Over the past 15 years, Charleston’s theater community has grown from just two companies to more than 15, ranging in sizes, genres and styles.
Among the newcomers to the peninsula scene is Village Repertory Company, a bright and daring company whose work as a founding member of the League of Charleston Theatres has played an integral role in expanding theater productions in the Lowcountry.
Led by artistic director Keely Enright and managing director David Reinwald, the Village Repertory Company ran its productions from a storefront-turned-theater in Mount Pleasant for 11 years prior to its move downtown a few years ago.
As word spread and recognition expounded, the Village Repertory Company raised funds and received grants from the South Carolina Arts Commission, the City of Charleston and the Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation to convert the old meat-packing warehouse on Woolfe Street into its current home, Woolfe Street Playhouse.
The theater will host “Red, White and Cash,” a musical performance tribute to the music and life of Johnny Cash, Thursday and Friday nights. Tickets are $20 with a student ID, $25 for seniors aged 62 and over and $30 for adults. Show time is 7:30 p.m.; beer and wine service will begin 30 minutes prior to curtain. Go to www.woolfestreetplayhouse.com or call 856-1579 for information.
When Jeff Querin and Stephen Wayne first met in 1998, they were struggling actors in a Houston-based theater company growing disillusioned with both their company and their newly adopted city.
Querin and Wayne had been acting and performing since they were kids in Ohio and California, respectively, but finding a true home for themselves and their act was a struggle. The pair first headed to Querin’s native Youngstown, Ohio, where Wayne earned an English degree from Youngstown State University, before ultimately landing in New York City, where Querin earned his master’s in educational theater from NYU.
Throughout the relocations and schooling, the duo continued writing and performing its own plays, producing them with borrowed money to perform at churches, bars, schools, prisons, anywhere people would let them, until enough buzz and profits enabled touring and festival circuits.
When the duo began performing in Piccolo Spoleto several years ago, Querin and Wayne decided to make Charleston their home and bring their talent and experience to the budding theater community in the form of 34 West, a small performance space on Meeting Street in the heart of the tourist district.
Querin and Wayne still write, produce and perform their plays at 34 West, but they also have opened up their space to other productions and stay busy leading workshops and working nearly all aspects of the theater.
Wayne wrote the company’s latest production, “Groovy Kinda’ Love,” a musical comedy telling the story of a hip rocker helping a shy misfit find her voice and turning a small town on its head in the process.
The play is set to the spirit of the ’60s and features music from ranging from Motown to the surf rock.
“Groovy Kinda’ Love” opens Thursday night at 34 West, 200 Meeting St., and runs through the end of September. Tickets are $25 and are available at the box office or online at www.34west.org.
Show times are 8 p.m. for Thursday and Friday, 3 p.m. Sunday and 7 p.m. Tuesday; doors open 30 minutes prior to curtain.
Go to the theater’s website or call 901-9343 for additional dates and times.
Longtime improve comedy company Theatre 99, 280 Meeting St., will host another installment of its popular “Funny Bucket” series Friday night.
The concept is simple: the company’s entire collection of improv games and themes are thrown into a bucket and randomly drawn by rotating cast members.
Tickets are $12 at the box office or at www.theatre99.com. Show starts at 8 p.m., 30-minute early arrival is advised.
Go to the venue’s website or call 853-6687 for information.