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“Verona” comes to Atlanta. “PodPlays” come to Little Five Points. Catalyst Arts Atlanta makes a “Gruesome” return, and our top picks — “Father Comes Home” (Actor’s Express) & “Split in Three” (Aurora) — play on. Pictured: Courtney Patterson and Rhyn McLemore Saver in “Split in Three.” Photo by Chris Bartelski.

** Indicates an Encore Atlanta spring/summer season recommendation.

Recommended

FatherWar_ActorsExpress0732
Brittany Inge, Marcus Hopkins-Turner. Photo: Chris Bartelski

** Father Comes Home From the Wars (Parts 1, 2 & 3). THROUGH JUNE 11. A great American play at Actor’s Express. Suzan-Lori Parks’ 2015 Pulitzer Prize finalist sets Homer’s Greek poem The Odyssey during the American Civil War. In exchange for a promise of freedom, a slave named Homer follows his master into battle for the Confederacy. Father, which won off-Broadway’s 2015 Obie Award for playwriting, is one of the most celebrated plays of the decade. Parks’ poetry and vision are breathtaking. $22 and up. 8 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday; 2 p.m. Sunday. King Plow Arts Center in West Midtown, 887 West Marietta St. NW. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.607.7469. Discount tickets at PoshDealz.com.

split** Split in Three. CLOSES SUNDAY. Atlanta playwright Daryl Lisa Fazio‘s comic drama takes place in 1969 Mississippi as the Supreme Court forces the last segregated school system to integrate, and three siblings are caught in the national crossfire. Split had its world premiere in spring 2015 at Florida Repertory Theatre. “The results,” the Fort Myers News-Press said, “are haunting, funny, heartbreaking and deeply satisfying.” The cast is led by Courtney Patterson, Falashay Pearson and Rhyn McLemore Saver. $20-$55. 8 tonight-Friday; 2:30 + 8 p.m. Saturday; and 2:30 p.m. Sunday. 128 E. Pike St. in Lawrenceville. Free, covered, attached parking in city deck at 153 E. Crogan St. Details, tickets HERE or at 678.226.6222. Discount tickets at PoshDealz.com.

Opening this weekend

any shakesThe Two Gentlemen of Verona. OPENS FRIDAY. Shakespeare Tavern Playhouse presents the comedy about close friends Valentine (Stephen Ruffin) and Proteus (Adam King) who are after the same woman — the Duke of Milan’s beautiful daughter, Silvia (Sarah Newby Halicks). And there’s a dog! See how Crab — “the sourest-natured dog that lives” — provides an early example of a four-legged beast stealing the show. Food and drink available. $15-$36. Through June 11. 7:30 p.m. Thursday-Saturday; 6:30 p.m. Sunday. 499 Peachtree St. NE (park in Emory University’s Midtown deck). Details, tickets HERE or at 404.874.5299.

This weekend only

podplayscover-01 (1)The Atlanta PodPlays. SATURDAY-SUNDAY. Found Stages Theatre Company and Little Five Arts Alive present three short pieces in a new way — as downloadable immersive audio plays designed for on-demand listening. The plays — Building Little Five by Annie Harrison Elliott, Sit Anywhere by Amina S. McIntyre and Ravenwood by Pamela Turner — require each audience member to have a smartphone and earbuds and to be mobile. The stories reveal L5P facts and little-known Atlanta history from the 1970s and ’80s during the neighborhood’s revitalization. 5-8 p.m. (multiple performances each night). Tickets are free but must be reserved HERE. Details on time and place will be emailed with an RSVP.

kim-matthew collage
Soloists Kim-Lillian Strebel, Matthew Worth.

Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. TONIGHT + SATURDAY. Principal guest conductor Donald Runnicles leads an all-French program featuring work by Debussy, Fauré and Jolivet. It begins with Debussy’s Nocturnes; features principal flute Christina Smith performing the ASO debut of Jolivet’s Flute Concerto; and ends with soloists Kim-Lillian Strebel (soprano) and Matthew Worth (baritone) joining the ASO and ASO Chorus on Fauré’s Requiem. $20-$89. 8 nightly. Symphony Hall, Woodruff Arts Center, 1280 Peachtree St NE. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.733.5000.

Last chance

catalystGruesome Playground Injuries. TONIGHT-SATURDAY. We’re late to the party on this one, apologies, but you’d be wise to keep your eyes on Catalyst Arts Atlanta, a newish artistic collective that drew much positive attention with its 2015 debut, Trestle at Pope Lick Creek. Gruesome Playground Injuries by Rajiv Joseph (a Pulitzer Prize finalist for Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo) blends dry humor and raw emotion as it follows best friends Doug and Kayleen from their meeting at age 8 through three decades of separations, reconnections, wounds, scars and self-destructive behavior. The cast: Emily Kleypas and Justin Walker (The Temple BombingA City of Conversation). Rebekah Suellau, of the Weird Sisters Theatre Project, directs. Runs 90 minutes. $10 + $15, plus fees. 8 nightly. Midtown Players Club at Colony Square, 1197 Peachtree St. NE. Details, tickets HERE.

pete_the_catPete the Cat. CLOSES SUNDAY. The Center for Puppetry Arts closes the book on this new production based on Georgia artist James Dean‘s stories about the scrawny black kitten he adopted in 1999. Told with marionette, rod and shadow puppets. Artistic director Jon Ludwig wrote the adaptation and directs. Puppeteer/composer Dolph Amick wrote original music. $20.50 non-members; $10.25 members. 10 + 11:30 a.m. today-Friday; noon + 2 p.m. Saturday; and 1 + 3 p.m. Sunday. 1404 Spring St. NW. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.873.3391.

Still playing

Tony Guerrero (from left), Orlando Carbajal Rebollar, Brian Kurlander, LaParee Young, Jeremiah Parker Hobbs and Brad Brinkley. Photo:
Tony Guerrero (from left), Orlando Carbajal Rebollar, Brian Kurlander, LaParee Young, Jeremiah Parker Hobbs and Brad Brinkley. Photo: Britt Else

How to Use a Knife. THROUGH JUNE 25. At Horizon Theatre. Playwright Will Snider’s 2016 comedy takes place in the melting pot of a New York City restaurant, where varied personalities and nationalities clash and coexist. “The writing is visceral, hilarious and up-to-the-minute in its urgency,” co-artistic director Lisa Adler says about choosing to do the piece. About 1 hour, 45 minutes with no intermission. Uses language not intended for children. $25-$45 (subject to change). 8 p.m. Wednesday-Friday; 3 + 8:30 p.m. Saturday (no matinee June 3); and 5 p.m. Sunday. 1083 Austin Ave. at Euclid Avenue in Little Five Points/Inman Park. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.584.7450.

Next week

Mark Buller
Mark Buller

Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. JUNE 1 + 3. The season concludes with works from Benjamin Britten, Richard Wagner and the Rapido! Commission world premiere of The Songs of Ophelia by Mark Buller. From Britten we get “Four Sea Interludes” from the opera Peter Grimes. From Wagner we get Act 1 of the opera Die Walküre. Rapido!, a 14-day composition contest, is sponsored by the Atlanta Chamber Players. Music director Robert Spano is joined by soloists Twyla Robinson (soprano), Clifton Forbis (tenor) and Daniel Sumegi (bass). $29-$49 (a 6:45 p.m. chamber concert June 1 is free to all ticket holders). Symphony Hall, Woodruff Arts Center, 1280 Peachtree St. NE. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.733.5000.

