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Boro theater season preview: Fall 2016


August 09, 2016

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    Small though it is, Statesboro has its own bustling theater scene, with three different venues providing a constant rotation of eclectic entertainment. Whether you’re looking for live music, ballet, theatre of many varieties or comedic sketches, there’s always something on in town.
    But what are the theaters, where are they, and what kind of shows can you expect from each one? It’s not like anyone made it particularly easy for you, because all the names sound ridiculously similar. (Performing Arts Center, Center for Performing Arts, Center for Art and Theatre — seriously, guys?)
    Luckily, Connect is here to help. Our season preview here breaks down what kinds of entertainment you’re likely to get at which theaters. As an added bonus, we’re including our top pick for each venue’s fall season. Make sure to hit a few of these shows before Christmas.

The Averitt Center for the Arts
33 East Main Street
    The Averitt Center is Statesboro’s venue for community theater — emphasis on community. Not only is this the place you’re most likely to see familiar local faces on the stage — including your accountant, school principal or your kid’s teacher — but the theater itself has built up its own family of actors, educators, creative thinkers and arts enthusiasts.    
    At the Averitt Center, you’re just as likely to see a revived classic like The Importance of Being Earnest as you are a family-friendly musical like Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and Oliver! Occasionally, the Averitt Center will push the envelope with something a little more scandalous, such as Heartbreaks and Hallelujahs and Sordid Lives. They also bring in out-of-town acts for one-night-only events, which can run the gamut from live music, improv comedy and spoken word artists.
    The Averitt Center for the Arts has two performance venues: the historic Emma Kelly Theater on East Main Street for large-scale, traditional performances; and the Mical Whitaker Black Box, located down the block on West Main Street in the Center for Performing Arts, for smaller and more intimate productions. You’re likely to see a great show in either venue, so check out their scheduled performances.

Season Preview Pick:
Arsenic and Old Lace, by Tim Firth; Oct. 14–16
    Getting engaged is stressful enough; getting engaged right after your dear sweet aunts have started murdering old men for kicks is even worse. Mortimer Brewster is at his wits' end trying to juggle his delightfully deranged relatives, and hijinks worthy of the Addams Family ensue. The script is sparkling with humor, and in the hand of the Averitt STARS and director Lisa Abbott, this show is sure to be a Halloween treat. 
TICKETS: $15 for non-members

The Performing Arts Center

847 Plant Drive
    Fondly known to its patrons as the PAC, the Performing Arts Center on Georgia Southern’s campus is the biggest theatrical venue in Statesboro. The PAC has the biggest number of seats in Statesboro — 825 of them, to be exact — meaning it has the room to attract national touring acts and big-name performances.
    The performances always look stunning on the PAC’s wide stage and the venue’s effects make each show sharp and professional. It’s a great place for quality entertainment, bringing in the kind of acts you won’t find elsewhere in town. The only catch is that most of its shows are one-night-only affairs, so you want to make sure to grab a seat before they sell out. If you’re a GSU student, those seats are only $10 — more affordable than a movie ticket plus popcorn.

Season Preview Pick: The Drifters   
    If you love rock and roll and R&B, you'll love this class act. The Drifters were the first African American group to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and they are making a historic reunion tour in support of their new album. It's going to be a musical extravaganza you aren't going to want to miss. 
TICKETS: $22 for patrons, $10 for Georgia Southern University students

The Center for Art and Theatre
223 Pittman Drive
    The black box theater in Georgia Southern’s Center for Art and Theater is the main venue for GSU’s theater and performance students, and I am not exaggerating when I say that they are an exceptional group of actors. Under the direction of Lisa Abbott and Nick Newell, the CAT’s shows consistently defy expectations for student productions, with an incredible ability to shock and amaze.
    Because they are a college group, the directors are able to take on more challenging, controversial shows that other venues might shy from, and they turn those scripts into award-winning performances. They just returned from the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, the world's largest performing arts festival, where they staged their original devised theater show, DO NOT OPEN!, for audiences from around the world.

Season Preview Pick: She Kills Monsters, Qui Nguyen, Nov. 9-16
    Maybe it's my inner nerd talking, but this play looks like pure, concentrated fun. After Agnes' sister Tilly dies, Agnes gets a secret look at her sister when she finds Tilly's Dungeons and Dragons notebook. Agnes plunges headfirst into her sister's imaginary world of the game and ends up embarking on her own harrowing adventure. I don't know what I'm most excited about: the fantastic set pieces this show will demand, the refreshing premise or the kick-ass female character at the center of the show. This sort of fantastic, mythical challenge is perfect for the CAT performers, and I have no doubt that this show will be one for the books.

TICKETS: $5 for Georgia Southern students, $10 for community patrons


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