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The 2021 Charlotte Fall Arts Guide: A Return to the Stage

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Charlotte Fall Arts Guide
Talia Suskaer (left) and Allison Bailey perform in ‘Wicked.’ (Photo by Joan Marcus)

It remains a precarious time for arts locally and across the country. As performers, venues and organizers continue to grapple with what safety precautions and protocols to put in place, we’d like to point you to some events that will still be going on throughout the fall, but with one stipulation: Get vaccinated, for God’s sake. Take all necessary precautions and attend events at your own risk. Continue to mask up indoors and keep your distance, and enjoy some autumnal art shows in our 2021 Charlotte Fall Arts Guide. 


Sept. 8-Oct. 3 | Times vary | Ovens Auditorium | $39-$139

This Broadway sensation tells the story of what happened in the Land of Oz long before Dorothy dropped in, when a young witch born with emerald-green skin meets a bubbly blonde witch. Their initial rivalry turns into friendship until the world starts calling one “good” and the other “wicked.”

Opera Carolina: ‘I Dream’

Sept. 16-19 | Times vary | Belk Theater | $22-$157

A new version of the original 2018 musical drama that tells the story of Coretta and Martin Luther King, Jr., who led the movement that changed a nation.

Fall Arts Guide
Charlotte Fall Arts Guide: ‘I Dream.’ (Photo by Mitchell Kearney)

John Leslie Breck: American Impressionist

Sept. 18-Jan. 2 | Mint Museum Uptown | Prices vary

Anchored by The Mint Museum’s 2016 acquisition of John Leslie Breck’s canvas, “Suzanne Hoschedé-Monet Sewing,” this exhibition includes approximately 70 of Breck’s finest works, drawn from public and private collections as well as the illustrious Terra Foundation collection. Many of the works in the exhibition have not been on public view in more than a century.

Latin American Festival

Sept. 18-19 | Times vary | Symphony Park | $25

North Carolina’s oldest Latin American cultural event returns for its 31st year, with live performances, visual artists, a diverse and authentic selection of Latin American food and handmade crafts. The interactive street festival environment features activities for the whole family.

Mad About Modern Home Tour

Sept. 23-Oct. 22 | Online | $25

Charlotte’s only mid-century modern home tour is back but will be virtual for the second year in a row, featuring 360-degree tours of four homes in Selwyn Park, Wynwood, Spring Valley and East Providence Estates neighborhoods, plus one along the Catawba River.

Fall Arts Guide
Charlotte Fall Arts Guide: A Myers Park home featured in the Mad About Modern tour. (Photo by Digital Lasagna)

Theo Von

Sept. 24 | 8 p.m. | Belk Theater | $25-$49

The stand-up comedian and podcaster from southern Louisiana started as a contestant on MTV’s Road Rules and The Challenge before delving into game show hosting and acting. He’s been on Inside Amy Schumer and Why? with Hannibal Buress. In 2006, he had the most downloaded online clips on Last Comic Standing.

Festival in the Park

Sept. 24-26 | Times vary | Freedom Park | Free

Since 1964, Festival in the Park has brought music, art and good times to Charlotteans and visitors from around the world. The sounds of big band music drift across Freedom Park’s lake whose still surface reflects the lights strung from Camelot exhibit tents. There are talented artists throughout the park, and you’ll be sure to find a piece to adorn your walls at home.

Astro Pop Mural + Music Festival

Sept. 25 | Noon-11 p.m. | The Chamber at Wooden Robot Brewery | Free

This free art and music extravaganza will have live-painted murals, live music, food trucks, vendors and more throughout Wooden Robot Brewery’s NoDa patio and rooftop beer garden.

Potters Market at the Mint

Sept. 25 | 10 a.m.-4 p.m. | Mint Museum Randolph | $15

An opportunity to see high-quality ceramic work by 60 of the top potters in North Carolina and interact with the artists. There will also be pottery demonstrations, live music, food concessions and a beer garden, as well as free access to the Mint Museum galleries.

Trey Kennedy: The Are You For Real? Tour

Oct. 1 | 7 & 9:30 p.m. | McGlohon Theater | $30-$99

The comedian and musician first emerged as a star on the Vine app but is best known today for his funny sketches and viral videos on TikTok and YouTube.

Randy Rainbow: Pink Glasses Tour

Oct. 2 | 8 p.m. | Belk Theater | $35-$175 

The two-time Emmy-nominated singer, writer, comedian and musical satirist will bring his most viral video song parodies to life onstage, and perform brand new original songs, with help from Broadway musicians.

‘The Rocky Horror Show’

Oct. 6-31 | Times vary | The Barn at MoRA | $35

For “Act One” of its 33rd season, Actor’s Theatre of Charlotte has created an outdoor venue with a festival feel at The Barn at MoRA. Despite canceling a slew of September shows, the team is back for the ultimate time warp and tribute to science fiction, B movies, and fishnets.

