Collins to work toward increasing visitation to Arkansas by groups and promoting the state's appeal
8 p.m., the Rep. $20-$35.
The Rep knows its demographic. The majority of the theater's offerings is family oriented fare — big, boisterous musicals, classic comedies, enduring dramas. But once or twice a year, the theater latches onto something more contemporary and edgy. On its face, “Doubt” doesn't seem to fit that bill. Set in a Bronx Catholic school in 1964, the drama centers on the dealings of nuns and priests and varying perceptions of Catholic duty. But at its core, “Doubt” explores themes current — pedophilia in the Catholic church — and elemental — the idea of moral uncertainty. The battle brews between Sister Aloysius, a hard-nosed nun who insists against coddling her students, and Father Flynn, a priest who believes parishioners should be embraced like members of the church's family. Their two schools of thought underpin the tension that arises when Sister Aloysius comes to suspect Father Flynn of “interfering” with the school's first black student. Directed by the Rep's founding artistic director, Cliff Fannin Baker, “Doubt” is the winner of four Tony Awards, including Best Play, and the 2005 Pulitzer for Drama. The play's author John Patrick Shanley, the Academy Award-winning screenwriter of “Moonstruck,” is currently directing a feature film adaptation of his play.
JIM MIZE / ISAAC ALEXANDER
9 p.m., White Water Tavern. $5.
I called “Release It to the Sky,” Jim Mize's sophomore album on Fat Possum Records, the album of the year in a year-end countdown a few weeks back, and I'll continue to sing its praises until — well, until he puts out another one. With a full-throated, gravelly storm of a voice, Mize sings simple, elemental songs of things slowly going to hell. The 50-something insurance adjustor might be our state's best lyricist. Buy the damn record. Here's your chance: Mize usually lugs around a big black bag full of albums at his gigs. Come with cash. Come, too, with anticipation. It's fairly rare to see Mize and his back-up band, the Germans. The Germans — Dave Hoffpauir, Jason Weinheimer and Charles Wyrick — always manage to add an extra heft to the material, particularly by sharpening the edges with guitar skronk — a welcome addition to anything alt-country-leaning. Isaac Alexander makes up a gig he had to cancel two weeks ago. As the lead singer of Big Silver and the Easys, Alexander starts with a solid base of the Beatles and builds — a hearty dose of the Band in the former, the likes of Elvis Costello and Jellyfish in the latter. While Beatlesque melodies are pretty much a given, who knows what Alexander's latest solo foray will yield? Last year, the singer/songwriter traveled to Nashville a half dozen or so times to record a solo record. A thick vinyl release may be on the horizon. In the meantime, check the demos on his MySpace page (myspace.com/isaacalexander).
BEHIND THE MASK: THE MUSIC OF ANDREW LLOYD WEBER AND MODERN BROADWAY
8 p.m., Robinson Center Music Hall.
On Friday and Saturday nights, three renowned vocalists join the ASO to present a revue of the songs of perhaps Broadway's most loathed and loved contemporary composer, Andrew Lloyd Weber. Teri Dale Hansen stars in Bravo's film version of “Street Scene.” Leah Hocking has starred, most recently, in “Hairspray” and “Mamma Mia” on Broadway. Featured most lately in “Les Miserables,” Aaron Lazar will sing with the New York Pops in April. Israel Getzov, the director of orchestras at UCA and the conductor of the Conway Symphony Orchestra, conducts the symphony and vocalists through all of Weber's best known compositions, including “Phantom of the Opera,” “Evita,” “Cats,” “Sunset Boulevard,” “Les Miserables,” “Chicago,” “Beauty and the Beast” and “Ragtime.” The ensemble reprises its performance at 8 p.m. Saturday at Robinson.
CROSS CANADIAN RAGWEED
9 p.m., Revolution. $18 adv./$20 d.o.s.
Take rhythm guitarist Grady Cross, lead vocalist/guitarist Cody Canada, drummer Randy Ragsdale and original bassist Mark Wiedemann and you've got the formula behind the name Cross Canadian Ragweed. For the last 14 years, the alt-country foursome has built up its sizable fanbase the old-fashioned way — it barnstormed across the country, regularly playing 200 gigs a year. This tour finds CCR (convenient, huh?) supporting “Mission California,” the Oklahoma act's latest album on Universal South. The record debuted at number six on the Billboard country charts and spawned “I Believe You” and “Cry Lonely.” Micky and the Motorcars, another hero of the Red Dirt scene, accompany CCR to Revolution. You better get your tickets early. Cross Canadian Ragweed always sells out Revolution.
9 p.m., Easy Street Cabaret Room. $5.
I haven't hung out there in a minute, but well-placed sources tell me that Fayetteville is going through a moribund period musically. Here's hoping that David's Pegasus picks the scene up and carries it on its back. Using video game sound effects to make music isn't new — it's called bitpop — but David's Pegasus has taken that model one step further and created an 8-bit videogame world to accompany and the tell the story of its music. There's King David, a refugee from a Bible trivia game, and Pegasus, a winged equine hero of Rainbow Pegasus Land. If we're lucky, the band will have its A/V display in full effect on Saturday. Regardless, Barry Brinegar's doleful lead vocals and the band's moody, electronic shaded music are strong enough to stand on their own. The Always Already, out of Austin, Texas, describes its sound as “post-punk meets new-wave dance-pop.” With honking keyboard lines and skittish drum machine beats, the duo is bound to have the kids dancing — or at least convulsing a little.
7 p.m., Windsong Performing Arts Center. $15.
H.A.P.S., the fledgling local entertainment company, takes a broad approach. An acronym for “hip-hop, acoustic, pop and soul,” the company built its name in 2007 through music videos. Helmed by local director Jordan Atwater, H.A.P.S. last year produced fairly sophisticated online videos for artists like Rockst*r, Epiphany and Elise Davis. With an online radio show and a late night TV show, the company seems bent on multimedia domination. Now Atwater brings her brand to the stage with one of the first youth-oriented events at the state-of-the-art Windsong Performing Arts Center. On Saturday, H.A.P.S. will film and record a concert featuring local rapper Rockst*r, rap and soul duo Epiphany and Gina Gee, jazz saxophonist J. White and Atwater, queen of multi-tasking, who sings pop and soul. Tickets are available by calling 960-3071. Seating is limited and Atwater hopes to limit the concert to presale tickets.
7:30 p.m., Revolution. $20.
Hippies! Bass heads! Fans of Bela Fleck! Come together. The Eddie Van Halen of the bass two-hand taps his way to Revolution for a solo gig. Behind his latest solo album, “Palmystery,” Wooten comes to town neatly dredded and with scores of strange-looking basses. Born into the Wooten Brothers, a family band that opened up for the likes of War and Curtis Mayfield in the '70s, Wooten built on his pedigree with a stint with soul singer Jonell Mosser and, continuing today, tenure as a Flecktone, a member Bela Fleck's backing band. Even in such experimental bands as those, Wooten has seen his full potential realized in a solo career. As it turns out, Wooten isn't just a bass player capable of virtuosic technique (what's up, Larry Graham), he's also an accomplished vocalist and arranger. Look for more than just speed-bass runs on Sunday night.
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” comes to Little Rock for four performances: 7:30 p.m. productions on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, and a 1 p.m. matinee on Thursday. 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.