On January 19, 2019, the Greenville Little Theatre hosted an intimate but exciting Season Announcement party. The exclusive guest list included patrons, sponsors, high-level donors, and advertisers of the theatre as well as the local media. After everyone had gathered and enjoyed a beverage in the lobby, the event attendees headed into the auditorium for some exciting news.
Allen McCalla, Executive Artistic Director, first welcomed everyone in the auditorium and recapped the remainder of the shows finishing out the 2018-2019 season. Allen then announced that the Greenville Little Theatre would be modifying its name and logo to the Greenville Theatre. This change came about after much discussion, research, and thought. Allen said, "We have faced an ever increasing problem of folks thinking we're a children's theatre, or a tiny theatre in a church basement with folding chairs. In short, we believe we have outgrown the LITTLE moniker. We all can agree, there's nothing little about GREENVILLE LITTLE THEATRE." Two years ago, the theatre's Board of Directors formed a strategic planning committee to chart the future of the theatre as 2026 draws closer marking the theatre's 100th birthday. Allen then offered up a special thanks to Mary Freeman, Steve Chamness*, and the entire committee for its thorough work. Of course, one area they wanted to examine was the LITTLE name. The theatre surveyed its audience, interviewed 40 prominent Greenvillians, conducted studies of other “Little” theatres who have experienced similar issues, and consulted a branding specialist, Lauren Roach. After a year and a half, the committee came to the unanimous decision to recommend modifying the name of the theatre. After a presentation by the committee, the Board voted unanimously to modify the name of the theatre and reclaim the name of the first theatre here back in 1836. Allen closed with, "We haven’t changed our mission or our programming. We will continue to be a showplace for the talented theatre artists of the Upstate, but now our name will better reflect who we are." Thus, from here on out, the theatre will be known as Greenville Theatre. This change will take some time to get used to- we know that. Yet, this change is one that is necessary for the continued growth and legacy of our theatre and we hope you will join us in embracing this change as we continue into the future.
Speaking of the future, Allen proceeded to present the upcoming productions for the sensational 2019-2020 Greenville Theatre season.
In September Greenville Theatre will open the MainStage season with Newsies!: the Disney Musical. Based on the real life newsboy strike of 1899 in New York City, this is a high-energy show featuring the terrific music of Alan Menken. After this announcement, Benjamin Augusta performed the song 'Santa Fe' followed by the Resident Acting Company performing 'King of New York.'
In October Greenville Theatre will present The Game's Afoot by Ken Ludwig. Actor William Gillette, known for his portrayal of Sherlock Holmes, finds himself caught in a real life whodunit filled with suspense and laughter.
In December, the theatre is bring back the holiday classic, A Christmas Carol. In this magical musical adaptation of Charles Dickens' story, Scrooge is forced to face his selfish ways on Christmas Eve when three ghosts lead him through his past, present, and future. Jamie Ann Walters then joined him on stage to sing ‘When Love Is Gone.'
Next up in March is A Gentleman’s Guide To Love and Murder. This show had ten Tony nominations and is filled with unforgettable music and non-stop laughs. Andrew Anderson then came on stage and performed a piece from the show, ’Foolish To Think.’
Then in April Allen announced that Greenville Theatre would be presenting The Dixie Swim Club. This comedy is about five southern women who met on their college swim team and come together every August at the same beach cottage in the Outer Banks. As the years go by, these women continue to rely on each other to get through life’s unexpected twists and turns.
Closing the season in June is The Producers. This hit musical is by Mel Brooks based on his 1968 movie. A Broadway producer named Max teams up with Leo, a timid accountant, to put on the worst Broadway musical. Their hope is to raise the money, put on the worst show ever, and get out with the cash after the show closes after just one performance. Too bad for these two, for against all odds, the show is a hit! Carter Allen and Craig Smith then joined Allen on stage to perform ‘ We Can Do It.'
Allen then moved on to announce the three fabulous tribute groups in our season.
In August, the Cherry Cherry Band featuring Steve Kelly presents a dynamic tribute to the music of Neil Diamond.
In February, opening on Valentine’s Day, Chris Collins and Boulder Canyon will present their uncanny tribute to John Denver.
Then in May, it’s the music of Fleetwood Mac by the fantastic tribute group Rumours from Atlanta, GA.
Allen also presented the docket of Theatre for Young Audience shows. Our Greenville Theatre on Tour show for the 2019-2020 school year will be Miss Nelson is Missing, a musical adaptation of the children’s classic. And at Christmas time, the Resident Company will be performing ’Twas The Night Before Christmas by Catherine Bush.
Every single show presented was met with excitement, interest, and overall enthusiasm and the crowd and even staff began to look forward to the shows to come in the 2019-2020 season.
Allen then thanked everyone for attending and they all headed back into the lobby to find it had been decorated with Greenville Theatre balloons and ribbons and that all the signs had been switched over to reflect the new name and logo. Those in attendance enjoyed a light dessert reception by
Bakery Off Augusta, and a signature cocktail titled "Rosy Spotlight" provided by the WXYZ bar at Aloft Hotel. There were also Greenville Theatre branded giveaways for the attendees such as water bottles, pens, magnets, phone chargers, and notebooks. It was a marvelous night for all who were in the theatre, as the name change was announced, the upcoming season presented, and friends and colleagues celebrated the past, present, and future of the Greenville Theatre.
Thank you so much to everyone who came and celebrated with us. We look forward to sharing our upcoming season with all of you!
*In memoriam of Steve Chamness, a good friend of Greenville Theatre and the entire community. He will be deeply missed.