Growing up less than a 2-hour train ride from New York City I was spoiled to be able to see some of the best Broadway shows over the years. With no acting talent myself, I have always appreciated the arts and have a soft spot for musicals. Now living in Charleston and being able to venture downtown I am excited to see what this charming city has to offer. My first performance was a surprisingly great experience.
The 34 West Theater Company is in a great location on Meeting Street, just a block from the City Market. I had purchased my tickets in advance online for $25 a ticket to see their current production, Groovy Kinda’ Love. When we entered the building it was a lot smaller and a different layout than expected for a theater. (We originally thought this was a lounge area where you wait until you go into the main theater.) There was a little stage with small bistro tables and chairs surrounding it (holding a max of about 70 people). A nice man dressed in 50’s attire (who turned out to be the co-owner and one of the 4 actors in the play) showed us to our seats. The seating process was very organized. They had the seating arrangements figured out in advance and your coaster was your ticket and seat holder. We were a group of 3 and shared a table with another group of 3 which turned out fine.
After being seated you are able to walk up to the bar with a 50s style fridge and retro service area to purchase refreshments and snacks. The beverages they sell include a variety of sodas, beers, wines and mixed drinks. For snacks you can get gourmet popcorn, pimento cheese or a party trio with your choice popcorn, candies, nuts, pretzels and other treats. All items were reasonably priced and served in trendy décor by a bar tender dressed in a track suite (who turned out to be the other co-owner and another of the actors in the show).
Once the show started it ran for about an hour and fifteen minutes with no intermission. We were pleasantly surprised how much we enjoyed this musical comedy. They included a wide range of oldies songs that got everyone’s toes tapping and was nicely interwoven with the story-line. With the intimate audience the cast was able to make everyone feel like they were talking to you individually. It was silly and quirky and it worked. Everyone had a blast.
From entering the building and being kindly greeted by the co-owner to having him say goodnight to each of us at the end the show it reflects how much this team truly loves what they do. They wear many hats to make this production a memorable night. Well, hats off to you. This is yet another reason why Charleston is such a special city with so many unique opportunities to enjoy all kinds of cultural experiences. I am looking forward to attending one of their upcoming performances.
You can check out the 34 West Theater Co. website for their upcoming performances www.34west.org
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Note: Blog originally written 2/16/16