College of Charleston SCHOOL OF THE ARTS

Arts under the Oaks PROGRAM

The College of Charleston School of the Arts (SOTA) is pleased to present Arts under the Oaks, featuring performances by its Department of Music alongside its Department of Theatre and Dance. SOTA is thrilled to offer live performances for its audiences at the majestic Stono Preserve, after navigating a challenging academic year during the pandemic. Join us in celebrating the arts and our talented students, faculty and staff at today’s events.

Executive Producer: Saundra DeAthos-Meers
Associate Producer: Janine McCabe
Festival Production Manager: Jason Lyons
Technical Director/Sound Designer: Thomas Smith – Innovative Event Services
Video Crew Chief/Editor: Richard Almes – UniMedia Productions
Emcee: Michael Smallwood
Marketing & Communications: Nandini McCauley
Graphic Designer: Rob Alexander
Marketing Interns: Marina Baxley, Sierra Buck, Jailan Williams

Special thanks to Shannon Horn, Michael Ciaccia, JD Stallings, Vivian Appler, Matt Rutter and Barney Holt, as well as the numerous festival volunteers

10am – Gates Open
11am to 12:30pm – Unbeatable: A Musical Theatre Showcase
1pm to 2pm  – Finding Place: A Dance Concert 
3pm to 6pm – Le Nozze di Figaro: College of Charleston Opera 

*Sideshows interspersed throughout the day: Sonnet Recitations, Fight Choreography Demos, Three Little Pigs Children’s Opera, and Tours of Stono Preserve

Click here for Unbeatable: A Musical Theatre Showcase program

Click here for Finding Place: A Dance Concert program

Click here for Le Nozze di Figaro: College of Charleston Opera program

Click here for The Three Little Pigs: Children’s Opera program

Click here for Shakespearean Sonnets: Theatre Students program

Click here for the land acknowledgement of Stono Preserve

INSTAGRAM: @sotacofc @cofcopera @cofcmusic @cofcdesign
FACEBOOK: @cofcsota @cofcopera @cofcmusic @cofctheatreanddance


Unbeatable: A Musical Theatre Showcase

Unlike most musicals, this show was created while wearing masks, without touching and only being allowed to practice all together outside. Crazy, right? Who could have seen this coming? Despite COVID we are here together today to sing, act and dance and experience the joy that only comes from opening our mouths and singing (even with masks on)! As two separate classes we conceived and pulled together this bounty of classic songs and characters that will definitely make you smile, laugh and tap your toes. In the end we are not beaten by COVID, but are still here singing and laughing to a beat that is truly unstoppable. We hope we will send you out with a melody in your heart!


We Got The Beat – Head Over Heels
Soloists in order of appearance: Erin Frase, Mi’Kayla Rich, Lauryn Gadson, Kaycee Dial, Gianna Trimboli, Annie Morraye, Cat Champlin, Ashton Boland, Gillian Huntley
Choreographer – Whitney Green

Don’t Rain on My Parade – Funny Girl
Ashton Boland

Agony – Into The Woods
Joey Kirkman and Luke Shaw

She Used To Be Mine – Waitress
Gianna Trimboli

Mamma Mia – Mamma Mia
Cat Champlin, Whitney Green, Amber Walker

Mama Will Provide – Once on This Island
Soloists: Zae-Breaughn Barr and Recaree Wright
Ensemble: Noah Anderson, Ashton Boland, Lauryn Gadson, Mekhi Gaither, Jaden Jenkins, Mi’kayla Rich, Amber Walker
Choreographer: Mi’kayla Rich

Waving Through A Window – Dear Evan Hansen
Elizabeth Rawson

Without Love – Hairspray
Kaleigh Montgomery as Tracy, Max Mast as Link, Kaycee Dial as Penny, and Jaden Jenkins as Seaweed

Poor Unfortunate Souls – The Little Mermaid
Annie Morraye as Ursula and Lauryn Gadson as Ariel

I Got Rhythm – Girl Crazy
Soloist: Allison Jones
Featured Dancers: Whitney Green, Regan Honeycutt, Gianna Trimboli, and Carsyn Cantey
Choreographer: Whitney Green, inspired by original choreography

Journey To The Past – Anastasia
Gillian Huntley

Who I’d Be – Shrek The Musical
Mekhi Gaither-Burris as Shrek, Carsyn Cantey as Fiona, and Noah Anderson as Donkey

First Burn – Hamilton
Ashton Boland, Lauryn Gadson, Erin Frase, Gianna Trimboli, Recaree Wright

