The long-awaited arrival of “Hamilton” (opening Tuesday) leads this week’s curated BEST BETS column. Openings include vocalist Libby Whittemore’s weekend gig at Actor’s Express and “Citizens Market” at Horizon Theatre. And we say goodbye to the Alliance/Atlanta Symphony “Candide.” Pictured: Chris De’Sean Lee (left) as the Marquis de Lafayette, and friends. Photo by Joan Marcus.

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

Recommended

Alexandra Schoeny (left) and Terry Burrell. Photo: Greg Mooney

** Candide. CLOSES SUNDAY. The Alliance Theatre and Atlanta Symphony Orchestra co-produce a staged concert version of Leonard Bernstein’s notoriously challenging 1956 musical opera, based on Voltaire’s satirical 1759 novel about a naïve young man who searches the world for his lost beloved while fiercely believing — as he’s been taught — that his is the best of all possible worlds. Candide features a cast of 17 (including Broadway’s Christopher Sieber and Broadway-and-Atlanta’s Terry Burrell), plus the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, with Robert Spano conducting. Expect puppetry and projections, too. Recommended for age 12+ (violence and mild sexual situations). $10-$75. 8 tonight-Saturday; 3 p.m. Sunday. Symphony Hall, Woodruff Arts Center, 1280 Peachtree St. NE. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.733.5000.

[THE ALLIANCE’S SUSAN V. BOOTH ON CANDIDE, PUPPETS + PARTNERSHIPS]

Alexander Hamilton

** Hamilton. OPENS TUESDAY. This musical drama’s pedigree includes 11 Tony awards and the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. Lin-Manuel Miranda’s game-changing, genre-mixing masterpiece finally comes to Atlanta, for a three-week run. It tells the story of Founding Father Alexander Hamilton — and the young nation he adopts — from his impoverished island boyhood to his infamous death. American history never sounded better than it does with Miranda’s award-winning score, which blends hip-hop, jazz, blues, rap, R&B and Broadway sounds. It’s no hyperbole when producers claim that “Hamilton is the story of America then, as told by America now.” With a multicultural cast no less. $80-$625 (if you can find a ticket). Limited seats remain and producers have announced a #Ham4Ham digital lottery for 40 orchestra seats ($10) for each performance. Download the phone app HERE or register online HERE. Through June 10. 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 Theatre660 Peachtree St. NE in Midtown. Details, tickets HERE or at 855.285.8499. Good luck! To get an official program, go to PoshDealz.com.

[MORE: WHO KNEW OUR FOUNDING FATHERS COULD BE THIS COOL?]

This weekend only

Libby Whittemore

Libby’s at the Express: Musical Cavalcade. THURSDAY-SUNDAY. Atlanta cabaret legend Libby Whittemore sings a mix of tunes, from Rosemary Clooney and Lady Antebellum, to Motown and Carolina shag, and everything in between. In case you haven’t heard, she’s really good. And funny, too. You might want to take a spare $20 or $40 with you to pick up one of her CDs at intermission or post-show. $40. 7:30 nightly. At Actor’s Express in West Midtown’s King Plow Arts Center, 8887 West Marietta St. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.607.7469.

Opening this week

Sarah Newby Halicks, Chris Hecke.

As You Like It. IN PREVIEWS THURSDAY | OPENS SATURDAY. Shakespeare Tavern Playhouse takes you into the bard’s enchanted woods where Rosalind (Sarah Newby Halicks) disguises herself as a man and Orlando (Chris Hecke) fills the trees with love notes praising her beauty and virtue. When all the world’s a stage, can love ever be true? Pub menu and libations available. $15 preview Thursday; $20 preview Friday. Regularly $21-$42. 7:30 p.m. Thursday-Saturday; 6:30 p.m. Sunday. 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.

Jasmine Thomas (left), Cynthia D. Barker. Photo: Greg Mooney

Citizens Market. OPENS FRIDAY. A Southeastern premiere at Horizon Theatre. This dramatic rom-com from New York-based playwright/actor Cori Thomas follows a hopeful group of immigrants who form an unlikely family and work to master the ups and downs of language, love and staying afloat in their new world. The first-rate cast: Cynthia D. Barker, Carolyn Cook, Allan Edwards, Cristian Gonzalez and Jasmine ThomasHorizon co-artistic director Jeff Adler directs. Suggested for older teens and up (mature language and situations). $25-$45 (will increase based on demand). Through June 24. 8 p.m. Wednesday-Friday; 3 + 8:30 p.m. Saturday (no matinees May 19 or June 3); 5 p.m. Sunday. 1083 Austin Ave. at Euclid Avenue NE. Parking is free but has limitations. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.584.7450.

