This week’s top picks include Terminus Modern Ballet Theatre, “Nell Gwynn” at Synchronicity, “Waiting for Godot” at 7 Stages, “The Royale” opening at Theatrical Outfit, the return of the Center for Puppetry Arts’ “Ghastly Dreadfuls,” “Nick’s Flamingo Grill” at the Alliance and the Atlanta Symphony. Pictured: Garrett Turner in “The Royale.” Photo by Casey Gardner.

Recommended

Fall-en. CLOSES SUNDAY. 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. Retired Atlanta Ballet dancer Christine Winkler performs as a guest artist. 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 formerly danced with Atlanta Ballet. $35-$50; $15 students. 8 p.m. Friday-Sunday. Deer Hollow at Serenbe, 8455 Atlanta Newnan Road, Chattahoochee Hills. Details, tickets HERE

Travis Turner (left), Devon Hales. Photo: Greg Mooney

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 with six actors (familiar Alliance faces Devon Hales, Joe Knezevich and Courtney Patterson, plus visiting artists Ericka Ratcliff, Adeoye Mabogunje and Travis Turner). It 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. $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. 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.

[WHY DAVID CATLIN’S MIDSUMMER IS MAD, MAD, MAD]

Brandon Partrick, Courtney Moors. Photo: Jerry Siegel

Nell Gwynn. THROUGH OCT. 21. At Synchronicity Theatre. It’s 1660. Oliver Cromwell’s Puritans have run away with their drab gray tails between their legs while, 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  charts the rise of an unlikely heroine from her roots in poverty to her success as Britain’s most-celebrated “actor-ess” and her place in the heart of the king. Richard Garner (longtime artistic director at Georgia Shakespeare) 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. 8 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday; 5 p.m. Sunday. Synchronicity is in Midtown’s Peachtree Pointe building at 1545 Peachtree St. NE. Details, tickets HERE or 404.484.8636.

Nina Simone: Four Women. THROUGH OCT. 21. At True Colors Theatre CompanyNina Simone was known as the “high priestess of soul.” This play with music by Christina Ham, follows Simone’s shift from singer to activist, a transformation prompted in part by the 1963 bombing of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham that left four young girls dead. The drama uses the Simone song “Four Women” as a framework, and gives voice to four 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 (also Simone in the Minneapolis world premiere); Wendy Fox-Williams; Jordan Frazier; Adrienne Reynolds. $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. 17. True Colors performs at the Southwest Arts Center, 915 New Hope Road SW. Details HERE. Tickets (via Ticket Alternative) HERE

Don Finney (from left), Matt Baum, Del Hamilton. Photo: Stungun Photography

Waiting for Godot. CLOSES SUNDAY.  7 Stages presents Samuel Beckett’s absurdist classic about two sad-sack drifters waiting for a stranger named Godot and the existential questions they discuss as time passes, and passes, and passes. 7 Stages co-founder Del Hamilton and longtime Atlanta actor Don Finney return from previous Godot stagings at 7 Stages. Also in the cast: Matt Baum, Bart Hansard, Eric Haslam and Pace Willis. Artistic director Heidi S. Howard directs. $15-$28. At 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday; 5 p.m. Sunday. 1105 Euclid Ave. NE. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.523.7647.

Last chance

A Red Plaid Shirt. CLOSES SUNDAY. 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.

This weekend only

Jun Märkl

Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. THURSDAY + SATURDAY. Atlanta favorite Jun Märkl returns as guest conductor for an evening of French music. Philadelphia native Giora Schmidt makes his ASO debut in Concerto No. 5 by French violin firebrand Henri Vieuxtemps. Also planned: Benvenuto Cellini Overture by Berlioz and Ravel’s complete Daphnis et Chloé ballet. A pre-concert chamber music recital at 6:45 p.m. Thursday is free to ticket holders for both concerts. $22-$98. At 8 nightly. Symphony Hall, Woodruff Arts Center, 1280 Peachtree St. NE. Details, tickets HERE  or at 404.733.5000.

Paige Hernandez

Paige in Full. SATURDAY ONLY. Alliance Theatre. Performance artist Paige Hernandez found her voice through hip-hop. In this one-woman show, she wants to inspire young people to chase their own passions. The high-energy piece for middle-school audiences is a fusion of poetry, theater, dance, multimedia projections and turntable action that churns out hip-hop, rock and punk beats. In it, Hernandez tells the story of how hip-hop helped her figure out where she fits in the world. $32; $18 children. 1 + 3:30 p.m. Rich Theatre, Woodruff Arts Center, 1280 Peachtree St. NE. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.733.5000.

[ONE WOMAN. ONE TEACHER. ONE STORY.]

