OUR BEST OF THE BEST BETS: “King Hedley II” (True Colors), “Perfect Arrangement” (Theatrical Outfit) and “Sheltered” (Alliance Theatre). Last chance for “Daughter of the Regiment” (Atlanta Opera) and “Ontario Was Here” (Aurora Theatre). Pictured: Neal A. Ghant as King in “King Hedley II.” Photo by Horne Bros. Photography.



** King Hedley II. THROUGH MARCH 11. At True Colors Theatre CompanyAugust Wilson (1945-2005) is one of the great American playwrights of any century and a personal favorite. King Hedley is part of his 10-play Century, or Pittsburgh, Cycle, all reflecting the black experience in 20th-century America. King (Neal A. Ghant) is an ex-con peddling stolen refrigerators in the inner city in the 1980s. His goal: Buy a new business and, thus, a new life. Surrounding him in his quest, for better or worse, are his wife, his best friend, his mother, his mother’s ex-lover and a neighbor named Stool Pigeon (Eddie Bradley Jr.), a mystical sort of truthsayer. Also in the cast: Tiffany Denise HobbsTonia Jackson, E. Roger Mitchell and Eugene H. Russell IV). Jamil Jude directs. Some consider King Hedley II a tragedy of Shakespearean proportions. It seemed so in a mesmerizing 2003/04 staging at the Alliance Theatre. For age 16 and up (language, content). $20-$35. 7:30 p.m. Wednesday-Friday; 2:30 + 7:30 p.m. Saturday; 2:30 p.m. Sunday. Southwest Arts Center, 915 New Hope Road SW. Details HERE, tickets at Ticket Alternative HERE or at 877.725.8849.

Ann Marie Gideon (from left), Ann Wilson, Courtney Patterson. Photo: Chris Bartelski

** Perfect Arrangement. THROUGH MARCH 18. At Theatrical Outfit. Bob loves Jim, and Norma loves Millie, but both couples are masquerading as heterosexual during the Lavender Scare of the 1950s (when sexual “deviants” were targeted for dismissal from federal employment). Topher Payne, well-known to metro audiences (Angry Fags, The Only Light in Reno, Let Nothing You Dismay, Swell Party), won the 2014 American Theatre Critics Association Osborn Prize for his script, called “a clever canapé of a comedy” by The New York Times. The cast: Ann Marie GideonClifton Guterman,  Joe KnezevichStacy MelichCourtney PattersonKevin Stillwell and Ann Wilson.  Adam Koplan of New York’s Flying Carpet Theatre Company directs. Mature themes and content. $20.50-$49. 7:30 p.m. Wednesday-Friday; 2:30 + 7:30 p.m. Saturday; 2:30 p.m. Sunday. Balzer Theater at Herren’s, 84 Luckie St. NW. Details, tickets HERE or at 678.528.1500. Discount tickets at PoshDealz.com.

Each child rescued received a U.S. immigration card at the American Embassy in Berlin. Photo:
U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum

Sheltered. THROUGH MARCH 25. World premiere at the Alliance Theatre. This drama, by New York-based playwright Alix Sobler, is the 2018 winner of the Alliance/Kendeda National Graduate Playwriting Competition. Her suspense story is based on true events and takes place in 1939, as World War II threatens Europe. Two ordinary Philadelphians make an extraordinary decision: to bring 50 Jewish children from Nazi-occupied territory to safety in America. Kimberly Senior, a freelance director in New York, leads a cast comprising Lauren BoydAmanda Drinkall, Park Krausen, Lee Osorio and John Skelley. For age 12 and up. The Alliance’s annual KENDEDA WEEK (schedule here), beginning March 7 and featuring staged readings of four runner-up plays, is a highlight of Atlanta’s theatrical season. The readings (not Sheltered) are free but reservations are necessary. Don’t miss out! $42; $10 teens. Through March 25. 7:30 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday; 8 p.m. Friday and March 3; 2:30 + 8 p.m. Saturday (except March 3); 2:30 + 7:30 p.m. Sunday. Performed at Actor’s Express in the King Plow Arts Center, 887 West Marietta St. NW in West Midtown. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.733.5000.


Opening this week

Lane Carlock. Photo: Dan Carmody / Studio 7

A Comedy of Tenors. OPENS TONIGHT. At Georgia Ensemble Theatre. Fans of playwright Ken Ludwig have waited 30 years for a companion piece to his uber-popular, Tony Award-winning farce Lend Me a Tenor. This go-round, the setting is 1930s Paris, a city awaiting the concert of the century from an Italian superstar. The complications include one hotel suite, four tenors, two wives, three girlfriends and a soccer stadium full of screaming fans. Shelly McCook directs. Good cast: Lane Carlock, Courtney Collins (Calendar Girls), Robert Egizio (Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks ), Brian Kurlander, John Markowski, Lindsay Ricketson (Pump Boys and Dinettes) and Haden Ryder. $29 and up, based on demand. Through March 18. 7:30 p.m. Wednesday; 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday; 2:30 p.m. Sunday. Also at 4 p.m. March 10 + 17. Roswell Cultural Arts Center, 950 Forrest St., Roswell. Details, tickets HERE or at 770.641.1260. Discount tickets at PoshDealz.com.

