The two-day Atlanta Musical Theatre Festival begins Monday, the Essential Theatre Festival on Friday and Actor’s Express’ staging of “Company” on Saturday. Pictured: The cast of the “The Fine Art of Forgetting” (with Wendy Melkonian, center), one of the AMTF’s four productions. It’s from Heidi Cline McKerley (book), Jeff McKerley (lyrics) and S. Renee Clark (music). Photo by Casey Gardner.
Atlanta Musical Theatre Festival. MONDAY-TUESDAY. It’s here and it’s exciting. Four new musicals get their first audiences in this inaugural event, modeled after the long-running New York Musical Festival. See Underground, a slave story told through song, at noon Aug. 1 (Synchronicity Theatre, 1545 Peachtree St. NE); The Yellow Wallpaper, based on the experiences of 1890s feminist author Charlotte Perkins Gilman, at 8 p.m. Aug. 1 (Actor’s Express, 887 W. Marietta St.); The Fine Art of Forgetting, a story of family and memory told with magic realism, at noon Aug. 2 (Synchronicity); and What’s Past, in which a pair of siblings wonder what they’d do if they could remember all the things they never knew they forgot, at 8 p.m. Aug. 2 (Actor’s Express). Get passes and single tickets ($27.50-$80) online HERE or by calling Actor’s Express at 404.607.7469. Discount tickets at PoshDealz.com.
Company. PREVIEWS TONIGHT-FRIDAY | OPENS SATURDAY. Extended before it opened. Actor’s Express begins its 29th season promising a “modern makeover” of this 1971 Tony Award-winning Stephen Sondheim hit. Robert (Lowrey Brown) is a single New Yorker about to turn 35. He confronts his bachelorhood in a series of funny-sad-awkward vignettes with his married, meddling friends. The cast (Libby Whittemore, Jill Hames, Jessica Miesel, Daniel Burns, Craig Waldrip, among others) and the score (“The Ladies Who Lunch,” “Another Hundred People” and “Being Alive,” among others) easily make this a best bet. $28 + up (previews are cheaper, opening night more expensive). Through Sept. 11. 8 p.m. Wednesday-Friday; 2 + 8 p.m. Saturday; and 2 p.m. Sunday. 887 W. Marietta St. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.607.7469. Discount tickets at PoshDealz.com.
Dispossessed. OPENS FRIDAY | THROUGH AUG. 28. World premiere. Atlanta playwright Karen Wurl’s romantic comic-fantasy launches the 2016 Essential Theatre Play Festival, an annual summertime event that presents the work of Georgia playwrights. (Beginning Aug. 5, Dispossessed runs in repertory with Derek Dixon’s When Things Are Lost). Dispossessed visits a Yiddish theater company in 1920s New York, where a young actress trying to decide between two suitors and a career is confronted with the living embodiment of the character she’s playing — a bride possessed by the spirit of a dead lover. $20 + $25; fest passes available. Performances: 8 tonight (preview); 8 p.m. Friday (opening); also 8 p.m. Saturday and Aug. 6, 11-12, 16, 20, 23 + 26; 2 p.m. Aug. 7, 21 + 28; and 7 p.m. Aug. 14. West End Performing Arts Center, 945 Ralph David Abernathy Blvd. S.W. Details, tickets HERE.
This weekend only
La Esquinita, USA. TONIGHT-SUNDAY. Aurora Theatre hosts this new solo theatrical work by L.A.-based actor Ruben C. González, who presents the interlocking stories of 10 characters in the fictional town of the title, a place deeply troubled by the Thompson Tire Factory’s impending move to China. $20-$30. 8 tonight-Saturday; 2:30 p.m. Sunday. 128 E. Pike St., Lawrenceville. Free, covered, attached parking in city of Lawrenceville deck at 153 E. Crogan St. Details, tickets HERE or at 678.226.6222.
Palefsky Collision Project. FRIDAY-SATURDAY. For three weeks each summer, the Alliance Theatre assembles 20 metro teenagers to explore and unpack a classic text under the guidance of a playwright and director. Together they create a piece that’s inspired by the classic text but wholly their own. This year it’s Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass. Free, but reservations are advised. 7:30 p.m. Friday; 2:30 p.m. Saturday. Alliance Theatre’s Hertz Stage, Woodruff Arts Center, 1280 Peachtree St. NE. Details, reservations HERE or at 404.733.5000.
Staged reading: Katie Roche. MONDAY ONLY. Arís, Atlanta’s theater for Celtic culture, presents the Atlanta premiere of what it calls “a lost jewel of the Irish theater” by Teresa Deevy (1894-1963), one of the most acclaimed playwrights of her time. In 1930s Ireland, women had few choices about their lives. Women without families had even fewer. This is the world of Katie Roche, who must choose to follow her heart and marry the boy she loves or accept the proposal of a much older man who can raise her social status. $10. Performed at Stage Door Players, 5339 Chamblee Dunwoody Road, Dunwoody. Details, tickets HERE.
Almost Heaven: John Denver’s America. THROUGH SATURDAY. Georgia Ensemble Theatre reprises this popular title as a concert under the stars at the Chattahoochee Nature Center. Hear “Rocky Mountain High,” “Sunshine on My Shoulders,” “Annie’s Song,” “Leaving on a Jet Plane” and about 17 more. $15 general admission lawn seating; $30 reserved table seating. Blankets, coolers and food allowed (no glass or alcohol). Pre-order catered meals at Talk of the Town. 8 nightly. 9135 Willeo Road, Roswell. Details, tickets HERE or at 770.641.1260.
