By Manning Harris
In recent years Atlanta has become a virtual summer theatre festival. With the influx of actors and technicians in Atlanta to work in the burgeoning film scene, it’s entirely possible that new shows may pop up at any time. As you can see, summer is no vacation for working theatre professionals in Atlanta; quite the reverse. It’s a boomtown, and audiences are very happy about that.
Here is a sampling of what’s in store for us in the spring and summer of 2016:
Famous for its site-specific outdoor performances, Serenbe leads the way with three shows: “Charlotte’s Web, based on E.B. White’s classic children’s book, running May 27-July 31. Next, John Steinbeck’s powerful drama “Of Mice and Men,” recently revived on Broadway, plays June 9-26. Then a much-anticipated production of the mega-musical “Miss Saigon,” runs July 21-Aug. 7, with Niki Badua in the title role, after an extensive national talent search.
The Little Five Points-based company will stage “The City of Conversation,” a political drama set in Washington, DC, by Anthony Giardina, May 20-June 26. Also “ ‘Da Kink in My Hair,” a musical by Trey Anthony, plays July 15-Aug. 28.
Busy Actor’s Express has a gay romantic comedy called “Significant Other,” by Joshua Harmon, author of the Express’ hit “Bad Jews,” running May 21-June 19, and featuring local favorites Cara Mantella, Diany Rodriguez, Judy Leavell, and Edward McCreary (“Oklahoma,” “Carousel”).
On the northside of town, Aurora is presenting the comedy/drama “I’m Not Rappaport,” the 1996 Tony Winner by Herb Gardner, running May 5-June 5.
Pinch ‘N’ Ouch Theatre
This scrappy theatre company gets a summer coup with the Atlanta premiere of Neil LaBute’s “The Way We Get By,” a romantic comedy/drama of “love, lust, and the whole damn thing,” running June 16-July 17.
Synchronicity is planning a one-weekend only workshop production of a new musical called “The Last Time We Were Here,” by local favorites Jeremiah Parker Hobbs (music and lyrics) and Jessica De Maria (book) and starring Hobbs and De Maria, June 17-19.
The Alliance Theatre
There’s still time to catch “Born for This: The BeBe Winans Story,” a world premiere musical, which continues through May 15. Later in the summer, “The Prom,” a new Broadway-bound musical comedy, is playing Aug. 18-Sept. 25.
“Atlanta’s Stage for Celtic Culture,” opens its third season with “Stones in his Pockets,” a delightful comedy by Marie Jones, running May 5-22. They perform at the Georgia Public Broadcasting Studio on 14th Street.
Atlanta Lyric Theatre
The Lyric will present one of greatest American musical dramas, “West Side Story.” With a book by Arthur Laurents, music by Leonard Bernstein, and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, this legendary show runs June 10-26.
Leave the kids at home and head to the Old Fourth Ward for an evening of the biggest “cock-ups and blunders” in human history – from the Great Boston Molasses Flood of 1919 to the Caribbean island paradise of Martinique, where cats and snakes fight in the streets as a volcano destroys the oblivious townspeople. The show runs May 12 through June 4.