Last month we lost Peter O’Toole, “the untamed lion of King Street” himself. He received one of his eight Academy Award nominations for his portrayal of King Henry II in the 1968 film adaptation of “The Lion in Winter,” the Tony Award-winning play at Williamston Theatre this weekend. The show is a partnership between Williamston Theatre and the MSU Theatre Department. In this piece of historical drama, Henry’s two sons cross boundaries of brotherly competition to see who will be crowned his father’s successor. The banished wife of Henry, Eleanor of Aquitaine, fuels the emotional heart of the show, which is full of deception, manipulation and a desire for world dominance. Chat with the producer during talkback sessions at one of four preview performances this weekend. Williamston Theatre, 112 S. Putnam Road, Williamston. Pay what you can for the first preview; $15-25 for later previews and performances. 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday; 2 p.m. Sunday. (517) 655-SHOW, williamstontheatre.org.
SATURDAY-SUNDAY, JAN. 25-26 >> Happendance Winter Concert
Happendance, a school and professional dance company based in Lansing, performs a modern dance concert at LCC’s Dart Auditorium.
“I have strived to make a concert of contemporary modern dance that is not off-putting or so avant-garde that audience members will leave scratching their heads and saying “I just don“t get it,’” said Patricia Villanueva, the company’s artistic director. “Dance is the language of the human body, and that is something we all have in common. Therefore dance can be a common denominator for all of us.”
Four choreographers — Andrew Amos, Tracy Holtzer, Danielle Selby and Villanueva — create six works in the 70-minute show. The piece entitled “Tag! You’re IT!” is choreographed by Amos and describes the fun (and sometimes unpleasant outcomes) of the schoolyard game of tag. Dancers progress through daily struggles and notable life stages in Holtzer’s “Where are You Right Now?” Not to be confused with the Disney movie (or the weather outside), “Frozen,” choreographed by Selby, is a representation of the darkness that isolation can bring. Happendance 2, a preprofessional company, joins the stage for this number. Villanueva choreographs the three remaining works: “Portrait,” “Darling” and “Dads Can Dance Too!” Preview performance 8 p.m. Friday, Jan. 24; regular performances 8 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 25 and 3 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 26. $15/$12 students and seniors (preview performance is pay what you can). Dart Auditorium on the campus of Lansing Community College, 500 N. Capitol Ave., Lansing. (517) 333-3528, happendance.org.
SATURDAY, JAN. 25 >> Cardboard Sled Race
For all those kids (and kids at heart) who’d rather play with the box their presents came in, is there ever the event for you. At the 8th Annual Cardboard Sled Race, snow hill daredevils will get to spruce up a cardboard hotrod and take the slopes. Prizes are given out for speed, creative design and best wipe out in one of the three age group categories. May the card(board)s be ever in your favor. Music and race commentary provided by AudioLogic DJ. Pre-register online or one hour before the event in the Gier Community Center Gym. 2 p.m., the hill behind Gier Community Center, 2400 Hall St., Lansing. $5. (517) 483-4313, lcc.edu/radio/events/cardboardclassic.
Sunday, Jan. 26 >> ‘Beyond the Beats’ percussion recital
Packed in the back of the orchestra, percussionists bide their time like explosives experts until it“s time to light up the battlefield with a blinding “clang,” a rolling “tattatatta” or a devastating “kaboom.” Given the space and time to stretch out, they can weave patterns, melodies and colors of (ahem) striking variety. This Sunday, Lansing Symphony percussionists Gwen Burgett and Andrew Spencer play a rare duo percussion romp, perhaps the most unusual entry in the symphony“s chamber series this season. The music calls for countless nuances of hitting resonant things, from the spare, post-Christmas iciness of Fredrik Andersson’s “The Loneliness of Santa Claus” to the bracing whacks of Justin Merritt“s “Drumbreak” to the hypnotic, globe-hopping “Book of Grooves” by Alejandro Vinao and more. $15. First Presbyterian Church’s Molly Grove Chapel. (517) 487-5001, lansingsymphony.org.
SUNDAY, JAN. 26 >> Winter Party benefits Robert Busby Memorial Garden
Robert Busby, the late unofficial “Mayor of Old Town,” was part of the guiding force that transformed the struggling north Lansing neighborhood into the colorful, artistic hub of Lansing. Commemorate this man of change with a winter party at Busby’s former base of operations, the Creole Gallery. Shake the snowflakes from your hair as you dance to the music of Steppin’ In It. Proceeds will go toward supplying the Robert Busby Memorial Garden with plants and continued maintenance. See his spirit bloom this spring as you walk along Lansing’s River Trail and know that you were a helping force. If you’re unable to attend the event but still want to contribute, donations are always accepted. 3-7 p.m. $30 in advance, $35 at the door. Includes refreshments and one beverage. Visit “Robert’s Page of Caring” on Facebook. Creole Gallery, 1218 Turner St., Lansing. (517) 803-8828, iloveoldtown.org/robert-p-busby-memorial.
SUNDAY, JAN. 26 >> What does the fox say?
Reconnect with nature and discover what being foxy really means at Fenner Nature Center. This event gives you a hands-on experience with real fox artifacts and allows you to make your own fox-inspired craft. Information given on fox behaviors will help as you step into their environment to learn about tracking. Dress warmly. 1-2 p.m. $5/person. Fenner Nature Center, 2020 E. Mt. Hope Ave., Lansing. (517) 483-4224, mynaturecenter.org.