Who: Nunally Kersh, producer of shows for Spoleto Festival USA, whose enthusiasm and energy never seem to flag. Eleven festivals ago, Nigel Redden, Spoleto’s general director, coaxed Nunally from a similar position at New York City’s Lincoln Center to Charleston to help him revive a floundering festival, which she and her colleagues have dramatically accomplished. Right now she and her year-round staff of 21 (plus seasonal part-timers) are busy planning for next year while plunging into rehearsals, which began May 1. (Most shows are actually produced here — from scratch — in just under four weeks.) This season’s must see? While all shows will be worth attending, “possibly the best show of the coming season will be a musical theatre show called Geisha, currently rehearsing in Singapore. A little-known fact about Spoleto? “Our yearly budget is now 7 million, with only 40 percent of that derived from ticket sales.” Anyone with a cool million or two to donate to a good cause?Favorite restaurant:
No mystery here: Hominy Grill, her husband Robert Stehling’s restaurant at 207 Rutledge Ave. Of course, all dishes are uniformly delicious and the ingredients are as fresh as could be. The cooking has been pared down to the essentials. The ambiance is relaxed. There’s a bamboo-filled enclosed outdoor patio, and the energetic wait staff is always right there when you need them without being snooty or intrusive. Favorite dish:
It is very hard to pin down Nunally’s preferences. But given that she loves the soft-shelled crab po’ boy sandwiches and given that these sea creatures are “soft” for only about three weeks a year, she chooses that for lunch with a side of collard greens. During the other 49 weeks of the year, she often orders the vegetable plate, varying it by what’s fresh that day. Also, she highly recommends the fried green tomato BLT with ancho mayo. Dessert is a fresh rhubarb/strawberry concoction artfully spread over warm, biscuit-like cake — absolutely scrumptious. Then it’s kiss the chef goodbye and race back to the office where the many knotty, pressing matters facing a Spoleto producer every year at this time await. —Roy Freedman
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