BY SANDY STAGGS
The Upstate Theatre scene has always been a close-knit community, often sharing artists, props, costumes, scenic elements, and since 2019, auditions. Companies have even collaborated on shows in the past (i.e. Mary Poppins in Greenwood/Abbeville) But this weekend September 22-24 marks the first time local professional and community theatres will unite together live and in-person in Delighted Tobehere’s Preview Revue at Cafe And Then Some in Greenville.
Featuring some 10 theatres across the Upstate, Preview Revue will offer a glimpse of the 2022-23 theatrical season offerings with live performances from all participating companies, each followed by a brief interview with hostess and drag artist extraordinaire and Delighted Tobehere (aka actor Clay Smith).
Delighted, who headlined The Warehouse Theatre’s “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” run that bookended the Covid pandemic (shutting down in March 2020 and ramping up again last fall), is an internationally-known drag artist and contestant on America’s Got Talent.
A regular drag brunch performer at Cafe And Then Some for several years now since returning to her Greenville birthplace from New York, Delighted said the catalyst for this historic three-night event was Covid-19 and her love of theatre.
“Having been a performing artist during the pandemic, it just hit me so hard. We are social creatures. It is part of our therapy, part of our calling,” Delighted said. “I had this idea of not only celebrating the arts, but celebrating the community and seeing all of these artists in one place at one time. We’re back. Let’s get back together.”
Delighted said she wants to herald and encourage the vibrant tradition of quality stage performances in the Upstate, which is hardly a theatre desert, noting that most people here live within 15 miles of a live theatre company.
“To my knowledge, I do not know of any event like this,” she added. “It truly bowls me over with the level of participation of the theatres especially since I am [relatively] new to town [as an actor/performer].
Companies that will be performing include Greenville Theatre, Centre Stage, The Warehouse Theatre, Mill Town Players, Spartanburg Little Theatre, South Carolina Children’s Theatre, Proud Mary Theatre Company, Glow Lyric Theatre, The Market Theatre Company, Cafe and Then Some, and The Clemson Players from Delighted’s alma mater Clemson University.
In addition to hosting the event, Delighted will “sing a song or two, interview the performers, and be there to keep the show flowing and make sure everyone hears about the great season ahead” at local houses.
Guests will get to see the local talent of the theatre scene and receive a playbill with every company’s show offerings with QR codes so they can plan there theatre year, she added.
“I would like this to be an annual event and to have these folks on one stage at the same time. It’s truly a concert of the highest caliber.”
Delighted’s next drag brunch will be on October 16, and she will will be returning to The Warehouse this season in the The Legend of Georgia McBride by Matthew Lopez.
Seating is limited for Delighted Tobehere’s Preview Revue. Shows start at 8 pm and tickets are $25. Dinner and drinks are a la carte. Cafe And Then Some, Greenville’s only dinner theatre venue is located at 101 College St. in Greenville. For reservations, visit www.imdelightedtobehere.com or call (864) 232-2287.