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Actor's Theatre Of Charlotte

650 E. Stonewall St. 704-342-2251; www.actorstheatrecharlotte.org.

Off-Broadway-style company performs bold works by contemporary playwrights. Two previews are held the week before opening.

"The 39 Steps," Sept. 15-Oct. 2: Patrick Barlow adapted the book by John Buchan into a comedy thriller that blends the Alfred Hitchcock movie with the spy novel and a hint of Monty Python. Four actors play 150 characters.

"Becky's New Car," Oct. 27-Nov. 13: Steven Dietz, who wrote last season's spooky "Yankee Tavern," returns with a romantic comedy about a woman who's caught in a midlife crisis and finds herself leading a double life that accelerates out of control.

"Every Christmas Story Ever Told," Dec. 1-18: This comedy with music is in the vein of The Reduced Shakespeare Company's "Abridged" plays. Three actors, a tipsy Santa and audience participation are used to skewer everyone's favorite holiday tales and carols.

"Blue Door," Feb. 16-March 5: Tanya Barfield's drama is about an African-American math professor who was left by his wife after refusing to participate in the Million Man March, and now sees ghosts of his ancestors during insomniac nights.

"Dead Man's Cell Phone," April 6-23: Sarah Ruhl's comedy tries to make sense of mortality. A woman answers a deceased man's phone and embarks on an odyssey to confront her assumptions about redemption and the need to connect with others.

Undetermined musical, June 8-25.

Blumenthal PAC

704-372-1000; www.carolinatix.org; www.blumenthalcenter.org.

The region's leading presenter, with shows in Belk Theater, Booth Playhouse and Stage Door Theater, 130 N. Tryon St.; McGlohon Theatre and Duke Energy Theatre at Spirit Square, 345 N. College St.; Knight Theater, 430 S. Tryon; Ovens Auditorium, 2700 E. Independence Blvd.

Broadway Lights series

"Mary Poppins," through Sept. 19: Disney's singing nanny provides counsel to a British banker's kids.

"9 to 5," Oct. 5-10: Dolly Parton, who starred in the 1980 movie, wrote the score for this musical about office workers under a tyrannical, sexist boss.

"Dreamgirls," Nov. 9-14: The producer of a Supremes-like vocal group expels an overweight member to promote a glamorous image.

"White Christmas," Dec. 7-12: The stage version of the 1954 film, based on the 1942 "Holiday Inn," has Irving Berlin's songs.

"Billy Elliot," Jan. 12-30, 2011: Elton John and Lee Hall won two of the show's 10 Tonys for adapting the film about a miner's son who wants to dance.

"In the Heights," Feb. 15-20: Lin-Manuel Miranda composed hip-hop, salsa, merengue and soul music for a tale of three days among New York Dominican-Americans.

"Young Frankenstein," March 15-20: Mel Brooks wrote music and lyrics for this version of his film about the mad inventor and his creature.

"Shrek," June 14-19: Yet another adaptation of a beloved film, this one about an ogre, talking donkey and princess with a secret.

"Next to Normal," July 12-17: This rock musical is about a mother with worsening bipolar disorder whose illness affects her family.

Other shows

"World of Jewtopia," Oct. 1-3: Multimedia extravaganza based on the off-Broadway show of this name and the book that inspired it.

"Basic Training," Oct. 12-24: One-man show about serving in the Armed Forces and a search for a lost father.

"Reduced Shakespeare Company: The World of Sports," Nov. 2-7: Condensation of everything you need to know about America's obsession with athletics.

"My Mother's Italian, My Father's Jewish, and I'm Home for the Holidays!," Nov. 30-Dec. 5: 'Nuff said.

Momix, Feb. 22-27: These dancer-illusionists have been around for 25 years. This show, "Botanica," has been seen in Target commercials.

"Avenue Q," April 5-10: The profane puppets make their second local appearance.

Blue Man Group, April 19-24: These azure-painted mime/performance artists, in their 20th season, bring a new show to the Belk.

"Cats," May 24-29: Andrew Lloyd Webber's feline hit.

"Mamma Mia!," July 26-31: ABBA-fueled musical.

Carolina Actors Studio Theatre

1118 Clement Ave. 704-455-8542; www.nccast.com.

Expect the unexpected from CAST, an off-off-Broadway-style company that redesigns its entire theater for each show.

"Steambath," Sept. 16-Oct. 16: Bruce Jay Friedman's comedy about Limbo, where God is a Puerto Rican attendant exercising control over the universe.

"The Elephant Man," Oct. 28-Nov. 21: Bernard Pomerance's drama about a misshapen man rescued from life as a freak by a British doctor.

"The Day They Shot John Lennon," Dec. 9-18: James McClure's look at the way the singer's death affected others opens on the 30th anniversary of his murder.

"The Grinch," Dec. 11-31: CAST produces its own adaptation of the Dr. Seuss Christmas story about a sourpuss.

"When You Comin' Back, Red Ryder?," Jan. 13-Feb. 12: An unbalanced Vietnam War vet's car breaks down outside a New Mexico diner, and the people inside go through a powerful experience.

