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Anniversary celebrations mark the season's theatrical highlights 

Show-stopping offerings from the Atlanta Ballet, Opera, Symphony and more

HAIR (SEPT. 12-OCT. 10)
A month after the Woodstock anniversary celebrations, 7 Stages opens its 30th season with another hippie flashback, Hair, directed by Del Hamilton. If rock show tunes such as “Let the Sunshine In” and “Aquarius” seem too mainstream for Little Five Points’ avant-garde playhouse, don’t forget “The American Tribal Love-Rock Musical” has been pushing boundaries for more than 40 years, and was part of 7 Stages’ fifth season in 1984. Also: Nudity! $9.26-$27.78. 1105 Euclid Ave. 404-523-7647. www.7stages.org.

THIRD (SEPT. 11-OCT. 11)
In Horizon Theatre’s production of the witty dramedy Third, a complacent college professor reconsiders her life following an accusation of plagiarism involving a student athlete named Third. Lisa Adler directs the last work of beloved playwright Wendy Wasserstein, who won the Tony and Pulitzer for The Heidi Chronicles. Wasserstein died of lymphoma in 2006. $15-$25. 1083 Austin Ave. 404-584-7450. www.horizontheatre.com.

THE COLOR PURPLE (SEPT. 15-27)
Speaking of anniversaries, what better way to celebrate the 80th anniversary of the Fabulous Fox Theatre than with the touring production of The Color Purple musical. The show has at least three local connections: It’s based on a novel by Georgia native Alice Walker; it had its world premiere at Atlanta’s Alliance Theatre; and the production’s lead performer, Fantasia Barrino, tried out for “American Idol” at its Atlanta auditions, and went on to win the show’s third season in 2004. Prices vary. 660 Peachtree St. 404-881-2100. www.foxtheatre.org.

COME FLY WITH ME (SEPT. 15-OCT. 11)
For the Alliance Theatre’s 41st season opener, legendary choreographer Twyla Tharp follows Movin’ Out, her Tony-winning stage treatment of the Billy Joel songbook, with a similar project about a far more important crooner. Tharp directs and choreographs Come Fly With Me, a musicalization of Frank Sinatra’s work. Come Fly With Me uses Ol’ Blue Eyes’ signature tunes to follow four couples as they fall in and out of love at a crowded dance club. The production features 32 performers, including 14 dancers and an onstage big band, and should be Broadway-bound if it clicks. $25-$60. 1280 Peachtree St. 404-733-4650. www.alliancetheatre.org.

THE DAD'S GARAGE GOING OUT OF BUSINESS SHOW! (OCT. 2-30)
In The Dad’s Garage Going Out of Business Show!, the Inman Park playhouse looks for the funny side of the global economic recession. Created by Matt Horgan and directed by Scott Warren, the evening presents a new collection of sketches, songs and videos, all developed in-house. The Dad’s Garage Going Out of Business Show! kicks off a full season of plays developed either by the Dad’s ensemble or “extended family members” such as playwright Steve Yockey. $13-$15. 280 Elizabeth St. 404-523-2144. www.dadsgarage.com.

THE ELIXIR OF LOVE (Oct. 3, 6, 9 and 11)
Celebrating its 30th year, the Atlanta Opera opens its third season of residence at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre with Gaetono Donizetti’s The Elixir of Love. Metropolitan Opera star soprano and native Georgian Leah Partridge sings the role of Adina, the object of affection for lovesick young Nemorino (tenor Bruce Sledge), who purchases a love potion to win her heart. David Gately, who helmed the Atlanta Opera’s Cinderella a year ago, returns for this production. $15-$125. 2800 Cobb Galleria Parkway. 770-916-2800. www.atlantaopera.org.

THE STY OF THE BLIND PIG (OCT. 7-NOV. 1)
True Colors Theatre continues its mission to revive works from the African-American canon when Andrea Frye directs The Sty of the Blind Pig by Philip Hayes Dean. The 1971 Drama Desk winner finds comedy and pathos when unmarried, thirtysomething Alberta encounters a lovelorn street singer named Blind Jordan on Chicago’s South Side. $20-$30. Southwest Arts Center, 915 New Hope Road. 404-588-0308. truecolorstheatre.org.

BUY MY HOUSE, PLEASE! (OCT. 8- NOV. 1)
Creative Loafing would like to acknowledge the success of one of our own: Lawrenceville’s Aurora Theatre will stage the world premiere of Buy My House, Please! a comedy by actor/playwright Gabriel Dean (who’s previous careers include real estate salesman and alt-weekly intern). Susan Reid directs the comedy, in which a young couple hopes to solve their problems of pregnancy, unemployment and recession through the healing power of  ... reality TV? $14-$30. 128 Pike St., Lawrenceville. 678-226-6222. www.auroratheatre.com.

