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APRIL23 WEDNESDAY

At Ovens Auditorium through Sunday, a traveling version of Jesus Christ Superstar continues with Carl Anderson as Judas and Eric Kunze as Jesus, replacing former Skid Row lead singer Sebastian Bach. It's hard to believe this musical was so controversial when it debuted in the 1970s -- now it's like an old standard, but still one of the better Tim Rice/Andrew Lloyd Webber collaborations. Tickets range from $20 to $58 for performances through Sunday, April 27. Call Ticketmaster, 704-522-6500. (Wicker)

Charlotte Rep's revamped New Play Festival, now called In-The-Works, continues at various venues through May 1. Plays that are part of the festival include Calvary by James McLure, Absence by Wendy Hammond, The Succulent Walk by John Love, Will's Women by Amanda McBroom and Joel Silberman, All of the People, All the Time by Patrick Cook and Bonnie and Clyde by Michael Aman, Oscar E. Moore and Dana P. Rowe. It's free. For more info or for a complete schedule, go to www.charlotterep.org. (Wicker)

APRIL24 THURSDAY

Opera Carolina's Carmen opens tonight in Belk Theater at the Performing Arts Center. Starring in Georges Bizet's classic will be Metropolitan Opera star Vivian Livengood, an NC native. Performances will be today and Saturday at 8pm and Sunday at 2pm. Ticket prices range from $15 to $78. Call the PAC box office at 704-372-1000 or go to operacarolina.org. (Wicker)

Festival fans, this is your week. In addition to the CityFest Live events being held tomorrow through Sunday in Charlotte, there's also the rather humongous MerleFest. The event -- which began some 15 years ago to commemorate the life of Merle Watson, son of the legendary Doc Watson -- runs today through Sunday, and features many of the biggest names in American roots music. This year features Doc, Rhonda Vincent, Ralph Stanley, Jim Lauderdale, Peter Rowan, Jerry Douglas, Bruce Hornsby, Bela Fleck, Ricky Skaggs, Del McCoury, Emmylou Harris, and a host of other performers. Single day general admission tickets are $30-45 depending on the day, but other ticket packages are available. For more information, log on to www.merlefest.org or call 800-343-7857. (Davis)

Weatherman Larry Sprinkle will serve as the auctioneer for the 21st annual Light Factory Auction, almost always a fun night combining art, money and alcohol. What more could you ask for? Works for the auction were donated by local, national and international artists and can be viewed prior to the action at the Light Factory space in Spirit Square. Auction proceeds will benefit the the Light Factory's educational and exhibition programming. The auction will start at 6pm with cocktails. Tickets are $25. For more info, call 704-333-9755 or go to www.lightfactory.org. (Wicker)

APRIL25 FRIDAY

CityFest Live!, the granddaddy of Charlotte music festivals, will once again be held in the Cedar Street Station section of Charlotte. The festival -- which runs today through Sunday -- has put together a pretty decent lineup this year. Headliners include Widespread Panic, Foo Fighters, Steve Winwood, The Wallflowers, and Bob Weir and Ratdog; where the festival has really improved is in so-called "second tier" acts like Cave In, Caitlin Cary, Ron Sexsmith, and My Morning Jacket. Tickets are $45 in advance (until April 24) for a three-day pass (single day tickets are also available). For more information on performance times or to buy tickets, log on to www.cityfestlive.com. Tickets are also available at all Ticketmaster outlets. (Davis)

APRIL26 SATURDAY

The eighth annual Queen's Cup Steeplechase takes to the grass once again at Brooklandwood near Mineral Springs. The gates open at 10am and the first of the six horse races starts at 1:30pm. In addition to horse racing, there'll be Jack Russell terrier races, tailgate contests and lots of wealthy women wearing big hats. General admission is $20 a person; if you want to get fancy, reserved parking is $125. This year's event will raise money for the Catawba Land Conservancy. For more info, call 704-843-7070 or go to their stylish website at www.queenscup.org. (Wicker)

Spirit Square will serve as the venue for The New York Underground... Short Film Showcase, a program of five award-winning short movies from several Big Apple filmmakers. The event will be held at 8pm, followed by an after-party at Vargas; two of the featured filmmakers, Booker T. Mattison and Stacey Holman, will be in attendance. Holman will also take part in the Youth Film Showcase to be held earlier today from 4-6pm, also at Spirit Square; her film Mirror, Mirror (suitable for ages 13 and up), which deals with America's perceptions of beauty, will be screened, and a Q&A session will follow the showing. Admission to the Youth Film Showcase is $3; admission to the main event tonight is $10. For further details, call 704-492-2519. (Brunson)

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