Newberry Opera House to host tribute to Pat Conroy
Pat Conroy will be honored at an event this week that features a talk with his widow, the novelist Cassandra King.
Conroy was a literary legend and South Carolina resident. He died of pancreatic cancer in March.
“A Tribute to Pat Conroy” at Newberry Opera House on Tuesday is the latest in a long line of people and places celebrating Conroy’s life and work. King will be interviewed by ETV radio host Walter Edgar. A portion of ticket sales will go to the new Pat Conroy Literary Center, an institute named after Conroy and founded in his hometown of Beaufort.
I was spending a summer in Charleston when I read my first Pat Conroy novel, “South of Broad,” which is set in the Holy City. I’d read a chapter and then walked the very streets it mentioned, helping me learn about and love my temporary home. The same thing happened when I moved to Hilton Head Island and picked up “The Water is Wide,” a book about Conroy’s time teaching on nearby Daufuskie Island. While working at The (Hilton Head) Island Packet, I had several chances to write about and interview Conroy. He was always generous with his time, as evidenced by his editorship at Story River Books, an imprint dedicated to pulling unknown Southern writers into the coveted published author's arena.
Conroy said he did it because he wanted to give back to South Carolina. “As a novelist, I felt as lucky to have come to South Carolina as a 15-year-old boy as any writer that ever lived,” he wrote in a published love letter to the state.
And even though Conroy is gone, his words are not. His posthumously published “A Lowcountry Heart: Reflections on a Writing Life” has been released and will be available at the Newberry tribute event. The book is a collection of Conroy speeches, interviews and essays. There are also remembrances from friends and a eulogy for “The Great Conroy.”
7 p.m. Tuesday at Newberry Opera House, 1201 McKibben St., Newberry. $22-$45. www.newberryoperahouse.com
OTHER ARTS EVENTS AROUND THE MIDLANDS
The 31st annual Vista Lights kicks off the holiday season 5-10 p.m. Thursday with artistic performances, live music, dancing, shopping, dining and the annual Vista tree lighting at 7 p.m. Free.
Theater at USC
“Cosi” is a play about an Australian director working with mental institution patients to put on Mozart’s “Così Fan Tutte.” Running through Saturday at Longstreet Theatre, 1300 Greene St. $12-$18.
“Almost Maine,” is a play about a mythical town whose residents find themselves falling in and out of love in unexpected and often hilarious ways. Thursday through Sunday at Lab Theatre, 1400 Wheat St. $5 at the door. artsandsciences.sc.edu/thea/welcome
Reconstructing Home Art Show at Transitions
Reconstructing Home is Transitions Homeless Center’s signature fundraising event featuring a client art show, silent auction, open bar and food from various local restaurants. There also will be live music by the band Prettier Than Matt.
This year the art celebrates the resiliency of Transitions clients and their efforts to overcome homelessness, as well as the resiliency of our community and its efforts to overcome the affects of the 2015 historic flood. Several art pieces were made with windows and materials salvaged from homes destroyed in the flood.
6-9 p.m. Thursday at Agape Conference Center, 1624 Main St. $50. transitionssc.org/purchase-tickets
Parsons Dance Company
The dance company is known for its energized, athletic ensemble work and will revisit its greatest choreography and share its newest creations, including a piece where a dancer does 100 leaps in six minutes.
7:30 p.m. Friday at Harbison Theatre at Midlands Technical College. There also will be a “relaxed performance” tailored for audiences along the autism spectrum at 10 a.m. Saturday. 7300 College St., Irmo. $28. www.harbisontheatre.org