If youre stumped about what to give someone who has everything, consider the gift of live entertainment.
Hot young Broadway
Weve seen the major musicals Les Miserables, Wicked, The Lion King (all returning to Charlotte in 2013). Now dig a little deeper into the Blumenthal Performing Arts Centers Broadway Lights Series: The Whoopi Goldberg co-produced Sister Act, with its campy 1970s setting and a score mixing era-appropriate soul, gospel and R&B (Jan. 8-13, Ovens Auditorium); Fela! the Tony Award-winning tale of Nigerian Afrobeat pioneer Fela Kuti (Feb. 25-26, Belk Theater); Green Days Grammy-winning album-turned-rock opera American Idiot (March 8-10, Belk Theater); or the critically acclaimed Traces, an athletic, cutting-edge production for the 21st century that incorporates skateboarding, basketball, dance, art and acrobatics into its urban setting. Tickets for all four shows begin at $20. Details: www.blumenthalarts.org.
The 80s are in full swing: Theres early 80s yacht-rock king Christopher Cross in a rare appearance at Neighborhood Theatre Jan. 20 ($32-$50; www.neighborhoodtheatre.com); fellow Grammy winner Bryan Adams will do a solo acoustic show at Knight Theater Jan. 21 ($39.50-$79.50; www.ncbpac.org); and Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo are set for an intimate concert at McGlohon Theater Jan. 22 ($49.50-$149.50; www.ncbpac.org). Or you can go big with Time Warner Cable Arena shows by Bon Jovi March 5 and Eric Clapton April 2 (on sale soon; www.timewarnercablearena.com).
Go for laughs
Comedian Jeff Dunham ventriloquisms hottest puppet master since Shari Lewis and Lamb Chop brings his team of Achmed, Peanut and Jose Jalapeno back to Time Warner Cable Arena Jan. 24 ($60.40; www.ticketmaster.com). Over at the NC Music Factory, Saturday Night Live alum Rob Schneider stops by Jan. 31-Feb. 2, while late-night talk show regular Jim Norton performs March 7-9 ($20-$30; www.cltcomedyzone.com).
If your loved one hears the word driver and thinks stock-car racing, go for tickets to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coca-Cola 600 race at Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 26 ($10-$140; www.charlottemotorspeedway.com). If the word driver makes them think of golf, try grounds passes for the PGAs Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow April 29-May 5 ($25-$140; www.wellsfargochampionship.com).
A future pop icon?
Madonnas recent tour garnered ample buzz, but if the success of P!nks 2009 Funhouse Tour is any indication, the unpredictable and punky pop stars 2013 Truth About Love Tour should be an even bigger (and more hit-filled) pop spectacle. Shell be at Time Warner Cable Arena March 16 ($40.70-$116.85; www.ticketmaster.com).