Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Li’l Friday: ‘Elf the Musical,’ flotillas, Christmas Unplugged 

“Elf the Musical” will be at Thalian Hall for the next two weekends, as produced by Thalian Association Community Theater. (Courtesy photo)

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

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, Dec. 7 

‘Elf the Musical’
Thalian Hall, 310 Chestnut St. • Tickets: $42

The classic holiday film “Elf” turns 20 this year and though audiences can enjoy its rerun on cable channels galore, only one spot in town is hosting the tale by way of a musical.

“Elf the Musical” opens at Thalian Hall Thursday at 7:30 p.m. 

The play follows the story of Buddy the Elf, a human raised by elves in Santa’s Workshop. When Buddy finds out he is adopted, he goes on a quest from the North Pole to New York City in an attempt to find his biological father. 

While there, hijinks ensue as he learns about the real-world, family and what it means to fall in love — specifically with Jovie, someone who shares his affinity for elf culture. 

Thalian Association Community Theatre is putting on the musical, with performances taking place for two weekends, Thursday through Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday matinees at 2 p.m. 

Tickets are available here

OTHER THURSDAY NIGHT EVENTS
‘Every Christmas Story Ever Told (and then some)’ — Had enough of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol”? So have Steve Vernon, Anthony Lawson and Randy Davis — the three actors bringing to life “Every Christmas Story Ever Told (and then some)” at Thalian Hall’s Ruth and Bucky Stein Theatre. The three bring to life Christmas traditions from around the world, including seasonal icons from ancient times to current pop culture — Santa, Rudolph, Linus, the Ghost of Christmas Past, a Who down in Whoville and Frosty, among others. Plus, they take on every carol ever sung. Performances will run for two weekends, with Thursday to Saturday shows at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday matinees at 3 p.m. Tickets are $35, available here

Menorah Lighting — Chanukah begins Thursday at sundown and as such the City of Wilmington and Chabad of Wilmington will host the Menorah lighting at the foot of Market Street at Water, along the Riverwalk. The festivities, which include a gelt drop from a fire truck, donuts and latkes served, and music and dancing, will begin at 6 p.m. It’s free to attend.

Friday, Dec. 8 

Eric Neumann 
Dead Crow Comedy Room, 511 N. Third St. • Tickets: $20 

New York City-based comedian Eric Neumann will make his debut at Dead Crow Comedy Room Friday evening. 

Neumann has appeared on the “Late Night Show with Jimmy Fallon,” “This Week at the Comedy Cellar,” “The Iliza Shlesinger Sketch Show” on Netflix, and more. His three albums and specials, “Nervous Lover,” “Just a Phase” and most recently “But Enough About Me,” all reached number 1 on iTunes comedy charts. 

The comedian focuses on family, being single, and crowd work, which his mother calls “distractions from finding a wife and starting a family.” 

In his “Nervous Lover” special, Neumann talked about his gym routine: “I do 10 reps, then a 10-minute break. Then I do 10 more reps and a six-month break.”

Neumann will perform four shows this weekend on Dec. 8 and 9, 7:30 p.m. and 9 p.m. nightly. Tickets are $20, available here

OTHER FRIDAY NIGHT EVENTS
‘A Charlie Brown Christmas’ — This classic animated television special will come to life at the Wilson Center on Friday evening. Presented by CFCC’s Department of Fine and Performing Arts, Charlie Brown, Snoopy, and the rest of the Peanuts gang look to discover the true meaning of Christmas.. A canned food drive for the Good Shepherd Center also will be taking place during the performance. Patrons are encouraged to bring a non-perishable food or household item for donation. Tickets are $15, available here. Kids under 12 are free. 

Christmas Unplugged — Bourgie Nights has hosted “the office Christmas party for area musicians” for years now with Christmas Unplugged. The tradition continues  Friday with 12 local musicians who will each perform two holiday songs of their choice along with an original piece. The doors open at 6 p.m. and the show kicks off at 7 p.m. Tickets are available at the door with a suggested donation of $10 and/or the option to contribute an unwrapped toy for the Marine Toys for Tots foundation. 

Tell Me Lies Fleetwood Mac Tribute — Experience the sounds of Fleetwood Mac at Bowstring Burgers and Brewyard (1002 Princess St.) this Friday night. Known for its exceptional renditions of Fleetwood Mac’s greatest hits, Tell Me Lies brings together seasoned musicians to perform tracks like “Dreams,” “Landslide,” “Rhiannon,” and “Go Your Own Way.” The performance kicks off at 7 p.m. Tickets start at $18, available here

Winter Wonderland and Jingle Ball — East Coast Winter Wonderland and Jingle Ball is taking place as a fundraiser for East Coast Cares, 501(c)3 nonprofit, with all proceeds benefiting the Autism Society of North Carolina and Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation of NC. The Winter Wonderland takes place from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., an indoor event at 4608 Coddington Loop. There will be pictures with Santa and letters kids can write to him, as well as a festival of trees, a vendor village, face-painting and concessions, elves, games and live performances. Plus, there will be more than 50,000 Christmas lights decorating the space. It’s a $5 donated entry. Then from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. the Jingle Ball will have a cocktail hour, food stations, lighting of the trees, special guest speakers, a silent auction, and live performances, including music from Jenny Vaughn. There also will be an Olive Toss for a chance to win $10,000. Tickets to the ball are $150.

