15+ Fall Performing Arts Events to Catch

It’s time for theater, ballet, and musical performances in Raleigh! Here’s a list of shows to put on your radar this season.
by Kara Adams 

Become a patron of the arts this fall with performances in Raleigh ranging from hilarious comedy musicals to dance festivals, ballet shows, and the dazzling sounds of the North Carolina Master Chorale and the North Carolina Symphony. With events taking place both indoors and outdoors, there are plenty of options for every comfort level. There’s even something for the young ones, with family-friendly sing-alongs to enjoy in the great outdoors! 

American Dance Festival at NCMA

The NCMA, partnering with American Dance Festival, will present Together We Dance, an outdoor series at the Joseph M. Bryan Jr. Theater in the museum park. Expect more than eight hour-long performances over the course of the week by acclaimed groups including A.I.M by Kyle Abraham, Pilobolus, and The Paul Taylor Dance Company. “After a difficult year and a half, we are thrilled to bring the community together at our first-ever outdoor festival with performances by some of the finest dance companies dazzling audiences today,” says ADF executive director Jodee Nimerichter. Sept. 9 -16; $30; 2110 Blue Ridge Road; ncartmuseum.org

Raleigh Little Theatre’s The Velocity of Autumn

Head over to Cantey V. Sutton Theatre for The Velocity of Autumn, a play by Eric Coble that follows 80-year-old artist Alexandra as she barricades herself inside her New York City apartment to avoid being placed in a nursing home by her family. The “wickedly funny” production will send you on a rollercoaster of emotions as you watch the showdown between mother and children unravel. Sept. 17 – Oct. 3; From $23; 301 Pogue Street; raleighlittletheatre.org

University Theatre’s A Case of Salt with UT Out Loud

NC State University Theatre’s Out Loud series offers a behind-the-scenes look at Gaven Bell’s A Case of Salt, a murder mystery with themes of disability, visibility, and inclusion in high school theatre setting. UT Out Loud allows attendees a chance to delve into the subject matter through a group reading and discussion of the play, creating a casual theatre experience for both new-comers and patrons alike. Oct. 1 @ 7:30 p.m.; Free but registration preferred; Rehearsal Hall 150, Thompson Hall, 210 Jensen Drive; theatre.arts.ncsu.edu

Burning Coal Theatre’s Oakwood & Other History Plays

Join Burning Coal Theatre Company at historic Oakwood Cemetery for their annual series of short plays put on by playwrights from around the Triangle. These original plays depict the lives of those buried in the Oakwood Cemetery, their partners, neighbors, associates and nemeses, and the impact they had on the formation of our Capital City. Oct. 1 – 3; $20; 701 Oakwood Avenue; burningcoal.org

Theatre in the Park’s The Gravitational Pull of Bernice Trimble

Beth Graham’s original play, The Gravitational Pull of Bernice Trimble, will close out Theatre in the Park’s 2021 season in lush Pullen Park with a compelling family drama. The story follows Bernice’s children as they grapple with their mother’s early onset Alzheimer’s diagnosis, from the family meeting where the news is broken, all the way through the following stages of grief. Oct. 1 – 17; $27; 107 Pullen Road; theatreinthepark.com

Men are from Mars – Women are from Venus LIVE! at the Duke Energy Center

Based on the bestselling book by relationship counselor John Gray, this “one-man fusion of theatre and stand-up” moves through a series of vignettes focusing on relationship stages from dating to marriage and beyond. This adult-themed production is the perfect date night production, combining intriguing storytelling, uproarious comedy, all-too-relatable relationship problems, and a dash of wisdom from the book. Oct. 2 @ 4 & 8:00 p.m.; From $57; 2 E. South Street; dukeenergycenterraleigh.com

Burning Coal Theatre’s I and You

See Burning Coal’s main stage production of I and You, the original play by Lauren Gunderson that follows high-school student Caroline as she becomes housebound with a debilitating illness and is forced to stay home in Raleigh while the world continues on without her. She grows increasingly bored, angry and desperate, until a popular classmate from her school arrives at her door with a surprise. Oct. 7 – 24; $25; 224 Polk Street; burningcoal.org

Photo of Woman holding a telephone. Red Background.  Promotion for 9 to 5 the musical at Raleigh Memorial Auditorium on October 12-17, 2021

