Monday, April 24, 2017

Piccolo Spoleto is a month away — here's what we're most excited about

Spoiler: it's the Princess Diana musical

Posted by Connelly Hardaway on Mon, Apr 24, 2017 at 3:07 PM

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Spoleto season doesn't just mean great international shows taking place all over our fair city, it also means Piccolo Spoleto is kicking off, too, a homegrown complement to Spoleto, featuring music, theater, visual arts, dance, and comedy. Piccolo just released their 90 plus page brochure and, as always, there's a whole lot to take in. Here's what caught our eye:

Every Brilliant Thing

If you're like us, you scrambled to see the surprisingly uplifting one-man play about depression and suicide, Every Brilliant Thing, at last year's Spoleto festival. Threshold Rep takes on the play this year with a new production — think one-woman play — created just for Piccolo. The play runs from May 26-June 10.

Five Lesbians Eating a Quiche
Always a popular stage production, Five Lesbians Eating a Quiche is back for this year's Piccolo, produced by What If? Productions at Threshold Repertory Theatre, May 27-June 4. Make sure to keep your eye out for Best of Charleston's Best Actress, Sarah Callahan Black, who stars in the show.

Princess Diana, The Musical
A musical, about Princess Diana? Yep, and it's coming to the Charleston Performing Arts Center, a space perfect for the "cabaret-style" production, created by Karen Sokolof Javitch and Elaine Jabenis, that's making its Southeastern premiere at the fest. How the play manages to tells the story of Charles and Diana, we don't know. But we can't wait to find out. This show starts May 27 and running through June 9.

The In-Between with Marcus Amaker
On Mon. June 5 at 6 p.m. head to City Gallery for The In-Between, featuring classical soprano Jill Terhaar Lewis, saxophonist Robert Lewis, and pianist Gerald Gregory who will "explore repertoire that resides in and in between classical and jazz genres." Joined by poet laureate Charleston Marcus Amaker, the musicians will perform new versions of Amaker's poems.

Rumpelstiltskin
Maybe it's because we're still in a fairy tale state of mind, but Charleston City Ballet's performance of Rumplestiltskin tickles our fancy. Performed at the Charleston Music Hall on June 7 and June 8, the show tells the tale of a milliner's daughter making a bargain with a mischievous man. You know the rest. (And if you don't, then you definitely need to see this show).

Na Fidleiri: Something Old, Something New
Piccolo has an entire Celtic art series, so there's plenty of foot-stompin' tunes to go around. Na Fidleiri, a Charleston fiddling ensemble, presents a new program with new material including songs from fiddler Liz Carroll. Charleston musicians Bart Saylor and Jim Carrier join, as well as internationally-celebrated percussionist Danny Mallon. Performances take place at the Circular Congregational Church on June 5 and June 7.

Polaris Trio with Kenneth Law
The recently formed Polaris Trio performs innovative programs that highlight works by female composers and composers of African descent. The trio is comprised of violinist Laura Kobayashi, pianist Stephen Buck, and cellist Kenneth Law, and will perform one night only, Sun. May 28 at 6 p.m. at the Charleston Library Society.

Positional Ambivalence
Opening at the new Redux Contemporary Art Center (at 1056 King Street) starting May 26, visiting artist Gabriel Lovejoy creates work that celebrates the medium of paint in many forms. According to the artist description, "The work examines a culture driven by media and the flood of information as it defines a new reality."

Leonard Cohen: A multimedia retrospective
As part of Piccolo's A World of Jewish Culture series (an event that has been produced by the Yaschik/Arnold Jewish Studies Program at CofC for 19 years now), Kahal Kadosh Beth Elohim hosts Leonard Cohen: A multimedia retrospective. Binghamton University professor Jonathan Karp delivers a multimedia presentation on Cohen, with some of Cohen's most popular songs being performed live.

Find Your Groove
The film, Find Your Groove, looks at genres of American music, beginning with blues and jazz, and will screen at the Charleston Music Hall on Sun. May 28 at 5 p.m. The film is not only free (woo hoo), it also includes many shots of Charleston, like a concert at the Pour House.

Between Us
As part of the Stelle Di Domani series at the College of Charleston, Between Us is a collaboration between the Annex Dance Company and CofC's department of theater and dance. Performed on June 4 and June 5 at CofC Chapel Theatre the performance features professional and student dancers exploring relationships in a series of duets.

Piccolo Fringe: The Defiant Thomas Brothers
The Defiant Thomas Brothers is a pair of comedians, Seth and Paul Thomas (no relation) who were recently in town for the Charleston Comedy Festival. The duo's claim to fame may be their best sketch group award at the U.S. Comedy Arts Festival (alongside the Flight of the Conchords, no less), but the Thomas's should be known for their comedic timing, and the way they deal with both race and political correctness.

Piccolo Fiction: Aaron Wood
All of the Piccolo Fiction participants seem promising, but we can vouch for sure for Aaron Wood, whose short story "Gone From There" was published in last year's literary issue. Held at the Charleston Music Hall on Sat. June 3 at 5 p.m. each author's story will begin with the words "I ducked into the alley ..."

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