Why This Matters: In 2020, Charlotte-Mecklenburg’s cultural community will continue to provide relevant and innovative experiences that entertain, educate and bring people together.
By Bernie Petit
The start of the New Year is always an exciting time and the cultural offerings in Charlotte-Mecklenburg only add to that excitement in 2020.
From musical experiences that uplift all voices and powerful stage productions that dazzle and amaze to cultural programs that celebrate artists, our shared connections and our city, 2020 promises another year filled with excellent arts, science and history experiences.
Need proof? Check out these 20 arts and cultural highlights happening in the first half of the New Year.
- The fabulous Thorgy Thor, famed worldwide from RuPaul’s Drag Race, comes to the Queen City for “Thorgy and the Thorchestra,” a thrilling, thoughtful and hilariously theatrical show that slays with song, dance and shenanigans. Presented by Charlotte Symphony. Jan. 17-18.
- Bridging Musical Worlds—a collaborative effort between A Sign Of The Times the Carolinas, Charlotte Folk Society, Charlotte Symphony Orchestra and the UNC Charlotte College of Arts + Architecture —celebrates the life and works of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Jan. 19.
- Brazilian-born guitarist and vocalist Duda Lucena and his quartet bring The Music of Brazil to the Jazz Room for one special night of music devoted to his homeland. Lucena is considered a pivotal force of Brazilian music on the jazz scene. Feb. 13.
- Whip out your mood rings, parachute pants and one-strapped overalls for “The Big Sing: Flashback” with Carolina Voices. Expect iconic songs like “Bohemian Rhapsody,” “Like a Prayer,” “Jolene” and “Rehab,” as well as favorites from Celine Dion, Stevie Wonder, One Republic and Lady Gaga. May 29-30.
- Charlotte Ballet Artistic Director Hope Muir returns to the stage as Narrator in this condensed version of “Sleeping Beauty” that stays true to its beloved, classical choreography—complete with glittering tutus and dazzling tiaras. March 13-22.
- Secrets, gossip and accusations abound in Children’s Theatre of Charlotte’s production of “Afflicted: Daughters of Salem,” a powerful telling of the circumstances preceding the infamous Salem witch trials. April 17-26.
- Opera Carolina presents “I Dream,” a celebration of the life and legacy of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. This updated version of the 2018 blockbuster is set over the last 36 hours in the remarkable life of Dr. King. April 19-25.
- Set to the iconic music of 80’s supergroup The Go-Go’s, “Head Over Heels” is a high energy, non-traditional fairy tale for the truly adventurous and presented by Actor’s Theatre of Charlotte. June 4-27.
- Theatre Charlotte presents the sweeping Broadway musical “Dreamgirls,” set in the glamorous and competitive world of the music industry and loosely based on the rivalries within Diana Ross & The Supremes. May 22-June 7.
- Three Bone Theatre brings the story of the graffiti bombing of the Art Institute of Chicago’s Modern to the stage in “This is Modern Art.” July 30-Aug. 8.
- Curated by Rebecca Henderson, “Making Arrangements” at Goodyear Arts is a bouquet inspired exhibition which explores the exquisite task of living alongside the tender clutter of having lived. Opens Jan. 10.
- “A Shared Elegy” at The Light Factory features two pairs of photographers-Osamu James Nakagawa and his uncle, Takayuki Ogawa, and Elijah Gowin and his father, Emmet Gowin-that present unique but overlapping visions recording family histories. Jan. 16-March 13.
- The start of the new year is also the start of a new artist residency season at McColl Center for Art + Innovation. Meet six new artists-in-residence and move to music by Arts+ at Open House at McColl Center. Jan. 23.
- Featuring more than 100 ceramic objects, “Classic Black: The Basalt Sculpture of Wedgwood and His Contemporaries” at Mint Museum Randolph is the first exhibition to focus exclusively on the black basalt sculpture made by Josiah Wedgwood and other Staffordshire potters in late eighteenth-century England. Feb. 8-Aug. 30.
- Clayworks’ 2020 Spring Sale & Open House features a collection of original handmade sculpture and functional pottery by faculty and studio artists. April 3-4.
Science, History and Festivals
- The Cine Casual Film Series presents recent, internationally-acclaimed and award-winning Latin American films, specially curated for the Queen City. All screenings will be followed by short panel discussions with Charlotte-based artists and community leaders, connecting themes seen in the films with local issues and perspectives. Jan. 11-April 4.
- Levine Museum of the New South’s #ShapingCLT round table event that brings together thought leaders in our community explores the history and impact of School Segregation. Feb. 27.
- The Kings Drive Art Walk celebrates its 10th year with works by dozens of artists on display and available for purchase, as well as crafts, music and family entertainment. May 2-3.
- Charlotte SHOUT!, the celebration of art, music, food and ideas, returns to the Center City. Dates coming soon.
- “Cool Globes: Hot Ideas for a Cooler Planet,” a public art exhibition designed to raise awareness of solutions to climate change, comes to Charlotte this spring in partnership with Discovery Place. Dates coming soon.
And A special Bonus Experience (Because Limiting this to 20 is hard)
- BOOM, an artist-led showcase of experimental/contemporary performance and visual art, brings together local and national acts through a collaborative weekend of performance in Charlotte’s Plaza-Midwood neighborhood. April 17-19.