Leading this week’s curated BEST BETS column: “110 in the Shade” (opening at Theatrical Outfit); Lauren Gunderson’s “The Taming” (opening at Synchronicity Theatre); the final weekend of “Vertical” (Terminus Modern Ballet Theatre); and the ongoing national tour of a little showed called “Hamilton.” Pictured: Caroline Arapoglou as Miss Georgia Katherine Chelsea Hartford in “The Taming.” Photo by Jerry Siegel.



** 110 in the Shade. PREVIEWS MAY 31 | OPENS JUNE 2. Theatrical Outfit. A promising cast makes this musical, a modest Broadway success in 1964 and 2007, worth a look. It’s July 4th, 1936, in Three Point, Texas, where unrelenting heat has the locals praying for rain. Lizzie Curry (Ayana Reed) is daydreaming away fears of becoming a spinster when a charismatic rainmaker named Starbuck (Jeremy Wood) sweeps into town promising more than just atmospheric relief. The score is by Harvey Schmidt and Tom Jones (The Fantasticks, I Do! I Do!). Also in the cast: Atlanta singer-actors Lowrey BrownGalen Crawley, Devon HalesEugene H. Russell IV and LaParee Young. Artistic director Tom Key directs, with musical direction by S. Renee Clark. $20.50-$51. Through July 24. 7:30 p.m. Wednesday-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.

Chris De’Sean Lee as Thomas Jefferson (he also plays the Marquis de Lafayette) and company. Photo: Joan Marcus

** Hamilton. THROUGH JUNE 10. This musical lives up to its pedigree — 11 Tony awards and the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. Lin-Manuel Miranda’s game-changing, genre-mixing, multicultural masterpiece tells the story of Founding Father Alexander Hamilton from his impoverished island boyhood to his infamous death. American history never sounded better than it does with Miranda’s score, a blend of 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.” $80-$625 (tickets are scarce but available). Producers hold a #Ham4Ham digital lottery for 40 orchestra seats ($10) for each performance. Download the phone app HERE or register online HERE. 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.



Jimmica Collins (from left), Caroline Arapoglou and Kelly Criss as Founding Fathers Charles C. Pinckney, George Washington and James Madison. Photo: Jerry Siegel

** The Taming. OPENS FRIDAY. At Synchronicity Theatre. A modern political farce inspired by Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew. When a conservative senatorial aide, a liberal political activist and a sparkly beauty queen find themselves locked in a hotel room during the Miss America pageant, their political passions just might prove that they’re revolutionary geniuses. The script is from Decatur-born, San Francisco-based writer Lauren Gunderson, the most-frequently-produced playwright in America this season. The Taming, critics say, “spanks America’s sound-bite politics with the switch of actual history and proves Shakespeare’s point that true debate is … hot.” The cast: Caroline Arapoglou, Jimmica Collins and Kelly Criss. Atlanta theater artist Suehyla El-Attar directs. $23-$41. Through June 24. 8 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday; 5 p.m. Sunday. Synchronicity is in Midtown’s One Peachtree Pointe building, 1545 Peachtree St. NE. Details, tickets HERE or 404.484.8636.

The Vertical. FRIDAY + SUNDAY. A world premiere from Terminus Modern Ballet Theatre danced outdoors beneath the stars at Deer Hollow at Serenbe. This exciting, year-old company features the choreography and footwork of Christian Clark, Heath Gill, Tara Lee, Rachel Van Buskirk and John Welker, all former Atlanta Ballet stalwarts and much of the buzz behind the late (and great) Wabi Sabi, a contemporary, site-specific dance initiative under John McFall, then Atlanta Ballet’s artistic director. The Vertical, choreographed by Lee, also includes dancers Devon Joslin and Laura Morton. $30; $15 students. 8 nightly. Deer Hollow is at 8715 Atlanta Newnan Road in Palmetto. Details, tickets HERE.

This weekend only

Nikolaj Znaider

Nikolaj Znaider Plays Tchaikovsky. THURSDAY-SUNDAY. The Danish-born conductor and violinist joins the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and guest conductor Cristian Măcelaru for Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto. (Znaider replaces Hilary Hahn, who’s having her second child.) Also on the program: Enescu’s Romanian Rhapsody No. 1 and Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 1. $22-$108. 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.

Opening this week

Photo: BreeAnne Clowdus

Peter Pan. NOW-AUG. 26. Serenbe Playhouse bills this as a “world premiere musical pirate adventure.” Sail to the second star on the right in this version of J.M. Barrie’s 1904 tale, and straight on till morning to join Peter, Tinker Bell and the Lost Boys in the forests of Neverland. Complications arise when the Lost Boys get homesick and Captain Hook returns seeking revenge. The story is by Roger Q. Mason, the score by London-trained, New York regular Ella Grace. Michael Alvarez, who works largely in Britain, directs. Serenbe, which does outdoor, site-specific shows, sets Peter Pan at the Mado Hideaway at Serenbe (no directions available at press time). $13-$30. 11 a.m. Thursday-Saturday; 2 p.m. Sunday. Serenbe is at 9110 Selborne Lane in Chattahoochee Hills. Details, tickets HERE or at 770.463.1110. Discount tickets at PoshDealz.com.

Still running

As You Like It. THROUGH JUNE 10. Shakespeare Tavern Playhouse once again enters 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 the course of love ever run true? Also in the cast: Tavern regulars J. Tony Brown, O’Neil Delapenha, Nicholas Faircloth, Vinnie Mascola, Matt Nitchie and Mary Ruth Ralston. Pub menu and libations available. $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.

