REVIEW: Flowertown Players ‘School of Rock’ Hits All the Right Notes

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Based on the 2003 film of the same name, written by MikeWhite, the musical follows Dewey Finn, an out-of-work rock singer and guitarist who pretends to be a substitute teacher at a prestigious prep school.  If you have ever seen the film, the kids are the stars and this production is no exception.

Flowertown has brought the magic of live theatre, rock and roll and emerging talent together in one spectacular performance.  This is truly musical theatre that will leave you dancing in your seats and cheering all the way to the end.

School of Rock definitely rocked the quiet town of Summerville and is continuing to do so through December 16.

I had the pleasure of seeing the performance in person opening weekend and wasn’t sure what to expect when I saw the show.  I was told in advance that no adults would be a part of the show. 

As the show started, I was amazed and truly in awe by the talent of our Summerville area children.  The teacher Dewey was played by Konrad Knaak. He not only was talented singing, but he also played the role and sounded much like the film’s main character played by Jack Black. 

When Rosalie, the school principal, played by Celeste Class-Rodriquez started singing, I closed my eyes and saw a professional opera singer in my mind.  Her voice was so remarkable.  Each child that had a role in the play showed tremendous talent.  It was not an overwhelming set so you could concentrate on the show itself focusing on the core elements, the acting and singing performances.

I have lived in Summerville since 2009 and never had the pleasure to see a show at the theater.  I am sad I waited so long to see such talent in our community. 

They hold auditions for each show.  Even if you’re not a great singer, I would recommend not only seeing a show but auditioning and be a part of the show itself.  There are many upcoming shows for you to see and be a part of.  In fact, I expect to return in January to audition myself and hope to. find a place in this local acting and performance community.

See link below for dates and times on School of Rock and also upcoming shows and auditions.?

Tickets:  Adults – $30.00 / Seniors, Military and First Responders – $26.00 / Students – $22.00 / 15 and Under $15.00

Official Website for Flowertown Players 43rd Season

The Village Rep on Woolfe’s Production of “Disaster: The Musical” is a Boat Rocking, Earth Shaking, Night of Fun

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By Mark A. Leon

The incredible thing about live theatre is that each performance is a unique one of a kind experience.? Live theatre reaches into your soul and pulls the triggers of your deepest emotions.? It drives you to tears and laughter, warmth and heartache.? Every now and again, a play comes along that just entices you to just have fun.? That play is Disaster: The Musical.

The Village Rep on Woolfe’s latest production is a nostalgic roller coaster ride, sing along, laugh induced parody of the 70’s disaster genre with a little help from the lyrical genius of Blondie, Eric Carmen, Diana Ross, Bay City Rollers and more.

Take the likes of the drama filled, star studded 70’s disaster drama, i.e. Airport, Poseidon Adventure, Towering Inferno, adding in the slap stick parody of Airplane and the musical composition of Grease or Rock of Ages and you have an evening that is sure to make you smile and maybe even try to find those old 8 Tracks.

With a cast from age 12 to 65, Disaster, under the wonderfully crafted direction of Keely Enright, musical direction of Kevin Thorn and choreography of Sarah Callahan Black, brings 1979 back to life with flare, color and excitement.

From the opening number of “Hot Stuff”, to the unrequited love scenes belted to the hits of “Feelings” and “Without You” to the insanely funny dismembered rendition of “Three Times a Lady”, this show will leave you smiling and reminiscing.? No musical taking place in the 70’s is complete without a little Gloria Gaynor.? Spoiler, some did survive.

The ensemble cast were the true show stoppers.? Their overly emotional expressive dialogue and musical numbers lit up each scene.? Complimented by stunning wardrobe selections that either made you yearn for the 70’s once again or remember why those outfits went away, the costumes add to the humor of the evening.

Two performances shined just a little bit brighter in this sky filled with local stars.

Madelyn Knight, as Sister Mary brings a subtle, often out of character humor to the stage.? Her comedic timing, extremely talented vocal range and blend of physical comedy turned that black and white nun’s outfit into one of the most colorful characters on stage.? This range of acting skill has showered the Lowcountry in several performances including Sense and Sensibility, Dogfight, The Wedding Singer and Nunsense.? She is a gifted talent in the Charleston theatre community.

Skyler Waddell, at age 12, alone shows courage and talent performing nightly to a large group.? Skyler takes this role one step further.? He takes on the role of twin brother and sister Ben and Lisa.? It wasn’t enough to take on two roles, with two voice ranges, but he has to be in several scenes as both (mind you a dummy stepped in to help a little).

