too heavy all four

DON’T MISS “Too Heavy for Your Pocket,” closing Sunday at the Alliance. New this week: “Exit Strategy” (True Colors), “The Temple Bombing” (Alliance). Last chance for 4 of our other favorites. Pictured: The”Too Heavy” cast (from left) Eboni Flowers, Rob Demery, Stephen Ruffin and Markita Prescott. Photo by Greg Mooney.

** Indicates an Encore Atlanta winter season recommendation.

Recommended

Remember his name: playwright Jiréh Breon Holder
Remember this name: Jiréh Breon Holder

** Too Heavy for Your Pocket. CLOSES SUNDAY. Highly recommended! This Alliance Theatre world premiere offers a tight, smart, evocative story, beautifully designed and directed, and told by four actors — Rob Demery, Eboni Flowers, Markita Prescott, Stephen Ruffin — doing what must be some of their best work ever. Remember this name: Jiréh Breon Holder, the man behind this drama, the 2017 winner of the Alliance/Kendeda National Graduate Playwriting Competition. The time is 1961, the place Nashville. Two young couples struggle with life, love and responsibilities in the era of Freedom Riders. Suggested for ages 13 and up. 7:30 tonight; 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. 

[MORE: ‘THEATER IS THE NEW CHURCH,’ SAYS THE PLAYWRIGHT]

This weekend only

Pianist xxx Grosvenor
Pianist Benjamin Grosvenor

ASO: Copland, Saint-Saëns and Vaughan Williams. TONIGHT + SATURDAY. Conductor Michael Francis and pianist Benjamin Grosvenor, both Brits, make their Atlanta Symphony debuts in a program comprising Copland’s Appalachian Spring, Saint-Saëns’ Piano Concerto No. 2 and Williams’ Symphony No. 5. $25-$89. 8 nightly. Symphony Hall, Woodruff Arts Center, 1280 Peachtree St. NE. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.733.5000.

bale_folclorico_da_bahia_-_foto_andrew_eccles_webBalé Folclórico da Bahia. FRIDAY-SATURDAY. This company’s dancers, instrumentalists and vocalists offer exuberant interpretations of traditional Brazilian folk dance. Each night is a different show but includes everything from African dance (passed down from the days of slavery) and capoeira (Afro-Brazilian martial arts), to samba and elements of Carnival. $38-$70. 8 nightly (pre-show talks at 7 nightly with Ollie A. Johnson III, an associate professor of African-American studies at Wayne State University in Detroit). Rialto Center for the Arts, Georgia State University, 80 Forsyth St. NW. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.413.9849.

Libby Whittemore
Libby Whittemore

Libby at the Express. THURSDAY-SUNDAY. Singer and funny woman Libby Whittemore is joined by vocalists Shawn Megorden, Wendy Melkonian and Lisa Paige for a program titled Love Songs & Power Ballads. They’re backed by Robert Strickland and his Super-Sized Combo on a selection of pop and rock tunes, Broadway melodies and hits from the Great American Songbook. $44 and up. 7:30 nightly. Actor’s Express at the King Plow Arts Center, 887 West Marietta St. NW. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.607.7469.

Opening this week

ESCastBox500 2** Exit Strategy. THROUGH MARCH 19. At True Colors Theatre Company. The Chicago Tribune called playwright Ike Holter, the man behind this script, one of the “most exciting young writers in the city” and named him 2014’s Chicagoan of the Year in Theater. His drama, about a public school facing closure, seems simple but is not. “A lot of people expect things from me when it comes to race, but I don’t just write black characters,” says Holter, who’s in his early 30s.  The cast includes Matthew Busch (The Thrush & and the Woodpecker at Actor’s Express), Tess Malis Kincaid, William S. Murphey and Diany Rodriguez. $20-$50. 8 p.m. Wednesday-Friday; 2:30 + 8 p.m. Saturday; 2:30 p.m. Sunday. True Colors performs at the Southwest Arts Center, 915 New Hope Road, Atlanta. Details, tickets HERE or at 877.725.8849.

Temple-Bombing slideshow** The Temple Bombing. IN PREVIEWS | OPENS TUESDAY. World premiere. The story is set firmly in Atlanta — it deals with the October 1958 explosion at The Temple, the city’s oldest synagogue — but the project rests with New York’s Tectonic Theater Project and is inspired by Melissa Fay Greene’s award-winning book. Tectonic company member Jimmy Maize, who wrote the script, also directs. His cast includes Danielle Deadwyler, Ann Marie Gideon, Eric Mendenhall, Lee Osorio, Ric Reitz and Minka Wiltz. Contains adult situations. Suggested for ages 13 and up. $20-$72. Through March 12. 7:30 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday; 8 p.m. Friday; 2:30 + 8 p.m. Saturday; 2:30 p.m. Sunday. Alliance mainstage, Woodruff Arts Center, 1280 Peachtree St. NE. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.733.5000.

Bethany Irby, Enoch King.
Bethany Irby, Enoch King.