Gabi Anderson, Adam King.

Measure 4 Measure. OPENS FRIDAY. The Make Mom Proud Project describes its take on Shakespeare’s tragicomedy as “a sort of feminist protest piece, an anti-sexual-assault one-act, updated slightly to fit with the cultural zeitgeist (#MeToo, #TimesUp).” It sets Angelo, one of the bard’s nastiest villains, before a jury of audience members and shows how common crimes like his are today. This newish company with attitude just may be worth a look. Jacob McKee directs a cast comprising Gabi Anderson, Jasmine Renee Ellis, Adam King, Stephen Ruffin, April Singley, Rachel Wansker and Jake West. $15. Through May 27. 8 p.m. Friday-Sunday. The Blackbox at the 4048, 4048 Flowers Road, Doraville. Details, tickets HERE.

Last chance

Dr. Seuss’ The Cat in the Hat. CLOSES SUNDAY. 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. Thursday-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.

Ellen McQueen

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Gynecologic Oncology Unit at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center of New York City. CLOSES SUNDAY. Southeastern premiere by the new Atlanta Theatre Club, which calls itself an itinerant, women-centric company that produces contemporary plays. The New York Times called Halley Feiffer’s 2016 comedy “as deeply felt as its name is long” and said it “explores that tender spot where uncontrollable laughter and uncontainable tears meet.” Jennifer Silver directs. Her cast: Douglas Dickerman, Ellen McQueen, Rebeca Robles and Virginia Kirby. $27. 8 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday; 6 p.m. Sunday. Performed at Pinch ‘n’ Ouch Theatre, 1085 Ponce de Leon Ave. NE. Details, tickets HERE.

T.K. Habtemariam

Sordid Lives. CLOSES SUNDAY. Out Front Theatre. Chaos erupts in Winters, Texas, when a good Christian woman hits her head on the sink and bleeds to death in a motel room after tripping over her lover’s wooden legs. The 1996 comedy is by the somewhat-infamous Del Shores, a Texas-born, Los Angeles-based director, writer, producer, stand-up comic, gay and human rights activist and, in his own words, all-around sh*t-stirrer. The Los Angeles Times calls him “a master of Texas comedy;” Daily Variety the “grand master of Southern lowlife sensibilities.” In a twist, Out Front’s staging is being done with a largely African-American cast. Two special events coincide with the run: At 3 p.m. Saturday, Out Front partners with Out on Film to screen Shores’ A Very Sordid Wedding, a sequel to the stage comedy. Shores plans to attend ($10 + $35). At 7 p.m. Sunday, Out Front presents Shores in his one-man Pirandello riff-off, Six Characters in Search of a Play ($35 + $70). Sordid Lives tix: $15-$25. 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday; 3 p.m. Sunday. 999 Brady Ave. NW in West Midtown. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.448.2755.

Still running

Jill Jane Clements (left), Donna Biscoe. Photo: Chris Bartelski

Ripcord. THROUGH JUNE 3. Aurora Theatre describes this 2016 comic-drama from Pulitzer Prize winner David Lindsay-Abaire (Good People, Rabbit Hole, Kimberly Akimbo) as “The Odd Couple” meets “The Golden Girls.” Crabby Abby (Donna Biscoe) and her new roommate (the too-rarely-seen Jill Jane Clements) vie for prime real estate at the Bristol Place Senior Living Facility until their contest becomes a pitched battle with no end in sight. Jaclyn Hofmann directs. Also in the cast: Megan Rose, Seun Soyemi and Jacob York. $20-$55. 8 p.m. Tuesday-Friday; 2:30 + 8 p.m 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. 

Next week

Heath Gill (from left), Christian Clark, Rachel Van Buskirk.

Terminus Modern Ballet Theatre. OPENS MAY 25. The Vertical, a world premiere from this exciting, year-old company, is danced outdoors beneath the stars at Deer Hollow at Serenbe. The Terminus company consists of Christian Clark, Heath Gill, Tara Lee, Rachel Van Buskirk and John Welker, all former Atlanta Ballet stalwarts and much of the buzz behind Wabi Sabi, a contemporary, site-specific dance initiative under John McFall, then Atlanta Ballet’s artistic director. $50 opening night. Otherwise $30; $15 students. Through June 3. 8 p.m. Friday-Sunday (June 2 performance sold out). Deer Hollow is at 8715 Atlanta Newnan Road in Palmetto. Details, tickets HERE.

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