Why This Matters: In 2019, Charlotte-Mecklenburg’s cultural community will continue to provide relevant and innovative experiences that entertain, educate and bring people together.
By Bernie Petit
If you need something to look forward to in the New Year, check out what Charlotte-Mecklenburg’s arts and cultural community has in store.
From world premieres and time-honored classics to relevant and innovative cultural programs that build and celebrate community, 2019 is poised to be another year filled with excellent arts, science and history experiences.
Here are some of the arts and cultural highlights you’ll want to mark on your calendar this year. Event dates subject to change.
“Carmen” – called the most famous opera of all time – will be presented by Opera Carolina. It’s the story of a gypsy woman that would rather live fully than play it safe. You’ll recognize the music even if you’ve never seen the opera. Jan. 19, 20 and 24.
Genre-bending and multi-lingual Pink Martini is a charming “little orchestra” unto itself. The 8-piece band will join the Charlotte Symphony for a rollicking ’round-the-world musical adventure. Feb. 1-2.
An all-female congregation of esteemed instrumentalists brings the swing for a three-day Jazz Room residency as part of “Women In Jazz” (pictured above), presented by Jazz Arts Initiative. The performances are in celebration of Women’s History Month. March 14-16.
Get ready to sing along with all of your favorite classic tunes at “The Big Sing: Mixtape.” Carolina Voices will cover tracks ranging from The Beach Boys, The Beatles and Stevie Wonder to Sarah Bareilles, Cyndi Lauper and Michael Jackson. May 11.
It will be anything but a “Hard Day’s Night” at the Tosco Music Beatles Tribute, presented by Tosco Music. The format features only all Beatles songs for every performance and singalong. It will be part of the inaugural Fabfest, a weekend that will include a performance by The Fab Four, speakers, memorabilia, trivia and costume contests, rare Beatles footage and kid’s music and crafts. June 15.
Let your imagination take flight on a spectacular journey to Neverland! The Charlotte Ballet production of “Peter Pan” promises high-flying adventure, extravagant sets and costumes and marvelous dance. March 8-17.
Actor’s Theatre of Charlotte will premiere “The Great Beyond,” an original work by acclaimed playwright Steven Dietz that explores the questions around a family tragedy and how it impacts the survivors. March 14-April 6.
While “The Great Beyond” stands alone, it will be completed by the Children’s Theatre of Charlotte production of “The Ghost of Splinter Cove,” where siblings and a new friend unearth a mystery that transports them on the adventure of their lives. The two theatres collaborate to create “The Second Story Project,” a commissioning of two plays by the same playwright with interwoven themes. March 22-April 7.
Blumenthal Performing Arts will bring another blockbuster musical to town. This time it is “Dear Evan Hansen,” winner of six 2017 Tony Awards and the 2018 Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album. March 19-24.
The Light Factory will bring social documentary to the forefront in the exhibit “Voices from the Photo League: Sonia Handelman Meyer and George Gilbert,” which highlights work by two members of the illustrious Photo League in New York during the 1940s. Meyer was a 2016 ASC Honors recipient. Jan. 17-March 15.
This spring, the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art at Levine Center for the Arts will present “Nomadic Murals: Tapestries of the Modern Era,” an exploration and presentation of tapestries and rugs designed by artists usually associated with painting, sculpture and architecture. Examples of the more familiar media will be installed alongside the textiles. April 5-Dec. 1.
The Mint Museum (Randolph location) exhibit “Never Abandon Imagination: The Fantastical Art of Tony DiTerlizzi” will showcase nearly 100 original works by DiTerlizzi – known for his work in the collectible card game Magic: The Gathering and the role-playing game Dungeons and Dragons, as well as the “The Spiderwick Chronicles” book series. June 22-Nov. 3.
SCIENCE, HISTORY AND FESTIVALS
The first Science on the Rocks of the New Year is a chance to explore the “Wizarding World of Fantastic Bugs & Where to Find Them” at Discovery Place. The museum’s new “Bug Lab” exhibition will be featured, as will liquid nitrogen butterbeer, special edible potions and more. Jan. 18.
Every bird counts at the Great Backyard Bird Count. Stroll through Wing Haven’s gardens or find a spot to sit and watch, counting birds and recording what you observe, which helps scientists in their study of birds. Volunteers from Wing Haven and the Mecklenburg Audubon Society will provide guided walks, and share educational information. Feb. 15-18.
Celebrated memoirist Carolyn Forché will be in Charlotte as part of Central Piedmont Community College’s annual Sensoria celebration of literature and the arts. The festival will also bring Hanif Abdurraqib to the college and Goodyear Arts for presentations of poetry and prose, including work from his new chronicle “Go Ahead in the Rain: Notes to A Tribe Called Quest.” April 5-14.
Stroll through Settlers and Elmwood cemeteries in Charlotte during “Voices From the Past” and interact with portrayers telling stories of our founding fathers, civic leaders, pioneering women and a few interesting characters. April 6.
The yearlong CLT250 celebration will crescendo with Charlotte Shout, a citywide art, music, food, film and innovation festival that promises to become a unique, defining and celebratory event for the city that we all love. The food, music and art will be as diverse and vibrant as those who call Charlotte home. May 2019.