Il Etait Une Fois (Once Upon a Time). OPENS TUESDAY. A Théâtre du Rêve world premiere written and directed by Carolyn Cook. The piece is inspired by female writers living during the reign of Louis XIV and the stories they crafted in the salons of Paris. Their stories carried subtle but subversive political ideas about the suppression of women’s legal rights, centuries before the #MeToo movement. The cast: Natalie Karp, Eliana Marianes and Jennifer Schottstaedt. In French, with English supertitles. $25; $21 senior citizens; $18 students. Through March 25. 8 p.m. Friday-Saturday; 3 p.m. Sunday. 7 Stages Backstage Theatre, 1105 Euclid Ave. NE. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.523.7647.

Miss Nelson Is Missing. OPENS SATURDAY. At Georgia Ensemble Theatre. Joan Cushing’s quirky family musical shows what happens when the good-natured Miss Nelson goes missing and her class — the most ill-behaved kids in school — get stuck with the worst substitute teacher of all time. Based on the Henry G. Allard book first published in 1977. The cast: Erik Poger Abrahamsen, Shelli Delgado, Robert Lee HindsmanAsia Howard, JD Myers and Angelica K. Spence. Erin Bushko directs. $10. Also March 10 + 17. 11 a.m. Roswell Cultural Arts Center, 950 Forrest St., Roswell. Details, tickets HERE or at 770.641.1260. 

Jeffrey Watkins

William Luce’s Barrymore. PREVIEWS SUNDAY + MARCH 8 | OPENS MARCH 9. At the Shakespeare Tavern Playhouse. Catch up with the idolized stage and screen actor John Barrymore a few months before his 1942 death, as he rehearses a revival of his 1920 Broadway triumph, Richard III. He mostly reminisces about his life, his loves and his alcoholism. The cast: Playhouse artistic director Jeffrey Watkins is Barrymore, with Nicholas Faircloth as Frank the Prompter. For mature audiences (profanity, sexual innuendo). Through March 25. $15 previews. Regularly $22-$45. 7:30 p.m. Thursday-Saturday; 6:30 p.m. Sunday. Pub menu and full bar available. 499 Peachtree St. NE (parking suggested in the Emory University Hospital Midtown deck across the street). Details, tickets HERE or at 404.874.5299, Ext. 0.

This week only

Edo de Waart

Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. THURSDAY + SATURDAY. Grammy-winning violinist Augustin Hadelich and his 1723 Stradivarius join the ASO and conductor Edo de Waart for a program of Russian masterpieces — Rachmaninov’s Symphony No. 2 and Shostakovich’s Violin Concerto No. 1. Hadelich was born in Italy, grew up in Germany and was educated at the Juilliard School. De Waart, a Dutch conductor, is conductor laureate of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, chief conductor of the Royal Flemish Philharmonic and an artistic partner with Minnesota’s St. Paul Chamber Orchestra. $22-$97. 8 nightly. Symphony Hall, Woodruff Arts Center, 1280 Peachtree St. NE. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.733.5000.

Fancy Nancy. FRIDAY-SUNDAY. Synchronicity Theatre reprises this family musical for one weekend before it goes on tour. Nancy (Shelby Folks) and her best friend, Bree (Jimmica Collins), can’t wait to star as mermaids in their school ballet, but all does not go as planned, and Nancy must find a way to bring her sophisticated flair to the role of a … tree. Based on the Fancy Nancy books by Jane O’Connor. Stage adaptation by Susan Dilallo and Danny Abosch. Also in the cast: Maggie Birgel, Stephanie Earle, Jeremiah Davison and Julie Key. $20 and up; $15 and up for students and senior citizens. Swanky Seat upgrades available. 7 p.m. Friday (PJs & Play — kids in pajamas get free milk and cookies); 1 + 4 p.m. Saturday; 2 + 5 p.m. Sunday. One Peachtree Pointe, 1545 Peachtree St. NE. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.484.8636.

Ladysmith Black Mambazo. SATURDAY ONLY. At Georgia State’s Rialto Center for the Arts. The famously popular South African choral group — all male — sings in the vocal styles of its homeland. The five-time Grammy-winning group was formed in 1960, became one of South Africa’s most prolific recording artists and exports, and found worldwide fame when working on Paul Simon’s 1986 Graceland album. Ladysmith is a Rialto Center favorite. $38.25-$56 (limited seating remains). 8 p.m. 80 Forsyth St. NW. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.413.9849.