Last chance

Constellations. CLOSES SUNDAY. Horizon Theatre‘s 2017 season opener features Bethany Irby and Enoch King in an adventure story that might or might not be a romance. He knows a lot about bees. She’d be most comfortable in a room with Einstein. Still, in the multiverse, the possibilities of a single moment are infinite. $25-$40. 8 tonight-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.

Jake crop** A Kid Like Jake. CLOSES SUNDAY. Out Front Theatre, which does lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intergender and allied community-focused work, is in its first season, so keep that in mind. Still, Jake is an intriguing title. In it, a New York City couple seeks the best private school for their 4-year-old son. What makes Jake special  — a lack of conformity, a passion for Cinderella dress-up — also causes conflict. The piece was a New York Times Critics Pick during its 2013 premiere at Lincoln Center. $15-$25. 8 tonight-Saturday; 3 p.m. Sunday. Out Front performs at the former Fabrefaction Theatre space, 999 Brady Ave. in West Midtown. Details, tickets HERE. Mini-season tickets at PoshDealz.com.

Bart Hansard, Amber Nash. Photo: Chris Bartelski
Bart Hansard, Amber Nash. Photo: Chris Bartelski

Lost in the Cosmos: The Last Self-Help Seminar. CLOSES SUNDAY. Theatrical Outfit and Dad’s Garage Theatre Company partner on this stage version of Walker Percy’s best-selling personal improvement book and asks: If Earthlings visited a planet with intelligent life, would the inhabitants let us land or label us a threat to a more-evolved universe? Dad’s artistic director Kevin Gillese directs a great cast: Bart Hansard, Amber Nash, Tara Ochs, Gina Rickicki and Dan Triandiflou. $20-$50. 7:30 tonight-Friday; 2:30 + 7:30 p.m. Saturday; 2:30 p.m. Sunday. 84 Luckie St. NW. Details, tickets HERE or at 678.528.1500.

Chris Hecke as Ivan, the mighty silverback. Photo: KVC Photography
Chris Hecke as Ivan, the mighty silverback. Photo: KVC Photography

** The One and Only Ivan. CLOSES SUNDAY. 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 at a Washington state shopping mall. Synchronicity Theatre‘s staging uses actors who bring the animals — Ivan, elephants Stella and Ruby, and a dog named Bob — to life through movement, headpieces, masks, costumes and puppetry. $15-$22. 7 p.m. Friday (free cookies and milk for kids in PJs); 1 + 4 p.m. Saturday; 2 + 5 p.m. Sunday. One Peachtree Pointe, 1545 Peachtree St. NE in Midtown. Tickets, details HERE or at 404.484.8636.

Still running

Donna Biscoe (left) as Sadie Delany, Brenda Porter as Bessie. Photo: Dan Carmody/Studio7
Donna Biscoe (left) as Sadie Delany, Brenda Porter as Bessie. Photo: Dan Carmody/Studio7

** Having Our Say: The Delany Sisters’ First 100 Years. THROUGH MARCH 5. At Georgia Ensemble Theatre. This oral history by Sadie and Bessie Delany began as a 1993 work of nonfiction, became a New York Times best-seller, was adapted for the stage and eventually became an award-winning TV movie. The sisters, the daughters of a former slave who became the first African-American bishop in the U.S. Episcopal Church, were civil rights pioneers. Andrea Frye directs Donna Briscoe and Brenda Porter as the sisters. $26 and up.  7:30 p.m. Wednesday; 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday; 2:30 p.m. Sunday. Also at 4 p.m. Feb. 25 + March 4. GET performs at the Roswell Cultural Arts Center, 950 Forrest St., Roswell. Details, tickets HERE or at 770.641.1260.

sweep posh** Sweep. THROUGH MARCH 5. This femme-fantasy story by up-and-coming Latina playwright Georgina H. Escobar sounds like a kick. Her adventure — receiving its world premiere at Aurora Theatre — follows two sisters trying to reset history’s imperfections by hunting biblical and modern-day targets through alternate realities. Runs 90 minutes with no intermission. $20-$30. 8 p.m. Thursday-Friday; 2:30 + 8 p.m. Saturday; 2:30 p.m. Sunday. In Aurora’s Harvel Lab, 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.

Next week

24HOP_Instagram 2The 24-Hour Opera Project. MARCH 4 ONLY. See the finale of this exercise in anxiety, one that asks teams of composers, librettists, stage directors, singers and accompanists to write, stage, rehearse and perform original operas all within 24 hours. This Atlanta Opera event, in its seventh year, adds Dad’s Garage Theatre Company’s improvisers as partners this year, just to ratchet up the mayhem. $12 in advance; $15 at door. 8 p.m. Dad’s Garage, 569 Ezzard St. SE. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.881.8885.

Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. MARCH 2 + 4. Music director Robert Spano conducts a program that spans the 20th century. Scheduled: the ASO premiere of Christopher TheofanidisDreamtime Ancestors; Sibelius’ violin concerto, featuring American violinist Benjamin Beilman; and John Adams’  Harmonielehre (Book of Harmony). $20-$49. 8 nightly. Symphony Hall, 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.

View all posts by Kathy Janich