Studded with Legends, New Performing Arts Season Sparkles at Harbison Theatre at Midlands Technical College

GRAMMY-winning icon Mavis Staples, MacArthur Genius Award winner Kyle Abraham and National Geographic photographer Jodi Cobb – the first woman named White House Photographer of the Year – are just a few of the internationally acclaimed legends coming to Harbison Theatre at Midlands Technical College during its third season of signature performing arts programming. Running from October 2014 to April 2015, the season is now available via ticket packages at www.harbisontheatre.org.

The theatre took audience suggestions and requests for the upcoming season, welcoming “America’s Got Talent” stars The Texas Tenors and choosing The African Queen for this year’s Valentine’s Day Cinema event. Harbison Theatre at Midlands Technical College also has expanded the role of the well-loved SC Philharmonic and Music Director Morihiko Nakahara to create a special, three-show Pops Series.

A number of celebrated artists will take the stage this season, bringing bigger-than-ever talent to the Midlands. GRAMMY-winning soul singer Mavis Staples will take the stage fresh from a new album, One True Vine. National Geographic’s first female photojournalist, Jodi Cobb, will take us on a tour of the most amazing images of her career.

MacArthur Genius Award-winning choreographer Kyle Abraham will completely reinvent the African-American urban experience, and well-known comedian Kathleen Madigan – a regular on HBO and Comedy Central – will have audiences laughing out of their seats with her sardonic wit.

“This season’s theme is ‘legendary,’” says Executive Director Katie Fox, “From The Mountaintop‘s examination of the legendary Martin Luther King, Jr., to the presentation of those who are legends in their fields, like Jodi Cobb and Mavis Staples.”

“We also celebrate those whose excellence in their early work heralds careers that are shaping their art forms, like NYC choreographer Kyle Abraham and local jazz musician Mark Rapp,” notes Fox. “We expect our audience to be talking about these productions for years to come.”

Harbison Theatre at Midlands Technical College Performing Arts Season 2014-2015

The Pops Series: Beloved Broadway

Show Tunes with the SC Philharmonic

Saturday, October 4, 2014, 7:30 p.m. | $28

Feel the spark of the Broadway stage when the SC Philharmonic and Music Director Morihiko Nakahara present Beloved Broadway, kicking off our three-show Pops Series.

Web: www.scphilharmonic.com, Facebook: www.facebook.com/scphilharmonic, Twitter: @SCPhil

The Texas Tenors

Where Country Meets Opera

October 26, 2014, 3:30 p.m. | $30

“America’s Got Talent” alumni and stars of their own PBS special, The Texas Tenors are taking over stages across the world with their enchanting harmonies and charming cowboy style. The striking trio will have audiences singing along during an afternoon of energetic musical performance, combining opera, rock n’ roll, and, of course, a little bit of country.

Web: www.thetexastenors.com, Facebook: www.facebook.com/thetexastenors, Twitter: @TheTexasTenors

The Mountaintop

The Final Scene in a Legendary Life

November 8, 2014, 7:30 p.m. | $22

This moving production presented by Charleston, S.C.’s PURE Theatre fictionalizes the final evening in the life of Martin Luther King, Jr. Using both comedy and drama, the play has been warmly received across the globe for its ability to humanize and still honor the civil rights hero. This performance will kick off PURE’s statewide tour of the show, a collaborative effort by the touring troupe and S.C. presenters to ensure access to excellent, professional theatre in all communities.

Web: www.puretheatre.org, Facebook: www.facebook.com/puretheatre, Twitter: @PureTheatre

Jodi Cobb’s Stranger in a Strange Land

A National Geographic LIVE! Presentation

November 18, 2014, 7:30 p.m. | $18

National Geographic LIVE! returns to our stage with Stranger in a Strange Land, a live presentation by world-renowned photojournalist Jodi Cobb. The first woman to be named White House Photographer of the Year, Cobb will unveil her work spanning more than 4 decades, from over 50 countries. Explore secret worlds and subjects from the inside – ranging from 21st century slavery and Bruce Springsteen’s private life to the ill-fated Gore presidential campaign. Web: www.jodicobb.com, www.nationalgeographic.com; Facebook: www.facebook.com/natgeo, Twitter: @NatGeo

The Pops Series: Holiday Pops

Celebrate the Season with the SC Philharmonic

December 14, 2014, 3:30 p.m. | $28 

This beloved holiday tradition returns to the Harbison Theatre stage for its third year. Audiences will be wowed with the orchestra’s take on classic Christmas carols and festive, contemporary tunes. Tickets always sell out quickly for this family favorite matinee.

Web: www.scphilharmonic.com, Facebook: www.facebook.com/scphilharmonic, Twitter: @SCPhil

The HT@MTC Performance Incubator Presents: Woven

Jazz Composer Mark Rapp’s Contemporary Jazz Ballet

January 17, 2015, 7:30 p.m. | $22

Accomplished jazz trumpeter and composer Mark Rapp collaborates with professional dancers and choreographers to present a full-length contemporary jazz ballet that explores family, love, independence, and destiny. Each season, The HT@MTC Performance Incubator selects a local, professional artist to produce a show suitable for touring. The new piece premieres on the Harbison Theatre stage, and then the artists take the show on the road indefinitely. Midlands Technical College promotes sustainable employment in our region – including careers for professional artists.

