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Community theaters dream big

Musicals, dramas, comedies from Alpharetta to Tyrone

From Marietta and Alpharetta to Fairburn and Tyrone, more than a dozen of the most notable community theaters from outside the Perimeter of Atlanta are winding down their current seasons and gearing up for their next ones.

Whatever these smaller avocational groups lack in annual budgets or general production values compared to the professional companies intown, they often compensate with enthusiasm and gutsiness.

Snellville’s New London Theatre plans to stage no fewer than 11 shows during its 2013-14 season, for example. And Newnan Theatre Company will be tackling everything from the epic drama “August: Osage County” to “Thrill Me,” a dark musical about the scandalous Leopold and Loeb case.

Here’s what’s in store for audiences this summer and beyond.

ACT1 THEATER: 180 Academy St., Alpharetta; 770-663-8989;

Begun 20 years ago as an outreach program of Alpharetta Presbyterian Church, where the group produces three shows a year, ACT1 (aka Alpharetta Christian Theater) closes its 2012-13 season with “Give My Regards to Broadway” (July 19-Aug. 11), a backstage comedy set to the music of George M. Cohan.

ACT 3 PRODUCTIONS: 6285 Roswell Road, Sandy Springs; 770-241-1905;

The group, started in 2009, ends its current season with the musical “Hair” (through June 29). After a benefit performance of “A Piece of My Heart” (Aug. 15-18), a drama about women war veterans, its new season kicks off in the fall with another military drama, “A Few Good Men.” Also on tap are the comedy “Brighton Beach Memoirs” and the musicals “Parade” and “9 to 5.”

CENTERSTAGE NORTH THEATRE: 3330 Sandy Plains Road, Marietta; 770-331-0079;

The company has been operating since 1974, performing since 1992 at the Art Place — Mountain View. Its 2013 season continues with the comedy “Play It Again, Sam” (Aug. 9-17), followed by the Southern farce “The Battle of Shallowford” and the holiday show “Christmas at Sweet Apple.”

COMPANY J: 5342 Tilly Mill Road, Dunwoody; 678-812-4002;

Founded in 2011 under the auspices of the Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta, Company J concludes its second full season with a teen production of “Legally Blonde” (Aug. 1-11), a musical version of the popular movie.

THE CUMMING PLAYHOUSE: 101 School St., Cumming; 770-781-9178;

Providing its venue to troupes without their own theater spaces, the Playhouse hosts Gypsy Theatre Company’s “Treasure Island” (July 18-Aug. 11). Later in the year, the Gypsy group returns with the comedy “The Hallelujah Girls” and the Company Players present the romantic drama “Talley’s Folly.”

THE LEGACY THEATRE: 1175 Senoia Road, Tyrone; 404-895-1473;

Focusing on musicals, the company ends its sixth season with the regional premiere of the recent Broadway extravaganza “Tarzan” (July 12-Aug. 4). Season seven will feature stagings of “13,” “The Andrews Sisters: A Christmas Swing,” “Chicago,” “Keep on the Sunny Side” and “The Music Man.”

THE NEW DEPOT PLAYERS: 910 Center St., Conyers; 678-374-3224;

Founded in 1976, the group continues its 2013 season with the romantic musical-comedy “I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change” (July 11-28). Coming later are the comedy “Lost in Yonkers” and the holiday show “Christmas Belles.”

NEW LONDON THEATRE: 2338 Henry Clower Blvd., Snellville; 770-559-1484;

After the classic “Romeo and Juliet” closes (on June 30), the 12-year-old troupe wraps up its current season with the musical “Cabaret” (July 12-28). In addition to the dramas “A Raisin in the Sun,” “Death of a Salesman,” “Wit” and “A Streetcar Named Desire,” next season’s slate of 11 shows includes the comedy “Born Yesterday,” the musical “Grease” and a children’s production of “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.”

NEWNAN THEATRE COMPANY: 24 First Ave., Newnan; 770-683-6282;

The group finishes its 35th season with youth productions of the Shakespearean update “Midsummer/Jersey” (July 11-14) and the rock musical “Spring Awakening” (July 25-28). Among next season’s highlights are main-stage mountings of the musical “Bye Bye Birdie” and the drama “August: Osage County,” and studio-space versions of the parody “The Mystery of Irma Vep” and the musical “Thrill Me: The Leopold and Loeb Story.”

NEXT STAGE THEATRE COMPANY: 11 Anderson St., Marietta; 678-744-6398;

Now housed in the Alley Stage space once run by Theatre in the Square, the company ends its third season with a remount of its 2012 musical “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” (Aug. 9-25). Next season’s eight-show lineup includes the dramas “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” and “The Crucible,” the musicals “Sweeney Todd” and “The Full Monty,” and the comedy “The House of Blue Leaves.”

THE POLK STREET PLAYERS: 161 Church St., Marietta; 770-218-9669;

Formed in 1979 and performing since 1982 in the Stellar Cellar Theatre at St. James Episcopal Church, the group’s next show is the Southern farce “Rex’s Exes” (Aug. 16-31). Coming soon are the father-son comedy “A Thousand Clowns” and the mentor-protege drama “Tuesdays With Morrie.”

THE PUMPHOUSE PLAYERS: 114 W. Main St., Cartersville; 770-387-2610;

The troupe, founded in 2001, introduces its new children’s theater program with this weekend’s “A Little Princess” (June 28 through June 30). The main stage season concludes with the comedy “Arsenic and Old Lace” (July 19-27). On tap for next season are the drama “Agnes of God” and the thrillers “Wait Until Dark” and “The Bad Seed,” among others.

SOUTHSIDE THEATRE GUILD: 20 W. Campbellton St., Fairburn; 770-969-0956;

The Bard meets The King in “All Shook Up” (July 11-28), which closes the company’s 39th season. The show is loosely based on Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night” and set to the songs of Elvis Presley. Plans for Southside’s upcoming season feature the children’s classic “Pinocchio,” the civil rights drama “Waiting to be Invited,” the comedy “The Nerd” and the musical “110 in the Shade.”

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