Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Li’l Friday: Darius Rucker, ‘The Little Mermaid,’ Travis Tritt

Big voices and hairdos are returning to UNCW’s Kenan Auditorium this weekend only in “Beehive the Musical.” (Courtesy video)

SOUTHEASTERN N.C. — Li’l Friday is a weekly roundup of events in art, music, theater, comedy, pop-up markets and more.


READ MORE: Outdoor concert guide: More than 100 (mostly free) summer shows in tri-county region

All events featured were scheduled as of Thursday; however, it’s wise to check in ahead of attending any one. Inclement weather, changes in schedules and unforeseen circumstances may shift for organizers at the last minute.

Thursday, July 20

‘Beehive the ’60s Musical’
Kenan Auditorium, 601 S. College Road. • Tickets: $34

Big voices and hairdos are returning to UNCW’s Kenan Auditorium this weekend only. Thalian Association Community Theater is bringing the bop and energy of the ‘60s girl groups to life with “Beehive the ’60s Musical.” Directed by Cathy Street, the show moves through chart-toppers of the era, including songs by Diana Ross, The Supremes, Tina Turner and others.

TACT first staged the show in 2021, highlighting two dozen or more hits like “The Name Game,” “River Deep,” “Natural Woman,” and more. The show also includes vast changes America underwent in the ‘60s.

The cast includes Raleigh soloist DeVone Young as Tina Turner, as well as locals Chandler Davis, Georgie Simon, Meagan Golden, Yeavonne Cox, and Amanda Hunter. 

Performances are taking place July 20-23, with Thursday through Saturday shows at 7:30 and the Sunday matinee at 2 p.m.

Barth Brothers Free Football Kicking Camp — Connor and Casey Barth, NFL players, are hosting a free kicking camp for all ages at John T. Hoggard High’s stadium (4305 Shipyard Boulevard) from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. There will be a variety of pro, college, and high-school kickers on site to give demonstrations. Free T-shirts will be handed out and there will be kicking competitions for various age groups; instructions by personal trainer Hudson Rose will be offered on warming up and training. No pre-registration necessary; more info: 910-231-1181.

Darius Rucker, who got his start in the mid-’80s when he founded Hootie and the Blowfish, will perform at Live Oak Bank Pavilion on Friday. (Courtesy photo)

Friday, July 21

Darius Rucker
Live Oak Bank Pavilion, 10 Cowan St.

Darius Rucker got his start in the mid-’80s when he founded Hootie and the Blowfish with friends at the University of South Carolina. The band charted the Billboard 100 with numerous hits throughout the mid-’90s. It has released six albums throughout the years, with its debut “Cracked Rear View” charting No. 1 in the U.S., Canada and New Zealand.

The South Carolinian has released six solo albums as well and signed to Capitol Nashville a decade ago. He was the first Black artist to chart in the country genre since Charley Pride in the mid-’80s.

Rucker has won numerous Grammys, for Best New Artist and Pop Artist in the mid-’90s with the Blowfish, and for country music’s Best New Artist, Best Country Solo Performance and British CMA International Album of the Year.

Currently, the musician is working on his seventh solo album, “Carolyn’s Boy,” to honor his late mother. He’s released a few tracks from the album already: “Same Beer Different Problem,” “Ol’ Church Hymn” (featuring Chapel Hart) and “Fires Don’t Start Themselves.” The latter was written by Dan Isbell, Ben Hayslip and Jacob Rice as well and is the name of Rucker’s current tour, “Starting Fires.”

The show is sold out, but verified resales may be available here.

Lara Beitz — Wisconsin-born and L.A.-based comedian Lara Beitz will perform four shows at Dead Crow Comedy Room this weekend. Beitz has garnered the attention of many icons in the comedy world — Judd Apatow, Marc Maron, Pete Holmes and Joe Rogan. She has appeared on David Spade’s Comedy Central series “Lights Out” and made a network TV debut on “The Late Late Show with James Corden.” In 2022, she was selected as a New Faces stand-up performer at the prestigious Just For Laughs comedy festival. Beitz’s comedy tackles relatable topics, like weight loss — “it’s been simple: I eat all my favorite foods zero percent of the time; that’s the trick, I’m miserable.” Tickets are $18-$28.

