Welcome to our curated column on the best arts & culture events in metro Atlanta. From the ASO season finale with André Watts to the Atlanta Fringe and One-Minute Play festivals, Horizon’s “City of Conversation” indoors or its “Toxic Avenger” under the night sky at Piedmont Park, you can’t go wrong. Pictured: Nick Arapoglou and Julissa Sabino in “Toxic Avenger.” Photo by Greg Mooney.
ASO Season Finale. TONIGHT, SATURDAY-SUNDAY. Atlanta Symphony music director Robert Spano returns to the podium for an all-Brahms conclusion to the 2015/16 classical season. It features André Watts on Piano Concerto No. 2, followed by the quite different Symphony No. 2. $25-$94. 8 tonight + Saturday; 3 p.m. Sunday. Symphony Hall, Woodruff Arts Center, 1280 Peachtree St. N.E. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.733.5000. Discount tickets at PoshDealz.com.
Atlanta Fringe Festival. THROUGH SUNDAY. The fifth annual fest features 24 productions – cabaret/variety, solo, drama, contemporary dance theater, music and motion installation, theater, comedy, spoken word, sci-fi, improv, magic, contemporary ballet and mime/mask theater – from metro Atlanta, Athens, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, New Orleans, San Francisco and Seattle, as well as Falls Church, Va.; Hoover, Ala.; St. Louis Park, Minn.; and Oakland, Calif. $3 with single ticket purchases. Everyone must have a Fringe Fest button (free with passes, $3 with single tickets). Passes come in three categories: six-show ($40), 10-show ($60) and all-access ($90); $10 single shows. Based at 7 Stages, 1105 Euclid Ave. N.E. , one of four Little Five Points venues being used. Details, tickets HERE.
The City of Conversation. THROUGH JUNE 26. The New York Times called this 2014 piece “smart, literate and funny,” and it is all that. Anthony Giardina’s play follows the Washington, D.C., lives of one politically active family from the Carter years through Obama’s historic election. Justin Anderson directs a must-see Horizon Theatre cast: Deborah Bowman, Carolyn Cook, Allen Edwards, Rachel Garner, Chris Kayser, Tess Malis Kincaid, Joshua D. Mitchell and Justin Walker. $25 and up. 8 p.m. Wednesday-Friday; 3 + 8:30 p.m. Saturday; 5 p.m. Sunday. 1083 Austin Ave. at Euclid Avenue. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.584.7450.
Create ATL. SUNDAY ONLY. Join the Alliance Theatre, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and High Museum of Art for three hours of free activities that families can experience together at the Woodruff Arts Center. See shows, make costumes, use instruments, dance, eat and drink. 1-4 p.m. 1280 Peachtree St. N.E. Details HERE.
One-Minute Play Festival. SUNDAY-MONDAY. Twelve directors, dozens of actors and more than 50 original short plays. This wild, unpredictable national event comes to Atlanta for a fifth season, intending to take the city’s temperature and create events that promote “radical inclusion.” Its creator/curator is New York-based producing artistic director Dominic D’Andrea. Atlanta is one of more than 20 cities with annual events. Among this year’s playwrights: Margaret Baldwin, Megan Hayes, Matt Myers, Amina S. McIntyre, Addae Moon, Lee Nowell, Theroun Patterson, Topher Payne and Steve Yockey. $12. 8 nightly. Actor’s Express, King Plow Arts Center in West Midtown, 887 W. Marietta St. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.607.7469.
Pancakes, Pancakes! THROUGH JULY 10. A world premiere, with original music, inspired by the Eric Carle picture book. Pancakes, Pancakes! explores the process of cooking and celebrates the joy in the work and final feast. Adaptation by Kenneth Lin (Alliance Theatre’s Warrior Class, said Saïd), original songs by Atlanta playwright/composer Phillip DePoy (Edward Foote). $15; $8 age 6-17; under 5 free. 11:45 a.m. Tuesday; 10 + 11:45 a.m. Wednesday-Friday; 11 a.m., 1 p.m. + 3:30 p.m. Saturday; and 1 + 3:30 p.m. Sunday. Staged by the Alliance Theatre in conjunction with the High Museum of Art exhibit I See a Story: The Art of Eric Carle, running through Jan. 8. Hertz Stage, Woodruff Arts Center, 1280 Peachtree St. N.E. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.733.5000.
The Toxic Avenger. THIS WEEKEND ONLY. Horizon Theatre reprises the campy off-Broadway musical in the open air at Piedmont Park. It’s about an unlikely hero, his girlfriend, a corrupt New Jersey mayor and two guys who play everything from bullies and mobsters to old ladies and stiletto-wearing backup singers. Not appropriate for children. General admission is free; reserved seating (closer to stage) is $15; table seats are $35; private table for six is $200. 7:30 tonight-Sunday. The Promenade at the north end of Piedmont Park, near the Atlanta Botanical Garden, 1345 Piedmont Ave. N.E. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.584.7450.
