By Collin Kelley
While weather forecasters have predicted a mild winter, it’s been a rollercoaster of temperatures, but regardless of the atmospheric conditions, Atlanta’s art scene is set to boil. The next three months will showcase world premiere theater productions, musicals, art exhibitions, music and more. We offer just a taste of some of the upcoming events, and we also asked three of Intown’s art leaders to talk about what they’re excited to see this winter. On with the show!
The year beings with the world premiere of Bring it On, a comedy musical based on the hit film about two competing squads vying to claim the title at the National Cheerleading Championships. The high-stakes world of competitive cheerleading meets the cutthroat rivalries of high school politics and romance, which features an original book by Tony Award-winner Jeff Whitty, who wrote Avenue Q and music and lyrics by Lin-Manuel Miranda of In the Heights fame. Jan. 15 to Feb. 20. alliancetheatre.org
Henri Cartier-Bresson: The Modern Century gets you up close to one of the greatest photographers of the 20th century. Cartier-Bresson’s photographs captured people and events that changed the world and this retrospective spans more than 30years of his career. The exhibition includes early surrealist work, crowd psychology, famous portraits of icons like Coco Chanel and events like Mahatma Gandhi’s funeral. Feb. 19 to May 29. high.org
The Georgia Tech-based performance space has a busy calender for early 2011 with performances from State Ballet Theatre of Russia: Swan Lake (Jan. 13), Step Afrika (Jan. 29), Jon Faddis Jazz Orchestra (Feb. 12), Cirque Mechanics Boom Town (Feb. 18) and comedy from Margaret Cho (Feb. 19). ferstcenter.gatech.edu.
Exit, Pursued by a Bear by award-winning local playwright Lauren Gunderson is a play based on one violent stage direction (Shakespeare’s Winter’s Tale). Part I Love Lucy, part Jacobean revenge tragedy, part beautiful ballet, part nature special, and part feminist power ballad set in the North Georgia mountains. Exit is not over till the bears are in pursuit. March 3-2 at 7Stages in Little Five Points. synchrotheatre.com
Kenny Leon returns to direct the regional premiere of Nathan Louis Jackson’s Broke-ology. In accordance with Broke-ology – the science of being broke – the King family has learned to balance sacrifice and let love keep them together. Dad remains in his home even as his health and his neighborhood are deteriorating. When the question is raised of how to take care of their ailing father, the two brothers find themselves strangely at odds. Jan. 25 to Feb. 20. www.truecolorstheatre.com
Upcoming highlights at Symphony Hall include Robert Spano conducting Mozart and Bruckner (Jan. 27-29); All You Need Is Love: The Music of Paul McCartney (Feb. 11-12); Wynton Marsalis and The Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra (Feb. 22). atlantasymphony.org
Dance will be a big component of the winter season at the fabulous Fox with the Broadway touring production of classic West Side Story (Jan. 25-30), Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater (Feb. 10-13) and Burn the Floor (March 22-27). foxtheatre.org.
The Decatur-based company is preparing for two shows The Dead Guy (Jan. 7-29) about a TV reality show following a man given seven days to spend $1 million dollars. Sounds like fun, but at the end of the week, the TV audience gets to decide how he dies. Then there’s Love Song (Feb. 25 to March 12), about a man exiled from his family who falls in love with a cat burglar. onstageatanta.com
ARTS LEADERS MAKE THEIR PICKS
Director, Rialto Center for the Arts
I am looking forward to Theatrical Outfit’s (theatricaloutfit.org) production of Horton Foote’s The Young Man from Atlanta in January and February. I know they’ll do a wonderful job with this sensitive drama that won the Pulitzer Prize in 1994.
The Atlanta Jewish Film Festival (ajff.org) is one of my favorite events – this year it’s going to run for 20 days (Feb. 8 – 27) in six different venues! That makes it hard to see everything but it shows that the popularity of this great festival continues to grow.
I absolutely cannot wait to see the Atlanta Opera’s (atlantaopera.org) production of Porgy and Bess in February and March. I have never seen it live and I know this will be a not-to-miss event.
Here at the Rialto (rialtocenter.org), I have to name the two nights of performance by Brazil’s Bale Folclorico da Bahia on Feb. 18 and 19. Musicians, singers, and dancers perform a very high-energy repertory showcasing the influences of Africa on the traditions of the region. The evening will include capoira, samba, and lots of surprises. It’s hard to keep your seat during this show and we encourage dancing in the aisles!
Center for Puppetry Arts
I’m especially excited to see Buried Child at Theater Emory (theater.emory.edu) in February. It’s a great play and I love to see what different people make of it.
I’ve also got my eye on Michael Haverty’s The Colour of Her Dreams at 7Stages in March (havertymarionettes.org). His work with objects is progressive and forward thinking.
I’m also interested to see what comes out of Jonah Bokaer’s ARTech residency – a program of the Ferst Center at Georgia Tech (ferstcenter.gatech.edu). The culminating performance, FILTER, is on April 2 and is based on his work in their motion capture studio.
I’m also excited about adapting and directing the classic French film The Red Balloon for the stage at Theatre du Reve (theatredureve.com). It opens in February.
Within State Lines II, the exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia (mocaga.org), closes Jan. 8, so I encourage everyone to see it. Supporting local artists is important and the curation of this show allows you to see work from across the state. Plus, MOCA GA is a beautiful gallery and I always end up wandering down Bennett Street to see what the other galleries in that area are exhibiting.
The premiere of Broadsword at Actors Express (actors-express.com) from Jan. 13 to Feb. 12 about a heavy metal band reuniting for a funeral sounds fantastic. Plot twists? Yes, please. One of my favorite local actors, Chris Kayser? Yes, please. Wry humor? Yes, please. Air guitar on the drive home? Yes, please.
If you haven’t been on a second Friday Art Stroll in Castleberry Hill (castleberryhill.org), there’s no time like the present. I try and hit this walk up once a year and I like to go when the weather is still chilly – I warm up with wine, see a variety of work and peruse one of Atlanta’s most interesting and diverse neighborhoods. Margaritas at No Mas Cantina are always a great way to start!