If it’s May, this must be Bravo!

For a decade we’ve highlighted our rich, diverse arts scene during May, with Bravo! A Celebration of the Arts.  It’s always a good time to vulture the culture in and around Hilton Head, but we put a particular energy behind it in May.  You just can’t go wrong.

This time May overflows.

Opening at the Arts Center of Coastal Carolina is How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying.  The Frank Loesser classic won seven Tony Awards and the Pulitzer Prize for Drama when it opened on Broadway, so it’s good, very good.  But what has kept it constantly in production somewhere for over 50 years is that it is funny.  Very, very funny.  The ambitions and foibles of its characters – and the satire-rich environment of corporate life – never go out of fashion.  It’s fresh off a Tony-winning 2011 Broadway revival.

Anne Burnette Matthews as Hedy La Rue - "A Secretary Is Not A Toy"

See J. Pierrepont Finch climb from window-washer to chairman of the board – and get the girl – with little more than a winning smile and a self-help book tonight through May 27 at the Arts Center.  Tickets are online at www.artshhi.com or call 843 842-ARTS (2787).

Opening May 1 for two weeks at South Carolina Repertory Company is an evening with Katherine Hepburn, brought to life by resident artist Peggy Trecker White.  Tea At Five, by Matthew Lombardo, is a personal conversation with Kate at her Fenwick estate in Old Saybrook, Connecticut.  Hepburn’s clear, dry commentary ranges through the highs and lows of being a Broadway star, an Oscar-winner and “box office poison,” all at the

Peggy Trecker White channels Hepburn

same time.

This inside-out look is grounded in Hepburn’s own account, Me: Stories of My Life.  During the evening, Katherine shares her own view of a flinty Yankee upbringing, her rapid success on Broadway and then in Hollywood, her long love of Spencer Tracy and the hidden wounds of never compromising.  The sheer span of Hepburn’s career is a presence in the play; Act 1 takes place in 1938 and Act 2 in 1983.

Tea At Five promises to be an evening we won’t forget.  Call the South Carolina Rep box office at 843-342-2057.

And Evita.  Beautiful and thrilling.  The Andrew Lloyd Webber – Tim Rice musical is arguably one of the spectacles that saved Broadway back in the day.  It’s running there now in a production nominated for Best Musical Revival, and the New York Post called it, “A big, fat, high-octane blockbuster.”  Still, our own May River Theatre in downtown Bluffton got the rights to produce it here at the same time, from May 11 through 27.  The MRT production is directed by Wendall MacNeal and stars Livie Schwerdt, Daniel Cort, Pete Zeleznik and Michael Cofield.  Call the May River Theatre box office at 843-815-5581 for tickets.

A reminder of the variety of riches we enjoy here awaits those who want to explore a little farther up South Carolina’s Treasured Coast.

On May 31 ARTworks will present Picasso At The Lapin Agile, comedian Steve Martin’s play about what might have happened if Picasso and Einstein hung out at the same bar, just before Cubism and Relativity changed the world.  “Picasso” has brought down the house and made a lot of people think, “Hmmmm,” too, in many successful productions.  ARTworks is the arts council of Beaufort, Port Royal and the Sea Islands.  Picasso At The Lapin Agile will take the stage at their theatre at 2127 Boundary Street in Beaufort May 31 through June 10.  For tickets on line, it’s http:/beaufortcountyarts.com/theater.htm or by phone 843-379-2787.

Yes, May is overflowing with Bravo!, and this is just the theater part.  Our visual arts are in full flower, too.  More about that next time!