From murder mystery dinners and Shakespearean romances to puppet shows and improv comedy, actors bare their souls on the stage to bring one-of-a-kind stories to life -- and we think ATL does it a little differently. Here are 10 places in Atlanta for live theatre performances that are keeping things interesting, along with our ideas for what to do after a show.
Located in the eclectic neighborhood of Little Five Points, 7 Stages Theatre brings heart to all its performances with co-artistic director Michael Haverty continuing to push the limit.
Since 1979,7 Stages Theatre has been at home in wonderfully weird and diverse Little Five Points. Showcasing a variety of plays tackling real-world issues, puppet shows, and experimental performance art, the theater has garnered a positive reputation for presenting edgy, boundary-breaking art no other theater will touch.
Where: Little Five Points
What To Do: Ride the high of what you’ve just experienced with live music and cheap drinks at Star Community Bar.
The Fabulous Fox Theatre’s pedigree as a world-renowned entertainment venue has cemented its position as an ATL icon. While it hosts everything from concerts and special events to movies and seminars, The Fox is a go-to destination for an array of blockbuster Broadway plays like "Hamilton," "The Book of Mormon" and many more.
What To Do: A night of theater at The Fox is a bucket list experience perfect with a lively dinner at Livingston Restaurant + Bar and drinks at Edgar's Proof & Provision.
A visit to Dad’s Garage is an invitation to expect the unexpected. Complementing the comedy troupe's unique brand of wild, raunchy and off-the-cuff antics are weekly battle royale-style improv shows, scripted historically inaccurate plays and classes to get the community in on the joke.
Where: Old Fourth Ward
What To Do: Let your coins fly with arcade fun at Joystick Gamebar or drinks at Church, the Sound Table or Paper Crane Lounge at highly lauded restaurant, Staplehouse.
Being accused of murder is often a very trying time, but at Agatha’s A Taste of Mystery it’s a laughing matter. With more than 30 years of entertaining ATL with a comedic cavalcade of characters trying to unravel a hilarious whodunit over dinner, the experience places guests in the hot seat to take on roles in the performance to solve the mystery.
What To Do: Agatha’s will feed you while also accusing you of heinous, yet comical, acts. Take the edge off at hidden bar, Red Phone Booth. Just be sure you know how to get in.
Celebrating 50 years of delivering rousing performances, Midtown mainstay the Alliance Theatre has some pretty serious street cred. The Tony Award-winning company brings the art to 165,000 patrons annually with works like Broadway’s "The Color Purple," "Aida" and an array of original productions.
What To Do: Located in the heart of Midtown, the Alliance makes it possible for you to find decadent dining before or after the show at The Federal, Lure and STK.
With a lively mix of national, international and homegrown plays to its credit, Horizon Theatre Company has stood as a beacon in the Little Five Points' burgeoning arts scene since 1983. Introduce kids and 'tweens to family-friendly works like "Madeline’s Christmas" and Disney’s "Freaky Friday" or get them involved with a variety of youth camps and classes.
Where: Little Five Points
What To Do: With kids? Grabbing a bite at Cameli’s Pizza or Tijuana Garage is a great option. Without kids? Take a beer-laden excursion to Wrecking Bar Brewpub or The Porter Beer Bar.
Shakespeare Tavern Playhouse
Most actors get their first taste of the stage in performing works from legendary poet and playwright William Shakespeare. And the Shakespeare Tavern Playhouse showcases these powerful plays with enough ales and premium brews to have you talking in Old English, albeit probably poorly. The deft company makes heavy stories like "Macbeth," "Hamlet" and "Romeo and Juliet" approachable for new lovers of the classics.
What To Do: Grab some pre- or post-show brews with a view at Ponce City Market’s rooftop destination, 9 Mile Station.
The Center for Puppetry Arts’ goal is to move crowds with the power of imagination and, as the nation’s largest organization dedicated to the art form, it also shines as a museum. The iconic works of Jim Henson live here in The Worlds of Puppetry Museum. Puppet shows feature favorites such as "Peter Pan," "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" and, for adults, the annual Halloween romp, "The Ghastly Dreadfuls."
What To Do: A visit to nearby Atlantic Station offers a variety of shopping and dining before a show. Take the kids for ice cream at Kilwin’s or treats at It’Sugar.
Even though the improv comedy troupe at The Village Theatre has been making crowds spit water and laugh uncontrollably only for 10 years, it has garnered community recognition because it’s so real as the performers tackle performances from an eye-opening contemporary perspective. Just take the highly inappropriate, but nonetheless entertaining, Sh*t-faced Shakespeare with an entirely inebriated cast and weekly improv and sketch classes.
What To Do: Nearby, nosh at barbecue haven Daddy D’z, sip a brew at Augustine’s and try the tacos at Tin Lizzy’s, whether you're gearing up before the show or winding down after the show.
Atlanta’s second-oldest theatrical company, this mainstay has an acclaimed history of producing works that stir the soul. Original stories drive emotion and assist in creating a dialogue around social issues that extend the conversation even after the show is over.
What To Do: Located in Downtown’s Fairlie-Poplar District, Theatrical Outfit makes it easy to enjoy modern steak house cuisine at AG inside the Ritz-Carlton or revolving skyline views at Polaris atop the Hyatt Regency.
Chris Watkins is an Atlanta-based writer and photographer and serves as the voice of Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau (@DiscoverAtlanta) on social media. You can follow him on Instagram @christopherbw.
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