 

The women of "Eclipsed" (from left)
The women of “Eclipsed” (from left): Parris Sarter, Asha Duniani, Shayla Love, Charity Jordan and Isake Akanke. Photo: Jerry Siegel Photography

** Eclipsed. OPENS JUNE 2. Regional premiere at Synchronicity Theatre. Five women trapped in the Second Liberian Civil War (2000-2003) struggle to negotiate power, protection and peace in a story with hope, resilience and humor by playwright Danai Gurira (Michonne on “The Walking Dead”). The drama was nominated for six Tony awards and made history as the first Broadway show with an all-black, all-female creative team and cast. The cast here: Asha Duniani, Charity Jordan, Shayla Love, Parris Sarter and Isake Akanke. Eclipsed has been called “miraculous and savagely funny” (Deadline), “rare and powerful” (The New York Times) and “a moving, must-see” (New York Magazine). Synchronicity is among the first regional companies in the country to get post-Broadway rights to do the play. $23-$45. Through June 25. 8 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday; 5 p.m. Sunday. At One Peachtree Pointe in Midtown, 1545 Peachtree St. NE. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.484.8636.

Tom Key

** The Dancing Handkerchief.  BEGINS JUNE 1. At Theatrical Outfit. Described as part magic act, part musical and part puppet show. It features early songs by multi-award-winner Robert Lopez (Avenue Q, The Book of MormonFrozen) and tells the story of Mysterioso the Magician (Tom Key) and his curious child, Bastienne (Devon Hales), who learn to see each other in a truer, hope-filled light. Their world includes a beckoning handkerchief, an otherworldly suitcase, magical creatures and one rather large rabbit. A co-production with New York’s Flying Carpet Theatre Company. $20-$48 ($50 opening night). Through June 18. Performance times vary by date, schedule HERE. Balzer Theater at Herren’s, 84 Luckie St. NW. Details, tickets HERE or at 678.528.1500. Discount tickets at PoshDealz.com.

Serenbe_-_Robin_Hood-300x300Robin Hood. OPENS JUNE 2. Serenbe Playhouse takes to the skies (via zip lines) to tell the story of the renegade knight (Jordan Patrick) who trades his comfortable life to become an outlaw doing good deeds with his Merry Men and chasing romance with Maid Marian (Casey Shuler). This family-friendly adaptation, by frequent Serenbe collaborator Rachel Teagle, includes original music by Grammy nominee John Burke. $10-$20. Through Aug. 13. 11 a.m. Friday-Saturday; 2 p.m. Sunday. Performed at the Farmers Market Hideaway in Serenbe in Chattahoochee Hills. Details, tickets HERE or at 770.463.1110.

Coming up

Photo: Horizon Theatre Company
Photo: Horizon Theatre Company

Nobody Loves You. JUNE 14-17.  Outdoors at Piedmont Park. Horizon Theatre restages this musical about the game of love. It’s a look at modern relationships and cluelessly self-obsessed contestants who compete for romance and adoring fans on a reality-TV show. 7:30 nightly. Free. Also available: reserved seating near the stage ($15), table seats ($35) or a private table for six ($200). Picnicking allowed but no alcoholic beverages except those purchased on-site. Food and drink available at food trucks and concession stands. The performances are in Piedmont Park’s Promenade area, near the Atlanta Botanical Garden and Sage Parking Garage, 521 Park Drive NE. Details (including park rules), tickets HERE or at 404.584.7450.

ArisUlysses-300x300Ulysses. JUNE 6-7. Arís Theatre offers a staged reading of a script based on James Joyce’s famous novel, itself based on Homer’s The Odyssey. It follows a day in the life of a man named Leopold Bloom. Arís says this adaptation by Dublin-based playwright Dermot Bolger makes the work approachable, understandable and entertaining. The cast: Josh Brook, Kara Cantrell, Reay Kaplan, Matt Lewis, Vinnie Mascola, Gina Rickicki, Pat Young and Jeffrey Zwartjes. $10 HERE or at the door. 7:30 nightly. Shakespeare Tavern Playhouse, 499 Peachtree St. NE (park in Emory University’s Midtown deck).

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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