The Atlanta Ballet’s production of “Camino Real” opens May 12. The show was choreographed by Helen Pickett. CONTRIBUTED
Photo: For the AJC
Photo: For the AJC

Which events in Atlanta should top your calendar this spring?

Now that spring has finally sprung, a bevy of fresh new productions, exhibitions and concerts are popping up to brighten venues around town this season. From humorous observations about race and divorce from Chris Rock to a Tennessee Williams literary classic set to ballet, the offerings are diverse, thought-provoking and aimed to entertain.

The Atlanta Opera’s production of “Don Pasquale” opens March 25. CONTRIBUTED BY PHILIP GROSHONG
Photo: For the AJC

‘Don Pasquale’

The Atlanta Opera’s modern take on Gaetano Donizetti’s “Don Pasquale” sets the comic Italian opera in the golden era of Hollywood. Bass-baritone Burak Bilgili performs the role of Pasquale, a silent film star on the cusp of retirement who marries a woman more interested in his money than his heart.

8 p.m. March 25 and March 31, 7:30 p.m. March 28 and 3 p.m. April 2. $35-$131. Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre, 2800 Cobb Galleria Parkway, Atlanta. 404-881-8885,

Thom Yorke and Radiohead, shown at the Austin City Limits Music Festival on Sept, 30, 2016, will perform April 1 at Philips Arena. TAMIR KALIFA FOR AMERICAN-STATESMAN
Photo: For the AJC


Before Radiohead gets to Coachella, they’ll visit Atlanta for their first show here since 2012. The enigmatic British band is touring in support of “A Moon Shaped Pool,” its ninth studio album, which arrived last May. The album landed at No. 6 on Rolling Stone’s “Best Albums of 2016” list.

7:30 p.m. April 1. $45.50-$85.50 (some ticket locations are credit card entry only, meaning you have to show the credit card used for the order and an ID for entry). Philips Arena, 1 Philips Drive, Atlanta. 1-800-745-3000,

“Painter & Poet: The Wonderful World of Ashley Bryan” will be on exhibit April 1-Jan. 21, 2018, at the High Museum of Art. Here, Bryan is shown in his studio in 2016. CONTRIBUTED BY HIGH MUSEUM OF ART
Photo: For the AJC

‘Painter & Poet: The Wonderful World of Ashley Bryan’

While trips to the library fueled his curious, young mind, artist Ashley Bryan realized at a young age that there were few characters that looked like him in literature. Although his recognition didn’t come until later in life, Bryan has published more than 50 books and created additional forms of art, including crafting puppets from reused objects and making stained-glass windows. His work will be on display in an exhibit at the High Museum starting in April.

April 1-Jan. 21, 2018. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesdays-Thursdays and Saturdays, 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Fridays, noon-5 p.m. Sundays. $14.50 (ages 6 and older), free (ages 5 and under). High Museum, 1280 Peachtree St., Atlanta. 404-733-4400,

RELATED: High Museum’s ‘Cross Country’ is a sweeping view of America

“Hedwig and the Angry Inch” will be at the Fox Theatre April 4-5. CONTRIBUTED BY JOAN MARCUS
Photo: For the AJC

‘Hedwig and the Angry Inch’

This Tony Award-winning musical tells the story of German singer Hedwig Robinson, a gender-bending rock ‘n’ roll singer on a quest for identity and true love. Before the musical opened off-Broadway nearly two decades ago, John Cameron Mitchell (writer), performing as Hedwig, and Stephen Trask (composer) tested their material out at popular NYC drag club Squeezebox. After it opened on Broadway in 2014, it won a Tony for best revival of a musical. Euan Morton, who played Boy George in “Taboo,” stars.

7:30 p.m. April 4-5. $45-$125. Fox Theatre, 660 Peachtree St., Atlanta. 404-881-2100, 

Atlanta Ballet dancer Jackie Nash in “Firebird,” which will be performed April 14-16 at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre. CONTRIBUTED BY CHARLIE MCCULLERS
Photo: For the AJC

Atlanta Ballet’s ‘Firebird’ and ‘Camino Real’

Atlanta Ballet’s “Firebird” is a part of the company’s “modern masters” program that will honor three 20th- and 21st-century choreographers. Beginning with Yuri Possokhov’s take on the Russian fairytale “Firebird,” the program will also feature the George Blanchine’s homage to classical ballet, “Allegro Brillante,” and Jiří Kylián’s sensuous “Petite Mort.” One month later, the Atlanta Ballet will transform Tennessee Williams’ 1950s play “Camino Real” onstage at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre with the help of choreographer Helen Pickett.

