9 things to see and do in Wilmington this weekend, starting with the musical 'Grease'

·6 min read
Opera House Theatre Co. presents the musical "Grease" at Thalian Hall July 7-24.
Opera House Theatre Co. presents the musical "Grease" at Thalian Hall July 7-24.

It's a lighter-than-normal weekend for major events in the Wilmington area, which is to be expected after a long and action-packed Fourth of July holiday weekend.

That said, two musicals are opening downtown, and we've got our usual complement of comedy and fun concerts to choose from as well. Plus, there's a really cool-sounding zine and comics festival happening at a Wilmington brewery on Sunday.

For even more ideas of things to do this weekend, check out our list of outdoor summer concerts in the area (link below), as not all the shows happening this weekend are listed here.

If you're looking for Brunswick County events, be sure to check out Cheryl Whitaker's weekly roundup of things to do in the Brunswick towns and beaches.

More: Full list of outdoor summer concerts in Wilmington, plus Brunswick and Pender counties

More: Old Towne community summer bash, plus 9 other events happening in Brunswick this week

ALL WEEKEND

'Grease'

At Thalian Hall: Wilmington's Opera House Theatre Co. brings this crowd-pleasing musical to the main stage of Thalian Hall just in time for those steamy "Summer Nights." Mathis Turner plays bad-boy heartthrob Danny Zuko, Wilmington newcomer Stephanie Prestage plays the sweet, innocent Sandy Dumbrowski and a big cast and chorus will bring the summer heat to such famous tunes as "Greased Lightnin'," "We Go Together" and the title song.

Opera House Theatre Co. presents the musical "Grease" at Thalian Hall July 7-24.
Opera House Theatre Co. presents the musical "Grease" at Thalian Hall July 7-24.

Opera House vet Jason Aycock directs and he co-choreographs with Erin Sullivan, who's a veteran of multiple Broadway tours. Speaking of Broadway, musical director (and cast member) Brian Whitted has Broadway experience as well, serving in the orchestra of long-running hit "Chicago"  for more than a decade.

More: Wilmington's piano man: Brian Whitted brings Broadway talent to North Carolina

7:30 p.m. July 7-9, 14-16 and 21-23; 2 p.m. July 10, 17 and 24. Tickets are $32 plus fees. 910-632-2285.

'Dogfight'

At Hannah Block Historic USO/Community Arts Center: Thalian Association Community Theatre presents this military-themed musical on a stage in a building that once hosted service members during a former life as a USO.

Based on the 1991 movie, and with songs by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul ("Dear Evan Hanson"), it's about three young Marines getting ready to deploy to Southeast Asia in 1963, the early days of the conflict in Vietnam. But when Corporal Eddie Birdlace (Logan Mack) meets waitress Rose (Sydney Smith Martin, who shone as Marilyn Monroe in one-woman show at Thalian Hall earlier this year) during the Marines' last night in the states, things get complicated.

Sydney Smith Martin (right) stars in the musical "Dogfight" July 8-17 at the Community Arts Center.
Sydney Smith Martin (right) stars in the musical "Dogfight" July 8-17 at the Community Arts Center.

“The music is absolutely stunning," Thalian Association Artistic Director Chandler Davis said in a news release. "It’s also always a pleasure to bring theatrical pieces featuring the military to a place with such a rich military history like the Hannah Block Historic USO."

Cathy Street directs, with musical direction from Randy Craft. The Thalians advise that the show contains mature language and subject matter, as well as simulated gunfire. 7: 30 p.m. July 8-9 and 14-16, 2 p.m. July 10 and 17. $25. 910-251-1788.

Eric Neumann

At Dead Crow Comedy Room: That this New York comedian has a special (and a comedy album) titled "Nervous Lover" tells you a lot about his self-deprecating style, which also has him poking fun at his financial insecurity. ("My best financial year is still my bar mitzvah year. You shouldn't peak financially at 13, not a good look.")

Neumann, who has a two-night stand at Dead Crow this weekend, made his debut on "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon" earlier this year, during which he joked about having an overprotective mother and being traumatized after he got dumped in fifth grade. 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. July 8-9, $18-$28. 

