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Recommended: “Exit Strategy” (True Colors), “The Temple Bombing” (Alliance Theatre) and, opening March 16, Tara Ochs’ “White Woman in Progress” (7 Stages). Plus. Much. More. Pictured: Kristin Markiton and Travis Smith in Aurora Theatre’s “The Bridges of Madison County.” Photo by Chris Bartelski.

** Indicates an Encore Atlanta winter season recommendation.

Recommended

Diany Rodriguez (from left), Lau'rie Roach, Tracey Bonner. Photo: Greg Mooney
Diany Rodriguez (from left), Lau’rie Roach, Tracey Bonner. Photo: Greg Mooney

** 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, 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.

Justin Walker, Todd Weeks. Photo: Greg Mooney
Justin Walker, Todd Weeks (as Rabbi Jacob Rothschild). Photo: Greg Mooney

** The Temple Bombing. CLOSES SUNDAY. At the Alliance Theatre. This world premiere revisits 1958 Atlanta, when the city’s oldest synagogue, was bombed, thrusting the City Too Busy to Hate into the civil rights fight. The drama, based in part on Melissa Fay Greene’s book, comes from New York’s Tectonic Theater Project. The Alliance’s first-rate cast includes Danielle Deadwyler, Ann Marie Gideon, Eric Mendenhall, Lee Osorio, Ric Reitz and Minka Wiltz. Adult situations. Suggested for ages 13 and up. $20-$72. 7:30 tonight; 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.

Opening this weekend

auroralogo** The Bridges of Madison County. OPENS TONIGHT. Southeastern premiere. Aurora Theatre stages the Jason Robert Brown (Parade, The Last Five Years) musical based on Robert Waller’s 1992 best-selling novel and the 1995 film. Onstage, the story opens up to include more characters and more scenes but, at its heart, is still about a lonely Iowa farm wife (Kristin Markiton) and her unexpected love affair with a traveling photographer (Travis Smith). Justin Anderson directs. The show had a three-month run on Broadway in 2014. $30-$65. Through April 16. 8 p.m. Tuesday-Friday; 2:30 + 8 p.m. Saturday; and 2:30 p.m. Sunday. Also at 10 a.m. March 29 (tickets start at $20). 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.

This weekend only

Michael Stern
Michael Stern

Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. TONIGHT-SATURDAY. American conductor Michael Stern, music director of the Kansas City [Mo.] Symphony, leads a program by Russian masters: Shostakovich’s Festive Overture, Medtner’s Piano Concerto No. 2 (with Canadian Marc-André Hamelin) and Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 4. $20-$84. 8 nightly (a 6:30 p.m. Casual Fridays concert features just the Shostakovich and Tchaikovsky; all tickets $25). Symphony Hall, Woodruff Arts Center, 1280 Peachtree St. NE. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.733.5000. Discount tickets at PoshDealz.com.

Annie Tori Bates
Rescue pup Macy (as Sandy), Tori Bates (as Annie). Photo: Joan Marcus

Next week

Annie. MARCH 17-19. The 1977 musical about a redheaded orphan, her scruffy dog and the millionaire who adopts them returns to the Fox Theatre for the 15th time. The family musical isn’t all child’s play though, standing the test of time surprisingly well and employing enough political satire to keep grown-ups free of sunny sugar overload. $30-$75 plus fees. Five performances only: 8 p.m. Friday; 2 + 8 p.m. Saturday; and 1 + 6:30 p.m. Sunday. 660 Peachtree St. NE. Details, tickets HERE or at 855.285.8499.

Cinder bug cropCinderella and Fella. OPENS MARCH 19. At the Alliance Theatre. This fanciful and contemporary retelling of the Cinderella story is more high-tops than glass slippers and is fueled by the magic of lightning bugs, singing cicadas and oozing mud. The script is by Janece Shaffer, the score by S. Renee Clark (who also plays Cinderella’s mother) and the direction by Rosemary Newcott. $18-$32. Through April 9. 1 + 3:30 p.m. Saturday-Sunday; 7 p.m. March 21 and April 7. Alliance mainstage, Woodruff Arts Center, 1280 Peachtree St. NE. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.733.5000.

gennadi2Gennadi’s Choice. MARCH 17-19. Atlanta Ballet audiences will see new artistic director Gennadi Nedvigin’s vision onstage for the first time. The Nedvigin-curated program, designed to explore the evolution and transformative nature of dance, features selections from Paquita, choreographed by Marius Petipa and staged by Nedvigin; the North American premiere of Vespertine by Liam Scarlett; and the world premiere of Denouement by American Ballet Theatre’s Gemma Bond. $25 and up. 8 p.m. Friday; 2 + 8 p.m. Saturday; 2 p.m. Sunday. Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre, 2800 Cobb Galleria Parkway, Atlanta. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.892.3303. Discount tickets at PoshDealz.com.

Nick Arapoglou. Photo: Ashley Earles-Bennett
Nick Arapoglou. Photo: Ashley Earles-Bennett

The Legend of Georgia McBride. IN PREVIEWS | OPENS MARCH 18. At Actor’s Express. What do you do when your Elvis act gets the ax? With a pregnant wife, an empty bank account and an eviction notice en route, Casey (the terrific Nick Arapoglou) has no choice but to trade his jumpsuit for sequins and become the Florida Panhandle’s newest drag queen. This music-filled comedy comes from Matthew Lopez (who wrote the much darker Whipping Man, seen at the Alliance Theatre in 2013). $21-$45. Through April 16. 8 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday; 2 p.m. Sunday. King Plow Arts Center, 887 West Marietta St. NW. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.607.7469. Discount tickets at PoshDealz.com.

horizon-theatre-logoNobody Loves You. OPENS MARCH 17. At Horizon Theatre. The game of love is on in this musical about cluelessly self-obsessed contestants who compete for love and adoring fans on a reality-TV show called “Nobody Loves You.” Heidi Cline McKerley directs a cast that includes Leslie Bellair, Jeanette Illidge, Wendy Melkonian and Brad Raymond. $25-$40. Through April 30. 8 p.m. Wednesday-Friday; 3 + 8:30 p.m. Saturday; and 5 p.m. Sunday (except March 19). 1083 Euclid Ave. NE (at Austin Avenue). Details, tickets HERE or at 404.584.7450.

Tara Ochs
Tara Ochs

** White Woman in Progress. PREVIEWS MARCH 16 | OPENS MARCH 17. A world premiere at 7 Stages. Highly recommended. Tara Ochs’ one-woman crackerjack of a play comes from her work as civil rights activist Viola Liuzzo in the 2014 Oscar-nominated movie Selma. Although she didn’t have a great deal of screen time, the story of Liuzzo — a Detroit housewife who drove to Selma to take part in the famous march and was murdered — wouldn’t let go. Ochs’ drama champions individual power and breaks open the conversation surrounding privilege, race and social justice today. Don’t miss it$15 preview; regularly $22.50 and up. Through April 9. 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday; 5 p.m. Sunday. No show March 19. 1105 Euclid Ave. NE. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.523.7647.

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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