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See & Do 

Thursday, May 04

No, it isn't Amadeus or Beaumarchais, but Theatre Charlotte is almost celebrating Mozart's 250th with Stephen Sondheim's A Little Night Music. Inspired by an Ingmar Bergman film -- and presumably the spirit of Mozart -- Night Music is the sort of genteel continental comedy Wolfie might have chosen for one of his comic operas. It's spiced with one of Sondheim's best scores, including "Send in the Clowns." So, yes, a bumper crop of the area's pre-eminent chanteuses showed up for auditions on Queens Road -- and hung around. Lisa Smith, Olivia Edge, Kathryn Stamas and Alyson Lowe are joined by two-time MTA Award winner Kevin Roberge in the talented cast through May 21. Thursdays through Saturdays at 8pm with 2:30pm Sunday matinees on May 14 and 21. Tickets for Thursdays and Sundays are $20, Friday-Saturday tix are $25. All student tickets are $10. Call 704-334-9128. (Tannenbaum)

North Carolina Dance Theatre celebrates American Genius with a trio of great choreographers proving their mettle with a trio of great modern composers. Alvin Ailey's The River, choreographed for the American Ballet Theatre, hooks up with the music of Duke Ellington -- and NCDT is doing the original en pointe version. Fancy Free, choreographed by Jerome Robbins to the music of Leonard Bernstein, is the kernel of the iconic sailors-on-leave story that fully blossomed in On the Town with Gene Kelly. George Balanchine completes the Belk Theater bouquet in longhair style with Violin Concerto, with music by Stravinsky -- and special resonance for NCDT artistic director Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux, who figured prominently in the work's 1972 premiere back in his dancing days. At Belk Theater this Thursday at 7:30pm, at 8pm Friday and Saturday. Tickets are $10-$55. Call 704-372-1000. (Tannenbaum)

If you've seen the mighty Oratorio Singers of Charlotte recently in Haydn's The Creation, you're probably ready to follow them anywhere. Well, now Charlotte Symphony Orchestra's Neighborhood Concert 4 gives you that chance -- tonight at Duke Performance Hall on the Davidson College campus and Friday at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Rock Hill at 1310 India Hook Road. Oratorio director Scott Allen Jarrett conducts a program that showcases the Oreos' Chamber Chorus in Benjamin Britten's Cantata misericordium for tenor, baritone, orchestra and chorus. Elgar is also in the house with Serenade for strings, and J.S. Bach chimes in with Orchestral Suite #1. Both concerts begin at 8pm with general admission seats priced at $15; student tix are $5. (Tannenbaum)

Friday, May 05

Already booked for the Stoneleaf Theatre Festival next month over in Asheville, the Children's Theatre version of Beauty and the Beast is in residence at ImaginOn through May 21. The pocket-sized adaptation by director Joanna Gerdy is performed by this year's vintage edition of the Tarradiddle Players at Wachovia Playhouse with Greta Marie Zandstra and Chaz Pofahl in the title roles. You may have to catch this production in Asheville, since all performances except the 1pm performance added on May 13th were already sold out early last week. Friday performances at 7:30pm, Saturdays at 1pm (May 6, 13 and 20) and 3pm (May 6 and 13), and Sundays at 2pm. Front orchestra seats are $18, general admission is $14. Call 704-973-2828. (Tannenbaum)

Dysfunctionality in New York? Charlotte playwright Terri Collin says it's true in her new New York comedy, Relationships and Other Natural Disasters, premiering at Actor's Theatre of Charlotte through May 20. When Fran and Joey call off their impending wedding, pandemonium infests Apartment 2D -- along with giant insects, cooing pigeons and problematical plumbing. Emily Van Dyke and Nick Asa star as the city-crossed lovers, with comical drop-bys from Jorja Ursin, Vito Abate and Autumn Gentile (Brett's missus in her Charlotte debut). Pi Productions returns, with Pam Galle back in the director's chair. At 650 E. Stonewall beginning 7:30pm on Thursdays, 8pm on Fridays and Saturdays, and 2:30pm on Sundays. Adults $15, students/seniors $12, with a Pay What You Can show on Wednesday, May 10. Call 704-367-1345. (Tannenbaum)