Carolyn Cook, Allan Edwards. Photo: Greg Mooney

Citizens Market. THROUGH JUNE 24. 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  cast is noteworthy, especially Atlanta-based actors Cynthia D. Barker, Carolyn Cook and Allan EdwardsHorizon co-artistic director Jeff Adler directs. Suggested for older teens and up (mature language and situations). $25-$45 and up. 8 p.m. Wednesday-Friday; 3 + 8:30 p.m. Saturday (no matinee June 3); 5 p.m. Sunday. 1083 Austin Ave. at Euclid Avenue NE. Parking is free, with limitations. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.584.7450.

Next week

Atlanta Fringe Festival. JUNE 6-10. Dancers, comedians, storytellers, puppeteers, actors and the offbeat put up live shows across five venues in and around the Little Five Points neighborhood. In its sixth season, Fringe attracted 70 submissions from across the country for 20 spots. Each winning act (pulled randomly from a hat) performs four times, for a total of 80 performances. Some of the more intriguing titles: Flesh Canoe to Tuna Town; The Gay Uncle Explains It All to You; Grab Me By the Lady Land! (Putting the #Me Back Into #MeToo!)PolySHAMory: Really Spicy Opera; and Unlimited Stories: Life in the Fast LaneA free June 6 kickoff at 7 Stages features three-minute performances from every fest artist, plus door prizes and other giveaways. For performances, all patrons must have a 2018 Fringe button ($3) and a ticket or pass. Single-show tickets are $10. Passes come in six-show ($43), 10-show ($63) and 16-show ($93) increments and can be shared. Fringe includes after-parties and networking, free Fringe Audio (already underway) and a free closing-night party at the Highland Inn BallroomDetails, tickets, everything you need to know HERE.

Inon Barnatan

ASO Season Finale. JUNE 7 + 9. Music director Robert Spano and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra close their 2017/18 classical season with a program featuring Prelude to The Afternoon of a Faun (Debussy) and Scheherazade (Rimsky-Korsakov). Israeli-born, New York-based soloist Inon Barnatan joins them for Fletcher’s Piano Concerto. Ticket holders to either performance are invited to a free chamber music recital at 6:45 p.m. June 7. $22-$97. 8 nightly. Symphony Hall, Woodruff Arts Center, 1280 Peachtree St. NE. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.733.5000.

Stephen Sondheim

** Sweeney Todd. OPENS JUNE 9. The Atlanta Opera. Many experts consider Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street to be Stephen Sondheim’s greatest achievement, one balanced on the precipice between musical theater and American opera. The Grand Guignol revenge story follows Todd, a barber who returns to London after many years away to settle a score … or four. Mrs. Lovett, purveyor of the worst pies in town, becomes his co-conspirator. Baritone Michael Mayes sings Todd. Mezzo-soprano Maria Zifchak sings Mrs. Lovett. God, that’s good! $35-$131. A fifth show has been added. Performances at 8 p.m. June 9; 7:30 p.m. June 12; 8 p.m. June 15-16; and 3 p.m. June 17. Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre, 2800 Cobb Galleria Parkway, Atlanta. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.881.8885.



Winnie-the-Pooh. OPENS JUNE 7. The Alliance Theatre opens its 50th anniversary season with a family musical based on A.A. Milne’s  books. Journey through the Hundred Acre Wood with Pooh, Piglet, Rabbit, Eeyore, Kanga, Roo and Owl as one adventure turns into another. The lesson: Friendship is the greatest gift and simplicity a virtue beyond measure. The cast includes Atlanta actors Isake Akanke (Synchronicity’s Eclipsed), Grant Chapman (Actor’s Express’ Angels in America), Maria Rodriguez-Sager (Theatrical Outfit’s Christmas at Pemberley) and Joe Sykes (Angels in America), plus child actors Caleb Baumann, CJ Cooper and Mabel Tyler. $15; $10 ages 6-17; $5 ages 3-5; age 2 and under free. Through July 8. 10 + 11:45 a.m. Tuesday-Friday; 10:30 a.m., 1 p.m. + 3:30 p.m. Saturday; and 3 p.m. Sunday. No shows: 10 a.m. June 7-8; 10:30 a.m. June 9; or July 4. Rich Theatre, Woodruff Arts Center, 1280 Peachtree St. NE. Details, tickets HERE. Note: The High Museum of Art runs the exhibition Winnie-the-Pooh: Exploring a Classic at the same time (June 3-Sept. 2). High details, tickets HERE. For either the musical or the exhibit, call 404.733.5000.


Next week: Special event

Food That Rocks. JUNE 9 ONLY. Same event, new location. Celebrate Sandy Springs with food, drink and friends at this third annual, adults-only, rain-or-shine event. The all-inclusive evening moves relocates to the City Green green space in City Springs, Sandy Springs’ new downtown. It features samples of beer, wine and craft beverages, plus bites from more than 20 Atlanta restaurants, including Buttermilk Sky Pie Shop; CalyRoad Creamery; Gio’s Chicken Amalfitano; Southern Bistro; and Taqueria Tsunami, a Latin-Asian fusion kitchen, among many others. Sip, sup and take in rockin’ local music. Proceeds benefit the Community Assistance Center (which combats homelessness), the Drake House (which assists homeless single mothers and their children) and Second Helpings Atlanta (a food rescue organization). 6:30 p.m. VIP First-Taster entry ($65 plus fees); 7:30 p.m. regular entry ($55 plus fees). Event ends at 11 p.m. City Springs at City Green, 1 Galambos Way (off Johnson Ferry and Roswell roads). Details, tickets HERE.

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