Web: www.harbisontheatre.org/performance-incubator

Mavis Staples

GRAMMY-Winning Icon

January 31, 2015, 7:30 p.m. | $28

From singing in small town churches to performing – and winning – at the GRAMMYs, Mavis Staples’ career has spanned more than 60 years, and at the age of 74, she isn’t nearly ready for retirement. Staples’ legendary career began as a member of her family’s musical group, The Staple Singers, known for their hit singles “I’ll Take You There” and Billboard #1 “Let’s Do It Again.” In the 1960s, Staples joined political activists Martin Luther King Jr. and Bob Dylan in the fight for civil rights, becoming an essential voice of the movement. Last year, she released her GRAMMY-nominated 14th studio album, One True Vine, a collaboration with Wilco frontman Jeff Tweedy. Rolling Stone named her one of their 100 Greatest Singers. If recent shows are any indication, Staples will have the audience out of their seats and dancing from the first note.

Web: www.mavisstaples.com, Facebook: www.facebook.com/mavisstaples, Twitter: @MavisStaples

Kathleen Madigan: Madigan Again

Award-Winning Comedy Queen

February 6, 2015, 7:30 p.m. | $28

An American Comedy Award winner in the ranks of Bill Burr, Louis C.K. and Kevin Hart, standup comedian Kathleen Madigan is a regular on the late shows with Leno, Conan and Letterman – and often drops in on nationally-syndicated “The Bob & Tom Show.” Once a “Last Comic Standing” finalist, she now hosts her own HBO and Comedy Central specials. Appropriate for a teens-and-up audience, the show lampoons everything from Christmas letters and chain-smoking parents to not-so-gracefully-aging celebrities and more.

Web: www.kathleenmadigan.com, Facebook: www.facebook.com/KathleenMadigan, Twitter: @KathleenMadigan

Valentine’s Day Cinema: The African Queen

Harbison Theatre’s Romantic Tradition

February 14, 2015, 7:00 p.m. dessert; 8:00 p.m. film | $15

Filled with Hollywood romance and World War I action, The African Queen was aptly chosen by Harbison Theatre patrons for this year’s screening. Channel your inner Humphrey Bogart or Katharine Hepburn during our third annual Valentine’s Day Cinema event – complete with a dessert reception in the lobby before the screening – and enjoy the undeniable chemistry between these two classic actors in this timeless 1950’s film.

Web: http://www.harbisontheatre.org/2014/05/valentines-day-cinema-the-african-queen/

Seven Brides for Seven Brothers

America’s Favorite Frontier Musical

March 8, 2015, 7:30 p.m. | $28

Set in 19th century Oregon, this classic tale follows Millie, a young bride living in the Western wilderness. Her plan to civilize and marry off her six rowdy brothers-in-law backfires when the brothers, in their enthusiasm, scoop up six prospective brides from a neighboring town. Bursting with the rambunctious energy of the original film, this staged musical is all boisterous fun and romance that takes us back to the glory days of barns and petticoats.

Web: http://www.harbisontheatre.org/2014/05/seven-brides-for-seven-brothers/

Abraham.in.Motion presents: Pavement

MacArthur Genius Award-Winning Choreographer Kyle Abraham

March 28, 2015, 7:30 p.m. | $30 

Honored with a MacArthur Foundation Genius Award in 2013, New York-based choreographer Kyle Abraham is a renowned post-modern dance influencer whose work is considered to be at the forefront of the genre. Pavement showcases the urban culture of the 90s in a stirring display of Abraham’s cultural experience in his childhood hometown of Pittsburgh. The New York Times says the “lush movement, infectious music and magnetic dancers (the choreographer included)” are not to be missed.

Web: http://abrahaminmotion.org, Twitter: @AbrahamInMotion, Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/AbrahamInMotion/400902660225

The Pops Series: At the Movies

April 11, 2015, 7:30 p.m. | $28

Join us At the Movies this spring when the SC Philharmonic performs America’s favorite film scores. Does the Jaws theme still haunt you? Does “Moon River” from Breakfast at Tiffany’s make you swoon just a bit? This evening performance by the critically-acclaimed symphony will enchant movie lovers of all ages.

Web: www.scphilharmonic.com, Facebook: www.facebook.com/scphilharmonic, Twitter: @SCPhil

Overview of Season Ticketing Features:

  • Season ticket packages on sale May 19, 2014
    • The Signature Package: This season, grab the same seat for 9 incredible shows for only $205
    • The Pops Package: A new series featuring the South Carolina Philharmonic includes 3 shows for just $84
  • The Flex Pass on sale June 16, 2014: Purchase tickets to 4 or more shows and receive a 10% discount on each ticket
  • Individual show tickets on sale Aug. 1, 2014
  • Group discounts for 10 or more guests

Ticket Purchasing Details

Ticket packages and individual show tickets can be purchased at www.HarbisonTheatre.org. Buyers may also order tickets via phone at 803-407-5011, or in person at the Harbison Theatre Box Office, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The box office also will open two hours prior to each show in the Signature Series.

