Reliving History

One hundred and fifty-two years ago, the second battle of Fort Fisher was fought and the Union prevailed, seizing the last of the Confederate seaports; the war’s end would come soon. In remembrance of this event, the Friends of Fort Fisher host a one-day living history event including Union and Confederate re-enactors, cannon firings, tours and activities. Saturday, Jan. 14, 10 a.m.–4 p.m., Admission: Free, Fort Fisher State Historic Site, 1610 Fort Fisher Blvd. South, Kure Beach. Info: (910) 458-5538 or

Polar Paddle

These are the Arctic people, polar people, flip-flops in January people taking part in the ninth annual Cold Stroke Classic by Coastal Urge. And while, yes, they are vertical on stand-up-paddle boards racing each other on long (7 mile) or short (3.5 mile) courses, it’s impossible not to get, at least, a bit wet. Maybe you are one of these people (look down to see if you’re wearing flip-flops) and want to race your fellows in on the Intracoastal Waterway, or maybe you are a spectator of this cold-weather species. Either way, there is chilly fun to be had and cheerleading to do. Adult and kid race categories. Jan. 21, race begins at 10 a.m., Blockade Runner Resort, Wrightsville Beach. Registration: $50–75 (adults), $25 (kids). Register online at or call (910) 256-7112.

Blue Note

In 1980 a local dermatologist and jazz lover, Dr. Harry VanVelsor, started the NC Jazz Festival; 37 years later the horns are still blowing and the ivories are still being tickled. Big names come; this year six-time-Grammy nominee Nnenna Freelon and her trio will open the festival on Thursday night. Billed as a traditional jazz festival, they do bend the rules for Sea Pans, a steel drum quartet inspired by the music of Trinidad. The festival takes place at the Hilton Riverside downtown and includes a Sunday morning “musical brunch” and a chance to jam with the festival’s international artists. Feb. 2–4, 7:30 p.m. – midnight. Tickets: Thursday: $40, Friday and Saturday: $60, or Patron Packets: $200. Active military: $25/night, students: $15/night. Call (910) 793-1111 or visit

World of Dance

The old axiom “When it rains, it pours” rings true for many scenarios, including this winter’s abundance of dance. It seems all over town, the opportunities abound.

Classic – It’s unusual for a musical to make this list, but those who know 42nd Street will understand. Two words: tap dance. The Broadway tour comes to town and those who want to “meet those dancing feet” should take note! Wednesday, Feb.1, 7:30 p.m. Tickets: $46–95, CFCC’s Wilson Center. 703 North Third St., Wilmington. Call (910) 362-7999 or visit

Complex – Sometimes dance can express complex themes and social commentary with ease, beauty and humor. Such is the case for Camile Brown and Dancers’ performance “Mr. TOLE RAncE,” a multimedia show combining live music, theater, comedy and animation to explore African-American humor, W.E.B Dubois, idea of “double consciousness” of black performers and stereotypes of black culture throughout history. Thursday, Feb. 9, 7:30 p.m. Tickets: $15–40. UNCW Kenan Auditorium, 515 Wagoner Drive, Wilmington. Call (910) 962-3500 or visit

Celtic – Enjoy traditional Irish dancing and music elevated to a dramatic stage show. Riverdance stops in our fair city for one night on its North American tour. In its 25th year of touring, Riverdance is a phenomenon of footwork. Thursday, Feb. 16, 7:30 p.m. Tickets: $35–75, CFCC’s Wilson Center. 703 North Third St., Wilmington. Call (910) 362-7999 or visit

Catchy – Bollywood dance is an audiovisual feast of bouncing and jingling and colorful, mesmerizing costumes; it’s impossible to not enjoy. Taj Express: The Bollywood Musical Revue is choreographed by Vaibhavi Merchant, a veteran of 75-plus Bollywood films. The production is straight from Mumbai, has 2000-plus costumes and, if that’s not enough, there’s romance.  Tuesday, Feb. 21, 7:30 p.m.Tickets: $25–60. UNCW Kenan Auditorium, 515 Wagoner Drive, Wilmington. Call (910) 962-3500 or visit

I’d Like to Thank the Academy. . .

Besides sheer volume and enthusiasm, if there was any doubt about how serious Wilmington takes its theatre . . . we have our own Tony Awards. In its sixth year, the Star News Media Theater Awards draw together the thespian community to laugh, cry, brag and showcase a revue of scenes and numbers from nominated plays and announce the winners in 22 different categories like “Best Play,” “Best Actress in a Musical,” “Original Production,” etc. And because the stakes are high, the evening must be tempered by hilarious banter from the hosts, this year Heather Setzler and Jason Aycock. Thursday, Feb. 2, at 7:30 p.m., Thalian Hall. Tickets: $18. Call (910) 632-2285 or visit

Making Whoopi

A guaranteed (temporary) cure for your seasonal affective disorder is Cape Fear Theatre Arts production of the musical Sister Act based on the 1992 movie that starred Ms. Goldberg in her hey day. A musical mash-up of Motown and spirituals, the show follows Deloris, a nightclub singer, who goes into witness protection in a convent,where she ends up rejuvenating their struggling choir. And while this show won’t have Whoopi, is does have Barbara Mootoo, a rising star visiting from NYC who shone in last year’s production Memphis, also directed by Justin Smith. Local favorites will grace the stage in various nun or gangster apparel, accordingly. The show runs Dec. 30 –Jan. 22, Thursday–Sunday. All shows 7:30 p.m., except for Sundays at 3 p.m. Thalian Hall. Tickets: $25–30. Call (910) 632-2285 or visit

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