonable-doubtBeyond Reasonable Doubt: The Troy Davis Project. OPENS APRIL 8 | THROUGH MAY 1. A world premiere. Atlanta playwright Lee Nowell and Synchronicity Theatre take on  justice and race in this drama based on trial transcripts, legal documents, photographs, letters, interviews, blog posts and published articles about the 2011 execution of Troy Anthony Davis for the murder of off-duty Savannah police officer Mark MacPhail. One act in this two-act play brings forth evidence of Davis’ guilt; the other evidence of his innocence. The two acts are played in alternating order each night and a conversation follows each performance. Rachel May directs a cast comprising Cynthia D. Barker, John Benzinger, Eddie Bradley Jr., Lane Carlock, Danielle Deadwyler, Terry Henry, Eric Mendenhall and Stephen Ruffin. $20-$48. 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday; 5 p.m. Sunday. Synchronicity Theatre at Peachtree Pointe, 1545 Peachtree St. N.E. in Midtown. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.484.8636.


dreamgirlslogoDreamgirlsOPENS APRIL 8 | THROUGH APRIL 24. Kevin Harry (Sweeney Todd at Actor’s Express) plays Curtis Taylor Jr., a mogul in the mold of Berry Gordy Jr., who takes some raw talent and a few girl groups (the Supremes?) and creates a soundtrack for the 1960s and ’70s. Kayce Grogan-Wallace plays Effie Melody White, the role made famous by Jennifer Holliday. At Atlanta Lyric Theatre. $38-$58. 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday; 2 p.m. Sunday. Also 2 p.m. April 23. Jennie T. Anderson Theatre at the Cobb Civic Center, 548 S. Marietta Parkway, Marietta. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.377.9948. Discount tickets at PoshDealz.com.

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

One Comment on “This week's best bets: March 31-April 6, 2016”

  1. Delighted that you headlined “Carousel”; it’s a bold, beautiful production, well worth the drive down. I hope they sell out!

Comments are closed.