Like many in Wilmington, I have enjoyed some truly spectacular events at the Grand Opera House - from great musicians to hilarious comedians to stage productions that redefine the theatrical experience.
Quite frankly, I didn't think it would be possible for our friends at the Grand to raise the bar on the quantity or quality of the shows they are booking, but they have just booked an incredible season of entertainment with more shows than ever before packed into a single season.
You can read the News Journal's account of the upcoming season by clicking here.
Downtown Wilmington is the place to go for entertainment - I hope to see you at some of these incredible shows!
THE GRAND AND THE PLAYHOUSE ANNOUNCE 2015-16 SEASON
Headline Performers Include Straight No Chaser, Sinbad, Garrison Keillor, Loreena McKennitt, Buddy Guy, and Itzhak Perlman.
The Grand Opera House has announced its upcoming line-up for the 2015-16 season, starting on August 9 with an evening of music by legendary singer-songwriter Graham Nash. More than 60 shows have already been slated for The Grand’s three venues: Copeland Hall, the baby grand, and the recently added Playhouse on Rodney Square.
The 2015-16 season will be the first schedule ever with both The Grand and The Playhouse events under the new joint operation. The line-up will include more high-profile artists in a variety of musical disciplines, with an emphasis on pop and rock music, smooth rhythm and blues, high-energy musicals, stand-up comedy, and fun family shows. The live @ the baby grand series will continue to complement the Copeland Hall with a broad diversity of emerging bands and soloists, as well as established artists.
“This impressive and expanded season line-up reflects how The Grand has evolved as an arts presenter,” says Executive Director Mark Fields. “With our higher national profile, our recent successes with celebrity artists, and the audience reception these artists get when they play here, The Grand is being sought after now more than ever to be included as a venue on major national tours.
“The addition of The Playhouse,” continues Fields, “has further enhanced our reputation while also increasing our availability for significant tours. More than anything, though, we have been able to demonstrate, how when we present high-quality artists and combine them with a terrific patron experience, the public responds with enthusiasm.”
“I’ve become a very popular guy!” laughs Managing Director of Programming Steve Bailey. “With The Grand’s track record of success and also the fact that we very intentionally treat artists like people and not commodities, I have artist managers and agents calling me, wanting to put their artists at The Grand or The Playhouse. It’s a terrific problem to have, and the number of shows already confirmed for 2015-16 proves that.”
The season will start with an evening of music with legendary singer-songwriter Graham Nash August 9 (Copeland Hall). The mesmerizing live show Jefferson Starship- Jazz is Dead celebrates the 50th Anniversary of Jefferson Airplane and The Grateful Dead August 15 (Copeland Hall). Political commentator and comedian Bill Maher takes the stage August 23 (The Playhouse).
The Wiggles bring their Rock n’ Roll Preschool tour to The Grand on September 23 (Copeland Hall). October 2 the legendary rock and blues musician Buddy Guy returns with his fiery blues guitar (Copeland Hall). October 10 East Meets West combines styles and instruments from around the world (live @ the baby grand). Critically acclaimed and award-winning artist David Gonzalez performs Cuentos: Tales from the Latino World on October 14 (live @ the baby grand).
One of the nation’s premier Sinatra interpreters Sean Reilly performs the cherished entertainer’s songbook in a centennial celebration October 18 (live @ the baby grand). NBC’s Last Comic Standing brings a hilarious night of comedy (Copeland Hall) October 22. Beatrix Potter’s classic story, Peter Rabbit Tales, comes to life on stage October 24 (Copeland Hall). Canadian musician Loreena McKennitt shares her ‘Eclectic Celtic’ music October 29 (Copeland Hall).
Authentic blues rock musician Joe Bonamassa brings his mind-blowing guitar wizardry to the Copeland Hall (November 9 and November 10). Stand-up comedian Tom Papa comes November 14 with his unique storytelling and razor-sharp wit (live @ the baby grand). November 18 progressive rock musicianSteve Hackett brings to us a unique show of both Hackett solo and Genesis classics (Copeland Hall). An Evening of Great Stand-Up Comedy features three emerging comedy stars November 19 (live @ the baby grand). Arlo Guthrie returns with The Alice's Restaurant 50th Anniversary Tour (Copeland Hall)November 19. Pink Floyd’s legendary Classic Album’s Live: The Wall re-created track-for-track will be in the Copeland Hall on November 21. French Canadian folk trio, De Temps Antan, blends boundless energy with the unmistakable joie de vivre on November 22 (live @ the baby grand). November 27George Winston mixes impressionistic melodies with folk influences mainstage (live @ the baby grand). This extremely active month ends with The World Famous Glenn Miller Orchestra playing memorable wartime tunes (The Playhouse) November 28 and the beloved children’s character Clifford the Big Red Dog coming to life on stage in an all-new musical (Copeland Hall) November 28.
