Your guide to Atlanta’s summer of high drama (and comedy, too)

A lot of Atlanta’s theater companies are dormant during the summer months — winding down from their last seasons (which traditionally end in May) and gearing up for their next ones (which usually start in August). Yet the array of local productions slated to open across the metro area in June and July nonetheless has plenty to tempt audiences.

From musicals to dramas to comedies, from new works to familiar classics, here are 10 good reasons to mark your calendars:

“C.S. Lewis on Stage.” Theatrical Outfit executive artistic director Tom Key reprises his popular one-man performance piece about the notable author and theologian, culled from Lewis’ autobiography, letters and essays — and even including excerpts from his popular “Narnia” novels. June 19-29 at Balzer Theater at Herren’s in Atlanta. www.theatricaloutfit.org.

“Criminal Hearts.” With two shows on tap this summer, the up-and-coming Weird Sisters Theatre Project returns to playwright Jane Martin (whose “Anton in Show Business” was an earlier hit for the company) with this dark comedy about a petty burglar and his intended victim. Co-founding member Tiffany Porter (of the recent “Elemeno Pea”) heads the cast. June 12-22 at Aurora Theatre in Lawrenceville. www.auroratheatre.com. (Weird Sisters then presents Sarah Ruhl’s “Late, A Cowboy Song” in July at Actor’s Express.)

“Levi.” The fledgling Rising Sage Theatre opened its inaugural season this spring with artistic director Paris Crayton III’s father-daughter drama “The Best Game.” A companion piece of sorts, the group’s sophomore effort is a father-son drama by Crayton that features the Atlanta-based Taurean Blacque (“Hill Street Blues”) as a Bible-thumping minister estranged from his free-spirited radical of a son (played by Anthony Goolsby). June 5-22 at Porter Sanford Performing Arts Center in Decatur. www.risingsagetheatre.com.

“Spamalot.” Based on the movie comedy “Monty Python and the Holy Grail,” Atlanta Lyric Theatre mounts this raucous and irreverent musical version of the King Arthur legend. Local character actor extraordinaire Bart Hansard (late of “Lombardi” and “Dividing the Estate”) plays Arthur, under the direction of Lyric associate artistic director Alan Kilpatrick. June 13-29 at Cobb Civic Center in Marietta. www.atlantalyrictheatre.com.

“One Man, Two Guvnors.” Following its run of “As You Like It” this month, Georgia Shakespeare presents British playwright Richard Bean’s mod 1960s update of Carlo Goldoni’s commedia dell’arte classic “A Servant of Two Masters.” Aaron Munoz (“A Confederacy of Dunces”) is new to the company, but his co-stars are regular ensemble members Travis Smith and Ann Marie Gideon. July 9-27 at Oglethorpe University’s Conant Performing Arts Center in Atlanta. www.gashakespeare.org.

“Right On!” With frequent collaborator Thomas W. Jones II (“Every Tongue Confess,” “Sheddin’”) at the helm — and a stellar cast featuring LaParee Young, Donna Biscoe, Marguerite Hannah, Tonia Jackson and Minka Wiltz — Horizon Theatre’s alternately funky and soulful comedy depicts the reunion of several former black activists. July 18-Aug. 31 at Horizon Theatre in Atlanta. www.horizontheatre.com.

“The Rocky Horror Show.” Artistic director Freddie Ashley stages the campy cult musical for Actor’s Express, with Craig Waldrip (from the troupe’s “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” and “Kiss of the Spider Woman”) as Frank N. Furter. Among other familiar faces in the ensemble: Jill Hames (”Grey Gardens”), Kevin Harry (“Les Miserables”) and Diany Rodriguez (“Into the Woods”). July 9-Aug. 9 at King Plow Arts Center in Atlanta. www.actors-express.com.

“Same Time, Next Year.” Bernard Slade’s oft-produced and formulaic romantic comedy may seem a questionable choice of material, but with artistic director Kenny Leon and Tony-winning actress Phylicia Rashad sharing the stage for True Colors Theatre, who cares? The episodic two-character play spans 30 years in their extramarital affair. Former Atlantan (and Actor’s Express co-founder) Chris Coleman directs. July 8-Aug. 3 at Southwest Arts Center in Atlanta. www.truecolorstheatre.org.

“Ten Mile Lake.” This family drama largely takes place on a lakefront dock — making it an ideal fit for the site-specific Serenbe Playhouse, which performs its shows outdoors. (Another ideal fit should be its version of the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical “Oklahoma!” later in the summer.) Here, Mark Kincaid, who previously appeared in the company’s “Shipwrecked,” plays father to Veronika Duerr’s daughter. June 12-29 at Serenbe’s Grange Lake Dock in Chattahoochee Hills. www.serenbeplayhouse.com.

“That Uganda Play.” Local actor-turned-playwright Theroun Patterson’s latest drama involves the controversy surrounding anti-gay legislation in Africa, and some of the political corruption and personal betrayal accompanying it. It is a co-winner of Essential Theatre’s annual playwriting award, and Essential is premiering the play in repertory with co-winner “Ravens and Seagulls,” a sibling drama from Atlantan Karla Jennings. July 17-Aug. 17 at West End Performing Arts Center in Atlanta. www.essentialtheatre.com.

Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.

Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.

X