Activities, Events, and Things to Do in Wilmington, NC This Weekend

If you need a little atmosphere, be sure to catch the Opera House’s production of “Footloose” at Thalian Hall. Plus, there’s a good concert for a good cause at the Brooklyn Arts Center and plenty of other entertainment options for your weekend in Wilmington.

“Footloose,” which opened last weekend, is the first full-scale musical to be staged by Opera House Theater Co. at Thalian Hall in downtown Wilmington since the pandemic began there. two years ago. Fittingly, Opera House marked the occasion with a production as jubilant and emotional as the moment demands.

Continued:Wilmington one degree closer to Kevin Bacon as council cuts ‘Footloose’ repeat

Based, of course, on the iconic ’80s film about dancing-happy teenagers who refuse to be held back by their small town’s repressive religious community, which has banned dancing by law, director Ray Kennedy leads a cast direct elimination through a show that presents several magical moments.

The production of Opera House Theater Co. "Free from all ties" continues until February 27 at Thalian Hall.

Sydney Smith Martin captures the rebellious and outsized energy of Ariel, the preacher’s daughter whose acting out is the product of both youthful exuberance and a family tragedy her father is loath to talk about. As Ren, the outsider/rookie who takes on the role of the town’s teenagers to take on an unsympathetic establishment, Mathis Turner displays an endearing command of wry and timely one-liners. Together, they share crackling chemistry and their vocals blend beautifully on the second-act stunner “Almost Paradise.”

Ariel’s trio of friends are a delight, starting with Sydney Short, who is not only wonderfully funny as the gossipy Rusty, but who sings the 80s classics “Holding Out for a Hero” and “Let’s Hear It for the Boy”. Jessi Hoadley as Wendy Jo and Lily Zukerman as Urleen both have standout moments in the comedic Greek-chorus trio.

Logan Siu has the moves and cocky attitude as Ariel’s bad boyfriend Chuck, and Jakob Gruntfest as Ren’s friend Willard, who struggles to dance, almost steals the second act with his song which appeals to the “Mama Says” crowd.

Shannon Playl and Steve Hassmer sing beautifully as Ariel’s parents, with Hassmer creating a beautiful arc from adamant to understanding as Reverend Moore. Things get surprisingly emotional as their story of family dysfunction unfolds.

The production of Opera House Theater Co. "Free from all ties" until February 27 at Thalian Hall.

One would expect “Footloose” to feature plenty of fabulous moves, and an ensemble led by dancer Sydney Jones doesn’t disappoint as they perform Kennedy and Carson Hobbs’ choreography with aplomb. Musical director Brian Whitted’s band crushes the rock score, and Terry Collins’ substantial ensemble captures everything from a gritty railway overpass to a light-drenched church sanctuary.

The title track made famous by Kenny Loggins has been reworked in a more goofy than rocky way, but that’s more a fault of the show itself and not this all-systems production.

Details: 7:30 p.m. February 25 and 26, with matinees at 2 p.m. February 26 and 27 at Thalian Hall, 310 Chestnut St., Wilmington. 910-632-2285 or

Wilmington Striking Copper Band.

When folk-rock band Striking Copper moved to the Wilmington area six years ago, it didn’t take long for them to become a well-known part of the Wilmington music community.

“We love playing in Wilmington,” said Jacquie Lee, who along with her twin sister Allie, provides the band’s lead vocals. “We were welcomed into the community with open arms. The community just made us feel connected.”

Now, Striking Copper is ready to give back to the community with Dreams Come True, a concert that will benefit DREAMS of Wilmington, which provides free art lessons to local children.

“We all wanted to find something that connected to our community and DREAMS fit the mold perfectly,” Lee said.

In addition to Striking Copper, the concert will also feature sets from American duo Courtney Lynn & Quinn and indie folk/pop band Stray Local, who formed in Wilmington but are now based in Raleigh.

Lee said she would like to see Dreams Come True become an annual event.

In addition to the show, there is also a VIP option which allows early access and an acoustic set before the show; event-specific merchandise; a draw for gift baskets; and a specialty cocktail, the purchase of which will further strengthen the mission of DREAMS.

