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Aspiring Broadway stars invited to attend USC Musical Theatre Workshop

Broadway at USCIf you love musicals and dream of a future strutting the Broadway stages, the USC Dance Department and the South Carolina Summer Dance Conservatory invite you to enroll in a new eight-day intensive musical theatre workshop for middle school, high school and college students (ages 12 to 20). Broadway at USC takes place Aug. 1 - 8 at the USC Dance Studios, 324 Sumter Street, Columbia, S.C. Tuition is $525. Broadway at USC is open to all levels of skill and prior experience. The program provides students with an introduction to the inter-disciplinary training needed to be on the musical stage. Students will learn skills necessary to become a “triple threat” – a master of acting, singing and dancing – in preparation for a grand finale performance presented to faculty, peers, family and friends (repertoire to be chosen from West Side Story, Pippin, and Little Shop of Horrors.) Workshop instructors are USC faculty and acclaimed musical theatre performers and directors, including Gillian Scalici Albercht, founder and director of Broadway at USC and a veteran musical theatre star. Albercht's credits include West Side Story, Chicago, Cabaret, J.C Superstar, Hair, Godspell, and the original A Chorus Line. Additional instructors are Columbia, S.C., native Chryssy Whitehead, a star of both screen and stage with credits including Two and a Half Men, Fosse, The Producers, Save The Last Dance, and A Chorus Line Broadway revival; and Broadway “hit maker” Steven Gross, an award-winning musical director and conductor of both Broadway and London's West End. "The all-star faculty of experienced musical theatre professionals and the integration of acting, singing and dance training make our program unique," said Albrecht.  "We will help raise (students') performance skills to new heights and put them on the road to becoming true Broadway artists! We are very excited to bring this opportunity to the Columbia, S.C., community for the first time this year.” For more information or to register online, visit the Broadway at USC website, call (803) 777-0704, or email gsalbrecht@yahoo.com.  

South Carolina native wins national theater honor

From The State Story by Bertam Rantin

Sarah Hammond and Adam GwonSarah Hammond won her first playwriting prizes in South Carolina years ago during The Palmetto Dramatic Association’s one-act writing contest for students. Turns out she was just getting started. The Ridge View High School and University of South Carolina graduate’s artistic works have since graced the stages of area productions and recently earned her national recognition. Hammond has been named a winner of the 2015 Richard Rodgers Award for Musical Theater. The award nurtures talented composers and playwrights and enables their musicals to be produced in New York City. The selection was announced earlier this month by the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Hammond, now based in Brooklyn, was recognized for the musical “String,” on which she collaborated with musical composer Adam Gwon (pictured above). Hammond wrote the book and Gwon provided the music and lyrics. “We’re incredibly honored to win the Richard Rodgers Award,” Hammond said by email this week. “Adam and I have been working on the show for seven years. We’ve put a lot of time and a ton of soul into this musical, and we’ve been lucky to have really great supporters along the way.” “String” is a modern-day twist on the story of the three Greek Fates: Atropos, Lachesis and Clotho. In the story, the workaholic goddess, Atropos, gets tangled up with a security guard in the basement of the tallest building in the world. One mistake leads to another ‑ including a lost pair of scissors, a kiss and a stolen string – and soon Atropos breaks her own rules to offer immortality to an ordinary man. The show has been presented at the O’Neill Music Theatre Festival and the inaugural Oscar Hammerstein Festival at the Bucks County Playhouse in Pennsylvania. It won a New Dramatists’ Loewe Award and the Weston Play House New Musical Award. “Some of my Broadway writing heroes were on the judging panel (for the Rogers award), and it’s really humbling to know they thought our show was worth the honor,” Hammond said. Hammond’s writing honors also include the Actors Theatre of Louisville’s Heidemann Award and the New Dramatists” Lippman Award. Locally, her work has been showcased at Trustus Theatre and she was on the production teams of several shows at USC’s Drayton Hall and Longstreet Theatre. “My first couple of plays were all produced in South Carolina, with costumes and sets and memorization and everything,” Hammond said. “It’s really rare for a young playwright to get to see their work fully produced like that, and it taught me 10 times more than any playwriting class ever could.”
Photo by Ric Kallaher (via Broadway World)

Job Openings at the National Endowment for the Arts

The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) in Washington, DC is seeking a new Director of Media Arts and a new Director of Theater and Musical Theater. Apply between February 6 & March 7.  These positions provide national leadership, authority, and direction concerning agency programming and funding assessment in the field. Qualifications include national or regional experience serving as an executive or senior manager with supervisory and budgetary authority in a discipline-specific nonprofit arts organization. Some overnight travel required. About the National Endowment for the Arts The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), an independent Federal agency and the official arts organization for the United States government, supports the advancement of artistic excellence, creativity, and innovation. More information at arts.gov.

