Fall Semester Theater Roundup

Sanskrit Blog Readers,

First off, an introduction. My name is Elissa Miller and I am a sophomore communications and political science double major. You may recognize my name as I spent last year volunteering with Sanskrit. This year I’ve been officially hired as a Copy Editor. I’m extremely excited to become more involved with this magazine and to take on the new responsibilities this entails, including being assigned the dreaded first blog post of the semester. I’m interested in topics such as theater, movies, and odd cult tv shows. I love cooking recipes I found on Pinterest, writing for Niner Times, and attending sci-fi conventions in Atlanta.

Due to the fact I’m a massive theater nerd I’ve decided to spend some of my blog posts covering theater news, both in general and specific to the Charlotte area. That said, let’s begin with your Charlotte theater roundup for this fall semester. It features the productions of some of the biggest theater companies in the area.


Professional and/or Major Charlotte Theaters

Blumenthal Performing Arts Company

For those of you who are unfamiliar, the Blumenthal Performing Arts Company is the largest organization of theaters in the City of Charlotte. They are made up of many different performing spaces, ranging from the Belk Theater (seats 2,118) to the Stage Door (seats 204). They are typically known for hosting large scale productions and national tours of Broadway shows. While they are booked through with big shows for most of the spring, their showing for this fall semester is relatively thin in comparison.


Rent: Sept 26 – Oct 1

Okay, so this is a theater classic. Focusing on the lives of young artists living in New York City in the 80’s, this musical won both a Pulitzer Prize and the Tony Award for Best Musical. It currently stands as the eleventh longest running Broadway show and also managed to give rise to a movie in 2005. It can also be accredited for the beginning of stardom for both Idina Menzel (Frozen, Wicked) and Anthony Rapp (If/Then, Star Trek: Discovery). This production is the 20th anniversary National Tour.


Finding Neverland: Oct 3 – 8

This musical is relatively new, making its Broadway debut during the 2015 season. An adaptation of a movie that was an adaptation of a play, it’s been through quite a process to get it to its current point. It focuses on the story of J. M. Barrie, creator of Peter Pan. Though the production was never nominated for any Tonys, it still received attention for its casting of Matthew Morrison (Glee) and garnered a performance at the Tony Awards telecast. It closed about a year after opening. However, I’m personally most excited about their casting of Billy Harrison Tighe as J.M. Barrie in the National Tour. I saw him perform the role of Pippin on Broadway four years ago and he was absolutely astounding. I’m super excited to see him live again and am hoping to catch him outside the stage door to sign my Pippin Playbill.


On Your Feet!: Oct 31 – Nov 5

This production is also coming straight from its run in the 2015 Broadway season as its first National tour. The musical tells the story of Gloria and Emilio Estefan and features music made famous by the pair. However, it does also contain one original song. It closed on Broadway earlier this year after a two-year run. It received relatively positive reviews and achieved success at the box office as well as a Tony Award for best choreography. It looks to be a joy to watch and promises a fun time.


Les Misérables: Dec 13 -17

The Blumenthal rounds off its fall/winter productions with another theater giant, one that has given rise to revivals and touring productions for years. Based on Victor Hugo’s novel of the same name, Les Misérables is set in 19th century France and tells the story of ex-convict Jean Valjean. The musical is an absolute classic and the London production is currently the second longest running show in the world. When it premiered on Broadway, it won 8 Tony awards including best musical. You have likely heard at least one of the songs in your lifetime.  It also spawned a (relatively frowned upon) movie in 2012.


Actor’s Theater of Charlotte

This professional theater company is a staple of the Charlotte area, originally opening their first show in 1989. However, their 27th season is relatively small due to renovations of their theater. The theater typically produces original plays and musicals, with a couple of bigger name shows mixed in throughout the season.


American Idiot: Sept 21 – Oct 14

This musical is a stage adaptation of the Green Day’s original rock opera from 2004. It premiered on Broadway in 2010 and ran for about a year, winning two Tony Awards. The story has been expanded for the purposes of the musical, featuring three young men disillusioned in post 9/11 America. Actor’s Theater of Charlotte will be using Queens University’s Hadley Theater for this production while their current theater undergoes renovations.


Theater Charlotte

Theater Charlotte is a nonprofit and volunteer based theater company which has been around in some shape or form since 1928. It has been located in its current theater since 1941. It strives to be seen as a local theater known for high-quality productions. Its schedule leans towards a pretty even mix of big and small shows.