Opening this week

Brian Kurlander (from left), Garrett Turner, Rob Cleveland. Photo: Casey Gardner

The Royale. PREVIEWS THURSDAY-FRIDAY. OPENS SATURDAY. At Theatrical Outfit. Playwright Marco Ramirez takes a stylized, blazingly theatrical look at the segregated world of boxing at the turn of the 20th century. The New York Times called his piece “original and graceful.” The 2013 drama is loosely based on the life of Jack Johnson, the first black world heavyweight champion (fictionalized in the 1968 Pulitzer-winning drama The Great White Hope, making James Earl Jones a star). Patdro Harris (Fly, Nina Simone) directs. His cast: Garrett Turner as Jay “The Sport” Jackson, Cynthia D. Barker, Marlon Burnley, Rob Cleveland and Brian Kurlander. $18-$51 plus fees. Through Nov. 4. 7:30 p.m. Wednesday-Friday; 2:30 + 7:30 p.m. Saturday; 2:30 p.m. Sunday. The Balzer Theater at Herren’s, 84 Luckie St. NW (two blocks from the Peachtree Center MARTA station). Details, tickets HERE or at 678.528.1500.

For Halloween

The Dreadfuls (front, from left): Scott DePoy, Reay Kaplan, Kristin Haverty, Robert Strickland and (back, from left) Spencer Stephens, Jason Hines, Jon Ludwig. Photo: Clay Walker

The Ghastly Dreadfuls. THROUGH OCT. 27. At the Center for Puppetry Arts. The Dreadfuls rise from the dead for another frightful season of ghost stories and musical numbers. The show, written by the Center’s Jon Ludwig and Jason Hines, has become an Atlanta cult classic since its debut more than a decade ago. Go for the spine-tingling fun, intricate puppetry, original songs and stories, and vaudeville stylings. This season’s Dreadfuls: Hines, Ludwig, Scott DePoy, Kristin Haverty, Reay Kaplan, Spencer Stephens and Robert Strickland. A beer-and-wine cash bar will open before the show and at intermission. The Ghastly Dreadfuls is recommended for age 18 and up. $25 nonmembers; $18.50 members. 8 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday. 1404 Spring St. NW. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.873.3391.

 

Robert Lee Hindsman. Photo: BreeAnne Clowdus

The Edgar Allan Poe Experience. OPENS OCT. 17. At the Wren’s Nest in collaboration with Brian Clowdus Experiences. Venture through one of Atlanta’s most historic homes with this immersive event and become part of some of Poe’s most thrillingly famous tales, including The Raven, The Tell-Tale Heart and The Fall of the House of Usher. The actors: Truman Griffin, Robert Lee Hindsman, Courtney Locke, Shannon McCarren and Skye Passmore. $40-$45. 8 p.m. Wednesday-Thursday + Sunday; 8 + 10 p.m. Friday-Saturday. The Wren’s Nest, now a cultural center and once the home of Uncle Remus and Brer Rabbit creator Joel Chandler Harris (1848-1908), preserves Harris’ legacy and the heritage of African-American folklore through storytelling, tours and student publishing. 11050 Ralph D. Abernathy Blvd. SW. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.753.7735.

 

The Sleepy Hollow Experience. THROUGH NOV. 4. The Headless Horseman rides again as Serenbe Playhouse presents a sixth season of this fright fest. Revisit 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). 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. Note: Tickets have been added to previously sold-out performances. Done in the Horseman’s Meadow. 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

Be Here Now. THROUGH OCT. 21. At Aurora Theatre. Two lost souls come together in this 2018 tragicomedy by Deborah Zoe Laufer (End Days, Informed Consent). 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 shipping 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” 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. 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.

Chris Hecke (left), Jonathan Horne.

Henry IV, Parts 1 and 2. THROUGH OCT. 21. In repertory at the  Shakespeare Tavern Playhouse. The history plays follow 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. Check the website to see which nights Part 1 and Part 2 are being performed. $30-$38. Shows 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.

 

Nick’s Flamingo Grill. THROUGH OCT. 28. An Alliance Theatre world premiere musical. Atlanta playwright Phillip DePoy (Edward Foote) tells the story of two friends, ex-WWII GIs turned jazz musicians, who’ve had great success performing in Paris nightclubs. Convinced that their mixed-race act will be a hit back home, they return to 1950s Georgia. Inspired by the true tale of Atlanta’s first integrated nightclub. It features 10 original songs by DePoy and musical director Tyrone Jackson. Tinashe Kajese-Bolden directs. Recommended for age 14 and up. $20-$55; $10 teens. 7:30 p.m. Wednesday-Thursday; 8 p.m. Friday; 2:30 + 8 p.m. Saturday; 2:30 + 7:30 p.m. Sunday. Hertz Stage, Woodruff Arts Center, 1280 Peachtree St. NE. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.733.5000.

Antwayn Hopper (from left), Diany Rodriguez and Jimmy Kieffer. Photo: Greg Mooney

[MEET THE MULTITALENTED MR. DePOY]

Wai Yim (left), Kevin Qian

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 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.

Next week

Ailey II. OCT. 20 ONLY. At the Rialto Center for the Arts. The dancers return to the Georgia State University venue in downtown Atlanta for one performance as part of the Rialto Series. For more than 40 years, Ailey II has merged the spirit and energy of the country’s best young dancers with the creative vision of today’s top emerging choreographers. Dance magazine calls the company “second to none.” $39-$74. 8 p.m. 80 Forsyth St. NW. Free parking for all Rialto Series shows in the 100 Peachtree parking garage. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.413.9849.

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