CHRISTMAS, ANYONE? Your best bets this week range from concerts to a ballet and include musicals, puppets, dramas, satires, one-person shows and something for families, kids, grown-ups and the biggest “bah, humbugs” in your bunch. Pictured: Greg Maurice Hunter (left) and Matt Baum as best buddies Toad and Frog, respectively, at Synchronicity Theatre. Photo by Jerry Siegel.

Top picks

Cecil Washington Jr. (left), Jimi Kocina. Photo: Chris Bartelski

Christmas Canteen. THROUGH DEC. 23. Aurora Theatre joyously stages its 23rd original holiday revue. A singing, dancing cast of eight channels the golden days of TV Christmas specials (think Bing Crosby and Andy Williams) and mixes in a few contemporary moves to create a show that will have you glowing with the magic of the season. Ricardo Aponte and Anthony P. Rodriguez co-direct. Aponte choreographs, with musical direction by Ann-Carol Pence, who also performs. This year’s merrymakers are Galen Crawley, Jimi Kocina, Christian Magby, Kristin Markiton, Chani Maisonet, Kenny Tran, Cecil Washington Jr. and Briana Young. Check the Aurora website for sold-out dates before you go. $30 and up. 8 p.m. Tuesday-Friday; 2:30 + 8 p.m. Saturday; and 2:30 p.m. Sunday. 10 a.m. matinee ($20 and up) Dec. 18. Aurora offers free, covered, attached parking in a city deck at 153 E. Crogan St. Details, tickets HERE or at 678.226.6222.

David de Vries

A Christmas Carol. THROUGH DEC. 24. The biggest “bah humbug” of them all. The Alliance Theatre takes its musical, multicultural telling (penned by David H. Bell) back to Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre for a second season. David de Vries returns as Ebenezer Scrooge. Joining him are many familiar faces, including Neal A. Ghant (Bob Cratchit); Bart Hansard (Fezziwig, Ghost of Christmas Present); and Courtney Patterson (Ghost of Christmas Past). Rosemary Newcott once again directs. The caroling is gorgeous, and irresistible. Family-friendly. Note: Metal detectors are in place for every performance, so allow extra time to enter the venue. $14-$115. 7:30 p.m. Wednesday; 8 p.m. Thursday-Friday; 2:30 + 8 p.m. Saturday; 2:30 p.m. Sunday. Also at 7 p.m. Dec. 23. 2800 Cobb Galleria Parkway, Atlanta. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.733.5000. Discount tickets at



Justin Walker, Jasmine Thomas. Photo: David Woolf

Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley. THROUGH DEC. 23. Theatrical Outfit reprises its 2017 holiday hit with a script by Decatur-born, San Francisco-based playwright Lauren Gunderson and colleague Margot Melcon. This witty sequel to Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice focuses on socially awkward sister Mary and a potential romantic entanglement. Miss Bennet is the fourth-most-popular play in America this season, with productions at 13 theaters nationwide. Notable Atlanta theater artist Carolyn Cook directs the Outfit staging. Amelia Fischer and Jonathan Horne return as Mary Bennet and Arthur De Bourgh. Also returning are Devon Hales and Juan Carlos Unzueta. New to the cast are Stephanie Friedman, Jeanette Illidge, Jasmine Thomas and Justin Walker. $18-$51 plus fees. 7:30 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday; 2:30 p.m. Sunday. Also at 11 a.m. Dec. 13 + 20. The Outfit performs downtown at the Balzer Theater at Herren’s, 84 Luckie St. NW. Details, tickets HERE or at 678.528.1500. 

The Nutcracker. THROUGH DEC. 24. Atlanta Ballet unveils its first new Nutcracker in 23 seasons, a $3.7 million staging choreographed by Russian-born Yuri Possokhov, an old friend and colleague of artistic director Gennadi Nedvigin. This telling returns to the original source material: German author E.T.A. Hoffmann’s 1816 fantasy story “Nutcracker and Mouse King.” It sets the opening Christmas Eve party in a small German village, and features new scenic, costume and lighting designs as well as projections to tell the story of a little girl named Marie and her come-to-life Nutcracker Prince. $35-$140. 7:30 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday; 2 + 7 p.m. Sunday. Also at 1 p.m. Dec. 24. Fox Theatre, 660 Peachtree St. NE. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.892.3303.



A Year With Frog and Toad. THROUGH DEC. 30. A rare family show that speaks to adults as well as kiddos. This musical tale about a year in the lives of two best friends returns to Synchronicity Theatre. The Tony-nominated show follows the cheerful, popular Frog (Matt Baum) and the rather grumpy Toad (Greg Maurice Hunter) through four, fun-filled seasons. It’s part vaudeville and part make-believe as well as funny and moving. Also in the cast: Taryn Carmona, Elliott Folds and Lyndsay Ricketson. Jenna Tamisea, artistic director of GLOW Lyric Theatre in Greenville, S.C., directs. Synchronicity’s 2006 staging won Suzi Bass awards for outstanding musical, direction and costume design. The show is based on the Newbery and Caldecott Medal-winning books by Arnold Lobel. $16-$31 (under age 2 free). 7 p.m. Friday; 1 + 4:30 p.m. Saturday; 2 + 5:30 p.m. Sunday. School matinees available. Every Friday is PJs and Play (kids in PJs get free milk and cookies). Synchronicity is in the Peachtree Pointe Complex, 1545 Peachtree St. NE. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.484.8636.