Suddenly Seymour – Little Shop of Horrors
Gillian Huntley and Luke Shaw

Time Warp – Rocky Horror Picture Show
Soloists in order of appearance: Arden McNeill, Mary Elizabeth Ray, Luke Shaw, and Abbie Lemaster, Audience Choreography Teacher: Mi’kayla Rich

You Can’t Stop The Beat – Hairspray
Soloists: Kaleigh Montgomery as Tracy, Max Mast as Link, Kaycee Dial as Penny, Jaden Jenkins as Seaweed, Noah Anderson as Edna, Mi’kayla Rich as Motormouth Maybelle, Erin Frase as Velma Von Tussle, Carsyn Cantey as Amber Von Tussle
Choreographer: Whitney Green, assisted by Glenna Durbin

Director and Music Director: Laura Turner
Assistant Director: Emily Pasch*
Stage Manager:  Jaymie Amodio*
Assistant Stage Manager: Haley Vaccaro* 
Choreographers: Whitney Green* and Mi’kayla Rich
Dance Captains: Mi’kayla Rich*, Gianna Trimboli* and Amber Walker* 
Ensemble Sound Recordings: Annie Morraye*
*CofC students  

View list at


Finding Place: A Dance Concert


Choreographer: Eve Denise
Composer: Florence Welch & Emile Haynie; edited by Eve Denise
Costume Designer: Mattie Davis
Dancers: Aidan Baumann, Taylor Bennett, Joy Gay, Alyssa Guardino*, Maggie Howe, Mariah Lowther
PROGRAM NOTE: When my soul discovered yours, it recognized it from the start. As if we had lived many lifetimes together, in our own reality. 

Choreographer: Claire Natiez
Composer: Francis Lai
Costume Designer: Savannah Fatigante
Dancers: Glenna Durbin,  Rex Ferrer*, Destiny Humphrey, Tori McDowell*
PROGRAM NOTE: Reflecting on this time of collective grief through its five stages-denial, depression, bargaining, anger, and depression. Discovering the stability that time spent alone provides, and how that security can be shared with loved ones in and out of isolation. 

Choreographer: Izzy Byers
Composer: Ride, Reimagined by Pêtr Aleksänder
Costume Designer: Savannah Fatigante
Dancers: Camille Cabrera*, Maggie Howe, Julia Kabernagel, Kiley Pettit*, Sidney Shanahan
PROGRAM NOTE: This time of isolation breeds connected independence. How we flow within the web of relationships we’ve built depends on whether we learn to appease or disassociate from our natural longing to love. 

Choreographer: Madison Patterson
Composer: Romaine Gaudiche and George FitzGerald
Costume Designer: Mattie Davis
Dancers: Aidan Baumann*, Alejandra Casco, Maya Everett-Wilson, Destiny Humphrey, Tyrese Neale*, Kiley Pettit, Gianna Trimboli
PROGRAM NOTE: “So often we run away from the responsibilities dictated (or rather suggested) by nature, by fate, even sometimes by accident, just as Jonah tried—in vain—to run away from his fate”- Abraham Maslow 

Choreographer: Taylor Bennett
Composer: Rafael Schmid & Leonard Schmid; edited by Taylor Bennett
Costume Designer: Mattie Davis
Dancers: Lilli Butterfield, Carmella Della-Peruta, Sophia Esposito*, Alyssa Guardino*, Mariah Lowther
PROGRAM NOTE: Inspiration taken from Madam C.J. Walker’s successful empire. “Life is inherently risky. There is only one big risk you should avoid at all costs, and that is the risk of doing nothing.”- Denis Waitley 

Choreographer: Tori McDowell
Composer: RjD2, Andy Frasco, edited by Tori McDowell
Costume Designer: Savannah Fatigante
Dancers: Aidan Baumann*, Glenna Durbin, Brooke Emery, Maya Everett-Wilson*, Claire Natiez, Madison Patterson, Sidney Shanahan
PROGRAM NOTE: The primal instinct often refers to violence or sexual temptations, but our humanity also comes pre-installed with the instinct to befriend. Our instincts are not bathed in blood- they are lathered in people telling stories and reaching for someone and something every moment of the way even through the trials of isolation. 

