This year’s fall arts season promises a mosaic of high arts and pop culture in every shape and hue. Here are 17 events we are eagerly anticipating as temperatures turn cool.
Director Casey Nicholaw (“Tuck Everlasting”) returns to the Alliance Theatre for the world premiere of “The Prom.” When Indiana high-school student Emma is told she can’t bring her girlfriend to the dance, a bunch of washed-up celebrities take up rainbow flags and rush to her side — to calamitous effect. The Broadway-bound musical is by Matthew Sklar (music) and Chad Beguelin (book and lyrics). Through Sept. 25. $10-$65. Alliance Theatre. 404-733-5000, www.alliancetheatre.org
“Jim Henson Labyrinth”
Thirty years ago Jim Henson combined puppet magic and the songs and charisma of rocker David Bowie to create “Labyrinth,” a remarkable fantasy that was a box office dud but ultimately a cult hit. On Sept. 2, in honor of the movie’s anniversary, Atlanta’s Center for Puppetry Arts will open an extensive exhibit of Labyrinth-related object, including Goblin puppets, a plaster cast of Hoggle’s head and numerous weapons from the final battle sequence. Sept. 2, 2016-Sept. 3, 2017. $10.50. Center for Puppetry Arts. 404-873-3391, www.puppet.org
One Music Festival
This year’s event tapped Ice Cube and Erykah Badu as headliners, but for Atlanta music fans, the collection of Dungeon Family members is a standout on the bill. Big Boi, CeeLo Green and Killer Mike are among the performers – all members of the musical collective that helped cement Atlanta’s standing as a hip-hop mecca in the ‘90s. The lineup also features Andra Day, Busta Rhymes, Gary Clark Jr., ASAP Ferg, Jazmine Sullivan, Anderson .Paak, Free Nationals and BJ the Chicago Kid. Sept. 10. Lakewood Amphitheatre. $55-$125. 800-745-3000, www.livenation.com.
Art on the Atlanta Beltline
A glowing stream of humanity (60,000 last year) carrying all variety of lighted objects will pass through Old Fourth Ward this fall as the seventh annual Atlanta Beltline Lantern Parade steps off at Irwin Street at 8:15 p.m. Sept. 10. The parade kicks off Art on the Atlanta Beltline, the South’s largest temporary public art exhibition. More than 150 works of visual and performing arts will turn the pedestrian corridor into an outdoor gallery/venue. Performances are Sept. 10, Sept. 24, Oct. 1-2 and Oct. 8-9. Visual works remain up through November. Atlanta Beltline Eastside Trail. Free. 404-446-4408, www.art.beltline.org
With a headlining quartet of Twenty One Pilots, Deadmau5, The Killers and Beck, the venerable Atlanta music festival is taking a slightly younger approach this year. One other slight change – a full weekend of music instead of a day and a half in years past. Rounding out the lineup: The Lumineers; G-Eazy; Alabama Shakes; Collegrove (Lil Wayne and 2 Chainz); Kesha; Band of Horses; Big Boi; Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats; Chvrches; James Bay; DJ Mustard; Leon Bridges; DNCE; Melanie Martinez; Raury; Daya and more. Sept. 17-18. Piedmont Park. $125. 888-512-7469, www.musicmidtown.com.
Variety Playhouse reopens
After a thorough-going, three-month renovation, the Variety Playhouse will reopen to the public. The Little Five Points music venue’s radical face lift includes a new balcony and upstairs bar, and the floor in front of the stage has been lowered. The million-dollar reno will create better sight-lines, a bigger bar and improved climate control. The venue reopens Sept. 28 with the ambient soundscapes of Tycho. 404-524-7354, www.variety-playhouse.com
Out on Film
Atlanta’s oldest LGBT film festival celebrates its 29th season with eight days of screenings featuring about 100 full-length features, documentaries and short films. Among the offerings are “Strike a Pose” from directors Ester Gould and Reijer Zwaan about seven young dancers, six gay, who joined Madonna on her 1990 Blond Ambition tour, and “Do You Take This Man,” from director Joshua Tunick, about the challenges of modern love. Sept. 29-Oct. 6. Landmark Midtown Art Cinema. Ticket prices vary. 404-296-3807, www.outonfilm.org
Atlanta Celebrates Photography
Throughout October, in more than 100 venues, this 18th annual event showcases the art of photography with scores of exhibitions, public art displays, a pushpin show, art auction, film series, lecture series, photobook fair and workshops. Delivering the event’s keynote lecture Oct. 6 at the Woodruff Arts Center’s Rich Theater is Duane Michals, a renowned innovator known for incorporating sequencing, multiple exposures and text in his work, which will be exhibited Oct. 7-Dec. 3 at Jackson Fine Art. Oct. 1-Nov. 1. Most events free. Multiple venues. 404-634-8664, www.acpinfo.org
Many Rivers to Cross
A high-profile lineup including John Legend, Common, Dave Matthews, Public Enemy, T.I., Macklemore, Carlos Santana, Estelle, Chris Rock, Jesse Williams and Danny Glover will participate in the Atlanta-area festival focusing on racial and social justice. The event is produced by Sankofa.org, a social justice organization founded by Harry Belafonte. The two-day event, which aims to promote awareness around human rights issues, will also feature a “Social Justice Village” where activists and organizational partners will share information and ideas and activate calls-to-action to mobilize attendees around human rights issues. Oct. 1-2. Bouckaert Farm, Chattahoochee Hills. $115-$350. 877-987-6487, www.sankofa.org.
