16 sweet things to do in Wilmington this weekend, including the Wilmington Theater Awards

The cast of Opera House Theatre Company's "Mama Mia" performs at the eight annual Wilmington Theater Awards at Thalian Hall in 2019.
The cast of Opera House Theatre Company's "Mama Mia" performs at the eight annual Wilmington Theater Awards at Thalian Hall in 2019.

With the 10th Wilmington Theater Awards getting ready to happen on March 23 — the first time the awards show celebrating Wilmington's theatrical community has been held since the pandemic — it's a good time to remind people that, back in March of 2020, the 9th Wilmington Theater Awards almost didn't happen.

As we all remember, or have maybe blocked out, pandemic news was reaching a fever pitch in March of 2020. The theater awards were held March 11 to a packed house at Thalian Hall downtown. A good time was had by all, but the next morning, things started getting canceled (the NCAA tournament, the Major League Baseball season). Fun fact: the ninth annual awards were originally scheduled for March 12 before moving to March 11. If that original date had held, we'd almost certainly be having the 9th annual theater awards this week, as opposed to three years ago.

At any rate, theater was one of the last things to fully return from the pandemic. At the theater awards on March 23, we can all celebrate it being back.

Of course, there's plenty more stuff going on this weekend besides the theater awards on Thursday night, as you'll see below. If you're looking for things to do in Brunswick County, we do a separate list for that. See link below.

More:6 things to do in Brunswick County this week, including a Japanese performance


10th Wilmington Theater Awards

Jeff Phillips performs during the ninth Wilmington Theater Awards in 2020 at Thalian Hall.
Jeff Phillips performs during the ninth Wilmington Theater Awards in 2020 at Thalian Hall.

At Thalian Hall: The show and awards ceremony honors the best performances and technical achievements in Wilmington-area theater while featuring scenes and songs from the productions nominated for Best Play and Best Musical. The show is hosted by Sydney Smith Martin, a prolific Wilmington singer and actress, and produced by the Arts Council of Wilmington and New Hanover County in association with Thalian Hall. With a special presentation honoring Cherri McKay, the longtime director of Cape Fear Shakespeare on the Green, which celebrates the 30th anniversary of its founding this year, with the Lela Thompson Award for Enduring Contribution to Wilmington Theater. 7:30 p.m. March 23. Tickets at 910-632-2285.

More: Theater Awards nomineesAs Wilmington Theater Awards makes long-awaited return, a first look at nominees and more


At Kenan Auditorium: Six-time Grammy-nominated Georgia rapper comes to UNCW for the Association for Campus Entertainment's spring concert. B.o.B. first came to public notice as a teenager in 2006 but stepped away from music for a while after he became frustrated with the industry. Now he's back, and released a new single, "TED Talk," last year. 7:30 p.m. March 23, $20. 910-962-3500.



At UNCW: The music department at the University of North Carolina Wilmington holds its annual celebration of what some like to call American Classical Music with a pair of concerts. On Thursday night, North Carolina jazz fusion drummer Jeff Sipe plays at Beckwith Recital Hall in the Cultural Arts Building on campus. On Friday night, JazzFest's main concert features Grammy-nominated jazz singer Kate McGarry at Kenan Auditorium. 7:30 p.m. March 23 at Beckwith and 7:30 p.m. March 24 at Kenan. Tickets are $9.34 and $14.02, respectively. 910-962-3500.

Raanan Hershberg

At Dead Crow Comedy Room: This weekend's touring comedian at Wilmington's premiere comedy spot has been on "The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon" and premiered his one-man show, "Off the Grid," at the New York International Fringe Festival. Based in New York City, in his stand-up act Hershberg touches on such topics as the challenges of sobriety and the perils of getting older. 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. March 24-25, tickets are $18 and $28.

'The Drunken Sisters' and 'Dulcitius'

At UNCW's SRO Theatre: As part of the UNCW theater department's Student Lab Series, two one-act plays produced entirely by theater students. "The Drunken Sisters" by Thornton Wilder (of "Our Town" fame), directed by Erica Betts, is based on a Greek myth about the god Apollo tricking The Fates. "Dulcitius," by Hrotsvita of Gandersheim directed by Natalie Dill, is a 1,000-year-old black comedy about three virgins who refuse who renounce their Christian faith. 7 p.m. March 23-25, 2 p.m. March 26. $9.34 and $2.80. 910-962-3500.


Fourth Friday Gallery Nights

Opening for "The Grads Art Show" at the Bryand Gallery is 6-9 p.m. March 24.
Opening for "The Grads Art Show" at the Bryand Gallery is 6-9 p.m. March 24.

