Fall Arts Guide: Don’t miss these top 12 fall events

Arts organizations and presenters are firing on all cylinders this year.

What a long, strange trip it’s been. But after two years of fear and uncertainty, the fall arts season appears to be back full steam ahead once again. Virtual events finally have receded into the background, making way for live, in-person shows in theaters, on stages and in galleries across the city. Here are 12 events AJC arts writers are eager to see. But to be safe, always check websites for updates. If we’ve learned anything from the Great Pandemic of 2020, it’s that everything is subject to change.

ExploreFall Arts Guide: New and classic works reflect inquiry and rigor

Credit: Handout

Credit: Handout

“Everybody.” After 21 years at the helm of the Alliance Theatre, Susan Booth takes a final bow before leaving to become artistic director of Chicago’s Goodman Theatre. She co-directs (with Tinashe Kajese-Bolden) this “irreverent, rollicking” updating of the medieval morality play “Everyman,” about a soul-searching journey for the meaning of life. Each show starts with cast members drawing names to decide who’s playing which character in that particular performance. They include such familiar Atlanta faces as Andrew Benator, Deidrie Henry, Chris Kayser, Bethany Anne Lind and Courtney Patterson. Sept. 2-Oct. 2. Alliance Theatre, Woodruff Arts Center, 1280 Peachtree St. NE, Atlanta. 404-733-4600, alliancetheatre.org.

ExploreFall Arts Guide: Celebrations abound in classical offerings

Credit: Matthew Murphy/MurphyMade

Credit: Matthew Murphy/MurphyMade

“Pretty Woman: The Musical.” Broadway in Atlanta presents this national touring company production, adapted from the 1990 Julia Roberts/Richard Gere blockbuster about a proverbial hooker with a heart of gold, and the eligible bachelor and benefactor who falls for her. With a book by Garry Marshall and J.F. Lawton (who, respectively, directed and wrote the original movie), the songs are composed by the Canadian pop-rock writing team of Bryan Adams and Jim Vallance. Sept. 13-18. Fox Theatre, 660 Peachtree St. NE, Atlanta. 855-285-8499, atlanta.broadway.com.

ExploreFall Arts Guide: Robust slate of concerts, festivals promises hip hop, country, classic rock

Credit: Courtesy of AF&WF/Raftermen Photography

Credit: Courtesy of AF&WF/Raftermen Photography

Atlanta Food & Wine Festival. This four-day event showcases more than 250 leaders in food, wine and spirits from 13 states. Festivities include 30+ tasting tents in Historic Fourth Ward Park and special dinners such as Cluck’d: A Chicken and Cocktail Soiree, featuring more than 20 chefs’ poultry dishes paired with cocktails and live music, or Sliced: A Cut of Atlanta’s Best Bites, featuring an array of sliced foods including pizza, brisket, cheese and desserts. Sept. 15-18. Various venues, atlfoodandwinefestival.com.

ExploreFall Arts Guide: Marginalized voices amplified in exhibitions

Book festivals. The Decatur Book Festival Presented by Emory University kicks off with a keynote event featuring former Chief White House photographer Pete Souza on Sept. 30. The festival ensues the following day with 16 panels of authors, including Saeed Jones, Mike Luckovich, Vanessa Riley and Carmen Agra Deedy, among others. The lineup for the Book Festival of the Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta (MJCCA) hasn’t been announced yet, but the pre-festival events feature appearances by New York Times bestselling author Jodi Picoult, former Israeli Ambassador to the United States Michael Oren and Iuliia Mendel, former press secretary to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. Decatur Book Festival, Sept. 30-Oct. 1. First Baptist Church of Decatur, 308 Clairmont Ave., Decatur. www.decaturbookfestival.com. Book Festival of MJCCA, Nov. 3-20, Pre-festival events Sept. 15-Oct. 26. 5342 Tilly Mill Road, Dunwoody. 678-812-3981, atlantajcc.org/bookfestival.

ExploreFall Arts Guide: Race, religion and musicals take center stage

Credit: Kim Kenney

Credit: Kim Kenney

“Balanchine Inspired.” The 1935 stage moment, when 17 female dancers snapped their feet open to first position, marked the start of a new era in ballet. With “Serenade,” featured in Atlanta Ballet’s season opener, choreographer George Balanchine introduced his neoclassical style to the U.S., eventually blending a centuries-old art form with the breadth, rhythm and speed of modern American life. Pacific Northwest Ballet’s Kiyon Ross carries it forward with “Sum Stravinsky,” drawing out the jazzy syncopations in the composer’s intricate “Dumbarton Oaks” Concerto. Justin Peck’s “In Creases,” set to a propulsive Philip Glass score, accelerates Balanchine’s style to a 21st-century pace, showcasing Atlanta Ballet dancers’ hard-won technical prowess. Sept. 16-18. Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre, 2800 Cobb Galleria Parkway, Atlanta. 404-892-3303, atlantaballet.com.

