World premieres — the opening of “The Flower Room” at Actor’s Express and the continuing run of “Ripe Frenzy” at Synchronicity — lead this week’s curated BEST BETS. Say goodbye, meanwhile, to “Freaky Friday” (Horizon), “Little Mermaid” (Serenbe), “Love’s Labours Lost” (Shakespeare Tavern) and “Something Rotten!” (Fox Theatre). Pictured (from left): Matthew Busch, Joshua Quinn, Stacy Melich and Eliane Marianes in “Flower Room.” Photo by Chris Bartelski.

**  INDICATES AN ENCORE ATLANTA WINTER/SPRING SEASON TOP PICK.

Recommended

** The Flower Room. IN PREVIEWS  | OPENS SATURDAY. Actor’s Express. World premiere. Atlanta playwright Daryl Lisa Fazio’s comedy follows an uptight academic named Ingrid (Stacy Melich), who researches sexual behavior in primitive cultures while remaining closed off from her own sexual side. When she loses her university job, she turns to writing erotica to pay the bills — unleashing her own journey of, well, discovery. Express regular Melissa Foulger directs a cast that includes Matthew Busch (The Thrush and the Woodpecker), Eliana Marianes and Joshua Quinn. $31-$44 (previews cheaper, opening night most expensive). Through May 13. King Plow Arts Center, 887 West Marietta St. NW. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.607.7469. Discount tickets at PoshDealz.com.

Megan Cramer (from left), Taylor M. Dooley, Danyé Brown. Photo: Jerry Siegel

** Ripe Frenzy. THROUGH MAY 6. Synchronicity TheatreThis world premiere by Jennifer Barclay won the National New Play Network’s 2016 Smith Prize for Political Theater. It tells the before and after of a mass shooting in a small American town from multiple points of view and through the lens of Thornton Wilder’s classic play Our Town. “It’s about what got us here,” says director Rachel May. “And what we do afterward.” Community conversations follow each performance. The cast: Taylor M. Dooley (Aurora Theatre’s Burnpile); Danyé Brown; Megan Cramer (Georgia Shakespeare, back in the day); Parker Fox Ciliax; and Lizzy Liu. $27-$31 (swanky seat upgrades available). 8 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday; 5 p.m. Sunday. Synchronicity Theatre in Midtown’s One Peachtree Pointe building, 1545 Peachtree St. NE. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.484.8636.

This weekend only

Matthias Pintscher

Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. THURSDAY + SATURDAY. Scottish violinist Nicola Benedetti joins the ASO for Beethoven’s “monumental” Violin Concerto, a piece she calls a favorite because it’s “tender, and sensitive, and intimate.” The program, conducted by Matthias Pintscher, includes his Ex nihilo and Brahms’ Symphony No. 2. Pintscher is in his fifth season as music director of the Ensemble Intercontemporain, a world-renowned, Paris-based ensemble dedicated to contemporary chamber music. He also is principal conductor of the Lucerne Festival Academy Orchestra in Switzerland. $32-$108. 8 nightly (all ticket holders are invited to attend a 6:45 p.m. chamber recital in Symphony Hall on Thursday). Woodruff Arts Center, 1280 Peachtree St. NE. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.733.5000.

[ASO IN 18/19: MORE BERNSTEIN, BEETHOVEN + BISS]

 

Natural Shocks. SUNDAY ONLY. The latest from Decatur-born, San Francisco-based playwright Lauren Gunderson is an unpublished piece about guns in America. It’s being performed at more than 100 locations around the country this weekend in conjunction with the National School Walkout and the 19th anniversary of the Columbine school shooting. In Atlanta, Sheri Mann Stewart performs the one-woman piece, with narration by Yvonne Singh. A panel of Atlanta artists and activists will discuss arts and activism following the 65-minute piece. Gunderson, incidentally, is the most-produced playwright in America this season. $20. 3 p.m. Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Atlanta, 1911 Cliff Valley Way NE (off the I-85 north frontage road).  Details HERE or at 404.634.5134.