About Harbison Theatre

Rooted in the performing arts, Harbison Theatre at Midlands Technical College offers programs and productions that encourage reflection, examination and discovery; and that provide entertainment, education and opportunity to professionals, learners and community members in all stages of life. To learn about upcoming events, purchase tickets, or pursue sponsorship and volunteer opportunities with Harbison Theatre, please visit www.HarbisonTheatre.org.

Harbison Theatre on Facebook: www.facebook.com/HarbisonTheatre
Harbison Theatre on Twitter:
www.twitter.com/HarbisonTheatre

About Midlands Technical College

Midlands Technical College (MTC) is a comprehensive, multi-campus, public, two-year college serving Richland, Lexington and Fairfield counties of South Carolina. The fifth-largest provider of higher education in South Carolina and the largest provider of transfer students to four-year colleges and universities in the state, MTC enrolls approximately 18,000 credit students annually. The college’s Corporate and Continuing Education program, one of the largest and most comprehensive in the Southeast, annually has 30,000 enrollments and provides continuing education to hundreds of area businesses each year. www.midlandstech.edu

Contact

Chloe Rodgers, Flock and Rally, 843.230.1611, chloe@flockandrally.com

Harbison Theatre 2014-15 Season Overview

Harbison Theatre at Midlands Technical College Announces 2014-2015 Season Lineup

GRAMMY-winning icon Mavis Staples, MacArthur Genius Award winner Kyle Abraham and National Geographic photographer Jodi Cobb – the first woman named White House Photographer of the Year – are just a few of the internationally acclaimed legends coming to Harbison Theatre at Midlands Technical College during its third season of signature performing arts programming. Running from October 2014 to April 2015, the season is now available via ticket packages at www.harbisontheatre.org.

Harbison Theatre at Midlands Technical College Performing Arts Season 2014-2015

The Pops Series: Beloved Broadway

Saturday, October 4, 2014, 7:30 p.m. | $28

The Texas Tenors

Sunday, October 26, 2014, 3:30 p.m. | $30

The Mountaintop

Saturday, November 8, 2014, 7:30 p.m. | $22

Jodi Cobb’s Stranger in a Strange Land

Tuesday, November 18, 2014, 7:30 p.m. | $18 

The Pops Series: Holiday Pops

Sunday, December 14, 2014, 3:30 p.m. | $28 

The HT@MTC Performance Incubator Presents: Woven

Saturday, January 17, 2015, 7:30 p.m. | $22 

Mavis Staples

Saturday, January 31, 2015, 7:30 p.m. | $28

Kathleen Madigan: Madigan Again

Friday, February 6, 2015, 7:30 p.m. | $28

Valentine’s Day Cinema: The African Queen

Saturday, February 14, 2015, 7:00 p.m. dessert; 8:00 p.m. film | $15

Seven Brides for Seven Brothers

Sunday, March 8, 2015, 7:30 p.m. | $28 

Abraham.in.Motion presents: Pavement

Saturday, March 28, 2015, 7:30 p.m. | $30

The Pops Series: At the Movies

Saturday, April 11, 2015, 7:30 p.m. | $28

Overview of Season Ticketing Features:

  • Season ticket packages on sale May 19, 2014
    • The Signature Package: This season, grab the same seat for 9 incredible shows for only $205
    • The Pops Package: A new series featuring the South Carolina Philharmonic includes 3 shows for just $84
  • The Flex Pass on sale June 16, 2014: Purchase tickets to 4 or more shows and receive a 10% discount on each ticket
  • Individual show tickets on sale Aug. 1, 2014
  • Group discounts for 10 or more guests

Ticket Purchasing Details

Ticket packages and individual show tickets can be purchased at www.HarbisonTheatre.org. Buyers may also order tickets via phone at 803-407-5011, or in person at the Harbison Theatre Box Office, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The box office also will open two hours prior to each show in the Signature Series.

About Harbison Theatre

Rooted in the performing arts, Harbison Theatre at Midlands Technical College offers programs and productions that encourage reflection, examination and discovery; and that provide entertainment, education and opportunity to professionals, learners and community members in all stages of life. To learn about upcoming events, purchase tickets, or pursue sponsorship and volunteer opportunities with Harbison Theatre, please visit www.HarbisonTheatre.org.

Harbison Theatre on Facebook: www.facebook.com/HarbisonTheatre
Harbison Theatre on Twitter:
www.twitter.com/HarbisonTheatre

About Midlands Technical College

Midlands Technical College (MTC) is a comprehensive, multi-campus, public, two-year college serving Richland, Lexington and Fairfield counties of South Carolina. The fifth-largest provider of higher education in South Carolina and the largest provider of transfer students to four-year colleges and universities in the state, MTC enrolls approximately 18,000 credit students annually. The college’s Corporate and Continuing Education program, one of the largest and most comprehensive in the Southeast, annually has 30,000 enrollments and provides continuing education to hundreds of area businesses each year. www.midlandstech.edu

Press Contact

Chloe Rodgers, Flock and Rally, 843.230.1611, chloe@flockandrally.com

The Fantasticks, Presented by Nebraska Theatre Caravan, Comes to Harbison Theatre at Midlands Technical College, April 26, 2014

What happens when Victorian steampunk style meets a musical theater classic? Find out when the legendary Nebraska Theatre Caravan pulls into Harbison Theatre at Midlands Technical College with its steampunk-inspired version of The Fantasticks on April 26, 2014 at 7:30 p.m.

