Tony Rivenbark, longtime manager of the historic Thalian Hall in downtown Wilmington, died earlier this year after leading the site for more than four decades.
But while Rivenbark may be gone, the legacy he created in making the Hall one of Wilmington’s most vital cultural institutions lives on. The Hall’s annual series of touring acts kicks into high gear this week with two big performances, and a new production from one of the local theater companies that has been Thalian’s bread and butter for decades. many years also opens.
Plus, this weekend in Wilmington sees a good mix of fall festival-type events and spooky Halloween-themed performances.
For a look at events in Brunswick County, you can check out our weekly roundup of those. For a preview of what’s to come after this weekend, check out our roundup of fall festivals in the Wilmington area.
More: arts and events28 fall festivals in the Wilmington area for 2022
Hands of Liberace
At the Thalian room: The actual hands of Philip Fortenberry were featured in the 2013 film “Behind the Candelabra,” in which Michael Douglas played the flamboyant piano virtuoso Liberace. In this traveling show, Fortenberry, who once played weekly shows at the Liberace Museum in Las Vegas, will pay homage to Liberace, performing the songs the pianist was associated with (“Strangers in the Night,” “Beer Barrel Polka”) and recounting stories about Mr. Showmanship himself.
At the Jengo Playhouse: This Halloween-themed review was last held in Wilmington in 2017, and even though it’s more of a musical than a horror show, there are some entertaining moments. The concept has undead characters returning from the grave to regale us with styles such as country and big band. Numbers include “Going Green,” a groovy, stoney little number that might be the prettiest song about breaking down ever written; “Ghost of a Chance”, about a languid mind; and “Beware the Understudy”, about an actress with murderous ambitions.
Dominican Jazz Project
At the Beckwith Recital Hall: This top-notch Latin jazz band made up of musicians from the Dominican Republic, Cuba, Puerto Rico and the United States will play a launch concert for their new album, “Desde Lejos” (Summit Records). Led by Dominican saxophonist Sandy Gabriel and North Carolina pianist Stephen Anderson, the show will also feature UNCW music teachers Jerald Shynett (trombone) and Kevin Day (trumpet) seated with the band.
Schtick or treat
At The Hop Yard: If you never got to see Robin Williams perform his stand-up live, well, you still can’t. The next best thing, though, might be that second annual event where Wilmington comics do their best impersonations of famous comedians like John Mulaney, Billy Crystal, Emo Phillips, and yes, even Williams. It looks like artistic risk-taking at its finest, and hopefully funniest.
8 p.m. Oct. 20, free.
At the Palace : Wilmington Sheme of Gold rapper will be teaming up with DJ RizzyBeats for this show and dance party. According to the poster for Wilmington artist Spooky Kyd’s Scream-tastic show, you have to “come in costume,” no pun intended (I don’t think so).
7 to 9 p.m. Oct. 21, free.
More: Wilmington MusicAfter stints in prison, Wilmington Sheme of Gold rapper turns to music ‘as a way out’
At the Thalian room: A world-class flamenco guitarist who’s also a hilarious comedian, there’s no one in the world of pop culture quite like Charo. Expect her signature mix of one-liners and jaw-dropping guitar thumps as she brings her world tour number to Wilmington for what I believe to be the first time.
Simply put, Charo is an icon. She was on both “The Love Boat” and “Hollywood Squares” at the time, and stayed in the cultural conversation long enough to become a staple on reality TV shows such as “Celebrity Wife Swap” and “Dancing. with the Stars”. “Although, you know, also being written in publications as diverse as Guitar Player magazine and The New York Timeswhich read, “It’s time to take (Charo) seriously.”
7:30 p.m. Oct. 22, 910-632-2285.
The Queen’s Cartoonists with the Wilmington Symphony
At CFCC Wilson Center: Touring act The Queen’s Cartoonists is known for starring in ‘toon. Simply put, they play the classic and jazz songs that many of us first heard from watching old cartoons, from Bugs Bunny and “The Barber of Seville” to The Pink Panther theme. Musicians from the Wilmington Symphony Orchestra will join the cartoonists, and cartoons will be projected on a screen behind the band as they perform.
