The Stage Left Theatre Company has gone centerstage in its very own home venue, at The Market Common in Myrtle Beach.
The community theater group has set up its black box theater with about 45 seats at 3064 DeVille St., between Nevers and Lewis streets. After a month of weekend shows – “Myrtle Beach Live!” comedy sketches and a “Bigtime ‘80s” revue – Stage Left will premiere its main stage season of five plays with “Steel Magnolias” on Sept. 12, giving three weekends of performances Thursdays-Sundays through Sept. 29.
Before a 21/2-hour rehearsal one night last week, sitting in and around the stage inside an L-shaped building space that has been custom-crafted into a theater since April, directors and some cast members discussed their enthusiasm to embark on this new era.
Amber McCann, the artistic director, who also plays Truvy in the play, said since its establishment in 2009-10, Stage Left has performed in several sites across the Grand Strand, including the Cooper House in Socastee.
Looking at the several rows of seats from her place on stage, McCann said her favorite part of this intimate arrangement is “the whole audience is close to you.” She said colleagues have helped mold the theater inside, adding such necessary partitions as a concession stand and dressing room.
With about two weeks of practice under her wing, Vickie Carter said she has enjoyed her directorial debut. Although she has found developing a play from this perspective “very different” from the stage manager’s role, she called this step a “great experience.”
Callie Barfield, a junior at Coastal Carolina University with the part of Annelle, said she simply loves this show.
The movie “Steel Magnolias” preceded Jenna Mize’s birth by more than a decade, but the Socastee High School sophomore said she felt comfortable seeking out Shelby’s character.
Roxie Ragsdale, who plays M’Lynn, called the company core “a great unit” and said that “we feed off one another.”
“It makes the characters more believable,” she said, “with that kind of cohesiveness.”
Vonna Gengo and Yvonne Nutter fulfill other main roles as Ouiser and Clairee, respectively, in this small cast.
McCann, a certified public accountant by day, said another common element in Stage Left entails their all-volunteer teamwork and “love of the craft.” Auditions are scheduled for each of the four plays coming up, she said, and anybody, even a new, aspiring thespian, is invited to try out.
Brandi Curtis, the stage manager for “Steel Magnolias” and a senior at Socastee High, where she also helps behind the scenes for student productions, also complimented the “community theater” component of Stage Left.
With a variety of shows coming through spring, including a thriller on deck, “Wait Until Dark,” Oct. 24-Nov. 10; “Sorry! Wrong Chimney!” Dec. 5-22; and Neil Simon’s “Barefoot in the Park,” Feb. 20-March 9, McCann said Stage Left will have “something for everyone.”
McCann said she also hopes the troupe will reprise “Myrtle Beach Live!” down the road as well, in breaks between main stage productions.
Steel Magnolias,” with its small-town setting in Louisiana, provided a fitting, Southern stylish way for Stage Left to formally open its new home, McCann said, and that coupled with Murrells Inlet-based Coastal Dance Centre’s newly christened second studio next door, she hopes they fashion another cultural avenue for Myrtle Beach.
Contact STEVE PALISIN at 444-1764.