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Last year’s Thalian Association Children’s Theatre performed ‘On Broadway’! They’re returning for ‘Hollywood Dreams’ this weekend. Courtesy photo

After a grueling day at work, most Wilmingtonians want to come home and relax—or maybe go out for a nice dinner with family or friends, catch a movie, hit the bars downtown for a few drinks to take the edge off. Anything that will let heavy minds rest a bit; anything that’s entertaining.

As a city that flourishes on art, culture and food, we try not to leave any stone unturned when it comes to having fun. Theatre is one of those stones, and in the coming weeks it has a lot to offer, from March 3rd until the 13th, with two different features taking stage. Children to adults will have something to enjoy on both weeknights and weekends.
Here’s a little preview of what to look forward to.

Mulligan’s Wake
Porch Theatre Company
Front Street Brewery • 9 N Front St.
March 3rd, 10th and 17th, 6:30 p.m.
Tickets: $40
(910) 232-6611 or mulliganswake@gmail.com
Theatre-goers will have a chance to warm up for St. Patty’s Day with the crazy Irish family, the Mulligans, as they come back for a highly interactive romp, “Mulligan’s Wake” comedy dinner theatre. Not only does this semi-improved play entertain, dinner comes with it—three courses at that. In between bites, the audience is encouraged to participate with the production, too.

Familiar faces will return to the stage, including Heather Setzler (founding company member), Nathan Verwey (founding company member), as well as Derek Smith and Suzanne Smith, both company founders, among others. “[The play is] set in the fictional Mulligan’s Pub where friends and family (the audience) have come to mourn (sing, dance, drink, celebrate) the death of old Rory Mulligan,” Suzanne Smith explains. “There is the whimsical priest, Father Flannigan, residing at the bar eulogizing Rory of a life well-lived, an over-the-top grieving widow and unexpected guests.”

In its fourth year running, “Mulligan’s Wake’ is a partly improvised comedy, centering around an Irish wake, which can prove to be even more strident and whiskey-fused as an Irish rugby match. Even though this play has been around for a while, each run is a different show, and audience participation guarantees each performance is one-of-a-kind—which is what makes it worth seeing.

With a special dinner menu each night, including salad, Shepherd’s Pie and Mother Mulligan’s scrumptious Bailey’s Chocolate Mousse Shooter, appetites and funny bones alike get sated. There’s also a cash bar and, of course, the brewery’s famous craft-made beers.

“‘Mulligan’s Wake’ is a play that I had in my head for a long time,” Smith says. “I am particularly pleased at how the audience has relished the frivolity of the show and embraced the wacky characters.”

Described as a “celebration full of eating, drinking, dancing and singing,” feel free to dress up or down for this occasion; just come prepared to play along.

Hollywood Dreams: Songs from the Silver Screen
Thalian Association Children’s Theatre
Hannah Block 2nd Street Stage • 120 S 2nd St.
March 4th – 13th
Fri.-Sat., 7p.m.; Sun., 3 p.m.
Tickets: $10 GA • (910) 251-1788
After Thalian Association Children’s Theatre (TACT)’s tremendous success with last year’s “On Broadway: Songs from the Great White Way” (written and directed by Tom Briggs), Briggs decided he needed to produce a follow-up in 2011. “The kids loved doing it,” he says. Thus, they welcome TACT’s production of “Hollywood Dreams: Songs from the Silver Screen.” The musical revue features 75 songs from movies, including numbers from “Saturday Night Fever,” “Hannah Montana: The Movie” and the James Bond movies. Though some songs will be well known, the audience can expect a few surprises throughout the show.

“There are 70 kids in the cast, ages 6 to 18, and they are just amazing,” Briggs says. Because of great instructors from various studios around town, along with terrific voice teachers, and parents understanding the value of getting their kids involved in the arts, the talent pool of young people in Wilmington runs deep. “People will really be awed at what these kids can do,” Briggs promises.

With such a huge cast, taking on this project alone would have been tough. Briggs formed a team of some of the best teachers to pull it off, including Michelle Reiff, Carson Capps and Mary Beth Henderson (choreographers) and Jonathan Barber (music director). “The kids adore working with them,” Briggs says.

Complete with a live band, and lots of singing and dancing on stage, this event will be a nice treat for anyone who’s a fan of soundtracks.

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Encore Magazine regularly covers topics pertaining to news, arts, entertainment, food, and city life in Wilmington. It also maintains schedules and listings of local events like concerts, festivals, live performance art and think-tank events. Encore Magazine is an entity of H&P Media, which also powers Wilmington’s local ticketing platform, 910tix.com. Print and online editions are updated every Wednesday.

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