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Adventures from A to Z for the kids, classics for the adults

by Mark Burger

The Children’s Theatre of Winston- Salem will present The Great Alphabet Adventure, which opens Friday at the Arts Council Theatre (610 Coliseum Drive, Winston-Salem).

This fun-filled family production, which includes audience participation (and undoubtedly a surprise or two), focuses on a young boy named Alex, whose day is ruined — or so he thinks — when a thunderstorm causes a power shortage and deprives him of video games and television. What’s a poor boy to do? Actually, he’s about to embark on the adventure of the lifetime — as indicated in the show’s title. Alex’s new neighbor, Zora, drops by unexpectedly and proceeds to encourage Alex to put aside the video games and instead engage his imagination through words and books. In doing so, the two friends discover the power of the written word and how it sparks one’s imagination. This production is a presentation of the Eckerd Theatre Company (ETC), which is based in Clearwater, Fla. During its 20-year history, ETC has entertained more than a million children. The company began touring Florida in 1991 followed by national tours two years later. In 2003, ETC went international when it presented its first production in Canada. Showtimes are 10 a.m. and noon Friday, 11 a.m. Saturday. Tickets are $8 (general admission) and $12 (reserved seats, for the Saturday matinee), and reservations are strongly suggested. For tickets or more information, call 336.725.4531 or see www.childrenstheatrews.org

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The School of Music at the UNC School of the Arts (UNCSA) has a couple of classical events on tap for this weekend, and best of all they’re free. On Saturday, the UNCSA Wind Ensemble will perform at the Stevens Center (405 W. 4 th St., Winston-Salem). Faculty artist Mark Norman will lead the school’s student ensemble through performances of Scott Lindroth’s “Spin Cycle” and H. Owen Reed’s “La Fiesta Mexicana.” In addition, there will be a special performance by the US Marine Band Tuba/Euphonium Quartet. The program is scheduled to start at 7:30 p.m. On Sunday at 3 p.m., the AJ Fletcher Opera Institute at the school will present its program Undergraduate Opera Scenes in the Thrust Theatre at Performance Place, located on the UNSCA campus (1533 S. Main St., Winston-Salem). This presentation showcases fellows of the Institute as they perform selected scenes and songs from the repertory. Steven LaCosse serves as stage director, with Mary Ann Bills serving as music director and accompanying pianist. Now although this program is also free, reservations are required due to seating availability… so don’t just show up unannounced expecting a free seat! This is yet another opportunity for area audiences to experience for themselves what the students of the School of Music are all about. For more information about these programs, or the UNCSA performance schedule, call 336.721.1945 or see www.uncsa.edu/performances. To comment on this story, e-mail Mark Burger at marksburger@yahoo.com.

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