Silence. Then, a rush of overwhelming sound, blinding lights of every color and angelic voices fill the theater. The show has begun.
Students who live in Charlotte generally don’t have many chances to go to New York and see the hottest new Broadway shows. It’s 630 miles away and the plane tickets are just too expensive. If they do decide to rush a show on Broadway, they aren’t even guaranteed tickets. Since rush is a first-come, first-serve basis, most lines for rush form over an hour before the box office opens.
Charlotte doesn’t get original casts or Broadway companies for touring shows, but the performances are equally as breathtaking, if not even more at times. For example, the most recent touring production of the classic show The Phantom of the Opera was better than the current Broadway cast.
That’s why Student Rush, provided by the Blumenthal Performing Arts Center is an opportunity everyone should take.
It allows students to display their Student ID and buy discounted tickets two hours before the show for $27. Granted, they are first-come, first-serve and are for one specific performance, but they still allow people to see quality shows for reasonable prices.
One more aspect of the Blumenthal Center that adds to Charlotte’s theatre experience is the opportunity to stagedoor the performances. For those who don’t know, stagedooring is waiting at the stage door (where the actors enter the space) for the performers to come out in order to get autographs and pictures. It adds to Charlotte’s Broadway experience by giving aspiring actors and major theatre fans the opportunity to meet their idols.
Since touring shows do not take residence in Charlotte at all times of the year, there are other local theatre opportunities. Theatre Charlotte and Actor’s Theatre of Charlotte are two of the best known companies.
Theatre Charlotte is a community company based on Queens Road that provides auditioned opportunities to enjoy and be a part of live theatre. The shows performed there are professional, entertaining and unique to the company. One con of this organization is that there is favoritism shown in the casting process. Many students hailing from Northwest School of the Arts, for example, are given the impression that if they have a solid audition, there is no doubt that they will get in the show. However, the shows there are always above par and result in an entertaining time. For any theatre nerd or up-and-coming actor interested in having an entertaining night out or gaining experience, Theatre Charlotte is a good choice.
Actor’s Theatre of Charlotte is a more professional theatre experience. Their shows are usually more long-term and give paid opportunities for non-professional actors to improve their skills. Auditions are open to anyone, but do end up wrangling the best of the best from the local community. The space holds a small audience, but the fantastic experience is worth the close quarters.
Theatre opportunities are not rare in Charlotte, but certain experiences are better than others. If looking for a Saturday night activity, I would try rushing the current Broadway show in town, finding tickets for the newest play or auditioning for the next local production. They’re chances that shouldn’t be missed.