‘La Traviata’ — Opera Wilmington is hosting its annual performance at UNCW’s Kenan Auditorium show for the next two weekends: Friday, July 21 and July 28, 7 p.m., and Sunday, July 23 and July 30, 3 p.m. Verdi’s “La Traviata” follows Violetta, the Lady of the Camellias, who is heartbroken by Alfredo and escapes her public life as a popular courtesan. The show stars Elizabeth Stovall as Violetta, Darius Gillard as Alfredo, and Michael Rallis as his father Giorgio. Tickets are $17.50 and up.

Birds Around the Block — Bird watchers and enthusiasts will want to head to the Cape Fear Museum at 9 a.m. to join Evan Buckland of the Cape Fear Bird Observatory for a birdwatching stroll through downtown Wilmington. Buckland will guide onlookers to discuss species and answer bird-related questions. All ages are welcome and it’s free, with meetup in the museum park. Comfy shoes, a water bottle and pair of binoculars encouraged and afterward there will be kid-friendly bird activities available in the Exploration Station.

Saturday, July 22

Travis Tritt
Wilson Center, 703 North Third St. • Tickets: $39 and up

Travis Tritt has released seven studio albums and charted multiple hits, including “Help Me Hold On,” “Anymore,” “Can I Trust You with My Heart,” “Foolish Pride” and “Best of Intentions.” He will perform at Wilson Center at 7:30 p.m.

Travis Trott will perform at Wilson Center at 7:30 p.m. (Courtesy photo)

Known for his Southern-inspired influences in blues, rock, and gospel, he was among a class of country artists revered in the 1990s, along with Garth Brooks, Clint Black, and Alan Jackson. 

Tritt dominated the charts and won Billboard’s Best New Male Artist in 1990, as well as scored both a Grammy and Country Music Association award.

The Marietta, Georgia, native released a new album, “Set in Stone,” in 2021, eight years after 2013’s “The Calm After…” 

Hopapalooza — A grand reopening of pickleball courts is taking place in Leland at 115 Key Todd Road. The House of Pickleball has an expanded facility with double the number of available courts. It’s hosting an all-day celebration, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., with raffles and free prizes, plus free court time, including courts reserved for parents and kids. Pickleball 101 will be offered to show players the basics of the game and drop-in times available for various skill levels. Must register beforehand to reserve court time here.

A Taste of Pender — A fundraiser to benefit the Pender Sheriff’s Charitable Foundation is taking place in Hampstead. A Taste of Pender features a sample of various cuisines by area chefs and restaurants. There is also music and dancing, plus a photo booth, silent and live auction. All money supports the Pender sheriff’s office and its canine unit. The event takes place at Hampstead Women’s Club, 14435 US-17, with tickets starting at $50.

Beehive Blondes’ Barbie Party — The Beehive Blondes are back this time to celebrate all-things Barbie, due to Greta Gerwig’s latest film — opening this weekend — about the Matel toy icon. The fun takes place at The Eagle’s Dare (420 N. 3rd St.), a refurbished 1950’s gas station, with the pair of DJs from The Beehive Blondes welcoming attendees to don all pink and hit the dance floor to Barbie-inspired tracks from the 1960s through 2000s. Best Dressed and Best Dancer awards to be given, plus there will be fun Barbie-themed photo ops, a bounce castle, fairy hair, and sweet treats to cool down the steamy night with The Crazy Mason Milkshake Bar and Sweet Cleo’s Popsicles. There will be up to 50 tickets available at the door for $30; takes place from 9 p.m. to midnight.

Barbecue and Bourbon Bash — Cameron Art Museum is hosting a fundraiser from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. with live classic rock played from Hood’s Creek, plus tasty sippers and food. A barbecue buffet will include smoked Angus beef brisket, southeastern-style pork barbecue, brined and barbecued chicken leg quarters, baked mac and triple cheese, sweet summer corn, deviled egg potato salad, coleslaw, watermelon, hush puppies and banana pudding. A cash bar will be open and tickets are $25 for CAM members and $30 for non-members; kids 10 and under, $12.50. CAM is located at 3201 S. 17th St. 

