Out & About

Our colleges offer much to see, hear

Think about it: The presence of our local colleges and universities alone results in well over 100 concerts and plays every year for our enjoyment and edification. Yes, the area colleges are back in session, and for the community that means far more events and exhibitions than we can even dream of attending.

Already several of the local institutions have announced some spectacular plans. While community theaters have to keep an eye on the box office potential of the shows they select, college directors can be as daring as they wish. When we add in the traveling Broadway shows at the Grand Opera House and the shows that come to the Douglass Theatre, there’s no doubt that the midstate is an amazingly cool place for theater fans.

This season at Mercer University, director Scot Mann will open with “Gideon’s Knot,” a specimen of the hard-hitting, intellectually challenging work that many theatergoers yearn for. Based on a parent-teacher conference, Johnna Adams’ award-winning drama is described as “heart-wrenching.”

The season will also include “She Kills Monsters” (“gender and identity issues … in the fantasy world of gaming”), “The Gospel of John” (a one-man show starring Atlanta’s renowned Brad Sherrill) and “August: Osage County,” the 2008 Pulitzer Prize and Tony winner.

There’s exciting news from Wesleyan College Theatre as well. Frazer Lively will direct “Bocón!” (Big Mouth), a fable treating war, social injustice and migration. Up next will be “Genius,” an original play about Gertrude Stein in Paris by Jan Lewis and Robert Fieldsteel.

In other Wesleyan news, set designer James Ogden has arrived from the University of Illinois in Chicago to assume production and design duties. We will hear more from him.

It will be a few weeks before the Broadway in Macon season opens at the Grand, but coming Sept. 2 is the new Movies at the Grand series. “The Big Short” leads off.

Music gets big respect

It’s time to make those reservations. The Macon Pops will be holding an al fresco event next Friday night (“Songs of the Summer”) at Middle Georgia State University, and the following night the Macon Symphony Orchestra will celebrate the arrival of new music director Gerald Steichen.

Coming Sept. 9-11, Otis Redding’s star will be shining high in the sky when an array of activities celebrating what would have been the legend’s 75th birthday culminates in “A Evening of Respect.” It promises to be fabulous.

Contact Larry Fennelly at LarryFennelly@avantguild.com.