The original off-Broadway production of The Fantasticks, which opened in 1960, ran for 42 years and more than 17,000 performances to make it the world’s longest-running musical. Songs such as “Try to Remember” have endured, and the story, in which a young man and woman are tricked by their fathers into falling in love, has universal appeal.

‘Steampunk’ adds an antiquated Victorian style to modern technology, clothes and art. While the story in The Fantasticks remains the same, the Nebraska Theatre Caravan’s steampunk costuming presents a retro-futuristic setting for the musical. The reworking puts a refreshing, creative edge to the show. Fantastical elements of the production, seen in parallel dream sequences and the like, fare particularly well from the steampunk treatment.

“Steampunk reflects the way that those living in the Victorian era imagined the future to look,” says Katie Fox, Executive Director of Harbison Theatre at Midlands Technical College. “Think lots of watch dials and top hats.”

The Nebraska Theatre Caravan tours the country’s most popular production of A Christmas Carol, and The Fantasticks is its first non-holiday show to hit the road. The Fantasticks is presented through a special arrangement with New York’s Music Theatre International, with music by Harvey Schmidt and lyrics by Tom Jones.

The Fantasticks is a perennial favorite among musical theater fans, and the steampunk treatment transforms something old into something quite new,” notes Fox.

Harbison Theatre’s 2013-2014 Signature Season features eleven shows, hand-selected by Fox and her team. View the entire season here: http://www.harbisontheatre.org/2013-2014-season/

The Fantasticks will be performed on April 26, 2014 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $28 and can be purchased at www.HarbisonTheatre.org. Buyers may also order tickets via phone at 803-407-5011, or in person at the Harbison Theatre Box Office, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The box office also will open two hours prior to each show during the season.

You Can Haz Cheezburger: The Art of Online Cat Videos Claws Through the Screen at Harbison Theatre at Midlands Technical College on March 21, 2014

What began as a simple online meme quickly became a strangely gigantic phenomenon, as home videos of cats like Grumpy Cat, Lil BUB, Nyan Cat and Henri le Chat Noir began overwhelming YouTube channels, Facebook pages and Twitter feeds.

Taking this internet sensation and running pell-mell with it, Harbison Theatre at Midlands Technical College is collaborating with local performers to present You Can Haz Cheezburger: The Art of Online Cat Videos on March 21, 2014 at 7:30 p.m.

YOU’VE NEVER SEEN ANYTHING LIKE THIS IN COLUMBIA. REALLY.

You Can Haz Cheezburger is a zany mix of video, theatrical performance and more that honors everyone’s favorite work distraction — the online cat video. The show is a partial original production for Harbison Theatre, says Katie Fox, Executive Director. “I say ‘partial’ because it will feature videos posted to the internet by proud cat owners around the world,” Fox says. “Beyond videos, we’ll celebrate the sweetness, sneakiness, and daring of some of the world’s favorite pets.”

Columbia’s cat lovers can submit their own cat videos and photos, in fact, some of which may be used in the March 21 production. Go ahead and “meow” at that.

WHERE IT ALL BEGAN

In something of a creative coup, Fox acquired licensing rights to screen the famous Walker Art Center reel, created for the Walker’s wildly popular Internet Cat Video Festival in Minneapolis. The Walker made headlines in 2012, when crowds of thousands swarmed in for the first festival – and organizers had expected *maybe* a few hundred people to show up. In 2013, 13,000 people attended the Internet Cat Video Festival.

THIS GUY’S JOB IS THE CAT’S MEOW

Its curator, Scott Stulen, was recently hired away from the Walker to a prestigious curatorial position elsewhere, and a job listing was posted online for “Internet Cat Video Festival Coordinator.” Slate and other news outlets jumped all over this peculiarity in early February, and Twitter sent the posting viral. In a move that will please cat video fans no doubt, the human counterpart of the moody, ever-so-French Henri le Chat Noir has been tapped to take over the Minnesota-based festival.

A CAT WITH A FIVE-FIGURE SALARY

“Grumpy Cat,” whose perennially irked expression has shot her to internet stardom in the last year, has an agent, commands a five-figure personal appearance fee, and has a Ganz stuffed animal replica that was launched at the New York Toy Fair in February 2014. Toy Fair attendees, including NYC television news reporters, stood in line for more than an hour to take a picture with Grumpy Cat in her little bed. Throughout the affair, Grumpy Cat did not look amused.

“This night will be ridiculous, which I always appreciate even though I am a dog person,” Fox says. “I also look forward to working with a team of creative cat lovers to prepare this fun show.”

