Every Friday, we highlight three shows from great local performing artists that you can see this coming weekend.

Transactors Improv: For Families!
Saturday, January 11th at 6 pm at the ArtsCenter


Innocent dates gone horribly wrong; animals breaking out into song; forbidden love affairs in the Amazon. A Transactors show tends to read like those News of the Weird columns in the back of the paper. If you’re a fan of the Chapel Hill-based company, which has been making it up as they go along for more than thirty years, you know that they follow their impulses to every last strange destination. That’s the difference between the strained, painful depths of bad improv and the joyful, ridiculous heights that great improvisers like Transactors find: there’s no filter whatsoever to get in the way of a preposterous plot twist or character choice.

Well, almost no filter: Saturday’s show sees the fearless crew keeping its content PG. And this is Transactors for Families, not just Transactors for Kids, so parents and children alike can laugh together. It’ll be an hour of unscripted action with the Triangle’s best (only slightly edited).


Fables in Story and Song

Saturday, January 11th at 8 pm at the Friday Center


This is something of a storytelling Justice League – with the parts of Superman and Batman played by local favorites Django Haskins and Daniel Wallace. Haskins is the chief singer and songwriter for the outfit known as The Old Ceremony, which takes its name off an old Leonard Cohen album. Like his inspiration, he favors lyrics packed with history and myth; he even followed Cohen into literature, working on two non-fiction books. UNC Professor Wallace is another beloved yarn-spinner, like the protagonist of his career-making novel Big Fish. This year’s The Kings and Queens of Roam was another old-style fable, with storytelling the key to lifting a town’s curse.

This Saturday night, they’ll come together under the atrium at the Friday Center to trade stories and songs in front of a live audience. It’s the kind of collaboration you don’t see every day: two master storytellers joining forces for one evening only.


North Carolina Symphony
Sunday, January 12th at 7:30 pm at Memorial Hall


You know that famous Morse Code melody: “dot-dot-dot-DASH!” The opening of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony might be the best-known moment in music, to casual fans and classical diehards both. But this masterwork from 1808 is four movements and half an hour long, and full of so much more than just those famous first ten seconds – from lyrical melodies to triumphant fanfares.

You could say the same for the North Carolina Symphony’s concert that contains Beethoven’s Fifth. On top of that legendary work, they perform two other lesser-known classics: Edward Elgar’s virtuosic Introduction and Allegro for Strings, which pairs the full orchestra with a string quartet drawn from their ranks; and Mozart’s Piano Concerto Number 25 (which inspired those four notes at the beginning of Beethoven’s symphony!) with the spectacular Estonian pianist Irina Zahharenkova as soloist. And if you come early (at 6:40), UNC’s Letitia Glozer will prepare you for the musical heights to come with a pre-concert talk.

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