Out On Film. The 35th annual LGBTQ film festival celebrates another year with a robust lineup of 143 films, including 23 narrative films, 17 documentaries and 16 shorts programs. The festival opens with Nicholas Stoller’s “Bros,” a romantic comedy starring and co-written by Billy Eichner. The festival closer is Todd Flaherty’s dark comedy “Chrissy Judy,” about two men facing a crossroads with their drag queen act. “Mama Bears” is a documentary about conservative Christian moms who risk alienation from their communities by accepting their LGBTQ children. Sept. 22-Oct. 2. Landmark’s Midtown Art Cinema, 931 Monroe Drive. NE, Atlanta, and other locations. 678-944-8158outonfilm.org.

Atlanta Art Week. Art advisor and writer Kendra Walker debuts Atlanta Art Week this fall in hopes of making it an annual event highlighting Atlanta’s thriving art scene. More than 20 art spaces and institutions, including Arnika Dawkins Gallery, Marcia Wood Gallery, Day and Night Projects, Whitespace and the High Museum of Art, will host a variety of events including open studio visits, private collection tours and panel discussions. Sept. 29-Oct. 2. atlantaartweek.co.

Credit: Raftermen

Credit: Raftermen

Beethoven’s Ninth. For her debut as the new music director of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Nathalie Stutzmann has paired “Words for Departure,” a contemporary choral work by Hilary Purrington, with Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9. The ASO and Chorus last performed Beethoven’s final symphony in 2019 under the direction of Thomas Sondergard, who was just named the new music director of the Minnesota Orchestra. Stutzmann’s take on this monument in choral literature is not to be missed. Oct. 6-9. Atlanta Symphony Hall, 1280 Peachtree St. NE, Atlanta. 404-733-5000, aso.org.

“Kurios: Cabinet of Curiosities.” Cirque du Soleil invites guests to step into the curio cabinet of a wacky inventor who turns the world upside down. Meet an assortment of otherworldly creatures who bring humor, poetry and physical acts of derring-do stage front and center. Oct. 6-Dec. 24. In the Big Top at Atlantic Station, 241 20th St., Atlanta. cirquedusoleil.com.

“Legacy + Lineage + Liberation.” Urban Bush Women, the dance company Jawole Willa Jo Zollar founded in 1984, returns to Atlanta just a few months after Zollar, a MacArthur fellow, received the prestigious Dorothy and Lillian Gish prize. The Brooklyn, New York-based ensemble will present a 35th anniversary program of works that amplify voices of women of color while embracing and lifting up cultural expressions of the African diaspora. Zollar’s “rough-hewn” approach to movement — grounded, polyrhythmic and unflinchingly honest — evokes a power that reaches back through generations even as it reveals each performer’s strength in the face of oppression. In light of the racial reckoning of 2020, Zollar’s work is as potent as ever. Oct. 20-22. Schwartz Center for Performing Arts: Dance Studio, 1700 N. Decatur Road, Atlanta. 404-727-5050, tickets.arts.emory.edu.

Credit: TNS

Credit: TNS

Lizzo. Riding high on critically acclaimed recent No. 2 album “Special” and No. 1 single “About Damn Time,” singer, rapper and classically trained flutist Lizzo pays a visit with The Special Tour. Atlanta rapper Latto opens the show. Oct. 22. State Farm Arena, 1 State Farm Drive, Atlanta. 800-745-3000, ticketmaster.com, statefarmarena.com.

Credit: Jenni Girtman / AJC

Credit: Jenni Girtman / AJC

The B-52s. After 40-plus years of roaming around the world spreading their message of love and unity through original, danceable party rock, Georgia’s own the B-52s are hanging up their touring beehives. Fittingly, the band’s final performances are right here. Cindy Wilson, Fred Schneider and Kate Pierson will undoubtedly shake the Fox to its foundations after KC & The Sunshine Band open the festivities. Nov. 11-13. Fox Theatre, 660 Peachtree St. NE, Atlanta. 404-881-2100, foxtheatre.org.

— Contributed by Felicia Feaster, Bert Osborne, Cynthia Perry, Jon Ross, Matt Smith, Suzanne Van Atten