THURSDAY 

Kicking Bird

At the Ocean Grill & Tiki Bar: Led by the married couple Shaun and Shaylah Paul, this rock and pop band has a reputation as one of Wilmington's most potent live acts thanks to such hooky, exuberant songs as "Radio Waves."

From left, Shaun Paul, Robin Cooksley, Shaylah Paul, Tom Micahels (sitting) and Greg Blair of Wilmington rock and pop band Kicking Bird.
From left, Shaun Paul, Robin Cooksley, Shaylah Paul, Tom Micahels (sitting) and Greg Blair of Wilmington rock and pop band Kicking Bird.

Overall, it's a mix of girl-group vibes, tweaky guitar solos, poppy hooks and amped-out riffs in service of a series of straight-up rock 'n' roll love songs. 7-9 p.m. July 7 free. 

More: Rock band Kicking Bird emerges from pandemic as one of Wilmington's most potent live acts

FRIDAY

Comedy at The Kettle

At The Kettle: Some of Wilmington's best stand-up comics fill the bill of this monthly showcase that takes place at a bottle shop overlooking (side-eyeing?) the pines of Long Leaf Park. Hosted by Ellie Coleman, who was the runner-up at the Port City's Top Comic competition, this month's Kettle of comedians contains Bridget Callahan, Jarrod Fortune, Lex Hunt and Omar Zamorano. 8 p.m. show, $5 cover. 

Friday Night Live

At the Pier at Port City Marina: Headlining this free, semi-monthly outdoor concert series in downtown Wilmington is The Breakfast Club, a 1980s tribute band that's been playing the Wilmington area since the '90s. 7-10 p.m., free, concessions available. 

SATURDAY

Color Temperature, Lauds

At Reggie's 4nd Street Tavern: Two of Wilmington's best bands headline this multi-act bill at midtown rock club Reggie's. Color Temperature is the indie rock project of Ross Page, who plays in multiple Wilmington bands (including Lauds) and whose recent album "Me Talk Pretty" is a collection of sonically adventurous, lyrically intriguing and superbly crafted bedroom pop songs.

Ross Page of Wilmington indie rock band Color Temperature's new album is "Me Talk Pretty."
Ross Page of Wilmington indie rock band Color Temperature's new album is "Me Talk Pretty."

Lauds plays a brand of reverby dream pop, as heard on a pair of recent, self-titled EPs. Also on the bill is a pair of Connecticut power-pop acts, Dr. Martino and Big Fang. 8 p.m. July 9, cover at the door. 

More: With new album and rising Spotify profile, Wilmington band Color Temperature is heating up

More: Wilmington dream pop band Lauds matches its retro sound to a moody modern world on new EP

Bring Out Yer Dead

At the Palm Room: A Grateful Dead cover band whose name is also a Monty Python reference? Not sure how you could go wrong there. This North Carolina-based tribute act will be holding court at  longtime Wrightsville Beach bar The Palm Room, playing everything from "Uncle John's Band" to "Touch of Gray." 10 p.m. July 9, $10. 

SUNDAY 

Stone Soup Zine Fest

At Hi-Wire Brewing: Self-published zines have been around for decades, reaching their peak in the 1990s and declining in popularity with the advent of the internet and, later, social media. But it's hard to keep a good art form down, and there have always been individuals and micro-publishers who have kept zines alive. On Sunday, Wilmington's own Milk & Honey Comics presents this gathering of more than two two dozen 'zine and comics creators from all over the country, including Wilmington.

Stone Soup Zine Fest is July 10 at Hi-Wire Brewing.
Stone Soup Zine Fest is July 10 at Hi-Wire Brewing.

At its heart, says Milk & Honey creator and event organizer Giancarlo D’Alessandro, it's all about celebrating small presses and indie comics.  Noon-5 p.m. July 10, free. 

Contact John Staton at 910-343-2343 or John.Staton@StarNewsOnline.com. 

This article originally appeared on Wilmington StarNews: 9 things to do in Wilmington NC July 7-10, including musical Grease