South Arts awards $28,836 to South Carolina arts organizations

South Arts announces a total of $28,836 awarded to South Carolina arts organizations for fiscal year 2013-14 to present touring artists. Through the Regional Touring program, the National Endowment  for the Arts and South Arts partner to offer nonprofit presenting organizations fee support to present artists from outside of their states. Touring support is awarded for theatre, music, opera, musical theatre and dance projects that contain both a public performance and an educational component.

South Carolina grant recipients and amounts:
  • Arts Center of Coastal Carolina (Hilton Head), $5,475
  • City of Charleston (Charleston), $3,525
  • Clemson University (Clemson), $3,861
  • Peace Center Foundation (Greenville), $6,100
  • Rock Hill School District (Rock Hill),$3,825
  • University of South Carolina Educational Foundation (Columbia), $2,860
  • Walhalla Civic Auditorium (Walhalla), $3,190
A total of 126 applications were submitted from South Arts’ nine-state region, and 100 projects totaling $433,193 in funding will be supported by grants. The following states are in South Arts’ region: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee. About South Arts South Arts, a nonprofit regional arts organization, was founded in 1975 to build on the South’s unique heritage and enhance the public value of the arts. South Arts’ work responds to the arts environment and cultural trends with a regional perspective. South Arts offers an annual portfolio of activities designed to address the role of the arts in impacting the issues important to our region, and to link the South with the nation and the world through the arts.
Via: South Arts

USC Symphony celebrates the musicals of Rodgers and Hammerstein

The songs of musical theater giants Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein take center stage for the University of South Carolina Symphony Orchestra concert Tuesday, Feb. 12. The orchestra, soloists and a 30-member chorus will perform tunes from Carousel, State Fair, The King and I, The Sound of Music, South Pacific and Oklahoma. “These will be the most famous tunes from the shows,” says Donald Portnoy, USC Symphony Orchestra music director. “There is so much variety – solos, duos, duos with chorus, chorus alone, tenor, mezzo, baritone, soprano and everyone comes out for Oklahoma! People will go home singing all the tunes.” Hearing this music performed by an orchestra will be a unique experience. “Many people know these songs, but few have experienced them with a full orchestra, which magnifies the lush and dynamic qualities,” Portnoy says. “The orchestration is fantastic, the lyrics are fantastic – it’s just really special music.” Among the 22 songs to be performed are “I Whistle a Happy Tune,” “Hello, Young Lovers,” “June Is Bustin’ Out All Over,” “There Is Nothin’ Like a Dame,” “Some Enchanted Evening,” “Climb Ev’ry Mountain” and “Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin’.” The concert features soloists and USC School of Music faculty Tina Milhorn Stallard (soprano), Janet Hopkins (mezzo-soprano), Walter Cuttino, (tenor), Jacob Will (bass-baritone) and the Sandlapper Singers. Stallard was soloist in Timothy Powell’s Incarnation Mysteria at Lincoln Center and soloist in Vivaldi’s Gloria with the Shanghai Philharmonic Orchestra as part of the prelude to the Olympics. Hopkins has sung with the Metropolitan Opera for 17 years performing in The Barber of Seville, Die Walkure, Der Rosenkavalier and other operas. Cuttino has given over 1,000 operatic performances and more than 500 concerts, including a concert tour with Leonard Bernstein. Will’s career has included concerts with orchestras around the world and on the stages of the Zürich Opera, New York City Opera, San Francisco Opera and others. “These are incredible singers with serious training and professional experiences who bring real depth to the songs,” Portnoy says. Rodgers and Hammerstein began their collaboration in 1943 with a huge hit - Oklahoma! The musical ran for an unprecedented 2,212 performances, finally closing after five years. Oklahoma! also ushered in an era of musicals with believable plots and songs that advanced the action. Their last collaboration was in many ways their most successful. The Sound of Music contains more hit songs than any other Rodgers and Hammerstein musical in part due to the phenomenal success of the film version, which was the most financially successful film adaptation of a Broadway musical ever made. During their quarter century as a team Rodgers and Hammerstein won 34 Tony Awards, 15 Academy Awards and two Grammy Awards. The concert takes place at 7:30 p.m. at the Koger Center for the Arts in Columbia. Tickets are $25; $20 for USC faculty and staff, seniors and military; and $8 for students. Call (803) 251-2222 or visit to http://www.capitoltickets.com/. Via: USC Symphony Orchestra

