It started small: in 1931, Lieutenant Commander Charles Russell Price directed a series of one-act plays at the Charleston Navy Yard. It was an unexpected success, and a year later, his band of amateur theater-makers were officially calling themselves The Footlight Players. The ensemble began performing at various spaces around town, and as their popularity grew, they became a local institution.
Today, The Footlight Players uphold Price's vision by staging seasonal works ranging from comic musicals to dramatic plays. And while the company now has a permanent home in a historic cotton warehouse, their scrappy, let's-put-on-a-show attitude hasn't changed?local volunteers are always welcome to audition, lend an extra hand, or shake cottonseeds out of the stage curtains.
After training with companies including the Joffrey Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, and the Ballet Russe School, Don Cantwell returned to Charleston with a dream: to share the beauty of ballet with the local community. Decades later, he and Executive Artistic Director Patricia Cantwell continue to do just that at Charleston Ballet Theatre Center for Dance Education, training future generations of dancers and staging dazzling productions featuring guest artists and their own students. Guest Artists including award winning stars Alexey Kulpin, Sakura Oka, Kota Fujishima and others, are joined by Resident Choreographer Jill Eathorne Bahr, whose innovative work has brought new life to classics including Alice in Wonderland, The Rite of Spring, and The Firebird.
First opening its doors in 1818, the Savannah Theatre hosts a plethora of productions upon its well-seasoned stage. June's shows include Country Star Revue, a two-hour mosey through the past half-century of country-music hits. The festive performance features the twangy tunes of Patsy Cline, Johnny Cash, Rascal Flatts, and Taylor Swift, belted out by a septet of denim-clad vocalists accompanied by a live band and a chorus of tap-dancing cowboy hats. Alternatively, audiences may take a tuneful trip in the wayback machine with The Beat Goes On. From the Age of Aquarius through the age of acid-washed jeans, this musical visits the memorable melodies from the '60s, '70s, '80s, and a few spots outside the space-time continuum. Check the schedule for performance dates and times.
Knights in shining armor. White horses. Fair maidens. All the magnificent trappings of a bygone era come to life at Medieval Times, where ironclad knights clash for the title of King's Champion in front of a wide-eyed audience that peppers the battlefield with cheers and jeers between bites of a four-course dinner. Each two-hour tournament channels the pageantry and spectacle of 11th-century Spain, pitting six competitors against each other inside a spacious, sand-filled arena for the honor of earning the title of champion and the favor of the royal court. A spirited musical score infuses epic onslaughts with an extra dose of tension as adversaries joust atop stallions, deflect ferocious blows, and slice through suits forged of authentic junk mail. To further immerse guests in the fairy tale, Medieval Times encourages each guest to declare their allegiance by cheering loudly for the knight in their corner.
Like royal guests centuries ago, spectators bask in the revelry while feasting upon a finger-friendly bill of fare without the aid of utensils or the "choo-choo" sounds of parents. The four-course feast includes a tomato-bisque soup starter, oven-roasted chicken with a garlic-bread side, single spare rib, and an herb-basted potato. Servers periodically fill patrons? goblets with soda or water, which adults can supplement with purchases from a full-service bar. Meals conclude with the castle's sweet pastry dessert.
"Threshold creates huge musicals in a little theater," read the headline of a recent Charleston City Paper profile of Threshold Repertory Theatre. Audiences will recognize many of the works the company performs from Broadway and beyond, but in its 100-seat black-box theater, even the splashiest showpieces take on new intimacy. ?What happens in this space is that the audience seriously begins to blend with the story," previous artistic director Pamela Nichols Galle told the City Paper. Threshold gives patrons direct access to the brains and talents of directors, playwrights, and actors. Before or after a show, guests can get into the theatrical spirit by enjoying beer, wine and snacks from the box office's concession stand.
Five-footed lines of iambic pentameter sweep audiences away to Cleopatra’s Egyptian court, where a tragedy of love and lust decides the fates of Rome and Egypt. Actors from the College of Charleston Theatre Department weave threads of passion, power, and lamb's wool into their depictions of handsome Roman general Mark Antony and the beautiful Queen of Egypt, Cleopatra. Having neglected his soldierly duties to conduct an affair with Cleopatra, Antony faces the scorn of his triumvir Octavius Caesar and the increasing threat of a rebellion back home. The fates of two empires rest in the balance of his torn convictions, as his indecision sends Cleopatra into a jealous rage and Caesar into a frenzy of salad making. Shakespeare’s linguistic swordsmanship sharpens the poignancy of the play’s five acts, which slither along to a deadly conclusion.