The musical adaptation of Pat Conroy’s “The Water is Wide” will be presented starting Friday, Oct. 13, at the USCB Center for the Arts.
“I am thrilled to be bringing ‘Conrack,’ our musical adaptation of ‘The Water Is Wide,’ to the stage in Beaufort, Pat Conroy’s adopted hometown,” said Granville Wyche Burgess, bookwriter and lyricist for the musical and director of The Beaufort Theatre Company production of “Conrack.”
The show begins in 1969 with Beaufort’s superintendent of schools’ desperate search for anyone to teach school on Yamacraw Island. The school there has been totally neglected by the school system. There are no books, no blackboard, no attention being paid to the students. One has to take a boat from the mainland to even reach the island.
Into this hornet’s nest walks Conroy, almost 30, idealistic the way only a ‘60s hippie could be, and recently fired from his 20th job in five years. He is only too happy to answer the ad for a teacher, especially since Dr. Piedmont informs him that “no experience is exactly what I’m lookin’ for.”
When Conroy meets the children, Cindy Lou, Mary, Prophet, Anna, Top Cat and Richard, he discovers that they can scarcely read or write, know little math and are wildly undisciplined. But their anger barely conceals their desperate need for a teacher who will actually care. Conroy is determined to be that teacher.
Taking the kids trick-or-treating on the mainland provokes a crisis, and Conroy learns he must let go of the children, but not before they have learned the courage to succeed and the will to keep on learning.
Professional film and stage actor Blake Logan portrays Pat Conroy. Other cast members include Pat’s students, Jackie Brown, Lelia Green, Austin Majors, Jamari Young, Dashia Lucas and Christopher Jenkins; their grandparents, Waynda Mayse, Natasha Robinson, Hank Herring and Curtis Dansby; the school principal, Mrs. Brown, played by Shelia Jenkins Ward; Dr. Piedmont, played by Brad Ballington; and Dr. Jackie Brooks, portrayed by Ali Salters.
“Conrack” will be presented at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 13 and Saturday, Oct. 14; at 3 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 15, and Sunday, Oct. 22; and 4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 21.
Ticket prices vary.
For more information, call the box office 843-521-4145 or go online to www.uscbcenterfortheart.com.