SUBMIT YOUR CRAZY CAT VIDEO

Leading up to the show, cat video enthusiasts are encouraged to post links to videos and photos of their own crazy, cute or cantankerous cats using a simple form on the Harbison Theatre website:

http://www.harbisontheatre.org/you-can-haz-cheezburger-online-submission/

Once Fox and her team review the submissions, they just might include snippets in the production on March 21.

Follow the hashtag #YouCanHazCheezburger to catch up with Harbison Theatre’s favorite internet cats, and check out the hashtag #catvidfest to get a sense of the global frenzy over this most uncommon phenomenon.

You Can Haz Cheezburger: The Art of Online Cat Videos will be presented at Harbison Theatre at Midlands Technical College on March 21, 2014 at 7:30 p.m.

Tickets are $10 and can be purchased at www.HarbisonTheatre.org. Buyers may also order tickets via phone at 803-407-5011, or in person at the Harbison Theatre Box Office, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The box office also will open two hours prior to each show during the season.

Valentine’s Cinema Returns to Harbison Theatre at Midlands Technical College with Singin’ in the Rain, Feb. 14, 2014- Enter to win a “Dinner & a Movie” Package!

Love makes you do crazy things. Grab your sweetie or some friends — and a pair of galoshes — for dessert and a movie at Harbison Theatre at Midlands Technical College on Valentine’s Day. The classic romantic musical Singin’ in the Rain will be screened on Feb. 14, 2014 at 8 p.m., dessert will be served at 7 p.m.

There’s also a chance to win a “Dinner and a Movie” package, which includes a gift card to Rioz Brazilian Steakhouse and a pair of tickets to the screening of Singin’ in the Rain. The contest will begin on January 27 and five winners will be chosen at midnight on February 10 by registering at www.harbisontheatre.org. (Note: Gift cards to Rioz Brazilian Steakhouse are also redeemable at Pearlz Oyster Bar, Liberty Tab Room and Liberty on the Lake).

“Last year’s showing and celebration of Casablanca for Valentine’s Day was a sellout!,” says Director of Theatre Operations Katie Fox. “Audience members told us they loved honoring Valentine’s Day with a classic romance and some sweet treats. My goodness, though, what’s more romantic than Casablanca?”

For this Valentine’s Day, Fox says the theatre “swung away from the dramatic and toward the comedic.”

Singin’ in the Rain, directed by Stanley Donen (a Columbia, S.C. native!) and Gene Kelly (An American in Paris), a star dancer, singer, choreographer and actor, was released in 1952. The film is a lighthearted mocking of Hollywood actors attempting to maintain their status as the movie industry transitions from silent films to talkies. It stars Kelly, Donald O’Connor and Debbie Reynolds.

At the heart of the movie is a love story, as a leading man searches for his true leading lady to sing alongside him. Popular songs in the movie include the title song, as well as Make ‘em Laugh and Good Morning. In 2007, Singin’ in the Rain was No. 5 on the American Film Institute’s 100 Years…100 Movies list.

“This film stars some of the most talented singers, dancers and actors to ever grace the silver screen,” Fox says.

And if it’s raining after the show, don’t be surprised to be singing in it.

Harbison Theatre’s 2013-2014 Signature Season features eleven shows, hand-selected by Fox and her team. View the entire season here: http://www.harbisontheatre.org/2013-2014-season/

Overview of Season Ticketing Features: 

  • The Flex Pass: Purchase tickets to four or more shows and receive a 10% discount on each ticket. On sale through Feb. 14, 2014 at http://www.harbisontheatre.org.
  • Group discounts for 10 or more guests

Singin’ in the Rain begins at 8 p.m. on Feb. 14, 2013 and ticket holders can enjoy complimentary sweets in the lobby at 7 p.m. Tickets are $15 and can be purchased at www.HarbisonTheatre.org. Buyers may also order tickets via phone at 803-407-5011, or in person at the Harbison Theatre Box Office, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The box office also will open two hours prior to each show during the season.

Catch the Next Tina Fey: Chicago’s Second City Comedy Troupe Hits Harbison Theatre at Midlands Technical College, Feb. 1, 2014

While Second City alums Tina Fey and Amy Poehler make headlines co-hosting the Golden Globes, the Chicago-based improv comedy troupe where they got their start is getting ready to roll its juggernaut of funny onto the stage at Harbison Theatre at Midlands Technical College for a one-night-only performance on Feb. 1, 2014 at 7:30 p.m.

Many of comedy’s brightest stars have hit the road with The Second City Touring Company, including Tina Fey, Stephen Colbert, Amy Poehler, Steve Carell, Bill Murray, Keegan Michael Key and most recently, current Saturday Night Live stars Cecily Strong, Tim Robinson and Jason Sudeikis.

“The question is not ‘Will the cast of this show become famous comedians?’” says Katie Fox, Director of Theatre Operations at Harbison Theatre at Midlands Technical College. “The question is whether or not you’ll be able to say you’ve seen them live once they do.  We are incredibly excited to offer this opportunity to our audiences.”

Tickled by The Second City’s scripted and improvisational skits, audiences always enjoy being part of the show and playing along with the next generation of comic legends.

Drawing on classic material from The Second City archives as well as scenes ripped from the morning headlines, The Second City’s Happily Ever Laughter is your chance to see comedy stars in the making in an evening of smart, cutting edge comedy.

