- Bo Emerson The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
This morning, the Alliance Theatre announced the shows for its 2017-2018 season, and the venues where those shows will be presented — a panoply of theaters and performance spaces big and small, from the 500-seat Porter Sanford III Performing Arts Center in south DeKalb to the expansive Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre in the Galleria area.
The Alliance will go on the road in the new season because the company’s home theater, in the Woodruff Arts Center, will be torn down to the studs and reassembled in a major, yearlong renovation.
Instead of choosing a single venue substitute, the theater company has decided to bring the action to the people in 13 locations spread around the metropolitan area.
“What better way to meet our neighbors than to perform where they are, and invite them to come back with us when we return to our home?” said Hala Moddelmog, president of the Atlanta Metro Chamber and incoming co-chair of the theater’s board of directors. “We’re also excited to introduce our longtime patrons to other cultural organizations they might not have had the opportunity to visit before.”
Said the Alliance’s artistic director Susan V. Booth, “For 48 years, metro Atlanta has supported us by making the trip to our front door. It seemed like we had the opportunity to return the favor.”
The $22 million renovation at the Alliance’s Woodruff headquarters will begin in April, at the close of the production run of “Cinderella and Fella.”
Here is the video showing the Alliance leaving its old home:
The shows of the new season include world premieres, old favorites, and a historic collaboration with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra:
- “The Dancing Granny” will be performed at the Conant Performing Arts Center at Oglethorpe University (4484 Peachtree Road, Atlanta), June 10-18, 2017; the Galloway School (215 W. Wieuca Road, Atlanta), June 24-July 2, 2017; and Spelman College (350 Spelman Lane, Atlanta), July 8-16, 2017. This is a world premiere of a play for young people and their families by Alliance/Kendeda Competition alumnus Jiréh Breon Holder (“Too Heavy for Your Pocket”) based on the children’s book by Ashley Bryan.
- “Shakespeare in Love,” at the Conant Performing Arts Center at Oglethorpe University (4484 Peachtree Road, Atlanta), Aug. 30-Sept. 24, 2017; based on the 1998 film that won seven Academy Awards. Georgia Shakespeare artistic director Richard Garner directs this love letter to William Shakespeare in his company’s former home at Oglethorpe University.
- “Crossing Delancey,” at the Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta (5342 Tilly Mill Road, Dunwoody), Oct. 7-Nov. 18, 2017; Susan Sandler’s play, about traditional matchmaking and contemporary love, inspired the 1988 film “Crossing Delancey.”
- “Hand to God,” at Dad’s Garage Theatre (569 Ezzard St., Atlanta), Oct. 20-Nov. 12, 2017; Robert Askins’ “darkly comic” irreverent puppet comedy about a Christian puppet show, “Hand to God” will be performed at the Dad’s Garage Theatre’s new home in a former church.
- “Alice Between,” at Rich Auditorium at the Woodruff Arts Center (1280 Peachtree St., Atlanta), Nov. 12-19, 2017; Neeley Gossett, 2013 finalist of the Alliance/Kendeda National Graduate Playwriting Competition, wrote this story about the protagonist from “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland,” who finds that her first day as a seventh-grader in a new middle school is just as upside-down as the world on the other side of the looking glass.
- “A Christmas Carol,” at Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre (2800 Cobb Galleria Parkway, Atlanta), Dec. 8-24, 2017; written by Charles Dickens and adapted by David H. Bell, this musical is a holiday tradition at the Alliance, presented for the first time at the Cobb Energy Centre.
- “Native Guard,” at the Atlanta History Center (130 W. Paces Ferry Road, Atlanta), Jan. 13-Feb. 4, 2018; based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning collection of poetry by former U.S. Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey, this play was first adapted for the stage by the Alliance in 2014.
- “The Jungle Book,” at the Porter Sanford III Performing Arts and Community Center (3181 Rainbow Drive, Decatur), Feb. 8-March 4, 2018; adapted from the novel by Rudyard Kipling, this perennial favorite will be presented at the Porter Sanford center, a 500-seat, family-friendly theater in southern DeKalb County.
- “Sheltered,” at the Actor’s Express (887 W. Marietta St., Atlanta), March 1-25, 2018; this world premiere by Alix Sobler, winner of the 2018 Alliance/Kendeda National Graduate Playwriting Competition, tells the 1939-era story of a Jewish couple who try to arrange for 50 European children to travel to safety in the United States.
- “Hospice” and “Pointing at the Moon,” at the Fulton County Southwest Arts Center (915 New Hope Road, Atlanta), March 23-April 15, 2018; these two one-act plays, by Pearl Cleage, receive their world premiere.
- “Candide,” at Atlanta Symphony Hall in the Woodruff Arts Center (1280 Peachtree St., Atlanta), May 9-20, 2018; the timeless musical by Leonard Bernstein and Richard Wilbur is based on the 1759 satirical novella by Voltaire. This presentation is a historic co-production by the Alliance Theatre and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, and will feature the ASO, the ASO Chorus and a cast of actors, under the musical direction of Robert Spano.
- “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” at the Atlanta Botanical Garden (1345 Piedmont Ave., Atlanta), Sept. 5-Oct. 21, 2018; Shakespeare’s masterpiece will be presented outdoors, in a garden (what better setting could one imagine?) and will be directed by David Catlin, founding ensemble member of the energetic and acrobatic Lookingglass Theatre Company in Chicago.
Staying put in some local alternative during the renovations would have been easier for the Alliance, said Booth, and turning the organization into a traveling show brings logistical challenges. But this “field trip” also gives the Alliance a chance to encounter a new audience that might have been reluctant to drive to Midtown. Reaching that audience is critical for the future of the group.
“For us, it was choosing familiarity and safety, or choosing an investment in our next 50 years.”
Tickets and information: 404-733-5000, www.alliancetheatre.org/.