UNC's Morehead Planetarium hosts The Star of Bethlehem, which points out the scientific theories about the legendary Christmas star. This Thursday at 7 p.m., the planetarium will premiere a new version of Star of Bethlehem to replace the old one, so even perennial visitors will get to see something new. Program runs thru Jan. 20. Thursdays & Fridays 7 & 8 p.m.; Saturdays 11:30 a.m., 1:30, 3:30, 7 & 8 p.m.; Sundays 1:30, 2:30 & 3:30 p.m. E. Franklin St., Chapel Hill. 549-6863.
Sit down to an olde-style (read: silverware-free) feast, listen to Elizabethan music and watch ladies and gentlemen of the court exchange giddy giggles at N.C. State's Madrigal Dinner. Presented by University Theatre, the program also features court jesters, jugglers and other everyday activities that go on in your average medieval castle. Wednesday-Monday, Nov. 20-25, 7 p.m.; Sunday, 5 p.m. Talley Student Center Ballroom, NCSU Campus, Raleigh. 515-1100. $30, $18 children and NCSU students.
Jazz legend Ahmad Jamal has influenced post-bop virtuosos like Herbie Hancock and Keith Jarrett with his elegant style, so why don't you let him influence you? See how he can get away with calling his trio an "orchestra" Saturday night. 8 p.m. BTI Center, Memorial Auditorium, 2 E. South St., Raleigh. 834-4000.
The Foundation for Cancer Research launches the Jimmy V Women's Basketball Classic on Saturday in Raleigh. The Classic will open with No. 1-ranked Duke facing Tennessee (2 p.m.) and N.C. State playing defending national champions UConn (4:30 p.m.). RBC Center, 1400 Edwards Mill Road, Raleigh. $12-$25. 834-4000.
Raleigh's Irregardless Café is world famous, and so is its chef, Arthur Gordon. How could you turn down an invite to learn some cooking tips from him, and then share a meal and wine at the restaurant?Call the restaurant to save a space. 6:30 p.m. Irregardless Café, 901 W. Morgan St., Raleigh. 833-8898. $40.
The New World Stage is working up material for next year's Fringe Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland and American Blues, a story about a saxophonist and a ballroom dance teacher, will be their next staged reading to test its worth. The play's dedicated to the memory of Tennesse Williams, if that give you a sense of the tone. 8 p.m. ArtsCenter, 300-G E. Main St., Carrboro. 929-2787.