Wilmington’s “Grand Lady of Market Street” has been a functioning performance space of one type or another, almost without pause, since it opened as a Masonic temple and auditorium in 1871; it continues to host approximately 300 events annually. With such a pedigree, it’s probably no surprise to find that such long-lost luminaries as Buffalo Bill Cody and John Philip Sousa once performed here; the Grand crackles with history, from its cast-iron façade – replete with Masonic symbols – to the perfectly restored proscenium arch over its stage. (There’s also baby grand, an intimate 300-seat proscenium theater, next door on the grounds of the former Aldine Theater, which stages art films and music.)
The Grand’s programming comes from all over the artistic map, ranging from blues and folk to jazz and stand-up comedy; seasonal productions are offered during the holidays. In the summer, patrons with kids can take advantage of a number of instructional programs in music and theater. The Grand also offers an annual jazz series, Clifford Brown Year Round, a selection of monthly concerts designed to keep alive the music and message of jazz legend and Wilmington native Clifford Brown, and yearly residencies by the Delaware Symphony, Opera Delaware, and First State Ballet Theatre. (JM)
The Grand Opera House Information
- Public Transportation: Very Good (a short walk from DART buses 3, 8, 12, 19, 22, 34, 301, and 423 at 8th Street/King Street; and bus 32 at Market Street/8th Street)
- Handicapped Accessibility: Good
- Performances/Programs: 50–60 performances per season
- Ticket Prices: $18–$62 depending on event and seat selection
- Subscriptions: My choice series – when you buy tickets to 3 or more shows you receive discounted tickets.