Hot Fun In The Summertime: Theatre, music & festivals on tap for return to in-person arts

Illuminarium

From live theatre and big exhibitions to films and festivals, the arts scene is heating up. And this summer it’s going to be live and in-person.

After more than a year of streaming and online events, Intown art organizations are roaring back with a variety of events for all ages and interests.

Check out some of the selected events below and be sure to visit our Rough Draft calendar at calendar.roughdraftatlanta.com and our partner Art Currents Atlanta at artcurrentsatl.com.

Calder-Picasso at the High.

Calder-Picasso at the High
The High Museum is hosting the touring exhibition, which features more than 100 paintings, sculptures, and works on paper spanning Alexander Calder’s and Pablo Picasso’s careers. Conceived by the artists’ grandsons, the exhibition focuses on the artists’ exploration of the void, or absence of space, which both defined from the figure through to abstraction. The exhibition is open now through Dec. 19. Visit high.org for tickets and information.

Hammond’s House Museum
The West End museum reopens with “Departure” by Charly Palmer through Aug. 1. This vibrant, thought-provoking solo exhibition features Palmer’s work from the last 30 years, including pieces that have never been seen by the public, as well as new artwork created for this show. Visit hammondshouse.org for more.

Illuminarium
The immersive attraction on the Atlanta BeltLine’s Eastide Trail opens July 1 with “Wild: An African Safari” that will get visitors up close and personal with elephants, giraffe, lions and more with state-of-the-art projection, sound, and haptics that make you feel like you’ve been transported to Kenya. The Illuminarium After Dark experience will surround guests in stunning settings, from a city street in Tokyo, to underwater reefs, to a Rousseau-inspired jungle. For tickets and details, visit illuminarium.com.

Dad’s Garage Theatre
Live improv returns on the weekends starting July 16 with the improvised soap opera “Scandal: Sealab” and “TheatreSports,” the long-running improv competition night fueled by audience suggestions. There will be limited seating and masks will be required. Tickets and details at dadsgarage.org.

Horizon Theatre
The Little Five Points-based company returns to live performances after 16 months with outdoor performances the musical “How I Became A Pirate” July 10, July 17, Aug. 1, and Aug. 8. Bring your own chair or blanket and a picnic or snacks for a family outing. Outside food and drink are welcome. Tickets are available at horizontheatre.com.

Pullman Pops Concert
Pullman Yards now has its own symphony, and you’ll be able to hear them at a July 20, 7 p.m. concert that will also showcase the Kirkwood development’s new Pullman Art Center Amphitheater. The 45-piece orchestra will perform Broadway showtunes from hits like “Les Misérables,” “Wicked,” “Phantom of the Opera,” “Rent,” “The Lion King.” Pullman Pops will be conducted by Larry Blank, the conductor for Michael Feinstein, Marvin Hamlisch and currently the Pasadena Pops among many other credits. Visit feverup.com to find tickets. 

Fox Theatre
The Fabulous Fox reopens with a special screening of the 1939 classic “The Wizard of Oz” on July 26, a prog-rock concert from King Crimson on July 27, and a showing of cult classic “The Princess Bride” on July 31. Blockbuster musical “Hamilton” takes up residency for 39 performances starting Aug. 22. Tickets and info at foxtheatre.org

Actor’s Express
After a year of virtual programming, Actor’s Express returns to in-person performances with an eight-show in-person season that kicks off Aug. 11 with the Atlanta premiere of Lucas Hnath’s “Red Speedo,” about a championship diver on the verge of losing his lucrative endorsement deals when performance-enhancing drugs are found in his team’s locker room. And “Heathers: The Musical” is coming up Sept. 29. Visit actors-express.com for details on the full season.

Atlanta Dogwood Festival
The 85th annual event is back – albeit a little later than usual – Aug. 6-8 at Piedmont Park. There will be 200 artists exhibiting and selling their work, along with music, food, events for kids, 5K race, and more. Due to financial constraints caused by the pandemic, the festival is requesting a $5 donation at the gate. Those who donate in advance will get priority admission. For more information, visit dogwood.org

Callanwolde’s Jazz on the Lawn
The Callanwolde Fine Arts Center popular jazz series returns for five shows in the venue’s outdoor amphitheater. Performers include Eddie and Mayi Lopez & Orquesta MaCuba (Aug. 27), Joey Sommerville (Sept. 10), Karla Harris (Sept. 24), Joe Alterman (Oct. 8), and Joe Gransden with special guest Robin Latimore (Oct. 22). Tickets are available through eventbrite.com.

Fall Sneak Peek

The Atlanta Symphony
A big season of live, in-person concerts is on tap, starting with Opening Night featuring Garrick Ohlsson performing Beethoven Sept. 9-11. See the full season at aso.org

The Atlanta Opera
After a year of acclaimed performances under the Big Tent, The Atlanta Opera celebrates its return to the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre for the 2021-22 season, kicking off with Handel’s “Julius Caesar” in November. Visit atlantaopera.org for more information. 

Alliance Theatre

Alliance Theatre
The 53rd season will be held at the Alliance’s home on the Coca-Cola Stage and Hertz Stage at the Woodruff Arts Center. The new season kicks off in September with “Darlin’ Cory,” a new musical scored by Grammy Award-winner and Sugarland front man Kristian Bush. Visit alliancetheatre.org for details. 

Theatrical Outfit
Live theatre returns to the Downtown venue, starting with “An Iliad” by Lisa Peterson and Denis O’Hare and translated by Robert Fagles (Sept. 15 through Oct. 10). This theatrical adaptation of Homer’s epic poem takes theatregoers back to Troy and explores the tragedy of war and the heroism and resilience of the human spirit. Get tickets and find out more about the 2021-22 season at theatricaloutfit.org.

Collin Kelley

Collin Kelley is the editor of Atlanta Intown.