Here comes Santa Claus. And Jane Austen. And please don’t miss “Cardboard Piano” (Actor’s Express). Pictured: The “Christmas Canteen” company at Aurora Theatre. Bottom, center: Nick Arapoglou. Middle, from left: Lindsay Ricketson Brown, Jen MacQueen, Chani Maisonet. Top, from left: Christian Magby, Caroline Arapoglou, Cecil Washington Jr. and Benjamin Strickland. Photo by Chris Bartelski.
** Indicates an Encore Atlanta fall/winter season top pick.
** Cardboard Piano. THROUGH DEC. 3. New Year’s Eve, 1999, in a remote Ugandan village. Two girls — one a villager (Isake Akanke), the other from a missionary family (Ashley Anderson) — sneak into a church to wed each other. A boy soldier on the run (Stephen Ruffin) interrupts, sparking a chain of events that changes everyone’s lives forever. Also in the cast: Rob Demery. The script is by South Korea-born playwright Hansol Jung. Kennesaw State’s Karen Robinson directs. The drama, intense and provocative, debuted at the Humana Festival of New American Plays, where Express artistic director Freddie Ashley has found 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.
Christmas Canteen. THROUGH DEC. 23. A holiday favorite (of mine). Aurora Theatre’s annual revue, one of its three seasonal shows, turns 22. The jolly variety show is schmaltzy, fun and moving in all the right ways. Think of “The Ed Sullivan Show” or Andy Williams’ Christmas specials, spin the time machine forward a bit, and you’ll know what to expect: songs, dances, novelty numbers and a few not-so-sly references to businesses that support Aurora. New this year: Nick and Caroline Arapoglou as co-hosts, cast members Chani Maisonet and Cansler McGhee, and apprentice performers Daisean Garrett and Cheyanne Osoria. Returning are Jen MacQueen, Lyndsay Ricketson Brown, Christian Magby and Cecil Washington Jr. Get tickets soon; this show sells out fast. $30-$65. 8 p.m. Tuesday-Friday; 2:30 + 8 p.m. Friday-Saturday; and 2:30 p.m. Sunday. No shows Nov. 22-23 (Thanksgiving). Already sold out: Nov. 28; Dec. 5 (both shows); Dec. 9 (both shows); Dec. 12 (both shows); 8 p.m. Dec. 16; and Dec. 17 (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.
This weekend only
Disney’s Broadway Hits. SATURDAY-SUNDAY. Four Broadway performers join the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra for a concert featuring songs from nine award-winning scores — by Phil Collins (Tarzan); Elton John (Aida, The Lion King); Alan Menken (Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, The Little Mermaid, Newsies); and Richard & Robert Sherman (Mary Poppins). The Broadway singers are Jenn Gambatese and Josh Strickland (Tarzan), and Alton Fitzgerald White and Kissy Simmons (The Lion King). Principal pops conductor Michael Krajewski takes the baton. 8 p.m. Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday. $29-$89. Symphony Hall, Woodruff Arts Center, 1280 Peachtree St. NE. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.733.5000.
Crossing Delancey. CLOSES SATURDAY. Staged by 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), while Bubbie zeroes in on Sam the pickle man (Andrew Benator). $10-$70. 7:30 tonight-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.
Twelfth Night. CLOSES SUNDAY. A shipwreck, separated identical twins, mistaken identities, romance, revenge and one pair of yellow stockings. Welcome to Orsino’s court (Chris Hecke is Orsino) and the zany world of Twelfth Night at the Shakespeare Tavern Playhouse. 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.
Black Nativity. OPENS NOV. 29. The African-American telling of the Christmas story was written in 1961 by acclaimed poet/playwright Langston Hughes (1902-1967). This one-act version, produced by Dominion Entertainment Group, takes audiences from a traditional black church to an Africanized Jerusalem through dance, spirituals, anthems and toe-tapping gospel numbers (“My Way Is Cloudy,” “Poor Baby Jesus,” “Mary Did You Know,” “What Child Is This” and many others). $25-$50. Through Dec. 17. Runs Wednesday-Sunday, but curtain times vary, so check HERE. Southwest Arts Center, 915 New Hope Road SW. Details, tickets HERE. Discount tickets at PoshDealz.com.
A Christmas Carol / The 12 Dates of Christmas. OPENS FRIDAY. Aurora Theatre runs this holiday twofer in rotating repertory in its Harvel Lab studio space. Artistic director Anthony P. Rodriguez does his one-man telling of the Scrooge story for an 11th season. In the one-woman 12 Dates, Renita James plays the unfortunate woman who sees her fiancé kiss another woman on national TV — while watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, no less. Bah, humbug. Her life unspools from there. Through Dec. 23. Dates and times vary. Christmas Carol details, tickets HERE. 12 Dates details, tickets HERE. 128 E. Pike St., Lawrenceville. Free, covered, attached parking in city deck at 153 E. Crogan St. Call 678.226.6222.
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. THROUGH DEC. 31. The most famous reindeer of all is back at the Center for Puppetry Arts. This oft-revisited piece remains faithful to the plot of the classic 1964 Rankin-Bass TV special. All your favorite characters return: Rudolph, Clarice, Sam the Snowman, Yukon Cornelius, Hermey the Elf, the Misfit Toys, the Bumble and, of course, Santa. For ages 4 and up. $6.75-$35. No show on Thanksgiving or Christmas. 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 HERE. 1404 Spring St. NW. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.873.3391.
The Snow Queen. OPENS NOV. 30. Serenbe Playhouse takes the Hans Christian Andersen tale into the woods once again, emphasizing the wintry nature of the tale, as young Gerda fights fear on a journey to save her brother from the icy lady’s evil magic. Performed outdoors in a staging that travels (without seating). Request chairs through the box office at 770.463.1110. $15 + $20. Through Dec. 30. 6 p.m. Saturday-Sunday (expands to Tuesday-Sunday on Dec. 19); 8 p.m. Wednesday-Sunday (Tuesdays added beginning Dec. 19). 10950 Hutchesons Ferry Road, Chattahoochee Hills. Directions, parking info HERE. Details, tickets HERE or at 770.463.1110. Discount tickets at PoshDealz.com.
Love Never Dies. OPENS NOV. 28. Broadway in Atlanta presents this sequel to Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera. The year is 1907, and it’s been a decade since the Phantom vanished from the Paris Opera House. He has made a new life for himself among the screaming joy rides and freak shows of Coney Island — but has never stopped yearning for his musical protégée, Christine Daaé. $44-$144. Through Dec. 3. 7:30 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday; 8 p.m. Friday; 2 + 8 p.m. Saturday; and 1 + 6:30 p.m. Sunday. Fox Theatre, 660 Peachtree St. NE. Details, tickets HERE or at 855.285.8499.
** Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley. BEGINS 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, I and You, The Taming) 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 leads a strong cast featuring Amelia Fischer as Mary, with Galen Crawley, Devon Hales, Jonathan Horne, Lee Osorio, Maria Rodriguez-Sager, Julissa Sabino and Juan Carlos Unzueta. $20.50-$49. Through Dec. 24. 84 Luckie St. NW. Details, tickets HERE or at 678.528.1500.