Superstar team of violinist Itzhak Perlman, pianist Evgeny Kissin, and cellist Mischa Maisky perform romantic piano trios on December 1 (Copeland Hall). Dynamic male a cappella group Straight No Chaser comes back with THE NEW OLD FASHIONED TOUR December 2 (Copeland Hall); Swing’n The Holidays featuring The Jive Aces & The Satin Dollz perform energetic Christmas Classics on December 9 (The Playhouse); December 11 brings virtuosic acoustic quintet Punch Bros (Copeland Hall). On December 12, reggae rapper and alternative rock musician, Matisyahu, blends Orthodox Jewish themes with reggae, rock and hip hop beatboxing sounds (Copeland Hall). The Eric Mintel Jazz Quartet returns to The Grand with A Charlie Brown Christmas to perform popular melodies from the holiday TV Classic on December 12 (live @ the baby grand). All-female supergroup Cherish the Ladies celebrates 30 years of making music in a Celtic Christmas show (Copeland Hall) December 16.
On January 13, Band of the Royal Marines performs popular classics, Big Band, stimulating contemporary works and entertaining solo features (Copeland Hall). Extraordinary quartet Manhattan Transfer shares their melodic and jazz-infused vocals on January 16 (Copeland Hall). On January 17, The Musical Boxshares the re-creation of Genesis' Foxtrot (Copeland Hall). Jersey Shore bar band, Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes, evokes the sounds of the summer (Copeland Hall) on February 6. Ivy League of Comedy’s three up-and-coming comics return for another hilarious evening of clean truthful humor onFebruary 11 in Battle of the Sexes Comedy Tour (live @ the baby grand). On February 13, world class jazz pianist and vocalist Champian Fulton performsromantic jazz melodies (live @ the baby grand). GlobalFEST, international and cultural music festival, spotlights diverse artists on its first U.S. tour February 20(Copeland Hall). TAO Seventeen Samurai brings audiences athletic bodies and contemporary costumes combined with explosive Taiko drumming (The Playhouse) February 20.
Three exceptionally gifted artists, Patty Griffin, Sara Watkins & Anaïs Mitchell, join forces in a celebration of traditional American songwriting and performance March 2 (Copeland Hall). Russian National Orchestra, breathtaking virtuoso symphony, makes a stop on its rare US tour (Copeland Hall) March 4. Pinkalicious comes to The Grand March 5 in a pinktastic musical based on the wildly popular picture book series (Copeland Hall). On March 12, The Beatles’ most ambitious album, Classic Album's Live: The White Album is lovingly re-created (Copeland Hall). Also on March 12, Paul McKenna Bandperforms traditional and original Celtic tunes (live @ the baby grand).
March 13, Hot Sardines entertains a little glamour, a little grit, and a lot of passion (Copeland Hall). Red Hot Chilli Pipers excites the audience with a show so hot, it carries its own health warning (The Playhouse) on March 13, followed by a tale told through Irish dance with a world class troupe Rhythm in the Night: The Irish Dance Spectacular on March 15 (The Playhouse). Invincible: A Glorious Tribute to Michael Jackson captures the unique talents of the King of Pop (Copeland Hall) March 18. Celtic Nights- Spirit of Freedom rounds off March with a joyous celebration to take the audience on a musical journey onMarch19 (Copeland Hall).
LUMA blends various physical disciplines with hi-tech luminous objects on April 10 (Copeland Hall). Ivy League of Comedy’s Fabulously Funny Femalesbrings fresh, entertaining and funny comedy on April 14 (live @ the baby grand). Sinbad returns April 22 (Copeland Hall) with his comical yet clean brand of storytelling. On April 22, talented folk trio, A Band Called Honalee, returns after last season’s stellar Grand debut to recreate classics of the early ‘60s from Peter Paul and Mary to the Mamas and the Papas (live @ the baby grand). Former Stars of Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons: The Hit Men ends the month with a night of mega-hit after mega-hit, after mega-hit -- including everyone’s favorite Four Seasons songs on April 29 (The Playhouse).
Eric Mintel Plays TV brings jazz versions of classic TV theme songs by the jazz pianist and his quartet on May 14 (live @ the baby grand). NPR favoriteGarrison Keillor captivates with unique blend of comedy, charisma and wisdom May 17 (Copeland Hall). One of the premier comedians in the country Brian Regan shares his clean, off-center humor on May 22 (The Playhouse). Acclaimed tribute band Hotel California takes audience “down a dark desert highway” on June 3 (Copeland Hall).
This is the most shows The Grand has ever announced in the spring (more than 60), but the roster will always be a work in progress. More concerts will be announced as they are confirmed.
In addition to The Grand’s 2015-16 season being announced, The Playhouse Broadway series/ Broadway in Wilmington was unveiled at a launch event at The Playhouse on April 11 and includes the Wilmington premiere of Jersey Boys (May 10-15, 2016), as well as return engagements of extremely popular past shows such as Annie (December 1-6, 2015), Chicago (January 12-17, 2016), Mamma Mia! (March 4-6, 2016), Blue Man Group (March 18-20, 2016), and42nd Street (April 19-24, 2016).
MyChoice series tickets go on sale to the general public on Monday, June 1; these series require a purchase of at least three Grand/Playhouse concerts listed above (and can also include performances by First State Ballet Theatre). In addition to discounts on tickets, MyChoice provides free parking vouchers, dining discounts, and a variety of other patron benefits.
Individual tickets for all announced shows will be available beginning August 1.
The Grand will be converting to an integrated ticketing system over the summer so that all shows in any venue will be available at either box office. Until then, tickets to The Grand and The Playhouse are available by calling 302-652-5577 (or 1-800-37-GRAND), online at TheGrandWilmington.org, or in person at the box office at 818 N. Market Street.