“A Doll’s House, Part 2” (Actor’s Express), “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” (Alliance Theatre) + “The Seagull” (Serenbe Playhouse) make up the three-headed beast atop this week’s curated column. Atlanta Ballet is in action this weekend, and the Atlanta Symphony returns next week. Plus much more. Pictured: The “Midsummer” cast. Photo by Greg Mooney.


Tess Malis Kincaid, Rob Cleveland. Photo: Casey Gardner

A Doll’s House, Part 2. THROUGH SEPT. 30. An exciting regional premiere of a certifiable Broadway hit. This Actor’s Express / Aurora Theatre co-production is a sequel of sorts to master dramatist Henrik Ibsen’s 1879 classic, A Doll’s House (but you needn’t know that piece to enjoy this one). Playwright Lucas Hnath’s Part 2 takes place 15 years after wife and mother Nora Helmer (Tess Malis Kincaid) shockingly decided to leave her husband and family and seek out unheard-of independence. Now she’s outside that same door and looking for a favor. The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, W Magazine and Time Out New York all described Part 2 as the best play of the 2017 Broadway season. You might remember Hnath (silent “h”) from last season’s The Christians. Joining Kincaid onstage are Rob Cleveland, Shelli Delgado and Deadra Moore. AE artistic director Freddie Ashley directs. If this isn’t a hot ticket, there’s something wrong with Atlanta. Don’t delay, it’s selling well. $20-$30 and subject to change based on demand. 8 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday; 2 p.m. Sunday. (Part 2 returns after the first of the year, running Jan. 10-Feb. 10, 2019, at Aurora Theatre in Lawrenceville.) Actor’s Express is in the King Plow Arts Center, 887 W. Marietta St. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.607.7469. Discount tickets at PoshDealz.com.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream. THROUGH OCT. 21. World premiere. Alliance Theatre at the Atlanta Botanical Garden. In this adaptation by Chicago-based director David Catlin (Moby Dick, Lookingglass Alice), Shakespeare’s five-act romantic farce becomes a brisk 90 minutes. He uses only six actors (familiar Alliance faces Devon Hales, Joe Knezevich and Courtney Patterson, plus visiting artists Ericka Ratcliff, Adeoye Mabogunje and Travis Turner) and blends dance, music, circus arts and familiar bits from other Shakespeare plays to tell a tale that celebrates the madness and irrationality of love. See it in the Skyline Garden area. $20-$55. Your show ticket includes entrance to the Garden anytime that day (but there’s no leaving and re-entering). 7:30 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday; 8 p.m. Friday; 2:30 + 8 p.m. Saturday; and 2:30 p.m. Sunday. Note: No shows Sept. 14-19, 24-26 or Oct. 1-4, 8-11, 15 + 17. If you’re worried about weather, look for updates on the Alliance website. The Garden is at 1345 Piedmont Ave. N.E. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.733.5000.


Park Krausen (from left), Lee Osorio, Skye Passmore, Shannon McCarren. Photo: BreeAnne Clowdus.

The Seagull. THROUGH SEPT. 30. An intriguing contemporary take on Russian dramatist Anton Chekhov’s action-packed 19th-century tragicomedy. Follow the romantic and artistic machinations of four characters: the famous middlebrow writer Boris Trigorin (Lee Osorio); the ingenue Nina (Shannon McCarren); the fading actress Irina Arkadina (Park Krausen); and her adult child, playwright Konstantin Tréplev (Maythinee Washington). Also in the cast: Allan Edwards, Brooke Owens  and Skye Passmore. The Serenbe Playhouse staging, done lakeside, features reimagined Balkan music, dark humor and director Elizabeth Dinkova’s Eastern European brand of mayhem. Contains adult language and themes. Most Serenbe shows require a walk along a (sometimes muddy) path. Appropriate footwear suggested. For mobility assistance (parking, accessibility cart, etc.), contact the box office. $30-$50. At 8 p.m. Wednesday-Sunday; also at 2 p.m. Saturday. Serenbe is at 9110 Selborne Lane in Chattahoochee Hills. Details, tickets HERE or at 770.463.1110. Discount tickets at PoshDealz.com.

