Out & About

Drama, music and art prepare to take the stage this fall

Clara, Snow Queen, Rat King highlight holiday favorite

Highlights from the 2016 Nutcracker of Middle Georgia performance at the Grand Opera House.
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Highlights from the 2016 Nutcracker of Middle Georgia performance at the Grand Opera House.

Can you feel the chill in the air? Me neither, but the announcement of auditions for “The Nutcracker” tells me cooler days will soon be here. Ditto for the beginning of the 2017-18 music and theater season.

The Nutcracker of Middle Georgia has auditions scheduled for both Sept. 16 and 23, with details available on the organization’s website, www.midganutcracker.com. Longtime founder and director Jean Weaver has retired after 32 seasons, and the midstate owes her a tremendous debt. This year’s production Dec. 6-10 will be featuring new artistic director Alice Sheridan.

In the mailbox this week was the handsome eight-page brochure from Mercer University’s Townsend School of Music. These talented folk will be presenting over 70 concerts in the coming season, beginning with the Townsend All-Faculty Gala on Aug. 29 and the Robert McDuffie Labor Day Festival for Strings’ Closing Concert on Sept. 4.

Add in the offerings of the other colleges, the Macon Concert Association and the Warner Robins Community Concert Association and it is clear we are in for good times — in spite of the decision by the Macon Symphony Orchestra to close its doors in October, mysteriously forgoing a plea for help from Macon’s world-famous community of impassioned music lovers.

Speaking of money, Aug. 26 will see Macon Pops and “Jazz that Rocks: The Music of Blood Sweat & Tears, Chicago and Steely Dan,” a picnic concert to open the fifth season. Tickets are $14-$24. Yes, they are happy to accept donations.

Still on the subject of money, Theatre Macon will hold its annual meeting the following evening. No doubt members will hear a progress report on the growing One Million Strong endowment. They will also hear that director Jim Crisp will be retiring in June 2018. This epoch-making season will open on Sept. 8 with the Neil Simon comedy “Rumors.”

Across town, Macon Little Theatre is just days away from opening one of my favorite Agatha Christie dramas, “And Then There Were None,” on Aug. 25. While this is a powerful show for adults, it’s also an exciting way to introduce young people to the magic of live theater.

It’s not live theater, but it is from one of the greatest theaters in the world: “Perestroika,” the second part of “Angels in America” will be at the Douglass Theatre on Sunday as part of the National Theatre’s HD series from London.

Art news

The Middle Georgia Art Association’s “Rustic” exhibit opens this evening at the group’s gallery on Ingleside Avenue. Meanwhile, 78 miles to the north, the excellent exhibition of Andy Warhol’s prints at Atlanta’s High Museum of Art is entering its final days. Sept. 3 is your last chance.

Thanks, Jackie

In case you missed the sad news, Jacqueline McNair passed away recently. Musician, composer and all-around supporter of good things, she was especially revered by me for her years serving as a reviewer for music and theater for The Telegraph. She wrote beautifully, and she told the truth with grace — an amazing talent.

Contact Larry Fennelly at LarryFennelly@avantguild.com.