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APRIL 14 - WEDNESDAY
Christopher Durang's jaundiced view of religion and America gets a fresh airing as Carolina Actors Studio Theatre brings Laughing Wild to their eponymous Central Avenue location. Leslie Beckham tackles her most important role to date as the Woman recently released from Creedmoor Mental Hospital, and C.A.S.T. producer/artistic director Michael Simmons plays the Man who -- with variable credibility -- extols the benefits of his recent personality workshop. The two-hander is rich in outre cameos, including Mother Theresa, God, and Sally Jesse Raphael. Runs Wednesdays through Saturdays at 1118 Clement Avenue through May 1 at 8pm. Tickets are $15 on weekends with a 3pm Sunday matinee slated for April 25. Wednesdays are "pay what you can" nights, and Thursdays are "Vegas" nights: you spin a wheel, roll dice, slide a shuffleboard, or dunk a rubber ducky to determine ticket price. Call 704-455-8542. (Tannenbaum)

APRIL 15 - THURSDAY
A tubercular waif in a low-rent apartment isn't every poet's ideal, unless perhaps your inspiration runs along the lines of burning your latest manuscript to keep your hands warm. The frail Mimi and her cavalier Rodolfo come to Belk Theater this week in La Boheme, the latest chapter in a phenomenally successful Opera Carolina season. An extra performance of this Puccini favorite was added back in February due to the rabid run on the box office. OC subscribers get to see the return of Carol Ann Manzi (Liu in Turandot) as Mimi and the Charlotte debut of Fernando de la Mora as Rodolfo, a role he has sung at the Met. Nightly through Saturday plus a Sunday matinee with tickets ranging from $10-$79. Theodore Green subs for de la Mora on Friday. Special opening night "April in Paris Affair" gets you heavy hors d'oeuvres and vino before the show at Blue Restaurant plus dessert with the singers after the opera ($50-$80 for packages). Call 704-372-1000 for tickets, 704-332-7177 ext. 210 for packages. (Tannenbaum)

APRIL 16 - FRIDAY
The Night of the Adeaters, an event featuring 230 of the most creative commercials from across the globe, will be presented in McGlohon Theatre at Spirit Square. Created in France in 1981, this annual event occurs in more than 150 cities around the world; first introduced in the US in 1989, this year will mark its Charlotte premiere. The program draws from over 500,000 advertising spots that have been created since 1898 and which are preserved in a Paris film library. English subtitles will accompany the commercials, and there will be two shows at 6:30pm and 8pm, each one showcasing different films. Admission is $8 for one session and $12 for both. For more information, call the Alliance Francaise de Charlotte at 704-543-7076 or Spirit Square at 704-372-1000. (Brunson)

A young couple that can have a child wrangles desperately -- sometimes comically, and sometimes bewilderingly -- with an elder couple that cannot in Edward Albee's The Play About the Baby. It's a pitch-dark comedy premiered in London in 1998 that invites comparisons with Albee's groundbreaking Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? from 1962. Once again, the playwright intricately weaves together the themes of memory, self-deception, reality versus illusion, and the place of children in the family structure. Once again, we careen wildly between hilarity and terror -- but this time, there really is a baby. Amy Campbell and Doug Spagnola star in this BareBones Theatre Group production as the Girl and Boy who have it; Marshall Case and Susan Capatosto are the other Man and Woman. Through May at SPAC, 211 Rampart Street, tickets $15. Opening night "Dinner and a Play" package (SouthEnd Brewery) is $35. Call 704-332-5300. (Tannenbaum)

The Reel Soul short film series continues with Save the Drama, featuring various movies that examine black life. The four shorts -- Rosalyn Coleman's Driving Fish, Mike Dennis' Next Tuesday, Iris Huey's Scratches and Ed Banuel's Land of the Free -- will be shown at 7pm and 9pm in the Bacardi Lounge at the Afro-American Cultural Center. Admission is $7. For details, call 704-492-2519. (Brunson)

