white woman pic21

Still our top pick: Tara Ochs’ “White Woman in Progress,” a world premiere at 7 Stages. Opening this week: Atlanta Opera’s “Don Pasquale”  “Grease” (Serenbe), “The Magic Negro” (the Alliance) and “Simply Simone” (Theatrical Outfit). Pictured: Ochs in “White Woman,” with the Edmund Pettus Bridge in the background. Photo: Jake Scott-Hodes.

** Indicates an Encore Atlanta winter season recommendation.

Recommended

7StagesTheatre-Logo3-trans** White Woman in Progress. THROUGH APRIL 9. 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 feature film Selma. Although she didn’t have a great deal of screen time, the story of Liuzzo — a Detroit housewife who helped marchers and was murdered — wouldn’t let go. Ochs’ drama champions individual power and conversations surrounding privilege, race and social justice. Don’t miss it. $22.50 and up. 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday; 5 p.m. Sunday. 1105 Euclid Ave. NE. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.523.7647.

This weekend only

Nmon Ford
Nmon Ford

ASO: Creation/Creator. TONIGHT + SATURDAY. Music director Robert Spano conducts Christopher Theofanidis’ multimedia oratorio, based on ancient and modern sources about science, literature and philosophy. The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra premiered and recorded the piece in 2015. The ASO and ASO Chorus are joined by soprano Jessica Rivera, mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke, tenor Thomas Cooley, baritone Nmon Ford and bass Evan Boyer. $20-$49. 8 nightly. Symphony Hall, Woodruff Arts Center, 1280 Peachtree St. NE. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.733.5000.

Opening this week

Don Pasquale. OPENS SATURDAY | THROUGH APRIL 2. The Atlanta Opera stages Donizetti’s bel canto classic and sets it in 1950s Hollywood. The Don is an aging silent film star in search of a wife and heir to his fortune. The search doesn’t go well. The tale features a chorus dressed as Hollywood film stars (Lucille Ball, Eartha Kitt, Carmen Miranda, John Wayne). Turkish bass-baritone Burak Bilgili (2013’s The Italian Girl in Algiers) sings the title role. In Italian with English supertitles. $25-$140. 8 p.m. Saturday + March 31; 7:30 p.m. March 28; and 3 p.m. April 2. Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre, 2800 Cobb Galleria Parkway, Atlanta. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.881.8885. Discount tickets at PoshDealz.com.

pasq_239
Photo: Cincinnati Opera

[‘DON PASQUALE’: EASY TO LAUGH WITH, TERRIFICALLY TOUGH TO SING]

Randi Garza as Sandy, Michael Stiggers as Danny. Photo: BreeAnne Clowdus
Randi Garza as Sandy, Michael Stiggers as Danny. Photo: BreeAnne Clowdus

Grease. OPENS TONIGHT. Will it rain on prom night? Will Danny and Sandy ever find true love? Will Frenchy flunk out of beauty school? Find out in this outdoor staging by the always inventive Serenbe Playhouse. Return to an era of gum-chewing, hubcap-stealing, hot-rod-loving boys in leather jackets and their wisecracking girls in poodle skirts. The Serenbe setting, which evokes a drive-in movie, includes VIP vintage car seating (seating for four, special drink menu, dedicated wait staff and car-side bottle service, and unlimited food and drinks). Randi Garza (Evita) plays Sandy; Michael Stiggers is Danny. $30-$35; VIP seats are $500 per foursome). Through April 16. The Wildflower Meadow at Serenbe. 10950 Hutchesons Ferry Road, Chattahoochee Hills. Details, tickets HERE or at 770.463.1110.

** The Magic Negro. BEGINS FRIDAY. The full title of this one-man show by Atlanta improv artist Mark Kendall is The Magic Negro and other Blackity Blackness, as told by an African-American Man who also happens to be Black (his capitalization). The title and the fact that Kendall does improv should be clues. Here he shines a light on the “Magic Negro” stereotype, and covers everything from the race card to white flight, from Aunt Jemima to Black Jesus. He’s going for laughs, of course, and something more. An earlier version was developed and staged at Dad’s Garage Theatre Company. $15-$25. Through April 15. 7:30 p.m Wednesday-Thursday. 8 + 10:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday (8 p.m. only March 31). Alliance Theatre’s Hertz Stage, Woodruff Arts Center, 1280 Peachtree St. NE. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.733.5000.

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Mark Kendall

[MEET THE POINTEDLY FUNNY MARK KENDALL]

Nina Simone
Nina Simone

Simply Simone: The Music of Nina Simone. IN PREVIEWS | OPENS SATURDAY. Prodigy. Superstar. Activist. Exile. Vocal powerhouse. Nina Simone, one of the true divas of the 20th century, defied classification and defined a generation. Simply Simone, a musical revue at Theatrical Outfit, lays bare the rich legacy of an American icon whose work encompassed jazz, gospel, blues, Broadway and rock ‘n’ roll. Four performers play Simone in a show that includes such classics as “I Loves You, Porgy,” “The Look of Love,” “My Baby Just Cares for Me,” and “Here Comes the Sun.” Patdro Harris directs. $20-$48. Through April 15. Theatrical Outfit at the Balzer Theater at Herren’s. Details, tickets HERE or at 678.528.1500. Discount tickets at PoshDealz.com.

