Memorial AuditoriumIn the first of its two-part family series, Carolina Ballet brings to life the classic story by The Nutcracker‘s E.T.A. Hoffman. The combination of two Hoffman tales concerns an inventor named Dr. Coppélius who invents a life-sized dancing doll that infatuates a local villager, resulting in many comic twists. It’s an excellent introduction for children to the art of ballet, and a classic story to boot. The play runs through May 3; for more information, visit www.carolinaballet.com/coppelia.html. Zack Smith

Chapel Hill
Deep Dish Theatre CompanyAugust Wilson’s Pulitzer Prize-winning cycle of 10 plays chronicling the African-American experience in the 20th century is one of the most influential dramatic series of the last few decades. He was also instrumental in insisting upon the expansion of opportunities for black theater directorsthere’s a dustup in progress in New York over the Lincoln Center Theater’s choice of a white director to helm a new production of Joe Turner’s Come and Gone. Now Wilson’s 1970s installment, Jitney, makes its Chapel Hill debutwith, as it happens, an African-American director: Kathryn Hunter-Williams, who is a member of the PlayMakers Repertory Company and artistic director of Carrboro-based, Indies Arts award-winning group Hidden Voices. Jitney, set in a Pittsburgh gypsy cab company in 1977, concerns the situations faced by various characters moving in and out of the call station. Their lives and experiences collectively paint a portrait of the post-Civil Rights era. The production runs through May 23; for more information, visit www.deepdishtheater.org. Zack Smith