Note: Authored by David Menconi, this piece has been produced in partnership with Raleigh Arts. Menconi's next book, "Oh, Didn't They Ramble: Rounder Records and the Transformation of American Roots Music," was published in the fall of 2023 by University of North Carolina Press. His podcast, Carolina Calling, explores the history of the Tar Heel State through music.

Raleigh, N.C., has a lot of live-performance venues in its downtown district, but the one that consistently puts on the widest diversity of entertainment is the Martin Marietta Center for the Performing Arts.

The venue dates all the way back to 1932 and the depths of The Great Depression, when Raleigh Memorial Auditorium opened at 2 E. South St. at the southern end of the city's main Fayetteville St. corridor.

Memorial subsequently went through a major renovation in 1990, which put the hall at its current audience capacity of 2,369 seats. A bit more than a decade later, a 2001 expansion project created a complex with three additional performing arts venues attached.

The largest of those three is Meymandi Concert Hall, a 1,750-seat hall that is home court for the North Carolina Symphony. There’s also the 600-seat A.J. Fletcher Opera Theater, which has far more than just opera events, and the 150-person capacity Kennedy Theatre.

Between all four venues, the complex hosts concerts of virtually all styles of music in addition to ballet, opera, theater and live comedy--more than 600 total events each year that attract approximately 400,000 guests.

Below we've highlighted six events of varying types coming to Martin Marietta venues this spring, plus provided a fuller list of upcoming performances to keep your eye on (and even some eating and drinking hot spots to help round out your evening). 


Carolina Ballet presents The Little Mermaid

March 7-24 at Fletcher Opera Theater
The classic 1837 fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen has been made into numerous screen and stage versions. This one is a dance, in a new world-premiere ballet put on by Carolina Ballet.


North Carolina Symphony presents Rhapsody in Blue

March 8-9 at Meymandi Concert Hall
February 2024 marks the 100-year anniversary of the George Gershwin classic’s very first public performances, and the North Carolina Symphony will put it through its paces with a weekend’s worth of performances. The Symphony has a number of other pops-oriented programs at Meymandi this spring, too, including Totally 80s, March 15-16, plus “Star Wars: Return of the Jedi," May 2-4.


Aaron Lewis: American Patriot Tour

March 21 at Memorial Auditorium
Lewis may be best-known as lead vocalist in the heavy rock band Staind, but he has a parallel solo career as a country music star. He will be in the later guise for this show at Memorial Auditorium. 


TommyInnit: How To Be A Billionaire

March 27 at Meymandi Concert Hall
A gamer, comedian, writer and performer, Tom “TommyInnit” Simons is a British teenager and new multimedia star, popular on platforms like Twitch and YouTube. This is one of several big comedy shows at Meymandi this spring, including Ali Siddiq on March 30 and Rodney Carrington on April 11.


An Evening with David Sedaris

April 8 at Memorial Auditorium
Beloved Raleigh native Sedaris is a major star in the spoken-word realm, and the author of multiple best-selling books. This reading will feature an audience Q&A segment as well as a book signing. 

Note: This show is now sold out! You may find tickets on the secondary market, but Sedaris has now scheduled another show for Sat., Nov. 2 at the same venue. Tickets go on sale to the public on March 1 at 10am.


North Carolina Opera presents The Girl of the Golden West

April 21 at Meymandi Concert Hall
This is music from the classic Puccini opera, performed in-concert by North Carolina Opera rather than a fully staged operatic work. 


More upcoming performing arts events at Martin Marietta Center for the Performing Arts


Where to eat and drink in downtown Raleigh

For a pre-show meal or a post-show drink, these 10 picks are within easy walking distance of the Martin Marietta Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Raleigh.

  • 10th and Terrace, for rooftop drinks just steps from all the entertainment;
  • Poole's Diner, for Southern eats at one of Raleigh's most iconic restaurants; 
  • Gravy, for hearty tomato-based dishes at one the area's favorite Italian eateries;
  • Chido Taco, for a laid-back atmosphere with can't-miss tacos and Mexican beer;
  • Whiskey Kitchen, for patio vibes and a menu of hand-crafted classics;
  • Bittersweet, for late-night cocktails or desserts (or dessert cocktails); 
  • The Pit; for authentic whole-hog barbecue paired with local brews;
  • The Haymaker, for hip cocktails served with hip-hop vibes;
  • Element Gastropub, for a highly-rated plant-based dinner;
  • Flavor Hills Restaurant and Bar, for good times at one of downtown Raleigh's newest (and tastiest) gathering spots.


Note: Authored by David Menconi, this piece has been produced in partnership with Raleigh Arts . Menconi's next book,... View More

There's no shortage of ways to find peaceful escapes in order to explore the outdoors in the City of Oaks. Use any of the... View More

Note: Authored by David Menconi, this piece has been produced in partnership with Raleigh Arts . Menconi's next book,... View More

Are you ready to root, root, root for the home team? Grab your sunscreen, hats, peanuts and Cracker Jack—America's... View More

Hello, spring! We're nearly a quarter of the way through 2024, and winter weather has been kicked to the curb for good.... View More

The days are longer, the weather is warmer and the flowers are blooming—sure signs of spring in the Raleigh area! The... View More

Passionate local chefs, brewers and creative types have teamed up to guide the Raleigh area through a foodie resurgence in recent... View More

Located just east of Raleigh in the town of Wendell, Robertson Millpond Preserve is a hidden, 85-acre refuge for nature lovers,... View More