Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Theatre Charleston holds open auditions

Audition, Stage Left

Posted by Rebecca Stanley on Tue, Mar 11, 2014 at 1:22 PM

Has anyone ever called you a drama queen? Now’s your chance to prove them right.

Theatre Charleston is having an open audition session Sat. April 12 at the Footlight Theatre beginning at 1 p.m. Companies like PURE Theatre, the Footlight Players, Midtown Productions, and Village Repertory Company use the Unified Auditions as their yearly open auditions, and while this is not a casting call, many theaters give call backs later in the season to their favorite auditions.

Even established actors are encouraged to show off their versatility at the Unified Auditions. This year, theater techs are also encouraged to attend. 

Auditions are open to members of Theatre Charleston. There is a $25 fee for membership. Actors will be allotted 90 seconds to perform a monologue or song, and an accompanist will be provided. Technical artists will have a two-minute slot to explain their skills to directors and producers. Slots will be provided on a first come, first serve basis.

If this sounds intimidating, Theatre Charleston is holding a free workshop on Sat. March 22 at South of Broad Studios at 1:30 p.m. Thespians of all skills and experience levels are welcome.

For more information, go to theatrecharleston.com.

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Friday, February 14, 2014

Old Vic director partners with CofC for Dancing at Lughnasa

An Irish Tale with a British Twist

Posted by Rebecca Stanley on Fri, Feb 14, 2014 at 10:31 AM

The Irish have had it rough. Economic hardship, religious tension, and family drama seem to be the center of all stories, histories, and movies to come out of the Emerald Isle. And Brain Friel's Dancing at Lughnasa is no different.

Written in 1990, the play is a semi-autobiographical story about the Mundy sisters. The Irish gals live a life full of hardship, dancing, and harvest in the 1930s and when their brother Jack returns home faithless after decades of missionary work, the good Catholic girls must try to cope with their brother's rejection of the priesthood. Friel has been called "The Irish Checkov," and Lughnasa is widely considered one of his best plays. The College of Charleston's theater department partners with The Bristol Old Vic Theatre to bring the show to Charleston, which is kind of a big deal.  

The Bristol-based Old Vic, one of the most prestigious theaters in the world, has been the starting point for Daniel Day-Lewis, Jeremy Irons, Gene Wilder, and even Captain Picard himself, Sir Patrick Stewart. Old Vic's production of A Midsummer Night's Dream was a Spoleto Festival USA 2013 highlight, and the Old Vic staged a revival of Lughnasa in 2009 to critical acclaim.

Miranda Cromwell, the director of the Old Vic's Young Company, is on hand to direct CofC's version of the Tony Award-winning Lughnasa. In addition to working for Old Vic, Cromwell also has her own theater company, Twisted Theatre, and recently won awards for artistic leadership. Cromwell has been excited to work with CofC students. "I have been hugely impressed with the way in which the students are so involved in all aspects of the process of creating and building this production," says Cromwell. "It has been a total privilege to collaborate with this college to bring this beautiful play to life."
The students she has been so impressed by are cast members Avery Cole, Caroline Connell, Julia Hooks, Gregory Mangieri, Sadia Matthews, Margaret Nyland, Peter Spearman, and Cameron Tubbs. Christian Crum, Corinne Williams, Cierra Tinnell, Charlie Calvert, and Alexia Sosa are the technical director, stage manager, costume designer, scenic designer, and lighting designer, respectively. 

A special preview showing of Friel's play will take place on Wed. Feb. 19 at 6:45 p.m. at the Simons Center. Guests are invited to a pre-ception before the show and a reception with the actors and staff after the show. Regular stagings will run Feb. 20-22, 24-25 at 7:30 p.m., and Feb. 23 at 3 p.m. Tickets cost $15 for adults and $10 for students and seniors. For more info, visit theatre.cofc.edu

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Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Catch Footlight's hit before its gone

The spades of irony might prove deadly

Posted by Rebecca Stanley on Tue, Feb 11, 2014 at 10:15 AM

The cast of Deathtrap
  • The cast of Deathtrap
Everyone loves a good mystery. Knowing this, The Footlight Players have taken on Ira Levine's Deathtrap. The show is Broadway's longest-running comedy-thriller, and was popularized in a 1982 film adaptation with Michael Caine and Christopher Reeve. It's been popular in Charleston as well. Almost all of Footlight's shows have been sold-out. 

