Some words from our musical director…

Guest blog by Sharon McElveen Altman

Some songs are deeply embedded in your soul. Something happens in your day, and a song comes to mind – perhaps one you haven’t heard or thought of in years. In fact, I have a friend with whom we make that a game (to our husbands’ dismay), to see in our visit how many songs come to mind!

Sharon pic
Picture courtesy of Facebook.

Examples: Let me see someone walking down the street in the rain with an umbrella, and – of course – I hear Gene Kelly’s sheepish “I’m singing in the rain.”  Or, when I’m about to burst with happiness, I hear him sing, “Gotta dance!” (although I can’t dance!)

Some movie scenes have a similar effect on me:  Let me walk in a room where the loveseat is in the open and like a child, I want to step on it and turn it over to see if I can keep my balance.

Being the Musical Director for Town Theatre’s production of Singin’ In The Rain has allowed me to share my love of this movie. I split my time between my homes in Lake City and Columbia, so seeing the cast now singing these classic songs with such energy and passion (even while dancing!), makes all the travel investment worthwhile.

So there I sit in the audience, just like you: wanting to sing along, and thinking how easy the cast makes it look to execute Joy Alexander’s impressive choreography; how as director, Allison McNeely makes me feel the need to help develop a solution for the ‘new talking picture’; wondering how Danny Harrington copes with a wet stage and questioning, does Lina’s (Shelby Sessler) voice really sound like that?!?

There are so many fun aspects to this production, and I always feel better and more lighthearted after leaving the show. I know you will, too. And I know what song will be in your head the next time you’re outside in the rain!

Sharon is enjoying her second year at Town. Musicals to date include Stand By Your Man, Always Patsy Cline, White Christmas and Sugar. She thanks Jerald (husband), Joye (daughter) and Carolyn (BFF) for their support of her crazy schedule between their Lake City and Irmo homes. Sharon invites you to worship with her at Spring Valley Baptist Church.

Town’s future forecast: Singin…and dancin….in the rain!

Guest blog by Parker Byun

In the Columbia community of theatre, participants come from a multitude of different backgrounds with a wide range of interests. When I step out of the acting world, I often do not realize that being a part of this community really makes me stand out!

I am now in my fourth and final year at the University of South Carolina, and my major is Geography with a Physical Geography track – this is the study of the physical earth, including landform and climate patterns. I plan to work in the field of weather and climate, and yes…this includes being a meteorologist! This past summer, I was a volunteer intern at the National Weather Service of Columbia, and I found it incredibly fascinating to learn the “behind the scenes” work for forecasting. Furthermore, it gave me a better understand and appreciation for the environment around us. I will never look at the weather segments on the news the same again.

Paker 9 to 5While I was developing an unpredictable interest in Geography my first year of college, I KNEW I wanted to continue to work the stage. I demonstrated a mere interest for the stage when I accomplished my first play at eight years old, Don’t Drink the Water by Woody Allen, which some friends of ours put together. I portrayed the role of Kilroy—the tiniest Kilroy ever to be conveyed! A few years pass, and I begin chorus in middle school and high school theatre at Spring Valley High School where I began working with Allison McNeely. I participated in my first Town Theatre show in the Summer/Fall of 2012 where I was cast in The Music Man (directed by Shannon Scruggs). I felt at home with Town Theatre.

Parker Les MisWith this in mind, talking with my peers, supervisors and professors, the question is always asked, “What do you do for fun?” The answer is simple, I love performing! This answer seems to throw people off in one of two ways: either they never would have guessed I had any interest in the performing arts, or they never knew I would major in Geography because I exude a love for performing! Because the two do not correlate, the joke always comes up that I should be a dancing, singing meteorologist on live TV! To be honest, the gig doesn’t seem half bad!

Parker violinSingin’ in the Rain is my eleventh show at Town Theatre and I could not imagine a better group of people to share the stage with. I reiterate the variety of the cast. There are some who have never done a show before, and some who have done shows for years. Nonetheless, when everyone is working hard, you would never guess this was the case! Everyone has had the ability to learn from each other and cooperatively work together to put on a memorable experience.

What particularly stands out about this show is that it deals with both weather and performing! (So why wouldn’t I absolutely love this show?) The Singin’ in the Rain aspect demonstrates that no matter how unfortunate a situation can be, or how you think you have hit rock bottom, you can always make joy and bring joy into a situation!

So, in spirit of the weather man who performs on stage, you can expect there to be singing, dancing and scattered showers throughout each performance! “Come on with the rain, I’ve a smile on my face, because believe me, you will leave this show feeling positive and refreshed!”

