Arts & Culture 2014
Your Guide to the City’s Top Theaters, Museums, and More
By Kevin Forest Moreau
Congratulations! By moving to Atlanta, you haven’t just relocated toa thriving center of business with great schools, fabulous restaurants and the world’s busiest airport—you’ve also put down roots in the arts capital of the Southeast. And our annual arts and entertainment guide is your front-row ticket to the city’s best cultural attractions. So sit back and relax as we raise the curtain on an all-star cast of performing arts organizations, museums, theaters, and much more.
Five Top-Shelf Performing Arts Companies
This Tony Award-winning theater enjoys a reputation for launching Broadway shows (The Color Purple; Bring It On: The Musical) and ambitious world premieres (Ghost Brothers of Darkland County). Among the upcoming season’s highlights is a world-premiere musical adaptation of the classic baseball movie Bull Durham. www.alliancetheatre.org.
Atlanta’s premier dance company kicks off its 85th season in December with Atlanta Ballet’s Nutcracker, a local holiday institution. Also worth a look are a revival of Roméo et Juliette and the world premiere of Camino Real by Atlanta Ballet Choreographer in Residence Helen Pickett. www.atlantaballet.com.
This acclaimed opera company expands its scope for the 2014-2015 season. In addition to three classic productions (Madama Butterfly, Rigoletto and The Marriage of Figaro), expect a special tribute to chorus master Walter Huff’s 25th anniversary with the company, and the Southeastern premiere of the chamber opera Three Decembers. www.atlantaopera.org.
Atlanta Symphony Orchestra
To celebrate its 70th season, the ASO is rolling out an amazing lineup of shows, from performances of Handel’s Messiah and Stravinsky’s Firebird Suite to appearances by Jason Alexander and the Chieftains, and a tribute to the music of the “Mad Men” era. www.atlantasymphony.org.
Broadway In Atlanta
Each year, Broadway in Atlanta, sponsored by Fifth Third Bank, brings first-rate touring Broadway productions to the Fox Theatre. Highlights of the 2014-2015 season include Mamma Mia!, The Phantom of the Opera and Motown the Musical. www.broadwayacrossamerica.com.
Five Fun Spots For The Whole Family
Center For Puppetry Arts
Create your own puppet, enjoy family-friendly shows and learn about puppets from all over the world at this museum and theater dedicated to puppets. The Center is currently undergoing an expansion, making room for a new museum boasting the world’s largest collection of Jim Henson memorabilia. www.puppet.org.
Children’s Museum Of Atlanta
This downtown attraction features interactive exhibits designed to foster a sense of creativity and discovery as children work on a farm or create works of art. The current Outside the Box exhibit, running through Dec. 31, uses cardboard boxes, tubes and cylinders to harness the power of imagination. www.childrensmuseumatlanta.org.
Fernbank Museum Of Natural History
From the skeletons of giant dinosaurs on display in the atrium to informative, larger-than- life documentaries in the IMAX Theatre and educationnal exhibits like A Walk Through Time in Georgia and Giants of the Mesozoic, the Fernbank Museum brings the wonders of nature and history to vivid life for kids of all ages. www.fernbankmuseum.org.
Interactive Neighborhood For Kids
Give your kids a taste of grown-up life as they learn what it’s like to shop for groceries, go to the bank, visit the dentist, or be a judge, doctor or policeman. This interactive attraction, about an hour north of Atlanta in Gainesville, Ga., also lets kids create special arts and crafts projects, and boasts a real 1927 fire truck and other fun features. The museum recently launched a campaign to raise funds for a new, 50,000-square foot home. www.inkfun.org.
Tellus Science Museum
This Cartersville museum introduces children to the wonders of scientific discovery as they dig for fossils, pan for gold, gaze at the stars in the planetarium, and stare into the jaws of a Tyrannosaurus Rex. www.tellusmuseum.org.
