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Topping our list: “The Crucible” (Actor’s Express), “The Mountaintop” (Aurora), “Troubadour” (Alliance) & “Constellations” (Horizon).  And you? Pictured, from left:”The Crucible’s” Abby Holland, Shelli Delgado, Falashay Pearson (standing) and Kiona Reese. Photo by Chris Bartelski.

** Indicates an Encore Atlanta winter season recommendation.

Recommended

crucible trees bug 2** The Crucible. THROUGH FEB. 19. One of the most-anticipated shows of the winter season. The witching hour is at hand in the tight-knit community of Salem, Mass., where personal vendettas collide with lust and superstition. Do witches walk among us, or has revenge created a monster? Arthur Miller’s American classic, written in response to McCarthyism in the 1950s, is as frighteningly timely as ever. Director Freddie Ashley’s large multicultural cast features Jonathan Horne as John Proctor, Courtney Patterson as Elizabeth Proctor and Shelli Delgado as Abigail Williams. $20-$40. 8 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday; 2 p.m. Sunday. Actor’s Express, King Plow Arts Center, 887 W. Marietta St. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.607.7469. Discount tickets at PoshDealz.com.

Cynthia D. Barker, Neal A. Ghant. Photo: Chris Bartelski
Cynthia D. Barker, Neal A. Ghant. Photo: Chris Bartelski

** The Mountaintop. THROUGH FEB. 12. At Aurora Theatre. Return to April 3, 1968, and Memphis’ Lorraine Motel in Katori Hall’s 2008 script, which reimagines the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s last night on Earth. It’s a magical encounter told with humor and history and two of Atlanta’s best actors — Neal A. Ghant as King and Cynthia D. Barker as a hotel maid named Camae. The two-character drama, written when Hall was in her 20s, earned a 2010 Olivier award (London). The 2011 Broadway version, with Samuel L. Jackson and Angela Bassett, received mixed reviews and ran less than four months. $20-$55. 8 p.m. Tuesday-Friday; 2:30 + 8 p.m. Saturday; and 2:30 p.m. Sunday. 28 E. Pike St., Lawrenceville. Free, covered and attached parking in city deck at 153 E. Crogan St. Details, tickets HERE or at 678.226.6222.

** Troubadour. THROUGH FEB. 27. An Alliance Theatre world premiere musical by Atlanta playwright Janece Shaffer (The Geller Girls, Broke) and Sugarland’s Kristian Bush. Described as “a feel-good romantic comedy,” it begins in 1951 Nashville and features a country music legend about to retire, his musician son, an aspiring singer-songwriter and a rodeo tailor. $20-$72. 7:30 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday; 8 p.m. Friday; 2:30 + 8 p.m. Saturday; and 2:30 p.m. Sunday. Woodruff Arts Center, 1280 Peachtree St. NE. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.733.5000.

[READ: HOW SCRAMBLED EGGS & DIET COKES SEALED THE DEAL]

Bethany Irby, Enoch King. Photo: Britt Else
Bethany Irby, Enoch King. Photo: Britt Else

Opening this weekend

Constellations. OPENS FRIDAY |  THROUGH FEB. 26. Horizon Theatre begins its 2017 season with British playwright Nick Payne’s romantic adventure. Roland (Enoch King) knows a lot about bees and how they make honey. Marianne (Bethany Irby) would be comfortable in a room with Einstein. The probability of them meeting is slim to none. Yet in the multiverse, the possibilities of a single moment are infinite. Justin Anderson directs. $25-$40. 8 p.m. Wednesday-Friday; 3 + 8:30 p.m. Saturday; and 5 p.m. Sunday. 1083 Austin Ave. NE (at Euclid Avenue). Details, tickets HERE or at 404.584.7450.

Alison Hastings, Mark Kendall.
Alison Hastings, Mark Kendall.

U Up? OPENS FRIDAY | THROUGH FEB. 17. This world premiere at Dad’s Garage Theatre Company satirizes love in the digital age, from first dates and awkward music choices, to late-night booty calls and sexting. The two-person show was created by Mark Kendell and Alison Hastings, who co-star. Kendell premiered his one-man show The Magic Negro and Other Blackness at Dad’s in 2014; it went on to receive a Reiser Atlanta Artists Lab grant at the Alliance Theatre, which will produce the latest version on its Hertz Stage in March. Creative Loafing readers have named Hastings “best local actress” on several occasions. $12.50-$20.50 plus taxes (cheapest online); add $7 for reserved “Fancy Pants” seats. 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday. 569 Ezzard St. (behind Thumbs Up diner). Details, tickets HERE or at 404.523.3141.

