Carolina Curtain Call’s First Annual Upstate College Theatre Report Card

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urinetown3A Round-Up of Our Favorite Campus Moments of the 2015-16 Season


Upstate colleges and universities are the bedrock for training, experimenting and preparing young theatrical talent for careers in the industry. Carolina Curtain Call writers covered eight of these programs this season and all of them scored A’s.

And while we didn’t review every college show this season and would not declare any “the best,” these productions, performers and artists we did see certainly left a lasting impression and deserve some extra credit.


“Urinetown: The Musical” at Converse College in April was an inspired musical treat! This well-contained, imaginative production was a true ensemble piece stocked with sparkling, arresting performances. Directed by Dr. Melissa Owens and music directed was Keith Jones. You can also catch “Urinetown” starting Sept. 16 at The Warehouse Theatre.

“Me and My Girl” at Anderson University

“Me and My Girl” ­– Anderson University’s South Carolina School of the Arts was polished, enormous in scope and lofty in ambition. Directed by Dr. Deborah McEniry and music directed by Howard Kim.

“Spring Awakening” – Wofford College presented a bold and compelling staging of Duncan Sheik and Steven Sater’s award-winning musical. Directed by Dr. Mark Ferguson with music direction by W. Gary McCraw and vocal direction by Christi Sellars. Deaf West Theater’s innovative Broadway revival garnered three 2016 Tony nominations. You can also experience “Spring Awakening” in May 2017 at The Warehouse Theatre.

Furman University’s Pauper Players is entirely student-run and the group presented an artful production of Stephen Sondheim’s “Into the Woods” in February with magnificent vocals.

While CCC was unable to review the Clemson Players’ “She Loves Me,” this production in February received great buzz and ran concurrently with the previews of the 2016 Tony-winning Broadway revival.

“The Cripple of Inishmaan”
– The Shoestring Players at USC Upstate – Director: Jimm Cox
“A Doll’s House” – Anderson University – Director: Dr. Deborah McEniry with Erin Christina
– Furman University – Director: Carol Sutton
“Twelfth Night” – Converse College – Director: Dr. Boone J. Hopkins


LEAD ACTOR & ACTRESS: Greyson Wade as a streetwise Cockney and Laura Beth Cannon as his feisty girlfriend in Anderson University’s “Me and My Girl.” They were both charming and absolutely nailed a Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers dance number.
SUPPORTING ACTOR: Luke Holt as the “sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigot” boss Franklin Hart in “9 to 5: The Musical” at Limestone College.
SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Paige Vasel as the street urchin Little Sally in “Urinetown” at Converse College.


LEAD ACTOR: Chris Smith as the restless Cripple Billy in the Shoestring Players production of Martin McDonagh’s dark comedy “The Cripple of Inishmaan.”  Smith went on to co-star in Edward Albee’s “The Zoo Story” at The Warehouse Theatre Conservatory.
LEAD ACTRESS: Cara Ann Hendsbee as Nora Helmer in Anderson University’s “A Doll’s House.”  Hendsbee began the season in October as Maid Marian in the Mill Town Players’ “Robin Hood,” a role that won her the 2015 SCTA award for Best Supporting Actress.
LEAD ACTRESS: Kate Riedy as Viola in Converse College’s beach party “Twelfth Night.” Riedy later played Helen Keller’s mother in South Carolina Children’s Theatre’s “The Miracle Worker” and will appear in that company’s upcoming “Beauty and the Beast” beginning Sept. 10.
SUPPORTING ACTOR: Alistair Mann as the devious Svengali Iago in the Shoestring Players’ “Othello” at USC Upstate.
SUPPORTING ACTOR: Sam Nelson in Neil Simon’s “Rumors” at Furman University.
SUPPORTING ACTOR: Craig Smith as the doctor in “A Doll’s House” at Anderson University. Smith had a banner year also appearing in AU’s “Me and My Girl,” Carolina Theatre Alliance’s “Sweeney Todd,” the Performing Arts Renaissance Theatre’s “Into the Woods” and the Mill Town Players’ current hit “Oklahoma!”
SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Sarah Cushman as Annette in Furman University’s production of Yasmina Reza’s Tony-winning “God of Carnage.”
SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Gabrielle Sassone as the pre-teen bully Mary in the Shoestring Players’ production of “The Children’s Hour” at USC-Upstate.
SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Sarah Grace Reed, who cut her acting chops at Spartanburg Youth Theatre, channeled Marilyn Monroe in William Inge’s “Bus Stop” at Spartanburg Methodist College. Crowned Miss SMC this year, Reed went on to compete in the Miss South Carolina pageant.

TONY GLASS “Urinetown at Converse College
TIM GILES – “Spring Awakening” at Wofford College
ANTHONY GREGORY “Twelfth Night” at Converse College
MEG HANNA TOMINGA “Urinetown” (a tech week replacement as Mayor Cladwell)

TERRIE WEST POORE – “Me and My Girl” at Anderson University
CHASE WOLFE – “Spring Awakening” at Wofford College
MADELINE JAZZ HARVEY – “Hair” at Furman University

DALTON COLE – “Me and My Girl” at Anderson University
WILL LOWRY – “Hair: The American Tribal Love-Rock Musical” at Furman University

BARRY WHITFIELD – “The Cripple of Inishmaan” Shoestring Players at USC Upstate
TIM BAXTER-FERGUSON – “Twelfth Night” at Limestone College

JESSICA SNYDER – “Me and my Girl” at Anderson University
MELISSA OWENS & SHELLEY RUSSELL – “Urinetown” at Converse College

JESSICA SNYDER – “A Doll’s House” at Anderson University
MELISSA OWENS – “Twelfth Night” at Converse College

WILL LOWRY – “Hair: The American Tribal Love-Rock Musical” at Furman University
CARA WOOD – “Me and My Girl” at Anderson University
BARRY WHITFIELD – “Dogfight: The Musical” Shoestring Players at USC Upstate

CALEB PATTERSON – “Twelfth Night” at Limestone College
BOONE J. HOPKINS – “Twelfth Night” at Converse College

“Into the Woods” Furman Pauper Players at Furman University
“Urinetown” at Converse College

GARRETT GIBSON – “The Cripple of Inishmaan” at USC Upstate
“Twelfth Night” at Converse College
“Twelfth Night” at Limestone College w/ original music by Zach Potter

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