Charlotte Ballet: 50th Anniversary Celebration

Oct. 7-9 | 7:30 p.m. | Belk Theater | $25-$96

Dancers will perform a new work, Then, Now, Forever, set to music by Philip Glass performed by the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra. Also on the bill is Val Caniparoli’s Ibsen’s House, while former artistic director Salvatore Aiello’s The Rite of Spring will return with re-imagined designs.

Charlotte Fall Arts Guide: Charlotte Ballet will celebrate its 50th anniversary. (Photo courtesy of Charlotte Ballet)

‘Potted Potter – The Unauthorized Harry Experience’

Oct. 15-17 | Times vary | Booth Playhouse | $25-$99

Two-time Olivier Award-nominated actors Daniel Clarkson and Jefferson Turner run through all seven Harry Potter books, plus a game of Quidditch, in 70 hilarious minutes.

Charlotte: Signs of Home

Oct. 16 | Charlotte Museum of History | Price of admission

The Charlotte Museum of History will debut a new exhibit of Charlotte signs at its annual Charlotte Gem party on Oct. 14. “Charlotte: Signs of Home” tells the story of the Queen City through signage from businesses that helped define the city. It includes signs from JFG Coffee, The Penguin, South 21 Drive-In, Peelers Photo Studio, the Eastland Mall icon and more.

Fall Arts Guide
Charlotte Fall Arts Guide 2021: Charlotte: Signs of Home is based on the work of photographer Christopher Lawing. (Photo by Christopher Lawing)

Jean Tinguely: A Life in Motion

Oct. 16 | Bechtler Museum of Modern Art | Prices vary

Jean Tinguely (1925–1991) was a Swiss sculptor best known for his mechanical sculptures, officially known as “metamatics,” that extended the Dada tradition into the later part of the 20th century. In addition to being one of the most important and forward-thinking European artists to emerge in the latter half of the 20th century, Tinguely was also the partner of Niki de Saint Phalle, a close friend of the Bechtler family and the artist who created the iconic “Le Grand Oiseau de Feu sur l’Arche” on the Bechtler Museum’s entrance plaza.

Heather McMahan: The Farewell Tour

Oct. 16 | 8 p.m. | Belk Theater | $29-$79

Insta-famous actress, podcaster and comedian Heather McMahan is known for her self-deprecating humor and “doing the most and the least at the same damn time.”

Talking Walls

Oct. 18-24 | Times and locations vary | Free

The citywide public art and mural festival returns with a whole new roster of artists who will spend a week creating masterpieces to add to Charlotte’s growing mural collection.

Charlotte Symphony: ‘The Nightmare Before Christmas’

Oct. 22-23 | 7:30 p.m. | Belk Theater | Prices vary

Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas plays on a large screen while the Charlotte Symphony orchestra brings the film’s rambunctious, colorful score to life.

Fall Arts Guide
Charlotte Fall Arts Guide: Charlotte Symphony will score ‘The Nightmare Before Christmas.’

Container / Contained: Phil Freelon – Design Strategies for Telling African-American Stories

Oct. 29-Jan. 17 | Harvey B. Gantt Center | Prices vary

The late North Carolina architect Philip G. Freelon (1953-2019) had a remarkable career over four decades designing public buildings with his firm The Freelon Group and later as design director with Perkins + Will North Carolina. This exhibition critically examines Freelon’s work, with a focus on projects that foreground African-American communities and identities.

Isaac Julien: Lina Bo Bardi–A  Marvellous Entanglement

Oct. 30-Feb. 27 | Bechtler Museum of Modern Art | Prices vary

A tribute to legendary Italian-Brazilian architect Lina Bo Bardi by the British artist and filmmaker Isaac Julien. In this nine-screen film installation, Julien examines Bo Bardi’s life and work through dramatic enactments of her words and ideas performed amid her most prized buildings.

Kings Drive Art Walk

Oct. 30-31 | Times vary | Little Sugar Creek Greenway | Free

Originally planned by Festival in the Park organizers as a spring event to help break up the monotony between their big annual to-do, COVID had other plans, so the Art Walk is coming to Halloween weekend, which opens up opportunities for spookiness (and candy?) on the Little Sugar Creek Greenway.

Dancing with the Stars of Charlotte for the Pink House

Nov. 6 | 7 p.m. | Knight Theater | $125

Hosted by WBTV’s Molly Grantham and NFL’s Kurt Coleman, DWTS of Charlotte pairs Queen City business and society “movers and shakers” with professional ballroom dancers. The event raises money for the Pink House, which provides uplift and supportive services to people with breast cancer.

‘RENT’: 25th Anniversary Farewell Tour

Nov. 9-14 | Times vary | Belk Theater | $25-$99.50

A touring production of Jonathan Larson’s Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize-winning musical, RENT.

YAM 2021 Fall Ball: The Queen is Back

Nov. 20 | 7 p.m. | Mint Museum Uptown | Prices vary

A night of dancing, signature cocktails, food and formalwear. A silent art auction funds tours of the Mint Museum for CMS students throughout the year.

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