Last chance

Abby Holland, Jennifer Alice Acker. Photo: Greg Mooney

Freaky Friday: A New Musical. CLOSES SUNDAY. Horizon Theatre. When an overworked mother and her teenage daughter magically swap bodies, they have one day to put things right before Mom’s big wedding. The musical is based on the Mary Rodgers novel and the Disney movies. The score comes from Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey (Next to NormalIf/Then). Director Heidi Cline McKerley’s cast includes Jennifer Alice AckerRandi Garza, Jill Hames, Christian Magby and Juan Carlos Unzueta. $25-$45. 8 p.m. Thursday-Friday; 3 + 8:30 p.m. Saturday; 5 p.m. Sunday. 1083 Austin Ave. NE at Euclid Avenue (Inman Park + Little Five Points). Free parking. Details tickets HERE or at 404.584.7450.

Niki Badua. Photo: BreeAnne Clowdus

The Little Mermaid. CLOSES SUNDAY. Go under the sea (or at least lakeside) with Serenbe Playhouse in Chattahoochee Hills. All Serenbe shows are outdoors and site-specific, so Ariel and Prince Eric, Flounder, Flotsam, Jetsam and the rest will spin their musical tale at the Grange Lake. The Tony Award-nominated score includes “Part of Your World,” “Poor Unfortunate Souls” and, of course, “Under the Sea.” Miss Saigon‘s Niki Badua and Chase Peacock return as Ariel and Eric, with Deborah Bowman (Cabaret) as the deliciously evil sea witch Ursula. Look closely at the set: It’s made entirely of recyclables. $30-$43. 7:30 p.m. Thursday; 8 p.m. Friday; 2 + 8 p.m. Saturday; 2 + 7:30 p.m. Sunday. Note: Beachfront seats have been added to previously sold-out performances. Details, tickets, directions HERE or at 770.463.1110.

Love’s Labours Lost. CLOSES SUNDAY. Shakespeare Tavern PlayhouseCan four young men honor their pledge to avoid the opposite sex, food, drink and sleep for the sake of becoming more intellectual and contemplative? Not in Shakespeare’s comedic universe, especially when four young women arrive on the scene. The 17-person cast includes Chris Hecke, Cory Phelps, J.L. Reed, Seun Soyemi and, as Don Armado, Aurora Theatre Artistic Director Anthony P. Rodriguez. Jaclyn Hofmann directs. $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.

Adam Pascal. Photo: Joan Marcus

Something Rotten! CLOSES SUNDAY. Broadway in Atlanta presents the national tour of the musical-inventing musical. We’re in the 1590s, where brothers Nick and Nigel Bottom are tired of rocking Will Shakespeare’s shadow and  desperate to write their own hit. When a soothsayer foretells a singing-dancing-acting future for theater, the brothers set out to write the world’s very first musical. The show had a 20-month Broadway run. Adam Pascal (Rent) plays Shakespeare here. $33.50-$99 plus fees. 7:30 p.m. 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.

[READ MORE: RENT, ROTTEN + ADAM PASCAL TODAY]

 Still running

Jeremy Aggers. Photo: Dan Carmody / Studio 7

Buddy — The Buddy Holly Story. THROUGH APRIL 29. Georgia Ensemble Theatre. The true story of Holly’s meteoric rise to fame, from the moment in 1957 when “That’ll Be The Day” hit the airwaves until his death less than two years later. The show features more than 20 of Buddy Holly’s greatest hits (“That’ll Be The Day,” “Peggy Sue,” “Everyday,” “Oh Boy,” etc.), plus Ritchie Valens’ “La Bamba” and the Big Bopper’s “Chantilly Lace.” Jeremy Aggers (Edward Foote at the Alliance) makes his GET debut as Holly, with Ricardo Aponte (who also directs) as Valens and Ethan Ray Parker as the Big Bopper. $33-$43. 7:30 p.m. Wednesday; 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday; 2:30 p.m. Sunday (some shows sold out). 950 Forrest St., Roswell. Details, tickets HERE or at 770.641.1260.

Dr. Seuss’ The Cat in the Hat. THROUGH MAY 13. Center for Puppetry Arts. It’s fun to have fun, but you have to know how, says the sassy cat in the red-and-white hat. He’s feline full of mischief (and magic) in this stage telling, done with rod puppets and based on the 1957 children’s book by Theodor Geisel, aka Dr. Seuss. This version was first produced by the National Theatre of Great Britain. The center’s Jon Ludwig directs here. For age 4 and up. $11.25-$19.50. Showtimes: 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.