Parker OK
Parker as Will in Oklahoma. Photo courtesy of William Refo.

What more could a theatre kid ask for?

Guest blog by Ella RescignoElla headshot

What a summer! Now that I am back from 20 days in NYC, I can reflect on all of the wonderful things I was able to do this summer. My mom reminds me of a quote she loves,  “Dance. Smile. Giggle. Marvel. TRUST. HOPE. LOVE. WISH. BELIEVE. Most of all, enjoy every moment of the journey, and appreciate where you are at this moment instead of always focusing on how far you have to go.”

Every single day of my summer was spent doing what I love.  I am passionate about singing and acting, I love dancing, I enjoy spending time with friends that love what I love, and I’m a dreamer. My family encourages my dreams and I am blessed by God to get to chase them.  I started my summer performing in my dream role, Jane Banks. You see, at age five I saw the Broadway production of Mary Poppins. I sat on a booster seat and cried as Mary left the children. When it ended I told my mom that I would be on that stage one day. Sure enough, Mrs. Shannon cast me as Jane Banks. It was a role that I will always remember and I am grateful for the opportunity. I spent time learning blocking, music and lines. I enjoyed meeting many new people at Town and got to spend my days at my favorite Columbia Theater.

Ella marque
Photo courtesy of Kids of the Arts.

For me, it all started at Town. I was five and joined Mrs. Jamie’s youth program. I was Oz in the Magical Land of Oz, young Cosette in Les Mis and Susan Waverly in White Christmas. Little did all the people surrounding me know that they were feeding my love and my hopes for the future. When I finished my last performance as Jane Banks, I flew out the next morning to begin rehearsals in my very first Off Broadway production of Dream Street.  I was cast in the lead role as Lily. Our plane landed, we raced to our driver, and he dropped me off at Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre.  For 12 days I spent 8-10 hours in rehearsals with one 30 minute break each day. And honestly, I just wanted more. The production lasted six days on 42nd Street and it was a dream come true for me. One step closer to living my dream.

Ella rehearsal
Photo courtesy of Kids of the Arts.

Our plan was to be home one day before school started.  There are often things I don’t share, but I can share this one.  I got a call from my agent in NYC, Abrams Artists Agency. They asked me to stay and audition for a CBS TV series and an equity National Tour of White Christmas. I stayed for both and was called back the following day.  I felt great about both auditions and callbacks. Then comes the waiting. So many people ask me how I can wait and so often be told no. Unless you love it like I do, you may never understand. Auditions fill my soul, they fill me with excitement.  The preparation, walking into the audition room, performing for people I’ve never met and then letting the process happen. By the time you reach a final callback, it’s not about your talent or ability anymore. It’s about a look, or your size, or your hair color, or your height compared to adult actors being cast. So to answer the question about how I do it and hear “no” so often. Well, “no” means not right now to me. It’s never final. It means “close this door and look for the next one to open.” It means “you made it to a final callback and just didn’t quite fit at the end.” It means “this isn’t the right timing, this isn’t God’s plan for you.”

Ella sitting
Photo courtesy of Kids of the Arts.

I am positive about my future, I have thick skin and BIG dreams. So in the meantime, I will train train train. I will sing, I will dance, I will take acting classes for stage and camera, and I will trust that God’s perfect plan and timing will reveal itself. My family and true friends support everything I do. I am surrounded by an incredible team of “trainers” and I have an agency that wants to represent me right into adulthood. But most importantly, this is what I love.  This is what makes me happy. What more could a theatre kid ask for!!

A play, poultry and pigskin…

In your Kentucky Blue south-carolina-gamecock-football-logo-150215or Gamecock Garnet, we hope you’ll join us for a fun day of tapping and tailgating! Our Saturday, Sept. 12 show will have a 2:00 PM start time. After the show, we’ll have the Poultry in Motion food truck outside ready to fulfill your tailgating needs. Dine in our courtyard or grab your food and head to the football viewing spot of your choice! Kick-off is 7:30 PM and the game will be televised on the SEC Neuniversity-kentucky-logo-859152twork so there will be plenty of time that day for a play, poultry and pigskin!

Grab 25 wings with tortilla chips and a pint of PIM’s “world famous queso” for $35. Need a little more? Grab 50 wings with tortilla chips and a pint of queso for $55. Need to feed a smaller crowd? No worries — some of PIM’s regular menu will be available too.

Get your tickets online at! Poultry in Motion will take your order before the show and have your food ready to go after the curtain falls. (And we have to say it… Go Cocks!)