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Arts & Culture

Weekend In Entertainment: Soulful Noel, Cirque Dreams, Comedian Sommore, Emily Sage & More!

Cirque Dreams Holidaze
Cirque Dreams Holidaze

T’was the weekend before Christmas, and that means holiday-themed events galore happening around the Queen City. There's a different version of The Nutcracker story with circus elements, a soulful Christmas music concert, and non-Christmas wise, a well-known comedian will be in town. Joining Gwendolyn Glenn to talk about these events is Tim Miner, co-founder of Charlotte Is Creative.

Gwendolyn Glenn: Welcome, Tim. 

Tim Miner: Hey, Gwen. 

Glenn: Well, let's start with a classic Christmas tune with a soulful flair. That's “What Do The Lonely Do At Christmas,” a 1973 recording by The Emotions -- oh, I love them! They were chart-toppers back in the day. And this is one of the songs in the lineup for a "Soulful Noel," a musical revue in town this weekend. Tim, tell us more about that.

Miner: That was the perfect lead-in. This is the seventh year that Charlotte's own OnQ Productions has staged "Soulful Noel." So, I think at this point we can say it's a bonafide Queen City tradition. The musical revue reframes amazing music with a little bit of R&B, funk, gospel and soul flair. Everything from Ave Maria to The Little Drummer Boy. This music is going to get you humming into the holidays.

Glenn: Oh, man, sounds great. When and where?

Miner: So, there's one show tomorrow night and there are two shows on Saturday, and all of them will be at the McGlohon Theater in Spirit Square uptown.

Tim Miner
Credit Sarafina Wright
Tim Miner, co-founder of Charlotte Is Creative.

Glenn: Wow. Sounds like a great show. Also in town, this weekend is the touring Cirque Dreams Holidaze. Broadway Director Neil Goldberg has brought together a critically acclaimed extravaganza that is part-Broadway musical and part-circus. Right?

Miner: "Circus" is the keyword on this, but it's on a stage with a holiday theme. And the costumes, the music -- amazing. There are over 300 imaginative costumes, 20 acts, singers, and they're going to cover all the holidays from Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, New Year's. It's a two-hour performance that The Boston Globe calls "Vegas for the entire family." 

Glenn: There's going to be lots of finger poppin' …

Miner: You're gonna be tapping your toe and ready to stuff your stocking. 

Glenn: OK, so where's this taking place and when? 

Miner: So the shows are Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at Ovens Auditorium.

Glenn: And Tim, there is also "Clara's Trip: A Cirque & Dance Nutcracker Story." What do you know about this production? 

Miner: Details we kind of need to keep a little under wraps because the more you go in on this one not knowing about the story, I think the more you're going to get out of it. And really, it's a contemporary take on the story by Caroline Calouche Company, and the main character, Clara, that everybody knows from The Nutcracker. In this one, she's a passionate dancer, but maybe not so good at dancing. So, she learns the holiday spirit through dance along the way. Everyone I know that’s seen it -- including me and my family --this is just the way into the holidays. 

Glenn: OK, and that's where and when?

Miner: So it runs Saturday and Sunday at the Booth Playhouse. And here's a little tip: If you come to the Saturday matinee, you may just see my partner in crime, Matt Olin, in a cameo appearance. 

Glenn: Really? OK. 

Miner: Again, I can't give you too many details.

Glenn: OK. All right. Well, we'll just have to go see it to find out. And for those looking to release some creative energy, there's the Bechtler by Night Winter Paint N’ Sip. There is a lot of paint and sips around town all the time. What's different about this one? 

Miner: Well, I think this one is one that you are working with artists from the Bechtler on holiday art-themed projects. Plus, there's gonna be a little bit of fun for the adults with a special holiday margarita that they're going to be serving. I think what's different about this one is the Bechtler is throwing in teaching artists to actually work with you on holiday-themed crafts.

From 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., that's when the Winter Wonderscape painting sessions are taking place. There are only 25 spots. So this is really exclusive. So, if you want to make sure that you've got an easel and you're ready to go, you need to go right away to Blumenthalarts.org and secure your ticket.

Glenn: And the margarita. That's to drink?

Miner: Oh, yeah. It's the inspiration. All artists need their muses. 

Glenn: And on Saturday, Emily Sage will perform at a secret location. More secrets here somewhere in Charlotte. Who is Emily Sage for those who are not aware? And what's up with this mystery performance?

Miner: There's a lot of mystery this weekend, isn't there? Emily Sage, I think put simply, in my opinion, is one of Charlotte's most talented singer-songwriters and she's been performing all over Charlotte. She's also been featured nationally on NPR, thanks to WFAE’s own Joni Deutsch. She has a romantic style, which is tinged with jazz and soul. A lot of her music comes from her upbringing in Portugal. So she collaborates with, you know, Charlotte artists all over the city. Beautiful voice. If you want to be at this location, you actually have to email her directly at info@EmilySageMusic.com and she'll send you the link. So you know when and where to hear her. 

Glenn: Hey, lots of mystery there. And Tim, Christmas can be a bit hectic for some people, you know, last-minute shopping, family members coming to your house. So if you want to relieve some of that stress,  comedian Sommore is in town to keep you laughing.

Miner: Oh, yeah. Holiday cheer is always a little bit better with some laughs. I think everybody wants to let some of that shopping stress down, and Sommore is an incredible comedian. We know her from "The Queens of Comedy," and that's the all-female version, it's like the "Kings of Comedy" who came here to Charlotte, (with) Cedric the Entertainer, Steve Harvey, to film that movie almost 20 years ago. She's going to be at the Comedy Zone this weekend. Killing it. 

Glenn: OK, sounds good. Thanks, Tim. Let's have Emily Sage take us out. Thanks for being with us. 

Miner: Oh, thank you. 

Glenn: Tim Miner is the co-founder of Charlotte Is Creative.