Spotlight Theatres screens enrapture audiences with first-run movies. In each movie house, digital sounds and visual projections of fresh Hollywood films alight inner emotions of audiences resting in plush, high-backed stadium seats—each outfitted with a coin-operated mustache comb—or thrown directly into the action through 3-D technology. As eyes and ears relish motion-picture pursuits, soda, candy, and bounties of salty, crunchy popcorn emerge from the concession stand to occupy chatty mouths or catapult towards the screen to feed the hungry actors.
Anyone active in Savannah’s theatre community in the 70s and 80s would likely have encountered Tom Coleman III, a director who began his career at the Savannah Young People’s Theatre. He produced and directed more than 200 shows in the ensuing 35 years, culminating in the founding of the Savannah Community Theatre. The company often produces shows by local playwrights, along with a weekly, pirate-themed murder mystery dinner show.
The motion-picture gurus at Mom and Pop's Westside Cinemas have been relaying Hollywood's latest films for eager cinephiles for more than a decade. Artifacts salvaged from 1985, the theater's old-school 33-millimeter projectors cast images onto three screens as crisp Dolby surround sound heightens movies' audio, allowing viewers to hear the cameraman's knees buckle in the presence of Clint Eastwood's glare. Films soon to grace the silver screen include the Justin Timberlake sci-fi thriller In Time, the comedic feature Tower Heist with Eddie Murphy and Ben Stiller, and Puss in Boots, featuring a swashbuckling feline voiced by Antonio Banderas. After sliding into their seats for matinee or evening showtimes, visitors devour a mountainous washtub of popcorn that doubles as a toboggan when emptied. Though not included with today's Groupon, Mom and Pop's Westside Cinemas dispenses a variety of additional concessions, such as 44 oz. sodas ($4.75) and juicy franks from Nathan's Hot Dogs, and adorns its lobby with seven arcade games, including Ms. Pac Man.
Grammy-winning slide-guitarist Derek Trucks and Grammy-nominated singer/guitarist Susan Tedeschi bring their music-filled marriage to the stage with the help of a handpicked 11-member band steeped in Delta blues and drenched in Memphis soul. Trucks and Tedeschi met while playing with the Allman Brothers Band and bring years of independent performance and songwriting experience to their new collaboration. Opening for them will be the legendary John Hammond, inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 2011 despite the controversy over his sustain pedal's steroid habit. Tickets are in the highlighted section and are assigned on a first-come, first-served basis.
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.
Part of the Savannah Dance Festival, Caliente showcases the seasoned rug cutters of Academy Ballroom International. Sambas, cha-chas, rumbas, and tangos raise the room temperature with sultry moves, quickening pulses and allowing haberdashers to easily reclaim stolen merchandise from melted snowmen. Colorful costumes further engage rapt eyes in onstage action with bright sequins and swirling folds. The show takes place at the cheery, greenery-filled Savannah Riverfront Marriott, with onsite restaurants and bars for a preshow or postshow drink to lubricate throats left dry from program-eating contests.