The door closes on “A Doll’s House, Part 2” (Actor’s Express) this week, while The Atlanta Opera’s “YARDBIRD,” Synchronicity’s “Nell Gwynn,” True Colors’ “Nina Simone: Four Women” and the Out on Film festival arrive. Pictured: A scene from the jazz opera “Charlie Parker’s YARDBIRD.” Photo by Dominic M. Mercier. 

Recommended

Martin Bakari (left) is Parker on Sept. 27, 29 and Oct. 3, 5, 7. Joshua Stewart sings the role Sept. 28, 30 and Oct. 2.

Charlie Parker’s YARDBIRD. SEPT. 27-OCT. 7. Atlanta Opera audiences are going wild for this ghost story (already selling out) about the life, death and demons of the great jazz saxophonist and composer. Parker (1920-1955) loved music, drugs, drink and women. He lived fast and died young, leaving an incredible legacy of music. This 90-minute jazz opera — composed by Daniel Schnyder with a libretto by Bridgette A. Wimberly — is performed at Le Maison Rouge at Paris on Ponce, which becomes New York’s Birdland, Parker’s namesake nightclub. Done in English with English supertitles. $75. At this writing, limited tickets remained for all performances. 3 p.m. curtain Sunday; all others at 7:30 p.m. Paris at Ponce is at 716 Ponce de Leon Place NE. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.881.8885.

[CHARLIE PARKER: ADDICT. ALCOHOLIC. JAZZ GENIUS.]

Tess Malis Kincaid as Nora. Photo: Casey Gardner

A Doll’s House, Part 2. CLOSES SUNDAY. Don’t miss this exciting regional premiere of a certifiable Broadway hit. The 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) leaves her husband and family to seek out independence unheard of in that day. Now she’s outside the door, seeking 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. It’s smart, funny and contemporary. 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. $20-$30 and subject to change based on demand. 8 p.m. Thursday-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.

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 celebrate the madness and irrationality of love. Set 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 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.

[A CLOSER LOOK AT DAVID CATLIN’S MAD, MAD, MAD MIDSUMMER]

Park Krausen. Photo: BreeAnne Clowdus

The Seagull. CLOSES SUNDAY. 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 Spencer Osorio); the ingenue Nina (Shannon McCarren); the fading actress Irina Arkadina (Park Krausen); and her adult child, a playwright (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. Thursday-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.

Last chance

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

9 to 5: The Musical. CLOSES SUNDAY. 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 by Dolly Parton, Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin in the 1980 movie. 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, had a brief four-month Broadway run for a reason. Shelly McCook directs, with musical direction by S. Renee Clark, two more good reasons to take a look. $33-$46. At 8 p.m. Thursday-Friday; 4 + 8 p.m. Saturday; 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. Discount tickets at PoshDealz.com.

Anthony Goolsby, Caitlin Hargraves. Photo: Casey Gardner

The Electric Baby. CLOSES SUNDAY. 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. $20 plus fees. 8 p.m. Friday-Saturday; 7 p.m. Sunday. 7 Stages is at 1105 Euclid Ave. NE in Little Five Points. Details HERE. Tickets (via Brown Paper Tickets) HERE.

 

The Two Kids That Blow Sh*t Up. CLOSES SUNDAY. At Aurora Theatre. Max (Jack Ha) and Diana (Vivi Thai) meet as kids on 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, thus, end up hating them). Ching has an Atlanta two-fer going, with her Nomad Hotel running at Horizon Theatre. 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.

Opening this week

Courtney Moors. Photo: Jerry Siegel

Nell Gwynn. IN PREVIEWS. OPENS FRIDAY. At Synchronicity Theatre. It’s 1660. Oliver Cromwell’s Puritans have run away with their drab gray tails between their legs. At Drury Lane, a young Nell Gwynn is selling oranges for sixpence. Little does she know who’s watching. Playwright Jessica Swale’s 2016 Olivier Award-winning comedy with music charts the rise of an unlikely heroine from her roots in poverty to her success as Britain’s most-celebrated actress and her place in the heart of the king. But in a time when women are second-class citizens, can her charm and spirit be enough? Richard Garner (longtime artistic director at Georgia Shakespeare, Synchronicity’s Anne Boleyn) directs a cast of 11. Courtney Moors is Nell, Robert Shaw-Smith is King Charles II and Eugene Russell IV is actor Charles Hart. $25-$41 plus fees (Thursday preview is $11 plus fees). Through Oct. 21. 8 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday; 5 p.m. Sunday. Synchronicity is at the Peachtree Pointe building at 1545 Peachtree St. NE. Details, tickets HERE or 404.484.8636.

