2018-09-14 / Front Page

Town Theatre remembers its history and plans for the future

By Anita Baker Photos Contributed by Town Theatre


Town Theatre’s Centennial Season production of West Side Story. 
Photo by Katie Hilliger, Photography and Clayton King Eye, Graphic Design Town Theatre’s Centennial Season production of West Side Story. Photo by Katie Hilliger, Photography and Clayton King Eye, Graphic Design Town Theatre’s 100th Season will begin Friday, September 14, with West Side Story. This popular musical has been performed on Town Theatre’s stage many times over the years.

Town Theatre’s Centennial Season performance will bring back director David Swicegood, who directed the 1998 production of West Side Story 20 years ago. The 1998 production also introduced Will Moreau to Columbia’s theatre scene. Moreau was an advocate for the Columbia arts scene and a Native American activist. He passed away this past year after performing many different roles on and off Town Theatre’s stage.

West Side Story is being produced at the request of the theatre’s membership and audiences. In preparation for the Centennial Season, Town Theatre’s staff took a vote of its membership to determine which production should serve as the opening for the season. From a list of Town Theatre’s popular shows, West Side Story was chosen.

Town’s Centennial Season production of West Side Story also celebrates the 100th birthday of Jerome Robbins, the director and choreographer of the original Broadway production.

Town Theatre has also announced the beginning of the Town Theatre Centennial Campaign to raise funds to support major renovations to the theatre building. The total amount of money to be raised is $1 million. Phase One of the renovations planned will be in the basement area of the theatre. The space will be developed to serve as an education center. Town Theatre currently offers a Youth Theatre Program four days per week during the school year and a summer youth program for 11 weeks during the summer. On these afterschool weekdays, dance classes are also offered and often coincide with theatre production rehearsals and auditions.

Shannon Scruggs, executive director of Town Theatre, says they are currently turning people away including young people and adults who are interested in theatre classes and dance and voice lessons. With the new educational space, Town Theatre will be able to meet the needs of the community for more diverse, educational programs and have theatre production rehearsals scheduled at the same time as other activities.

Phase Two is planned to meet the new compliance rules and also make cosmetic changes needed in the upper dressing room areas and the greenroom space. Phase Three will bring adaptations to the auditorium seating area and the lobby.

Clayton Design is the architectural firm chosen to lead the Town Theatre Centennial Campaign theatre renovations.

West Side Story will run September 14– 30. Ticket sales are available online at www.towntheatre.com or by calling the box office at 803- 799- 2510. Donations to the Town Theatre Centennial Campaign may also be made on the Town Theatre website. Town Theatre is located at 1012 Sumter Street.

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