Side by Side by Sondheim
Raleigh Little Theatre—Stephen Sondheim's enduring reputation is a testament to the fact that his plays are perfect for those who love musicals and for those who can't stand them. His theatrical, psychologically ambiguous and often dense tales of confusion and obsession run the gamut from murderous barbers (Sweeney Todd) to the creation of artwork (Sunday in the Park with George) to what comes after the happy ending in a fairy tale (Into the Woods) to, well, assassins (Assassins).
Raleigh Little Theatre's production of Side by Side By Sondheim combines performances of songs from some of Sondheim's best-known shows (West Side Story, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum), the stage classics (Follies, A Little Night Music, Company) and the ones only hardcore fans know (Anyone Can Whistle, which notoriously ran a mere nine performances on Broadway). The show takes place in Raleigh Little Theatre's Stephenson Ampitheatre and begins at 8 tonight, tomorrow and next Friday and Saturday. For more information, visit www.raleighlittletheatre.org. —Zack Smith
Battle Rockets, Gray Young,The Proclivities
Slim's—The sturdy undulations of the Battle Rockets' instrumentals often become delicate before assuming a more bruising volume. With an Escher-like angularity, Battle Rockets favors a straightforward mid-tempo thrum with sketched-in beams and supports. On Friday, the band is supported by the dreamy, welling churn of Gray Young, which shrouds its debut, Firmament, in shimmering blankets. The Proclivities open the show at 10 p.m. for $5.
Idiosyncratic Brooklyn experimentalists Skeletonbreath join Battle Rockets Monday, May 11, at Nightlight. The crew's spooky, disjunctive attack is led by O'Death electric violinist Bob Pycior, who coaxes rich theatrical tones that race across the arrangements like a gypsy with her bandana on fire. That bill will also cost you $5 at 8 p.m. —Chris Parker
Raleigh and Chapel Hill
North Carolina Symphony: Vivaldi's "Four Seasons"
Meymandi Concert Hall, Progress Energy Center; Memorial Hall, UNC Campus—For the last concert of the North Carolina Symphony's three-part Friday Favorites Series, assistant ensemble conductor Joan Landry offers a musician's viewpoint on one of classical music's most familiar excerpts: the spring portion of Antonio Vivaldi's "The Four Seasons." Violinists Rebekah Binford, Jacqueline Saed Wolborsky, Karen Strittmatter Galvin and David Kilbride perform the four violin concertos that comprise "The Four Seasons," set with a string section and a musical mood specific to each. Mozart's "Symphony No. 31 in D major"—the "Paris" symphony—starts today's 11:30 a.m. program in Raleigh, designed to offer accessible, recognizable classical performances with a shorter running time. That's relative for symphony concerts, of course: The show lasts about 90 minutes. Tickets are $25.
The ensemble performs a similar program, with the addition of Maurice Ravel's "Le Tombeau de Couperin," at 8 p.m. Thursday, May 7, at Memorial Hall in Chapel Hill. Tickets for that program start at $30. Visit ncsymphony.org. —Margaret Hair
N.C. Museum of Art—Charlotte Bronte's classic story of a governess and her new employer with something in the attic had perhaps its best adaptation with this 1944 effort with Joan Fontaine, Orson Welles, Agnes Moorehead and Elizabeth Taylor. Director Robert Stevenson was one of several who worked on the screenplay, which also included contributions from producer/ future character actor John Houseman and Brave New World author Aldous Huxley. Had they all worked on it at the same time, you might have a story even more interesting than Bronte's. Incidentally, the film's impressive footage of the moors was actually done on a soundstage. The museum's film curator (and Indy contributor) Laura Boyes will introduce the event, which starts at 8 p.m. Visit ncartmuseum.org/events/films.shtml. —Zack Smith