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Picks from the Pros

Friday, May 15, 2015

Clockwise from top left: Dianne Reeves plays the Cistern, the Scottish Ballet presents A Streetcar Named Desire, the Spoleto Festival USA Orchestra joins in the performance of St. Matthew Passion, and St. Paul and The Broken Bones is headlining the Spoleto Finale. Photographs by (clockwise from top left)
Jerris Madison, Andrew Ross, Julia Lynn Photography, & David McClister; all courtesy of Spoleto Festival USA

May 15, 2015

Picks from the Pros

Six experts from arts academia share the Spoleto and Piccolo Spoleto events they can’t wait to catch

This time next week, the city will be swinging into serious celebration mode as Spoleto and Piccolo Spoleto kick off, filling the 17 days between May 22 and June 7 with nonstop music, dance, theater, visual art, and more (from a sand-sculpting competition to fireworks shows). Have you selected your must-see events yet? If not, take advice from our arts academia pros, who filled us in on the shows they’re extra-jazzed about this year. And make sure to get your tickets quick—seats are becoming limited for a number of Spoleto’s offerings!

Spoleto: A Streetcar Named Desire
May 22-24
“Dangerous desire, haunting despair, and the steamy setting of Tennessee Williams’ beloved New Orleans drama is perfect fodder for a ballet,” says Ingle of this Scottish Ballet performance.
College of Charleston Sottile Theatre, 44 George St. Friday-Sunday, times vary. $30 & up.
—Eliza Ingle, dance writer & former dance professor

Piccolo Spoleto: Breathe: A True Story
May 22, 23, 25, 28-31 & June 3, 5, 6
“Written by and starring CofC alumnus Brennen Reeves—survivor of a double lung transplant—this is the true story of one man’s hilarious and heartbreaking journey to live beyond the odds,” notes McNerney of this play, co-created and directed by Piccolo favorite David Lee Nelson as part of CofC’s Stelle di Domani Series.
Theatre 220, Albert Simons Center for the Arts, College of Charleston, 54 St. Philip St. Days & times vary. $18.
—Todd McNerney, associate professor, Department of Theatre & Dance at the College of Charleston

Visual Arts
Piccolo Spoleto: Jonathan Green Lecture & Book Signing
May 25
“I love tradition with a twist, so I’m looking forward to Jonathan Green’s perspective on how rice culture dramatically shaped the artistic culture evident in ironwork, basketry, and visual arts,” says Silverman.
Holliday Alumni Center, 69 Hagood Ave., The Citadel. Monday, 6:30 p.m. $18; $12 senior/student.
—Tiffany Reed Silverman, director of fine arts at The Citadel

Spoleto: Dianne Reeves
May 30
“Reeves’ singing, both powerful and tender in expression, combines pristine intonation with a rich, lustrous vocal timbre,” observes Sterbank. “Featuring some of the world’s finest musicians, her show is always engaging and emotive. Following her Grammy win this year for Best Jazz Vocal Album, this show is a must.”
College of Charleston Cistern Yard, George St. Saturday, 9 p.m. $40 & up.
—Mark Sterbank, musician & associate professor of jazz studies at Charleston Southern University

Spoleto: When It Rains
June 3-6
“Described as a live-action graphic novel, this is the tightly woven story of two couples beset with misfortune,” explains McNerney of Canadian theater company 2b’s hit show. “Full of humor, whimsy, and theatricality (the production inventively uses projections as scenic elements)—and only here for four days—it is certain to be the show everyone is talking about!”
Emmett Robinson Theatre at College of Charleston, 54 St. Philip St. Wednesday-Saturday, times vary. $25 & up.
—Todd McNerney, associate professor, Department of Theatre & Dance at the College of Charleston

Spoleto: St. Matthew Passion
June 3
“Bach’s monumental St. Matthew Passion features the composer at the height of his creative abilities while reflecting his devout religious convictions,” says Hart. Director of choral activities Joe Miller leads his Westminster Choir, Taylor Festival Choir members, New York Baroque Incorporated musicians playing period instruments, and the Spoleto Festival USA Orchestra.
College of Charleston Sottile Theatre, 44 George St. Wednesday, 7 p.m. $35 & up.
—Dr. Edward Hart, professor of music & chair, Department of Music at the College of Charleston

Spoleto: Spoleto Festival Finale featuring St. Paul & the Broken Bones
June 7
“St. Paul and the Broken Bones gives pudgy white guys hope that there is a righteous soul man within us all,” enthuses Sloan of the Alabama band headlining this annual fête complete with a beer garden and fireworks show.
Middleton Place, 4300 Ashley River Rd. Sunday, 3:30 p.m. gates; 4 p.m. music. $30; $15 ages six-12.
—Mark Sloan, director & chief curator, Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art at the College of Charleston

To find a full Spoleto Festival USA schedule and purchase tickets, click here.

To find a full Piccolo Spoleto Festival schedule and purchase tickets, click here.