Last week, we ran down dozens of things we're looking forward to seeing in early 2018. Now, let's sprint through the remainder of the year in theater, dance, comedy, and art—bearing in mind that only the largest or most established presenters book this far out. Plenty more is coming down the pipeline, though you could fill out a solid year in culture with just the events gathered here.
- photo courtesy of the artists
APR. 4 Before they bring May flowers, April showers sprout the internationally touted Full Frame Documentary Film Festival, which turns Durham's Carolina Theatre into the epicenter of our own mini-Sundance every year. Though the date is unconfirmed, we might see Wakey, Wakey as early as April, which is notable for two reasons: it's the final show at Manbites Dog Theater before its three-decade legacy as a presenter ends, and it's a brand-new play by Will Eno, one of the U.S.'s leading contemporary playwrights. PlayMakers Repertory Company also has a likely winner in the premiere of Leaving Eden, a story of race, immigration, and economic travails in a small North Carolina town by acclaimed N.C. playwright-performer Mike Wiley, with singer-songwriter Laurelyn Dossett. The genre-flouting trio Galumpha brings its whimsical blend of acrobatics, comedy, and dance (previously seen on The Late Show with David Letterman and on MTV) to the ArtsCenter in Carrboro.
APR. 11 NC Theatre and Broadway Series South grace Raleigh's Memorial Auditorium with Bright Star, comedian Steve Martin and musician Edie Brickell's musical inspired by their Grammy-winning bluegrass album and set in North Carolina's Blue Ridge Mountains just after World War II. At Current, Carolina Performing Arts presents The Fever by 600 Highwaymen, an Obie-winning contemporary theater group that involves the audience in its exploration of human connection. NC State LIVE has booked Katori Hall's The Mountaintop, winner of the 2009 Olivier Award for best new play, which imagines Martin Luther King Jr.'s last night of life in Memphis's Lorraine Motel. At Stewart Theatre, it's performed by innovative radio-theater group L.A. Theatre Works. At its Murphey School Auditorium, Raleigh's Burning Coal Theatre Company mounts British playwright Mike Bartlett's "future history play" King Charles III, called "flat out brilliant" and "dazzlingly presumptuous" by The New York Times for its prognostications about the future reign of Prince Charles. And Raleigh Little Theatre updates the firmware of a classic in Alice@Wonderland, inserting a texting, tweeting tween Alice in a musical version of the Lewis Carroll tale. #CuriouserAndCuriouser
- Photo by Matthew Murphey
- The Sound of Music
APR. 18 DPAC will be alive with The Sound of Music, a new production of the deathless classic. For something a bit ... different, try Robert Askins's Tony-nominated Hand to God at Theatre in the Park; part The Book of Mormon and part Avenue Q, it's a puppet comedy about a Christian-ministry puppet possessed by the devil. North Raleigh Arts and Creative Theatre tries its hand at Peter and the Starcatcher, which we've already seen via Broadway Series South and PlayMakers in recent years, but we don't mind, because it's a delightful take on the Pan tale that soars or falls on the presenter's handling of the playful minimalist staging. And, just because we're so stoked about it, let's slide in one reading: Meg Wolitzer has a tour stop at Chapel Hill's Flyleaf Books for her forthcoming novel, The Female Persuasion, which sounds like it will do the same brilliant surgery on power and ambition that The Interestings did on talent and creativity.
- Photo by Joan Marcus
- Waitress: The Musical
APR. 25 One of the most fun and unpredictable performance series in the Triangle returns when Culture Mill cranks up Season 3 of Trust the Bus, in which you climb on a biodiesel bus with no foreknowledge of what sort of dance-theater shenanigans you see or where you'll see them. On the route: a collaboration between dancer Tommy Noonan and writer John Justice; an audio performance by Atlanta composer Stephen Wood and Berlin writer-performer Jeff Wood. If that makes you nervous, you can't go wrong with Balanchine's Tchaikovsky-driven Serenade, which Carolina Ballet is taking on at Raleigh's Memorial Auditorium for the first time in twenty years. DPAC serves up recent Broadway expat Waitress: The Musical, adapted from the late indie director Adrienne Shelly's 2007 dramedy and notable for its all-female creative team and music by Grammy nominee Sara Bareilles ("Brave," "Love Song"). In its second-stage series, PlayMakers puts on Where Did We Sit on the Bus?, Brian Quijada's Off-Broadway solo show about being Latino in America, which The Chicago Tribune described as "a mashup of looped rhythms, raps, songs, poems, and spoken-word pieces that attempt to find the connecting threads of a life lived liminally." The Agape Theatre Project, a faith-based organization dedicated to producing original plays by African Americans, visits Burning Coal with Ramona King's Steal Away, a church-ladies-meets-heist-plot farce set during the Great Depression. And multimedia star Todrick Hall brings his song-and-dance show Straight Outta Oz back to Meymandi Concert Hall, bending L. Frank Baum's tale around his autobiography.
