Category Archives: performing arts

“Inga Binga” explores a Pre-Camelot JFK

Julian Wiles, the founder and artistic director of Charleston Stage and author of Inga Binga, brings the young Jack Kennedy to life before our very eyes, with the help of New York stage actor Phil Mills, but more on him later.

Anyone who has ever been remotely intrigued by the dashing, enchanting life and times of JFK will enjoy Inga Binga, playing at the Dock Street Theatre through March 25th.  An original play, based on actual events that happened right here in Charleston, Inga Binga is the story of a weekend tryst between Jack and Inga, a Danish beauty queen who caught the young ensign’s eye in Washington.

Jack has been transferred to Charleston, where fear of German u-boat attacks, spies and sabotage have prompted the locals to install air raid sirens and black out shelters all over the city.  Any one of foreign descent is suspect.  Jack’s amour, the beauty queen to the silver screen Inga Arvad, is just such a one.

We won’t tell you much more of the story, (go see it for yourself!) but it was wildly entertaining.

Highlights:

Phil Mills stars as Jack and Gardner Reed as Inga, both imported from Manhattan for this production.  They were engaging and a refreshing change up in the leads, supported by Charleston Stage vets.  Reed is as lovely as Mills is handsome, and they had excellent chemistry.  Reed’s accent wasn’t quite as consistent as Mills’, but it did not distract from her performance.  She has an amazing ability to showcase both Inga’s vulnerability and bravado, even in the same moments.  Mills swagger and smile seemed so natural, so part of him, that it was hard to believe you weren’t watching the man himself.

Brian J. Porter stars as Lem, Jack’s best friend since prep school.  What. A. Guy.  Porter has played everything from chorus (Chicago, the season opener for Charleston Stage) to star (anyone else remember What If? ProductionsHedwig last year?!), and he positively shins in Inga.  He has the ease of someone who feels so very at home on stage, and it makes his performance fantastic.

Beth Curley and her Hair.  The woman is spot on as Betty, a ballsy reporter after her story.  We loved her scheming, plotting, do-anything-to-get-the-scoop nature, but special mention should also go to the best head of hair on stage in Charleston!  She looks like she’s straight out of a salon commercial.

In summation, this is a worthy night at the theatre, whether you are a JFK enthusiast, want a comedy with a little love too, or a sucker for the inevitability of doomed romance, Inga Binga will satisfy audience members of any age, Yankee or Charlestonian.  Kudos to the entire cast and crew and particularly playwright and director Julian Wiles.

words: Stacy Huggins

Theatre Charleston to Host Fourth Annual Unified Auditions

The Footlight Players' production of "South Pacific"

On April 14th Theatre Charleston will host its fourth annual Unified Auditions.  Dozens of Charleston’s top theatre directors and producers to come together
to search for local talent.

“Over 70 plays and musicals will have been produced by the end of the current season, and we’re expecting even more to take place next year.  The annual Unifieds provide a unique opportunity for Charleston’s large acting community and Theatre Charleston’s 12 Member Theatres to come together to see and be seen all in one afternoon,” says Executive Director, Emily Wilhoit.

Charleston’s talent pool has grown at a rapid pace over the last 5 years, and area directors have come to find the Unified Auditions vitally important.  Theatres are introduced to actors they don’t know and are reminded of the excellent work being done by actors with whom they have not yet had an opportunity to work, assuring the best cast possible for each and every production.

The auditions will take place April 14, 2012 beginning at 1:00pm at The Footlight Players, 20 Queen St.  Auditions will be run cattle-call style.  Each actor will be given 90 seconds to use as they wish (typically a monologue or a monologue and song).  An accompanist will be provided.

Audition slots are first-come/first serve and are open to Individual Members of Theatre Charleston only.  The membership is only $25 and comes with a ton of benefits including discounts to member shows, participation in the actor database, invitations to Theatre Charleston Night events and more!  Wilhoit points out that the Unified’s are general auditions and most theatres will not cast directly from the auditions, but will use them as a guide to set up their own call-backs.  She stresses, however, that a large majority of directors and producers will be using the Unified Auditions as their only open call and will pull from these actors for their entire season.  Actors of all types are encouraged to attend, from those just starting out in theatre to those highly experienced on the stage.

