Midlands Theatres Announce New Seasons!

Dueling Shreks.  Dueling Les Miserables. Dueling Clybourne Parks, dueling Hamlets ...well, I guess technically any production of Hamlet is a dueling Hamlet.  Neil Simon and Anthony Shaffer. Tom Stoppard and John Guare. Tammy Wynette and Patsy Cline. Dracula and Frankenstein, Ash and Elvis.  Revivals of classics, and brand-new shows direct from Broadway. Looks like there is something for everyone in the next year! I'm not sure that Jasper has ever broken any news before, but to my knowledge, this is the first report from last week's "One Last Hurrah" celebration at the Art Bar, the culmination of One Month, One Columbia. Representatives from many of the area's theatres announced their seasons for 2013-2014.  A few were not able to make it, and I've lifted some titles and dates from their websites.  Others do a calendar year format rather than a "school year," so in those cases I've listed what info is available.


First Disclaimer: I have not included commercial venues (like the Township, the Koger Center, etc.) that book productions, but they have some great shows coming up too.  Nor have I included one-time shows, high school shows (however excellent they may be), church and religion-based events, dance and music productions, etc.  I'm all in favor of those too, but this is about local community and professional theatres.

Second Disclaimer: theatre seasons often change, so this is in no way a definitive or comprehensive listing.  Look for something in a future print issue of Jasper - The Word on Columbia Arts for details and more specific dates and information.

Third Disclaimer: the event was held at the Art Bar, so my memory may not be perfect.  If there's anything significant that I have listed incorrectly, drop me a note at akrickel@jaspercolumbia.com .

That said, in no particular order, we have the following shows to look forward to!

Town Theatre

Les Miserables - September

The Foreigner - late fall

Elvis Has Left the Building - January

Stand By Your Man: The Tammy Wynette Story - March

Shrek: The Musical - May


High Voltage Theatre

Dracula (a new stage version by Chris Cook, developed in collaboration with Dacre Stoker, great-grand-nephew of Bram Stoker) at the West Columbia Riverwalk Amphitheater - October 10-13, 17-20, 24-27, 30-31

classic thriller at Tapp's Art Center (details tba) - February

classic thriller at West Columbia Riverwalk Amphitheater (details tba) - Spring


USC's Theatre South Carolina

Arcadia by Tom Stoppard - Sept. 27 - Oct. 5 at Drayton Hall

The Three Sisters by Anton Chekhov - Nov. 15-23 at Longstreet Theatre

The 39 Steps by Patrick Barlow - Feb. 21 -  March 1 - Longstreet Theatre

Hamlet by William Shakespeare (OK, like you didn't know that) - April 18-26 - venue tba

plus a full season of black box shows (details tba)


Stage 5 Theatre

Hamlet - September

Lombardi - November

Special Holiday Event - December

Clybourne Park – April


Lexington Arts Association (at the Village Square Theatre)

Shrek: The Musical - September 20 - October 6

Steel Magnolias - November 1 - November 10

Always…Patsy Cline - December 6 - December 15 (non-season show)

9 to 5: The Musical - January 17 – January 26

Roald Dahl's Willy Wonka JR. - March 7 - March 23

a musical revue (details tba) - May 9 - May 18


Workshop Theatre

Beehive - September

Sleuth - late fall

Crimes of the Heart - January

Biloxi Blues - March

Young Frankenstein - May (including Frau ....BLUCHER!)


Theatre Rowe

Murder Ahoy! - June 27 - July 28

Over the River and Through the Woods - August 16-17, 23-25

The Altos (tentative) - September 20-22, 27-29

Little Shop of Horrors - October 18-19, 25-26, 31


Chapin Theatre Company

How to Eat Like A Child (based on the book by Delia Ephron) - Aug. 2-4 at the Old Chapin Firehouse / American Legion Building

Unnecessary Farce, by Paul Slade Smith -  Sept. 19-22, 26-28 at Harbison Theatre at Midlands Technical College


South Carolina Shakespeare Company

Hamlet - Oct. 16 - 26

Les Miserables - Apr. 16 - May 3


On Stage Productions

An Evening of One-Acts - September

Yes, Virginia - The Musical - December

Second Samuel - February

Hey G - April

..........An Evening of One Acts -  September - 

Columbia Children's Theatre

The Musical Adventures of Flat Stanley - September

Ho Ho Ho! - November/December

Puss In Boots (a new comic version by CCT's Jerry Stevenson) - February

The Stinky Cheese Man and other Fair(l)y (Stoopid) Tales - April

The Commedia Snow White - June


Trustus Theatre

Thigpen Main Stage:

Ragtime - September

Venus in Fur - November

A Christmas Carol - December

Clybourne Park - January-February

Every Good Boy Deserves Favour, by Tom Stoppard, with music by Andre Previn; featuring the SC Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Morohiko Nakahara - Feb.-March

See Rock City and Other Destinations - spring

The House of Blue Leaves - May

Evil Dead: The Musical - summer - groovy.

