TONIGHT -- A new conductor's debut: The SEATTLE SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA returns to the Washington Center for the Performing Arts for the first time since hiring conductor LUDOVIC MORLOT, who is receiving rave reviews for his skill, his showmanship, and his casual attitude. The concert begins at 8 p.m. tonight; tickets are $38-$56 for adults; $34-$50 for students, seniors and military; $19-$28 for youth. On the program: Brahms Symphony No. 4; Schumanns Piano Concerto in A minor, Op. 54" with soloist Nicholas Angelich; and Rossinis William Tell Overture. For more information, call 360-753-8586 or visit www.washingtoncenter.org.
SATURDAY -- Taking the ukulele to another level: Ukulele virtuoso JAKE SHIMABUKURO says it was his desire to replicate music on the radio and his own weak singing voice that inspired him to push his instrument and his skills to the point where he is now the undisputed ukulele king. See for yourself at 8 p.m. Saturday when he'll play at the Capitol Theater, 206 Fifth Ave. SE, Olympia. Tickets are $30-$50. For more information, go to ticketswest.com or jakeshimabukuro.com. And check out Molly Gilmore's interview with Shimabukuro elsewhere on this website.
SATURDAY -- Sister act: The funny nun with the ruler is back at The Washington Center for the Performing Arts this weekend when LATE NIGHT CATCHISM LAS VEGAS: SISTER ROLLS THE DICE" stops in Olympia. The show starts at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at 512 Washington St. SE, Olympia. Tickets are $24-$36 for adults; $22-$32 for students, seniors and military; $12-$18 for youth; plus $3 service fee. Call 360-753-8586.
SATURDAY -- Get a jump on Fat Tuesday: You can start celebrating Mardi Gras (French for Fat Tuesday) on Saturday with the Partners in Prevention MARDI GRAS BLUES CELEBRATION featuring the Blues Bentley Band, formerly Blues Attitude. The family friendly event features food, child care and youth activities, a No Host Bar, and silent auction from 5-10 p.m. Saturday at the South Sound Manor, 455 North St. SE, Tumwater. Costumes are optional, but encouraged. Partners in Prevention hopes to raise $35,000 to support crime victims services, therapy, rent and utilities. Tickets are $25. For reservations, call 360-357-4472 or purchase them at youthchangeagents.org/mardi_gras_fundraiser.html. (Fat Tuesday is Feb. 12, the day before Ash Wednesday, Feb. 13.)
SATURDAY -- Stripped-down metal: Olympia will host the ACOUSTIC METAL CHAMPIONSHIPS from 4-10 p.m. Saturday. But what, pray tell, is acoustic metal? Organizers say its what you get when you strip a metal song down to its bare acoustic essentials to find out how good it really is. This family friendly event is a fundraiser for Safeplace; a $1 suggested donation will be requested at the door of Invictus Cafe, 207 Washington St. NE. For more information, contact Mark Carras at 360-519-ROCK, firstname.lastname@example.org or rockmymonkey.com/events.
SATURDAY -- Love, love, love: The Love Our Local celebration moves inside with the LOVE OUR LOCAL WINTER CELEBRATION. Channel your joy inside for a warm day of community, live music, local artisans, kids activities and skill sharing Saturday at the Olympia Ballroom, 116 Legion Way SE, Olympia. Family activities run from 1-6 p.m.; adult activities are 7-midnight. For more information, contact Marie Poland at email@example.com.
SATURDAY & SUNDAY -- New year roars in: For 20 years, the LIEN-HOA BUDDHIST TEMPLE in Olympia has been performing the LION DANCE to celebrate the LUNAR NEW YEAR. The temple will again offer free performances this weekend. Heres the Saturday schedule: 10 a.m. at Liz Hair Salon, 3415 Pacific Ave SE #C3, Olympia; 11 a.m. at Liz Hair Spa & Waxing, 1115 Black Lake Blvd SW Suite C, Olympia; 12:30 p.m. at Johnny Café, 651 Sleater Kinney Road SE, Olympia, near the Lacey Target; 1:30 p.m. TSpa Nail, 408 Cleveland Ave SE, Tumwater. That night, they will be part of the main New Years Eve celebration, performing folk dances and the lion dance from 9 p.m.-midnight at the temple, 211 N. Wilson St., Olympia. On Sunday, they will perform more lion dances: 11:30 a.m. at Pho Hoa Restaurant, 1600 Cooper Point Rd SW, Olympia; noon at Emperors Palace, 400 Cooper Point Road SW, Olympia; and 1 p.m. at Emperors Palace, 7321 Martin Way SE, Olympia.
SUNDAY -- Musical jewels: The OLYMPIA SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA continues its 60th anniversary celebration with its SYMPHONIC GEMS concert at 7 p.m. Sunday at The Washington Center for the Performing Arts, 512 Washington St. SE, Olympia. Tickets are $20-$50, plus $3 service fee. Call 360-753-8586 or go to washingtoncenter.org.
ALL WEEKEND -- The stage overflowth:
Three plays continue their runs in Olympia:
Capital Playhouses production, NEXT TO NORMAL is a Pulitzer Prize- and Tony Award-winning musical about a family coping with loss, grief and mental illness. It runs through Feb. 17 at the playhouse, 612 Fourth Ave. E., Olympia. Showtimes are 7:30 p.m. Wednesdays-Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays. Tickets are $29-$39; pay what you can at Saturdays matinee. Call 360-943-2744.
Harlequin Productions is staging OR, a neo-Restoration comedy set in 1660 about Aphra Behn, the first professional female playwright. Because it was written just a few years ago, the play has a modern sensibility and offers commentary on our times. It continues its run through Feb. 16 at State Theater, 202 Fourth Ave. E, Olympia. Showtimes are 8 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays. Call 360-786-0151 or go to harlequinproductions.org.
Olympia Family Theater is presenting its annual youth production JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH, David Woods adaptation of Roald Dahls book about an orphaned boy who travels across the ocean in a peach. Showtimes are 7 tonight and Feb.14-15; matinees at 1 p.m. Saturday and Sunday plus Feb.16 and 17; a 4:30 p.m. show Saturday and Feb.16, all at the black box theater at The Washington Center for the Performing Arts, 512 Washington St. SE, Olympia. Tickets are $16; $9 for ages 12 and younger; $12 for seniors, students and military. Call 360-570-1638 or go to olyft.com. For tickets, call 360-753-8586 or go to olytix.org. The play will be most enjoyed by ages 6 and older.