Spoleto 2009 » Features

There's no business like show business – even when the economy sucks

Good things come in small packages

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The economy hasn't been good for months and probably won't get better for many more.

But does that mean you can't experience great art? Does that mean the shows won't go on?

Of course not. It just means you're more selective, which now that you think about it, you should have been all along.

A quick look at this year's Spoleto schedule shows that the festival has scaled down, but a closer look reveals that it's no less buzzworthy.

The World/Inferno Friendship Society presents a staging of its Addicted to Bad Ideas: Peter Lorre's 20th Century. Another anticipated show is the return of London's Kneehigh Theater and its performance of Don John, a sultry revisioning of the ultimate profligate. A Spoleto favorite, the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, celebrates its 50th anniversary.

Look deeper to find more high-quality shows.

Puppeteer Basil Twist revives a long dead Japanese art in Dogugaeshi. Another intimate show comes from flamenco dancer Soledad Barrio, and ditto for Hawaiian ukulele player and jazz musician Jake Shimabukuro.

Probably the greatest testament to the smaller-is-better vibe is the wealth of local theater productions and comedy shows featured at this year's Piccolo.

PURE Theatre introduces two new works, including a one-man show about a so-called gentleman pirate. Village Playhouse brings back its screwball baseball comedy Rounding Third. And the newest kids on the block — Deuce Theatre and Little City Musical Theatre Company — present new works for stage, and Little City Cabaret.

Break a leg to both.

And let's not forget about Piccolo Fringe, the bestest bet you'll find this year for the money. Upright Citizens Brigade, the Reckoning, and Mary Kay Has a Posse return, as do the One Man Star Wars Trilogy, The Cody Rivers Show, and Frankenmatt. And, of course, there are our local favorites: The Banana Monologues, the Have Nots!, and that show for us .

No matter what you choose, or how big the production, one thing's for sure: There's no business like show business. Even when the economy sucks.

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