Yes, it's a glorious thing to be a Pirate King in Gilbert & Sullivan. But if you're an intrepid motormouth, you can become the very model of a modern Major General. Catchy words and catchier melodies distinguish The Pirates of Penzance, anchoring at Pease Auditorium for three performances this weekend. The preternaturally silly story revolves around Frederic, an indentured slave to a wimpy pirate crew whose earnings are compromised by their soft spot for orphans. Somehow the "Slave to Duty" has reached the age of 21 without laying eyes on any woman besides his frumpy, hard-of-hearing nursemaid. Not 10 minutes after debarking in Cornwall, Freddy encounters the most indelible warbler in operetta, Mabel, the "Poor Wandering One." His eyes are opened. CPCC Opera Theatre stages all the ensuing commotion — with pirates, policemen, and a herd of sisters all mixed into the counterpoint of raging young hormones and stodgy British decorum. Through Sunday at 1200 Elizabeth Avenue. Call 704-330-6534 for tickets, priced at $12. (Tannenbaum)
So far, we don't have municipal firemen like Guy Montag, paid to set fires instead of putting them out. But in other ways, Ray Bradbury was remarkably prescient about today's world when he wrote Fahrenheit 451 in 1953. We do have cellphones, plasma TV's, and MP3 players, devices he envisioned before the Army/McCarthy Hearings and the NBC Peacock. And we have a President who wears his aversion to reading like a badge of honor. So we're possibly atop the slope leading down to the total prohibition of books — and firemen deployed to protect the public from independent thinking. Children's Theatre takes us to Bradbury's futureworld with Alan Poindexter directing a talent-rich cast that includes four past winners of CL's Actor/Actress of the Year Award. Through February 5 at 1017 E. Morehead Street. Recommended for ages 12 and up, hot tickets for Fahrenheit are $10 and $12. Call 704-333-8983. (Tannenbaum)
The Charlotte Bobcats take on Kevin "KG" Garnett — possibly the best all-around player in the game today — and his Minnesota Timberwolves tonight at 7pm at the Charlotte Coliseum (Charlotte stunned the Wolves with a 102-84 victory). Tickets are $10-$115, available at www.ticketmaster.com or by calling 704-522-6500. In addition, the 'Cats take on Paul Pierce and the Boston Celtics on January 25. (Davis)
JANUARY22 - SATURDAY
Still feeling guilty about the bogus excuses you made in order to skip those boring holiday parties? Congratulations, you've made the invite list to one of Charlotte's renowned events! The Tosco Music Party, that is. The McGlohon Theater at Spirit Square plays host to this acoustic music potpourri showcasing an eclectic mix of styles from 7-11pm (go to www.ToscoMusicParty.org for an updated list of performers). Think of it as the musical equivalent of walking into Ben & Jerry's and saying: "I'd like a spoonful of everything, please." An interesting conglomeration, but it's all good, baby. Tickets range from $5.50 to $11. Refreshments will be available for purchase. For more information call the NCBPAC box office at 704-372-1000, or visit www.blumenthalcenter.org Better get your tickets in advance, the last show sold out...and this one will too. (Patrick Magner)
Since Joey and Johnny Ramone are dead and gone, we'll never know whether they would have played a benefit for the tsunami victims. But Joey, at least, was a good-hearted guy so a bunch of the group's local fans have organized. Hoping to raise funds for tsunami relief and honor one of the greatest rock & roll bands at the same time, a host of Charlotte musicians are getting together for a Ramones Memorial concert tonight at Tremont Music Hall. Featured musicians will be ing Jeff Clayton of ANTiSEEN, Mad Brother Ward, The Dead Kings, Mike Hendrix of the Belmont Playboys and a host of others. See our story about the concert in this issue. The Ramones Memorial will start at 9pm. Tickets are $5/$7, available at the door. For more information, call 704-343-9494.
JANUARY23 - SUNDAY
A Rockin' for Relief benefit concert will be held tonight at Amos' Southend, with proceeds to benefit the Red Cross and UNICEF tsunami relief efforts. Bands confirmed to play include Basikly, U-Phonik, Sideways Eight, In-V, Iconic, Red All Over, Yay Hooray, Sol Fonky, Blanco Diablo, and Jason Hausman. Scott Weaver of Babyshaker will spin records in between sets. Suggested donation at the door will be $10.65. Doors open at 5pm. For more information, call the club at 704-377-6874.
JANUARY25 - TUESDAY
Brace yourself for an evening of high-energy singing, dancing, and pounding drums. Twyla Tharp's daring conceptualization of the Billy Joel songbook, Movin' Out, is moving in to Ovens Auditorium through January 30. Tharp's high-risk choreography set Broadway ablaze when she piloted this dance-crazed musical to New York in the fall of 2002, raking in Tony Awards for choreography and orchestrations. Joel's songs are transformed into a soundtrack that traces the interaction of four Baby Boomers from adolescence to mid-life — across a bridge better known as the Vietnam War. Action and singing (there's no dialogue) are so intense that all the main dancing roles and the Piano Man/lead vocalist are double-cast. Original cast members Holly Cruikshank and David Gomez, as Tony and Brenda, head up the ensemble, most of whom have logged time in the still-running Broadway smash. Tickets are $25-$75, depending on which county you wish to sit in. Call 704-522-6500 or 704-372-1000. (Tannenbaum)