CFCC announces opening season for fine arts center is your source for free news and information in the Wilmington area.

Liza Minnelli kicks off the opening season of CFCC's Humanities and Fine Arts Center. Photos courtesy CFCC.
Liza Minnelli kicks off the opening season of CFCC’s Humanities and Fine Arts Center. Photos courtesy CFCC.

The legendary Liza Minnelli and the incomparable Lily Tomlin are among the entertainment line-up for the opening season of Cape Fear Community College’s new performance venue.

The college announced the Humanities and Fine Arts Center’s schedule on Thursday night. Opening this fall in downtown Wilmington, the center plans to host a variety of shows–from intimate engagements with stage and screen stars to full-scale Broadway productions, with big-name musicians and contemporary dance companies thrown in the mix.

“We have pulled out all the stops for the center’s opening week. From classical music, to avant garde, to Disney on Broadway, we have something for everyone at a variety of price-points. We want the entire community to help us celebrate,” center director Shane Fernando said.

Actress and comedian Lily Tomlin is among this season's schedule.
Actress and comedian Lily Tomlin is among this season’s schedule.

Opening week will kick off with a black-tie gala, featuring Liza Minnelli and the North Carolina Symphony, on Saturday, Oct. 3. Tickets are $225.

Winner of four Tony Awards, an Oscar, a special “Legends” Grammy, two Golden Globe Awards and an Emmy, Minnelli stands today as one of the world’s hardest-working, well-known performers, both on stage and behind the camera.

“We wanted star-quality to open the center. Liza Minnelli is showbusiness royalty. It doesn’t get much bigger than Liza. Her impact on American culture is unrivaled,” Fernando said.

Following the opening gala, the North Carolina Symphony will open its official season at the center with its “Russian Spectacular” classical music performance on Oct. 4.

Then, on Oct. 5 and 6, it’s Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast“–the first of three touring Broadway shows on the center’s first season billing. UNC-Wilmington is co-sponsoring this performance.

Opening week wraps up on Oct. 10 with “Artsplosion!,” a free festival where the entire community can celebrate as the official main stage curtain is raised for the first time, followed by performances from various community arts groups on the main stage.

“Artsplosion!” will also include an eccentric musical performance by Squonk Opera in the center’s outdoor courtyard. A cultural arts resource fair will also be held in the lobby throughout the day.

Other scheduled shows throughout the 2015-16 season include:

  • Boz Scaggs–Wednesday, Oct. 28
  • Jackson Browne (solo acoustic show)–Saturday, Jan. 9, 2016
  • “An Evening of Classic Lily Tomlin” starring Tomlin–Thursday, Feb. 4, 2016
  • Broadway production of “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat”–Thursday, Feb. 25, 2016
  • Broadway production of “Mama Mia”–Tuesday, May 3, and Wednesday, May 4, 2016

The center will present a contemporary dance series, which will feature touring dance companies who will perform in the studio theater:

  • Gaspard and Dancers (critically acclaimed N.C. dance company)–Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2016
  • SEOP Dance Company (South Korean dance company)–Wednesday, March 9, 2016
  • Contra-Tiempo–(urban Latin dance company based in Los Angeles)–Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Musical performances range in price from $40-$99, with Broadway productions between $45-$95. The dance series is $30 per show.

Fernando said in addition to the performances presented by CFCC, he anticipates the facility will host 30 or more additional events from other performing groups and promoters. Ticket prices for those events, to be determined, will vary.

“It is truly exciting to see such an enthusiastic response to this venue, which will add to the already stellar reputation of the greater Wilmington area in terms of becoming a cultural center in southeastern North Carolina,” he said.

Tickets for Cape Fear Stage productions will go on sale online beginning Monday, Aug. 10 at Tickets may also be purchased at the temporary box office located at CFCC’s storefront, 254 N. Front St.