Winner of the Playwrights' Festival - August

Side Door Theatre

Five Lesbians Eating a Quiche (returning from its sold-out run in January) - Fall

El Diario De un Psiquiatra (A Psychiatrist's Diary) - a world premiere by Julia Vargas, presented in Spanish by La Tropa - November

Love, Lost and What I Wore, by Delia Ephron - January

a NiA Company show - Spring

Off-Off-Lady Series

The Adding Machine (pending rights) April 24-May 4 - venue tba

In the Red and Brown Water - June - at the Harbison Theatre


WOW (Walking on Water) Productions

Confessions of a Good Man - a new play by local authors Tangie Beaty, Donna Johnson, and Kevin A. Rasberry - July 25-28 at the Harbison Theatre

other original works in 2013-14 - TBA


If you didn't notice, including the groups collaborating in the Side Door, that's 15 different theatre groups!  In little bitty Columbia, SC - who knew?  Well, you probably did, since as I'm saying more and more these days... Columbia has always been a theatre town.  Look for details on all of the above in coming months here, and in print issues of Jasper - The Word on Columbia Arts. And many thanks to Larry Hembree and Debora Lloyd, the co-chairs for Theatre for OneColumbia, for organizing and facilitating One Last Hurrah!

~ August Krickel


A World of Wealth, Becky Shaw, Bark! The Musical, King Lear, and My First Time - all this weekend!

There is a world of theatrical wealth this weekend (in addition to Artista Vista, the Columbia Museum's Artist of the Year event, FOLKFaulous at the McKissick Museum, and a dozen other cool happenings. Indeed - no less than FIVE shows are opening, or continuing their runs.

OnStage Productions presents A World of Wealth, a new musical by Robert Harrelson and Gloria VanDalen.  That's right - a world premiere of a new musical, right here in town!  The cast includes Christy Shealy Mills, Zanna Mills, Emma Imholz, Liberty Broussard, Tracy Davis Davenport, Charlis Wright, Gene Davis, Kristen Kimery, Zach Tenny, and Corin Wiggins.

the cast of "A World of Wealth"

From press material:

When a wealthy family decides to move uptown NYC from the south to bring the family closer together the chaos begins. Love and Money have always appeared to the forces opposed to each other as we find out that Money is more than dollars and cents. The show is a funny but dramatic look at family values and believing in friends to make life exciting. Songs such as A Spanglish , Forever Friends and I Don't Want to Grow Up and More proves the show to be a sure hit! This dramatic, comedic and  heartwarming production will run April 26th 7:30pm   , April 27th 2:30pm  and 7:30pm , April 28th  2:30pm , May 2 and 3 , 7:30pm  , May 4 , 2:30pm and 7:30pm , May 5th, 2:30 PM -  at The On Stage Performance Center,  680 Cherokee Lane, West Columbia, SC 29169. For questions please call Robert Harrelson at 407-319-2596 or check On Stage Productions website at www.OnStageSc.com

world of wealth

Stage 5 Theatre meanwhile is producing Bark! The Musical, which opened for a preview run last weekend, and officially opens tonight. The theatre is located at 947 S. Stadium Rd., near Williams-Brice.

Bark! The Musical

The entire show is presented from a dog’s point of view. Through song and story, the audience is exposed to the tenderness, aggression and frustration of these beings as they share personal stories of past and present, owners and friends, and their desire to be loved and part of a family. For more details see www.mbfproductions.net .


- Robert Bullock as King, the older and wiser Labrador and leader of the pack
Crystal Leidy as Golde, the rugged, sarcastic, take-no-guff, tell-it-like-it-is female bull dog
- Brock Henderson as Rocks, the Jack Russell Terrier puppy that is full of spunk and energy
- Avery Bateman as Chanel, A French poodle,a diva former show dog with attitude aspiring to be an opera singer
- Charlie Goodrich as Sam, A grey pit bull mutt that is  sexy, handsome, street tough and macho to hide his insecurities
- Britt Jerome as Boo, a sock-a-holic Cocker Spaniel, a bit frantic, but protective and caring mother figure

Directed by: Michael Bailey Assistant Directed by: Crystal Leidy Musical Direction by: Brock Henderson Choreography by: Mandy Applegate Produced by: Charles Chavers

Music by David Troy Francis, Lyrics by Gavin Geoffrey Dillard, Robert Schrock and Mark Winkler, Additional Lyrics by Jonathan Heath and Danny Lukic, Book by Mark Winkley and Gavin Geoffrey Dillard.

Show Dates: April 19- May 5, Shows- Friday and Saturday at 8 PM, Sunday at 3 PM.


