What do a cardboard piano and free beer have to do with Atlanta theater? Read on to find out. Pictured, from left: Ashley Anderson and Isake Akanke in “Cardboard Piano” at Actor’s Express. Photo by Ashley Earles-Bennett.

** Indicates an Encore Atlanta fall/winter season top pick. 

Special event

Pictured, from left: playwright Theroun Patterson, director Rachel Parish, director Rebekah Suellau, actor/playwright Mark Kendall, playwright Theresa Davis, playwright/actor Topher Payne, playwright/actor Daryl Fazio, playwright Dipika Guha.

Home Brew Festival. ENDS SATURDAY. 7 Stages concludes its new-play fest — the one that comes with free entry and free beer. The 10-day event concludes with four more readings. Rachel Parish presents Revolt. She Said. Revolt Again by British playwright Alice Birch (tonight) and Pam Joyce presents Art of Gaman by Dipika Guha (Friday). Those readings begin at 8 p.m. Saturday begins with an 11:30 a.m. brunch discussion on “The Art of Activism.” The readings are Topher Payne’s Angry Fags (2 p.m.) and Theresa Davis’ Then They Tell You It’s All in Your Head (8 p.m.). Free. Reservations required HERE. 1105 Euclid Ave. NE. 404.523.7647.

Recommended

** Cardboard Piano. THROUGH DEC. 3. New Year’s Eve, 1999, in a remote Ugandan village. Two girls — one a local villager (Isake Akanke), the other the daughter of American missionaries (Ashley Anderson) — sneak into a church to hold a makeshift wedding for themselves. A boy soldier (Stephen Ruffin) interrupts, sparking a chain of events that changes their lives forever. The script is by South Korea-born Hansol Jung. Kennesaw State’s Karen Robinson directs. Also in the cast: Rob Demery. The drama debuted at last year’s Humana Festival of New American Plays, which Express artistic director Freddie Ashley has found to be fertile ground. 8 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday; 2 p.m. Sunday. At the King Plow Arts Center, 887 West Marietta St. NW. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.607.7469. Discount tickets at PoshDealz.com.

Terminus Modern Ballet Theatre. FRIDAY ONLY (Saturday-Sunday performance sold out). Recommended, if you can get a ticket. This new company formed by five longtime Atlanta Ballet dancers — Christian Clark, Heath Gill, Tara Lee, Rachel Van Buskirk and John Welker — performs Lore, a world premiere choreographed by Gill. It explores stories, how they are passed on and why we tell them. $50. 7 p.m. Serenbe at Deer Hollow, 8455 Atlanta Newnan Road, Palmetto.) Tickets HERE or at 470.733.8274.

Opening this week

Christmas Canteen. BEGINS TONIGHT. Aurora Theatre’s annual revue, one of its three holiday shows, turns 22 this year. This jolly variety show is schmaltzy, fun and moving in all the right ways. If you remember “The Ed Sullivan Show” or Andy Williams’ Christmas specials, spin the time machine forward a bit, and you’ll known what to expect: songs, dances, novelty numbers and a few specially placed mentions of businesses supportive of Aurora. New this year are Nick and Caroline Arapoglou as co-hosts, cast members Chani Maisonet and Cansler McGhee, and apprentice company members Daisean Garrett and Cheyanne Osoria. Returning are Jen MacQueen, Lyndsay Ricketson Brown, Christian Magby and Cecil Washington Jr. Get your tickets soon, this show sells out fast. $30-$65. Through Dec. 23. 8 p.m. Tuesday-Friday; 2:30 + 8 p.m. Friday-Saturday; and 2:30 p.m. Sunday. No shows Nov. 21-23 (Thanksgiving). Already sold out: 8 p.m. Dec. 5, 12 + 16 (watch the website for updates). 128 E. Pike St., Lawrenceville. Free, covered, attached parking in city deck at 153 E. Crogan St. Details, tickets HERE or at 678.226.6222. 

Topher Payne

Santaland Diaries. BEGINS FRIDAY. The news here is that longtime Crumpet Harold M. Leaver has ceded his tights to actor/playwright Topher Payne. Horizon Theatre’s alternative holiday tale, based on the real-life adventures of satirist David Sedaris, recalls the season he spent as an elf at Macy’s Department Store in New York City. This is an adults-only show. $30-$45. Through Dec. 31. 8 p.m. Tuesday-Friday; 8:30 p.m. Saturday; and 6 p.m. Sunday. Also at 6 p.m. Dec. 16 + 23.  No shows on Thanksgiving or Nov. 28. 1083 Austin Ave. at Euclid Avenue. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.584.7450.

This weekend only

Alice Between. THROUGH SUNDAY. The Alliance Theatre’s Family Series updates Alice in Wonderland, plunking Alice down in middle school on her first day as a seventh-grader. It, too, is a world full of strange and wondrous incongruities. The original script was developed by director Rosemary Newcott, playwright Neeley Gossett and playwright/actor Steve Coulter. The cast: Ashley Anderson as Alice; Lauren Boyd as Tory; Anthony Campbell as Hatter; Joseph Pendergrast as Cheshire; and Michelle Pokopac as Caty. Public performances: 1:30 + 4 p.m. Saturday; and 5 p.m. Sunday. The show also will tour metro middle schools. $18-$32. Rich Auditorium, Woodruff Arts Center, 1280 Peachtree St. NE. Details, tickets HERE or at 733.5000.