MAY 2 Italian theater ensemble Compagnia TPO transforms Current into a luminous immersive playscape for adults and kids alike, unfolding the life cycle of a butterfly through dance, music, and interactive digital media. At the Fruit, director Jaybird O'Berski works his mischief on Jacobean tragedy The Changeling, pinpointing its "gory delights and deep insights into human desires" with a motley cast of the usual Little Green Piggies.
- Photo by Curtis Brown Photography
- Blood Done Sign My Name
MAY 9 The best-selling magic show to ever bewitch Broadway, The Illusionists, appears at DPAC. The cast of long-running improv-comedy TV show Whose Line Is It Anyway?—Ryan Stiles, Greg Proops, and all—gag it up based on audience prompts at Raleigh's Memorial Auditorium on their Whose Live Anyway? tour. And, at its Gaddy-Goodwin Teaching Theatre, Raleigh Little Theatre premieres the ensemble version of Mike Wiley's stunning solo show Blood Done Sign My Name, based on N.C. State historian Timothy Tyson's book about a 1970 race-related murder in Oxford, North Carolina.
MAY 16 Carolina Ballet closes its twentieth-anniversary season by tapping the Chamber Orchestra of the Triangle to perform live for its Memorial Auditorium staging of Tchaikovsky's Sleeping Beauty, adapted by Robert Weiss from Marius Petipa's classic 1890s choreography. And DPAC brings back strangely frequent Durham visitor Rob Lowe, the eighties teen idol turned sex-tape-scandal pioneer turned appealing character actor, whose Stories I Only Tell My Friends: LIVE! adapts his two memoirs into a solo show.
THE REST OF THE YEAR The same first week in June when Durham's American Dance Festival returns for its eight-thousandth season of world-class dance, NRACT stages Spring Awakening—not Frank Wedekind's seminal shot across the bow of twentieth-century theater, but Duncan Sheik's 2006 rock-musical update. Raleigh's promising new Three Foxes Theatre Company brings its inaugural production, a dark contemporary version of The Tempest, to Sonorous Road. At the Living Arts Collective, DIDA presents Again, but this time with feeling, the new dance theater work by Feature Presentation cocreator Anna Barker. Burning Coal's second-stage series rolls out three plays in rotating repertory, including Worried, a set of monologues written and directed by Durham's Renée A. Nixon. Raleigh Little Theatre digs into Don't Dress for Dinner, Marc Camoletti's tasty farce about a roundelay of cheaters and improvised alibis in a French farmhouse. Recent Broadway musical It Shoulda Been You—basically, My Big Fat Catholic-Jewish Wedding—heart-warms its way into Theatre in the Park (also this season: Terrence McNally's It's Only a Play and Alex Goldberg's spooky It Is Done, timed with Halloween). After his Bad Jews breakout with Roundabout Theatre Company, playwright Joshua Harmon made it to Broadway with looking-for-love drama Significant Other, coming to Kennedy Theatre from Theatre Raleigh—which, later in the year, also puts on the Daniel Wallace-derived musical Big Fish and the indefatigable blockbuster Once. Something old: Disney's Newsies musical leaps into Memorial Auditorium for Broadway Series South. Something new: DIDA wraps up its fourth season with 54 Strange Words at The Fruit, the latest invention of banjo-and-dance duo The Bipeds.
FIVE ART SHOWS
You Are Here: Light, Color, and Sound Experiences (Apr. 7–Jul. 22, North Carolina Museum of Art) Taking over a whole floor of NCMA's temporary exhibition galleries and spilling out into Museum Park, this tech-driven installation features fourteen contemporary artists' immersive, experiential works in video, light, and sound.
Karel Appel and Dieter Roth: Cats and Dogs (May 26–Nov. 25, Nasher Museum of Art) This posthumous exhibit of works by German Fluxus artist Dieter Roth and Dutch CoBrA artist Karel Appel finds the esoteric creators taking on an accessible subject—cats and dogs—with typical experimental verve.
Jason Craighead (Jul. 6–Aug. 26, CAM Raleigh) Craighead, a North Carolina painter with representation in New York who has been widely exhibited in the Southeast, takes over CAM Raleigh's main gallery with his striking Cy Twombly-like canvases.
Mountain Lake: Art in Locale (Aug. 23–Dec. 31, Gregg Museum of Art & Design) The artistic convergence at North Carolina's Black Mountain College is well known; this exhibit illuminates a similar lightning strike at Virginia's Mountain Lake, featuring John Cage, Merce Cunningham, Sally Mann, and others.
Vernon Pratt: All the 16ths (Oct. 11–Feb. 10, 2019, Gregg Museum of Art & Design) This piece by the late, great N.C. artist Vernon Pratt, never shown in his lifetime, will immerse visitors in 1,600 square feet of mathematical abstraction, bolstered by live jazz and dance.