Fall theater season to be eventful

When Atlanta’s Pulitzer- and Oscar-winning Alfred Uhry (“Driving Miss Daisy”) comes to town with a new play, it’s an occasion. When the National Black Arts Festival partners with Georgia Shakespeare on an Orson Welles-inspired “Macbeth,” it’s an occasion. When a British import that won five Tony Awards makes its Atlanta debut, it’s an occasion. Wondering what we are talking about? Read on.

Alliance Theatre: “What I Learned in Paris”

Playwright Pearl Cleage may well be the first lady of Atlanta theater. As a former speech writer and press secretary for Atlanta Mayor Maynard Jackson, she knows a little about our city's history and politics. For this Alliance Theatre world premiere, a romantic comedy about the private lives of a fictitious group of campaign workers in the aftermath of Jackson's 1973 election, Cleage allows a peek into that first wives' club. "The play is really about who we are in a relationship — especially when we're messily in love," said Alliance Theatre artistic director Susan V. Booth, who is staging her second Cleage world premiere in two years. (The first was "The Nacirema Society Requests the Honor of Your Presence at a Celebration of Their First One Hundred Years.") "I don't know a writer who makes more room in her plays for the audience to move right in and say: 'This is my story. This is about me.' " Sept. 5-30. 404-733-5000. alliancetheatre.org

Fox Theatre: “War Horse”

If you don't get a little teary at this boy-meets-horse, boy-loses-horse, boy-gets-horse story, you should have your heart examined. A product of the National Theatre of Great Britain, based on the book by Michael Morpurgo and made into a 2011 film by Steven Spielberg, it's a tale of the transforming relationships that humans have with animals and the cost of war. Joey, the horse, is not played by a towering stallion, but a team of three actors who manipulate a skeletonlike puppet. The Broadway version, still running at Lincoln Center Theater, picked up a handful of 2011 Tonys, including the prize for best new play. In this Broadway in Atlanta-presented production, Andrew Veenstra stars as the young Albert, and Atlanta homeboy Aaron Haskell, who attended the DeKalb School of the Arts, puppeteers horses Coco and Topthorn. Sept. 25-30. 1-800-278-4447. atlanta.broadway.com

Georgia Shakespeare: “Macbeth”

In 1936, Orson Welles created a radical version of "Macbeth" for the Federal Theater Project with an all-black cast. The show transported the so-called "Scottish play" to Haiti and substituted voodoo priests for the witches. When the National Black Arts Festival decided to revisit Welles' famous "Voodoo Macbeth," it had no trouble persuading Georgia Shakespeare to partner. "Being located in Atlanta with one of the most vibrant African-American artistic communities in the country, I thought this was a perfect contemporary celebration of that," said Richard Garner, the theater's producing artistic director. Garner, in turn, lined up director Raelle Myrick-Hodges, who has no plans to duplicate Welles. Though the theater had planned to bring back Brandon Dirden and Crystal A. Dickinson in the role of the ambitious king and queen, the former Atlanta actors, who are married in real life, are in great demand these days (see Broadway's just-closed "Clybourne Park"). Instead, Neal A. Ghant and Cynthia D. Barker will wear the crowns. Oct. 4-28. 404-504-1473. gashakespeare.org

Alliance Theatre: “Apples & Oranges”

Alfred Uhry became famous for "Driving Miss Daisy," based on his Druid Hills grandmother. He unveiled "Last Night of Ballyhoo," about the social stratification of Atlanta's Jews, as part of the 1996 Cultural Olympiad. Now, he's back with "Apples & Oranges," based on Marie Brenner's memoir about her brother and directed by Manhattan Theatre Club artistic director Lynn Meadow. "Atlanta is his home, and the Alliance has been fortunate enough to be his home theatre," said Alliance's Booth. Calling "Apples" "devastatingly good," Booth describes it like this: "A brother and a sister who could not be more different nonetheless turn with inevitability to one another when the mortality clock starts ticking." She says the play hit her where she lives. Watching a reading, "I experienced the full weight of my lifetime adoration of my big brother. Uhry did that," she said. "It's hard to explain, but it was like really good church, and it will give you access to the best part of yourself." Oct. 5-28. 404-733-5000. alliancetheatre.org

Theatrical Outfit: “Two Drink Minimum”

When you hear the name of this new play by William Balzer you may think it's about hanging out in a bar. But Balzer, a former UPS employee turned philanthropist, says the title of his highly autobiographical work is a reference to the self-medicating he had to do when he called his mom. "My mother held a Ph.D in Polish Catholic guilt," Balzer said. "When I made my weekly Sunday calls, I would have one drink to make the call and a second to stay on the call." Balzer says it's pretty sweet that the world premiere is being produced in the theater named for his family. "Never in our wildest dreams did my wife, Peg, and I think we would ever be so involved with the arts." Directed by Scott Warren, "Two Drink Minimum" will star Susan Shalhoub Larkin as the mother and Matthew Myers and William S. Murphey as Balzer at two different stages of his life. Oct. 24-Nov. 18. 1-877-725-8849. theatricaloutfit.org