It’s been a long, cold winter but thankfully date nights (and days) at the theater are getting me through it. Atlanta has so many professional theaters with a variety of performances, there’s seriously something for everyone. Want to laugh? Cry? Both? Here’s a list of Atlanta’s must-see live performances this winter.
Performance: The Followers, A Retelling of the Bacchae
Venue: 7 Stages Theatre
Runs until Feb. 25
7 Stages, located in Little Five Points, spotlights plays with a focus on social and political issues. The Followers is a cool hybrid of opera, dance, and physical theater that’s strange and mesmerizing. It’s centered on Dionysus, the Greek god of wine and ecstasy, and how he manipulated his followers with his charisma and miracles. One of the highlights, for me, was seeing Diany Rodriguez perform as one of the leads. I saw her in Aurora Theatre’s production of In the Heights and her voice is incredible. While it’s not a musical, she definitely gets to put those vocal chops to use. It’s also performed in their black box theater which is intimate and makes you feel uncomfortably close (in a good way).
Performance: The Mystery of Love and Sex
Venue: Out Front Theatre Company
Runs until Feb. 18
Out Front Theater was new to me until recently. It’s in the same development as Miller Union on the Westside and I had NO idea! Out Front’s approach to theater is unique in that they strive to tell the stories about the LGBTQIA+ experience (they have a breakdown of what that means right here). The Mystery of Love and Sex tells the story of a black, Christian boy and a Jewish, white girl who have been friends since childhood but when they get to college things get…complicated… and not in the way you’re probably thinking. This one gets emotional, so bring tissues!
Performance: Ontario Was Here
Venue: Aurora Theatre
Runs until March 4
I can’t believe Jon and I drive 38 miles to the Aurora Theatre in Lawrenceville, but we do, and we love it more and more each time. It’s Gwinnett County’s only professional theater and it operates out of a 100-year-old church that was converted in 2007. Besides plays, musicals, and standup they also run Halloween ghost tours through downtown Lawrenceville and has Atlanta’s only professional Spanish-speaking theater, Teatro Aurora. I haven’t seen Ontario Was Here, but it sounds like one that’s worth the drive. Two social workers disagree about how to best serve a nine-year-old boy, Ontario, and tempers flare. If it’s as expertly acted the way the other Aurora plays have been then you’re in for a treat.
Performance: Scandal! O4W Ski Resort
Venue: Dad’s Garage
Runs every Saturday until March 24
Okay, the first few performances I shared were a bit heavy but Scandal! is a hilariously good time. Dad’s Garage has been around since 1995 but moved into a converted a church two years ago. They’re known for their improv, but also put on plays — all of which are created in-house! Scandal! is a riff on a soap opera, set in a ski resort after tectonic plates shifted and created a mountain in Old Fourth Ward. It runs every Saturday and features the same characters picking up where they left off the week before, but it’s all purely improvised. We went opening weekend and I’m dying to get back so I can see what those crazy Old Fourth Wardians are up to.
Performance: Jokin’ Off
Venue: Laughing Skull Lounge
Runs the first Saturday of the month, indefinitely
More laughter? Jokin’ Off is one of my favorite recurring shows in Atlanta. It’s the first Saturday of the month at Laughing Skull, the venue tucked behind the Vortex in Midtown. Greg Behrens, an Atlanta comedian, is the host as 8 comedians face off in a rapid-fire elimination game of one-liners. There are groans, but way more laughs, and it’s totally worth the $12 admission. The 5:00 p.m. start time makes it a fun pre-dinner outing (especially if you’ve hit grandma status like me).