Limara Meneses Jimenez. Photo: Casey Gardner

El Gran Día de la Madre (The Great Mother’s Day). THROUGH APRIL 29. Aurora Theatre. A mother, daughter and granddaughter — all keepers of dark secrets — have a Mother’s Day reckoning in a family mausoleum. Expect multigenerational love, tears and laughs in this comedy from Chile, which next travels to Spain. Part of Teatro Aurora and performed in Spanish with English supertitles. The script is by Chascas y Quintanilla. Daniel Jáquez directs. $20-$30. 8 p.m. Thursday-Friday; 2:30 + 8 p.m. Saturday; and 2:30 p.m. Sunday. In Aurora’s Harvel Lab. Free, covered, attached parking in city deck at 153 E. Crogan St. Details, tickets HERE or at 678.226.6222. 

Next week

Elizabeth Koch Tiscione.

Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. APRIL 26, 28, 29. Italian conductor Carlo Rizzi leads the ASO in a program featuring Prokofiev’s Symphony No. 1, “Classical”; Beethoven’s Symphony No. 2; and Mozart’s Oboe Concerto. The latter is performed by the symphony’s principal oboist, Elizabeth Koch Tiscione,who joined the ASO in the 2007/08 season. $22-$102. 8 p.m. Thursday + Saturday; 3 p.m. Sunday. Symphony Hall, Woodruff Arts Center, 1280 Peachtree St. NE. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.733.5000.

Carmen. APRIL 28-MAY 6. The Atlanta OperaGeorges Bizet’s opéra comique might be the most beloved opera of all time. It tracks the downfall of Don José, a naïve soldier seduced by a Gypsy. Its story was groundbreaking in the 19th century. Franco-Armenian mezzo-soprano Varduhi Abrahamyan sings Carmen. Italian tenor Gianluca Terranova, seen as Rodolfo in Atlanta Opera’s La bohème, sings Don José. Carmen was last seen in Atlanta in 2012 and played to sold-out houses. It’s sung in French with English supertitles. $50-$156. 8 p.m. April 28 + May 4; 7:30 p.m. May 1; and 3 p.m. May 6. Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre2800 Cobb Galleria Parkway, 

Photo: The Atlanta Opera

[READ MORE: IN CARMEN, THREE’S A CROWD]

 

Lazybed. APRIL 26-MAY 13. Arís!, Atlanta’s stage for Celtic culture, takes on Scottish playwright Iain Crichton Smith’s dark philosophical comedy about a man in the midst of a metaphysical crisis, essentially a meditation on life, death, love and the meaningfulness of the things we all hold dear. Murdo, the man in question, is a Scottish crofter (farmer) who has taken to his bed. While he malingers, he’s visited by his brother, his gossipy neighbor, his girlfriend, an insurance salesman, a minister, a medical specialist, Immanuel Kant and Death — who keeps stopping by to chat. Kyle Crew directs. $23-$28 (April 26 preview is $18). 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday; 2:30 p.m. Sunday. 7 Stages Back Stage Theatre, 1105 Euclid Ave. NE. Details, tickets HERE.

Mary Lynn Owen

** Revolt. She Said. Revolt Again. APRIL 26-MAY 13. 7 Stages. British playwright Alice Birch’s 2014 script has a way of making you question everything you say when it comes to discussing women and their relationships with men, one another and the world. 7 Stages says it decided to produce Revolt to address the urgent mood in our community and nation surrounding issues of women’s rights and systemic prejudice.” Atlanta-based theater artist Rachel Parish directs. Her cast: Dorothy Victoria Bell-Polk, Christopher Hampton, Renita JamesBrooke OwensMary Lynn Owen (a two-time Suzi Bass Award winner) and Patrick Wade. On the mainstage. $22.50-$28. 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday; 5 p.m. Sunday. 1105 Euclid Ave. NE. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.523.7647.

[WHY ‘REVOLT’ + WHY NOW AT 7 STAGES]

 

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