SANDY SPRINGS PERFORMING ARTS CENTER, a brand-new facility with two stages, opens its inaugural season in August with a 12-day celebration featuring eight events.

Sutton Foster, Broadway triple threat and “Younger” actor, sings Aug. 18 behind her latest CD. Photo: Getty Images

The PAC’s 2018/19 season includes a Performing Arts Series, a Speaker Series, a National Geographic Live! Series and performances from four affiliate groups — Atlanta Ballet, Atlanta Opera, the new City Springs Theatre Company and Roswell Dance Theatre. As such, it is its own blend of what audiences might see at the Fox Theatre, the Rialto Center for the Arts, Atlanta Lyric Theatre and Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre. The Sandy Springs center will light up with events of one sort or another more than 70 times in its first 15 months.

The venue is part of the still-in-the-making City Springs District, conceived as a hub for community activity and identity in Sandy Springs. The 14-acre district, bordered by Allen Road on the south and Sandy Springs Circle on the north, is envisioned as a live-work-play community, home to restaurants, coffee shops, retail, apartments and condos, a green space called City Green, City Hall and more.

In addition to meeting and banquet space, the performing arts center has a 1,100-seat mainstage, named the Byers Theatre, and a 400-seat flexible Studio Theatre.

Branford Marsalis (third from left) and friends.

Subscription packages are available as of June 1; single tickets go on sale June 22. Details, tickets HERE or at 770.206.2022 (phone answered noon-6 p.m. Monday-Friday; 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday).

The opening celebration begins at 6 p.m. Aug. 7 with a National Night Out on the City Green and ends Aug. 19 with a screening from the Atlanta Jewish Film Festival. The rest of that lineup:

AUG. 11. City Springs Day. Activities all day on the City Green and in both theaters. An 8 p.m. concert by the Branford Marsalis Quintet in the Byers Theatre caps the day. The New Orleans-born Marsalis is a National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master, a Grammy Award-winning saxophonist and a Tony Award nominee (for 2010’s Fences).

AUG. 12. Concerts by the Springs After-Party. 8:30 p.m. CityView Terrace.

AUG. 14. National Geographic Live! On the Trail of Big Cats: Tigers, Cougars and Snow Leopards. 8 p.m. Byers Theatre. Travel to Asian jungles, the Himalayas and rain forests in Latin America with photojournalist Steve Winter.

AUG. 16. Joe Gransden Big Band featuring jazz vocalist Landau Eugene Murphy Jr. 8:30 p.m. Studio Theatre.

AUG. 17. Steinway Celebration. 8 p.m. Byers Theatre.

AUG. 18. Broadway great Sutton Foster in concert (touring behind her newest CD, Take Me to the World). Foster, who performed in concert at Atlanta Symphony Hall in April, has done 11 Broadway shows, is a two-time Tony Award winner with an additional four nominations, and one of the leading actors on the TV Land series “Younger.” Take Me to the World dropped June 1 and includes songs by theater composers Jason Robert Brown, Kander & Ebb, Cole Porter and Stephen Sondheim, pop songwriters Paul Simon and James Taylor, and the shows Guys and Dolls, Purlie, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Singin’ in the Rain and Violet. This is a new set list, not the one she did at Symphony Hall.

A scene from “Heading Home: A Tale of Team Israel.”

AUG. 19. A screening of Heading Home: A Tale of Team Israel. Time TBA. Byers Theatre. Heading Home, a 2017 documentary (85 mins), had its world premiere at this year’s Atlanta Jewish Film Festival. It charts the underdog journey of Israel’s national baseball team competing for the first time in the World Baseball Classic.

Performing Arts Series

All performances are in the Byers Theatre, except where noted. In addition to the Branford Marsalis Quintet on Aug. 11 and Sutton Foster on Aug. 18, it lines up like this:

LATE-NIGHT TAILGATE. 8 p.m. Oct. 11. Comedian Steve Rannazzisi, retired NFL linebacker Takeo Spikes and comedian/writer Sarah Tiana anchor a live comedy-and-discussion show that talks about professional and college sports, current events and pop culture. Interactive audience participation is part of the fun.

Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company

PRAGUE PHILHARMONIC CHILDREN’S CHOIR. 8 p.m. Oct. 25. The choir, which dates to 1932, performs as part of a 12-day U.S. concert tour. It has more than 50 albums of Czech and international music to its credit and will sing works by such leading Czech composers as Smetana and Arvo Pärt.

KIBBUTZ CONTEMPORARY DANCE COMPANY. 8 p.m. Nov. 1. The company, known as KCDC and based in the International Dance Village in Western Galilee in northern Israel, is considered one of the leading dance companies in the world.

