Entertainment

Rhiannon Giddens, Harry Connick Jr. and more on stage this weekend

Francesco Turrisi, left, and Rhiannon Giddens perform during the Americana Honors & Awards show Sept. 11, in Nashville, Tenn. They will perform at the North Carolina Museum of Art.
Francesco Turrisi, left, and Rhiannon Giddens perform during the Americana Honors & Awards show Sept. 11, in Nashville, Tenn. They will perform at the North Carolina Museum of Art. AP

It’s an eclectic week for entertainment. There’s comedy from a former late night icon, jazz, Celtic-rock, folk and sublime work from Rhiannon Giddens.

1. Rhiannon Giddens and Francesco Turrisi

The details: Sept. 24, 7:30 p.m. North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh. Tickets start at $35. 919-715-5923, ncartmuseum.org

The Greensboro resident and former Carolina Chocolate Drop fixture is touring behind her latest album, “There Is No Other,” which is a collaboration with Italian jazz musician Francesco Turrisi, who is on the tour. The album is about identifying different cultures. The material is both powerful and subtle. Giddens has always been about pushing the envelope and the same goes for “There Is No Other.” The gifted Turrisi, like Giddens, is also a multi-instrumentalist.

2. Harry Connick Jr.

The details: Sept. 21, 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Sept. 22, 1 p.m. Durham Performing Arts Center, 123 Vivian St., Durham. Tickets start at $39.50, 919-680-2787 or dpacnc.com

It’s hard to believe that it’s been 30 years since Harry Connick Jr. broke out, courtesy of his work on the “When Harry Met Sally” soundtrack. The jazz singer’s versions of “It Had to Be You,” “But Not For Me” and “Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off” helped take Connick to another level. With these performances, though, he pays tribute to the songbook of the legendary Cole Porter in “Harry Connick Jr. — A Celebration of Cole Porter.” The production has its world premiere before it heads to Broadway in December. Over three shows, Connick will present a multimedia production that represents his first deep dive into another artist’s work.

Harry Connick Jr.jpg
‘Harry Connick Jr. — A Celebration of Cole Porter’ will be presented on Broadway. But first, it will have its pre-Broadway world premiere Sept. 21-22 at the Durham Performing Arts Center. DPAC

The production features Connick’s interpretations of the classics, The News & Observer reported, adding dancers and an onstage orchestra. The music will be part of an upcoming album as well.

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3. Jay Leno

The details: Sept. 20, 8 p.m. Durham Performing Arts Center. Tickets start at $55, 919-680-2787 or dpacnc.com

Believe it or not, Leno was an edgy, provocative comic a generation ago and one of the best guests on “Late Night With David Letterman.” As we all know by now, Leno succeeded Johnny Carson as host of “The Tonight Show” in 1992, with his comedy becoming more mainstream. Leno is still worth catching for some of his observational material. Hopefully the veteran comic, who hosts “Jay Leno’s Garage,” will wax about some of his priceless autos.

Jay Leno
Jay Leno performs at the Durham Performing Arts Center. Courtesy Jay Leno

If you run into Leno before his show in Durham, the word is that he’s a good dude, according to fellow comic Alonzo Bodden, who offered the following to The News & Observer. “Jay is the most ordinary superstar you’ll ever meet. If you met him on the street and you didn’t know who he was, you would never guess he’s on the upper echelon as an entertainer. What I’ve said about Jay is that if he didn’t have his car show, that I’ve been on, he would still have everything that you see on the show.”

4. The Dropkick Murphys

The details: Sept. 24, 6:30 p.m. Red Hat Amphitheater, 500 S. McDowell St., Raleigh. Clutch is also on the bill. Tickets start at $29.50. 919-996-8800 or redhatamphitheater.com

The success of the Dropkick Murphys is notable since the gritty Boston act is the antithesis of what’s popular these days. The Celtic-rockers are unpredictable, raucous and rough around the edges. The Dropkick Murphys don’t clean up the sonic imperfections on their albums, and their shows are celebratory parties. Even though the band has sold more 3 million albums and packs sheds and theaters, it hasn’t changed over the course of their career, according to crime novelist Dennis Lehane, who is a huge fan.

“The Dropkicks are the Boston that I knew: blue collar, hardcore, proudly Democratic, proudly pro-union and working class,” Lehane told Billboard.

5. Josh Ritter & The Royal City Band

The details: Sept. 26, 8 p.m. Carolina Theatre, 309 W. Morgan St., Durham. Tickets start at $37.50. 919-560-3030 or carolinatheatre.org

The venerable singer-songwriter & The Royal City Band are touring behind their latest album, “Fever Breaks.” Ritter, a talented storyteller, impresses with his latest, which features Jason Isbell, who produced, and his 400 Unit. He nails it with a number of potent new compositions, such as the stirring “Old Black Magic.” Ritter explained what moved him to create “Fever Breaks” to Louder Than War.

“It was inspiration but it was more of a chant not being able to look away from the things that are going on in the world right now,” he said. “It was less of a kind of a still, small voice of inspiration and more of a kind of incessant knocking on the door.”

Arrive early to catch the talented Amanda Shires.

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