by Lenise Willis

Comedian Rodney Carrington is bringing laughs to War Memorial Auditorium Thursday.

Friday, the professional New Yorkbased comedy troupe the Water Coolers performs at High Point Theatre. The quirky comics and singers highlight what people talk about at work, or at least wish they could.

Greensboro College Theatre will present three free performances of the children’s play The Short Tree and the Little Bird That Could Not Sing, this weekend in the Annie Sellars Jordan Parlor Theatre in Main Building on campus.

The play, a quirky fable written by Dennis Foon, tells the story of how a tree that resents its roots and a bird with the worst singing voice in the history of the bird kingdom unite to become unlikely forces of nature.

Performance times are 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday. Admission is free; seating is firstcome, first-served.

Twin City Stage will open Lend Me A Tenor next Friday at the Arts Council Theatre. The musical, full of farcical plot twists, double entendres, innuendos, mistaken identity and mayhem, runs Feb. 1-3 and 7-10.

A world-famous tenor has been brought to the Cleveland Opera Company to entertain at a gala fundraiser, but before the star leaves his hotel room, everything starts to fall apart. Even when he accidentally overdoses on tranquilizers, the show must go on.

Also coming up next Friday is NC Shakespeare Festival’s opening night of 33 Variations, a new drama, at Hanesbrands Theatre.

Part of a new partnership between Festival Stage and Wake Forest University’s Department of Theatre and Dance, the music-filled psychological drama follows a musicologist obsessed with uncovering a mystery behind Beethoven’s Diabelli Variations. The action shifts in time from present-day Bonn, Germany, to 19th century Vienna where Beethoven is working.

As Beethoven copes with the progressive loss of his hearing, Katherine fights a diagnosis of Lou Gherig’s disease. Paralleling Beethoven’s own journey, Katherine struggles to complete her life’s work and reconcile with her estranged daughter before her illness overtakes her. An onstage pianist plays the Variations live throughout the play.