The Little Pirate Mermaid. THROUGH JULY 17. The mermaid princess-turned-pirate sails back into the Center for Puppetry Arts for more swashbuckling adventures. The piece, adapted and directed by artistic director Jon Ludwig, is told with rod, marionette, shadow and black-light puppets and is good for ages 4+. $20.50. 10 + 11 a.m. Tuesday-Friday; 11 a.m., noon and 1, 2, 3 + 4 p.m. Saturday; and 1, 2, 3, 4 p.m. Sunday. 1404 Spring St. N.W. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.873.3391.
Of Mice & Men. OPENS TONIGHT | THROUGH JUNE 26. John Steinbeck’s famous novel is adapted for the outdoor spaces of Serenbe Playhouse, which becomes a working farm in Depression-era California. Daniel Parvis and Blake Burgess play farmhands George and Lennie, the witty little guy and the lumbering giant of a man, in this classic story about friendship, fortitude and fate. You’ll see it in Serenbe’s barn, alongside a horse or two. Best for ages 15+. $30. 8 p.m. Wednesday-Sunday. 10950 Hutchesons Ferry Road in Chattahoochee Hills. Details, directions, tickets HERE or at 770.463.1110. Discount tickets at PoshDealz.com.
West Side Story. OPENS FRIDAY |THROUGH JUNE 26. Snap! Crackle! Cool! Romeo and Juliet relocate to the west side of New York City and become lovers Tony and Maria is this classic musical by Arthur Laurents, Leonard Bernstein and a young Stephen Sondheim. The year is 1957, and as summer temperatures rise, so do the tensions between two rival gangs — the Jets (Americans) and the Sharks (Puerto Ricans). The original won two Tony awards but, remarkably, not best musical or best score, which includes “Maria,” “Tonight,” “America,” “I Feel Pretty,” “Gee, Officer Krupke” and “Somewhere.” $38-$58. 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday; 2 p.m. Sunday. Atlanta Lyric Theatre, Jennie T. Anderson Theatre, Cobb County Civic Center Complex, 548 S. Marietta Parkway, Marietta. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.377.9948. Discount tickets at PoshDealz.com.
The 39 Steps. CLOSES SUNDAY. Playwright Patrick Barlow mixes Hitchcock and Monty Python in this 2005 comic whodunit that features a plane crash, missing fingers, romance and a handful of actors playing more than 150 characters, At Stage Door Players. Cast: Stephanie Friedman, Tony Larkin, John Markowski and Jacob York. $15-$30. 8 p.m. Friday-Saturday; 2:30 p.m. Sunday. 5339 Chamblee-Dunwoody Road, Dunwoody. Details, tickets HERE or at 770.396.1726.
Charlotte’s Web. THROUGH JULY 31. Best friends Wilbur and Charlotte, a pig and spider, respectively, tell truths about life, death and hard choices in this staging based on E.B. White‘s famous children’s book. At Serenbe Playhouse, where the action unfolds outdoors, real animals keep you company, and a cast of six plays live folk music. Performed rain or shine. $10-$20. 11 a.m. Friday-Saturday; 2 p.m. Sunday. The Animal Village in Serenbe, 10950 Hutchesons Ferry Road in Chattahoochee Hills. Details, directions, tickets HERE or at 770.463.1110. Discount tickets at PoshDealz.com.
The Merchant of Venice. THROUGH JUNE 19. A lost fortune, a lover’s choice and one of the most powerful expressions of the quality of mercy in literature. Meet Portia, Bassanio and Shylock, the Jewish moneylender and one of Shakespeare’s most controversial characters, at the Shakespeare Tavern Playhouse. Full pub menu and bar. $18-$35. Through June 19. 7:30 p.m. Thursday-Saturday; 6:30 p.m. Sunday. 499 Peachtree St. N.E. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.5299.
Significant Other. THROUGH JUNE 19. In this script by Joshua Harmon (last season’s Bad Jews), a man named Jordan is looking for Mr. Right. As each close-knit girlfriend couples off, he moves from best friend to lonely friend, searching for love and learning to move on. The funny-sad comedy, which closes the Actor’s Express season, had its world premiere in New York last summer, becoming a New York Times critic’s pick. $26 and up. 8 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday; 2 p.m. Sunday. King Plow Arts Center in West Midtown, 887 W. Marietta St. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.607.7469. Discount tickets at PoshDealz.com.
Libby’s at the Express. JUNE 23-26. Popular cabaret artist Libby Whittemore closes out her seventh year of Libby’s at the Express shows with another return to the 1970s. She’s joined on the Actor’s Express stage by Lisa Paige, Wendy Melkonian, Shawn Megorden, and Robert Strickland and his Super-Sized Combo. Expect medleys featuring rock ‘n’ roll, Fleetwood Mac, protest songs and disco from such artists at Al Green, Carole King, Kenny Loggins, Carly Simon and more. $40. 7:30 nightly. King Plow Arts Center, 887 West Marietta St. N.W. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.607.7469.