The RedCo touring group of The Second City will be performing on Harbison Theatre’s stage. The cast is comprised of Ariel Duman, Kelsey Kinney, Eddie Mujica, Jasbir Singh, Jamison Webb, Casey Whitaker, Dan Grimm, Tara Trudel and Jen Ellison.

In addition to the show, the cast members are offering improv comedy workshops for middle school, high school and Midlands Technical College theatre students, as well as a master class for actors. A youth workshop is open to the public for children ages 10 to 14 on February 1 from 10 a.m. to noon.

The Second City’s Happily Ever Laughter can be purchased as part of the Flex Pass, or individual tickets are $24. For tickets and more information, visit http://www.harbisontheatre.org/2013/08/the-second-city/.

Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/556830901050461/

Overview of Season Ticketing Features:

  • The Flex Pass: Purchase tickets to 4 or more shows by February 14 and receive a 10% discount on each ticket.
  • Group discounts for 10 or more guests.

Tickets can be purchased at www.HarbisonTheatre.org. Buyers may also order tickets via phone at 803-407-5011, or in person at the Harbison Theatre Box Office, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The box office also will open two hours prior to each show during the season.

NYC’s Aquila Theatre Company Brings Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 to Harbison Theatre at Midlands Technical College, February 7, 2014

With government monitoring of cell phones and emails making headlines almost daily, Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 is more relevant than ever. In keeping with its mission to provide excellence, innovation and entertainment in its performing arts programming, Harbison Theatre at Midlands Technical College will host a stirring stage version of Bradbury’s revered novel Fahrenheit 451 by New York City’s acclaimed Aquila Theatre Company on Feb. 7, 2014 at 7:30 p.m.

Peter Meineck, founder of Aquila Theatre Company [pronounced ah-QUILL-ah], has longstanding ties to the Midlands. He taught classics and theatre courses at the University of South Carolina Honors College from 1997 to 1999 as an Assistant Professor before going to teach at New York University.

Founded in London and based in New York, Aquila Theatre Company breathes life into literary classics through creative productions. The “classically trained, modernly hip” performers will plunge the audience into a fictional story inspired by a historical period contaminated by the fear of information. On stage, Aquila Theatre renders the fear as both chilling and enlightening.

Published in 1953, Fahrenheit 451 is an early Cold War-era novel written against the backdrop of McCarthyism and the threat of a communist impression on America known as the Red Scare. During the McCarthy era, thousands of Americans were accused of being communists and communist sympathizers and were subjected to invasive investigations. Bradbury was concerned about censorship — and the threat of book burnings.

Fahrenheit’s protagonist, Guy Montag, is a fireman whose job is to hunt down and burn outlawed books, as well as the houses that contain them. He goes about this occupation undeterred until he considers his enforcer role in the oppressive, dystopian society.

Through Montag, Bradbury questions the impact of information technology on literature and society. The ubiquity of cell phones, laptops and tablets makes Bradbury’s work more relevant today.

“While we may not debate censorship as heavily as we have in the past, the effect of technology on our lifestyle and relationships has never been more prevalent,” says Katie Fox, Director of Theatre Operations at Harbison Theatre. “When I learned that Aquila Theatre Company, one of the best touring theaters in the country, was producing the stage version by Ray Bradbury, I knew it was perfect for our college and community.”

It’s incredibly rare for a stage adaptation of a novel to be penned by the original author, but Bradbury also wrote the script for the stage version.

“Harbison Theatre at Midlands Technical College is a home for artistic excellence, and it doesn’t get stronger than Aquila Theatre and Ray Bradbury,” Fox says.

The New Yorker describes Aquila Theatre’s productions as “Classics made relevant with superb acting and clever staging.” The New York Times calls the company “An extraordinarily inventive and disciplined outfit.”

Fahrenheit 451 was produced by special arrangement with the Dramatic Publishing Company of Woodstock, Ill.

Harbison Theatre’s 2013-2014 Signature Season features eleven shows, hand-selected by Fox and her team. View the entire season here: http://www.harbisontheatre.org/2013-2014-season/

Overview of Season Ticketing Features:

  • The Flex Pass: Purchase tickets to four or more shows and receive a 10% discount on each ticket. On sale through Feb. 14, 2014 at http://www.harbisontheatre.org.
  • Group discounts for 10 or more guests

Fahrenheit 451 is on Feb. 7, 2014 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $22 and can be purchased at www.HarbisonTheatre.org. Buyers may also order tickets via phone at 803-407-5011, or in person at the Harbison Theatre Box Office, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The box office also will open two hours prior to each show during the season.

 

Nat Geo Live Presents NASA Rock Star Kobie Boykins at Harbison Theatre at Midlands Technical College, January 23, 2014

Considering this month’s breakthrough discovery of ancient lakes on Mars, the timing couldn’t be better for Kobie Boykins to touch down in the Midlands. National Geographic Live brings this engaging, talented NASA engineer to Harbison Theatre at Midlands Technical College for a lively, engaging presentation on Jan. 23, 2014 at 7:30 p.m. It will be Boykins’ first appearance ever in the Midlands.

