Taking the Stage


Broadway in Columbia CountyBroadway in Columbia County is back for its third season, and this year theater lovers can expect new twists on familiar stories.

“The lineup is similar in some ways to the lineup we had last year, and last year’s season performed very well,” says Josh Small, the PAC general manager. “We’re really excited about the upcoming Broadway season.”

The season opens with the hit musical comedy, Mean Girls, on Thursday, November 30. Based on the 2004 movie, Mean Girls follows the story of Cady Heron, a home-schooled teenager who grew up on the African savannah and now must learn how to navigate a new jungle – a suburban Illinois high school full of social cliques and teenage drama – after she moves back to America.

Although it follows the original storyline, the show features updated dialog, a catchy musical theater score and energetic dance numbers.

Mean Girls is a newer show,” says Small. “It will appeal to a broad audience and to a younger audience as well.”

On Wednesday, January 24, STOMP will take the stage. “Everybody knows STOMP. It’s been around for a long time,” Small says.

In this popular performance, the eight-member troupe uses matchboxes, wooden poles, brooms, garbage cans, Zippo lighters, hubcaps – everything but conventional percussion instruments – to create show-stopping rhythms.

However, with updated, restructured sections and two new full-scale routines that employ props like tractor tire inner tubes and paint cans, the performers bring additional surprises as well.

On Tuesday, February 20 audience members will be transported back to the aftermath of September 11, 2001 in Come From Away.

This musical tells the remarkable true story of the travelers who were stranded in Gander, located on the Canadian island of Newfoundland, after their flights were grounded.

The 7,000 passengers and flight crew members from around the world, along with a number of cats and dogs, nearly doubled the population of the small town, but the local residents sprang into action to aid the people in need.

Although cultures clashed and nerves ran high, unease turned into trust and gratitude grew into lasting friendships. Irene Sankoff and David Hein interviewed residents, passengers and crew members to write the show.

Come From Away is not as well-known as the other shows, but it’s a great story,” says Small. “It won several 2017 Tony awards.”

The season closes with To Kill a Mockingbird on Tuesday, April 30 and Wednesday, May 1. “To Kill a Mockingbird is a classic,” Small says. “We’ll have two shows to make it available to more people.”

While the show is based on Harper Lee’s Pulitzer Prize-winning 1960 novel, this Aaron Sorkin adaptation is no carbon copy of the book or the 1962 movie starring Oscar winner Gregory Peck.

Set in a small Alabama town in 1934, To Kill a Mockingbird tells the story of attorney Atticus Finch as he defends an innocent black man, Tom Robinson, who was accused of raping a white woman.

The play, which is seen through the eyes of Finch’s young daughter Scout, is true to the original tale. In this version, however, Robinson and the story’s other black character, the Finch family housekeeper Calpurnia, have a larger presence and a more contemporary voice.

“Our first two seasons have been very successful, and we want to keep that going,” Small says.

All of the shows begin at 7:30 p.m. at the Columbia County Performing Arts Center. For more information, visit thecenterofcc.com.