NC Theatre’s 9 to 5

Come out to Raleigh Memorial Auditorium for North Carolina Theatre’s production of 9 to 5, a musical play based on the screwball 1980 comedy flick featuring Dolly Parton’s iconic hit song of the same name. The production, directed by Eric Woodall, follows three women who decide to take revenge on their misogynistic boss in a timeless story of female friendship and empowerment. Oct. 12 – 17; From $32.29; 2 E. South Street; nctheatre.com

University Theatre’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream

See William Shakespeare’s comedy, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, filled with mystical fairies, unrequited love, and the woes of amateur theatre as a part of University Theatre’s Producing Series. The famed play will go on nightly and as matinees at North Carolina State University’s Titmus Theatre. Oct. 14 – 24; 2241 Dunn Avenue; theatre.arts.ncsu.edu

Carolina Ballet’s The Legend of Sleepy Hollow 

Carolina Ballet’s Artistic Director Zalman Raffael brings Washington Irving’s The Legend of Sleepy Hollow to life at Fletcher Opera Theater this Halloween season. The thrilling program will feature a performance of Robert Weiss’ Lady in the White Veil as an opener, followed by a reading of The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe, and concluding with the beautifully choreographed tale of Ichabod Crane and the Headless Horseman. Oct. 14 – 31; 2 E South Street; carolinaballet.com

The Black Market Trust at The Clayton Center

Jam out with traditional pop/vocal jazz group The Black Market Trust at The Clayton Center to classics from The Great American Songbook as well as unique tunes from their newest album, II. The musicians blend “old world romance with new world form,” for a magical evening full of elegant classical renditions. Oct. 16 @ 8:00 p.m.; $30; 111 E. Second Street; theclaytoncenter.com

America at DPAC

Head over to the Durham Performing Arts Center for the 50th anniversary tour of classic-rock band America, performing hits from their quintessential 1970’s albums such as Hearts, Holiday, and Homecoming. You’ll feel like “You Can Do Magic,” after a night of timeless rock and roll tunes. Oct. 17 @ 7:30 p.m.; From $44.50; 123 Vivian Street; dpacnc.com

Romeo and Juliet

Fayetteville-based theater company Sweet Tea Shakespeare will perform Romeo and Juliet, one of the world’s most renowned tragic love stories, at William Peace University. The female-led group will demonstrate their commitment to Shakespearean authenticity through simple staging, enlivened costuming, and cross-gender casting — just like The Bard did. Oct. 21 – Nov. 6,; From $20; 15 E. Peace Street; sweetteashakespeare.com 

The NC Symphony’s Mendelssohn & Brahms

Be enchanted by Simone Porter on the violin, performing a collection of pieces including Villa-Lobos’ Bachianas Brasileiras No. 9, Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto, and Brahms’ Symphony No. 1. Joined by conductor Marcelo Lehninger, Porter’s recital marks the return of the North Carolina Symphony’s Friday Favorites series in the Meymandi Concert Hall.  Oct. 22-23; 2 E South Street; ncsymphony.org

Raleigh Little Theatre’s Elephant & Piggie’s “We Are in a Play!

Bring the kids out to Raleigh Little Theatre’s Louise “Scottie” Stephenson Amphitheatre for a family musical about an elephant named Gerald and a pig named Piggie as they “sing their way through a day where anything is possible”. The play, based on the Elephant & Piggie books by Mo Willems, teaches children about forgiveness, friendship, and sharing through light-hearted sing-alongs.  Oct. 23 – 31; from $12; 301 Pogue Street; raleighlittletheatre.org

The NC Symphony’s Star Wars & More

Join the North Carolina Symphony for an epic performance of John Williams’ scores, including recognizable hits from films such as Jurassic Park, Harry Potter, E.T., and of course, Star Wars. Feel the power of the force as conductor David Glover fills the Meymandi Concert Hall with the iconic tracks. Oct. 28 – 30; 2 E South Street; ncsymphony.org

Bewitched - 4205

NC Master Chorale’s Bewitched

Kick off Halloweekend early with the enchanting voices of the Master Chorale, accompanied by pianist Susan McClaskey Lohr, as they perform selections from Bach, Brahms, and Britten under the stained glass windows at Hayes Barton United Methodist Church. This magical performance will also include picks from pop and musical theatre to charm audiences members of all ages. Oct. 29 @ 7:30 p.m.; Tickets available in packages starting at $90; 2209 Fairview Road; ncmasterchorale.org