This weekend only

Prince. Photo: NPR

4U: A Symphonic Celebration of Prince. SATURDAY. Atlanta Symphony Orchestra at Verizon Amphitheatre. The full ASO, a band and vocalists celebrate Prince’s extensive music catalog in an event featuring many of the icon’s hits and lesser-known gems. This first-and-only estate-approved Prince event, its creators say, includes state-of-the-art production elements as well as photos and video from the Prince estate. Questlove (of the hip-hop band the Roots) helped curate the music and the arrangements. Note: Questlove does not perform in the show. $39-$325. At 8 p.m. The 12,000-seat amphitheater is at 2200 Encore Parkway in Alpharetta. Details, tickets HERE (ASO) and HERE (Ticketmaster). Also at 404.733.5000.

Photo: Disney Theatrical Productions

Aladdin. THROUGH SEPT. 23. Broadway in Atlanta brings the magical, mystical Disney musical about a poor young man, a princess, a lamp, a Genie, three wishes, bad guys and true love to the Fox Theatre. The score (music by Alan Menken and lyrics by Howard Ashman, Tim Rice and Chad Beguelin) is pumped up from the film and features “Arabian Nights,” “Friend Like Me,” “A Whole New World” and nine more tunes. In addition to this national tour, Broadway’s Aladdin is more than 1,900 performances into a run that began in February 2014. It won a featured actor Tony Award for its genie, James Monroe Iglehart, and nominations for best book of a musical, original score and choreography. $34-$111 plus fees. 7:30 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday; 8 p.m. Friday; 2 + 8 p.m. Saturday; and 1 + 6:30 p.m. Sunday. The Fox is at 660 Peachtree St. NE in Midtown. Details, tickets HERE or at 855.285.8499.

Atlanta Ballet: Return to Fall. FRIDAY-SUNDAY. Atlanta Ballet begins a new season with a mixed repertory that celebrates and champions dancers’ limits. The four-performance weekend features a selection of  pas de deux; Return to a Strange Land by Czech choreographer Jiří Kylián, considered one of the best working today; the Czech National Ballet performing Vertigo by Mauro Bigonzetti; and a world premiere — titled The Premiere — by top-tier choreographer Ricardo Amarante of Brazil. This is Atlanta Ballet’s third season under artistic director Gennadi Nedvigin and the 89th since its founding in 1929. $20-$130. At 8 p.m. Friday; 2 + 8 p.m. Saturday; 2 p.m. Sunday. Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre, 2800 Cobb Galleria Parkway, Atlanta. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.892.330.

Photo: Atlanta Ballet

Opening this week

Alyssa Flowers (from left), Jill Hames, Wendy Melkonian. Photo: Dan Carmody

9 to 5: The Musical. THROUGH SEPT. 30. Not a show we’d give a second glance — except for the cast. Georgia Ensemble Theatre’s season opener features Jill Hames, Wendy Melkonian and newcomer Alyssa Flowers in the roles made famous in the 1980 movie by Dolly Parton, Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin. Hames and Melkonian, who’ve had success on most metro stages, are joined by other familiar faces — Brian Kurlander (as the chauvinist boss), Josh Brook, Daniel Burns (the recent Titanic), Kayce Grogan-Wallace (the recent Color Purple) and Gina Rickicki. The sobering news: The 2009 stage musical, with songs and lyrics by Parton, ran only four months on Broadway for a reason. Shelly McCook directs, with musical direction by S. Renee Clark, two more good reasons to take a look. $33-$46. At 7:30 p.m. Wednesday; 8 p.m. Thursday-Friday; 4 + 8 p.m. most Saturdays (check ahead); and 2:30 p.m. Sunday, GET performs at the Roswell Cultural Arts Center, 950 Forrest St., Roswell. Details, tickets HERE or at 770.641.1260.