Six Top Performing Arts Venues
Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre
This 2,750-seat theater is home to the Atlanta Ballet and the Atlanta Opera, as well as concerts and touring productions. www.cobbenergycentre.com.
Ferst Center For The Arts
This 1,159-seat theater on the Georgia Tech campus hosts Ferst Center Presents, a season of compelling theater, dance and comedy performances. Upcoming shows include H.M.S. Pinafore (Sept. 12), the Robert Glasper Experiment (Sept. 26), and dance company Abraham.In.Motion (Nov. 14). www.ferstcenter.gatech.edu.
This former movie palace, known for its Islamic and Egyptian architecture, presents concerts, plays, comedy shows and the annual Coca-Cola Summer Film Festival. www.foxtheatre.org.
Rialto Center For The Performing Arts
This 833-seat venue on the campus of Georgia State University is one of the city’s premier venues for leading national and international jazz and world music acts. www.rialtocenter.org.
This Emory University space features an 800-seat concert hall that hosts eclectic music, dance and theater performances. www.arts.emory.edu.
This 400-seat space on the campus of Clayton State University is a great setting for live jazz and classical music. Upcoming performances include pianist Beatrice Rana (Sept. 28) and guitarist José Antonio Escobar (Oct. 18). www.spiveyhall.org.
Ten Can't-miss Museums and Exhibits
Located next to Zoo Atlanta, this one-of-a-kind attraction commemorates the 1864 Battle of Atlanta with a giant revolving painting (42 feet high and 358 feet around) and diorama. For more on the Atlanta Cyclorama, see our feature on page 50. www.atlantacyclorama.org.
Atlanta History Center
Immerse yourself in Atlanta’s rich, deep history while exploring this 33-acre complex. Highlights include two historic homes, six lush gardens, and exhibits covering the Civil War, the 1996 Olympic Games and more. www.atlantahistorycenter.com.
Bodies … The Exhibition
For an up-close view of the human body, you can’t beat this unique exhibit. More than 200 specially preserved bodies and specimens offer a look at our skeletal structure, musculature, nervous and reproductive systems, and more. www.bodiestheexhibition.com/atlanta.
Booth Western Art Museum
Through paintings, sculptures, Western movie posters and various artifacts—including stagecoaches and covered wagons—the Booth Museum shines a light on the art and culture of the American West. www.boothmuseum.org.
Gone with the Wind Museum
This Marietta shrine to Margaret Mitchell’s classic novel and its equally famous film version features some of Mitchell’s personal volumes of the book, as well as movie memorabilia including posters, concept art and the honeymoon gown worn by Vivien Leigh in the film. www.gwtwmarietta.com.
High Museum of Art
The Southeast’s leading art museum, the High is renowned for its notable architecture, its collection of classic and contemporary art, and traveling exhibits like the current Dream Cars: Innovative Design, Visionary Ideas (through Sept. 7). www.high.org.
Jimmy Carter Library And Museum
This official monument to the former state senator, Georgia governor and U.S. president houses his official papers, as well as exhibits and artifacts including his Nobel Peace Prize and a replica of the Oval Office. The library often hosts guest lectures, author appearances and other events. www.jimmycarterlibrary.gov.
Margaret Mitchell House
Visitors can tour the former home of Mitchell, author of Gone With the Wind, and see exhibits on her work and the classic movie of her novel. www.margaretmitchellhouse.com.
Michael C. Carlos Museum
This Emory University museum houses the Southeast’s largest collection of ancient art and artifacts from Egypt, Africa, Rome, Greece, Asia and elsewhere. www.carlos.emory.edu.
National Center For Civil And Human Rights
This brand-new attraction, opened in June of this year in the heart of downtown Atlanta, traces the history of the American civil rights movement and explores its relationship to today’s human rights movements across the globe. Exhibits include items from Morehouse College’s collection of the late Dr. Martin Luther King’s personal papers and belongings. www.civilandhumanrights.org.