Friday, July 2, 2010

The Dock Street Theater-Where Charleston Meets Broadway

"Tickets please." "May I show you to your seat." "Enjoy the performance." There is something nostalgic and exhilarating about attending live stage performances at old theaters. Originally from Northeastern Ohio, I periodically took the short, thirty mile trek into the theater district of Cleveland called Playhouse Square and saw performances like the Lion King, Phantom Of the Opera, Cats, Starlight Express, and the Invisible Man. The architecture was stunning, the atmosphere was electric, everything exudes the feel of cultural distinction and gratification.

If you are willing to step out of the box when it comes to movie entertainment and cinema to try some live theater, look no further than the Dock Street Theater in the French Quarter of Charleston. The Dock Street Theater had been closed since 2007 and for the past three years underwent a multi-million dollar transformation and re-opened March 2010 ready to dazzle and gratify its patrons with a taste of Broadway.

The original Dock Street Theater opened in 1736. It was the first building designed for theatrical use in the Americas. Quite a privileged distinction that sets it apart from all other theaters. One month after the theater was opened, Dock Street was officially changed to Queen Street, but the theater retained its original name. The site had numerous uses during the next 200 years. The original Dock Street Theatre was probably destroyed by the Great Fire of 1740. In the early19th-century, it was replaced by Planter's Hotel where wealthy planters stayed during Charleston's horse-racing season, but in time became a derelict building and nothing more than a shell. In the 1930's it went through a restoration and the theater was in business again until it closed in 2007 when a full-scale renovation brought the historic theater into the 21st century with state-of-the-art lighting and sound.

There will be a benefit performance for Charleston Stage July 31st starring Michael Emerson of ABC's "Lost" and Carrie Preston of HBO's sizzling show "True Blood" in the Broadway hit "Love Letters". This will mark their return to the theater and kickoff the 2010-11 season with a full list of scheduled performances such as "Hairspray" in September, Alfred Hitchcock's "The 39 Steps" in October, "Blue" in January, and "The Original Peter Pan" in March and April of 2011.

Put on your best, rent a limo, pop some bubbly, and strut your stuff for an evening of enchantment at the historic Dock Street Theater. Make it a complete package by reserving a place at one of the tables of Charleston's fine restaurants such as Charleston Grill, Circa 1886, Mercato, Halls Chophouse, Bocci's, High Cotton Maverick Bar and Grill, or Magnolias to name a few. Dock Street Theater is located at 135 Church Street.

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