It’s time to start scanning the internet for good airfare, booking rooms and making dinner reservations in Charleston
. The Spoleto Festival
has announced its lineup for 2012, and this year promises a festival of music, theater and dance that you won’t want to miss.
There are so many exciting performances on the schedule that I’ll only be able to hit some of the highlights here. You’ll need to spend some time with the full schedule and see what else tickles your fancy. Then you will doubtless find yourself, like I am, huddled over the performance schedule, desperately trying to squeeze all of the things you’d like to see into each woefully short day.
First of all, four-time Grammy winner K.D. Lang will be singing her heart out with her back up band, the Siss Boom Bang. She started off her career as a country singer, but over time has expanded her style to make way for her smooth, velvety voice to wrap around torch songs and jazz standards. Tony Bennett called her “the best singer of her generation.” Do you really need any more recommendation than that?
Another musical highlight is sure to be the performance by New Orleans’ Rebirth Brass Band. Formed by the Frazier Brothers in 1983, the group is dedicated to preserving the traditional Big Easy brass band sound while at the same time exploring the realms of funk and hip-hop. As an added bonus, the Rebirth concert will be in the College of Charleston Cistern Yard, my absolute favorite venue at the festival.
Two years ago, The Gate Theatre’s production of Noel Coward’s Present Laughter was a highlight of the festival for me. This year, we’ll see if Coward’s lightening dialogue can strike twice with its production of the playwright’s hit Hay Fever.
While at grad school, I was lucky enough to catch one of Mike Daisy’s one-man shows in his native Seattle. At a Mike Daisy show there’s no real costumes or sets - there’s just this remarkable, sharp, witty storyteller in street clothes armed with some notes and a glass of water. Nonetheless, without any theatrical pyrotechnics Daisy will keep you rapt while he spins his yarns. This year he’s bringing his timely investigation of Apple, Inc. entitled The Agony and Ecstasy of Steve Jobs to the Spoleto stage.
Two of the most exciting American dance companies also will be performing in Charleston this spring. The Alvin Ailey American Dance Company will perform a program of new works and classics including the famously moving Revelations. The electrifying Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet also will perform at the festival. If you are a Matt Damon fan, you may also already be a fan of Cedar Lake and not even know it. The company was featured in the film The Adjustment Bureau, in which Emily Blunt played a member of the company.
Finally, I am also really looking forward to Traces, performed by the Montreal-based circus/cabaret troupe, 7 Doigts de la Main. The show combines the energy of acrobatics and circus spectacle with the performers’ personal narratives. The New York Times called the show “…mad, pulse-raising magic.”
Spoleto Festival 2012 will take place from May 25 to June 10. Click here
for more information and to buy tickets.