Big Bad Billy’s — A Van Halen tribute band is performing at Marina Grill (18 Harnett St.) this Saturday. Big Bad Billy’s plays ‘80s rock, focusing on the David Lee Roth era. The band is made up of Tommy Brothers on guitar, John Wade on drums, John White on bass, and Marcus Garner on vocals. They perform at 6 p.m. for free.

Nickel Creek — American bluegrass will be at the center of Greenfield Lake Amphitheater this Saturday as the Nickel Creek trio — Chris Thile (mandolin), and siblings Sara (fiddle) and Sean Watkins (guitar) — entertain audiences. The group has released seven albums, its self-titled 2000 release produced by Alison Krauss earned Grammy and CMA nominations. Nickel Creek released the 18-track “Celebrants” in March, which charted number one stateside on the bluegrass charts and seventh on U.S. Folk Billboards. Tickets start at $49.50.

Disney’s famed musical “The Little Mermaid,” will be brought to life by the local theater company, Opera House, for the next two weekends.

Sunday, July 23

‘The Little Mermaid’
Thalian Hall Main Stage, 310 Chestnut St. • Tickets: $32

Disney’s famed musical will be brought to life by the local theater company, Opera House, for the next two weekends.

A love story for all ages, and based on Hans Christen Anderson’s iconic film, the stage version is produced with music by eight-time Academy Award winner Alan Menken, lyrics by Howard Ashman and Glenn Slater, and book by Doug Wright. 

The story follows a teenage mermaid, Ariel, fascinated by life above the sea, who pines for a landlocked Prince Eric. She makes a bargain with the sea witch, Ursula, to trade her fin for legs in order to be with the prince but things don’t go as planned. Her father, King Triton, must decide to make a sacrifice for his daughter.

The show features songs including “Under the Sea,” “Kiss the Girl” and “Part of Your World,” with music directed by Brian Whitted. Jason Aycock and Brooklynne Williamson choreographed the scenes, with show direction by Sarah Rodgers. The show stars Mary Mattison, Kellen Hanson, Heather Setzler, Bianca Shaw, Kaleb Edward Edley and others.

It runs July 20 through Aug. 6, 7:30 p.m., with matinees at 2 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Tickets are $32.

Massive Grass — The new grass sounds of local musicians Massive Grass will be performed at the Lazy Pirate Sunday from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Founded in 2007, the band’s sounds are rooted in Appalachia but come with a modern, rock twist. Show is free and Lazy Pirate is located at 701 N. Lake Park Blvd.

Pin-Ups on Tour — The Eagle’s Dare (420 N. 3rd St.) will welcome Las Vegas-based Pin-Ups on Tour, a 21-and-up show that starts at 7 p.m. The Vintage Burlesque and Variety Show began in 2015 and has traversed almost all 50 states to help entertain military personnel and the public, as well as raise money for nonprofits. The show features bawdy vaudevillian theatrics that were popular in America in the WWII era, hosted by Bonez & Gabby and featuring Julia Reed Nichols. Veterans and active duty service members attend free, and the performers take a family-friendly version to hospitalized veterans in the VA facilities. Pin-Ups on Tour has donated over $100,000 in free veteran tickets and made monetary donations to nonprofits, as the group partners with The Drawing Room Foundation, a 501(c)3 dedicated to creating community through art.

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Shea Carver
Shea Carver
Shea Carver is the editor in chief at Port City Daily. A UNCW alumna, Shea worked in the print media business in Wilmington for 22 years before joining the PCD team in October 2020. She specializes in arts coverage — music, film, literature, theatre — the dining scene, and can often be tapped on where to go, what to do and who to see in Wilmington. When she isn’t hanging with her pup, Shadow Wolf, tending the garden or spinning vinyl, she’s attending concerts and live theater.

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