Steep Canyon Rangers
At Greenfield Lake Amphitheater: North Carolina bluegrass icons and Grammy winners Steep Canyon Rangers are well known for their collaborations with artists as diverse as comedian/actor/banjo lover Steve Martin and pop vocal group Boyz II Men. On Saturday, the band brings its roots number to Wilmington for the first time since before the pandemic. However, they are no strangers to Wilmington and used to play the old Soapbox venue downtown at the time. Their most recent album is “Arm in Arm”, released in 2020 on the NC Yep Roc label.
Caroline Place/Ardmore: This fourth annual outdoor art tour features the work of more than three dozen local artists displayed on residents’ porches in this charming Wilmington neighborhood, located in and around the intersection of Wrightsville and Pender Avenues.
“This is a special, one-of-a-kind event that focuses entirely on the artists and their work,” said organizer Quinn Cook, who noted that 100% of proceeds go to the artists.
Additionally, this year’s Art-Oberfest will benefit the DREAMS Center for Arts Education, which is celebrating its 25e birthday this year. Wilmington artist Cammeron Batanides painted a watercolor in honor of DREAMS, and the sale of signed and numbered prints will benefit the group, which offers art lessons to children of all income levels.
A Fundraiser for a Pawsitive Mission Comedy
At Dead Crow Comedy Room: If you’ve ever wanted to punch someone in the face with a pie, this weekend is your time to shine. As part of this fundraiser for A Pawsitive Mission, which helps pay vet bills for people in need, a roster of Wilmington comedians led by estimate Lew Morgante will perform several sets. Which is fun in itself. After their performance, however, there is something of a grand finale: you have the option of buying a pie to throw against the comic book(s) of your choice. Big laughs and a big mess for a good cause.
7 p.m. on October 22. $15 and $25. 910-399-1750.
At Greenfield Lake: Billed as a celebration of science, nature and wildlife, this environmental festival organized by Cape Fear River Watch and the City of Wilmington Parks and Recreation Department will be held at the Greenfield Lake Boathouse. As you all know, Greenfield Lake is one of our area’s gems, and it’s a great place to take the kids anytime, but especially during LakeFest. There will be educational games and activities, live animal exhibits, tours and paddle boat rides, and representatives from many of the area’s environmental organizations.
10 a.m.-2 p.m. on October 22. Details about CapeFearRiverwatch.org.
Surf City Fall Festival
At Soundside Park: The family-themed celebration includes lots of things for the kids to do (bouncing houses!), plus food trucks and live beach music from the band North Tower.
3-6 p.m. October 22. Details on SurfCityNC.gov.
Wilmington Symphonic Winds
At Kenan Auditorium: This local group calls its free family program “Creatures,” in part because its centerpiece is a performance of Prokofiev’s “Peter and the Wolf.” True to the “Creatures” theme, the show also includes an arrangement by Led Zeppelin rocker “Black Dog” performed on clarinet by Andy Hudson from North Carolina. Other featured composers include John Philip Sousa, Oscar Navarro, Julie Giroux and Modest Mussorgsky.
4:30 p.m. October 23, free.
THE WHOLE WEEKEND
At the Ruth and Bucky Stein Studio Theater in Thalian Hall: Wilmington theater company Big Dawg Productions presents the stage adaptation of the macabre thriller of a book by Stephen King, which of course has also been made into a famous film.
Steve Vernon plays Paul Sheldon, a famous writer who has a horrible car accident in the middle of nowhere. He is saved by a nurse named Annie Wilkes (Holli Saperstein), who, oddly enough, happens to be Paul’s biggest fan. She also has very strong opinions about his writing and decides to keep him captive while he recovers, forcing him to write whatever story she wants using rather unusual (and shockingly violent!) methods. . Chase Harrison plays a nosy local police officer and Randy Davis directs.
Sneads Ferry Shrimp Festival
Located just over the Pender County border in the small town of Sneads Ferry, this festival has been held annually for over 50 years and is a hassle-free day trip for any fruit lover. from the sea. In addition to all the plates of fresh shrimp and fried fish, there’s a 9 a.m. parade, live music, a shrimp festival queen, vendors, kids’ activities and more. It all ends with a fireworks display on the last evening of the festival.
October 21-22. More information at SneadsFerryShrimpFestival.org.
Contact John Staton at 910-343-2343 or [email protected]