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See & Do 

Actor's Theatre of Charlotte's powerful production of A Lesson Before Dying, Romulus Linney's adaptation of Ernest J. Gaines's award-winning novel, continues through this weekend. The play, which takes place in the segregationist South of 1948, is directed by Sidney Horton and stars Nicholas Johnson and Terrell Dulin. The theatre is at 650 E. Stonewall Street, tickets are $17-$22. Performances are today and Thursday at 7:30pm and Friday and Saturday at 8pm. Call 704-342-2251. (Tannenbaum)

We can't vouch for the laughs, but the action is non-stop as North Carolina Dance Theatre brings Comedy in Motion for three nights, plus an abbreviated Saturday matinee. Onstage, NCDT artistic director Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux brings his two-act comedy epic, Ménage à Quatre, to Charlotte for the first time, choreographed to the effervescent music of Jacques Offenbach. Mark Diamond gets down with a techno piece he first unveiled at last season's Innovative Works, "There Again, Not Slowly"; and Peter Anastos, founder of Les Ballets Trockadero, satirizes populist ballet with "Yes, Virginia, Another Piano Ballet," panning some Chopin in the bargain. Before the show — and during intermission — the Extreme Improv troupe of Charlotte Comedy Theater will perform improvisational skits in the lobby. The Matinee Magic performance at 2pm on Saturday cuts the Diamond for the ADD members of your family. Tickets are $10-$55. Call 704-372-1000. (Tannenbaum)

The relentlessly award-winning folks at Northwest School of the Arts are at it again. Each spring, students from Northwest perform a full-tilt musical production at the PAC, wowing crowds with their talent and professionalism. This year, they're doing a production of the Tony Award winning Ragtime, based on the acclaimed novel by E.L. Doctorow. It's the turn of the 20th century and the country is roiling with new money, big industry, labor rallies, racial revolt, baseball mania, and dreamers galore. So what better way to communicate all that then by breaking into song? Ragtime will be performed today through March 5 at the Booth Playhouse in the Performing Arts Center, offering six shows over two weekends: tonight and tomorrow at 7:30pm, Sunday at 2:30pm, and then Thursday through Saturday (March 3-5) at 7:30pm. Tickets are $15, available through the PAC box office at 704-372-1000 or on the web at (Grooms)

Pick up the phone now if you plan to see the last great Black History Month celebration to hit Charlotte this year, as Djoliba Don returns to Children's Theatre. Led by artistic director Faisal Mustapha Salahuddin, the company performs jembe, a West African drumming and dance tradition that flourished during the Manding Empire in the 13th century. This isn't a mere archeological exercise though more than half the company has been trained in Guinea, the birthplace of the tradition. Audiences are invited to join in with clapping, tapping, and dancing of their own, making each Djoliba Don performance a vibrant celebratory ritual and a unique cultural experience. Tickets are $9 for center seats and $7 for side seats at the evening performances through Saturday. All center seats are sold out for the matinees Saturday and Sunday, but side seats are still available at press time for the 2pm Sunday matinee. Call 704-333-8983. (Tannenbaum)

In what may be the last show at the venerable old church on Pecan Avenue, The Steeple Lounge, in conjunction with Nasty/Shane, present A Steeple Scorned tonight, featuring the musical stylings of Etheric, Elevator Action, The Demon Squad (David Kim, Bruce Hazel, Vance Carlisle, Darrin Grey, Emily Hewson), perfomances by Lunasea and Mistress Autumn Twilight, and more. DJs include the Pink Anarchists and Scott "Chaka" Weaver. For more information, call 704-333-5545. (Davis)

The Echo Foundation will host five Scientific Nobel Laureates and the Senior Curator of the Nobel Museum from February 27 to March 1. These events are part of the Voices Against Indifference Initiative of The Echo Foundation. The Laureate guests will participate in three days of dialogue and interaction with university and high school students, teachers, professors and community leaders. The events open to the public include a panel discussion with the Nobel Laureates today from 4 till 5:30pm at The Westin, downtown. Admission is free, but it's on a first-come first-served basis. Also, The Light Factory is hosting the Smithsonian Exhibit Nobel Portraits: Celebrating Innovation and Creativity, through March 25. Further details at 704-347-3844 or (Shukla)

Theater's answer to Speed Week comes wailing into town for a victory lap as Stomp returns to Belk Theater through Sunday for eight of its unique "What'd I say?" performances. There is a sandy, soft-shoe interlude to counteract the onslaught of pipes, pans, and garbage pail lids — plus other relatively quiescent patches. Just don't expect to find the same crowd here as the one that will be vegging out at The Mystic Arts of Tibet concert later in the month. This energy explosion is a whole different deal, very likable if a bit wearisome, and members of the touring troupe are quite amazing in their physical and percussive embodiments of rhythm. OD on caffeine and you'll like it even better. Tickets are priced at $18-$46. Call 704-372-1000. (Tannenbaum)

Spring has sprung — the Southern Spring Home and Garden Show returns to the Charlotte Merchandise Mart today through Sunday, March 6. This year's show features "Spring Inside & Out," with seven distinctive areas showcasing home and garden ideas. Each day, a series of presentations and seminars takes place on the Great Garden, Interior Design Society, and Horticulture Stages. The hours are 10am to 9pm Wednesday through Saturday, and 10am to 6pm on Sunday. Tickets are $7.50 in advance and $9 at the door. Children under 12 are free. Purchase tickets online at Parking is $6 at the Merchandise Mart, located at 2500 E. Independence Blvd. (Vespa)

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