Sleeping Beauty. CLOSES SUNDAY. The National Marionette Theatre of Erie (Pa.)
tells the tale of the evil fairy Belladonna, who casts a spell on Princess Aurora, causing her to sleep for almost 100 years. Only Prince Stefan can rescue her … if he dares. For ages 4+. $20.50. 10 a.m. + noon today-Friday; 11 a.m., 1 p.m. + 3 p.m. Saturday; and 1 + 3 p.m. Sunday. Center for Puppetry Arts, 1404 Spring St. NW. Details, tickets HERE or 404.873.3391.
‘da Kink in My Hair. THROUGH AUG. 28. “If you want to know a black woman, you touch her hair,” says Novelette (Terry Burrell), as she digs into the tresses and stresses of her clients. On this day, her customers converge to prep for dates, jobs and upkeep but leave with lightened hearts and souls. Thomas W. Jones II directs a cast that includes Minka Wiltz, Jeanette Illidge and Maiesha McQueen. $25 + up. 8 p.m. Wednesday-Friday; 3 + 8:30 p.m. Saturday; and 5 p.m. Sunday. Horizon Theatre, 1083 Austin Ave. NE at Euclid Avenue. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.584.7450.
In the Heights. THROUGH AUG. 28. Aurora Theatre and Theatrical Outfit team to stage this 2007 Tony Award-winning best musical, the first Broadway show written by Hamilton auteur Lin-Manuel Miranda. We’re in NYC’s Washington Heights, where the corner bodega serves coffee light and sweet, the windows are always open and the breeze carries a current of change. $30-$65. 8 p.m. Tuesday-Friday; 2:30 + 8 p.m. Saturday; and 2:30 p.m. Sunday. Also at 10 a.m. ($20 + up) Aug. 10 + 17. 128 E. Pike St., Lawrenceville. Free, covered, attached parking in city of Lawrenceville deck at 153 E. Crogan St. Details, tickets HERE or at 678.226.6222. (The Outfit leg of the run is Sept. 8-18 at the Rialto Center for the Arts in downtown Atlanta). Discount tickets for both runs at PoshDealz.com.
Kiss Me, Kate. THROUGH AUG. 7. “So in Love.” “Too Darn Hot.” “Wunderbar.” “From This Moment On.” “Another Op’nin’ Another Show.” “Brush Up Your Shakespeare.” Those are a few of the classic Cole Porter tunes in this 1949 Tony Award-winning best musical that goes backstage and onstage with a show on the road in its pre-Broadway tryout. Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew never sounded so sassy. Paige Mattox is Kate/Lilli Vanessi and Bryant Smith is Petruchio/Fred Graham. $15-$30. 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday; 2:30 p.m. Sunday. Stage Door Players, 5339 Chamblee-Dunwoody Road, Dunwoody. Details, tickets HERE or at 770.396.1726.
A Midsummer Night’s Dream. THROUGH AUG. 7. Shakespeare’s fairy-filled romp through the woods is, perhaps, his most popular comedy. This Shakespeare Tavern Playhouse iteration features some of the company’s better clowning actors. For all ages. Playhouse regular Matt Felton directs. Pub menu and tasty adult beverages available. $15-$40. 7:30 p.m. Thursday-Saturday; 6:30 p.m. Sunday. Parking ($5) recommended in Emory University Hospital Midtown deck on Peachtree Street. The playhouse is across the street at 499 Peachtree St. NE. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.874.5299, Ext. 0.
Miss Saigon. THROUGH AUG. 14. Serenbe Playhouse puts its imprint on the 1991 musical drama from the Les Miserables team. Think Puccini’s Madama Butterfly reset during the Vietnam War, where a GI named Chris falls in love with a Vietnamese barmaid named Kim. Serenbe’s outdoor staging includes a genuine Huey helicopter during the climactic fall of Saigon scene. Performed rain or shine in Serenbe’s Wild Flower Meadow. Best for age 15+. $35. 8 p.m. Wednesday-Sunday. 10950 Hutchesons Ferry Road, Chattahoochee Hills. Details, tickets HERE or at 770.463.1110. Discount tickets at PoshDealz.com.
Smart People. THROUGH AUG. 7. If the quest for love, achievement and identity is universal, what role does racial identity play in our lives? That’s what playwright Lydia Diamond (Stick Fly) asks through four Harvard intellectuals on the eve of Obama’s first election. The smart cast at True Colors Theatre Company: Julee Cerda, Danielle Deadwyler, Neal A. Ghant and Joe Knezevich. Adult language, content. $10-$50. 8 p.m. Wednesday-Friday; 2:30 + 8 p.m. Saturday; and 2:30 p.m. Sunday. Southwest Arts Center, 915 New Hope Road SW. Details, tickets HERE or at 877.725.8849.
OneAnother. AUG. 4-7. The Lucky Penny presents the premiere of choreographer Blake Beckham’s new contemporary dance piece, described as a work for five dancers that considers twos: pairs, dualities, the intimate gestures that bind us and the deeply felt urge to seek out match, mate and mirror. $10-$20. 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday; 4 p.m. Sunday. Mary Gray Munroe Theater at Emory University, 605 Asbury Circle NE, Dobbs University Center (free parking in Fishburne and Peavine decks). Ushers will direct you from parking to the theater). Details HERE. Tickets HERE.
If/Then. AUG. 9-14. A contemporary Broadway musical about living in New York today — and the possibilities of tomorrow. This original American musical simultaneously follows one woman’s two possible life paths — wife or career woman — asking us to consider the lives we lead and the lives we might have led. By Brian Yorkey and Tom Kitt, the Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning creators of Next to Normal. Note: Contains strong language, mature themes. $30-$75. Presented by Broadway in Atlanta at the Fox Theatre, 660 Peachtree St. NE. Details, tickets HERE or at 855.285.8499.