Angels in America
Theatre in the Park—The inconvenient question: Why did it take 17 years for a seemingly progressive theatrical community to present a complete production of Tony Kushner's epic Angels in America? Duke's memorable version of Part I, Perestroika, made our best-of lists in 2005, but the triumph of that production made the staged reading they subsequently gave Millenium Approaches—on a single afternoon in April—even more perfunctory by comparison.
Rumor first had it that Ira David Wood was going to direct and helm this production in the villainous role of closeted Republican power broker Roy Cohn. Nope: noted actor Adam Twiss is directing, with Kenny Gannon in the role of the unrepentant gay lawyer. Stage veterans and promising newcomers populate the other roles, including Amy Flynn as Hannah, Eric Carl as Prior Walter, Jesse Gephart as Joseph Pitt and Lynda Clark as the Angel. The show opens tonight and continues through April 27. Visit www.theatreinthepark.com. —Byron Woods
Quail Ridge Books & Music—The News and Observer's Rob Christensen is the David Broder of Tar Heel politics. He's covered 'em for 35 years and read up on 'em back to 1898, which is where this very readable book begins. The Paradox of Tar Heel Politics is a forgiving history of the Democratic party's many accomodations while clinging to power, from Jim Crow to ... but where's the hog industry? And Mike Easley's a "business progressive"? Ask Rob about it at 7 p.m. at Quail Ridge, located at 3522 Wade Ave. Visit www.quailridgebooks.booksense.com for more info. —Bob Geary
The Artscenter—Country soul can be defined in terms of people, places and performances: Arthur Alexander and Eddie Hinton. Penn-Oldham. Muscle Shoals and Memphis. James Carr owning "The Dark End of the Street"; Etta James claiming "Almost Persuaded"; Buddy Miller taking on "That's How Strong My Love Is." On her new Just a Little Lovin', Shelby Lynne offers her own definition of country soul. Because of Lynne's roots in more of a pure country sound, her definition finds echoes of Sammi Smith and Bobbie Gentry mingling with the influences of the roll call above. And "Breakfast in Bed," the trembling heart of Just a Little Lovin', is Lynne at her most country soulful. Originally recorded by Baby Washington, the song was popularized by Dusty Springfield (nine of Lovin's 10 tracks were recorded by Springfield) on Dusty in Memphis. Lynne's take is sparer, lacking the lushness of Springfield's version. It sounds, therefore, as if recorded at the point in the night when emotions are rawest and souls barest. It feels humid. Or at least I think that's why I'm sweating. The southern soul sultriness begins at 8:30 p.m. Tickets are $27. Bring your own fan. —Rick Cornell
Between the Buried and Me, Giant
Cat's Cradle—Charlotte/ Winston/ Raleigh prog wizards Between the Buried and Me makes a welcome return to the Triangle after too long of a break. The band's never been better than it was on September's fourth full-length, Colors. Quasi-conceptual, furiously frenetic and always fantastic live, look for North Carolina's premier tech-metal outfit to supply uncommon fury. More traditional headbangers Knives Exchanging Hands open, along with spastic Lye by Mistake and epic Giant. $14 will get you in the day of the 7:30 p.m. show. —Dan Strobel