CBT receives a neighborly assist from Fish

Great Gatsby set to premiere on June 4

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Most diehard Beatles fan award goes to two British guests who attended the Charleston Ballet Theater's Piccolo performances of The Magical Mystery Tour , this past weekend. Apparently, so enthused were they about the Beatles-themed ballet that they reportedly spoke seriously with choreographer Jill Eathorne Bahr about the possibility of bringing the CBT to a London stage. The answer, not surprisingly, was "hell yes!," as long as there is a generous benefactor to back the entire production and travel expenses. (Hello people, we're in a recession, remember.)

Beatlemania has definitely made a comeback to the Piccolo festival and their songs have been partly responsible for the significant buzz The Magical Mystery Tour has been receiving. The last-minute addition of a pre-show mini-piano concert in the lobby has also contributed to their success. Pianist,Jordan Alexander plays for 30 minutes solid from a huge Beatles songbook pre-Mystery Tour as well as some classic ragtime tunes before the much regaled CBT's Great Gatsby.

And besides the aforementioned Brits, Kyle Barnette, CBT's administrative director, has heard first-hand the word on the street, and he says the word is good.

First, snug in his seat at Spoleto theater favorite, Don John, Barnette (ears open, always) overheard the couple in front of him chatting about their upcoming theater plans and recommendations they'd received. Apparently, Magical Mystery Tour was number one on their list.

Randall Goldman, managing partner of Patrick Properties (which includes Fish Restaurant, practically CBT's neighbor), is sending Fish customers over to the CBT with nothing but positive word-of-mouth ratings. The Beatles show has been getting plenty of buzz in his restaurant since the festivals began, and always the neighborly neighbor, he keeps the CBT recommendations coming.

"This is the time you really find out who your friends are," says Goldman, alluding to the current economic depression and the business Barnette loyally reciprocates.

Not surprisingly, he counts Charleston's local ballet — which he describes as non-traditional, progressive, and appealing to a younger, hipper generation — as one of his strongest relations. Goldman says Saturday's late-night business boom at Fish was a direct reflection of the Charleston Ballet Theater's Piccolo success.

"We were two-deep along the bar all night!" exclaims Goldman.

With a CBT playbook beside the hostess stand inside Fish, it's evident Goldman truly believes the critical importance of supporting locals first. It would seem that the CBT has a true ally in Goldman.

The Great Gatsby opens June 4 at 7 p.m., and Charleston Ballet dancers have been hard at work on the new ballet with a rigorous rehearsal schedule.

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