From children to adults in the audience, it was clear that Skyler played a cherished character(s).? When he was on the floor after the boat rocked and he said, “I can’t find my Light Bright pegs in the shag rug”, it reminded many in the audience of a different time.? This young actor has a promising future.

Individually, there were golden moments of pure laughter.? Kathy Summer (Shirley) whose spasms and vulgar outburst were pure magic and Tamara Delaine Sauders Jenkins (Levora) had a voice that could hold its own on Broadway.

If you want a fun evening, where you will find yourself unconsciously singing along to songs we all know and love, where you will laugh as the performers poke fun at the silliness of life and where you will be swept away by a night of music, love and an earthquake, come to Woolfe Street Playhouse and catch Disaster:? The Musical, playing through May 12th.

Ticket Information and Purchase

Threshold’s “Sense & Sensibility” is a Sensible Choice for an Evening of Live Theatre

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By Mark A. Leon

If comedy, mayhem, gender role analysis on relationships, family and a tiny bit of inanimate object role playing is what you have in mind, the new Threshold Production of “Sense & Sensibility” will keep you on your toes for a wild night of entertainment.

This adaptation of Jane Austen’s classic novel reminds us that whether it is 1818 or 2018, the relationship struggles of men and women still exist in very similar ways.? This remarkable cast of eleven, who assume thirty (30) different characters, each bring a unique blend of comedy and raw emotional bliss to the stage.

If multiple characters and costume changes were not enough for these actors, playing the roles of flowers, vases and dogs add more well designed silliness to the audience experience.

We hope we have piqued you interest.? But wait, there is more.

Set in the countryside of England during the turn of the nineteenth century, this whimsical and poignant story centers around the Dashwood family and more importantly the sister’s Marianne and Elinor, who must face class struggle in the relentless pursuit of love.

During this two hour performance, I began to see the same nervous intuitions, awkward courtship and family pressures we all feel today as we pursue relationships and family.? Though the narrative has changed from William Shakespeare to Nicholas Sparks, the themes have remained the same.

This story will open a box of thoughts and emotions that will take the audience down the vulnerable journey of love and romance.

The cast is comprised of local theatre veterans and newcomers that mesh integrally well in this ensemble.? Among the stars in the sky, one actress shined brighter than all the rest.? Tara Denton Howegner (Fanny Dashwood / Lucy Steele / Gossip) had remarkable presence on stage and almost single-handedly stole the spotlight in each scene she was featured.? With her quirky facial expressions, charming overbite and over the top, energetically charged banter, Ms Howegner was a powerful force.? Sometimes a role can define and actor or vice versa, but in this case, the actor transformed into the role from the opening harmony to the final bow.

On the other end of the spectrum, stage veteran Paul O’Brien brought a proper pronounced appeal to his role complimented with honor, romance and dignity.? As Colonel Brandon, Mr. O’Brien brought balance to the mayhem of the gender and class struggles.? With a tall stature, refined British accent and subtle demeanor, the role of the Colonel represented the traditional proper behavior of England masterfully.

There is something to be said for Jimmy Flannery as Mrs. Jennings that words may not be able to explain properly.? Crazy perhaps?? A little bit zany?? Slapstick? Animated comical bliss?? I think want to package all that together when describing his performance.? Watching Jimmy Flannery in this role is like watching a finally tuned one person improv act that is right on cue.? It was a lovely exercise in complete acting release.

Katte Noel, a graduating Theatre Performance major at the College of Charleston, played Marianne Dashwood beautifully.? As a young vulnerable beauty crossed between love and the freedom of youth, she showed a wide range of emotion from glee to extreme sadness at a highly competent level.? Ms. Noel has tremendous depth of skill and clearly has a long future ahead of her in live theatre.

Finally, Carri Schwab (Elinor Dashwood) represented the glue of this cast.? Crossed between economic challenges, unrequited love and mature responsibilities, Ms Schwab carried herself honorably.? The area where she really defined her performance came in the unspoken moments, where you could look deep into her soul and see the raw emotion she was feeling.? There were several moments, she was stage left or right and sadness painted her face with sheer perfection.? Her evolution throughout the performance was so well played out.

Congratulations Director Andrea Catangay, who managed to take eleven (11) actors and transform them into thirty (30) characters, dogs, vases and plants.? That was a feat that is truly worthy of praise.? Kristen Bushey and Emma Scott teamed up to lead the costume design.? The use of color and detail played a critical role in the audience transformation to nineteenth century England.

We must also speak highly of Jennifer Metts, William Griffin, Aaron Andrews, Nat Jones and Madelyn Knight who filled out this cast, all adding a unique flavor to this mix of talented stage performers.

“Sense and Sensibility” is a beautifully energetic performance wrapped in Monty Python inspired comedy that will leave you very satisfied.