*indicates understudies

Director: Kristin Alexander
Stage Manager: Mi’kayla Rich
Choreographic Mentors: Leslie Jones, Erin Leigh, Gretchen McLaine
Costume Advisor: Janine McCabe
Costume Shop Manager: Ellen Swick
Wardrobe Crew: Mariah Lowther, Madison Patterson, Alison Provost
Sound Operator: Caroline Orchard

View list at


Le Nozze di Figaro: College of Charleston Opera

Mozart’s famed opera Le Nozze di Figaro is a wondrous, intricate comedy of disguises, lost tokens of love and mistaken identity. It is one of two great adaptations (the other being Rossini’s much later The Barber of Seville) of the two corresponding comedies of Pierre Beaumarchais. It features characters who have become famous through the centuries: the resourceful, though sometimes clueless, charmer Figaro, his soon-to-be-wife, Susanna, the character who is as close to being in control of things as anyone, and their employers, the rakish Count and faithful Countess Almaviva. This opera has everything: a marriage contract between a man and someone who turns out to be his mother, a master trying to enjoy physical passion with his wife’s maidservant, a lusty boy, sung by a woman, who dresses as a woman to stay close to the woman he loves, and a pin which clasps a “love letter” and ends up in the wrong hands. Audiences who join us in Figaro and Susanna’s world can count on a happy ending, hilarious comedy, as well as delightfully ravishing music.

Note: There will be a 15-minute intermission following ACT II.

It is suggested that reading through this translation will enable viewers to “stay in the action” during the performance.

The following selections have been omitted:
#3 Cavatina
#25 Aria
#26 Aria

Here is a link to the synopsis, as well.

Figaro – Bradley Morrison~/Justin Nelson*
Susanna – Abby Oldstrom/Sara Fullford•
The Countess – Mary Hope Ballou~/Mary Matsler*
The Count – Josh Brock/Max Mast•
Cherubino – Jessica Shamble
Marcellina – Abby Walker
Bartolo – Andy Michota
Antonio – Justin Floyd
Barbarina – Sara Fullford
Basilio – Driq Graves~/Brian Mengler*
Don Curzio – Seth Younglove~/Driq Graves*
First Bridesmaid – Meleana Cabales
Second Bridesmaid – Caitlyn Liles
Ensemble – Max Mast, Meleana Cabales, Chloe Henderson, Caitlyn Liles, Logan Smith, Jonathan Gragg, Molly O’Connor, Justin Floyd, Katie Matsui

~Performing Saturday
*Performing Sunday

Orchestral edition by Bryan Higgins arranged with Motet Music Publishing Company
Flute – Jessica Hull-Dambaugh
Oboe – Zachary Hammond
Clarinet – Charles Messersmith & Gretchen Roper
Bassoon – Patrick Herring
Horn – Brandon Nichols & Anne Holmi
Trumpet – Peter Gair & Katie Banish
Timpani – Sydney Vitti
Continuo – Wojciech Milewski
Violin 1 – Micah Gangwer (concertmaster), Savannah Cash, Frances Hseih
Violin 2 – Alex Boissonault, Beryl Ayiku, Eric Pickford
Viola – Sadie Nichols, Roderick Frazier, David Robinson
Cello – Maria Savelyeva, Zack Butler
Bass – Mary Reed

Hannah Baker
Ajophonie Goodwin
Samantha Stunner
Sara Berwald
Robby Sewell
Jah’mar Coakley
Jaden Jenkins
Tyler Crean

Why should today’s audience be interested in seeing Le Nozze di Figaro? After all, it deals with societal and performance practices long since discontinued. These include the “droit du seigneur” or “jus primae noctis,” the right of feudal lords to have sexual relations with “subordinate” women on their wedding nights (!!). These relations may or may not have been legal in Europe (scholars are not in complete agreement on this point), but in this opera, the right is treated as an actual practice, whether the woman was willing or not. An interesting performance practice which is employed in Le Nozze di Figaro is the “trouser role,” a descendant of the woman in plays by Shakespeare (such as Twelfth Night and Two Gentlemen of Verona), who has travelled alone to foreign soil seeking a straying lover or a lost brother. Because she travels alone, she must disguise herself as a man. In opera, however, the trouser role simply refers to a male role sung by a female voice.

Somehow, these archaic practices become the stuff of comedy in Le Nozze di Figaro. Unlikely? Well, at the center of this confection of unforgettable music and characters is a class struggle and a gender struggle, one which two of opera’s greatest female characters are destined to win. They are Susanna, the “subordinate” woman in question, and her mistress, Rosina, the Countess Almaviva. Rosina’s husband, il Conte, has developed a carnal infatuation for Susanna, despite the fact that he has abolished the rights of the feudal lord. He’s a Count, so he can reinstate them, or so he thinks! But Susanna and her soon-to-be-husband, Figaro (another unforgettable character), servant to the Count, decide to turn the tables on him. What follows is a maze of delightful mistaken identity in which a man woos a woman he doesn’t realize is actually his wife, a woman woos a man who is actually her son, and Cherubino, the “trouser” role, is sung by a woman playing the role of a man who must dress as a woman to escape detection, since he has been commissioned as an officer and sent to the front lines.