Deathtrap is a classically post-modern play. Meta allusions abound, and nothing is ever as it seems. Levine's work centers on disgruntled playwright Sidney Bruhl. Bruhl comes across a perfect "one set, five character" play mailed to him by a student, and begins to joke with his wife about the student's demise. What happens next is akin to classic Hitchcock, with more humor. 

The show closes with a matinee this Sunday with performances on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights at 8 p.m. 

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Thursday, March 7, 2013

Michael Smallwood reprises Chad Deity role in Charlotte


Posted by Emily Taylor on Thu, Mar 7, 2013 at 4:00 AM


In September of 2012, we got to see Michael Smallwood go shirtless as Mace in PURE Theatre's The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity. And we loved it … for more reasons than one.

The play is a comedy that highlights racism in the world of professional wrestling. Chad Deity is the head honcho — think The Rock back in the day — and Mace was his lovely prop. His very specific job title was to make Deity look like a damn good wrestler at all costs. Mace got tired of playing back-up, and things go from there. The play won the 2011 Obie Award for Best New American Play, and the New York Times named it the Best Play of 2011. Most importantly, we here at the City Paper gave it rave reviews.

In fact, Smallwood was so spectacular, he was asked — actually begged — to reprise the role of Mace in Charlotte’s production of the play.

When he was originally recruited, Smallwood was unable to accept because he’d made other plans. Case closed.

Except it wasn’t, because months later Smallwood was contacted again. This time, they told him they’d push the production date back a week if he’d pretty please accept the role. Now he’s in Charlotte reprising his role as Mace in Chad Deity, and he’s noticed some differences from the Lowcountry version.

“The experience has been quite different,” says Smallwood. “A different director, a different performance space, a new cast with new experiences and takes on the role.”

He realized it was bound to be different, especially because the cast and crew had already begun working on the show months before he arrived. But they like him, and he likes them, so it’s all good.

“The cast and crew have been absolutely great about working with me,” says Smallwood. “They’re all really talented artists.”

He says the biggest difference in the Charlotte production has been the wrestling. “In this production, I actually get to wrestle a full match before the show even starts,” he says. “I’m Iron Man!”

Smallwood put a lot of pressure on himself to rise to the challenge, but it’s paid off because the Charlotte Observer gave the performance a great review.

Charlotte performances continue through March 23. Find more info here.

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Monday, February 25, 2013

Best of Broadway 2013-14: Jersey Boys, Addams Family, and Memphis

Posted by Emily Taylor on Mon, Feb 25, 2013 at 2:00 PM


It’s been a banner year for the North Charleston Performing Arts Center’s Best of Broadway series — Wicked was wicked awesome (and record-breaking), and Les Miz killed it.

Now we can look ahead to the 2013-14 season, which will be anchored by Jersey Boys (Nov. 5-10) — if you’re unfamiliar, it’s a story of how four blue-collar kids became some of the greatest successes in pop music in a group called The Four Seasons. Then in December, Sister Act, based on the movie of the same name, is a feel-good musical comedy about a wannabe diva who witnesses a crime and ends up hiding from the cops in a convent.

In 2014, The Addams Family is Jan. 14-15, and Memphis is Feb. 18-19 — it’s a fun, lively musical about the underground dance clubs in Memphis in the 1950s. Million Dollar Quartet (April 16-17, 2014) is a Tony award-winner about the famed recording session that brought together Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Carl Perkins for this first time. As if this wasn’t enough, the series also includes a special performance from none other than Bill Cosby.

All events will be held at the North Charleston Performing Arts Center, and tickets are on sale now. For ticket purchasing information, call (843) 202-ARTS, or go to NorthCharlestonColiseumPAC.com.

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