42nd Street. OPENS FRIDAY. The musicals-only City Springs Theatre Company opens its inaugural season with this Tony Award-winning song-and-dance show set during the Great Depression. Broadway director Julian Marsh (Shuler Hensley, a 2002 Tony winner for an Oklahoma! revival) is trying to stage a successful musical despite tall odds. The score — by the great Al Dubin, Johnny Mercer and Harry Warren — includes “You’re Getting to Be a Habit With Me,” “We’re in the Money,” “Lullaby of Broadway” and  “Shuffle Off to Buffalo.” The tap-happy cast of 30 includes Deb Bowman, Benjamin Davis (founder of the Atlanta Musical Theatre Festival), Fenner Eaddy, Marcie Millard and Googie Uterhardt. $30-$62. Through Sept. 23. 8 p.m. Friday; 2 + 8 p.m. Saturday; 2 p.m. Sunday. City Springs Theatre performs in the 1,100-seat Byers Theatre at the new Sandy Springs Performing Arts Center, 1 Galambos Way, Sandy Springs (bordered by Roswell Road, Johnson Ferry Road and Sandy Springs Circle). Allow extra time for parking and to get through security. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.477.4365. Discount tickets at PoshDealz.com.

The Electric Baby. OPENS FRIDAY. Weird Sisters Theatre Project at 7 Stages. When a woman named Helen causes a car accident that kills a young man, a group of fractured souls crosses paths and connects around a mysterious baby that glows. Folk tales and folklore are prominent in this story of endings, beginnings and the unlikely people who get you from one place to the next. Directed by Ibi Owolabi, a young Atlanta theater artist to watch. Her cast: Alexandra Ficken, Anthony Goolsby, Charles Green, Caitlin Hargraves, Greg Hernandez and Ann Wilson. The script is from playwright Stefanie Zadravec. $15 preview (plus fees) Sept. 13. Regularly $20 plus fees. Through Sept. 30. At 8 p.m. Friday-Saturday; 7 p.m. Sunday. Also at 8 p.m. Monday, Sept. 17. 7 Stages is at 1105 Euclid Ave. NE in Little Five Points. Details HERE. Tickets (via Brown Paper Tickets) HERE.

Maurice Ralston. Photo: Daniel Parvis

Henry IV, Parts 1 and 2. OPENS SATURDAY. The Shakespeare Tavern Playhouse runs Parts 1 (beginning this weekend) and 2 (beginning Oct. 4) of this history play in repertory. It follows the newly crowned King Henry IV who must deal with rebellion and an ill-behaving son (and heir) who’d rather frequent the Boar’s Head Tavern with the roguish Sir John Falstaff than take care of business. Maurice Ralston is Henry; Jonathan Horne is his son, Prince Hal; and J. Tony Brown is Falstaff.  They’re supported by a cast of Tavern regulars. $15 preview Sept. 13; $20 preview Sept. 14. Opening night $38-$42. Regularly $30-$38. At 7:30 p.m. Thursday-Saturday; 6:30 p.m. Sunday. Pub menu and spirited beverages available. 499 Peachtree St. NE. Parking recommended in Emory University Hospital Midtown deck across Peachtree Street. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.874.5299, Ext. 0. Discount Tavern gift cards at PoshDealz.com.

Still running

The Tortoise, the Hare & Other Aesop’s Fables. THROUGH SEPT. 23. Part of the Center for Puppetry Arts’ Theatre for the Very Young (age 2 and up). Aesop’s circus is in town and the animals are ready to take the stage in this interactive production that tells five of the Greek storyteller’s famous fables. Come early to hear even more stories and color a puppet for use during the show. Adapted by Atlanta theater artist Michael Haverty, with original music by Dolph Amick. The piece uses glove, rod and shadow puppets and features actor/puppeteers Matt Baum and Jimmica Collins. Directed by Amy Sweeney, the Center’s head puppeteer. $19.50. At 10 + 11:30 a.m. Tuesday-Friday; 11 a.m., 1 p.m. + 3 p.m. Saturday; and 1 + 3 p.m. Sunday. Free parking. 1404 Spring St. NW. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.873.3391.