Last chance

The Daughter of the Regiment. CLOSES SUNDAY. At The Atlanta Opera. Singers call Donizetti’s screwball comedy a “high C’s adventure” because of the demands it makes on its tenors. What was the composer thinking when he concocted a story about a girl raised by Napoleon’s rowdy grenadiers? Probably romantic hijinks with a soupçon of conflict. Marie, that little girl (soprano Andriana Chuchman), has come of age and fallen in love with the handsome Tonio (tenor Santiago Ballerini). Key characters oppose their union, of course, but it all ends happily ever after. Sung in French with English supertitles. $35-$131. 8 p.m. Friday; 3 p.m. Sunday. Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre, 800 Cobb Galleria Parkway. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.881.8885. Discount tickets at PoshDealz.com.

Grenadiers, anyone?


Adriana Trachsell, Caleb Baumann. Photo: Greg Mooney

The Jungle Book. CLOSES SUNDAY. Alliance Theatre at the Porter Sanford III Performing Arts Center. Mowgli, a boy abandoned in the jungle, must find his place in the community of animals with the help of Baloo the bear, Bagheera the black panther and Akela the old wolf. Shere Khan the tiger is one beast who thinks Mowgli should be on his way. The cast: Ashley Anderson, Caleb Baumann, Markelle Gay, Jonathan Horne, J.L. Reed and Adriana Trachell. Based on the Rudyard Kipling stories. With a score and musical direction by S. Renee Clark. Rosemary Newcott directs. $18-$32. 1 + 3:30 p.m. Saturday-Sunday. 3181 Rainbow Drive, Decatur. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.733.5000.


Ontario Was Here. CLOSES SUNDAY. At Aurora Theatre. Kansas-based playwright Darren Canady, the 2007 winner of the Alliance/Kendeda National Graduate Playwriting Competition, returns with this contemporary drama about two social workers (Brittany L. SmithSeun Soyemi) on the front lines of the Department of Children and Families. Tempers flash when the co-workers (and former lovers) clash over what’s best for a 9-year-old boy. Their decisions could mean life or death. Cynthia D. Barker, better known for her work onstage, directs. This show is part of Aurora’s Harvel Lab Series, done in its smaller black-box space. $20-$30. 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday; 2:30 p.m. Sunday. 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.

Photo: David Zeiger

Rainforest Adventures. CLOSES SUNDAY. Return to the Amazonian jungle via the Center for Puppetry Arts, where Brazilian music accompanies a communion with 30-plus exotic plants and animals, including howler monkeys, harpy eagles, sloths, big cats and pink river dolphins. Performed in Czech Black style by puppeteers Brian Harrison, Jake Krakovsky, Emily MarshTim Sweeney and Anna Claire Walker. For ages 4 and up. $19.50 non-members; $9.75 members. 10 + 11 a.m. Tuesday-Friday; 11 a.m. + 1 p.m. Saturday; and 1 + 3 p.m. Sunday. 1404 Spring St. NW. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.873.3391.

Next week

Behzod Abduraimov

Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. MARCH 8 + 10. Guest conductor Henrik Nánási, general music director of the Komische Oper Berlin, leads a program featuring Uzbek pianist Behzod Abduraimov on Prokofiev’s Third Piano Concerto, Hungarian composer Zoltán Kodály’s Dances of Galánta and R. Strauss’ Ein Heldenleben, with concertmaster David Coucheron. $22-$97. 8 nightly. Symphony Hall, Woodruff Arts Center, 1280 Peachtree St. NE. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.733.5000.

Coming up

James Taylor Odom. Photo: Jeremy Daniel

A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder. MARCH 13-18. This 2014 best-musical Tony winner tells the story of an heir to a family fortune who sets out to jump the line of succession by eliminating the eight pesky relatives who stand in his way. The Hollywood Reporter said the show “restores our faith in musical comedy.” An NPR critic said he’s “never laughed so hard at a Broadway musical.” The company famously features one actor as all eight — male and female — doomed family members (here that actor is Lawrenceville native James Taylor Odom). Murder ran for three years and also won Tonys for direction and costume design. $30-$105.50. 7:30 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday; 8 p.m. Friday; 2 + 8 p.m. Saturday; 1 + 6:30 p.m. Sunday. Broadway in Atlanta at the Fox Theatre, 660 Peachtree St. NE. Details, tickets HERE or at 855.285.8499.

Ben Mitchell (from left), Maggie Birgel, Nicolas Carleo, Allie Southwood. Photo: Dan Carmody / Studio 7

And Then They Came for Me: Remembering the World of Anne Frank. MARCH 13 ONLY. At Georgia Ensemble Theatre. Anne’s childhood friends Eva Schloss and Ed Silverberg recount their stories via video as actors portray the two, and others, onstage. Schloss describes memories from the day her family — and the Franks — went into hiding. On Eva’s 15th birthday, Nazis arrested her family and sent them to concentration camps. The cast: Ben Mitchell, Maggie Birgel, Nicolas Carleo and Allie Southwood. Erin Bushko directs. $10. 7 p.m.  At the Roswell Cultural Arts Center, 950 Forrest St., Roswell. Details, tickets HERE or at 770.641.1260. 

About Kathy Janich

Kathy Janich 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