Magness Lake, in Heber Springs, is a magnet for swans
1 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., Robinson Center Music Hall. $17-$52.
Thirty years after it debuted on Broadway (and for those who need a more recent point of reference, 10 years after Jay-Z sampled “It's a Hard-Knock Life”), “Annie” concludes the last of its four shows in Little Rock. The musical's lyricist Martin Charmin returns to direct this 30th anniversary touring production. Surely you know the gist: Indefatigable ginger-haired Annie is an 11-year-old orphan prone to song. She's stuck in an orphanage run by Miss Hannigan, who bullies and abuses and sings creepy songs about little girls and wanting a man to nibble on her ear. Then there's Daddy Warbucks, a gruff industrialist with a heart of gold and a direct line to President Roosevelt. Oh yeah, and Sandy, Annie's trusted dog of indeterminate breed, who's special enough to warrant his own song. You'll never guess what happens when they all get together.
9 p.m., Juanita's. $15-$40.
Local event promoter Upscale Underground continues to carve out a reputation for bringing the best in urbane jazz/soul to Little Rock. After successful concerts featuring Nu-soul star Dwele and blues-soul throwback Keite Young, Upscale presents Frank McComb, a soul singer with an impressive resume. Early in his career, McComb toured with Atlantic Records' R&B group the Rude Boys, performed and recorded with DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince and worked as a musician for the songwriting duo Gamble and Huff. Record deals with MoJazz (the now defunct jazz imprint of Motown) and Columbia followed, with several years fronting Buckshot LeFonque, Branford Marsalis' genre-mix-up group. He's lately been recording and releasing material on independent labels. McComb performs on Thursday with local jazz heavyweights Rodney Block and the Real Music Lovers. Unlike most shows at Juanita's, the concert will be seated, with assigned places. A $40 “upscale upgrade” ticket includes a copy of McComb's “Love Stories” CD, dessert and champagne. A limited number of $15 “early bird” tickets are also available. Otherwise, admission is $20 adv., $30 d.o.s.
THE JONAS BROTHERS
7 p.m., Alltel Arena. $49.75.
Here we go again: another pop sensation adored and understood almost exclusively by tweens. The Jonas Brothers, seen last in Central Arkansas as the opener for Hannah Montana, return on Friday on the first leg of a 140-date worldwide tour (secured in a multi-million dollar deal with Live Nation). From a brief perusal of all things Jonas, here's a laundry list of guesses at why the group's so enormously popular: general dreaminess, hairspray, the enduring appeal of family bands, fresh faces, fancy sunglasses, skinny ties, a non-threatening sense of rebellion, the promotional juggernaut that is Disney and, from the band's MySpace bio, a combination of “Warped Tour-style punk with musical-theatre trimmings inspired by Nick [Jonas'] years on Broadway in Les Miserables and Beauty and the Beast.” Parents: Alltel is providing a special parent holding tank of sorts for you to hang and eat popcorn in during the show. Check alltelarena.com for more information.
10 p.m., Juanita's. $10 adv./$12 d.o.s.
Guitar Player magazine called him one of the “Top 50 Greatest Guitarists of All Time.” He's the reigning seventh-year-in-a-row “Best Acoustic Guitar Player” at the Austin (Texas) Music Awards. He's been called, bafflingly, “The Evel Knievel of Guitar” and “The Answer to the Fermi Paradox.” Suffice it to say, Monte Montgomery plays the acoustic guitar acrobatically. He's also an angst-y voiced singer/songwriter, with rabid fans (“Montiacs”) traveling all around to see him play. Friday's show finds him supporting his latest album, “Monte Montgomery at Workplay.” Longtime local stage vet Luscious Spiller opens. Admission is open to 18 and older.
Good analysis, something completely lacking from the daily newspaper's sports reporters/columnists.
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