Rudresh Mahanthappa’s Indo-Pak Coalition

Nelson Music Room, Duke CampusIndian classical music pierced jazz (and free jazz, especially) spheres thanks to the Coltranes. The N.C.-born John and his wife, Alice, first tried to adapt its ragas and drones within the genre’s constructs, but there were always shortcomings. The young saxophonist and bandleader Rudresh Mahanthappa improves on these attempts by staying true to the actual music and casting it into its own new form. A native of Boulder, Colo., Mahanthappa is now doing some of the most interesting, focused work in jazz ensembles today. He plays tonight with his trio, featuring Rez Abbasi on sitar and guitar and Dan Weiss on tabla. Early nominee for jazz performance of the year? Come decide. The music starts at 8 p.m., and tickets are $5-$22. See www.dukeperformances.org. Chris Toenes

Chapel Hill
An Ideal Husband

Deep Dish TheaterOscar Wilde couldn’t have guessed how strongly his savage observation of a blackmail scheme would resonate today. Someday, the John Edwards saga might get its appropriate literary treatment, but until then we can imagine Oscar Wilde’s second-most-famous play as a precursor; his line “Sooner or later, we shall all have to pay for what we do” seems appropriate here. The play has been adapted into film versions three times, most recently in 1999 with a cast that included Julianne Moore and Cate Blanchett. This Deep Dish production is under Tony Lea’s direction, and the company’s Web site includes a list of late 19th-century lingo and topical references, from “bimetallist” to “Women’s Liberal Association,” to boost contemporary audiences’ appreciation. Performances run through March 6. Visit www.deepdishtheater.org. Sarah Ewald

Drive-By Truckers

Lincoln TheatreSure, there have been swings and misses in the six Drive-By Truckers albums released since 2001among them, the miserable drug torch song “You and Your Crystal Meth” and the predictable suicide lament “Lookout Mountain.” But the batting average of one of last decade’s busiest and best bandsand now that it’s all sung and done, one of its most culturally significant, toomakes Ted Williams look like a pitcher with puny arms and cataracts hitting ninth during interleague play. What’s most astonishing, though, is that they seem to be getting better: The Big To-Do, due late next month on New West Records, offers some of the Athens quintet’s most vivid characters yet, like the preacher’s wife tortured to the point of homicide by her husband’s sexual deviancy or the new father who sees hope in the way his newborn sees him and, unlike the rest of the world, not his failures. Patterson Hood and Mike Cooley amplify the contradictions of everyday existencehating a job but needing it, the possibility and punishment of sex, how life and rock ‘n’ roll in particular can leave a trail of muted carcasses and empty buildings in its wake. America’a finest rock band does a two-night stand starting tonight, with tickets for each show $22-$25. A two-show pass costs $40. Both shows begin at 9 p.m. See www.lincolntheatre.com. Grayson Currin

Don’t Cry for Me, Margaret Mitchell

Theatre in the Park Margaret Mitchell’s Gone with the Wind and its subsequent film adaptation gave the world an irrepressible heroine in Scarlett O’Hara. (It also gave Southern belles their own version of the timeless Mary Ann-versus-Ginger desert island debate. You can tell a lot about a girl if she prefers Rhett Butler to Ashley Wilkes.) Now there’s a play that imagines the transformation of the book to the screen. Don’t Cry for Me, Margaret Mitchell was written by mother-and-son team Virginia Cate and Duke Ernsberger, and tonight’s performance, helmed by Ira David Wood III, marks its regional debut. The play imagines the film’s director, Victor Fleming, screenwriter Ben Hecht and legendary Hollywood producer, David O. Selznick holed up for a week attempting to adapt the novel for the screen, subsisting on bananas and peanuts to keep their minds sharp. Tickets are $21 for adults, $15 for seniors and $13 for students and active military. Performances run through Feb. 21. Visit www.theatreinthepark.com. Sarah Ewald