Jack Ha, Vivi Thai. Photo: Chris Bartelski

The Two Kids That Blow Sh*t Up. THROUGH SEPT. 30. At Aurora Theatre. Max (Jack Ha) and Diana (Vivi Thai) meet as kids, the day their parents begin an affair. For the next 18 years they see each other through highs and lows, trying not to make the same mistakes their parents did. Two Kids, by playwright Carla Ching, is a drama with humor about trying not to fall in love with your best friend (and end up hating them). Atlanta theater artist Pam Joyce directs. Created at the prestigious Lark Play Development Center in New York. A special shoutout to Aurora for continuing to feature diverse ethnicities on its stages. $15-$20. At 8 p.m. Thursday-Friday; 2:30 + 8 p.m. Saturday; 2:30 p.m. Sunday. Aurora offers free, covered, attached parking in a city deck at 153 E. Crogan St. Details, tickets HERE or at 678.226.6222. Discount tickets at PoshDealz.com.

Next week

Lang Lang plays with the ASO on Sept. 26, but only $139 onstage seats remain. Photo: Andy Paradise

Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. SEPT. 20 + 22-23. Join the players, music director Robert Spano and guest artist Kirill Gerstein on piano for the beginning of the ASO’s 74th season. The program: Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No. 2 and Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5. The ASO will celebrate Rachmaninov throughout the season. The Cleveland Classical  website calls the playing of Gerstein, an American musician based in Berlin, “flat-out fabulous.” $33-$119. At 8 p.m. Thursday + Saturday; 3 p.m. Sunday. (Note: Only $139 onstage seating remains for the ASO’s Sept. 26 concert with the renowned Chinese pianist Lang Lang, through Ticketmaster.) Symphony Hall, Woodruff Arts Center, 1280 Peachtree St. NE. Season opener details, tickets HERE or at 404.733.5000.

Travis Smith, Cynthia Barrett. Photo: Chris Bartelski

Be Here Now. OPENS SEPT. 20. Two lost souls come together in this 2018 tragicomedy by Deborah Zoe Laufer (End Days, Informed Consent) at Aurora Theatre. What are you willing to do for love and happiness, it asks, “and to create meaning in your life?” Bari (Cynthia Barrett) is deeply cynical and woefully underemployed in a mind-numbing job in which she ships Tibetan-themed tchotchkes. She’s buoyed — maybe — by a couple of cheerful co-workers and a guy who makes art out of garbage. You might know Barrett from her TV work in “Stranger Things” and “Halt and Catch Fire,” among others. Also in the cast: Falashay Pearson, Joselin Reyes and Aurora regular Travis Smith (The Bridges of Madison County, Split in Three, Memphis). $10 preview Sept. 18. Regularly $31-$50. Through Oct. 21. At 8 p.m. Tuesday-Friday; 2:30 + 8 p.m. Saturday; 2:30 p.m. Sunday. Also at 10 a.m. Oct. 2. Aurora offers free, covered, attached parking in a city deck at 153 E. Crogan St. Details, tickets HERE or at 678.226.6222.

Nomad Motel. OPENS SEPT. 21. A National New Play Network rolling world premiere at Horizon Theatre. Alix lives in a tiny motel room with her brother and a newly single mom. Mason lives mostly alone in a grand, empty house, composing music while his father works. The two become unlikely friends as they learn how to scrape by and try to outrun their parents’ mistakes. Ashley (Ash) Anderson is Alix, Kevin Qian is Mason. This piece by Carla Ching (her The Kids Who Blow Sh*t Up is at Aurora Theatre) is about kids raising themselves without a safety net in a land of plenty. Melissa Foulger directs. Note: Contains mature language and situations. $25-$35. Through Oct. 21. At 8 p.m. Wednesday-Friday; 3 + 8:30 p.m. Saturday; 5 p.m. Sunday. 1083 Austin Ave. NE at Euclid Avenue in Inman Park/Little Five Points. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.584.7450.

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.

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