WELCOME TO OUR weekly curated column. Looking for a romantic night at the theatre? Whether you prefer comedy or tragedy, play or musical, these Best Bets have it all! Feature photo: Maiesha McQueen, Christine Dwyer, and Jessie Shelton in Waitress, closing at the Fox Theatre this weekend. Photo by Philicia Endelman.
Closing this weekend
K2. Through February 9. Catalyst Arts Atlanta @ The Bakery. Two climbers are stranded at 27,000 feet on their descent from an expedition to the peak of the world’s second-highest mountain. One has a broken leg; the other is trying to recover a lost rope. Playwright Patrick Meyers’ drama uses mountain climbing as a metaphor to explore a deeper theme: the recognition that human beings are free to choose whether they will live or die and do so calmly and objectively, even under the most severe conditions. The cast: Joel Coady and Dan Ford. Barrett Doyle directs. Catalyst, a six-person collective of Atlanta-based artists, storytellers, performers, designers, musicians, craftspeople and filmmakers, stages the piece in an immersive format that includes wandering through a snow-covered base camp in which sherpa tea will be served, a camp speakeasy for drinks and a cliffside environment. Tickets and info on the Catalyst Arts Atlanta website.
Dead Man Walking. Through February 10. The Atlanta Opera @ Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre. Originally performed at the San Francisco Opera in 2000, this gut-wrenching show is based on the book “Dead Man Walking” by Sister Helen Prejean. Though Sister Helen has worked extensively to both campaign against the death penalty and to provide spiritual guidance to death row inmates, the show you will see at the Atlanta Opera’s John A. Williams Theatre portrays simply the story of “Dead Man Walking” – Sister Helen’s experience as spiritual advisor to Joseph de Rocher, a murderer on death row, until the time of his death. Composer Jake Heggie and librettist Terrence McNally bring the audience from the introduction of Sister Helen and Joseph through the development of their relationship to their final goodbye. Starring superstar mezzo-soprano and Georgia native Jamie Barton as Sister Helen and Michael Mayes as de Rocher, this show is sure to stir souls. Tickets and info on The Atlanta Opera’s website.
A Doll’s House, Part 2. Through February 10. Aurora Theatre. Lawrenceville takes its turn with this stunning Actor’s Express co-production, 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). Written by well-known contemporary 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 independence unheard of in her day. Now she’s knocking to get back in and ask a huge favor. The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, W Magazine and Time Out New York all called Part 2 the best play of Broadway’s 2017 season. It’s smart, funny and modern. Joining Kincaid onstage are Rob Cleveland, Shelli Delgado, and Deadra Moore. Tickets and info on the Aurora Theatre website. Discount tickets at PoshDealz.com.
Waitress. Through February 10. Broadway in Atlanta @ Fox Theatre. While audiences may already be familiar with the story from Adrienne Shelly‘s film that inspired Waitress, they have yet to experience the delight of how Sara Bareilles’ original music brings the beloved characters to life on stage. In fact, the whole world of Waitress, developed by the groundbreaking all-female creative team, is a joy to experience. The story’s heroine, Jenna, is a bona fide pie expert, putting her recipes to use to both celebrate life’s pleasures and to possibly sweeten life’s sadness. With the help of her friends, Jenna will make big decisions, bravely face challenges, and conjure the courage to seek a fresh start. Tickets and info on the Fox Theatre website.
Opening this weekend
Fun Home. Runs February 8 – February 23. Out of Box Theatre. Alison Bechdel is reeling from the unexpected death of her father. In grieving, she explores memories of her childhood: spending time at the family business (the Bechdel Funeral Home), discovering and discerning her sexuality, and the mysteries surrounding her father – a capricious but brilliant man whose secrets defined much of Alison’s childhood and family life. Adult Alison narrates a series of non-linear vignettes portraying these memories and exploring their meaning through her grown-up eyes. The show, adapted from Alison Bechdel’s graphic memoir of the same name, has received numerous awards and honors. The show was a Pulitzer Prize for Drama finalist in 2014 and, in 2015, the original Broadway production was nominated for twelve and won five (including best musical) Tony Awards. Tickets in info on the Out of Box Theatre website.
Next to Normal. Runs February 8 – February 24. Wallace Buice Theatre Company @ Windmill Arts Center. Join as the Wallace Buice Theatre Company steps into 2019 with the rock musical, Next to Normal. Originally produced in 2008, the show explores the impact of mental illness on a family, diving into themes of suicide, grief, substance abuse, and psychiatric ethics. The characters’ experiences are portrayed with sympathy and patience as each family member voices their individual heartache and contributes their opinion. The resolute portrayal of a family coping with emotionally debilitating challenges earned multiple Tony Awards and the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. Tickets and info on the Wallace Buice Theatre Company’s website.
Wedding Singer. Runs February 8 – February 24. Atlanta Lyric Theatre. Based on the popular Adam Sandler movie, The Wedding Singer transports audiences to the decade of big hair and popped collars. Life of the party Robbie Hart is the most popular wedding singer in all New Jersey, until his fiancé leaves him at the altar. Heartbroken, Robbie ruins weddings and makes enemies of wedding guests with his newly-disenchanted opinion about weddings. With the help of his bandmates and grandmother, Robbie gets back on his feet. Robbie finds love again with a waitress, Julia, who has some less-than-ideal wedding plans of her own: she is engaged to Wall Street shark Glen. Watch Robbie and Julia find their way through love’s challenges to the tunes of energetic, ‘80s-inspired songs and with totally righteous ‘80s-inspired costumes. Tickets and info on the Atlanta Lyric Theatre website.
One night only
Love’s Labour’s Lost. February 11. Shakespeare on Draught @ Orpheus Brewing. Mark your calendar for this one-night-only performance of Love’s Labour’s Lost as you’ve never seen it before. Performed outdoors at Orpheus Brewing, the performances of Shakespeare on Draught are self-described as “deliberately casual Shakespearian theatre.” What’s more – the performances are intentionally barely rehearsed, creating an authentic atmosphere for live, potentially ad-libbed performances. Read more, including event information and a show synopsis, on the Shakespeare on Draught Facebook page. The event is free with a pay-what-you-can donation encouraged.