Saturday, May 06

The Fab Four always lent themselves to classical experimentation -- cello, strings and horns were always present, especially in the latter years of Beatles' music after they began working with producer George Martin. So, the Classical Mystery Tour: A Tribute to the Music of the Beatles may not be as much of a stretch as, say, symphonic Slayer. The Charlotte Symphony Orchestra, conducted tonight by Martin Herman, joins forces with some of the original members of Broadway's Beatlemania to create a live symphonic take on Beatles classics. Even some of the post-Beatles solo work is promised. (Wow, we got through this entire blurb without making one sarcastic comment.) Showtime is at 8pm at Ovens Auditorium. Tickets range from $23-$45. For details call 704-972-2000. (Shukla)

Wanna earn the title "the best" and support a good cause? The Kinetic Small Group, Some Assembly Required, is sponsoring an XBox Tournament. Teams of four go head-to-head, and the action is projected on to screens for all to see. The game: Ghost Recon 2. Prize for first place is $200. Proceeds benefit an after-school program for at-risk youth in the Ashley Park community. Bring your skills to A Better World, 2001 W. Morehead St., at 4pm. For details call 704-373-0509 or go to www.a-better-world.org. (Calloway)

Sunday, May 07

In this age of often-impersonal animated features created solely by computers, it's no wonder that an old-fashioned practitioner of the trade like Hayao Miyazaki has emerged as a legend in his own time. Working for Japan's Studio Ghibli, which he helped establish, Miyazaki has spent more than two decades creating hand-drawn gems that rank as marvels of imagination. Miyazaki in May will honor his achievements by showing four of his titles throughout the month. The series kicks off this Sunday with 1984's Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind, an ambitious environmental tale about a princess who tries to prevent warring neighbors from stirring up the fearsome jungle insects that could decimate her village within minutes. The remainder of the month's titles are 1986's thrilling Castle In the Sky (May 14), about a young girl who gets mixed up with sky pirates; 1992's Porco Rosso (May 21), a rambunctious comedy about the misadventures of an aerial hero under a curse that has transformed his facial features into those of a pig; and 2001's Oscar-winning masterpiece Spirited Away (May 28), in which a young girl finds herself in an alternate realm populated by ghosts and monsters. All films will be shown at 2pm Sundays at the Main Library; admission is free. For details, call 704-336-6214. (Brunson)

Now that it seems the entire world has caught Elefant-itis, I'm now able to hear this band in greater relief. Augmenting its neuvo wavo with a healthy dose of overdriven showgaze on its latest, The Black Magic Show, Elefant has managed -- much like compatriots in Black Rebel Motorcycle Club -- to reinvent itself (and the music that, let's be honest, it's merely reinventing) by way of making its influences less overtly obvious and by charging the band to be more intrinsically intimate. Which is no mean feat, believe me. Be at Tremont Music Hall for this concert with opening acts Sound Team and Aberdeen City open. Doors open at 7pm; show starts at 8pm. Tickets are $12. Hit www.tremontmusichall.com or call 704-343-9494 for mo' info. (Davis)

It's the bane of music critics to be constantly bombarded with the pabulum of American Idol and its ilk, where even the contestants' intestinal gas releases seem to become news items. And why do we get so riled by a stupid TV show that further takes away from those great musicians who never break beyond a core of loyal fans? Take the Irish singer-songwriter Luka Bloom, aka Barry Moore. He's one of those obscure musical geniuses. For more than three decades, Bloom has written moody and timeless songs that he sings in a sweet tenor, accompanied by his warm acoustic guitar and other instrumentation. Bloom's profound lyrics come from the heart, not from the gurgling bowels of Idol worship. The show starts at 8pm in the McGlohon Theater at Spirit Square. Tickets are $15-$17.50. Get more details at 704-372-1000. (Shukla)

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  • On Saturday, Oct. 21, hundreds gathered at Camp North End on Statesville Avenue for Charlotte's first black alternative music festival. We captured some of the bands in action on stage, but mostly we surveyed the grounds as fans, families, vendors and more lounged around the sprawling, colorful Camp North End site. It was a great day of music, food, fun, and sweet, autumn sunshine. (Photos by Mark Kemp)
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