"Popcorn," March 3-April 2: A Ben Elton comedy about a film director whose fans include two serial killers, who decide the director and his entourage should personally undergo an intertwining of art and violence.

"Agnes of God," April 21-May 21: The drama by John Pielmier centers on an unworldly novitiate who insists the dead baby found at her convent was a virgin birth. A doctor assigned to the case clashes with the mother superior who wants the investigation dropped.

"Neon Psalms," June 16-July 16: Thomas Strelich's dark comedy is set in a California desert town where a clueless father, a religiously obsessed mother and a grown daughter on her way to a bad reputation intersect in a trailer.

CPCC Theatre

cpcc.edu.

Despite being sponsored by Central Piedmont Community College, this company uses adult casts during its fall-spring season. Musicals take place in Halton Theatre, straight plays in Pease Auditorium; both are near Kings Drive and Elizabeth Avenue.

"I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change," Sept. 24-Oct. 3: Revue of songs about the ups and downs of relationships.

"The Lion in Winter," Nov. 5-14: James Goldman's florid drama about power struggles in the Middle Ages, at the court of England's Henry I.

"Sweeney Todd," Feb. 11-20: Stephen Sondheim's bloody great musical about the demon barber of Fleet Street is almost an opera.

"Almost, Maine," April 8-17: Comedy about lovelorn souls in a mythical town leaves heavily on whimsy and fantasy.

Children's Theatre Of Charlotte

ImaginOn, 300 E. Seventh St. 704-973-2828; www.ctcharlotte.org.

The city's professional troupe for kids performs on two stages at ImaginOn.

"Disney's Aladdin," Sept. 24-Oct. 24: This musical (songs by Alan Menken, Howard Ashman and Tim Rice) is adapted from the 1992 animated film about the charming hero who falls for Princess Jasmine, is protected by a fast-talking genie and is almost undone by a supercilious sorcerer.

"The Commedia Princess and the Pea," Oct. 30 and June 17-26: A slapstick take on Hans Christian Andersen's fairy tale about a lonely prince and his picky mother, who puts potential princesses through an extraordinary series of tests.

"Teeny Tiny Tales," Nov. 6-7: Tarradiddle Players' preschool show introduces children to the world of live theater with sing-alongs and dramatized nursery rhymes.

Billy Jonas, Nov. 20-21: The composer and multi-instrumentalist makes his 11th visit to CTC, performing songs, stories and improvisations with voice, guitar and "industrial re-percussion," instruments he made from found and recycled objects.

"Scrooge!," Dec. 3-23: The Leslie Bricusse musical adds tunes to the familiar story of Charles Dickens' miser, who's taught how to become more human by three ghosts.

"The Littlest Angel," Dec. 3-23: Patricia Gray dramatized the story by Charles Tazewell about a cherub who has just arrived in Heaven and cannot adjust to the rules. Performed by Tarradiddle Players.

"How I Became a Pirate," Jan. 21-Feb. 6: This swashbuckling musical is based on the comical book by Greenville, S.C., author Melinda Long. Young Jeremy joins Captain Braid Beard's scurvy crew for adventure but learns the important things in life are worth more than buried treasure.

"If You Take a Mouse to School," Feb. 4-20: An adaptation of yet another Laura Numeroff book. Performed by Tarradiddle Players.

Djembe Fire!, Feb. 25-26: This African Drum and Dance Ensemble takes us on a rhythmic journey across that continent.

"And Then They Came For Me: Remembering the World of Anne Frank," March 4-13: James Still's play tells the stories of Anne Frank and Holocaust survivors Ed Silverberg and Eva Schloss. Intersecting family histories of three young people depict life before and during World War II; Ed appears in Anne's diary as her first boyfriend, while Eva and Anne were the same age and grew up in the same apartment building.

"Under the Rainbow," March 26-27: Tarradiddle Players' preschool show weaves together simple folktales, including "The Fisherman and His Wife," "There Was an Old Woman Who Swallowed a Fly" and "Bear Hunt."

"Lyle the Crocodile," April 1-17: This play is based on the books by Bernard Waber, in which the Primm family moves into a new apartment and is surprised to find Lyle - who eats only Turkish caviar, can play the saxophone and has impeccable manners - in the bathtub. Must he be sent to the zoo?

"Tomás and the Library Lady," April 29-May 8: The Pat Mora book, adapted by José Cruz González, is about a boy who travels north with his family from his Texas home to do farm work. Tomás, who struggles in school, finds refuge at the library. Performed by Tarradiddle Players.

"Lord of the Flies," May 11-14: The high school ensemble will tackle this startling drama by Nigel Williams, who adapted the William Golding novel about a group of schoolboys on a deserted island; they cooperate at first but degenerate into a bloodthirsty tribe of dictators, followers and victims.

Citizens of

the Universe

www.citizensoftheuniverse.org.

Avant-garde troupe generally performs at Story Slam, 1401 Central Ave, but can turn up anywhere indoors or out. COTU often does theatrical adaptations of films.

"Trainspotting," Sept. 15-25: A version of the dark movie comedy about Scottish heroin addicts.

