Arts Center season: trains, kisses, rumors, boots, dancers

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The upcoming season at the Arts Center of Coastal Carolina will include five shows that are sure to delight audiences, with a variety of genres and content.

It all begins with the fall production of Agatha Christie's "Murder on the Orient Express" Oct. 1-17 - the No. 1 audience pick for a non-musical. The production, the rights of which just recently came available, captures all the suspense that expected from crime novelist Christie.

A luxury train excursion through the European countryside quickly unfolds into a race against time to solve a murder, while in motion no less. When an avalanche stops the Orient Express dead in its tracks, the world's greatest detective, Hercule Poirot, arrives to interrogate all passengers and search for clues before the killer can strike again.

The holiday timeslot brings a family-friendly musical extravaganza, "Kiss Me, Kate," recently revived on Broadway, that sizzles with musical comedy magic. It is slated for Dec. 4-29.

"Kiss Me, Kate" features the music of Cole Porter blended with dazzling dance in a "Too Darn Hot" blockbuster that will have audiences falling in love. It's a story of romance, strong wills and comedy about a fiery couple (and former husband and wife) who are also co-stars, feuding onstage and off. This year, it earned a New York Times Critic's Pick.

Next up is the light and clever comedy of Neil Simon's "Rumors," Feb. 4-23, 2020. In this classical farce, four couples arrive at the 10th anniversary celebration party for New York's deputy mayor and his wife, only to find the mayor wounded in bed and the wife missing.

The madcap fun is set in Palisades at a dinner party that goes topsy-turvy from beginning to end. "Rumors" is Simon's most celebrated comedy.

The regional premiere of "Kinky Boots," April 29-May 24, is high on audience lists. This blockbuster musical tells the story of Charlie Price who has inherited a shoe factory from his father, and is thinking "What next?!" Charlie's fate soon intertwines with cabaret performer and drag queen Lola to produce a line of specially engineered high-heeled boots with hopes of saving the business.

With music by Cyndi Lauper, the production earned a season-high 13 nominations and six Tony wins, including Best Musical and Best Score.

For summer fare, the Arts Center will produce "Footloose!," another top pick by audiences. The high-energy, hit-packed musical was nominated for four Tony Awards and four Grammys.

When Ren and his mother move from Chicago to a small farming town, they weren't prepared for are the rigorous local edicts, including a ban on dancing instituted by the local preacher. When the reverend's rebellious daughter sets her sights on Ren, her roughneck boyfriend tries to sabotage Ren's reputation, with many of the locals eager to believe the worst about the new kid.

At this time, the only way to secure tickets to all five of these shows is with a season subscription. To subscribe, call 843-842-2787 or visit artshhi.com.

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