If like me you didn’t get your tickets to see Tift Merritt perform at the old Playmakers Theatre in Chapel Hill before the show sold out, you can sulk a bit or you can hurry to get tickets to some other shows that promise to brighten what could be a cold, gray January. Here are four that should put a smile on your face.
Song and dance: The Tony Award-winning “An American in Paris” comes to the DPAC this week. The plot about an American soldier who stays in Paris after the war to nurture his passion for painting and the French girl he falls in love with takes second billing to the songs of George and Ira Gerswhin and the choreography of Christopher Wheeldon, who also directed the Broadway show. In reviewing the touring production when it hit Boston in October, the Boston Globe called it sublime, and noted there was no drop off in quality from the Broadway original. An added attraction? The show stars UNC School of the Arts graduate Garen Scribner, as Jerry Mulligan (the American of the title). Shows are 7:30 p.m. Jan. 3-5 and Jan. 6-7, 2 p.m. Jan. 7, and 1 and 6:30 p.m. Jan. 8. All at the Durham Performing Arts Center, 123 Vivian St., Durham. Tickets $40, $85, $110 and $135, plus fees. 919-680-2787 or dpacnc.com.
A little bit country: If you can’t get enough Patsy Cline, you could put a scratchy old album on the turntable and sing along to “Crazy” or “Tennessee Waltz” or “I Fall to Pieces,” or you could go see N.C. Theatre’s production of “Always ... Patsy Cline.” Sally Struthers and Carter Calvert star. Calvert, best known for originating her role in the Tony-nominated Broadway musical “It Ain’t Nothin’ But The Blues,” plays Cline while Strothers plays Cline’s fan-turned-friend Louise Seger. Shows are at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 20-22 and 24-29 and at 2 pm. Jan. 21-22 and Jan. 28-29 at the Fletcher Opera Theater, 2 E. South St., Raleigh. There will be Audio Description by Arts Access at the 2 p.m. Jan. 21 show. Tickets starts at $60. College students pay $25 for evening shows. nctheatre.com
A dose of comedy: For more than 50 years, Second City in Chicago has been producing acclaimed comedians and actors (where do you think all those “Saturday Night Live” folks get their start?). A batch of their latest are coming to The Carolina Theatre in Durham for one show, 8 p.m. on Jan. 27. 309 W. Morgan St. Tickets start at $24, plus fees. 919-560-3030. carolinatheatre.org
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Jazz sublime: CAM Raleigh is being turned into a cabaret for “On a Turquoise Cloud, a performance of some rarely heard Duke Ellington songs performed by jazz singer Candice Hoyes and pianist Chris Pattishall of Durham, who was recently named by Wynton Marsalis as one of the top five jazz musicians under 30 to watch. The show’s title comes from Hoyes’ debut album of the same name which is, of course, one of the Ellington songs she performs. Among the other forgotten treasures: “Single Petal Of A Rose,” “Heaven” and “Come Sunday.” Down Beat magazine had this to say about the album: “Uncovering the brilliance and importance of the soprano Ellington voices of Hall, Davis, and Babs brought about Hoyes’ most crucial revelation.” The show, at 8 p.m. Jan. 27-28 at CAM, 409 W Martin St., is part of the North Carolina Opera Company’s season. Tickets are $27.17 and $32.79 and may be purchased through ticketmaster. Note that table seating (which includes a bottle of wine) is limited; to reserve call 919-792-3856, ncopera.org.
Staff writer Mary Cornatzer