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Curtain up as leaves fall

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Will Rogers said, "I never met a man I didn't like." But how likable was Will Rogers himself? Atlanta finds out during the fall, which sees two plays about the folksy entertainer. Theatre of the Stars dusts off The Will Rogers Follies Aug. 12-17, and then Georgia Ensemble Theatre presents Chris Kayser in the one-man Will Rogers' U.S.A. Sept. 11-28. ... The most lavish entertainment promises to be Crowns, opening at the Alliance Theatre Oct. 8. Regina Taylor writes and directs a toe-tapping exploration of gospel music and hat culture among African-American women. ... October also boasts an August Wilson double-header, as Kent Gash directs the Southeastern premiere of the playwright's King Hedley II on the Alliance Hertz Stage beginning Sept. 26, while Fences inaugurates Kenny Leon's True Colors Theatre Co. Oct. 1 at the 14th Street Playhouse. ... After Fences, Leon moves to the Hertz Stage to direct the world premiere of The Subject Tonight is Love, Sandra Deer's bittersweet comedy about a woman dealing with her mother's Alzheimer's disease. ... Actor's Express' artistic director Jasson Minadakis makes his Atlanta directorial debut with Bel Canto, a tale of love and opera opening Sept. 11. ... Theatre in the Square's Mary Stuart imagines an encounter between Queen Elizabeth (Jessica Phelps West) and Mary, Queen of Scots (Jennifer Akin) beginning Aug. 13. ... Out of Hand Theater takes over the Contemporary's courtyard for Charles Mee's treatment of marriage and Greek myth, Big Love, Sept. 26-Oct. 18. ... Synchronicity Performance Group takes a trip down the rabbit hole Aug. 15 with Lobster Alice, which combines Hollywood, Lewis Carroll and Salvador Dali. Then they take a second helping of the famed surrealist with Jose Rivera's play References to Salvador Dali Make Me Hot opening Oct. 24. ... Dad's Garage tumbles Out of the Trees, an evening of little-known sketches by Monty Python's late Graham Chapman, starting Sept. 19. ... Beginning Oct. 17, playwright Charles Busch provides Horizon Theatre with its season opener The Tale of the Allergist's Wife. ... Jewish Theatre of the South cleverly casts Wendy Melkonian as Fanny Brice in Funny Girl beginning Oct. 23. ... Jan Akers plays Prospero in Georgia Shakespeare Festival's reversed-gender production of The Tempest opening Oct. 11. ... 7 Stages presents Eugene Ionesco's absurdist classic The Chairs starting Oct. 2. ... Jomandi presents the world premiere of Faye McDonald Smith and Janice Coombs Reid's comedy of friendship Unfinished Business Sept. 12-28. ... And the Shakespeare Tavern celebrates its 15th anniversary with plenty of -- you guessed it -- Shakespeare, including a repertory of five comedies through Sept. 28 and four history plays Nov. 6-Dec. 7.

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