“Firebird.” 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. April 14-16. $20-$128. Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre, 2800 Cobb Galleria Parkway, Atlanta. 770-916-2800,

“Camino Real.” 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. May 12-14. $20-$128. Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre, 2800 Cobb Galleria Parkway, Atlanta. 770-916-2800,

RELATED: Atlanta Ballet unveils 2017-18 season under new artistic director

Tom Petty performs at the Tabernacle June 2, 2016, with Mudcrutch, his band that formed in Gainesville in 1970. Petty and the Heartbreakers will play Philips Arena on their anniversary tour in April. MELISSA RUGGIERI / MRUGGIERI@AJC.COM
Photo: For the AJC

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers are commemorating their 40 years in the music business by going on an extensive tour. While Petty performed at the Tabernacle with his original band, Mudcrutch, in June, he and the Heartbreakers haven’t played the area since an April 2012 show at Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre in Alpharetta. To further celebrate the 40th anniversary of their self-titled debut, Petty and the Heartbreakers will release two companion vinyl box sets featuring their entire studio album collection. All of the LPs in the limited-edition sets have been pressed on 180-gram vinyl with replica artwork. Many have been out of print for years, and most have been remastered for this re-release. The box sets are available now via

With Joe Walsh. 7:30 p.m. April 27. $49.50-$149.50. Philips Arena, 1 Philips Drive, Atlanta. 1-800-745-3000,

Comedian Ali Wong will headline the Tabernacle on May 12. EARL GIBSON III / GETTY IMAGES
Photo: For the AJC

Ali Wong

Being a traveling female stand-up comic is not conducive to having children. Wong, already a sharp, raunchy comic, stood out immediately when she recorded a special for Netflix that aired last year where she was seven and a half months pregnant. “It’s very rare and unusual to see a female comic perform pregnant, because … female comics don’t get pregnant,” she said on stage. “Just try to think of one. I dare you. There’s none of them. Once they do get pregnant, they generally disappear.” She isn’t disappearing and has sold out several cities on this tour so far.

7 and 9:30 p.m. May 12. $37.50-$75. Tabernacle, 152 Luckie St. N.W., Atlanta. 404-659-9022,

Ryan Adams is one of the headliners for the 2017 Shaky Knees Music Festival, which will be held May 12-14. GETTY IMAGES
Photo: For the AJC

Shaky Knees Music Festival

For its fifth anniversary, the Shaky Knees Music Festival will sport a lineup highlighted by headliners the xx, LCD Soundsystem, Phoenix and Ryan Adams. The three-day event, which returns to Centennial Olympic Park May 12-14, includes more than 60 bands playing on three stages. Other performers include Saint Motel, Cage the Elephant, Pixies, the Shins, Nick Murphy, X Ambassadors, Third Eye Blind and Portugal.

Gates open at 11:30 a.m. May 12-14. $99 (single-day general admission), $275 (single-day VIP), $185 (advance three-day general admission). Centennial Olympic Park, 265 Park Ave. W. N.W., Atlanta.  

RELATED:  Photos: Best chances to see music in Atlanta this spring

The Weeknd, shown at the 59th annual Grammy Awards on Feb. 12, 2017, will perform May 13 at Philips Arena. MATT SAYLES / INVISION / AP
Photo: For the AJC

The Weeknd

The Weeknd’s first-ever world tour launched in February in Sweden, and the “Can’t Feel My Face” star is treating European fans to a 26-song set that incorporates the best of his three albums. The Canadian R&B-pop singer kicks things off in the U.S. later this spring for a six-week run that will undoubtedly spotlight his 2015 breakthrough, “Beauty Behind the Madness,” and last year’s “Starboy.”

With Rae Sremmurd, Belly and 6lack. 7:30 p.m. May 13. $90-$445. Philips Arena, 1 Philips Drive, Atlanta. 1-800-745-3000,

Chris Rock, who’s on his first tour in nine years, will be at the Fox Theatre May 26-28. MONICA SCHIPPER / GETTY IMAGES FOR TRIBECA FILM FESTIVAL
Photo: For the AJC

Chris Rock

On his Total Blackout Tour, his first tour in nine years, 52-year-old Rock tackles his own mistakes as a divorced husband who admitted to cheating and is now in the midst of a custody battle. Based on reviews of the show from other cities so far, he also makes trenchant observations about police shootings, bullying, racial inequality and guns. Sample joke: “Every Sunday I watch T.D. Jakes, Joel Osteen. … Why is God always so broke? The devil never needs money. You never see the devil on TV saying, ‘We need donations. This evil is not going to pay for itself!’”

8 p.m. May 26, 7 p.m. May 27, 7:30 p.m. May 28. $65.60-$144.95. Fox Theatre, 660 Peachtree St., Atlanta. 404-881-2100,

— Contributed by Rodney Ho, Melissa Ruggieri and Jewel Wicker

Five different festivals you'll love for spring in Atlanta

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