 Wednesday only

Phoebe Liu
Phoebe Liu

ASO/ASYO: Side-by-Side Concert. 8 P.M. The 2017 version of this annual event gives Atlanta Symphony Youth Orchestra musicians a chance to sit alongside ASO musicians. Joseph Young conducts. The program: Sibelius’ Finlandia, Opus 26, No. 7 (A Tone Poem for Orchestra); the first movement of Korngold’s Concerto in D major for Violin and Orchestra, Opus 35; and Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition, arranged by Maurice Ravel. Phoebe Liu, the ASYO concertmaster, solos on the Korngold. All tickets $10. Symphony Hall, 1280 Peachtree St. NE. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.733.5000.

Still running

Matt Lewis as Francesca's husband. Photo: Chris Bartelski
Matt Lewis as Francesca’s husband. Photo: Chris Bartelski

** The Bridges of Madison County. THROUGH APRIL 16. Southeastern premiere. Aurora Theatre stages the Jason Robert Brown musical (Parade, The Last Five Years) based on the 1992 best-seller and subsequent feature 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 named Francesca (Kristin Markiton) and her unexpected love affair with a traveling photographer (Travis Smith). The show had a three-month Broadway run in 2014. $30-$65. 8 p.m. Tuesday-Friday; 2:30 + 8 p.m. Saturday; and 2:30 p.m. Sunday. Also at 10 a.m. April 12 (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. Discount tickets at PoshDealz.com.

Jeremiah Parker Hobbs as Prince Maurice, India S. Tyree as Cinderella. Photo: Greg Mooney
Jeremiah Parker Hobbs as Prince Maurice, India S. Tyree as Cinderella. Photo: Greg Mooney

Cinderella and Fella.  THROUGH APRIL 9. At the Alliance Theatre. World premiere. 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 (also the voice of Cinderella’s mother) and the direction by Rosemary Newcott. $18-$32. 1 + 3:30 p.m. Saturday-Sunday; and 7 p.m. April 7. Alliance mainstage, Woodruff Arts Center, 1280 Peachtree St. NE. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.733.5000. Discount tickets at PoshDealz.com.

[READ MORE: A ‘CINDERELLA’ FOR TODAY]

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

The Legend of Georgia McBride. THROUGH APRIL 16. At Actor’s Express. What do you do when your Elvis act gets the ax? With a pregnant wife, no money and eviction looming, Casey (the terrific Nick Arapoglou) must swap his jumpsuit for sequins as 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. 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.

Jennifer Alice Acker
Jennifer Alice Acker

Nobody Loves You. THROUGH APRIL 30 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. Heidi Cline McKerley directs a cast that includes Leslie Bellair, Jeanette Illidge, Wendy Melkonian and Brad Raymond. $25-$40. 8 p.m. Wednesday-Friday; 3 + 8:30 p.m. Saturday; and 5 p.m. Sunday. 1083 Euclid Ave. NE (at Austin Avenue). Details, tickets HERE or at 404.584.7450.

Next week

Benjamin Sims, Maggie Birgel. Photo: Jerry Siegel Photography
Benjamin Sims, Maggie Birgel. Photo: Jerry Siegel Photography

** Strait of Gibraltar. OPENS MARCH 31. World premiere. At Synchronicity Theatre. In this sexy romance turned terrorism thriller, a Jewish New Yorker (Maggie Birgel) and a Moroccan man (Benjamin Sims) meet at a party and fall hard for each other. When he tells her he’s undocumented, she offers to help him and his family. What they face is anything but happily-ever-after. This smart drama by Andrea Lepcio (Synchro’s Looking for the Pony in 2009) looks at love, truth, prejudice and civil rights in the age of the Patriot Act. Rachel May directs. $15-$50. Through April 23. 8 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday; 5 p.m. Sunday. Synchronicity Theatre at One Peachtree Pointe, 1545 Peachtree St. NE. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.484.8636.

Coming up

brewsical cropBrewsical. APRIL 3 ONLY. The Atlanta Musical Theatre Festival announces its 2017 selections at this event, featuring brews, auctions and performances. Admission includes six beer tastings at Blue Tarp Brewing, pizza and salad from DaVinci’s Pizzeria, silent and live auctions, and performances from Atlanta singers. $20; $50 VIP (includes private access at 7 p.m. plus preview performances). 8 p.m. Blue Tarp Brewing, 731 E. College Ave. Decatur. Details, tickets HERE.

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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