The Great Wilmington Summer of 2021 continues to ramp up.
Tons to see and do this weekend, from the full-fledged return of Fourth Friday Gallery Nights and two (!) productions from Opera House Theatre Co. to cool concerts (rock, jazz) and even a new film.
One note: I did a separate story on all of the LGBTQ Pride Month events this weekend, so I didn’t list them here. Find out more about Chalk Full of Pride, Pride Pinic and the Here and Queer Fest in the link below.
Opera House Theatre Co. continues its summer season of musicals at Cape Fear Community College’s Wilson Center with a musical tribute to one of the great crooners of all time. “My Way: A Musical Tribute to Frank Sinatra,” includes such indelible hits as “Fly Me to the Moon,” “I Get A Kick Out Of You,” “New York, New York” and Sinatra’s signature tune, “My Way.”
Opera House has brought to town a powerhouse cast of Broadway talent for the show.
Jeremy Benton and Jennifer Johns have each done multiple national tours of Broadway shows, and might be familiar to Wilmington audiences who saw Opera House’s production of “Uptown at the Cotton Club” at the Wilson Center in April, the first indoor production at the venue in over a year.
Dave Schoonover has multiple national tours under his belt as well, and Linda Moshier is a seasoned performer who’s been in shows all over the world, including a tour with singing group the USO Liberty Belles.
Details: 7:30 p.m. June 25-26 and 3 p.m. June 27 at the CFCC Wilson Center, 703 N. Third St., Wilmington. $23.75-$43.25. VIP cabaret seats and opera box seats are $75-$100. 910-362-7999 or WilsonCenterTickets.com.
After returning from the pandemic in limited fashion last month, downtown Wilmington’s beloved, long-running art gallery crawl will feature more than a dozen galleries this weekend. From Cape Fear Community College’s Wilma Daniels Gallery on Wilmington’s Northside to the ArtWorks on South Front Street near Greenfield Lake, with plenty of stops in the heart of downtown, it’ll be a Fourth Friday that should feel plenty familiar to fans of the event.
Highlights include the show “Another Wonderful Day” at New Elements Gallery, 271 N. Front St., featuring the work of North Carolina artist Kyle Highsmith, whose impressionistic renderings of coastal scenes have long made him a gallery favorite.
Art in Bloom’s first public opening since the pandemic began will be the group show “Harmonious Relationships: Art Inspired by Music” at the gallery’s 210 Princess St. location. In addition to work by artists including Debra Bucci, Bradley Carter, Elizabeth Darrow, Traudi Thornton and Pam Toll, violinist Shirley Lebo will provide live music for the event. A portion of proceeds from the show will benefit Opera Wilmington.
At longtime Wilmington studio complex Acme Art, 711 N. Fifth Ave., a group show will highlight the work of the artists there, including abstract painter Dick Roberts.
And at the historic Burgwin-Wright House, 224 Market St., Todd Lengyeltoti’s mixed media works will be featured in the show “Color Splash.”
Details: 6-9 p.m. June 25 at galleries in and near downtown Wilmington. Check ArtsCouncilOfWilmington.org for full listing of galleries.
Presented by the vinyl and gift shop Modern Legend, it’s a great double bill of music to get your weekend started.
The Wilmington-based singer, songwriter and Fort Lowell Records artist Tracy Shedd will be making her first local appearance since 2019 with this show. Shedd, whose career spans more than 20 years, is a master of deeply groovy indie pop that sounds supremely sweet yet often hints at darkness. Shedd’s band will feature a special appearance by longtime Wilmington musician Brian Weeks (De La Noche, Summer Set) on keys.
Also on the bill is the Wilmington garage rock band Kicking Bird, which played an incendiary show outdoors at the Palate bar and restaurant back in April. Some songs have a grungy, girl-group vibe, while others are full-on rockers.
Both acts have songs on the Fort Lowell release “GROW: A Compilation in Solidarity with Black Lives Matter,” which is a great collection of Wilmington acts past and present. Sales of the record benefit the North Carolina New Hanover County NAACP.
Details: 9 p.m. June 25 at Satellite Bar and Lounge, 120 Greenfield St., Wilmington.
UNCW music professor Jerald Shynett has been a force in Wilmington jazz since the 1990s, whether playing trombone in various combos, leading his own groups or teaching the next generation of players. During the pandemic, Shynett didn’t rest on his considerable laurels — which include writing music for Wilmington-filmed TV series “One Tree Hill” or playing with the Grammy-nominated contemporary big band Jazz Surge. Rather, he used the “down time” to write four new jazz compositions.
Shynett, along with the 16-piece Hwy 17 Big Band, will debut the pieces 2 p.m. June 27 during a concert at Kenan Auditorium billed as “Lines of Sight.” Shynett will direct the band, which includes professional jazz musicians from North and South Carolina; members of the UNCW jazz faculty and other regional institutions; and alumni from the UNCW Department of Music and the UNCW Summer Jazz Workshop.
Details: 2 p.m. Sunday, June 27, at Kenan Auditorium, 515 Wagoner Drive, UNCW campus, Wilmington. $15; free to UNCW students. Tickets available at UNCWarts.universitytickets.com.
The Opera House Theatre Company Apprentice Program for young performers presents a musical version of the classic Louisa May Alcott novel. Wilker Ballantine directs the show, which ran on Broadway in 2005 and has music by Jason Howland, a book by Allan Knee and lyrics by Mindi Dickstein.
The coming-of-age story delves into the very different lives of the four March sisters in the years after the Civil War.
“Little Women” will be the first production of a musical at the historic North Front Theatre, formerly known as City Stage, since February of 2020.
Details: 7:30 p.m. June 24-26, with matinees 3 p.m. June 26 and 4 p.m. June 27 at North Front Theatre, Wilmington. $20, $15 for students and seniors. OperaHouseTheatreCompany.org.
Cammeron Batanides has been a big part of the Wilmington arts scene for a long time. A fixture at concerts, she’s known as an “action painter” who composes paintings of various bands as they perform.
This weekend, a short documentary about Batanides, “The Art of Music,” makes its debut. Produced by Mike Raab and edited by Patrick Ogelvie, it screens Saturday evening, appropriately enough, at Bottega, a venue with a long history of supporting both music and art.
Details: Cello tunes by Hillary Flowers from 6-8 p.m., screening 8:30 p.m. Saturday, June 26, at Bottega, 723 N. Fourth St., Wilmington. Free.
Contact John Staton at 910-343-2343 or [email protected]