CHARLOTTE, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) – In good times, the Actor’s Theatre of Charlotte has been known for taking risks.
Examples include the production of a show whose full name cannot be said on television or in a family-friendly web story.
Another production will start in a few days — “Evil Dead: The Musical.”
Both are examples of shows with a degree of camp and adult themes that may not make them the most amenable to children — but for those who love live theatre, the shows are meant to be edgy and raucous.
Risk has been what the Actor’s Theatre has been known for, but the risk of “Evil Dead: The Musical” may be their last. The theater company will have its last show in October.
“It was kind of like ripping a band-aid off,” said executive director Laura Rice. “It was going to be hard, but you’d feel immediately better afterward because there’s this community here that will help us heal.”
“People aren’t buying tickets in advance, or season tickets in advance, because they don’t know what’s going to happen,” added Rice, noting the post-pandemic issues that have riddled several industries.
The decision, announced Monday, came with a lot of heartbreak from those who know and love them.
Chester Shepherd said, “I’ve acted in, I think, five shows with them, directed one, and I’m collaborating with them right now.”
Shepherd said the current collaboration of Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night” could not have been done without the help of the Actor’s Theatre of Charlotte.
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“(They) found the grants, rehearsal space, technical assistance,” he said.
In addition to ticket sales, which the non-profit theatre says are a fraction of what they had been pre-pandemic, their space is up at the end of the year at their current location in Myers Park.
The issues seen with Actor’s Theatre are not unique. Other entertainment shows and venues noted similar issues with getting people in the door post-COVID.
The Actor’s Theatre has been in operation for 34 years and has fostered talent across town.
Rice noted some talent has moved on to traveling tours of plays and musicals and onto Broadway. Rice said those who support the arts should support other theatre companies and venues because “it can go away if it is not supported.”
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