What is there to do in Charlotte this weekend? Here are picks on everything from entertainment – movies to music to theater – to food and wine, beer and restaurants. And shopping, of course...
OnQ Productions and director Quentin Talley present the fifth annual installment of A Soulful Noel with musical direction by Tim Scott Jr. This year’s performance, which adds a funk/soul/gospel groove to Christmas tradition, welcomes the Hamiltones – the uber-talented backing vocal trio to Grammy-winning Charlotte soul singer Anthony Hamilton. They’ve been branching out on their own more. While the music is hipper and more modern than standard carols, A Soulful Noel works to capture the meaning of Christmas with contemporary takes on classics and material from the Hamiltones’ Christmas album. In previous seasons, this show has sold out, so be aware there are three chances to catch it: 8 p.m. Friday and 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday. $20. McGlohon Theater.
Comedy tries to help remedy tragedy with the Southeastern trek of the Super Muslim Comedy Tour, featuring actor Ramy Youssef, Aman Ali and Feraz Ozel. It’s not only bringing Muslim stand-up comedians to new markets, but raising funds and awareness for Rohingya refugees fleeing Myanmar. Youssef, who appeared on Nickelodeon’s “See Dad Run” and more recently on “Mr. Robot,” had a pilot picked up by Hulu in October. Storyteller Ali is an award-winning journalist, writer and comedian whose experience growing up Muslim in America is fodder for his biographical comedic style. And actor Ozel starred in the online series “Top Flight Security” and guest starred on “2 Broke Girls.” Expect a show that’s current, topical and funny. $17-$25. 7 p.m., Booth Playhouse.
That ugly Christmas sweater is the gift that just keeps on giving. Wear one of your festive bedazzled wool and cotton mad-sterpieces to Daniel Stowe’s Botanical Garden’s Holidays at the Garden on Friday to receive half off the price of admission. Part winter wonderland, part light show, Holidays at the Garden features different activities throughout the weekend, including a free chocolate and wine tasting 6 to 8 p.m. Saturday. Santa will also be there this weekend, taking requests and posing for photos. Must be pre-registered online to meet with the photographer. Adults $12.95-$14.95, seniors $11.95-$12.95, and $7-$8.95 for children 2 to 12. 5 to 9 p.m. nightly.
Self-described “Messiah junkie” (who knew there was such a thing?) and conductor Christopher Warren-Green leads the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra, a 100-voice chorus and four soloists in a classic performance of “Handel’s Messiah.” Although Warren-Green has conducted “Messiah” before, this marks his first time in Charlotte. $19-$89. 7:30 p.m., Knight Theater.
If you prefer crawly creatures – ones that hiss and slither, flick their tongues at flies, and camouflage themselves to match their surroundings – over the more popular furry, four-legged varieties, then you’ll be in the right place at Repticon. And snakes and lizards aren’t the only family-friendly pets you might find under your tree after visiting the reptile and exotic animal expo at Cabarrus Arena this weekend. Since caring for a gecko, frog, ball python, or chinchilla is a bit more complex than not feeding your mogwai after midnight, there are numerous educational seminars, demonstrations and expert handlers and breeders to speak to throughout the weekend. Two-day adult pass $12-$15, single-day adult pass $10, children age 5-12 $5, children younger than 5 free. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.
Each December, right around the holidays, the fabled Double Door Inn would celebrate its anniversary. The club was shuttered in January 2017 and the building demolished not long after, but fans, friends, regulars, former staffers and the folks behind both a book and documentary on the blues club have teamed up to keep the party going – they’ve created a reunion that will also mark what would have been its 44th anniversary. The Lenny Federal Band, Crisis and the Stragglers will handle the live music, while new footage from the documentary, including a full interview with owner Nick Karres, will be screened as well. $10, 7 p.m. Neighborhood Theatre.
Fans didn’t have to wait long after threat of snow postponed Fantasia Barrino’s show at Ovens Auditorium last week. The hometown stop of Fantasia’s Christmas After Midnight Tour (named for her recent Christmas album) is rescheduled for Tuesday and it’s her last before the holidays. The tour resumes in Augusta on Dec. 29. $59.50-$89.50, 8 p.m.
If you missed the annual network broadcast of Rankin/Bass’ “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” earlier this season, it’s not too late to experience the story of Hermey, Rudolph and the Island of Misfit Toys. “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical” transports the magic of the 53-year-old stop-motion animation film to the stage with a live version, complete with expanded versions of songs from Johnny Marks’ original underscore (with Marks-penned lyrics that didn’t make it into the original). It also features a colorful stage that captures the Pop Art feel of the movie, plus puppets, live costumed actors – and a 15-foot Abominable Snowman. The creators aim for a familiar experience that’s true to the original, whether it’s your first time or your 50th. $39.50-$49.50. 7 p.m., Ovens Auditorium.
The State Ballet Theater of Russia presents what’s probably the most famous ballet of all time – Swan Lake. The classical Russian ballet has inspired everyone from Darren Aronofsky to Looney Toons, who have spun their own versions (and parodies, in the case of Bugs Bunny), but this performance is the original full four-act production, with the timeless music of Tchaikovsky. $35-$55, 7 p.m., Knight Theater.