 BOSTON BRASS: Christmas Bells Are Swingin’8 p.m. Dec. 22. This ensemble of trumpets, French horns, trombones and tubas has its way with big-band arrangements of classics like the Stan Kenton-arranged Christmas carol “Greensleeves” and a Motown “Jingle Bells.”

CITY SPRINGS NEW YEAR’S CELEBRATION. 8 p.m. Dec. 31. The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, featuring Joe Gransden and Francine Reed. Byers Theatre. A late-night party with the Joe Gransden Big Band follows at 10 p.m. in the Studio Theatre.

Matt Haimovitz and Simone Dinnerstein

SIMONE DINNERSTEIN AND MATT HAIMOVITZ. 8 p.m. Jan. 29, 2019. American pianist Simone Dinnerstein and Israeli-born, North American-based cellist Matt Haimovitz collaborate on works by Beethoven and Philip Glass.

BROADWAY’S NEXT HIT MUSICAL. 8 p.m. Feb. 1-2, 2019. Studio Theatre. Yes, that’s the title. Every night is different in this improvised and unscripted theatrical awards show. Audiences suggest songs, and the cast creates a spontaneous evening of music and laughs.

 CIRQUE ÉLOIZE: Saloon! 8 p.m. Feb. 5, 2019. Byers Theatre. Imagine a sort of Cirque du Soleil set in the Wild West. Montreal-based Cirque Éloize’s Saloon! is a family-friendly show that combines live folk music, original choreography and acrobatic adventures.

Speaker Series

All programs are in the Studio Theatre.

Jill Chambers

COL. JILL W. CHAMBERS. 3 p.m. Sept. 22. The retired Army officer talks about her career path as a military woman and how she survived the 9/11 attack at the Pentagon, which left her with post-traumatic stress disorder. She also talks about how her own disability led her to create a PTSD program for soldiers.

DEA NARCOS. 8 p.m. Oct. 16. With ex-DEA agents Steve Murphy and Javier Peña. The special agents give a firsthand lesson in history as they talk about their efforts to bring down Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar, considered the world’s first narco-terrorist.

ISAAC BEN-ISRAEL. 8 p.m. April 3, 2019. Ben-Israel discusses his work in cybersecurity and the fight against cyber threats. His credits are considerable: The onetime Israeli Defense Forces general and Knesset member chairs the Israeli Space Agency and the National Council for Research and Development and leads the security studies program at Tel Aviv University. 

National Geographic Live! Series

All programs are in the Byers Theatre.

Mireya Mayor and a spotted pal. Mayor is a former NFL cheerleader, the daughter of Cuban immigrants, the mother of six and not your typical scientist. Photo: Martin Harvey

ON THE TRAIL OF BIG CATS: Tigers, Cougars and Snow Leopards8 p.m. Aug. 14. 

EXPLORING MARS8 p.m. March 14, 2019.  Kobie Boykins, a medal-winning NASA mechanical engineer, shares his enthusiasm for the mysteries of outer space and recounts the latest chapter in Mars exploration.

PINK BOOTS AND A MACHETE8 p.m. May 6, 2019. American primatologist Mireya Mayor has been compared to Indiana Jones for her work on the Nat Geo WILD series “Wild Nights With Mireya Mayor.” She shares stories, images and film clips of her adventures.

City Springs Theatre Company

All performances in this five-show series are in the Byers Theatre. Season subscriptions ($150-$265 plus fees) are on sale now and available only by phone at 404.477.4365. Single tickets are on sale as of June 1. Details HERE. The lineup:

42nd STREET. Sept 14-23. Winner of the 1981 Tony Award for best musical. It follows Broadway director Julian Marsh, who’s trying to stage a successful musical during the Great Depression. 

ELF THE MUSICAL. Dec. 7-16. Based on the 2003 Will Ferrell movie about a man who’s been raised as an elf at the North Pole and goes to America to search for his true identity.

SOUTH PACIFIC.March 8-17, 2019. Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Pulitzer Prize-winning game-changer — based on James A. Michener’s short-story collection Tales of the South Pacific. 

BILLY ELLIOTMay 3-12, 2019. Set in an English town during the miners’ strike of 1984/85. It follows young Billy’s journey from boxing ring to ballet class and beyond.

HAIRSPRAY. July 12-21, 2019. The 2003 Tony-winning best musical features 1960s-style music and is based on the 1988 John Waters movie about a plump, big-haired teenager named Tracy Turnblad.


Affiliate programming

All performances are in the Byers Theatre.

ROSWELL DANCE THEATRE: The Nutcracker. Nov. 23-Dec. 2.

ATLANTA BALLET. April 12-14, 2019. Repertoire to be announced.

THE ATLANTA OPERA. May 17-19, 2019. Repertoire to be announced.

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