It started small: in 1931, Lieutenant Commander Charles Russell Price directed a series of one-act plays at the Charleston Navy Yard. The series was an unexpected success, and a year later, his band of amateur theater-makers had evolved into an
Helium illuminates the story of Miss Molly, a former chemistry teacher now in the throes of dementia who sets off on imagined adventures much to the chagrin of her worried family members. The production portrays poignant glimpses into aging and the multifaceted human mind, bringing humor to a subject often rife with sadness. The narrative unfolds at the venerable Dock Street Theatre, which fetes play enthusiasts with a plethora of staged tales. The newly renovated playhouse features high-quality lighting and sound, comfy seats, and new-fangled heating and air-conditioning while maintaining its nostalgic allure and secret portals to the 1736 production of Rent.
Inside Threshold Repertory Theatre's intimate venue, Every Christmas Story Ever Told (and then some!) delivers an uproarious, backhanded interpretation of conventional holiday traditions. Since making its debut in 2003, the side-splitting Yuletide onslaught has spurred a nationwide following, garnering praise from the Los Angeles Times as a "winking assault on virtually every secular seasonal classic since Charles Dickens." As Christmas icons such as Frosty, Rudolph, and Ayn Rand enter the show's crosshairs, versatile cast members tickle funny bones with a blitz on worldwide Christmas customs, seasonal carols, and pop-culture mainstays. An original score backs the performance, adding an extra dose of originality and white-bearded quarter notes to a whirlwind of topical amusement.
A Charleston institution since 1936, the Charleston Symphony Orchestra gathers internationally experienced musicians to perform popular favorites and classical masterpieces. In this season's opening concert, the orchestra invites acclaimed Broadway stars Rita Harvey, who recently performed in Fiddler on the Roof with Rosie O'Donnell, and Ron Bohmer, whose resumé brims with high-school-track ribbons and starring roles in The Phantom of the Opera and Sunset Boulevard. As conductor Stuart Malina dishes out Morse code instructions with his baton, singers belt the familiar lyrics of songs from Rodgers and Hammerstein classics, including The King & I, South Pacific, and The Sound of Music. A talented cadre of strings, horns, and percussionists recreate the sweeping sounds of Broadway, led by concertmaster Yuriy Bekker, whose violin has dazzled audiences in the Kennedy Center and music festivals worldwide.
The Charleston Ballet Theatre celebrates 25 years of diverse dancing and professional choreography with an inventive take on holiday classic The Nutcracker. Set in 1860s South Carolina, the Ballet Theatre's lavishly costumed pirouetters prance to Tchaikovsky’s immutable score among familiar Lowcountry landmarks and replicas of the area's native sugar-plum bushes. Appearing on stage to aid young Clara and her sentient legume-opener in their struggle against rodent oppressors is a troupe of adorable canines from the Charleston Animal Society, giving the production its alternative title, "The Muttcracker." Unlike the dancers, the puppies are available for adoption after the show.