Arts & Culture

The Performing Arts in Georgia

A play, concert or ballet can leave you with a long-lasting emotional, mental and even physical memory. The transformative nature of the arts is often enhanced by the magnificent halls, quaint theaters and historic homes where they’re performed. Georgia has an abundance of fantastic venues where you can be entertained and enlightened.

 The Fox Theatre, Atlanta

The biggest diamond in Atlanta’s jewel-encrusted crown of performing arts venues is the Fox Theatre, built in 1929 by Shriners who chose the onion domes, minarets, gold-leaf details and soaring archways of Middle East architecture for their lavish headquarters. Over the years, it became one of the country’s most popular movie halls and concert venues before falling onto hard times in the early 1970s. However, the community loved it so much that a grass-roots campaign kept the wrecking ball away, and the Fabulous Fox and its “Mighty Mo” pipe organ still reign. Top Broadway musicals, concerts of every genre, ballets, operas and comedians regularly grace its stage. The 40th anniversary of the “Save the Fox” campaign will be celebrated throughout 2015 with special contests, concerts, tours and a free block party.

 Rialto Center for the Arts, Atlanta

Located in downtown’s Fairlie-Poplar district, the 833-seat Rialto Center for the Performing Arts presents plays, national and international jazz, world music and dance performances. Owned by nearby Georgia State University, the renovated space also hosts School of Music performances and screenings for the Atlanta Film Festival.

 Springer Opera House, Columbus

Named the State Theatre of Georgia in 1976 by then-governor Jimmy Carter, Springer Opera House was built in 1871 by a prosperous French immigrant who longed for a European style theatre in the Chattahoochee River Valley. Over the years, patrons enjoyed performances by Lillie Langtry, Oscar Wilde, Ma Rainey, John Philip Sousa, Will Rogers and Ethel Barrymore on its stage. Today, you can enjoy its Mainstage Series, an innovative second-space series called Studio II, and Academy Series featuring some of the region’s most talented student actors and a 10-state regional touring program called Springer Theatre On Tour. The McClure Theatre features programs for families and young audiences.

 Theatre Albany

Check out live theatre in this white-columned antebellum treasure, placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980. Home to Theatre Albany since 1964, the grand building is a unique venue for plays, musicals, concerts and touring comedians.

 Savannah Civic Center

Whether you’re looking for close encounters with the likes of comedian Kevin James, singer-songwriter John Mellencamp or chef Alton Brown – or the action of The Harlem Globetrotters or Disney on Ice – theSavannah Civic Center has you covered. The MLK Arena and the Johnny Mercer Theatre in historic downtown make this area a one-stop performing arts spot.

 The Classic Center, Athens

In the heart of downtown Athens, the 2,053-seat The Classic Center theatre combines big-city polish and small-town charm, making it the perfect setting for performances by Martina McBride, Bill Cosby, The Nutcracker by the State Ballet of Russia and more. The attached arena also is home to the University of Georgia’s Ice Dawgs hockey team.

 Swamp Gravy, Colquitt

Georgia’s Official Folk-Life Play, Swamp Gravy is a treasure. For more than two decades, audiences have been entertained by local stories, volunteer actors and original music. New scripts are produced in October and March for performances in Colquitt’s Cotton Hall Theater.

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