USC's Lab Theatre is presenting Becky Shaw, by Gina Gionfriddo for this weekend only.

From press material:


Performances are at 8pm nightly, April 25-28, 2013. Tickets are $5 and are available at the door on a first-come, first-served basis. The Lab Theatre, the university's intimate "black box" performance space, is located in the Booker T. Washington building at 1400 Wheat Street, across form Blatt PE center. Becky Shaw contains adult themes which may not be suitable for children.

A 2009 finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, Becky Shaw tells the tale of a blind date (from hell) that opens a Pandora's box of familial and romantic entanglements. Newlyweds Andrew and Suzanna fix up two romantically challenged friends, but when scathing Max meets anxious Becky, it's obvious that the evening will not go according to plan. "Blithely cynical and devastatingly funny…witty observations on the emotional damage inflicted by neurotic people in the name of love…Gionfriddo is some kind of genius." – Variety

Director David Britt, a USC Theatre Instructor and Production Manager of the Lab Theatre, was inspired to stage Becky Shaw after seeing the play in New York a few years ago. He recalls that after seeing the play he and his friends got into a heated discussion about dating and what they were willing to tolerate in terms of "baggage." Britt says, "It was a wonderful discussion that was sparked by a wonderful play…I hope that audiences who see this show will have similar conversations."

Britt has assembled an exceptional cast of actors whose challenge is to portray the subtle nuances in Gionfriddo's characters. "I needed intelligent and sensitive actors who would enjoy the raw humor of these characters but would also be able to play their vulnerabilities."

Playing the title role of Becky is sophomore theatre major Grace Stewart. Also starring are undergraduate students Katie Atkinson, Stephen Canada, Hunter Bolton, and graduate acting student Catherine Friesen. Undergraduates Amanda Alston and Kasey Beard are the stage manager and assistant director, respectively.

"Most of our neurotic behavior is fairly common," says the director, "we just don't know it. I want the actors working on this show, as well as our audiences, to discover how much alike we all are. If you are an individual who thinks you are isolated in your problems…well, you aren't."

For more information on Becky Shaw or the theatre program at the University of South Carolina, please contact Kevin Bush by phone at 803-777-9353 or via email at bushk@mailbox.sc.edu.

becky shaw


My First Time continues at the the Trustus Side Door Theatre through Saturday 4/27. From press material:

The Trustus Side Door has been taking patrons on a “Sexploration” this season, and audiences have responded by packing houses nightly. The Side Door’s current production My First Time is sure to thrill and titillate as four actors relay hundreds of stories about real people’s first times. My First Time opens in Trustus’ intimate 50-seat Side Door Theatre on Friday April 12 at 8:00pm, and runs through April 27, 2013.

In 1998 - a decade before blogging began - a website was created that allowed people to anonymously share their own true stories about their first times.  The website (www.myfirsttime.com) became an instant phenomenon as over 40,000 stories poured in from around the globe that were silly, sweet, absurd, funny, heterosexual, homosexual, shy, sexy and everything in between. Producer Ken Davenport adapted hundreds of stories from the website into an acclaimed 90 minute evening where these true stories and all of the unique characters in them are brought to life by four actors. The show was such a hit in New York that it enjoyed a two and a half year run Off-Broadway before it closed in 2010.

Trustus’ founding Artistic Director Jim Thigpen had wanted to bring My First Time to the Capital City many times throughout the past 3 seasons; however the opportunity never presented itself. This season, with all of the Side Door shows under the umbrella of “Sexploration”, My First Time was an obvious choice.

Company member and director Jade Johnson cast four talented actors to relay the hundreds of stories that comprise My First Time. Trustus company member G. Scott Wild (Next Fall, Avenue Q) joins Trustus alum Shane Silman(Plan 9 From Outer Space, The Motherf**ker With the Hat) in reliving the men’s first times. Trustus welcomes two new talents to the Side Door as Jennifer Moody Sanchez and Brandi Perry give us the scoop from the women.

My First Time runs through Saturday, April 27, 2013.  Shows on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays start at 8pm. The Sunday matinee on April 14 will be at 3pm. The doors and box office open thirty minutes prior to curtain. All Trustus Side Door tickets are $15. Reservations can be made by calling the Trustus Box Office at (803) 254-9732 or online by visiting www.trustus.org.

Trustus Theatre is located at 520 Lady Street, behind the Gervais St. Publix. Parking is available on Lady Street and on Pulaski Street. The Trustus Side Door Theatre entrance is through the glass doors on the Huger St. side of the building.

For more information or reservations call the box office Tuesdays through Saturdays 1-6 pm at 803-254-9732. Visit www.trustus.org for all show information and season info.

My First Time1

You can read Susan Levi Wallach's review of the show here, and James Harley's review at Onstage Columbia.

