Reopening gala April 1

The Dock Street Theatre, which was created in the 1930s on the site of the nation's first theater, is ready to reopen following a three-year renovation that cost about $19 million.

Performances by opera star Denyce Graves, violinist Geoff Nuttall, actress Heather Gillespie and singers from "Flora, an Opera," will be the featured attractions at the gala reopening of the Dock Street Theatre on April 1.

Graves portrayed Giullietta in the 1991 Spoleto Festival USA production of "Les Contes d'Hoffmann."

Natalie Dessay, originally scheduled to perform, has canceled all upcoming U.S. appearances due to illness.

Nuttall also will perform with other chamber artists, while cast members of "Flora" offer a sneak preview of the 2010 Spoleto opera. Last seen at the Dock Street in the Spoleto production of "Mamba's Daughters," Gillespie will perform DuBose Heyward's prologue to "The Recruiting Officer."

The evening will commence at 6 p.m., with guests encouraged to explore the restored theater's public spaces. After the 7 p.m. performance, festivities continue with cocktails in the courtyard and upstairs in the Wadsworth Room, followed by a black-tie dinner.

Tickets are $250-$1,000. Tables for 10 are available at $5,000 and $10,000 each and include a champagne reception, premium performance seating, post-performance cocktails and reserved table for 10 for dinner on the Dock Street stage with artists.

Tickets at $250 afford entry to the champagne reception and performance seating.

For information or to purchase tickets, call 579-3100.

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