Atlanta actor Tara Ochs. Leftist German playwright Bertolt Brecht. Strange bedfellows, you think? Not so much.

Both are part of 7 Stages‘ 2016/17 season, one that explores otherworldly worlds, features an  excruciatingly timely world premiere and the return of  Ofir Nahari’s escapist No(se)onenowhere.

Tara Ochs in "Selma"; the real Viola Liuzzo
Tara Ochs in “Selma”; the real Viola Liuzzo

A word of advice: Put Ochs’ one-person White Woman in Progress at the top of your must-see list. Do it now. Don’t like one-person plays? Doesn’t matter. Do it. White Woman in Progress, directed by artistic director Heidi S. Howard, was the single best piece of theater I’ve seen in at least a year, and this was at a reading — no lights, no set, no sound, no visuals.

The piece comes from Ochs’ experiences in and around the feature film Selma, in which she played civil rights activist Viola Liuzzo, who drove from Detroit to Selma to take part in the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous march, and never returned.

The drama was nurtured in 7 Stages’ Home Brew series, a nifty program that gives audiences a free sneak peek (and beer) at works-in-progress on several Saturday afternoons each season.

Even in its infancy Ochs’ tale was universal and painfully personal, funny, horrifying and wholly unforgettable. It debuts in March 2017. Plan ahead.

7 Stages focuses largely on the social, political and spiritual values of contemporary culture. It’s led by Howard, co-artistic director Michael Haverty, managing director Mack Headrick and marketing director Caroline Huftalen. Their mix of presenting and producing happens at their two-theater building on Euclid Avenue in Little Five Points.

The season begins Sept. 9 with Brecht’s Threepenny Opera (music by Kurt Weill). It ends May 14 with Curious Queer Encounters, the latest installment in the franchise that highlights original and interactive performances hidden in and around the theater building.

Season passports ($75 through May 31) are on sale HERE or at 404.523.7647. The price goes up June 1. Single tickets will be available closer to  opening nights. Here’s a closer look at the season.

3pennyThe Threepenny Opera

SEPT. 9-25. Bertolt Brecht’s classic play with music opened in 1928, but its themes — rich versus poor, socialism versus capitalism, government corruption — still resonate. If you know 7 Stages (see photo at left), you’ll expect this Opera to have its own L5P vibe. The show’s most famous number — covered by everyone from Ella Fitzgerald and Frank Sinatra to Bobby Darin and Dr. John — is Kurt Weill‘s menacing ballad “Mack the Knife.”


NOV. 3-6. Presented by Niv Sheinfeld and Oren Laor, who combine contemporary dance with performance art and physical theater. In this piece, what begins as a country line dance evolves into “something dark, erotic and immersive, with beauty, intelligence and humor.”


NOV. 9-13. Sometimes the only way to escape is to create a new world within yourself. Ofir Nahari, an Israeli master physical performer, returns for an encore performance of this piece, seen at 7 Stages in 2013.

Krampus Xmas

DEC. 8-10. Leave the kids at home and grab an armload of PBRs. This annual anti-Christmas show will be one part naughty-list nightmare and one part Japanese horror flick. You’ll find nothing else like it in all of metro Atlanta.

seaSea of Common Catastrophe

FEB. 2-12, 2017. This new work by New Orleans-based ArtSpot Productions tells the story of two people settling into a new home, only to be displaced by rising water that compels them to find a new way of living. 7 Stages asks: As gentrification changes our neighborhoods, what happens when we leave? And what rises in our wake?

White Woman in Progress

MARCH 17-APRIL 2, 2017. World premiere. Written and performed by Atlanta playwright-actor Tara Ochs. A one-woman show inspired by Ochs’ role as civil rights activist Viola Liuzzo in the Oscar-nominated movie Selma. Ochs champions individual power and breaks open conversations surrounding privilege, race and social justice yesterday and today.

Curious Queer Encounters

MAY 4-14, 2017. This annual event goes in an LGBT direction. Seven local ensembles and artists, curated by Haverty, create original and interactive performances hidden in and around the Euclid Avenue theater building to represent and redefine queer culture.

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