Nina Simone: Four Women. OPENS SEPT. 28. Nina Simone was known as the “high priestess of soul.” This play with music by Christina Ham, at True Colors Theatre Company, follows Simone’s shift from singer to activist, a transformation prompted in part by the 1963 bombing of Birmingham’s Sixteenth Street Baptist Church that killed four young girls. The drama uses the Simone song “Four Women” as a framework, and gives voices to four stereotypical characters. It includes the civil rights anthems “Mississippi Goddam,” “Go Limp” and “Young, Gifted and Black.” For age 15 and up (adult language). Michele Shay directs. Her cast: Regina Marie Williams, who played Nina in the Minneapolis world premiere; Wendy Fox-Williams; Jordan Frazier; and Adrienne Reynolds. $40 opening night. Regularly $30-$40. 7:30 p.m. Wednesday-Friday; 2:30 + 7:30 p.m. Saturday; 2:30 p.m. Sunday. Also 11 a.m. Oct. 3 + 17. True Colors performs at the Southwest Arts Center, 915 New Hope Road SW. Details HERE. Tickets (via Ticket Alternative) HERE. Discount tickets at PoshDealz.com.

“Mapplethorpe,” with Matt Smith as the photographer, screens Oct. 6 at the Plaza.

Out on Film. SEPT. 27-OCT. 7. The 31st annual Atlanta LGBT film festival screens 128 films, documentaries, shorts and Web series over 11 days and, this year, includes a starry staged reading of the drama The Laramie Project about the 1998 gay-bashing death of Wyoming college student Matthew Shepard. The festival takes place at three venues — Landmark’s Midtown Art Cinema, 931 Monroe St. NE in Midtown; Out Front Theatre Company, 999 Brady Ave. in West Midtown; and the Plaza Theatre, 1049 Ponce de Leon Ave. NE in Poncey-Highland. The opening film is the 2018 Atlanta-set documentary When the Beat Drops (USA, 80 mins) at 7 p.m. Sept. 27 at Landmark. The 2018 drama Tucked (U.K., 80 mins) closes the fest with a 7 p.m. screening Oct. 7 at Out Front. The Laramie Project gets its staged reading at 7 p.m. Sept. 30 at Dad’s Garage Theatre Company, 569 Ezzard St SE. $25 (separate from other fest events). The cast: Atlanta-based TV, stage and film actors Amy Acker, Steve Coulter, Randy Havens, Jessica Meisel, Rosemary Newcott and Tara Ochs. All proceeds benefit the Matthew Shepard Foundation, in remembrance of the 20th anniversary of his murder. Laramie details, tickets HERE. Details and festival passes ($175 + $200); three-packs ($30); and individual tickets ($11 per screening) available HERE.

Part of the “Parade” company. Photo: Wallace Buice Theatre Company

Parade: The Musical. OPENS SEPT. 27. A murder in Atlanta, an abduction in Milledgeville and a lynching in Marietta in 1913. The newish Wallace Buice Theatre Company brings this landmark Tony Award-winning musical drama to Marietta, not far from where the historic crime at its center was committed.  Leo Frank, a Brooklyn-raised Jew, is on trial for the murder of 13-year-old Mary Phagan, a factory worker in his employ. He is the last person to see her alive and immediately becomes the top suspect. Parade, written by Alfred Uhry and Jason Robert Brown and done on Broadway in 1998/99, is daring, innovative and bold. Every American should see it at least once. Georgia native Jared Bradshaw (Broadway’s Jersey Boys and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory) plays Frank (except Oct. 4). $35-$45 plus fees. Through Oct. 7. Note: Opening weekend is sold out. 8 p.m. Thursday-Friday; 2 + 8 p.m. Saturday; 3 p.m. Sunday. Performed at the Lyric Studio in the Square, 12 Powder Springs St., Marietta. Details, tickets (via Brown Paper Tickets) HERE.

