While Spoleto Festival USA offers the blockbuster shows of the season, its little sister Piccolo has plenty of solid options as well. Between the laugh-laden Fringe series, the jam-packed jazz and blues series, and everything in between, there’s something for everyone. And with most shows priced below $20, you’ll have to dig deep for an excuse not to enjoy the festival. Here are our picks for Piccolo’s top 10 events.

Kurt Braunohler’s Amish Guide to Fucking

This show is part of the Theatre 99-produced Fringe, hence the dirty word in the title. New York comedian Kurt Braunohler takes something really sad — the disintegration of a 13-year relationship — and turns it into something really funny. Bottom line: The Amish don’t know shit.


We’re not sure what to expect from this exhibit, created by Los Angeles-based artist Eames Demetrios. Hell, we don’t even know how to pronounce the word. But basically, Demetrios has created an epic public art project based on an imaginative alternate universe. See his stuff at the Halsey and various sites around the Lowcountry — including one 40 feet beneath Charleston Harbor. Glub, glub.


One of Charleston’s most adventurous theater companies, PURE Theatre presents David Mamet’s controversial Race. It explores taboo topics with the story of a rich white businessman accused of raping a black woman. If you have a problem with offensive language, bring your earmuffs.

Hedwig and the Angry Inch

Charleston’s What If? Productions brought Hedwig to town back in August, and locals embraced the rockin’ drag queen with open arms. We’re glad she’s back for another glam run at Piccolo.

The Shock T’s

This Chicago-based musical comedy trio performs catchy tunes about threesomes, road trips, and mediums with the munchies. Don’t be surprised if you want to go back for seconds.

Piccolo Spoleto Block Party: The Summer Frenzy!

The Piccolo interns put their heads together to plan this annual event at Marion Square. With a full lineup of bands, DJs, and dancers, it’s always a fun, free way to cut loose mid-festival.

Ted and Melanie

We know Jet Eveleth is funny — she’s already entertained us at a handful of Comedy Fest and Fringe events. And we’re going to go ahead and assume that Paul Brittain is funny because he’s on Saturday Night Live. Put them together and you’ve got smart sketch show Ted and Melanie.

H. apocalyptus

The New York-based Salvage Company presents this original comedy about life post-zombie apocalypse. You had us at zombies.

CSO Gospel Choir presents Roots: A 10-Year Retrospective

The acclaimed CSO Gospel Choir celebrates a decade of singing with this retrospective featuring a wide range of gospel works, from the classic “Amazing Grace” to James Cleveland’s “Lord Help Me to Hold Out.”


Choral music isn’t the most exciting thing on the festival menu, but Eleganza features none other than Rhiannon Giddens Laffan of Carolina Chocolate Drops fame. She teams up with Cheryse McLeod to perform sacred songs, opera, spirituals, and musical theater.