Kobie Boykins is a phenomenal storyteller who makes rocket science cool. This charismatic young pioneer will make it easy for audiences of all interest levels to understand what’s happening in Mars exploration and how it affects our world.

This is science for everyone.

Boykins obviously delights in telling fun, light-hearted stories about his work as a mechanical engineer in the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

He shares his passion for exploring the Red Planet and offer anecdotes about designing and deploying the robotic Mars rovers that are making headlines all over the globe.

“This is new programming for Harbison Theatre,” says Director of Theatre Operations Katie Fox. “As part of Midlands Technical College, education is at the core of all that we do.  Welcoming the brilliant and funny Kobie Boykins for a discussion of Mars exploration helps us contribute to STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) education and to the general scholarly discussion in our community.”

Just in the last month, Mars rovers designed in part by Boykins have found evidence of ancient lakes on the Red Planet.

On December 9, 2013, Joel Achenbach of the Washington Post reported, “Scientists have known that the young Mars was more Earthlike than the desert planet we see today, but this is the best evidence yet that Mars had swimming holes that stuck around for thousands or perhaps millions of years. (It would have been very chilly — bring a wet suit.)”

What does this mean for us on earth? Could life on Mars become a reality?

Boykins helped design the solar arrays that power the Mars exploration rover Opportunity, which was supposed to last just 90 days. Instead, Opportunity has successfully transmitted data from Mars since deployment in January 2004.

Boykins also designed the actuators (tiny motors that move the wheels, robotic arms, etc.) on Curiosity, the car-sized, roving science lab that has been identifying minerals on Mars since 2012.

The Midlands region has deep ties to the space program. The McNAIR Center for Aerospace Innovation and Research was founded recently at the University of South Carolina, in honor of Lake City, SC native Ronald McNair, one of the astronauts killed in the Challenger shuttle tragedy of 1986. Columbia native Charles Bolden, a former astronaut, has been NASA’s Administrator since 2009.

“I love listening to anyone talk about something they love, and Kobie Boykins loves space exploration,” Fox says. “His enthusiasm for the hard work it entails and the imagination it requires is contagious, and I think we’ll inspire some potential explorers!”

Indie Puppet Musical “Planet Hopping” Debuts at Harbison Theatre at Midlands Technical College, Nov. 15-16, 2013

The innovative HT@MTC Performance Incubator will premiere Planet Hopping, a full-length puppet musical with live music by the “kindie rock” band, Lunch Money, on November 15 and 16 at Harbison Theatre at Midlands Technical College. Co-produced by Belle et Bête Productions, the one-of-a-kind show will feature skillfully crafted puppets, inventive set design and songs composed specifically for the musical, creating an interplanetary rock ‘n’ roll adventure that kids and parents alike will enjoy.

The HT@MTC Performance Incubator provides a stage for local professional artists who show potential for enhanced full-time artistic careers. Puppeteers Lyon Hill and Kimi Maeda, the artists behind Belle et Bête, are two of Columbia’s strongest examples. Hill and Maeda, known for their creative and deeply moving productions, have worked to increase the local profile of puppet shows, including producing the Spork in Hand Puppet Slam at The Indie Grits Festival.

The puppets in Planet Hopping — and the audience — will rock out to music performed live by Lunch Money, a local band beloved for making “indie music for the whole family.” An evening show, at 7 p.m. on Friday, November 15, will be followed by a 2 p.m. matinee on Saturday, Nov. 16, 2013.

“The HT@MTC Performance Incubator is thrilled to highlight the artistic excellence of Belle et Bête and Lunch Money by placing Planet Hopping in our 2013-2014 season,” says Director of Theatre Operations Katie Fox. “Both companies can hold their own with the best of professional performing arts for family audiences.”

The incubator provides technical production support and professional expertise to the performers’ process as they produce brand new shows that premiere at Harbison Theatre, but that also tour the region indefinitely. The tour provides ongoing professional employment for the performers, furthering Midlands Technical College’s mission of making fulfilling professional lives attainable for local residents. Last season’s Incubator show, Story Squad, has performed more than half a dozen times since its premiere.

Planet Hopping faces some special challenges during the design process,” notes Hill. “This show will premiere at Harbison Theatre, but it is intended to tour to other theatres throughout the country. We know the show’s first stop on the road, and its stage is much smaller than at Harbison.” Hill continues, “Set designer Kimi Maeda had to build models of both theatres in order to make sure her design was feasible and easy to set up and to pack into a van or truck.”

Adds Hill, “Planet Hopping incorporates live and recorded video in addition to several different types of puppets, so the performers will be above, below, in front of and behind each set piece.” He quips, “It’s a good thing Kimi has a Master’s Degree in Scenography (theatrical design)!”

Planet Hopping will take the audience on a rocket ship voyage from Earth to the stars, exploring the mysteries of the planets and the importance of family. The show will use several different types of puppets — rod puppets, mask puppets, marionettes — for the interactive journey through the solar system. Of course the adventure is about fun, but there’s also much to learn.

