As the winter holidays roll in, they bring out a different side of Athens events—trading the “hairy dawg” variety of hunker down for getting out of the cold. There is still plenty to do for a joyous family outing, lowkey gathering of friends or entertainment for the solo adventurer. Although the theaters are open year-round with worthwhile dramas, musicals, ballets and more, there’s something about this season that feels like a great time to check out the calendar. Here are a few upcoming events to catch before the year ends.
Whole Lot of Minutes: For the 25th anniversary of this well-known musical, Rent will be presented by the UGA Theatre during the Spotlight on the Arts Festival. Director Brandon LaReau, a third-year PhD student in the department of theatre and film studies, believes the timing is perfect for introducing a new audience to this production depicting how the artistic spirit perseveres against great challenges. The book, music and lyrics by Jonathan Larson follow a group of poor artists struggling with careers, relationships and the effects of the HIV/AIDS epidemic on their community. LaReau addresses the dated elements of the material: “It gave visibility to communities and people rarely seen on Broadway stages at the time. So much has changed in the past 25 years. We don’t need visibility anymore, we need equality, we need compassion, we need love.” Performances will be held in the Fine Arts Theatre Nov. 4–5 and 10–13 at 8 p.m. and Nov. 14 at 2:30 p.m. Tickets are $16 or $12 for students, available for purchase at ugatheatre.com.
Lonely Knights: Love and betrayal will be brought to the stage by Athens Creative Theatre, presenting Lerner and Loewe’s Camelot. Based on The Once and Future King by T.H. White, this story portrays King Arthur’s hopes to build a kingdom on honor and dignity, later tested by his queen Guinevere falling in love with the young knight Lancelot. Thus, the fate of the kingdom is at stake. Performances will be held in the Morton Theatre Nov. 11–13 at 7 p.m. and Nov. 14 at 3 p.m. Attendees are required to wear a mask while inside the building, regardless of vaccination status. Tickets are $15 for adults and $12 for children, seniors over 60 and students, available for purchase at mortontheatre.com.
Ruff Crimes: The next Town & Gown Players play is set for early December, with Melanie Marty directing The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. Written by Simon Stephens, this adaptation is the winner of the 2015 Tony Award for Best Play. Young 15-year-old Christopher finds himself standing next to the neighbor’s dead dog in the middle of the night in his neighborhood, sparking suspicion for the crime. He is then determined to solve the mystery of the murder despite his father forbidding his efforts, which takes him on a thrilling journey. Performances run Dec. 3–4 and 9–11 at 8 p.m., then Dec. 5 and Dec. 12 at 2 p.m. Proof of vaccination will be required for entry, and all attendees are required to wear a mask while inside the building. Tickets are $20 for adults and $15 for members, seniors and students, available for purchase at townandgownplayers.org.
Holiday Cheer: Of course, the best way to get in the holiday spirit and spend quality time with family and friends is to watch a classic like The Nutcracker, being presented by Classic Entertainment. This fairytale is set to Tchaikovsky’s score and performed by the State Ballet Theatre of Ukraine. Young and old audiences can get caught up in the magic of favorites like “Waltz of the Flowers,” “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy” and “Waltz of the Snowflakes.” Performances will be held in The Classic Center Theatre Dec. 18 at 4 p.m. and Dec. 19 at 2 p.m. Attendees must present one of the following for entry: proof of vaccination, signed health and safety affidavit with temperature check or negative COVID test within 72 hours of the event. Tickets are $32–$42 for adults and $16 for children, available for purchase at classiccenter.com.
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