Last chance

Chris Kayser
Chris Kayser

Doctor Faustus. CLOSES SUNDAY. The Shakespeare Tavern Playhouse tells Christopher Marlowe’s story of a man whose insatiable thirst for knowledge leads him to the sensual world of indulgence, devils, temptation and soul-swapping. Told by two actors (Chris Kayser and Laura Cole) in 90 minutes without intermission. $15-$46. 7:30 tonight; 7:30 + 11 p.m. Friday-Saturday; 6:30 p.m. Sunday. (Just drinks, no food at 11 p.m. shows). 499 Peachtree St. NE. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.874.5299.

mightybug in cageStill running

The Adventures of Mighty Bug. THROUGH MARCH 12. This science-filled, comic-book-style adventure pits the heroic Mighty Bug against the evil Scorpiana, who’s threatening the insect citizens of Bugville. Writer-director Jon Ludwig uses shadow, body and black-light puppets to tell this tale, making another return to the Center for Puppetry Arts. Recommended for age 4 and up. $20.50. 10 + 11:30 a.m. Tuesday-Friday; noon + 2 p.m. Saturday; 1 + 3 p.m. Sunday. 1404 Spring St. NW (at 18th Street). Details, tickets HERE or at 404.873.3391.

Next week

Atlanta Ballet’s Carmina Burana. FEB. 3-11. Choreographer David Bintley puts a lush, modern spin on the classic parable about three young seminarians tested by pleasures of the flesh. The score is by Carl Orff. This piece is an Atlanta Ballet favorite. Performed with the Atlanta Ballet Orchestra and the Georgia State University Singers & Master Singers. $20-$128. 8 p.m. Feb. 3, 10-11; 2 + 8 p.m. Feb. 4; 2 p.m. Feb. 5. Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre, 2800 Cobb Galleria Parkway, Atlanta (at the intersection of Cobb Galleria Parkway and Akers Mill Road at I-75/285). Details, tickets HERE or at  404.892.3303.

Johannes Moser
Johannes Moser

Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. FEB. 2 + 4. German-born conductor Jun Märkl leads a program featuring Schumann (Symphony No. 1, Spring), R. Strauss (Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme) and Tchaikovsky’s Rococo Variations with German-Canadian cellist Johannes Moser as soloist. Ticket holders for both performances can see a free pre-concert chamber music recital at 6:45 p.m. Thursday. $20-$99. 8 nightly. Symphony Hall, Woodruff Arts Center, 1280 Peachtree St. NE. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.733.5000.

** Le Petit Prince. OPENS FEB. 3 — SIX SHOWS ONLY. Théâtre du Rêve, Atlanta’s French-language theater company (the name translates as Theater of the Dream) stages Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s 1943 classic about a stranded aviator and a mysterious child. Atlanta everyman Chris Kayser plays the pilot; Jasmine Thomas is the prince. Carolyn Cook directs. Performed in French with English supertitles. $18.50-$27.50. Through Feb. 12. 8 p.m. Friday-Saturday; 3 p.m. Sunday. 7 Stages’ BackStage space, 1105 Euclid Ave. N.E. Details, tickets HERE.

Stella and Ruby 2
Book illustration by Patricia Castelao.

** The One and Only Ivan. OPENS FEB. 3. You might remember Ivan the gorilla from his time at Zoo Atlanta. Katherine Applegate’s 2013 Newbery Medal-winning novel, the basis for this script, revisits his 27 years in a glass-and-concrete cage in a Tacoma, Wash., shopping center. This Synchronicity Theatre stage adaptation uses actors who bring the animals — Ivan, elephants named Stella and Ruby, a dog named Bob — to life through movement, headpieces, masks, costumes and puppetry. Julie Skrzypek (last season’s Fancy Nancy) directs. Part of Synchronicity’s Family Series. $15-$22. Through Feb. 26. 7 p.m. Friday (free cookies and milk for kids in pajamas); 1 + 4 p.m. Saturday; 2 + 5 p.m. Sunday. One Peachtree Pointe at 1545 Peachtree St. NE in Midtown. Tickets, details HERE or at 404.484.8636.

Jiréh Breon Holder
Jiréh Breon Holder

** Too Heavy for Your Pocket. OPENS FEB. 4. This Alliance Theatre world premiere is the 2017 winner of the Alliance/Kendeda National Graduate Playwriting CompetitionJiréh Breon Holder’s script, set in 1961 Nashville, follows two black couples grappling with life, love and responsibilities as the era’s Freedom Riders begin to roll. Holder, a Memphis native and Morehouse College grad, earned his M.F.A. in playwriting from the Yale School of Drama and is working at Emory University as a playwriting fellow. Recommended for ages 13 and up. Plays by four Kendeda finalists will receive free staged readings Feb. 8-10: Borealis by Bennett Fisher (University of California, San Diego); Moonlight on the Bayou by Lindsey Ferrentino (Yale); My Lover Joan by Emily Feldman (University of California, San Diego); and Space Girl, by Mora V. Harris (Carnegie Mellon University). Pocket tickets: $20-$42; $10 teens. Through Feb. 26. 7:30 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday; 8 p.m. Friday; 2:30 + 8 p.m. Saturday; 2:30 + 7:30 p.m. Sunday. Hertz Stage, Alliance Theatre, Woodruff Arts Center, 1280 Peachtree St. NE. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.733.5000.

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About Kathy Janich

Kathy Janich, Encore Atlanta’s editor, 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