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See & Do

Ho-ho-ho isn't only about magnanimity at Actor's Theatre of Charlotte this season. No-no-no, it's also about comedy, as the city's most decorated company in 2004 finishes their banner year with a double helping of popular faves premiered a year ago. First, Mark Scarboro returns tonight with his one-man sparkler, The Santaland Diaries, recreating David Sedaris' mordant reminiscences on his servitude as a Yuletide elf at Macy's. Then on Friday, Actor's Theatre opens its doors to A Mad Mad Madrigal, a truly zany solstice celebration presented by Epic Arts Repertory Company that mixes festive dancing, New Age mysticism and rampant drumming with a mother lode of pure Monty Python silliness. Santaland lingers on at 650 East Stonewall Street through December 23 with tickets priced at $20. After its Friday opening, Madrigal remains through December 21 with adult tickets at $20 and children 12 and under admitted for $10. Fridays and Saturdays, you can get tickets for both shows in a $35 combo, with Santaland starting at 7:30 and Madrigal following at 9:30pm. Call 704-342-2251 for Santa and 704-347-2817 for Madri. (Tannenbaum)

The Charlotte Symphony, under the direction of Alan Yamamoto, presents their annual holiday celebration, The Magic of Christmas, in the Blumenthal Performing Arts Center's Belk Theater. The Oratorio Singers of Charlotte, the Friendship Missionary Baptist Church Choir, the Bella Voce Singers from Charlotte Children's Choir, and special guests The Beth Chorneau Jazz Quartet will appear. Be sure to warm up your voices for a rousing sing-along. Tickets for this evening's 8pm performance and for matinees at 2:30pm on Saturday and Sunday are priced from $20 to $53. Tickets for Friday and Saturday 8pm performances are priced between $25 and $72. Tickets for all performances can be purchased through Symphony Charge at 704-972-2000 or by visiting (Vespa)

Join the Friends of Fourth Ward for the 27th installment of the Annual Holiday Home Tour. Beginning today until Sunday, December 5, nine private uptown homes, as well as the McNinch House Restaurant and St. Peter's Episcopal Church, will be opened up to show off the grand Victorian style and elegance for which Fourth Ward is famous. Enjoy a free carriage ride as you peruse Fourth Ward all decked out for the holidays. Tickets are $15 and can be purchased in advance from a variety of retailers. Group rates are also available to groups of 10 or more. For times and other information, call 704-651-4183 or visit (Callahan)

So you thought 20 zillion TV episodes of Little House On the Prairie told you everything you'd ever want to know about Ma, Pa and their darling Laura? Wrong-o! In Children's Theatre of Charlotte's production of A Laura Ingalls Wilder Christmas, we're privy to a true story that Wilder somehow never included in her wall-to-wall oeuvre. It's a family-affirming yarn tied up in a pretty Christmas ribbon, featuring Catherine Smith and Mark Sutton as the elder Ingallses and Jill Bloede as the wealthy, well-meaning Mrs. Starr, who offers to adopt their most precious offspring. Dennis Delamar directs with Emily Hudson in the title role. With tickets at $10, this bonbon, which runs through December 12, is selling out fast, and an extra performance has been added at 4pm on the final afternoon. Call 704-333-8983 or 704-372-1000. (Tannenbaum)

Pick up some gifts and benefit local charities at Pottery Central's 5th Annual Holiday Sale & Charity Event today and tomorrow. The charity weekend begins this evening (6 to 9pm) with a Kiln Opening of salt-fired pottery by Andrew Linton. Mike Strauss provides live music, and there will be food and beverages. For your shopping pleasure, functional and decorative pottery will be on sale. The popular silent auction benefiting Metrolina AIDS Project (MAP) and Project HALO opens tonight and continues tomorrow from 10am to 5pm. Pottery Central is at 3534B Central Avenue. For more info, call them at 704-537-4477, or contact Wren Westbrook at MAP, 704-602-2402. (Vespa)

Charlotte Rep races to the bitter end of 2004 with a rousing closing kick, bringing Joe DiPietro's I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change! to Booth Playhouse for a four-week holiday run. Michael Edwards, a December fixture in recent years playing multiple roles in A Tuna Christmas, withdraws to the wings and directs this fizzy romantic musical. Four other performers, including the recently ubiquitous Brian Robinson, handle the multiple role-playing, portraying over 40 characters in this fast-paced guided tour of mating and dating. Can mere mortals survive the myriad trials of love, marriage and in-laws? It's touch-and-go with Yvette McGregor, Heather Powell and Patrick Brandt all making their Rep debuts. Tickets are all $37.50 until the champagne performances on December 31, closing night, when New Year's Eve packages go for $50. Call 704-372-1000 for times, details and reservations. (Tannenbaum)

Clarence Greenwood -- perhaps better known popularly as Citizen Cope -- was a former DJ and keyboardist with the rap/rock/industrial group Basehead. Appearing at Tremont Music Hall tonight at 9pm, Cope's new genre-mashing The Clarence Greenwood Recordings is a nice introduction to his work: a little Beck, a little G. Love, and a whole lot of spoken/sung toasts to the good life. Tickets are $10 and $12, available at or at For more information, call 704-343-9494. (Davis)

The ever-scrappy Charlotte Bobcats, perhaps the most competitive first-year expansion team ever (long as you don't look at their record, that is), take on Stephon Marbury and the exceedingly mediocre New York Knicks tonight at 7pm at the Charlotte Coliseum. Tickets are $10-$115, available at or by calling 704-522-6500. (Davis)

Getting her big break when she was hand-chosen to open several Morrissey dates in the early 90s, Melissa Ferrick has cut an iconoclastic swath through the music industry every since. She was originally lumped in with the Angry Girl rock of Liz Phair, but over the intervening decade has evolved into a more thoughtful singer/songwriter known for her soulful approach. Her latest, 04's The Other Side, features a reflective Ferrick offering more experimental arrangements than on previous efforts. The Boston-based singer performs at the Evening Muse tonight with David Berkeley opening at 8pm. Tickets are $12. For more information, go to or call 704-376-3737. (Schacht)

The lighting of the first candle of the giant menorah on the corner of Trade and Tryon Streets commemorates this First Night of Hanukkah. Each night, an additional candle will be lit until the end of the Hanukkah celebration. For more information, call 704-366-3984. (Callahan)

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