Icons and premieres take the stage

This season, Atlanta theater lovers can catch a Broadway-scale musical by a iconic American pop star, a world premiere by an Atlanta playwright with a very personal connection to the immigrant experience, and Shakespeare’s most daunting tragedy, among other options. As fall approaches, here’s a look at some of the most promising shows:

“Harmony — A New Musical.” With music by Barry Manilow, this Alliance Theatre production is the fall’s most newsworthy theatrical event. Writing with longtime collaborator Bruce Sussman, who pens the book and the lyrics, the author of “Mandy” finds his inspiration in a dark chapter of history. “Harmony” is the tale of a real-life German singing group that had the misfortune of living in the era of Nazi Germany. Sept. 6-Oct. 6. Alliance Theatre. www.alliancetheatre.org

“Venus in Fur.” This past spring, director David Crowe staged a superb production of Peter Shaffer’s psychosexual tingler, “Equus,” at Actor’s Express. So his staging, now, of David Ives’ “Venus in Fur,” about a young actress determined to play the lead in a play based on a classic erotic novel, is highly anticipated. Comedic wonder Veronika Duerr stars as the ambitious Vanda, and Adam Fristoe plays the director who is reluctant to audition her but is eventually manipulated by her comely ways. Sept. 7-Oct. 6. ACtor’s Express. www.actors-express.com

“Third Country.” In recent years, Suehyla El-Attar has proven to be one of the city’s more versatile and fascinating actresses. So it might be easy to overlook the fact that she’s a playwright, too. In 2006, Horizon Theatre staged “The Perfect Prayer,” El-Attar’s autobiographical play about growing up Muslim in a small Mississippi town. Now the Little Five Points theater is producing the world premiere of El-Attar’s “Third Country.” In this new work, the child of Egyptian immigrants tills the soil of her own backyard, finding inspiration in the sprawling refugee community of Clarkston, Ga. Sept. 20.-Oct. 20. Horizon Theatre. www.horizontheatre.com

“Hamlet.” If you want to stage the greatest play in the language, you do it with the best cast you can find. In Atlanta, that means Joe Knezevich as the brooding black prince and Chris Kayser and Carolyn Cook as the usurping king and queen. Richard Garner, a director with a splendid eye for visual details and acting nuance, will oversee this final show of the Georgia Shakespeare season. Oct. 4-27. Georgia Shakespeare. www.gashakespeare.org

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