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Charleston Stage celebrated their return to the newly renovated Dock Street Theater with a star-studded Summer Soiree on Friday, July 31. Actress Carrie Preston, of HBO'S hit series True Blood, and Emmy Award-winning actor Michael Emerson, of ABC’s LOST, guest starred in a staged reading of A.R. Gurney’s Love Letters, and Charlestonians flocked to the striking venue before the show to sip blueberry vodka lemonade and enjoy delicious prosciutto and melon skewers.

The crowd was buzzing in anticipation of the night’s show, and they were certainly not disappointed. Preston and Emerson delivered a stirring, captivating performance of Gurney’s tale of a complicated lifelong love, and received an enthusiastic standing ovation from the house. “That was amazing. My eyes welled up!” one man confessed at the after-party.

Charleston Stage Associate Artistic Director Marybeth Clark directed a question and answer session with the stars after the reading, and then Preston and Emerson joined their fans and Charleston Stage board members at an exclusive after-party at the gorgeous Meeting Street home of John Dewberry. In between nibbling savory bites, such as scallop ceviche and braised short rib, guests got their chance to speak with the personable, charming actors, and more than a few aspiring thespians waited eagerly for their turn to snap a photo, discuss their craft, or recount their favorite LOST and True Blood moments. The soiree was a fabulous success, and the perfect way to welcome Charleston Stage back to their historic theater.

Charleston Stage is South Carolina’s largest professional theater company. Founded in 1978 by current Producing Artistic Director Julian Wiles, Charleston Stage is known for their quality performances as well as their commitment to arts education and premiering new works.