A special audition workshop/question & answer session will be held March
24th, 10:00am-11:00am at The Charleston Acting Studio on James Island.

Midtown/Sheri Grace Productions' Over the River and Through the Woods

Midtown/Sheri Grace Productions' "Over the River and Through the Woods"

Participating theatres include but are not limited to:

Actors’ Theatre of South Carolina, Art Forms and Theatre Concepts, Creative Spark Center for the Arts and SPROUTS Childrens Theatre, Deuce Theatre, The Flowertown Players, The Footlight Players, Midtown/Sheri Grace Productions, PURE Theatre, South of Broadway Theatre Company, Threshold Repertory Theatre, and The Village Playhouse!

Audition applications must be received by April 6th.  A limited number of audition slots are available so reserve your space soon!  For more information or to sign up visit www.theatrecharleston.com or call (843) 813-8578.

Pure Theatre’s Vibrator Play Has the Audience All A-Buzzing

This evening’s opening night of Pure Theatre‘s “In the Next Room or The Vibrator Play” had everyone in the audience quite a-flutter to say the least. Based in the Victorian era when electricity had just been invented, the play recounts a time when women were diagnosed with “hysteria” and treated with a new electronic machine to, um, calm their nerves.

The entire performance was extremely well executed. The decor in the opening scene really set the stage (literally) with a dark red velvet vintage doctor’s chair taking center stage.  I also liked the imaginative and clever ways the doors were “cut” in half so the audience could see into “the next room.” Costume designer Janine McCabe’s costumes were to die for – lots of corsets and bustles. I tried to talk her into parting with one for my personal collection.  I’m not done trying. 😉

The leading ladies – Pelham Spong, Andrea Studley, and Tara Denton – had me in stitches for 85% of the time. The other 15% I thought I might actually let some tears fall when they discussed Mrs. Givings, her baby, and the need for a wet nurse.  Nthenya Ndunda, who played the wet nurse, did an incredible job. Honestly, it really was the ladies who exhibited the more electrifying performances, as they should have with a play with such a subject matter as this.

Congrats, Pure Theatre and director Cristy Landis. I think this is one of the best plays I’ve ever seen you do. I’m looking forward to seeing what you come up with next. This one definitely had some pulses racing. You should go with someone you want to, um, hold hands with.

Be sure to catch a performance over the next couple weeks. 477 King Street, 843.723.4444, www.puretheatre.org.

words: Olivia Pool

Bring Your Canary: Peter Galle

In this, the newest installment of Bring Your Canary, we’re diving into the performing arts again.  BYC is a little trip into the minds of some of the most talented local artists who you know, or should know.  Peter Galle is just such a one.

Peter Galle of Threshold Rep

Galle is the marketing, social media and grants coordinator for Threshold Repertory Theatre, one of the city’s newest companies that is really making a name for itself in professional theatre.  He is also the lead in their current production of playwright Martin McDonagh’s Lieutenant of Inishmore, playing through February 19th.

The young actor was born and raised in Charlotte, where his mother worked with several “equity” theatre companies before relocating to Charleston four years ago.   In 2007, Galle moved to Charleston to attend the College of Charleston, where he studied Philosophy & English.

After graduation, Galle spent several months traveling solo through Europe and India.

In The Lieutenant of Inishmore, Galle plays Padraic, the decidedly unhinged militant son of Donny.  Poor Donny has been put in charge of guarding Padraic’s precious cat, Wee Thomas, while he’s away planting bombs and torturing drug dealers.

When Padraic gets wind that Wee Thomas is doing ‘poorly,’ he returns to his hometown of Inishmore with a vengeance, and the bloodshed begins.

Joey and Donny ponder the state of Wee Thomas

The cast spent 135 hours preparing for this production, working with a dialect coach, meeting independently with the director, and in intensive rehearsals.  The accents were impressive.  About those dialects, Galle says:

Padraic didn't take the news well...

“I’m a very young actor, and I know that, but what I have found in my process is that after a certain amount of time…a really special thing happens for each character, and they start speaking from a place in my body…that’s when I know I’m becoming performance ready,” says Galle.