Grant opportunities for presenting organizations

South Carolina presenting arts organizations are invited to apply for Regional Touring grants available through South Arts. The Regional Touring program is an opportunity for presenting arts organizations in South Arts' nine-state region to receive fee support to present performing artists from outside of the presenter's state. Touring support is awarded to theatre, music, opera, musical theatre and dance projects that include both a public performance and an educational component. To learn more, review the South Arts Regional Touring guidelines, including information on Block-Book Touring grants, Southern Fast Track Touring grants, and other presenter assistance. Online submission deadlines are March 1 for Regional Touring applications and March 8 for Block-Booked Tour applications. South ArtsABOUT SOUTH ARTS: South Arts works in partnership with the state arts agencies in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee to address issues important to the region and to link the South with the nation and the world through the arts. South Arts partners with the National Endowment for the Arts to provide funding for nonprofit performing and literary arts presenting organizations.

Encore NYC performance by S.C. native Jonathan Whitton

Jonathan Whitton

Update: Jonathan returns to the solo concert stage with an encore engagement of his critically acclaimed, sold-out 2012 concert series, THE FREE RESIDENCY, February 5 & the 19th @ 7:00PM at Don't Tell Mama. There is a $8 cover in advance; $13 at the door. All performances have a 2-Drink Minimum. Cash only. Reservations are required and can be made by calling 212-757-0788 or by visiting www.donttellmamanyc.com.
South Carolina native Jonathan Whitton returns to the solo concert stage in New York City with an intimate concert series, "The Free Residency," at the world-famous Don't Tell Mama in the heart of the New York Theatre District. In collaboration with indie-musician AaRon Jones, The Free Residency "is a candid concert experiment that surveys the journey home by way of dreamscape, reality, and memory." (Source: OffOffBroadwayWorld.com) Musical selections include re-imagined takes on songs from an eclectic group of songwriters, including Aimee Mann, Kate McGarrigle, Kylie Minogue, The Mountain Goats, The Shins, Nina Simone, and John Vanderslice. South Carolina audiences recently saw Whitton as Jamie in The Last Five Years and the Master of Ceremonies in Cabaret, both at Trustus Theatre in his home town of Columbia. He made his award-winning NYC solo-concert debut in 2007 and has also performed in such NYC venues as Joe's Pub, 54 Below, Ars Nova, Highline Ballroom, The Laurie Beechman Theatre, and Lincoln Center's Avery Fisher Hall. Whitton's debut album, Jonathan Whitton: LIVE AT THE Laurie Beechman, is available on iTunes. Whitton has also been seen in NYC productions of Even for One Night (Dixon Place), The Disney Diaries (dir. Michele Pawk, Laurie Beechman), and The Yellow Wood (dir. Brian Yorkey, New World Stages). He won Bistro and MAC Awards in 2008 for his work as the title character in Hedwig & the Angry Inch, headlining both the Highline Ballroom & BB King Blues Club.  The Bistro Award is presented to individuals and presentations that make a mark in the area of cabaret. Recipients of the awards are chosen by a special committee made up of members of the cabaret community. The MAC Award is voted on annually by the membership of the Manhattan Association of Cabarets and Clubs. Backstage Magazine has said, "Whitton exudes talent and taste," and Cabaret Scenes says, "Whitton is built to last. He'll be around for the long run: performing, growing, daring." New York entertainment landmark Don't Tell Mama was established as a Piano Bar Cabaret in 1982. Performers who began their careers at Don’t Tell Mama have gone on to win Emmy, Grammy, Tony, and Oscar Awards and the Pulitzer Prize. Will you be in New York? Plan to see this South Carolina artist in performance at Don't Tell Mama: Tuesday, October 16; Monday, November 5; and Tuesday, November 27.