Winter is the perfect time to explore the natural stone shelters where native Arkansans once lived
By Lindsey Millar,
Paul Peterson and
Jennifer Barnett Reed
‘SHERLOCK HOLMES: THE FINAL ADVENTURE'
8 p.m., Arkansas Repertory Theatre.
The Rep's latest production has it all: A famous detective, his famous nemesis, a beautiful and mysterious damsel in distress, and the foggy, seamy streets of London. “Sherlock Holmes: The Final Adventure” follows Holmes as his pursuit of small-time crooks leads to a larger, more dangerous network of criminals. Playwright Steven Dietz adapted the original 1899 “Sherlock Holmes” stage play, and it won the 2007 Edgar Award for best mystery play.
Joseph Graves stars as Holmes. It's his 10th production with the Rep; he also played Lennie in “Of Mice and Men,” Iago in “Othello,” Henry Higgins in “My Fair Lady” and other major leading roles. Northwest Arkansas native Heidi-Marie Ferren, now of New York, plays Holmes' lady-love, Irene. Trusty sidekick Dr. Watson is played by Colin McPhillamy, who has worked extensively in Britain and the United States and is making his Arkansas debut. The show runs through April 27. JBR.
8 p.m., Robinson Center Music Hall.
This three-hankie Puccini opera comes to Little Rock for a concert performance by the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra at 8 p.m. Friday, April 11, and 3 p.m. Sunday, April 13.
“Madame Butterfly” — the most-performed opera in the United States, according to Opera America — tells the story of Cio-Cio San, a young Japanese geisha who falls in love with an American naval officer, Lt. Pinkerton. They marry, she bears his child, then he deserts her; she chooses to die rather than suffer the resulting dishonor. It's supposedly based on real events that happened there in the 1890s. These performances will be sung in Italian with English subtitles. Featured singers are soprano Marie Plette, tenor Mark Brown, mezzo-soprano Eugenie Grunewald and baritone Phillip Kraus. JBR.
10 p.m., Revolution. $8.
If you're feeling aimless on Saturday or have a broad but ill-defined interest in local music, or, certainly, if your opinion of the American Princes falls anywhere between love and mild curiosity, you should go step out to help the Princes celebrate the release of their latest and greatest album, “Other People.” Because, possibly, one of two things will follow the release. Either (fingers crossed), the band will, deservedly, blow up, or this'll be its swan song. I'm only speculating on the latter, but if “Other People” falls on deaf ears nationally, sustaining a band with a key member in New York and the rest of the band in Little Rock might grow difficult. In support of the former, the album takes the band's trademark ability to write whip-smart lyrics and searing, chant-along hooks and applies it to a survey of rock 'n' roll traditions from the last 20 years. It's as catchy as it is varied. It's easy to imagine it finding a broad audience, but in today's increasingly fractured music biz and blog-dominated hype machine, who can tell? As they gear up for a national tour, give the Princes a push, Little Rock. Local folk group Silverton opens. LM.
BLUE MAN GROUP
8 p.m., Alltel Arena. $45-$75.
In 1988, three catering employees appeared on the streets of New York City in identical regalia performing for passersby and staging unusual experimental theater and underground cabarets. Fast-forward 20 years and you have the international phenomenon known as Blue Man Group, a multimedia rock 'n' roll experience centered around three homologues, creatures approximating real male humans, static in appearance, earless, with bright blue heads and nondescript utilitarian clothing, who command and instruct thousands of people in the tried-and-true art of achieving megastardom. This is accomplished primarily by demonstrating moves and antics prescribed in its Rock Concert Instruction manual. Rooted in tribal percussion, BMG is backed by a bulletproof band performing mind-bending arrangements against a psychedelic neon backdrop of colors and self-invented instruments. Expect plenty of audience participation, odd props, sophisticated lighting and a humorous, energetic and thought-provoking satire on modernity when the BMG returns to Alltel Arena. PP. Check the Times' Rock Candy Blog for an interview with one of the Blue Men.
HILL COUNTRY REVUE
9 p.m., Sticky Fingerz. $10 adv./$12 d.o.s.