“Padraic speaks from the front of my lungs, and the back inside my body and down to my sacrum…a lot of that are is your primordial, physical…instinctual center, and I think we all have the ability to encompass every single human emotion…the beauty of acting like any art, it can allow us to access the most human emotions.  I know Padraic exists somewhere inside of me,” says Galle.

Galle’s portrayal of the madman Padraic is frighteningly good.  The manic, madman state literally shines through his eyes.  “[Padraic’s] got bite to him.  He’s obviously a very damaged person, because he wants to hurt all the time, and that comes from a place of pain,” he says.

The Lieutenant of Inishmore plays through Sunday at Threshold Rep‘s new home, 84 1/2 Society Street, between King and Meeting.  Performances: Thursday, Friday, Saturday (February 16 – 18) at 7:30 pm, Sunday (February 19) at 2:30 pm.  This is not for the little ones, but the babysitter will be well worth it.  Check out The Lieutenant of Inishmore this weekend.

words: Stacy Huggins

Upcoming Charity Events: Wiggin’ Out for Abby + Runaround Sue Vintage’s Charity Fashion Show

Local charity Bucks for Bunks is hosting “Wiggin’ Out for Abby” on Saturday, February 18 at Midtown Bar and Grill, to support Abby Bunkley’s fight against Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. The event features entertainment from DJ R Dot, a live auction, and complimentary food and beverages.  Throw on your best wig and let your hair down!

Saturday, February 18, Upstairs at Midtown Bar & Grill, 559 King Street; Suggested donation $35 a person; 7 – 10 PM.

charleston charity events wigging out for abby bucks for bunks

If you love vintage fashion and supporting local charities, check out Runaround Sue Vintage’s charity fashion show at the Tin Roof on Sunday, February 19. The event marks the online boutique’s first anniversary, and will feature a variety of vintage clothing and styles from the 1950s on. Runaround Sue’s sweet vintage styles will be complemented by jewelry from Gypsy Lady Antiques and retro tunes from The V-Tones of Charleston, who will also provide the soundtrack for a rockin’ post-catwalk party.

Don’t forget: the early bird gets the goodies! The first 50 people through the door will receive goodie bags full of treats from local Charleston creatives. Word on the street has it that Social Wine Bar is even participating.

Tickets are $10 at the door, but larger donations are welcome! All proceeds will go to the Leukemia Lymphoma Society of Charleston.  

Doors open at 8 PM.  Fashion show begins at 9 PM sharp.  Check it out on Facebook.

words: Callie Smith

3rd Annual Rusty Cole Birthday Celebration/ Jef Jel Project Benefit

Next Sunday, The Pour House is hosting a very charitable birthday celebration. Starting at 4 PM, this well-known concert venue is throwing open its doors to the public with an oyster roast on the deck and music from Reckoning (full band), The Key of Q, Josh Phillips, James Justin Burke, Old You and Wadata. All proceeds are to be donated to the Jef Jel Project, a charity that focuses on meeting the needs of struggling Senegalese communities.

Over the years, the Jef Jel Project has provided the people of Ndangne, Senegal in western Africa, with financial and structural support for projects ranging from new toilets to a thriving chicken house that allows the residents of Ndangne to participate in the local trade markets. Through the Jef Jel Project’s efforts, the residents of Ndangne are able to create a stable, sustainable community that meets the basic needs of its people.

Sunday, February 19th, 4 PM until

$6 deck, $10 main stage

www.charlestonpourhouse.com

words: Callie Smith

Auditions for Summer in the City End Soon

 

south of broadway theatre company charleston sc

If you are an aspiring performer in between the ages of 14-19 with big Broadway dreams, your chance is here! The South of Broadway Theatre Company is holding auditions for its 8th Annual Summer in the City program for talented young actors, instrumentalists, dancers and vocalists.

South of Broadway Theatre auditions

Summer in the City students at Julliard

Summer in the City is a month-long artistic residency at the Juilliard School in New York City, where students receive mentoring from some of the city’s best performers, and immerse themselves in the study of their discipline of choice.

Auditions are February 4, 1-3 PM, and February 7, 5:30-6:30 PM at the South of Broadway Theatre Company, 1080 East Montague, in North Charleston’s Park Circle neighborhood.

For more info visit: www.southofbroadway.com/sitc-info.html

words: Callie Smith