So. Why should we be interested in Le Nozze di Figaro? Well, the music is sublime. The wondrous finale to Act 2 alone is reason enough to pay heed. In addition, this opera deals with things that haven’t ceased driving human beings crazy, no matter how “modern” we may be: battles of the sexes, greed, jealousy, envy, lust, actually most of the 7 Deadly Sins. Gender politics and equity. Mistaken identity, multiple people hiding in the same place, then switching places! The triumph of kindness and true love over selfishness. The notion that class doesn’t matter; that a poor servant has the same right to happiness as an aristocrat. Surely those ideas can still resonate with us today, can’t they?

Co-Directors: Evan Parry/Saundra DeAthos-Meers
Music Director/Conductor: Yuriy Bekker
Assistant Music Director/Repeteur: Wojciech Milewski
Rehearsal Pianist: Lorna Barker
Stage Manager: Paige Bergen
Assistant Stage Manager: Charity Jones
Choreographers:: Gretchen McLaine, Pamela O’Briant
Supertitles: Chadwick Creative Arts, Inc.
Supertitle operators: Brian Mengler/Bradley Morrison

This project was funded in part by the City of Charleston Office of Cultural Affairs and the City of North Charleston Cultural Arts Program through their joint administration of the Lowcountry Quarterly Arts Grant Program and the South Carolina Arts Commission which receives support from the National Endowment for the Arts and the John and Susan Bennett Memorial Arts Fund of the Coastal Community Foundation of SC.


The Three Little Pigs: Children’s Opera

While brother pigs Don Giovanni and Cherubino set off to make homes of sticks and straw, their sister, Despina, goes to the library to read up on “huff-proof, puff-proof” home construction. After Wolfgang BigBad blows down the boys’ flimsy homes, they run to their sister’s sturdy new brick house quite ready to admit that going to the library and reading books is a pretty smart thing to do after all.

Despina: Meleana Cabales~, Chloe Henderson*,  Caitlyn Liles^
Cherubino: Molly O’Connor~, Katie Matsui*
Don Giovanni: Jonathan Gragg~, Max Mast*, Justin Floyd^
Wolfgang BigBad: Andy Michota~, Logan Smith*, Justin Nelson^

~Performing Saturday
*Performing Sunday
^Performing for Lowcountry elementary schools

The special part of Childrens’ Opera is that the college students cast in the show learn every aspect of production: learning the music, yes, but collaborating on staging; assisting with costume design; working with technical equipment (the students taught themselves to use the sound board!). It is such a pleasure teaching this group of students about opera from the ground up. And then! Singing this show for Lowcountry elementary children! Life is sweet. 

Director: Amanda Castellone
Music Director: Misha Pekar
Technical Director: Andy Michota
Fight Choreographer: Logan Smith


Shakespearean Sonnets: Theatre Students

Caitlin (Cat) Champlin – Sonnet 55
Grace Ann Jarrell – Sonnet 87
Carsyn Cantey – Sonnet 30

Faculty Mentors: Todd McNerney, Paul Rolfes


College of Charleston at Stono Preserve

The Stono Preserve is part of the College of Charleston’s “conservationist’s classroom” experience. Its “living laboratory” provides a place for CofC’s students to study biology, forest management, historic preservation, and now performing arts. The land on which we are performing today is the historic territory of Native American peoples belonging to the Yamasee, Edisto, Guale, Kusso, Muskogee, Creek, Kusso, Kiawah, and Cusabo tribes. During the 18th and 19th centuries, the labor performed upon these grounds was enacted by enslaved West and Central Africans as well as enslaved Indigenous peoples. Members of the Gullah community who have continued to reside in South Carolina’s Low Country are descendants of these people, and we honor their stories.

The Stono Preserve is a place where the landscape is the result of America’s settler-colonial history. The financial, material, cultural, and intellectual wealth that we now enjoy is the product of enslaved African, African American, and Indigenous peoples. As conscientious inheritors of this colonial legacy, it is our role as artists and educators to intervene into this system of oppression by acknowledging this history. The arts are a vital component of how we envision ourselves as a society. Only after this acknowledgement can we work to become active conspirators in processes of restorative justice and healing.

For more information about landscape of the Stono Preserve, visit The Stono Preserve’s Changing Landscape · Lowcountry Digital History Initiative.