"A Dark Night With Edgar Allan Poe," Oct. 13-16: Stories and poems by the first American master of horror.

"A Quiet Evening With Sid and Nancy," Feb. 10-12: An interviewer meets with Sid Vicious and Nancy Spungeon during their last days at the Chelsea Hotel.

"The Princess Bride," March 9-26: Another film adaptation, this one of the 1987 romantic comedy with classic (and often ridiculous) fairy tale elements.

Davidson Community Players

307 Armour St., Davidson. 704-892-7953; www.davidson community players.org .

This community theater uses different venues but has a home on Armour Street.

"Once on This Island Jr.," Nov. 12-21: Kids' version of the Lynn Ahrens-Stephen Flaherty musical that moves "The Little Mermaid" to the Caribbean.

"A Christmas Story," Dec. 2-19: Stage adaptation by Philip Grecian of the movie, which was adapted from Jean Shepherd's comic stories.

Machine Theatre

Plays composed (or re-imagined) by a core group of artists. Various venues. www.machinetheatre.org.

"Miss Julie," Oct. 6-9, August Strindberg's look at sexual and class relations between a wealthy woman and the servant to whom she's attracted.

"The Neighbors," Dec. 9-10: Subtitled "Stories from the Other Side of the New South," this piece was done in conjunction with Urban Ministries Center.

"Tis Pity She's a Whore," May 11-14: John Ford's 1633 tragedy about an incestuous brother and sister in Renaissance Italy.

Matthews Playhouse

Matthews Community Center,

100 McDowell St., Matthews. 704-846-8343; www.matthews playhouse.com .

This multigenerational troupe often abridges popular works to make them easier for young people to absorb.

"The Diary of Anne Frank," Oct. 8-24: Wendy Kesselman's adaptation of the autobiography by a Jewish Dutch girl hiding from Nazis.

"Miss Nelson is Missing," Nov. 5-14: Badly behaved students try to get back their much-abused teacher when she's replaced by a dictatorial substitute in this musical comedy by Joan Cushing.

"The Jungle Book for Kids," Feb. 18-27: A youth-based adaptation of the Disney musical about Mowgli and the wise, silly and sinister beasts who raise him.

On Q Productions

Duke Energy Theatre, 345 N. College. 704-372-1000; www.carolinatix.org.

Second season for the company that presents plays with African-American themes.

"Ain't Misbehavin'," Sept. 22-Oct. 2: Freewheeling musical revue of Fats Waller's songs.

"Home," Nov. 26-Dec. 5: Samm-Art Williams' gentle comedy about coming to grips with his early life in Burgaw, N.C.

"Day of Absence," March 2-5: Douglas Turner Ward's one-act satire about life in the pre-Civil Rights South on a day when every black person disappeared.

"The Colored Museum," March 30-April 10: George C. Wolfe's eye-raising comedy covering centuries of black stereotypes.

"Fabulation, or the Re-Education of Undine," June 15-26: Lynn Nottage's play about a successful publicist whose life unravels and who must go back to her dreaded roots in Brooklyn.

Queen City

Theatre Company

www.queencitytheatre.com.

Unpredictable troupe takes on musicals, straight plays and not-so-straight plays, usually in Duke Energy Theatre, 345 N. College. 704-372-1000; www.carolinatix.org.

"Rope," through Sept. 4: Patrick Hamilton's homoerotic drama about two Oxford students who decide to commit the "perfect murder" of a classmate.

"Reefer Madness," Oct. 8-23: The musical adaptation of the cult movie about the extraordinary effects of marijuana.

"Southern Baptist Sissies," Jan. 20-Feb. 6: Del Shores, son and brother of Baptist preachers, confronts the collision of his religious upbringing and his homosexuality.

"Chess," May 20-June 11: Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson's sprawling musical about love, gamesmanship and international politics at a chess championship.

Theatre Charlotte

501 Queens Road. 704-376-3777; www.theatrecharlotte.org;

www.carolinatix.org.

The state's oldest community theater.

"Annie," Sept. 10-26: Musical adapts the Depression-era comic strip about a spunky orphan who's determined to find her parents and ends up the happy adoptee of a billionaire.

"Steel Magnolias," Oct. 29-Nov 14: Robert Harling's drama is set in Chinquapin, La., where the wisecracking beauty salon owner dispenses romantic advice.

"A Christmas Carol," Dec. 10-19: John Jakes adapted Charles Dickens's novel about the tightfisted British miser who learns the meaning of the holiday season.

"The Graduate," Jan. 21-Feb. 6: Terry Johnson adapted the novel by Charles Webb and screenplay by Calder Willingham and Buck Henry. The focus is Benjamin Braddock, who has recently graduated college and is pursued by the bored wife of his father's business partner - and then falls for her daughter.

"The Glass Menagerie," March 18-April 3: Tennessee Williams' first masterpiece is about Amanda Wingfield, a faded remnant of Southern gentility.

"Rent," May 13-29: Jonathan Larson's Pulitzer Prize-winning musical, based loosely on Puccini's opera "La Boheme." It follows seven friends living the disappearing Bohemian lifestyle in New York's East Village in the 1990s.

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