Shelby County’s sparkling gem

B  J. Reed performs as Tuscaloosa native Dinah Washington at the SCAC Black Box Theater. (Contributed)

B J. Reed performs as Tuscaloosa native Dinah Washington at the SCAC Black Box Theater. (Contributed)

By PHOEBE DONALD ROBINSON / Community Columnist

Tucked across the street from Columbiana City Hall and the new Hume Scout Plaza is the sparkling gem of Shelby County, the black box theater of the Shelby County Arts Council.

The SCAC calls it their performing “space,” for the ranges of shows that appear are vast. Executive Director Bruce Andrews has a knack for booking quality, sometimes new, but always entertaining acts. From the songs of Patsy Cline sung by Emily Kay Herring to the hilarious play performed by South City Theater staring Columbiana’s first lady of theater Bonnie Atchison “It’s Hard to be Hip over Thirty,” the SCAC presents an eclectic variety of performances at very affordable prices.

Friday night, Aug. 22, Tuscaloosa songstress B. J. Reed brought the full house to a standing ovation with her soulful rendition of Billie Holliday and Dinah Washington. For the price of $20, the evening started at 7 p.m. with a pre-party in the SCAC gallery filled with a stunning exhibit of Shelby County potters and the incredible art of local artist Scott Owen. Jim Lewis donated the wine from his local vineyard, Lewis Vineyards, and SCAC Support Group led by Peggy Wood provided refreshments. SCAC vocal teacher Krista Wendle accompanied by stringed bass and keyboard entertained with jazz as the guests mingled.  Then the show started at 8 p.m.

The black box theater is small and intimate, seating about 100. The stage, lighting and sound are extremely first class. As Reed walked to the stage in her gorgeous gown with Holliday’s signature white flower, she wooed the crowd with song and personality. Drifting into the audience as she sang to the fantastic music of her quality band, she transformed the room into the old Cotton Club. A great night of entertainment for $20/person right in the heart of Shelby County with no driving to Birmingham, no traffic, no parking problems! Discover this hidden jewel in Columbiana.

Upcoming acts include: Gumbo, Blues and Brews, Sept. 26, $25; NOYOKO – A Beatle’s Tribute, Sept. 12, $20; Singer Songwriter Circle, Sept. 19, $15; Three on a String, Dec. 13, $25; and South City Theater’s “Uh-OH Here Comes Christmas!”, Dec. 21, $10.

About Phoebe Donald Robinson

I am President of Donald Real Estate and Ins. Co., Inc., a company that my grandfather , Charles J. Donald, founded in 1925. I am the third generation owner of the business. I am also the Columbiana Columnist for the Shelby County Reporter.

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