When the Center for Puppetry Arts opened its doors in 1978, Jim Henson and Kermit the Frog were on hand to cut the ribbon. Fittingly, one of its first major exhibitions, The Art of the Muppets in 1981, attracted more than 50,000 attendees. Since then, the center has matured into a multifaceted complex equal parts museum, performance center, and hub for working artists.
Whole World has entertained audiences since 1994, and has been named one of Atlanta's five best comedy clubs by Jezebel magazine. In addition to that, the team of 40-plus members helps train the next generation of improv performers during classes that explore scene building and characterization through exercises and improv games. Besides sessions catered to beginning through advanced improvisers alike, Whole World teaches courses for kids and professional actors tired of having to speak only in iambic pentameter. The actors also happily venture beyond the theatre's walls for private events such as team-building workshops or cocktail parties.
Created by the Lookingglass Theatre Company from Chicago, Lookingglass Alice offers an acrobatic and dizzyingly playful take on Lewis Carroll's double-dose of Victorian childhood wonder, Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass. As Alice falls, floats, and flies across Wonderland's chessboard on her way to becoming Queen Alice, chairs pop up from the floor, Tweedledee and Tweedledum tweedle-tumble across the stage, our heroine voyages across a swirling sea of blue, and much more. The remarkable cast of five often seems like a bursting circus of 40 as they switch costumes, juggle, ride unicycles, walk on stilts, and defy logic as often as they defy gravity.
The Dinner Detective's renowned troupe of talented actors engages audiences with an evening of laughs, intrigue, and suspense with modern plots and no campy rehearsed lines as mock murder accompanies a four-course meal where everyone in attendance is a suspect. A dressed-down cast of professional Hollywood- and Chicago-trained sleuths circulates through the crowd, sniffing out phony alibis and asking the hard questions to solve the mystery of each whodunit. Before the night is over, the fictional criminal is cuffed and the most accurately detecting diner takes home a prize package.
The Dinner Detective leases out its gumshoes to clean up crime during private events such as fundraisers, family reunions, or embezzlement hearings. The thespians have sharpened their entertaining chops by performing for such Fortune 500 companies as Universal Studios and Walt Disney Imagineering.
Classic Albums Live reanimates the long-playing, pre-shuffle heyday of music in meticulous live recreations of the world’s most beloved rock albums. Casting aside stage gimmickry and impersonations but retaining the album's eerie resonances with Meet Me in St. Louis, a band of seasoned rock pros rebuilds every single note, intonation, and otherworldly vocal phrasing of Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of The Moon. Starting with “Speak to Me,” the performers surge onward through “The Great Gig in the Sky” before turning their instruments upside down to launch into “Money” and the rest of Side B.
One of the great surprises about Atlanta is its bustling local theater scene. Actor’s Express is one of the most reliable and innovative groups in town, always focusing on challenging, creative work. Located in the King Plow Arts Center in West Midtown, the theater itself is rather intimate. You can easily spot the actors in the lobby after the show to congratulate them on a job well done, but the quality is equal to that of Atlanta’s larger, haughtier venues. Founded in 1988, Actor’s Express has always believed in pushing the boundaries of the local theater scene, as evidenced by recent productions like the sexy drama Venus in Fur and the historical rock musical Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson. They also incorporate classics like Equus and Kiss of the Spider Woman into their seasons. Annual subscriptions are available, which make for an inexpensive and interesting gift.