Thursday, Dec. 16
Every Christmas Story Ever Told (And Then Some!)
Thalian Hall, 310 Chestnut St. • Tickets: $25
Big Dawg Productions’ opened its final show of the year last weekend at the Ruth and Bucky Stein Theater in Thalian Hall. “Every Christmas Story Ever Told (And Then Some!)” comprises a madcap run of all the holiday classics — theater, TV shows, carols, worldwide traditions — enacted in two hours by a three-person cast.
Though scripted, Steve Vernon, Randy Davis and Josh Bailey also embark on improv, as they poll the audience on what they would like to see acted out from their favorite holiday characters. “Every Christmas Story” covers around 20 familiar tales, including standards from Charles Dickens, Arthur Rankin and Jules Bass, O. Henry and Frank Capr, and includes unexpected twists.
“You might catch a ‘Die Hard’ quote in the middle of the Rudolph scene, for example,” Vernon told Port City Daily last week.
The show will run its final weekend, Dec. 16-19, at 7:30 p.m., except for Sunday matinees, held at 3 p.m. Tickets are $25.
Big Dawg also will announce its 2022 season at the show. Read more about “Every Christmas Story Ever Told (And Then Some!)” here.
ALSO HAPPENING THURSDAY
“Elf the Musical” — Thalian Association brings to life the adventures of Buddy the Elf, as he leaves the North Pole to find his biological father in New York City and convinces his curmudgeon dad — who’s on Santa’s naughty list — and other family and friends to believe in the magic of Christmas. Based on the 2003 holiday film, “Elf the Musical ” continues through Dec. 19, with show times at 7:30 p.m. except on Sundays, with 2 p.m. matinees. There are also additional shows on the 16th at 7:30 p.m. and the 18th at 2 p.m.
Make Your Own Aluminum Ornaments — Taking place 6 p.m. – 9 p.m. at Cameron Art Museum (3201 S. 17th St.), a holiday-themed class will teach students how to make their own metal Christmas ornaments. Students can bring their own aluminum to recycle and turn into art as well. The cost is $60 and parties must register here.
An Officer and a Gentleman — Taking place at 7:30 p.m., the national Broadway tour of “An Officer and a Gentleman” will be staged at Wilson Center (703 N. 3rd St.). Based on the 1982 film, the story follows the affair of boot camp Navy pilot Zack Mayo and Paul Pokrifki, a local factory girl. The two fall madly in love and through tragedy learn to relish life’s important gifts: love and friendship, courage and hope. The show is backed by the Grammy-winning song “Up Where We Belong” and an ‘80s soundtrack to boot: “Higher Love” (Steve Winwood), “Owner of a Lonely Heart” (Yes), “Love is a Battlefield” and “Invincible” (Pat Benatar), among others. Tickets start at $25.
Friday, Dec. 17
Kure Beach Holiday Whoobie Whatty
Town of Kure Beach, 105 Atlantic Ave. • Free!
Kure Beach will become Whoville on Friday evening, 5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m., as it prepares for a Grinch-themed celebration. The evening kicks off with the announcement of the 2021 Kure Beach Cheermeister — awarding the most festively decorated home in town, which was voted on by the public.
Afterward, a screening of the Jim Carrey film “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” will take place. Also, various activity stations will be set up in the park for families to enjoy, including face-painting, craft-making and cookie-decorating. Photos also will be available with the Grinch.
This event is free, but donations are welcome to benefit the Help Center of Federal Point.
ALSO HAPPENING FRIDAY
Hark! The Herald Angels Swing — Directed by Ray Kennedy, 2021’s performance will take place at the Blockade Runner on Dec. 17-18 at 6:30 p.m. Numerous performers — Michelle Braxton, Cindy Colucci, Shannon Playl, Jason Aycock, Beth Stovall — sing through classics like “Winter Wonderland,” “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” and “Rocking Around the Christmas Tree.” Along with live music, diners will be served a four-course meal. Tickets are $85; $40 is tax deductible.
Big Gay Christmas Cabaret! — At Riverplace Condos (240-N Water St.), an evening of music, laughter, and holiday cheer will be at the center of a fundraiser for the AIDS Lifecycle Ride, which helps procure funds for counseling, HIV/STD screenings, linking youth experiencing homelessness and people living with HIV to housing, and more. There will be raffles, wine, and special guests, such as Tatianna Matthews, Jeremy Milligan, Keith Michael, and Brad Southards. A $10 donation is suggested at the door, which opens at 7:30 p.m. at the bottom of the grand staircase outside of Riverplace.
A Grateful Phishmas: An Ugly Sweater Xmas Party — The electro funk rhythms of the Dubtown Cosmonauts will pulsate Burnt Mill Creek (2101 Market St.) Friday evening. The four-piece — Justin Heter Pan, Wolf Lampke, Connor Kozlosky, and Riley Kearns — will perform a set of original tunes before turning their attention to their favorite covers from jam bands Grateful Dead and Phish. The cover is $5 before 9 p.m. and $10 after.
A Taste of the Season — Mon Âme Chocolate and Wine Bar (19 S 2nd St.) and Simply Shorty are banding together for a night of flavor. There will be eight holiday wines available for sampling and purchase at the wine shop. Simply Shorty will be selling its homemade syrups, chutney and even dog treats. The event takes place from 6 p.m. – 8 p.m and is free.
