8 can’t-miss entertainment events to see in Wilmington NC Jan. 21-23

It’s yet another packed weekend of events in Wilmington, which, considering it’s January, is a good sign for what’s to come this spring and summer. Warm up with a mix of local and touring talent, from Broadway shows to Port City comics and musical acts.

The music of the Queen of Disco comes to Wilmington this weekend in the form of “Summer: The Donna Summer Musical,” which runs for three performances at Cape Fear Community College’s Wilson Center. The Broadway tour of the jukebox musical not only features Summer’s well-known hits, including “On the Radio,” “Bad Girls” and “She Works Hard for the Money,” but also examples of the gospel, soul and pop songs she blended into her signature, danceable style.

Details: 7:30 pm Jan. 21-22 and 2 pm Jan. 22 at the CFCC Wilson Center, 703 N Third St., Wilmington. Tickets start at $25. 910-362-7999 or WilsonCenterTickets.com.

Longtime Wilmington jazz saxophonist and educator Benny Hill presents his annual concert to benefit music education at Cape Fear Community College. This year, Hill’s featured guest is jazz pianist Dr. Brad Merritt. Merritt has collaborated with Hill for years, and in 2021 he was a featured player on “Samba de Maracatu,” an album by Wilmington-based jazz musicians Joe Chambers released on the famed Blue Note label. As part of the Benny Hill Quartet, Merritt will play a mix of jazz standards and his own compositions.

Benny Hill

Details: 7:30 pm Jan. 20 at CFCC Wilson Center, 703 N Third St., Wilmington. Tickets are free, but donations are accepted. Livestream option at CFCC.edu/foundation/benny-hill. 910-362-7999 or WilsonCenterTickets.com.

Brad Merritt of the Benny Hill Trio in 2011.

Actor and comic Orlando Jones is known for starring in such TV shows as “American Gods” and the locally shot “Sleepy Hollow,” but he’s also been a big proponent of the stand-up comedy scene in Wilmington, where he’s been based for several years now. Starting Friday, Jones will host a series of Port City Comedy Jam performances at Thalian Hall downtown. Featuring a mix of local and touring comics, the Jam features one performance this weekend and two more in February. Friday’s performers include Dallas Brown Jr., Charles Ozuna, Natasha Locklear and Wilmington’s own Brain Granger.

Details: 7:30 pm Jan. 21, Feb. 4 and Feb. 26 at Thalian Hall, 310 Chestnut St., Wilmington. $35. 910-632-2285 or ThalianHall.org.

Orlando Jones in 2017 at the premiere of

As part of the UNCW Presents series, Durham troupe Gaspard & Dancers will bring its athletic and emotional brand of movement to the stage. Founded in 2019 by the dancer and choreographer Gaspard Louis, formerly of the acrobatic, shape-shifting Pilobolus troupe, Gaspard & Dancers is a diverse group that blends inventiveness with artistry. This weekend’s performance is the culmination of a week-long residency at the University of North Carolina Wilmington.

Details: 7:30 pm Jan. 22 at Kenan Auditorium, UNCW campus. $25. 910-962-3500 or UNCW.edu/arts.

Gaspard & Dancers perform at UNCW Jan.  22.

First of all, if you’ve not been down to Wilmington’s Dead Crow Comedy Room for their weekly Wednesday night improv comedy show, you need to do that. With several troupes under the umbrella of the DareDevil Improv group, including Knievel and Black Market Bologna, they’re killing it. This weekend, however, it’s a special Friday night show featuring not only DareDevil’s finest improvisors, but also the very smart and very funny Immediate Gratification Players out of Harvard (that’d be the university, in Massachusetts). That’s local improv + touring improv in what should equal an uproarious evening.

Details: 7 pm and 9:30 pm Jan. 21 at Dead Crow Comedy Room, 516 N Third St., Wilmington. $13 and $23. 910-399-1750 or DeadCrowComedy.com

Wilmington rock band Starlight Speedway is a local supergroup of sorts whose members have played in more area acts over the years than we can list here (Swashbuckler, The Carvers and the Beau Rikkis, just for starters). Suffice it to say they’ve got chops and experience as they bring a mix of originals and covers to the stage, everything from soul and blues to surf, garage rock and country. The band includes Jason Delamar on guitar and vocals, Steviemack Harrington on percussion, Kevin Graham Wilson on bass and dual vocalists Callan Trippe and Sam Carradori.

Details: 6-9 pm Jan. 22 at Waterline Brewing, 721 Surry St., Wilmington.

Wilmington band Starlight Speedway plays Jan.  22 at Waterline Brewing.

A self-described Appalachian rock band, The Kind Thieves come to Wilmington all the way from West Virginia for a show at Burnt Mill Creek. They’ve got a driving, country-rock sound with a dash of Americana thanks to such instruments as mandolin and fiddle. Wilmington act Medicated Sunfish opens up.

Details: 8 pm Jan. 22 at Burnt Mill Creek, 2101 Market St.

The Wilmington Symphony Orchestra presents this concert featuring Decca Classics recording artist Randall Goosby, a protégé of the famed violin master Itzhak Perlman. Goosby will perform a program that includes Max Bruch’s “Violin Concerto No. 1” and Gabriel Fauré’s “Dolly Suite,” as well as selections from Bizet’s opera “Carmen.”

Details: 6 pm Jan. 23 at the CFCC Wilson Center, 703 N Third St., Wilmington. Tickets start at $25. 910-362-7999 or WilsonCenterTickets.com.

Contact John Staton at 910-343-2343 or John.Staton@StarNewsOnline.com.

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