Rudy Panucci On Pop Culture

Radio Free Charleston Meets “Mary”

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At the top of this post you see the latest episode of Radio Free Charleston, which is comprised primarily of music from the CYAC Rock Opera, “Mary.” We also have a really cool “120 Second Art Show” from the Habitat Restore Relics show a couple of weeks ago.

This year’s production of “Mary” opens Friday at the WVSU Capitol Center Theater. Performances are at 8 PM on November 27 and 28 and December 3,4 and 5. A 2 PM Matinee will be held Sunday, November 29. Tickets are $9.50 for adults, $5.50 for students and seniors.

We brought our cameras into Monday’s rehearsal so we could bring you this sneak preview of one of Charleston’s coolest holiday traditions. This was another “guerrilla film-making” episode of the show, where we shot the show and try to have it online within 30 hours.

Before we dive into “Mary,” we have a 120 Second Art Show. This is basically parts of the photo essay I posted here, set to music recorded at the event when a piano was rolled out for artist Sharon Lyn Stackpole. Sharon is a friend of the show, and I hope I pronounced her last name correctly when I introduced this piece. I rushed through the host bits without a script this episode. Host segments were an afterthought this time, which is why this show, dedicated to a musical about the birth of Christ, is called “New DEVO Shirt.”

Mary” is one of the earliest collaborations between composer Mark Scarpelli and lyricist/director Dan Kehde. The duo, who had staged a successful production of “Hair” at the legendary Common Grounds, came up with the show as a vehicle for the talented young performers they were working with at the time.

When it was first staged in 1996, the show was a mere 45 minutes long, with an intermission added to stretch it to an hour. By the following year, 16 new songs were added to the score and an Original Cast Soundtrack was released in 1998.

Several friends of Radio Free Charleston have appeared in “Mary” throughout its now thirteen year run. “Jack The Ripper,” Ryan Hardiman can be heard on the Original Cast Soundtrack as Joseph. Flare Baroshi, who made a memorable splash on our Halloween show with “Vampire Mafia” has played the title role twice. Tanya Dillon-Page, best known for her portrayal of Gabriel, was featured on last year’s special “Mary” episode, along with Molly Means, who returns to this year’s production in the title role. Also in last year’s half-episode, RFc’s resident diva, Melanie Larch, can be seen as Elizabeth.

rom the end credits, here is the cast and credits for “Mary.”

The Rock Opera
music by
Mark Scarpelli
lyrics by
Dan Kehde

Mary…Molly Means

Elizabeth…Maddy Gourevitch

Gabriel…Micah Atkinson

Zechariah…Nik Tidquist

Joseph…Austin Thomas

Herod…Meredith Overcash

Spies, Angels and Heralds

Liz McCormick
Madison Lott
Nick Curnutte
Jarrell Jackson
John Szasz
Sarah Mandirola
Amanda Mandirola
Amanda Trail
Samantha Oxley
Jackie Cobb
April Richardson-Morgan
Haley Veronda
Madison Lott
Paige Baisden

Directed by
Dan Kehde

Musical Director
Eli Chambers

Contemporary Youth Arts Company
of Charleston

That’s it for the behind-the-scenes notes on RFC 87. Check back Wednesday night for a special mid-week PopCulteer photo essay.


  1. douglas

    Hey, PopCult – are your comments working

  2. Douglas Imbrogno

    Hey, PopCult: Are your comments working?

  3. Bill Gardner

    Another great show Rudy!

  4. Elvis Capone

    Popcult, this is NASA. Douglas says your comments aren’t working. Should we remotely switch off life support? Silence means yes.

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