In the tradition of foothill stomp tunes authenticated by the late Junior Kimbrough and R.L. Burnside comes Hill Country Revue, composed of North Mississippi Allstars members Cody Dickinson and Chris Chew, Burnside's son Garry on bass and Kirk Smithhart on vocals and guitar. Being R.L. Burnside's youngest son as well as Junior Kimbrough's protege, Garry is a walking encyclopedia of Mississippi hill country blues. He grew up playing with Kimbrough every Sunday night in Junior's world-famous juke joint and is known as a prolific songwriter and performer. Kirk Smithhart was awarded the Albert King Award for Best Guitarist by the Blues Foundation when he was only 19. Since then he has taken his cutting-edge style to music lovers all over the world. He grew up in the vibrant blues scene around Jackson, Miss., and has been turning heads in Memphis as the best new guitarist in town. Cody Dickinson and Chris Chew are three-time Grammy nominees with loyal fans all over the world, especially here in Little Rock. Expect HCR to fully integrate North Mississippi blues and a modern sound when they take the stage at Sticky Fingerz Saturday night. PP.
ROCK 'N' ROAR
7 p.m., Civitan Amphitheater, Little Rock Zoo. $8.
Last time I wrote about Rock 'n' Roar, for the concert series kick-off last month, I made a big deal about it being spring and the birds chirping and short sleeves and all that, but as it turned out, I jumped the gun just a tad. Now, thanks to the crystal ball that is weather.com, I can tell you that it's likely to be somewhere between long sleeve T-shirt and light jacket weather on Saturday — not coincidentally, a near perfect range to watch a concert outside at the zoo. The formula remains intact: the comfortable and sheltered Civitan Amphitheater, authentic Mexican food from Mendoza's taco truck, two outstanding local musical groups and lions, tigers and bears. If you're lucky, the zoo will turn on its carousel for end-of-the-night rides like it did last time. On the bill: Runaway Planet and Chris Denny. The Planet has long been Central Arkansas's most active and beloved bluegrass act, while Denny's picked up steam in the last few years with his preternaturally strange and affecting voice, riding his talent to a national record contract and major label courtship. LM.
7:30 p.m., Robinson Center Music Hall. $20-$54.
You might have grown up dancing to Billy Joel songs, but not like this. “Movin' Out,” the hit Broadway musical, was conceived and choreographed by the dance legend Twyla Tharp, and uses Joel's songs to tell a dialogless story about five high school friends whose lives are torn apart by the Vietnam War. The show debuted on Broadway in 2002 and ran for three years. Joel and Tharp both won Tony Awards. The three Robinson performances are the first for the show in Little Rock. The musical plays again at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday and Thursday. JBR.
7:30 p.m., Reynolds Performance Hall, UCA, Conway. $10-$35.
High art, get ye low, says the East Village Opera Company. Or more accurately, the company, through co-leader Peter Kiesewalter, says, “We have a profound love and respect for opera, but it's so dramatic, so over-the-top by today's standards, that it cannot be delivered with a straight face. You need a little bit of irreverence in it.” That means EVOC embraces the “pomposity” of both rock and opera by taking selections from “Carmen” and “La Boheme” and punking them up, often mashing them together with music from the likes of the Who and Eminem. As bizarre as it sounds, the show has garnered rave reviews. It encores on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. LM.
IVAN NEVILLE'S DUMPSTAPHUNK
9 p.m., Revolution. $10 adv./$12 d.o.s.
It's no secret that New Orleans breeds top-shelf musicians and a sound incomparable to any genre. So if swamp-boogie voodoo funk is what you're after, look no further than Ivan Neville's Dumpstaphunk, a five-piece outfit from the Big Easy fronted by the son of legendary Aaron Neville. This is one tough blend of balls-out R&B, uncut, trance-inducing bayou funk. Neville and his cohorts' resumes are astounding and so are the jams they'll kick out at Revolution April 16. Ivan played keyboards on the Rolling Stones' “Dirty Work” and “Voodoo Lounge” albums and has performed with the Stones, Keith Richards and the Expensive Winos, Bonnie Raitt and John Mayer. Guitarist Nick Daniels has played with Mardi Gras Indians, Etta James and Boz Scaggs. Drummer Raymond Weber has laid the rhythmic groundwork for high-profile acts such as Trey Anastasio and Joe Sample and guitarist Ian Neville's credentials include the Funky Meters, Galactic and North Mississippi Allstars. Bassist Tony Hall's jamming cohorts include Anastasio, Dave Matthews and Friends, Harry Connick Jr. and Emmylou Harris. Dumpstaphunk brought down the house last time they were in Little Rock so arrive early and plan to break a heavy sweat. PP.
Building a lead so rapidly and holding it in games, even professional football, is difficult…