Downtown Wilmington: The monthly art crawl of downtown-area galleries is upon us again, and as always there are a few particularly special shows to highlight. First up is "The Grads Art Show" at the Bryand Gallery (20 S. Front St.) featuring work by the young women of the GLOW Academy Senior Art Club. Arranged by their teacher, Wilmington artist Greyson Davis, the show is a culmination of sorts, as Davis has been teaching these high school seniors since they were in eighth grade. "Sort of like my graduation present to them," Davis said, noting that the artists helped him with the "Black Lives Do Matter" installation currently at the Cameron, have led family art activities at CAM and even inspired him to open his own "Do Art" business and studio.

Also of note for this month's Fourth Friday is "Outside the Box Two" at Acme Art on North Fifth Avenue. Acme's always a cool space for exhibitions, and this one features the work of 15 area fiber artists, including Fritzi Huber, September Krueger, Andi Steele and Jan Wutkowski. 6-9 p.m. March 24. For a full list of participating galleries and art spaces, go to ArtsWilmington.org.

The Wildwoods

At Bourgie Nights: Nebraska folk band has some lovely little tunes and some truly exquisite, spine-tingling harmonies, like on the throwback stunner "West Virginia Rain." Do not miss. Opening act is the moodily earnest Wilmington indie rock band Lady Die, which features the stellar, effects-laden vocals of singer and songwriter Julia Rothenberger. 8 p.m. March 24, $10 in advance, $15 day of show.

'Mama Bears'

At Jengo's Playhouse: Weekly film series from the Cucalorus Film Festival, UNCW and the South Arts Southern Circuit Tour screens director Daresha Kyi's documentary. The film takes a look at women, the so-called Mama Bears of the title, whose conservative Christian beliefs have been challenged, and sometimes changed, by their love for their LGBTQ children. The acclaimed doc has screened at festivals all over the world, including SXSW in Austin, and at Cucalorus in Wilmington last November. 7:30 p.m. March 24, tickets are $10.


At The Palm Room: Longtime Wilmington hard rock band brings its metallic, muscular sound to their favorite Wrightsville Beach stomping grounds. Opening acts are YULE and Wilmington's own A Bottle Volcanic. 9 p.m. March 24. Cover at the door.



At Kenan Auditorium: Actor David Payne brings the legendary British Prime Minister Winston Churchill to life in this touring one-man show. Filled with both humor and emotion, the play, which should appeal to fans of Netflix drama "The Crown," recounts Churchill's war exploits, his political battles and his personal life. 2 p.m. March 25, $55. 910-962-3500.


At Satellite Bar & Lounge: Raleigh band led by Jamil Rashad plays a funky brand of rock and soul that hearkens back to the 1970s. "How Do Ya Feel," from the band's excellent 2022 album "Electric Cowboy: Born in Carolina Mud," sounds like a lost classic from that era. With 35,000 monthly listeners on Spotify, this is almost certainly your last chance to see Boulevards in a venue this intimate, and at a price this low. 8 p.m. March 25, free to attend.

Fireside Collective

At Bourgie Nights: Asheville band with considerable chops blends bluegrass, folk, country, blues and even some funk into a heady, jammy stew. 2022 album "Across the Divide" traverses all those styles and then some. 8 p.m. March 25, $15 in advance, $20 at the door.

Hot Plastic Poets

At The Place: Make-up date for show scheduled for earlier this month that got postponed. Hot Plastic Poets have been playing locally for a couple of years now and have a whole bevy of infectious indie rock tunes. Opening act is Strangers in Public. 8 p.m. March 25, cover at the door.

More: Wilmington musicWilmington band Hot Plastic Poets transforms weird feelings into catchy rock songs

5th annual Bluegrass Bash

At Thalian Hall: Annual concert featuring some of the top bluegrass bands in the area. The Brewer Brothers will start things off outside in the Thalian Hall parking lot, where you can also enjoy some local beer and barbecue. Then thing move indoors for a concert on the main stage featuring the traditional bluegrass of the Folkstone String Band and the newgrassy stylings of Massive Grass. 6 p.m. parking lot party, 7:30 p.m. indoor show. 910-632-2285.

Relay Relay

At Live at Ted's: This former Wilmington duo made up of Hannah Lomas and Jamie Rowen started out as an old-time group called Stray Local. They have gradually transformed their sound into more of an indie-pop vibe, and now they've changed their name as well, to Relay Relay. New single "Back to the Light" has a bright and dancy sound, with uplifting lyrics about overcoming the darkness. 8 p.m. March 25, $7.


N.C. Symphony

At CFCC Wilson Center: Our state symphony returns to the Port City for a concert anchored by Brahms' "Symphony No. 3." Alpesh Chauhan conducts. 3 p.m. March 26, tickets start at $20. 910-362-7999.

This article originally appeared on Wilmington StarNews: Things to do in Wilmington NC this weekend March 23-26