“Alice Between” features (from left) Lauren Boyd, Ashley Anderson as Alice, Anthony Campbell (partially hidden) and Michelle Pokopac. Photo: Greg Mooney

[READ: HOW ALICE IN WONDERLAND FOUND A TICKET TO MIDDLE SCHOOL]

Donald Runnicles

Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. TONIGHT + SATURDAY. Verdi’s Requiem is a bucket-list experience, the ASO says. It performs the 1874 piece with the full orchestra, the ASO Chorus and four soloists from the opera world — Erin Wall, a “soprano of radiance, pristine beauty and tingling top notes” (Financial Times); mezzo-soprano Jamie Barton; tenor Dimitri Pittas; and bass Peter Rose. Principal guest conductor Donald Runnicles is on the podium. $22-$97. 8 nightly. Symphony Hall, Woodruff Arts Center, 1280 Peachtree St. NE. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.733-5000.

Azam Ali and Carmen Rizzo.

The Fourth Light Project. SATURDAY. Niyaz, the Iranian-Canadian musical duo of Azam Ali and Carmen Rizzo, visits Georgia State University’s Rialto Center for the Arts with an immersive multimedia experience blending medieval Sufi poetry and folk songs from Persian Gulf nations with acoustic instrumentation and modern electronics. The Huffington Post calls Niyaz “an evolutionary force in contemporary Middle Eastern music.” $32-$63. 8 p.m. 80 Forsyth St. NW. Free (validated) parking in the 100 Peachtree garage (formerly the Equitable Deck) on Fairlie Street. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.413.9849.

Ongoing

Crossing Delancey. THROUGH NOV. 25. At the Alliance Theatre. You might remember the 1988 movie. The stage version came first. Bubbie (Mary Lynn Owen) is an 80-year-old Jewish grandmother determined to see granddaughter Izzy (Sochi Fried) marry the right man. Izzy has her eyes on an author (Daniel Thomas May); Bubbie zeroes in on Sam the pickle man (Andrew Benator). Who will prevail? $10-$70. 7:30 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday; 8 p.m. Friday; 2:30 + 8 p.m. Saturday; and 2:30 + 7:30 p.m. Sunday. Performed at the Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta, 5342 Tilly Mill Road (the Alliance’s home is under renovations). Tickets, details HERE or at 404.733.5000.

[READ MORE: EVERYBODY OUGHT TO HAVE A BUBBIE]

Twelfth Night. THROUGH NOV. 26. A shipwreck, separated identical twins, mistaken identities, romance, revenge and one pair of yellow stockings. Welcome to Orsino’s court and the zany world of Twelfth Night at the Shakespeare Tavern Playhouse. Chris Hecke is Orsino. Pub menu and spirited beverages available. $22-$45. 7:30 p.m. Thursday-Saturday; 6:30 p.m. Sunday. 99 Peachtree St. NE (across from Emory University Hospital Midtown). Details, tickets HERE or at 404.874.5299. Discount gift cards at PoshDealz.com.

Select holiday

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. THROUGH DEC. 31. We’ve barely had frost on the pumpkins, and Thanksgiving is still days away, but the most famous reindeer is back at the Center for Puppetry Arts. The piece, adapted by artistic director Jon Ludwig, remains faithful to the classic 1964 Rankin-Bass TV special, known for its  stop-motion animation. All our favorite characters return: Rudolph, Clarice, Sam the Snowman, Yukon Cornelius, Hermey the Elf, the Misfit Toys, the Bumble and, of course, Santa. For age 4 and up. $11.25-$19.50. No shows Thanksgiving or Christmas days. Curtain is generally at 10 + 11:45 a.m. Tuesday-Friday; 11 a.m. + 1 p.m. Saturday; and 1 + 3 p.m. Sunday, but times vary through the holidays, so check ahead. 1404 Spring St. NW. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.873.3391.

Coming up

** Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley. OPENS NOV. 30. An Encore Atlanta fall/winter top pick. Theatrical Outfit presents the Southeastern premiere of this piece from Decatur-born, San Francisco-based playwright Lauren Gunderson (Silent Sky) and colleague Margot Melcon. The holiday show, based on characters from Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, takes us to 1815 England and focuses on the middle Bennet sister, Mary, and her hopes for independence, intellectual rigor and perhaps even love. Atlanta actor/director Carolyn Cook directs a strong cast led by Amelia Fischer as Mary, with Galen CrawleyDevon HalesJonathan HorneLee OsorioMaria Rodriguez-SagerJulissa Sabino and Juan Carlos Unzueta. $20.50-$49. Through Dec. 24. 84 Luckie St. NW. Details, tickets HERE or at 678.528.1500.

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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