JULIUS CAESAR (OCT. 8-NOV. 1)
This year, the Ides of March fall in mid-October when Georgia Shakespeare presents the classic tragedy of assassination and insurgency, Julius Caesar. Allen O’Reilly plays the title role of the show, which focuses on the conspiratorial Cassius and Brutus (Joe Knezevich and Neal A. Ghant, respectively) and the noble Marc Antony (James Quay). Richard Garner directs the production, which will be challenged to match the company’s “Huey Long”-themed production from 2001. $15-$45. 4484 Peachtree Road. 404-264-0020. www.gashakespeare.org.

AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS (OCT. 14-NOV. 8)
At Theatrical Outfit, five actors play 30 roles in playwright Mark Brown’s quick-changing, globe-trotting adaptation of Around the World in 80 Days. Based on Jules Verne’s classic 19th-century novel, the lighthearted play follows the unflappable Phileas Fogg and his Man Friday Passepartout as they push 1872 transportation to the limit in a bid to circumnavigate the globe. $15-$35. 84 Luckie St. 404-577-5257. www.theatricaloutfit.org.

MOZART'S MAGIC FLUTE (OCT. 15-24)
The Atlanta Ballet launches its 80th anniversary season with Mozart’s Magic Flute, choreographer Mark Godden’s intriguing modern version of Mozart’s classic opera, at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre. The production features seven singers and seven principal dancers as well as updated, reimagined versions of the characters, such as a TV-addicted Tamino. (Incidentally, Godden’s ballet of Dracula was adapted by Canadian director Guy Maddin for the award-winning dance film Dracula: Pages of a Virgin’s Diary.) $90-$120. 2800 Cobb Galleria Parkway. 770-916-2800. www.atlantaballet.com.

PINOCCHIO (OCT. 24-25)
The Atlanta Ballet gets a jump on the perennial holiday show The Nutcracker with another family-friendly ballet about a wooden protagonist, Pinocchio. Conceived and choreographed by Bruce Wells, and based on Carlos Collodi’s original fairy tales, the one-hour show features students from Atlanta Ballet’s Centre for Dance Education. $90-$120. Cobb Energy Performing Arts Center, 2800 Cobb Galleria Parkway. 770-916-2800. www.atlantaballet.com.

A LIFE IN THE THEATRE (OCT. 28-NOV. 15)
Having staged the profane power struggle Glengarry Glen Ross in 2007, the Alliance Theatre returns to the work of iconic American playwright David Mamet with A Life in the Theatre. André De Shields, a veteran of Broadway shows such as The Wiz, Ain’t Misbehavin’ and The Full Monty, stars in this two-actor play about the friendship and rivalry between a pair of thespians. A Life in the Theatre may not be major Mamet, but it can still be an entertaining satirical love letter to the unsung heroes of live stage plays. $25-$60. 1280 Peachtree St. 404-733-4650. www.alliancetheatre.org.

HILLARY CLINTON GOT ME PREGNANT (NOV. 5-24)
Synchronicity Performance Group offers the season’s most memorable title with Hillary Clinton Got Me Pregnant. Playwright Megan Gogerty stars in her semi-autobiographical one-woman show about the politics of the new millennia, from a Hillary Clinton book signing to Gogerty’s pregnancy. Most familiar to Atlanta audiences as the playwright behind Actor’s Express’ controversial Love, Jerry, a musical featuring a sex offender, Gogerty can also be a funny, engaging performer and has written such amusing works as Dad’s Garage’s Rumple Schmumple. $15-$23. 7 Stages Theatre, 1105 Euclid Ave. 404-523-7647. www.synchrotheatre.com.

THE SECOND CITY: PEACH DROP, STOP AND ROLL (NOV. 6-DEC. 12)
The Alliance Theatre’s Hertz Stage found big laughs last season with The Second City: Too Busy to Hate, Too Hard to Commute, an evening of (mostly) Atlanta-themed sketches from Chicago’s legendary improv comedy troupe. For The Second City: Peach Drop, Stop and Roll, the funny folk return for a show emphasizing the holidays in Atlanta, so expect the Pink Pig to get a roasting. $25-$60. Alliance Theatre, 1280 Peachtree St. 404-733-4650. www.alliancetheatre.org.

“AMERICAN SYMPHONY” (NOV. 19-20, 22)
The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra teams up with Wynton Marsalis for the world premiere of the renowned jazz composer’s long-awaited ASO commission, “American Symphony," which combines jazz and classical arrangements. Robert Spano conducts a program featuring soloists Olli Mustonen (piano) and Laura Ardan (clarinet) and includes Gershwin’s “An American in Paris” and Bernstein’s “Prelude, Fugue and Riffs.” Prices vary. Atlanta Symphony Hall, Woodruff Arts Center, 1280 Peachtree St. 404-733-4900. www.atlantasymphony.org.

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