Details: 7 p.m. (6 p.m. VIP) Feb. 25 at the Brooklyn Arts Center Annex, 516 N. Fourth St., Wilmington. $10, VIP $20. All proceeds benefit DREAMS of Wilmington.

More Weekend Picks

Thusday: “Quiet As It’s Kept” at CFCC Wilson Center – Wilmington dancer and choreographer Kevin Lee-y Green and his Techmoja Dance & Theater Co. present this original, grant-funded work about the trauma of sexual abuse and the healing power of the community that helps survivors transcend it. 4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. February 24

Continued:Wilmington choreographer Kevin Lee-y Green gets national exposure and local premiere

Thusday:Capitol Comedy at Thalian Hall — If you like political, musical and/or satirical humor, this show is for you. 7:30 p.m. February 24

Thusday: Aoife O’Donovan at the Odell Williamson Auditorium – The Grammy-winning Irish-American singer-songwriter has a beautiful voice and folksy, introspective tunes (see “Phoenix” below). The first part is Yasmin Williams. 7 p.m. on February 24.

Friday: Fourth Friday Gallery Nights – As if there wasn’t enough else this weekend, the Wilmington Arts Council’s monthly gallery tour is also happening. Notable openings include “Sibs 2: Brooks Koff and Michael Van Hout”, at Art in Bloom. It features oil paintings on wood panels by Van Hout, who is best known for his wire sculptures and has not shown his paintings publicly in years, as well as 2D and 3D stained glass mosaics by Koff. New Elements Gallery organizes its annual “Home Show”, with the work of artists from the gallery placed in a family setting. For a full list of participating galleries, visit 6-9pm February 25

Friday Saturday: 24th Annual TreeFest at Independence Mall — If you wanted a tree, what kind of tree would it be? Get a free selection of native trees and/or grasses ready to be planted at the dawn of spring. 11am-4pm 25-26 Feb.

Friday Saturday: Yedoye Travis at Dead Crow Comedy Room — Comedian and actor Travis was selected for the New Faces of Comedy showcase at the renowned Just for Laughs Festival in Montreal a few years ago, which means he is one of the best comedians of the moment. Witty, insightful, a must see. 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. on February 25 and 26.

Saturday: Port City Comedy Jam at Thalian Hall (Studio Theatre) – Actor and comedian Orlando Jones is back with another evening of stand-up comedy featuring local and touring comics. 7:30 p.m. February 26

Saturday: Hip-hop showcase / block party at Jimmy’s Wrightsville Beach – Wilmington hip-hop icon Louis. headlines this stacked show that features Wilmington rapper MoeSOS DC and his band Wavelength, as well as Fayetteville’s Mav Bishop and NC hip-hop collective The Social Contract. 9 p.m. February 26

Saturday:Pinky Verde and Billy Heathen at Bourgie Nights – The laid-back cool of former Wilmington band Pinky Verde (aka singer and songwriter Heather Jensen) paired with the highly emotive octane of Wilmington indie rocker Billy Heathen will make for a dynamic double bill . Do that triple bill: Durham lo-fi actor Moon Racer (who was featured at Cucalorus Fest) will get things started on the right foot. 9 p.m. February 26

Continued:Wilmington band Pinky Verde releases a song from the heart

The whole weekend: Cameron Art Museum Celebrates 20 Years — Wilmington’s premier art museum is celebrating two decades at its 17th Street location by bringing back some of its most memorable exhibits. They include: Canadian sculptor Diane Landry’s chilling, motion-filled installation “Flying School”; the suits Wilmington native Alonzo V. Wilson made for HBO’s “Treme”; and sculptures, paintings and prints by American artists Bob Trotman, Donald Sultan and Faith Ringgold. 10am-5pm from February 25 to 27.

Costume of Alonzo Wilson from the HBO show "Treme."

The whole weekend: “The Tempest” at UNCW – The University of North Carolina at Wilmington presents its fantastic version of what is already one of Shakespeare’s most fantastic tales. 8 p.m. Feb. 24-26, 2 p.m. Feb. 27.

Continued:UNCW’s gender-reversed ‘The Tempest’ evokes both ‘Star Wars’ and ‘Gilligan’s Island’

Contact John Staton at 910-343-2343 or [email protected]

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