WELCOME TO OUR weekly curated column. Feature photo: Jacob Louchheim and Elyse Corbett in Serenbe Playhouse’s Vaudeville-inspired Ragtime.
Ride the Cyclone. Through May 26. Alliance Theatre. Shortly after boarding the Cyclone ride at a traveling fair, a broken front axle sends the teenagers to their tragic demise. While stuck in a sort of purgatory, a mechanical fortune teller invites each student to compete in a macabre contest with the prize of a return to the world of the living. Bewildered, the teens take turns sharing their stories, making a case for themselves. Ride the Cyclone is a wildly original new musical—part comedy, part tragedy, and wholly unexpected. Info and tickets on the Alliance Theatre website.
Native Gardens. Through June 2. Aurora Theatre. Based in a historic Washington D.C. neighborhood, two couples who are next-door neighbors battle for their backyards. Each wants a completely different landscape than the other. Native Gardens is on American Theatre’s Top 10 Most Produced Plays of the 2018-19 season list. In addition, playwright Karen Zacaría is fifth on American Theatre’s Top 20 Most-Produced Playwrights of 2018-19. Full of thoroughly-researched horticulture references, on-stage partially-real gardens, and realistic neighborly conflict, Native Gardens is sure to challenge, delight, and humor audiences! Tickets and info on the Aurora Theatre website.
Ragtime. Through June 9. Serenbe Playhouse. Join Serenbe Playhouse for this Tony Award-winning musical based on E.L. Doctorow’s acclaimed novel of the same name. The show portrays the nation’s hopes and pains at the turn of the 20th century, telling diverse stories of African Americans, immigrants, and the elite upper-class. The cast features real-life historical figures including Harry Houdini, Evelyn Nesbit, Booker T. Washington, and J. P. Morgan. See the county on the cusp of a new era on stage like you’ve never seen before — in the style of Vaudeville under a giant Atlantic City tent! Tickets and info on the Serenbe Playhouse website.
Opening this weekend
The Cake. Runs May 17 – June 23. Horizon Theatre. Della, a North Carolina baker and devout Christian, is excited to bake a wedding cake for her best friend’s daughter… until she learns that the intended is another bride. After learning this, Della struggles to reconcile her deeply-held beliefs and the love she has for a woman she helped raise. The playwright Bekah Brunstetter (who also writes for TV’s “This is Us”) was inspired by the story about a baker in a similar position that is still in the headlines. This hilarious and touching new play shows that common ground can be found on the basis of love. Tickets and info on the Horizon Theatre website.
Closing this weekend
Bridges of Madison County. Through May 19. Legacy Theatre. Based on the best-selling novel, a forbidden love affair forever changes the lives of housewife Francesca Johnson and photographer Robert Kincaid. The Bridges of Madison County captures this sweeping romance set in America’s heartland and poses questions of “What if?” and about the roads we do not travel. With a soaring score and a heartbreaking story, The Bridges of Madison County is a touching and powerful story. Tickets and info on the Legacy Theatre website.
Five Guys Named Moe. May 29 – June 30. Theatrical Outfit. Get ready for this musical tribute to R&B pioneer Louis Jordan, whose slant on jazz paved the way for rock and roll in the ‘50s. See the story of down-on-his-luck Nomax as he’s listening to the radio in the wee hours of the morning. Five guys — Big Moe, Four-Eyed Moe, Eat Moe, No Moe and Little Moe — materialize and encourage Nomax to shake off the blues and seize the day. Louis Jordan’s chart-topping tunes like, “Is You Is, or Is You Ain’t My Baby,” “Let the Good Times Roll,” and “Knock Me a Kiss,” put Nomax, and audiences, onto the road toward bliss. Tickets and info on the Theatrical Outfit website.
Jump. May 29 – June 23. Actor’s Express. Reeling from the death of her mother, twenty-something Fay visits a bridge that spans a deep gorge, which usually attracts tourists, joggers, and other wandering souls. Though Fay is only looking for a quiet place to seek solace, she instead finds a journey of self-discovery. Lights will flicker and hearts will heal in the whimsically theatrical world of Jump. Who knows what surprises will literally fall from the sky. Info on the Actor’s Express website. Get discounted tickets on Poshdealz.com.