Sense and Sensibility Ticket Information

Young actors find a home at the Charleston Performing Arts Center on James Island

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By Mark A. Leon

Yesterday, the James Island Junior Theater opened the stage to a sell-out crowd for their inaugural performance of “The Little Mermaid Jr.”? With a cast of youth actors up to age 18, parents, friends, siblings and loved ones smiled, laughed, and felt complete admiration as these talented and often brave young actors performed 20 scenes of the beloved classic “The Little Mermaid Jr.”.? With a constant flow of set changes during this single act performance, I was amazed at the level of talent and discipline of these young aspiring talents.

Scott Pfeiffer, Director and Operating Manager of the Charleston Performing Arts Center grew up surrounded by the arts and found his home early in his career performing youth theater in California.? His connection with the live stage and passion for helping to develop the talent of actors at all ages, lends itself to the remarkable achievement this Junior Theater has found.

With a generous team, including Savannah Schoenborn on choreography, Andrea Roule, music director, Kirk Pfeiffer on costumes and wigs, Shawn McIntosh leading scenic construction and painting, Jordan Benton on lighting and Derek Alverson on sound, we were taken to an underwater paradise where 25 humans, mermaids, crustaceans, fish and ocean life led us through a musical journey of love and fantasy.? All around the audience of eager fans were blue lights shot to the ceiling creating the illusion of the ocean while on stage painted canvases of teal and green made the transformation complete.

The show was highlighted by a spirited performance from Madelynne Burt as Sebastian with her humorous accent and nervous demeanor.? She was charming, energetic and nailed her vocals and dialogue with poise.? Lucy Dixon brought an innocence to the stage as Ariel.? She had a natural curiosity and awkwardness in her journey to find true love and you can’t help but want to see end up with her prince.

The two primary male leads, Joshua Tolbert as Prince Eric and Leo West as King Triton, were both strong and pronounced.? Both characters resided in extremely different places, but find parallels in their place in society with one holding a royal role under and one above the water.? Each must tackle a major challenge that tests their souls to find what they truly seek in life.? These were two excellent and heartwarming performances.

The remainder of the cast elevated the show with large ensemble musical numbers, keen supporting roles and a natural ability to remove their human skin and become one with their fantasy bigger than life characters.

Live theater is achieved when the collaborative efforts of a group of people both in front and behind the scenes come together in a passionate and cohesive exercise of love.? It takes hard work, rehearsal and a vulnerability to take on a character and become the embodiment of them.? Only a rare individual with inner strength and confidence to step out in front of hundreds of people and entertain can take on such a position.? I witnessed a great deal of talent on that stage and expect to see many of these performers for years to come.

The Charleston Performing Arts Center on James Island is making a selfless commitment to the Charleston area community to harness and shape the future of live performing arts in the Lowcountry.? We were honored to be part of the inaugural performance and season.

Including remaining shows for “The Little Mermaid Jr.”, the company will be performing “The Wizard of Oz”, “Peter Pan” and “Hairspray” to usher through this 2017-18 season.

Learn more today – Ticket and Audition Information

 

Midtown Productions Presents a Hilarious Musical Revue about Love..

Media Release:

Midtown Productions presents:? “I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change!”

 

Midtown Productions continues its run of “I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change” after a fantastic opening weekend with standing ovations and great reviews! ?
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‘I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change’ is a delightfully madcap take on the crazy little thing we call LOVE…” ?– Lowcountry Today
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The cast plays extremely well off each other… amazing job! …Ryan… Phenomenal”… Haydn… simply Captivating… Leah… Delightful…?
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… a non-stop, raucous, adrenaline ride!
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Director Manny Houston says “this show hilariously reveals the difficulties and joys of connecting with another person at every stage of life… Four actors take on over 40 roles in a collection of vignettes and songs scaling the dizzying spectrum of male/female relationships!
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The show plays each Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 8pm through February?27th,? with a Sunday Matinee at 3pm on February 21st. (Hurry, last Sunday was sold out!) ?
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Duvall Catering will provide charcuterie plates, desserts and specialty drinks plus beer, wine and soft drinks at all performances for an additional cost.
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Performances will be at the beautiful new Midtown Cabaret Theatre, located inside the new DUVALL CENTER at 2816 Azalea Drive in North Charleston. It’s easy to find:? From I-26, Exit 216-B onto Cosgrove, then a quick right onto Azalea Drive.? DUVALL is 1/3 mile down on the left, past the Lowcountry Food Bank.? Lots of FREE PARKING on the premises!
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Click to reserve tickets or email Sheri Grace Wenger atsherigrace@yahoo.com. ?
Box office phone:? 843-557-1163.
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See you at the theatre!