"Master Class" debuts Friday in Wilmington

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Acclaimed actress Gloria Crist is returning to Wilmington this weekend to star in the local premiere of “Master Class,” Terrence McNally’s award-winning play.

The play is scheduled for three performances, July 20-22, in Cape Fear Academy’s Fine Arts Building, 3900 S. College Road (Highway 132) in Wilmington.

Friday’s 7:30 p.m. performance includes a black-tie gala reception benefiting the Thalian Association.

The play was inspired by a series of master classes presented at the Juilliard School in the 1970s by legendary opera singer Maria Callas.

Last season, Crist performed the lead role of “La Divina” for Second Story Theatre in Warren, R.I., and was honored by the Rhode Island Theater Critics as Best Actress for her performance in “Master Class.”

Television audiences know Crist from her role as Vicky on Showtime’s award-winning series, “Brotherhood.” Her other film and television credits include playing Mom to Amber Tamblyn in “Normal Adolescent Behavior,” “The Company Men” with Ben Affleck and the upcoming feature, “Missing William,” with Brandon Routh and Courtney Ford.

Longtime Wilmington audiences may remember Crist from her stage performances, as Diana Morales in Thalian Hall’s “A Chorus Line,” as well as in “City of Angels,” “A Streetcar Named Desire,” “Anything Goes” and “Kiss Me, Kate.”

Crist was instrumental in establishing DREAMS of Wilmington, the vital center for arts education and recipient of the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities’ Coming Up Taller Award.

Tickets for the upcoming performances are $75 for Friday’s black-tie gala and $20 for Saturday’s 8 p.m. and Sunday’s 3 p.m. matinee performances.

For tickets, call (910) 251-1788 or log onto the website www.Thalian.org.

Cape Fear Academy is about 40 miles northeast of Shallotte.

To get there, from U.S. 17 keep right at the fork and follow signs for US-17 N/US-74 E/US-76 E/Wilmington and merge onto US-17 N/US-74 E/US-76 E. Continue to follow US-76 E, approximately 5.5 miles.

Turn right onto Oleander Drive for 2.5 miles. Turn right onto S. College Road for about 2.8 miles. The academy will be on the right.