By Taylor Arnold

If you’re experiencing a little cabin fever this season, you’re in luck, because Atlanta has some spectacular places to escape the winter doldrums. We’ve got the rundown of the winter’s must see performances and exhibitions, as well as recommendations from four of Atlanta’s top art leaders. Read on for our list of the best things to see and do in Atlanta this season.

Alliance Theatre
God of Carnage
is one of the most acclaimed plays of the decade, and this January, audiences in Atlanta can see why this little jewel won the 2009 Tony Awards for Best Play, Best Direction, Best Actress In A Play and the Laurence Olivier Award for Best New Comedy. From the same playwright that brought Art to the stage comes a no-holds-barred new play that begs a universal question – What makes you go over the edge? Jan. 11 – 29. alliancetheatre.org

The Atlanta Ballet
This season, the Atlanta Ballet embarks on one of the most monumental collaborations of its 82-year history. Twyla Tharp’s The Princess and the Goblin is the premiere story ballet by the legendary choreographer. Co-produced by the Atlanta Ballet and Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet, it is the story of a courageous young girl who confronts the trials of coming-of-age. Feb. 10 – 19. atlantaballet.com

The Fox Theatre
The Fabulous Fox has a stellar lineup of musicals this year, beginning with the Broadway classic, Annie (Jan. 14 – 22). Next up is Memphis, the winner of four 2010 Tony Awards including Best Musical (Jan. 31 – Feb. 5), followed by Billy Elliot the Musical, the show Time Magazine called “the musical of the decade.” (March 13 – 18). foxtheatre.org

Museum of Design Atlanta (MODA)
In partnership with AIA Atlanta and the Young Architects Forum Atlanta, MODA will host Emerging Voices 11. This annual portfolio-based citation features young individuals and firms with distinct “voices” that demonstrate the potential to influence architecture and design within the Atlanta community. Jan. 10 – 22. museumofdesign.org

The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra
Upcoming highlights at the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra include Beethoven’s  Emperor (Jan. 5 – 7), instrumental artist Chris Botti (Feb. 10 – 11), and composer, performer and storyteller Marvin Hamlisch (March 16 – 17). atlantasymphony.org

Onstage Atlanta
The Decatur-based company is unveiling two shows, beginning with 40 Weeks, a portrait of what can happen during 40 weeks of pregnancy (Jan. 13 – 22). Next up is The Drowsy Chaperone, an homage to American musicals of the Jazz Age (Feb. 17 – March 10). onstageatanta.com

Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD)
This winter, SCAD Atlanta will host Zander Bloom: Place and Space, marking the artist’s first solo show in North America. This exhibition presents a selection of recent paintings, drawings and photographs in which the artist explores ideas about the creative process, the presentation of art and art making as well as the significance of media and location. February 3 through April 6. scad.edu/exhibitions
Arts Leaders Winter Picks

Brenda Galina
Executive Director, Museum of Design Atlanta

Emerging Voices is always exciting for us because it’s an architectural competition. After the eliminations, we get the best stuff, so it’s always new and fresh. Plus, we never get a preview so it’s always a surprise. Every architect in the city comes because they want to see who wins. It’s very popular in the architectural community and usually draws a grand crowd the first couple of days. I also have season tickets to the Atlanta Opera and the Atlanta Ballet, so I always look forward to that. Those are two of my favorite things in the world. What makes a great city is the arts, and I’m thrilled to be a part of that.

Daniel Summers, Jr.
Marketing Director, Center for Puppetry Arts

We’ve got one show I’m incredibly excited about, Ruth and the Green Book. The show is adapted from a children’s book by Calvin Alexander Ramsey. What amazes me about this story is the green book really did exist, and those who knew about it loved it – it’s an unsung story about a tumultuous time in our country. Another big show I’m waiting on is Ghost Brothers of the Darkland County at the Alliance. It starts in April, and it’s been in the works for a few years. It’s written by one of America’s best horror writers, and it’s an ambitious project that deserves to be looked at. The other thing on my radar is the first ever Atlanta Fringe Festival. I’m a big fan of performance art, and I love the fact that there is enough interest in Atlanta that we’re having it.

Russ Belin
Vice President of Broadway in Atlanta

I’m really excited about Memphis in February. It focuses on the birth of rock and roll and underground blues singers, which should resonate in Atlanta because we have some of that history too. The other one would be Billy Elliott. The music is by Elton John, and it’s an inspirational story that anyone can relate to. I think audiences will be inspired by this boy who overcomes the odds. People will leave with a sense of believing. We’ll also check out the Ringling Bros. in February. Since I came from world of entertainment, this is always a good Atlanta tradition. God of Carnage looks really interesting, too. I’m sure I’ll take my wife to see that play. We’ll also see The Apollo exhibit at Atlanta History Center. It’s an interesting look at how music has influenced this country.

Brett Osborne
Associate Dean of Fine Arts, SCAD Atlanta

The SCAD exhibitions department is proud to present Zander Bloom: Place and Space, which focuses on different configurations of lines, shapes and forms that he stages on paper and linen or throughout his studio’s corners and walls, confining his materials, gestures and marks within a single area. At times, each of these works becomes an artistic entity in and of itself. In addition to events hosted by SCAD, we encourage the students to visit or attend the Cyclorama, the largest painting in the world, the Fox, the Historical Society, the Zoo, the Aquarium, Midtown Festival of the Arts, Atlanta Ballet, and listen to Sidewalk Radio. Inspiration comes from many sources within life.

Collin Kelley

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.