We finally got our hands on the Piccolo Spoleto schedule last week. The city-run component of Spoleto Festival USA, Piccolo includes a big selection of performances from both local and national artists, including jazz and blues musicians, comedians, dancers, visual artists, and more.
Theater offerings make up a huge chunk of the schedule, with many returning shows from local groups (PURE, Charleston Acting Studio, Footlight Players) and some new visiting shows as well. As usual, the College of Charleston's Stelle Di Domani series is a highlight of the theater offerings, with the Pink Collar Comedy Tour and A Boston Marriage, presented by the Collective Collaborative Players. Alum David Lee Nelson returns with his new show The Elephant in My Closet, and we'll also see the return of The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe, which won over local crowds in 2007.
Piccolo Fringe has some familiar faces from past Fringes and Charleston Comedy Festivals, including Frankenmatt, the Reformed Whores, the Shock T's, and the Upright Citizens Brigade. The ever-popular Charles Ross returns with One Man Star Wars, and Martin Dockery presents another one-man show, The Holy Land Experience. We're especially looking forward to the G.L.O.C. (Gorgeous Ladies of Comedy).
Blues fans will have their pick of intimate concerts at venues like Bowens Island, Mad River, and the Carolina Queen riverboat as legends like Momma & the Redemption Band, Sarasota Slim, and John Nemeth entertain the crowds. And for jazz, musicians like Modus Bone, the Pulse Trio, and the New South Jazzmen will perform at various venues. We can't wait for the salute to Miles Davis.
As with the big festival, there are plenty of classical music offerings. You'll find daily performances of the Early Music Series at First (Scots) Presbyterian Church, the Young Artists Series at the College of Charleston, the Spotlight Concert Series at City Gallery at Waterfront Park, Spotlight on the Art of Choral Music at St. Philip's Episcopal Church, and Mepkin Abbey Concerts. Some highlights are the concert from pianist Laura Magnani, the artistic director of the Spoleto Italy Piano Festival and the Spoleto Reunion with Yuriy Bekker, David Chernyaavsky, and Phillip Von Maltzan. There's also the Traditional Music of the Old South Series.
In the dance department, Charleston Ballet Theatre is offering three shows and only one Brown Bag and Ballet performance. Robert Ivey Ballet is hosting a dance festival at Footlight Theatre, and a handful of other companies are coming in for the Dance at Noon Series.
Some of Piccolo's most interesting offerings are listed under the Special Events category. The Teetotallers, an Irish supergroup, will perform at Circular Congregational Church, and local filmmaker Justin Nathanson will present his Charleston, A Love Letter at the Hippodrome. Artists Mary Whyte and Jonathan Green will give a lecture at the Gibbes, and there will be an art exhibit onboard the USS Yorktown as well as a performance from the 282nd Army Band. The literary festival features talks with authors like Sallie Krawcheck and Marshall Chapman, and Hirona Matsuda is curating a show at City Gallery.
And, of course, you'll find all of the usual free events throughout the fest, including the Sunset Serenade at the Custom House, the Memorial Day Concert, and the Intern Block Party in Marion Square.
All told, there aren't a lot of surprises in this year's Piccolo schedule, but there's plenty to keep us busy throughout the festival. See the full lineup here.