“The Abduction from the Seraglio”
Wolfgang Mozart’s “Abduction from the Seraglio” is among one of the most performed operas today. In 2015, 186 performances were staged in 31 cities, according to Operabase. This year, it’s Atlanta’s turn. For the opening production of its 2016-2017 season, Atlanta Opera Music Director Arthur Fagen takes on the storied tale of love and pirates. Fagen will conduct a few familiar Atlanta faces, such as Tom Key, artistic director of Theatrical Outfit, in a production directed by Chris Alexander. Oct. 8, 11, 14 and 16. Ticket prices vary. Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre. 404-881-8885, www.atlantaopera.org
Expect performance art, music and art installations incorporating sound and video when Elevate, now in its sixth year, returns to Broad Street in downtown Atlanta with its week-long showcase of art and performance. Four curators — Mónica Campana, Pastiche Lumumba, Allie Bashuk and Mark DiNatale — explore the theme of Microcosm. Participating artists include Brazilian-born muralist Yoyo Ferro, actress Danielle Deadwyler and video-sound artist Josephine Figueroa. New this year, “The South Broad Dinner,” a dinner for 400 that will aim at getting residents together to discuss their vision for their city. Oct. 13-21. Free. Broad Street. 404-546-6980, www.ocaatlanta.com
Amy Schumer in recent years has become a true comedy sensation with her critically acclaimed Comedy Central show “Inside Amy Schumer,” her popular film “Trainwreck” and her string of stand-up specials. She will bring her fiery, unapologetically feminist, often sexually graphic humor to Philips Arena, where she is the first female solo stand-up artist to ever headline the venue. Oct. 15. $43-$125. Philips Arena. 800-653-8000, www.ticketmaster.com
Taste of Atlanta
More than 90 metro Atlanta restaurants, including intown favorites Venkman’s and King + Duke as well as suburban gems Noble Fin and Colletta, will serve samples their cuisine at the 15th annual Taste of Atlanta. Beyond the tasting tents, festivities include four live cooking stages, a bartender competition, a family food zone, an appearance by TV personality G. Garvin and a VIP Grand Tasting Experience, featuring more than 100 beers and several wine selections. Oct. 21-23. Midtown at Tech Square. $25-$210. 678-701-6114, www.tasteofatlanta.com
Thanks to YouTube and DVD sales, “The Carol Burnett Show” lives on nearly four decades after it ended. Named in 2007 by Time magazine as one of “100 Best Television Shows of All Time,” the variety show ran for 11 years, averaged 30 million viewers per week and received 25 Emmy Awards. Burnett brings memories of that golden age to town for two nights in a show called “An Evening of Laughter and Reflection.” Expect video clips and questions from the audience. Oct. 24-25. Cobb Energy Centre. $175-$55. 770-916-2800, www.cobbenergycentre.com
She’s perhaps the mightiest female music star on the planet not named Beyonce or Taylor, but unlike her contemporary peers, Adele’s success has been bred with an old-fashioned approach to music. Her specialty is soaring ballads that simultaneously soothe and shred emotions (“Someone Like You,” “Hello”) and her uptempo material (“Rolling in the Deep,” “Water Under the Bridge”) is stocked with a soulfulness that belies her 28 years of age. What also makes the British songstress immensely appealing is her self-deprecation and genuine warmth toward fans. Need proof? Her bringing Atlanta Christian singer Jamie Grace onstage at a recent tour stop in Los Angeles certainly counts. Oct. 28-29. Sold out. Philips Arena. 800-653-8000, www.ticketmaster.com
“A Sea Symphony/Sea Pictures”
The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Chorus’ first appearance of the year is anchored by Vaughn Williams’ “A Sea Symphony” under the baton of ASO music director Robert Spano. Soprano Tamara Wilson and baritone Brian Mulligan fulfill solo duties. When the orchestra and chorus recorded the Williams piece in 2003, it received Grammy awards for best choral performance and best classical album. Georgia native Jamie Barton will join the ensemble for “Sea Pictures,” a cycle of five songs by Edward Elgar. This looks to be one of the most exciting concerts in a captivating ASO season. Nov. 3 and 5. $20-$89. Symphony Hall. 404-733-5000, www.atlantasymphony.org
MJCCA Book Festival
More than 10,000 guests will meet dozens of authors for readings, signings, panel discussions, children’s events and other activities as the Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta celebrates 25 years of its inimitable 17-day book festival in November. Authors this year include novelist Jonathan Safran Foer, author of “Here I Am”; CNN senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin, author of “American Heiress: The Wild Saga of the Kidnapping, Crimes, and Trial of Patty Hearst”; and Bravo television personality and producer Andy Cohen, author of “Superficial.” Nov. 5-20. Ticket prices vary. Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta. 678-812-4005, www.atlantajcc.org/bookfestival
— Wendell Brock, Bo Emerson, Felicia Feaster, Rodney Ho, Jon Ross, Melissa Ruggieri and Yvonne Zusel contributed to this article
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.