Opening this week

Chris Damiano. Photo: Cayce Callaway Photography

Million Dollar Quartet. DEC. 14-JAN. 12. Georgia Ensemble Theatre reprises its popular staging and takes it on the road to the Conant Performing Arts Center at Oglethorpe University. Return to Dec. 4, 1956, the magical day that Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins made music together — for the only time ever — at Sun Records in Memphis. The score includes “Blue Suede Shoes,” “Fever,” “Sixteen Tons,” “Great Balls of Fire,” “Walk the Line,” “Folsom Prison Blues,” “Hound Dog” and 15 more. Chris Damiano directs, music directs and plays Cash, with Alex Canty as Elvis, Christopher Kent as Perkins and Sean McGibbon as Lewis. $35-$40. 8 p.m. Thursday-Friday; 4 + 8 p.m. Saturday; 2:30 p.m. Sunday. The Conant is at 4484 Peachtree Road N.E. Details, tickets HERE or at 770.641.1260 (do not call the Conant box office). Discount tickets at

New holiday shows

Jordan Patrick. Photo: BreeAnne Clowdus

The Christmas Carol Experience. THROUGH DEC. 30. Charles Dickens’ Scrooge story gets spun on its head in this immersive event from Brian Clowdus Experiences. Follow Ebenezer and his otherworldly goings-on through the rooms of the historic Wren’s Nest, where you’ll find holiday merriment, carols and lessons to remember. Atlanta-based actor Daniel Burns is Ebenezer Scrooge. The cast of five includes Rosie Gyselinck, Jordan Patrick as Jacob Marley, Lilliangina Quiñones and Julie Trammel. Clowdus, known for his environmental, site-specific work at Serenbe Playhouse, directs. The Wren’s Nest, once the home of Uncle Remus and Brer Rabbit creator Joel Chandler Harris (1848-1908), is now a cultural center that preserves Harris’ legacy and the heritage of African-American folklore through storytelling, tours and student publishing. $50; $45 under age 18, senior citizens and military. 7 p.m. Wednesday-Sunday. Also at 9 p.m. Friday-Saturday. 1050 Ralph David Abernathy Blvd., Atlanta. Tickets HERE.

Jerry Aggers. Photo: Casey Gardner

This Wonderful Life. THROUGH DEC. 23. This one-man version of the Jimmy Stewart film classic is new to Aurora Theatre’s holiday lineup. Jeremy Aggers (Singles in Architecture, Hands on a Hardbody) plays everybody — George Bailey, Clarence, Mr. Potter, Uncle Billy, Mary, Mr. Gower, Zuzu, etc. The script is by playwright Steve Murray (whom you might know from his days as an Atlanta Journal-Constitution critic). In repertory with the company’s one-man Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol (featuring producing artistic director Anthony P. Rodriguez). Associate artistic director Justin Anderson directs. $20. Performances at 8 p.m. Dec. 13, 15, 18, 20 + 22; and 2:30 p.m. Dec. 16 + 23. 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

Returning holiday shows of note

Libby Whittemore

Ho, Ho, Home for the Holidays and a Connie Sue Day Christmas. DEC. 14-23. Singer and funny lady Libby Whittemore returns to Actor’s Express with her 10th edition of this happy holiday songfest. It dates back even further, though, to her entrepreneurial days as the headliner at Buckhead’s late, great Libby’s, A Cabaret. She’s joined, as always, by Connie Sue Day, the 31st Lady of Country Music. Expect holiday classics old and new (“Hard Candy Christmas,” “River”), novelty tunes (“Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree”) and perhaps a verse or two penned by Connie Sue herself. You’ll hear plenty at the two-hour show and go home merry and bright. Just beware of Miss Day’s Dynel wig. $40. 7:30 p.m. Friday-Sunday. Actor’s Express is in the King Plow Arts Center, 887 W. Marietta St. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.607.7469.

Holiday shows: This week only

HANDEL’S MESSIAHDec. 13-14. Two performances. Featuring the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Chamber Chorus. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.733.5000.

A FESTIVE FAMILY HOLIDAY. Dec. 16 only. Two performances. Join the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and conductor Stephen Mulligan to hear favorite holiday tunes and … maybe … see Santa. Details, tickets HERE or at 404.733.5000.

A CHRISTMAS MEMORY. Dec. 17 only. A one-man telling of the Truman Capote story about an Alabama boy and his elderly, eccentric cousin with actor/artistic director Tom Key.  At Theatrical Outfit. 678.528.1500.

Also for the holidays (ongoing)


CHARLES DICKENS’ A CHRISTMAS CAROL. Through Dec. 22. The return of the one-man telling with actor/artistic director Anthony P. Rodriguez. At Aurora Theatre’s Harvel Lab. 678.226.6222. Discount tickets at

Anthony P. Rodriguez. Photo: Chris Bartelski

CHARLES DICKENS’ A CHRISTMAS CAROL. Through Dec. 23. As they have for 20-plus years, a handful of actors brings the story alive at the Shakespeare Tavern Playhouse. 404.874.5299, Ext. 0.

ELF THE MUSICAL. Through Dec. 16. The stage version of the 2003 Will Ferrell movie comedy. Allow extra time to get through venue security at the Sandy Springs Performing Arts Center. City Springs Theatre Company. 404.477.4365.

INVASION: CHRISTMAS CAROL. Through Dec. 20. An improvised version of the Dickens classic with surprise special guests. Even cast members don’t know who will show up, or when. Dad’s Garage. 404.523.3141. Discount tickets at

RUDOLPH THE RED-NOSED REINDEER. Through Dec. 30. Based on the timeless Rankin/Bass stop-motion animated TV special from 1964. At the Center for Puppetry Arts404.873.3391.

THE SNOW QUEEN. Through Jan. 6. A traveling, site-specific show done outdoors and based on the Hans Christian Andersen tale. At Serenbe Playhouse770.463.1110.

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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