Concord's own The Avett Brothers are playing the Neighborhood Theatre at 8pm in support of their new album, Mignonette. A sort of rough-hewn take on acoustic blues and bluegrass, the Avett Brothers' music might best be described as "porch "n' roll," full of creaky pauses and barely-in-tune harmonizing. Don't let that fool you, however. It works, often very well (so well, in fact, that their last appearance at the Neighborhood Theatre was a surprise sellout). Nicole Atkins opens. Tickets are $12 in advance and $15 at the door. Charge via phone by calling 704-358-9298 or logging on to www.neighborhoodtheatre.com. (Davis)

APRIL 17 - SATURDAY
Just about the only thing missing from The Bob Margolin All-Star Blues Jam at the Double Door Inn Saturday will be the Waters -- as in Muddy Waters. Three longtime members of the Chicago bluesman's legendary 60s-70s lineup will be on hand for the blues extravaganza. Take Pinetop Perkins and Willie "Big Eyes" Smith, for instance, two gentlemen who played with Muddy for 21 and 19 years, respectively, before forming their own famous outfit, the Legendary Blues Band, in 1980 (Margolin played with Waters from 1973-1980). Perkins is a boogie-woogie piano legend -- he's also 90 years old and survived 45 stitches in his head in February when his car was hit by a freight train. They'll be joined on stage by Charlotte-born Nappy Brown, an R&B legend with such a unique vocal style Savoy Records boss Herman Lubinsky allegedly thought Brown was singing in Yiddish. Queen City veteran Mookie Brill will join in the proceedings, too. Tickets are $15, and the show gets underway at 10pm; for more information, call 704-376-1446. (Schacht)

The Loch Norman Highland Games begin in earnest today at Rural Hill Farm, located just outside Huntersville. Following a "Call to the Clans" on Friday night, events on Saturday and Sunday include field games and competitions in dance, piping and drumming, seminars on Scottish genealogy, heraldry, and single malt whisky, and loads more. Gates open at 8am both days. Tickets for Saturday are $15 and for Sunday, $10; a two-day advance pass is $20. For more info, call 704-875-3113 or go to www.lochnorman.org or www.ruralhillfarm.org. (Davis)

Stroll amid the blooms of Spring and the greening oaks at the outdoor 6th Annual Frolic at CPCC, a community festival featuring music from varied performers on two stages. Included are The Badgett Sisters (gospel), Abe Reid and the Spikedrivers (blues-rock) and Carolinas Flute Circle (Native American music). The event is co-sponsored by the Charlotte Folk Society and also includes a dance stage featuring Hispanic, African, Filipino, Irish, Appalachian clogging, and East Indian dancing. The Storytellers Guild will share tales in the Storytelling Tent and there will be plenty of other family-oriented activities as well as arts and crafts booths. The event is free and takes place rain or shine. CPCC Main Campus, Elizabeth Ave., 12pm-7pm. Details: 704-372-3655 or www.folksociety.org. (Shukla)

Dale Earnhardt, Jim Beatty, Jeff Mullins and Floyd "Chunk" Simmons will officially become the first inductees into the Greater Charlotte Sports Hall of Fame at a dinner tonight at 7pm at the Panther's Den at Bank of America Stadium in uptown Charlotte. The Hall of Fame, established in Fall 2003, bestows this special honor, recognizing these guys as the creme de la creme of Charlotte athletes throughout the city's history. The dinner benefits Charlotte-Mecklenburg Senior Center. Tickets cost $150. Call 704-369-0383 or visit www.charlottehalloffame.com for details. (Grossman)

Arena football at its mediocre-est is here! The Carolina Cobras will try and dig their way our of a three-game losing streak as they take on the Philadelphia Soul tonight at 7:30pm at the Charlotte Coliseum. But hey, to many people it doesn't matter if the team wins or loses since arena games are usually a good time anyway. Single tickets range from $10-$70 and may be purchased by calling 704-522-6500. Check out www.cobrasfootball.com for further info. (Grossman)

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