The Sleepy Hollow Experience. IN PREVIEWS. OPENS SEPT. 28. The Headless Horseman rides again as Serenbe Playhouse presents a sixth season of its Halloween fright fest. It all began with Washington Irving’s 1820 horror story about schoolmaster Ichabod Crane and his efforts to win the heart and hand of Katrina Van Tassel. This season’s show is a new adaptation by artistic director Brian Clowdus. The cast: Erik Poger Abrahamsen, Erin Burnett, Jeremy Gee, Anna Lanier, Jordan Patrick and Madison Welch. $30-$45 (rain insurance available). Through Nov. 4. At 8 p.m. Wednesday-Thursday; 8 + 10:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday. Family-friendly stagings at 2 p.m. Saturday-Sunday include fall festival events before the show and at intermission. In the Horseman’s Meadow at Serenbe. Most Serenbe shows require a walk along a (sometimes muddy) path. Appropriate footwear suggested. Sleepy Hollow is a traveling show, without seating. For mobility assistance (parking, accessibility cart, chairs, etc.), contact the box office. Serenbe is at 9110 Selborne Lane in Chattahoochee Hills. Details, tickets HERE or at 770.463.1110. Discount tickets at PoshDealz.com.

Still running

Joselin Reyes (left), Cynthia Barrett, Falashay Pearson. Photo: Chris Bartelski

Be Here Now. THROUGH OCT. 21. 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 (she ships Tibetan-themed tchotchkes from a warehouse). 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, and Silent Sky at Theatrical Outfit. Also in the cast: Falashay Pearson, Joselin Reyes and Aurora regular Travis Smith (The Bridges of Madison County, Split in Three, Memphis). $31-$50. 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. Discount tickets at PoshDealz.com.

Henry IV, Parts 1 and 2. RETURNS OCT. 4. In repertory at the Shakespeare Tavern Playhouse. Part 1 of this history play is open; Part 2 begins Oct. 4. 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; Chris Hecke is Hal’s rival, Hotspur; and J. Tony Brown is Falstaff.  They’re supported by a cast of Tavern regulars. $30-$38. Through Oct. 21. 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.

Ashley (Ash) Anderson (left), Liza Jaine.

Nomad Motel. THROUGH OCT. 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 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. 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.

 

 

A Red Plaid Shirt. THROUGH OCT. 14. At Stage Door Players. Meet Marty and Fred. These old friends fill the retirement void in vastly different ways: Marty wants to explore the open road on a Harley; Fred decides to pay more attention to his health. Both require a little “subtle redirection” from their wives. The cast: Steve Hudson, Michael Strauss, Eileen Koteles and Suzanne Jordan Roush. $22-$33. 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday; 2:30 p.m. Sunday. 5339 Chamblee Dunwoody Road, Dunwoody. Details, tickets HERE or at 770.396.1726. Tickets available online from Tix.com HERE.

Next week

Fall-en. OPENS OCT. 5. In honor of its second season, Terminus Modern Ballet Theatre presents a double bill choreographed by co-founder Heath GillFall-en uses humor to explore perceptions of and responses to the unknown. TMBT is a collective of five classically trained principal dancers — Gill, Christian Clark, Tara Lee, Rachel Van Buskirk and John Welker — who have 85 years of professional experience performing locally, nationally and internationally. All five co-founders formerly danced with Atlanta Ballet. $35-$50 ($15 students). Performances at 8 p.m. Oct. 5-7 + 12-14. Deer Hollow at Serenbe, 8455 Atlanta Newnan Road, Chattahoochee Hills. Details, tickets HERE

Stephen Sondheim

Merrily We Roll Along. OCT. 5-7 ONLY.  One of Stephen Sondheim’s most fascinating shows gets a three-night concert staging at Actor’s Express. Merrily tells the story of three friends (Craig Waldrip, Juan Carlos Unzueta, Jessica Miesel) from the day they meet until late in their grown-up careers, through triumphs and ambitions and clashes — and does so backward. The show, a flop in its 1981 Broadway debut, has never gone away, being revised and restaged countless times through the years. It features, arguably, Sondheim’s greatest score, and includes songs that are now musical theater standards — “Good Thing Going,” “Not a Day Goes By,” “Old Friends” and “Our Time,” among them. Artistic director Freddie Ashley directs. All seats $40. At 8 p.m. Oct. 5-6; 2 p.m. Oct. 7. King Plow Arts Center, 887 W. Marietta St. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.607.7469.

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