Saturday, Dec. 18
The Great Wilmington Nutcracker
Wilson Center, 703 N. Third St. • Tickets: $25 and up
Wilmington Ballet Company and US International Ballet return to Wilson Center’s stage to perform its take on Tchaikovsky’s holiday classic. Featuring youth ballet dancers with classically trained professionals, “The Great Wilmington Nutcracker” follows the story of Clara, who travels into the Land of Snow as she battles the Mouse Queen to reign over The Land of Sweets.
There are two shows this weekend, including Dec. 18 at 6:30 p.m. and Dec. 19 at 3 p.m. Tickets start at $25.
For the center’s Covid-19 safety protocols, please visit here.
ALSO HAPPENING SATURDAY
Laura McLean Songwriter Showcase — Live at Ted’s (2 Castle St.) will welcome numerous musicians from 4 p.m. – 6 p.m. to perform as part of Laura McLean’s Songwriter Showcase. Doors open at 3 p.m., admission is $5. Artists include: Sandy Younce, Jim Ashley, Nowcat, Paul Obernessor and McLean. Original music and holiday tunes will be performed.
Burlesque Nights — Bourgie Nights (127 Princess St.) will welcome Puppie Buffé, Magnolia Jackson Pickett Burnside, Barnabas Beverly Burnside, Arianna Tysinger ane Rusty Dawn for a holiday burlesque show. Doors open at 8 p.m., and the show starts at 9 p.m. Tickets are $20 ahead of time or $30 at the door. Must show proof of vaccination or 72-hour-or-less negative Covid test to enter; the show is for those 21 and older only.
Hope for the Holidays Food Drive and Ugly Christmas Sweater Party — Reggie’s 42nd Street Tavern will host its annual holiday food and toy drive on Saturday with four ready-to-rock bands: Rictus Grim, Creekwood Adjacent, Cool Jerk and Infinity Fortress. Attendees are encouraged to wear their best ugly Christmas sweaters; doors are at 7 p.m. with show at 8 p.m. for ages 18 and up. Cover is $7 — $10 for 21 and under — or free for those who bring at least $5 in nonperishable food items, cutlery or throwaway containers to donate to local shelters for Christmas Day services. Coats or a new, unwrapped toy will also be accepted. Donations will go to Good Shepherd Center, Mother Hubbard Cupboard and Toys For Tots.
Holiday Chili Cookoff — Club Golf (109 Pier Master Point, Ste 140) is welcoming all chili masters to its cookoff, 2 p.m. – 6 p.m., Saturday. Just bring a crockpot of the goods to share with others; spoons and bowls provided. There will be raffles and $5 golf competitions.
“Elf” Screening — Live Oak Bank Pavilion at Riverfront Park (10 Cowan St.) will host a free screening on Saturday, 4 p.m. – 8 p.m., of “Elf.” Visits from Santa start at 5 p.m. Blankets and beach chairs are welcome; refreshments will be sold. It’s also a toy drive for Toys for Tots, so a new, unwrapped toy is welcome upon entry to help make a child’s holiday special. The first 150 people to bring toys will receive a T-shirt courtesy of Port City Apparel.
Candlelight Christmas Chamber Concert — St. James Episcopal Church (25 S 3rd St.) will open on Saturday from 7 p.m. – 8 p.m. for the public to enjoy a free concert — though donations are welcome. The show will present traditional carols and classical chamber music. Masks are required.
Sunday, Dec. 19
Holiday Train Expo
Independence Mall, 3500 Oleander Dr. • Tickets: $4-$6
The Cape Fear Model Railroad Society is hosting its 15th annual Holiday Train Expo at Independence Mall in the Dillards wing. There are displays of 12 model train layouts, with more than 30 trains meandering through a wonderland of villages, parks and landscapes. A photo-op is also available with the Polar Express.
Hours are noon to 3 p.m. and tickets are $6 for adults, $4 for kids 3-12 and free for children under 3.
ALSO HAPPENING SUNDAY
Cookie Exchange and Bubbly Tasting — On Pleasure Island, a cookie and bubbly tasting will be underway from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Island Beverage (1206 N Lake Park Blvd.). Participants are encouraged to bring their best and tastiest batch of holiday cookies, as well as take-home containers. Everyone will sample treats and sip on bubbles made worldwide. To sign up, call 910-707-1423. It’s $10 per person to participate.
Cape Fear Chordsmen — Christmas with the Chordsmen will take place at 2:30 p.m. at Temple Baptist Church (1801 Market St.). The barbershop-style group of performers will deliver all holiday favorites: “Jingle Bells,” “Joy to the World,” “Silent Night,” and others. The concert is free.
Bonus Event: Monday, Dec. 20
A Classical Christmas: Songs and Carols of the Season
St. James Episcopal Church, 25 S. 3rd St. • Free
If you miss the chamber concert at St. James on Saturday, there’s another opportunity to enjoy a holiday show at 6 p.m. Monday. A group of professional singers and musicians will bring songs of the season to life. Soloists include Lucy Baker, mezzo soprano; Caroline Braza, treble; George Potulov, tenor; Sara Westermark, soprano; and Bob Workman, tenor. They will be accompanied by John Sullivan on piano with Clark Spencer on viola.
Admission is free and open to the public. Masks required.
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