Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Bonnie couldn't dampen the opening weekend of Spoleto

Rain, rain...

Posted by Chris Haire on Tue, May 31, 2016 at 1:22 PM

click to enlarge The crowd came out, umbrella in hand, for Porgy on Monday - JULIA LYNN
  • Julia Lynn
  • The crowd came out, umbrella in hand, for Porgy on Monday
There was a moment on Saturday evening as I walked from the Bar at Husk to Fast and French that it occurred to me that I had Broad Street all to myself. This is no exaggeration. Just me, walking the sidewalk with a raincoat on, desperately trying not to slip and fall whenever I stepped on a steel grate or a particularly slick set of bricks.

To say it was magical would be overstating it; it was far too wet, and my jeans were far too soaked for such thoughts. But still, the never-ending deluge couldn't dampen my spirits. 

And apparently, Bonnie's rains haven't dampened the spirits of my fellow Spoletians.

Earlier today, I reached out Spoleto's Jennifer Scott to inquire about Bonnie's impact on the fest, and she was decidedly forthcoming. The rains forced several Cistern shows to move to the TD Arena, and while it did affect walk-up sales, the shows had all sold rather well to begin with, so any financial hits were but a minor stumble — much like the one I took outside of City Hall. Needless to say, I recovered before completely losing my balance and otherwise busting my bum on the sidewalk. 

Scott noted that all other shows went on as planned. "There were no issues with bridge closures or any of that kind of weather malarkey, so people could get to everything and did," she says. 

However, the much-anticipated Porgy and Bess simulcast Monday in Marion Square was affected, natch. "Last night’s simulcast would most definitely had more people without the rain, but hundreds still showed up to enjoy what I found an incredibly intimate and enriching way to experience the production," Scott says. "The rain was heaviest during the hurricane scene, and many plucky souls stayed until the end."

Good for them. Porgy and Bess is a fine show, one that I wish more Charlestonians would have the opportunity to see. 

If you were unable to attend last night's simulcast, you have a chance to see a rebroadcast of the opera for free at West Ashley High School tonight at 7:30 p.m. Scott notes that the closeups on the actors add to the thrill of the show and that unlike the show I attended on Friday, all of the words will be crystal clear to the audience. 

More importantly, if you aren't already a Porgy and Bess ticketholder, this will be your last chance to see the show. After Spoleto, this particular incarnation of Porgy is gone, perhaps, forever. Spoleto recorded the opera strictly for this one-time rebroadcast. "The Gershwin estate is extremely protective of its rights," Scott says. "We do not have the rights for anything other than the six live performances, and we got special permission for [Monday] and tomorrow."

She adds, "It will exist as a live experience only, so soak it up!"

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