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Theatre Abounds:

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It’s a lush time for theatre in Wilmington. As May begins with warm temperatures, stages around town are heating up performance art in all aspects. From musicals to dinner theatre, variety awaits at Front Street Brewery and Thalian Hall.

Murder in the Library
May 5th, 12th & 19th, 6:30 p.m.
May 15th, 1 p.m.
Front Street Brewery, 9 N. Front Street
Tickets: $20-$40
(910) 232-6611
Entertainment with dinner is always a great combination. Fortunately, this is Porch Theatre Company’s specialty. Their dinner theatre production introduces a new show, “Murder in the Library,” opening May 5. It’s an engaging mystery for an audience of both children and adults to enjoy and get involved in solving.

“We try to have fresh stories each season for our audiences, as well as for the actors to play,” Suzzan Smith, director and founder of Porch Theatre, said. The idea for this particular play came from one of Smith’s drama students.

“She said that if she went to the library at night and all the cool characters were hanging outside their books that she would want to hang out with Charlie Bone or someone from King Arthur’s books,” Smith explains. “That’s where we got the idea of book characters coming to life.”

Even though the show revolves around literary favorites, familiarity with the literature is not a must. No matter how well-read (or not)  the play won’t leave anyone confused.

“The script gives you the ‘Cliff Notes’ on their story line,” Smith explains. “There is ample time between acts for the characters to mix and mingle with guests, and answer questions about the books they’re representing.”

The show brings to life Annie Oakley, Captain Hook, Sherlock Holmes and Huck Finn, among others. They are all hanging out in the library one night, having what seems to be innocent fun. But when Huck Finn goes missing, the audience becomes part of the play as they take on the role of detective to try and solve the mystery of who done it.

Make reservations for the show; dinner will be served, too, prepared by Chef Charles Archer at Front Street Brewery.

True West
May 4th-22nd, 8 p.m.
Thalian Hall Studio Theatre, 310 Chestnut St.
Tickets: $14-17
(910) 632-2285
For their debut season, Cape Fear Theatre Arts, under their parent company City Stage, is proud to present Wilmington with Sam Shepard’s “True West” at Thalian Hall’s studio theatre.

This Tony Award-nominated play is directed by Gil Johnson and focuses on the relationship between two brothers. Cast in its two leading roles are actors Cullen Moss, playing the part of Lee, and Shane Callahan, who is playing Austin.

“We really wanted to do a show with Cullen and Shane,” Johnson says of the seasoned performers. “And, it’s a well-known play and [one] that hasn’t always been done successfully a lot of times.”

“True West” is set in the kitchen of a suburban house in L.A., wherein the action takes place around the kitchen table. Austin is making a successful life for himself in Hollywood as a screenwriter when his older, estranged brother, Lee, a vagabond and thief, shows up and disrupts the peace. Weaseling his way back into Austin’s life, Lee charms his brother’s movie producer and ends up with an opportunity for a movie deal of his own, essentially stealing Austin’s thunder. The rivalry unfolds quickly in this darkly funny show, and casts a light on family and digging down to the roots from where we all are born.

“It’s a well written play,” Johnson explains. “[Shepard] is a great writer. It’s very different than most standard realistic plays. It’s a real actor’s piece; the guys will have a lot of fun with it. It’s fun to perform and fun to watch.”

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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, Print and online editions are updated every Wednesday.

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