“It’s been an incredibly collaborative process, from the initial decision to create an interplanetary adventure, to the research and development,” Maeda says. “We’re all learning so much from each other and are so eager to explore new techniques that it seems appropriate that we should be focusing on a scientific field where mind-blowing discoveries are being made every day.”

Says Fox, “Though the storytelling may be astronomical, the heart of the tale is one that will make audiences feel right at home.”

Harbison Theatre’s 2013-2014 Signature Season features eleven shows, hand-selected by Fox and her team. View the entire season here: http://www.harbisontheatre.org/2013-2014-season/

Performances of Planet Hopping are on November 15 at 7 p.m. and November 16 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $12 and can be purchased at www.HarbisonTheatre.org.

Overview of Season Ticketing Features:

  • The Flex Pass: Purchase tickets to four or more shows and receive a 10% discount on each ticket. On sale through Feb. 14, 2014 at http://www.harbisontheatre.org.
  • Group discounts for ten or more guests – perfect for scout troops and youth groups!

Tickets can be purchased at www.HarbisonTheatre.org. Buyers may also order tickets via phone at 803-407-5011, or in person at the Harbison Theatre Box Office, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The box office also will open two hours prior to each show during the season.

Upping the ante on its modern dance programming, Harbison Theatre at Midlands Technical College books Philadelphia-based Brian Sanders’ JUNK for Oct. 18, 2013 performance

After selling out multiple shows in its first signature season including contemporary dance masters Pilobolus, Harbison Theatre at Midlands Technical College is bringing the Philadelphia-based dance troupe, Brian Sanders’ JUNK, to Columbia. The company will perform the show Patio Plastico Plus on October 18 at 7:30 p.m. Note: this engagement is one night only.

Far from traditional, the troupe uses found objects from pogo sticks to plastic jugs to create an onstage world that straddles contemporary dance and theater.

Sanders, formerly of the MOMIX company of dancer-illusionists, is known for creating athletic dance pieces that are in turn intense and moving, then light and comical.

“Last year, audiences LOVED Pilobolus. I did, too!,” says Director of Theatre Operations, Katie Fox. “The athleticism and storytelling held us all transfixed.” She continues, “For some, it was their first experience with live contemporary dance.”

JUNK has been jumping over boundaries, setting a new path in modern dance performance since it was founded in Philadelphia, Pa. in1997. The clever and creative repurposing of found objects presents an array of choreographic obstacles to be used and manipulated. Dancers perform with props as if they were animated partners, presenting technique that is both physically beautiful and witty.

Says Fox, “This show is so clever! Waiting for the preview show to begin in New York, we heard what sounded like ducks quacking backstage. When the dancers emerged, they danced an entire piece with ‘quacking’ two-liter bottles strapped to their feet!”

Patio Plastico Plus is a show of seven pieces performed in two, 40-minute segments with a 15-minute intermission. The segments, illuminated by dazzling light and rhythmic, mood-shifting music, are performed in quick, powerful bursts with little to no pauses.

This performance will leave a smile on the faces of both the new and the experienced dance fan. Tickets for Patio Plastico Plus are $30 and can be purchased at www.HarbisonTheatre.org.

PERFORMANCE PROGRAM

Blotto! is a poignant yet witty look at life in the urban jungle. The work is performed as a suite of four vignettes ranging in style from lyrical to high-energy.

Chutin’ Ladders is a short but intense five-minute solo of a dancer who dangles mid-air from a suspended zigzagged shaped ladder.

The Grid, a spinning aerial dance, begins with down lighting that reveals a solo dancer searching for an escape from below a suspended and spinning metal grid. The dancer breaks through the barrier of whirling black metal and ascends into the air, weaving through and above the floating sculpture, to eventually perch at its apex.

Faux Pas and Air on the ‘G’ String, originally created for dancers of the Pennsylvania Ballet, are two uproarious pieces staged intermittently to aid set transitions. In Faux Pas, a ballerina floats magically in the air and displays uncanny flexibility when her partner leaves her stranded.

Two By Cycle-Mobile features tuxedo-clad dancers performing an aerial duet atop a

suspended mobile constructed out of found bicycle parts. Toying with the physical laws, the dancers go on a bike ride only found in dreams.

Threshold uses driving rock music, floating doors and swinging lamps in a work inspired by the paintings of Dorothea Tanning. Dancers crawl on and hang from the doors before knocking them down.

Patio Plastico, the Philadelphia Fringe Festival site-specific piece remounted for stage, contains fourteen vignettes that are connected by an animated movie projection. The piece uses a patch of Astroturf, plastic lawn furniture and music from bossa nova to gushy movie-score tracks.

The Last Vaudevillian presents optical illusions with more patio furniture, pogo sticks, umbrellas and a slip-n-slide finale.

Overview of Season Ticketing Features:

  • The Flex Pass: Purchase tickets to four or more shows and receive a 10% discount on each ticket. On sale through Feb. 14, 2014 at http://www.harbisontheatre.org.
  • Group discounts for 10 or more guests

Tickets can be purchased at www.HarbisonTheatre.org. Buyers may also order tickets via phone at 803-407-5011, or in person at the Harbison Theatre Box Office, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The box office also will open two hours prior to each show during the season.