The Grapes Of Wrath: Oct 27 – Nov 12

A play based on John Steinbeck’s novel of the same name, this is the first time this production has been performed by Theater Charlotte. It originally opened on Broadway in 1990, winning one Tony Award. The play centers around a family of Oklahoma farmers displaced by the Dust Bowl as they attempt to travel to California. An adaptation of an American classic, I believe the show is in great hands at Theater Charlotte.


A Christmas Carol: Dec 8 – 17

This production is an annual event at Theater Charlotte, which has been performing the play adaptation of Charles Dickens’ original novel for 10 years now. The beloved tale of Ebenezer Scrooge and his visits by three ghosts has been engrained in the Christmas story canon. Now an expected part of the holiday tradition in Charlotte, one should prepare for this to be a crowded event. Theater Charlotte welcomes all ages to this production.


Three Bone Theater Company

Relatively new to the Charlotte theater scene, Three Bone Theater Company was founded in 2012. Functioning as a non-profit, their goal is to provide quality, professional theater productions to the masses. They aim to use their three bone concept (taken from Reba McEntire’s quote “To succeed in life you need three things- a wishbone, a backbone, and a funny bone.”) to choose productions that serve as a catalyst for hope, strength, and humor.


Fahrenheit 451: Nov 2 – 12

This production was brought to my attention by a friend of mine working on the show. It is an adaptation of Ray Bradbury’s famous novel, which was originally adapted into a play sometime in the 1970’s. It follows the story of Guy Montag, who lives in a dystopian world where books are illegal. After meeting Clarisse, a young person with dangerous ideas, he begins to rethink his job as a fireman in which he burns books for a living. The play, though adapted from the novel directly by Bradbury, does contain a number of significant plot changes. It is an intense piece of theater that remains socially relevant today.


Collegiate Theater

Central Piedmont Community College


The Bridges of Madison County: Sep 22 – Oct 1

This musical based on Robert Jones Waller’s original novel originally premiered on Broadway in 2014, where it ran for a total of four months. However it still managed to win two Tony Awards, Best Original Score and Best Orchestrations. The National Tour was presented through the Blumenthal fairly recently, however CPCC chose to produce this musical as their first show of the 2017-2018 season. It is the first time the musical has been performed in the Charlotte area not as part of a national tour. It tells the story of a traveling photographer and a housewife’s four day affair.


The Crucible: Oct 27 – Nov 5

Straight from my old high school reading list, CPCC presents The Crucible. The 1953 play by Arthur Miller is an exaggerated rendition of the event known as The Salem Witch Trials. It also serves as a comment on McCarthyism and the Red Scare of the 1950’s and 60’s. Despite fairly negative reviews at the time, it won the Tony Award for Best Play and became a part of cultural canon. It remains ever important today, as terms such as “witch hunt” are still popularly used.


University of North Carolina at Charlotte


Baltimore: Sept 27 – 30

The first production of UNCC’s theater season is a relatively new play (2015) by Kirstin Greenridge. It tells the story of a resident advisor in the wake of an incident in which a racist character is drawn on the dorm door of one of her African American students. The show contains discussions about such things as the riots in Ferguson and the Black Lives Matter movement through the perspectives of different students. The production will be hosting talkbacks about the issues raised in the play after every performance.


Women of Trachis: Oct 25 – Oct 28

Women Of Trachis is traditionally a Greek tragedy, written by the poet Sophocles. However UNCC will be producing an updated version of the tale by Kate Ryan, originally seen in New York in 2007. It’s a classic story of revenge and betrayal reimagined in contemporary terms and complete with pop culture references. Ryan will be available for a talkback after the performance on Friday, Oct 27.


Measure for Measure: Nov 2 – 4

A little different than UNCC theater’s typical scene, the University will be hosting Actors From the London Stage to perform Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure. Actors From the London Stage is a world renowned traveling company and was originally founded by Sir Patrick Stewart. The play tells the story of a man named Claudio, arrested for impregnating his fiance before marriage. One of Shakespeare’s lesser known plays, I’m looking forward to seeing it produced by a professional London theater company.

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About the Author

Elissa Miller is a sophomore at UNC Charlotte studying Communications and Political Science. When she isn’t reviewing theater for Niner Times, she is pretending to be a homicide detective for the Mock Trial team and forcing her friends to binge watch television with her. In the future, she would like to be an investigative journalist, a lawyer, or the second female President of the United States (because if there isn’t one before the time she gets there, that’s just sad).