News/Auditions

REVIEW: 'Amadeus' is a Theatrical Triumph

by Mark Leon for Charlestondaily.net

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was given the rarest of gifts; a brilliance so rare it was incomprehensible in his time.  He felt the music of the world and served as a messenger with his composition.  Hints of his brilliance are captured in Kyle Barnette’s latest What If? Productions of Amadeus playing at the Threshold Repertory Theatre.

This carefully scripted masterpiece is only matched by its hauntingly beautiful acting.  Brannen Daugherty as Antonio Salieri is triumphant as a man who must fight his inner demons and jealousy for the divine prodigy Mozart while maintaining poise and a level of rationality.  What may be one of the most compelling scenes in Charleston theater this season, Daugherty closes the first act with an monologue and impassioned conversation with the Almighty Lord that builds on his madness and jealousy.  The power and rawness of this scene is complimented with flawlessly choreographed music and lighting that leaves shivers throughout the audience.

Read full review HERE

Preview: Rock Me, Salieri

By Vincent Harris for Charleston City Paper 

What's perhaps most odd about Amadeus, the play by Peter Shaffer written in 1981 and made into an Oscar-winning film in 1984, is that its title character (Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart) isn't really the main focus. Most of the dialogue is spoken by Antonio Salieri, a contemporary of Mozart's who, in this highly fictionalized version of their relationship, is jealous of Mozart's skill and fame and actively works to destroy him.

"It's not Mozart's story, it's Salieri's," says Kyle Barnette, who is directing a production of Amadeus with Charleston's What If? Productions theater company. "But there's no glory in calling a play Salieri when you can call it Amadeus. People are more familiar with that. Salieri has so many lines and these great monologues. It's definitely told from Salieri's point of view, experiencing this monster of a child. I kind of compare it to a fading pop star watching something new come on the scene and this person is suddenly like a relic. This was a raw, new approach to music, and Salieri's bitterness against that is what really drives the story. Even though it takes place in the 18th century, it's got such a modern feel in the way that Salieri has kind of got this catty, bitchiness about him, and Mozart's got this unhinged party-boy quality in him."

Read full article HERE

REVIEW: Evil Dead: The Musical - A Raunchy Comical Horrorfest

By Mark A. Leon / Edited by Minta Pavliscsak for Charlestondaily.net

“Evil Dead: The Musical” is a hauntingly beautiful evil comedy packed with silly madness that will fulfill your need for a Halloween scare.

Set in a misty dark foggy night deep in the heart of the forest, five broke and horny teenagers find their way to an abandoned cabin in the woods where the only thing standing in their way from a perfect spring break is an explosion of demons comedically unleashed via stumbling across The Book of Dead and recordings of passages from its pages.  What follows next is blood, mayhem and sheer lunacy.

Enter Ash, his sister Cheryl, his S-Mart love Linda, fowl mouthed best friend Scott and Scott’s three-day old fast fling Shelly.  Now sit back and enjoy one of the most exhilarating evenings this holiday season.

Based on the book and lyrics of George Reinblatt, the carefully crafted stage direction of Kyle Barnette and the wickedly enchanting cast, What if? Productions and Threshold Repertory take you on a journey combining legendary elements of Grease, Rocky Horror Picture Show and the campy B-Movie essence of Tromaville, the hometown of Toxic Avenger.

The opening number, “Cabin in the Woods” is reminiscent of any great road trip and is soon followed by romantic duet of “Housewares Employee” by Ash and Linda that is so utterly romantic, it will make you think twice about the “no love in the workplace” rule by the time it is over.....Click for full review

REVIEW: Evil Dead is 'bloody, screechy, silly fun' - City Paper

Five clueless Midwestern college kids make their way to a secluded cabin in the woods, with thoughts of spending spring break alternating between hook ups and maybe some beer pong. They manage, instead, to unleash an evil force from the Book of the Dead, opening a vortex of demonic possession that compels them to turn against each other limb by mangled limb. 

Sound like the makings of feel-good musical theater? It’s scary, but curiously true. Evil Dead: The Musical, which takes a gooey, ghoulish swipe at horror film shock and schlock, now rushes the stage at Threshold Repertory Theatre with craven zeal, thanks to a collaborative project between Threshold Rep and What If? Productions, directed by Kyle Barnette. 

Infectiously, intentionally inane, this high-octane, lowbrow romp of a show makes blood sport of the Evil Dead cult horror trilogy, simultaneously celebrating and skewering the genre. Think fake blood madly splattering into the “splash zone” theater seats, foot-stomping numbers flashing freakish with strobe lights, and shout-outs from the audience a la The Rocky Horror Picture Show. With amped-up camp and mega-energy, this self-possessed, unapologetically silly production is by design a hilarious hot mess, spilling its guts and glee so that we can enjoy the lighter side of, well, darkness... Click for full review

PLAY FEST 2016 SCHEDULE INFORMATION

PLAYWRIGHTS FESTIVAL 2016
Thank you to our sponsors: 

Charles & Celeste Patrick, Jerry Evans & Stephen Bajjilay, Wayne & Brenda Barnette, Alex Deuel
David & Marjorie Porter, Chris & Leigh Handal, Edna & Al Roberds

Each year as we present the world premiere of the winner of Best New Work from the previous year's festival, we offer a few special events celebrating the art of playwriting, including partial staged readings of this year's finalists. Check out all the event info below and come join us July 1 and 2 as we celebrate our 2016 Playwrights Festival!

Play Fest 2016 Events

The Cannibals by Theroun Patterson
world premiere production

July 1, 2, 7, 8 & 9 at 7:30pm and July 3 at 6:00pm
84 1/2 Society Street
Tickets: $20 Adults, $15 students (senior/military $18)
online at whatifproductions.org or 843.737.6059
*Talk back with cast, director and writer Theroun Patterson opening night July 1

2016 Staged Readings
Saturday July 2, 3:00 - 4:30pm
84 1/2 Society St.
Free with suggested donation

*Each staged reading will be directed by a local Charleston artistOur finalist plays for 2016:

he PlayMakers by Julie Zaffarano (reading directed by Blair Cadden)
The Quickening by Mark Scarf (reading directed by Fadi Magdi)
Making It Home by Jim Colgan (reading directed by Darryl LaPlante)

24 Hour Playhouse
Saturday July 2, 6:45 - 7:15pm
Presented by 5th Wall Productions
Free to attend, tickets also available for the Saturday showing of The Cannibals

Join us as we celebrate the art of playwriting and the world premiere of The Cannibals!