King Lear continues at USC's Drayton Hall.  You can read a Q+A with lead actor James Keegan here, and August Krickel's review of the show here.  From press material:

Theatre South Carolina will stage Shakespeare's revered tragedy King Lear, the epic tale of a ruler's loss of power and descent into madness, April 19-27 at USC's Drayton Hall Theatre.

Show times for King Lear are 8pm Wednesdays-Fridays, 7pm Saturdays and 3pm on the first Sunday.  There is an additional half-price late night performance on Saturday, April 27 at 11pm.   Tickets for the production are $12 for students, $16 for USC faculty/staff, military personnel and seniors 60+, and $18 for the general public.  Tickets can be purchased by calling 803-777-2551 or by visiting the Longstreet Theatre box office, which is open Monday-Friday, 12:30pm-5:30pm, beginning Friday, April 12.

Shakespeare’s gale-force drama rips back the curtain on a family torn by greed and an unquenchable lust for power.  The aging King Lear decides to split his kingdom between his three daughters, but tests their loyalty first to finalize the arrangement.  When his most devoted daughter, Cordelia, refuses to flatter him, Lear disowns her, paving the way for a venomous plot to usurp the throne concocted by his remaining heirs.  The King flees, leading him on a spiraling descent into madness as he fights to regain control.  King Lear is a riveting story about the corruptive nature of power and a broken man’s agonizing struggle for redemption.

Photo by Jason Ayer. — with James Keegan and James Costello.

For Your Consideration -- Jasper's take on three plays opening in Columbia this week

Jasper loves going to the theatre. On rare occasions, he'll just show up and be surprised by what he gets. But most of the time, he does his homework. There are three shows opening in the city this week. One you should just show up for and have a good time. One you might want to do a little planning for. And another that you need to know what you're getting into so, you know, you can really get into it. Anything Goes, opening at Workshop Theatre on Friday night and running through October 1st, is like an ice cream sundae. You really just have to go for it. Other than knowing it's Cole Porter and how, like ice cream and chocolate syrup, it's brilliant in its simplicity, you don't need to over-analyze it. Just have fun. And, given that Cindy Flach is directing it, yeah, you will have fun. Flach has a way, not only with execution, but with space. Her shows conjure up words like pizzazz, and sizzle, and flare. She's another one of Columbia's treasures who asks for little attention, but always gets the job done and gets it done well.

On Wednesday night, in some wild configuration of the Trustus Black Box and Late Night series, our boy Larry Hembree opens Randall David Cook's play, Third Finger, Left Hand. The show plays Wednesday nights at 7:30 and Friday and Saturday nights at 11, for two weeks. Cook is a hometown boy who has done well so, in our book, that would be reason enough to go out and support this show with your patronage. But there's more -- well, first of all, you know Larry Hembree and the kind of weird and magical spells he tends to put on a stage, so, there's that. But the bottom line is that the play has been described as both "Southern gothic" and "twisted" -- terms that makes Jasper's pulse absolutely race. (Jasper likes weird -- why hide it?) But here's the thing -- Cook and Hembree are also presenting a little bonus, next Tuesday the 20th, when they give a staged reading of another little something from Cook's box of tricks, a play called Southern Discomfort. In an effort to construct something of a study of Cook's work, we'll be seeing both the reading and the play next week. Then we're going to sit down and decide what we really think of Cook's work and talk about it. We invite our lovely readers to join us in this online discussion next week. Come back here -- right here -- and share your comments below. We look forward to getting your views.

Finally, a third play opens this week that already has us wiggling in our seats. We've never seen David Mamet's Oleanna, but we've seen David Mamet's Race (with David Spade) and his Glengarry, Glen Ross (with Alan Alda), and we've seen his films, Wag the Dog, The Postman Always Rings Twice, The Verdict, to name just a few. So we know that when David Mamet writes for us, we have to prepare ourselves to be receptive. Mamet's use of language and delivery (called "Mamet speak") is unique and edgy and a little scary. Rather than enjoying a little vino or a draught of bourbon before a Mamet play, we recommend you dose up on caffeine -- not to help you stay awake, but rather to help you keep up. Mamet is unrelenting. That said, the subject of Oleanna is sexual harassment in the academy. A subject far too serious to trivialize or present solely for entertainment value. Mamet doesn't - it will be interesting to see what director, Ait Federolf, a senior in the department of theatre at USC, does with his production. It opens at the USC Lab Theatre on Thursday night, the 15th -- but you'll be busy then attending the Jasper Magazine Launch Party at Speakeasy -- and only runs until the 18th. All shows are at 8 pm and cost $5 -- with tickets available only at the door.

For more information on all three plays, visit the following websites or addresses  respectively:

Anything Goes - workshoptheatre.com/11-12season_AnythingGoes.html

Third Finger, Left Hand - Trustus.org

Oleanna - bushk@mailbox.sc.edu


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