We know what happens to Scrooge, but what about his old business partner Marley? Is he truly past redemption, or does every person deserve a chance to change, to do better? In this funny and touching holiday play, see Jacob Marley’s heroic efforts to save Scrooge’s soul – and in the process, save his own. $16-$18
Starving Artist Productions flagship show. Now in our eighth season. A reflective and modern thematic one-act that combines live original music, monologues for a one-of-a-kind holiday experience. Nominated for two years as "theatre event of the year." Based on the writings of Frederick Buechner. Various times Dec. 12 - 21, with special event nights. $15-35
Vote on your favorite gingerbread creation. $1 for each time you vote. All proceeds will benefit the Levine Children's Hospital.
JESSICA HERNANDEZ & THE DELTAS
Christened a “voice that speaks directly to us” by legendary Blondie and Richard Hell producer Richard Gottehrer, Detroit’s Jessica Hernandez is edgy, sassy and soulful. After being bounced by Blue Note when the fabled jazz label was devoured by the Universal Music Group borg, Hernandez and her five-piece Deltas found a home with Gottehrer’s Instant Records, where they nestle in the sweet spot between commercial-pop smarts and angsty retro-rock. Riffs from forgotten snot-nosed kids The Nuggets, plus bits of Gogol Bordello’s ethno-punk and Tom Waits’ perpetually dark carnival fuel the Deltas’ high octane garage rock ’n’ soul. Amid a swirl of recklessly woozy trombone, creepy Farfisa, spaghetti noir guitar and jazzy-yet-jack-hammering drums, Hernandez belts with the bluesy pop polish of the Noisettes’ Shingai Shoniwa and the hyper-dramatic brass of Shirley Bassey. Inevitable comparisons to Amy Winehouse miss Hernandez’s elemental appeal by a Motor City mile. Lake Street Dive diva Rachael Price’s retrofitted sophistication hits nearer the mark, but Hernandez rocks harder than Price and LSD, and the Deltas dig deeper into their cinematic grooves.
The era of Emily Post and demure gals was excruciatingly dull and sexually frustrating, so it’s been a relief to all concerned to learn — thanks, Kinsey Reports! — that the girls are just as bawdy and sex-crazed as the boys. And that’s been the dirty little not-so-secret ethos that this Tennessee quartet has been playing up over their three-LP catalog. After a ramshackle, twangy debut and 2012’s riot grrrl-y, garage punk-flavored follow-up, Screws Get Loose, the Darlins’ new one, Blur the Line, smooths over some of the rough edges (courtesy of Roger Moutenot, long-time Yo La Tengo producer) that characterized the outfit before. The message, though, remains the same, summed up best in one of the snarling rockers, “Baby Mae” — “When she’s good she’s great/When she’s bad she’s even better.” Still, while the band’s sonic palette has added nuance, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to expand the songwriting tableau, too, as the message wears a bit thin by the time this one hits the wide grooves. But live, led by firecracker front-woman Jessi Zazu, Those Darlins are anything but meek or demure — and thank heaven for that. (John Schacht)
Ever since it moved Uptown from Winston-Salem 23 years ago, North Carolina Dance Theatre has staged the most enchanting celebration of Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker. First there was a darker, Freudian choreography by the late Salvatore Aiello, and in recent years, the more traditionally festive and candy-colored version choreographed by NCDT artistic director Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux. Since landing at Blumenthal Performing Arts Center in the early ’90s, each year Belk Theater is transformed into a hall of wonder. The Nutcracker is a sensational explosion of resplendent sets, eye-popping costumes, live music by the Charlotte Symphony, the grace of the adult NCDT corps augmented by legions of adorable children, and a precious young Clara who annually flies off to Tchaikovsky’s special fairyland. More than 100 dancers perform the 2013 Nutcracker at Belk, Dec. 13-22, with conveniently early curtain times, since it’s all about the kids. (Perry Tannenbaum) $25-$90
Leave it up to the folks of On Q Productions to put some extra flavor in a program that spotlights the usual holiday suspects. A Soulful Noel is a one-night-only performance that features music, dance and spoken word by the ensemble of creatives. Alternative tweaks have been made to incorporate holiday fare like “The Night Before Christmas,” “The Little Drummer Boy” and “Go Tell it on The Mountain,” all of which are soulfully represented. (Anita Overcash) $15
Just because you can doesn’t mean you should create. This is a lesson well-learned in flicks like Frankenstein and The Terminator. In both films, disaster strikes — a mad scientist stitches together a lumbering monster and artificially intelligent machines attempt to destroy the human race — all due to man’s longing to create. Luckily, the latest mechanical pieces assembled by folks at Davidson College are far less threatening. Even better, the works are a parody of Norman White’s “Helpless Robot,” which was incapable of movement. Parodic Machines will feature works by artists Nick Bontrager, David Bowen, Matt Kenyon, Hye Yeon Nam and Fernando Orellana, while Desiring Machines will feature works by Paula Gaetano Adi, curator for Parodic Machines and longtime creator of robotic artwork. Reception on Oct. 24, 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Parodic Machines is held in Van Every Gallery. Desiring Machines is held in Smith Gallery.