“Nutcracker” with a live professional orchestra will be presented Dec 9 (7 p.m.) and 10 (3 p.m.) at the Wilson Center. (Courtesy Merlee Hill Photography)

Saturday, Dec. 9 

‘The Nutcracker’
Wilson Center, 703 N. Third St. • Tickets: $38 

City Ballet invites audiences to embark on a magical journey of an enchanting rendition of “The Nutcracker.” The beloved holiday classic has become a yearly tradition for the company since 2011. 

The story of the Sugar Plum Fairy, the mysterious drosselmeyer, and Marie and her Nutcracker prince is brought to life through movement from the 1892 two-act classical ballet by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, taking place on Christmas Eve. Following each show, City Ballet will host a meet-and-greet where audiences can capture memories with photographs of their favorite Nutcracker characters. 

The show will be performed twice, Saturday, Dec. 9, at 7 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 10, at 3 p.m. Tickets are $15 for children and $30 for adults, available here

OTHER SATURDAY EVENTS
Adam Fenton Jazz Presents: A Charlie Brown Christmas — A night of festive jazz melodies is coming to Live at Ted’s, featuring the talents of local artist and music instructor, Adam Fenton. Fenton has been playing covers and original compositions to Wilmington audiences for the past three years, including his work with the group Happy Pill. Joining Fenton for this holiday show are Jaron Bradley on drums, Jessica Coppola on vocals, and Rahsaan Lacey on bass. Doors open at 7 p.m. and the show kicks off at 8 p.m. Tickets are $15, available here

Holiday Groove Market — Bowstring Brewyard is hosting a free holiday pop-up market from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The event entails 30 vendors, live music, drink specials, and a chance to meet adorable adoptable dogs. The market will have an array of handmade goods including candles, jewelry, beauty products and more. 

Southport Flotilla — If you can’t get enough of lit vessels traversing the coastal waters, then Southport is the place for you and your family and friends Saturday at 6 p.m. Chairs and blankets welcome to see the Christmas lights bouncing off the water. The lineup begins at Morningstar Marina toward Indigo Plantation Marina and moves past Old Yacht Basin to Deep Point Marina. The route will then wind back to Indigo Plantation Marina. It’s free. 

Jingle in the Park — The North Carolina Azalea Festival will host a holiday event at Halyburton Park, 10 a.m. to noon Saturday. There will be photos with Santa, arts and crafts, youth performances, snacks, and a special visit by Azalea Festival Princess Avery Braithwaite. Tickets are $5 to $15 here and a portion of proceeds benefit Cape Fear Volunteer Center and Big Buddy.

Topsail Flotilla and Holiday Market — North in Surf City and Topsail Beach will be the annual flotilla and holiday market. The event kicks off in Soundside Park at noon, with will arts and crafts vendors. Food trucks will be on site and local beer is available for purchase. Entertainment will feature local performers and live music by Fryd on the Boat at 3 p.m.  Flotilla T-shirts available for purchase during the event while supplies last. Face-painting takes place from noon. to 2 p.m. and pictures with Mr. and Mrs. Claus are available 3 p.m to 6 p.m. Views of the flotilla take place from the park, with the decorated boats et to arrive at 6 p.m.

The Wilmington Railroad Museum is a winter wonderland with more than 25,000 lights illuminating the museum, as well as musical animations and twilight model train displays. (Courtesy photo)

Sunday, Dec. 10

Christmas Train and Light Spectacular
Wilmington Railroad Museum, 505 Nutt St. • Tickets: $5 and up

The Wilmington Railroad Museum is a winter wonderland with more than 25,000 lights illuminating the museum, as well as musical animations and twilight model train displays. Santa plans to be hanging out with treats available. The festivities take place from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m., Dec. 8-9, 15-16, and 22-23. Tickets are $5 at the door. Children under 2 are free. 

Also there will be a reading of the book “Polar Express” and each child that participates will receive a golden ticket punched by the conductor. Cookies and hot cocoa will be served with Santa and the event will readings take place Dec. 9-10 and 16-17 with presentations at 4:30 p.m. and 5:30 pm. nightly. Tickets are $5 and must be purchased in advance.

OTHER SUNDAY EVENTS
Deck the Halls with Vinyl and Vintage — Flytrap Brewing is hosting a holiday pop-up market Sunday afternoon. Six vintage vendors and three vinyl vendors will be in attendance to help get things checked off your holiday shopping list. Flytrap will also be collecting donations for the Living Hope Day Center during the event. Needed donation items include blankets, sleeping bags, coats, deodorant, cold and flu medicine, hand warmers, and anything else that may help those experiencing homelessness. Music will be provided by DJ Infinite Spins. Made in Venezuela food truck will be parked, and the free event takes place 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.


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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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