New was the word in the arts in 2017 — new facilities, new directors, and new shows. But that didn’t mean there wasn’t room for the familiar, too. Here are some of the top arts and culture stories of the year.
‘Hamilton’ in 2018
One of Greenville’s biggest theater stories of the year won’t actually happen until next year. “Hamilton,” the wildly popular Broadway musical that uses hip-hop to tell the story of the United States’ first secretary of the treasury and Founding Father Alexander Hamilton, will headline the Peace Center’s 2018-19 Broadway series.
The McCallas and the GLT celebrate 25 years
Allen and Suzanne McCalla weren’t sure how long their tenure was going to last at the Greenville Little Theatre. When they were hired in 1993, the theater was in trouble. Debt climbed and season subscriptions plummeted after a series of interim directors and a new artistic director who alienated audiences. The board said it would take care of the debt if the McCallas would take care of the audiences. In the 25 years since, they’ve produced more than 180 shows and tripled attendance.
Mike Sablone takes charge at the Warehouse Theatre
During his first full season at the artistic helm of the Warehouse Theatre, Mike Sablone didn’t shy away from heavy topics. The theater, for instance, examined gentrification through “Clybourne Park” and gay marriage through “The Cake.”
Sablone got his start in regional theater but spent much of his career before Greenville in New York and Los Angeles. He was production/development director for actor John Krasinski’s Sunday Night Productions and was executive director of the 2016 film “The Hollars” and the 2012 film “Promised Land.”
The South Carolina Children’s Theatre has a new home, but it’s only temporary. The theater moved into the SHARE building on Pendleton Street until its new multimillion-dollar campus — which will include a 300-seat theater, a separate Second Stage space, education classrooms, administrative space, and a large lobby — is completed.
Museum & Gallery temporarily closes
Bob Jones University’s on-campus Museum & Gallery closed for a two-year renovation in February and its Heritage Green location closed permanently. The building that houses the M&G is 70 years old and water has penetrated its walls, damaging some of the interior walls. Renovation work includes the sealing of the outside walls, replacement of a number of interior walls, and installation of a new heating, air, and ventilation system. The museum could reopen in late 2018 or early 2019.
The M&G of Bob Jones University is widely recognized as one of the finest collections of religious art in the Southeast and perhaps the nation. As for the Heritage Green location, a new museum will take its place. The Carolina Music Museum will feature a collection of pianos and harpsichords owned by Tom Strange. The collection of vintage keyboards has been housed in Strange’s house in Easley.