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It’s Show Time!

(From left to right) David Lee Nelson stars in one-man comedy show The Elephant in My Closet; Sunset Serenade in front of the U.S. Custom House; actors Tripp Hamilton and Mark Landis in PURE Theatre's Red. Photographs courtesy of (David Lee Nelson) David Lee Nelson, (U.S. Custom House) Piccolo Spoleto, & (Red) PURE Theatre

May 23, 2012

It’s Show Time!
Pack the coming weeks with music, theater, comedy, and more from Piccolo Spoleto

Written by Emily Wilson & Alexandra Trabolsky

Another opening, another show! Spoleto USA’s kid-sister festival, Piccolo, begins Friday. Check out our picks for the best events to see during the 17-day arts whirlwind.

Sunset Serenade, May 25
Kick off the festival with a musical extravaganza in front of the majestic U.S. Custom House. Phoenix Symphony conductor Joseph Young returns to his home state to lead the Charleston Symphony Orchestra, CSO Spiritual Ensemble, and two internationally renowned opera singers in performances from Porgy and Bess as well as selections from Bernstein’s West Side Story and Copland’s Rodeo.
U.S. Custom House, Concord & Market sts. Friday, 8-9:30pm. Free.

The Elephant in My Closet, May 25-27, 30-31, June 1-3, 5, & 8-9
David Lee Nelson returns to Piccolo’s Stelle di Domani series (which celebrates the stars of the Department of Theatre at the College of Charleston) for this one-man show in which the comedian must come out of the closet and tell his die-hard Republican father that…he’s a democrat. If Nelson’s side-splitting 2010 performance Status Update is any indicator, this perfect-for-election-season show is sure to be a hit.
Chapel Theatre, 172 Calhoun St. May 25, June 8 & 9, 8pm; May 26 & 30, 8:30pm; May 27, 7pm; May 31 & June 2, 6pm; June 1, 9:30pm; June 3, 7:30pm; June 5, 9pm. $16.

Visual Arts
“A Long Time Ago...”, May 25-July 29
Hirona Matsuda curates this exhibition of works by local artists such as Seth Corts, Lisa Abernathy, and Lisa Shimko, who use painting, sculpture, paper-cutting, collage, and pen and ink to capture the oldest known art form: storytelling.
City Gallery at Waterfront Park, 34 Prioleau St. Daily, 10am-6pm. Free.

Red, May 26-29

Winner of the 2010 Tony Award for Best Play, this captivating story sheds light on the relationship between an artist, Mark Rothko, and his creations. After landing the biggest commission in the history of modern art, Rothko struggles to face the fact that his achievement could also become his undoing. Watch the drama unfold at this PURE Theatre-produced show.
PURE Theatre, 477 King St. May 26 & 27, 3-4:30pm; May 26 & 28, 8-9:30pm; May 29, 7-8:30pm. $25.

Charleston, A Love Letter, May 26 & June 1

This unique film tribute to Charleston is presented with virtually no spoken words. Director Justin Nathanson collaborated with Entropy Arts’ founder Andrew Walker to compose a poetic musical score, which will be played live on the Hippodrome stage during the show.
The Hippodrome, 360 Concord St. Saturday, 8pm & 11pm; Friday, 11pm. $21; $16 advance.

Southern Artist Celebratory Series: Dubose Heyward, May 27

Enjoy a panel discussion centered on the life and work of the native Charleston writer DuBose Heyward and his role as an “unsung hero of the Southern Renaissance.” Panelists including College of Charleston archivist Harlan Greene; best-selling novelist Dorothea Benton Frank; and Heyward biographer James Hutchisson will weigh in on Heyward’s artistic contributions to opera and the Southern literary renaissance. All proceeds from the event will be donated to the Charleston Clemente Course, a free college-level program in the humanities offered to homeless and disadvantaged Charlestonians.
Circular Congregational Church, 150 Meeting St. Sunday, 3pm. $21.

Traditional Music
Rev. Carl Bright and Company, May 29, June 3 & 4

Lauded as one of the best gospel pianist in the country, Carl Bright will blow you away as he performs the Piccolo premiere of The Power,the Kingdom, and the Glory. In this work—which he’s presented throughout the U.S.—he sets a series of Bible stories to his own original score.
Trinity United Methodist Church, 273 Meeting St. Sunday & Tuesday, 8pm; Monday 4pm. $21.

27 by Gathering Wild Dance Company, June 4

Watch this Atlanta-based dance company move to the tunes of well-known musicians from the “27 Club” such as Jim Morrison, Amy Winehouse, Kurt Cobain, and Janis Joplin in this reverant—but rockin’—performance.
Footlight Players Theatre, 20 Queen St. Monday, noon. $16, $13 student & senior.

Concert Series
Spoleto Reunion, June 6

See the Charleston Symphony Orchestra concertmaster and artistic advisor Yuriy Bekker in action as he joins additional Spoleto USA orchestra veterans David Chernyavsky and Phillip Von Maltzan for a musical evening of Shostakovich and Tchaikovsky.
City Gallery at Waterfront Park, 34 Prioleau St. Wednesday, 6pm. $11.

Lonnie Hamilton Quintet Featuring Quiana Parler, June 8

She’s sung with Clay Aiken and Kelly Clarkson—now watch local high-powered vocal performer Quiana Parler rock the house with saxaphonist Lonnie Hamilton’s quintet of stellar jazz musicians.
The Hippodrome, 360 Concord St. Friday, 7-9pm. $16.

Family Fun,
Piccolo Spoleto Finale, June 9

Always a festival favorite, celebrate the end of Piccolo with a family-friendly, free outdoor concert featuring Lemira Elementary’s Percussion Ensemble, The Meditations, and Motownmadness—accompanied by members of the Charleston Symphony Orchestra—for your dose of The Temptations, Stevie Wonder, and more.
Hampton Park. Saturday, 5-9:30pm. Free.

To read the Spoleto Festival feature, “Best of the Fests”, from our May issue, click here.

For more May events, click here.

Wed, 05/23/2012