Spoleto Festival USA and Piccolo Spoleto have both kicked off their massive schedules, and it's high time for festival-goers to browse through hundreds of events and figure out which concerts, galleries and performances to hit up. But while $100 tickets to the opera might be in the future for some, the big-budget, headline events aren't always practical for families, students or anyone else keeping an eye on their wallet. What to do? Well, we've scoured both festivals' listings so you don't have to. Here are some of our picks for the best cheap entertainment.
--Since Spoleto brings the best in classical music, opera and dance to Charleston each year, it's only appropriate that the Charleston County Public Library has put together a Piccolo series that includes events meshing high art with classic kiddie tales - like an operatic performance that pairs Mozart with "The Three Little Pigs" and a Robert Ivey Ballet presentation of Shel Silverstein's poignant book "The Giving Tree." Charleston County Public Library Auditorium, 68 Calhoun St. June 1-3 and June 8-10, 9:15 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. Programming varies by day. Cost: Free.
--Want to get the family's creativity flowing? Head to Isle of Palms on Saturday for Piccolo's annual sand sculpting competition and get inspired for your own beach creations. Or check out daily arts and crafts demonstrations at the Piccolo Spoleto Crafts Fair, including sessions on jewelry and puzzle making. Sand sculpting: front beach, Isle of Palms, June 5 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Cost: Free. Crafts Fair: Wragg Square Park. June 4 and 5 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., June 6 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Cost: $3.
--Close out this year's festivities with Beaufort High School's production of "The Seussification of Romeo and Juliet" that blends Shakespeare's tragic love story with the rhyme and whimsy of Dr. Seuss. Sottile Theater, 44 George St. June 11 and 12 at 6:30 p.m., June 13 at 3 p.m. Cost: $11 adults, $8 students and seniors.
For everyone else
--Enjoy a career retrospective of one of America's most beloved actresses, Meryl Streep, during the County Public Library's American Film Series. The Piccolo event began last Friday with Streep's 1979 "Kramer vs. Kramer," but there are plenty of movies still on tap, including 2008's critically-acclaimed "Doubt," as well as the 1996 film "Marvin's Room," featuring a pre-"Titanic" Leonardo DiCaprio. Charleston County Public Library. June 1-4 and June 7-11, at 1 p.m. Cost: Free.
--While some Spoleto events come with hefty price tags, there are several options with budget-friendly tickets starting at just ten bucks a pop-like matinee performances of the romantic ballet "Giselle," as performed by Nina Ananiashvili and the National Ballet of Georgia. For more dance, check out Lucinda Childs' "Dance," which combines modern choreography and video projection, as well as an original score by Philip Glass. Then drop in on a free conversation with choreographer Childs herself, hosted at the College of Charleston's Simons Center Recital Hall. "Giselle": Gaillard Auditorium. June 12 and 13, 2 p.m. Cost: $10-55. "Dance": Gaillard Auditorium. June 4 and 5, 8 p.m. Cost: $10-55.
--If classical music is more to your taste, Spoleto Festival USA Music Director Emmanuel Villaume will be conducting the Spoleto Festival USA's own orchestra in tonight's performance of Ravel's "La Valse," as well as Strauss' "Also Sprach Zarathustra." Later this week, Villaume will bring together the orchestra again for a concert that includes pieces by Beethoven, Mozart and Wagner. For a dose of choral music, sit in on a collaboration between the Spoleto Festival USA Orchestra, the Charleston Symphony Orchestra Chorus and the Westminster Choir. The concert will showcase Mozart's "Coronation Mass," as well as pieces by Brahms and Verdi. Gaillard Auditorium. May 31, June 6 and 8, 7:30 p.m. Cost: $10-65.