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Glenn T. Griffin, artistic director, Queen City Theatre Company

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From the moment he first hit the boards at age 6, playing a chick in The Little Red Hen, Glenn T. Griffin, artistic director of the fledgling, year-old Queen City Theatre Company knew he'd found his oeufre ... um, oeuvre. With Broadway only a 20-minute jaunt from his New Jersey home, Griffin's parents were soon trundling their son into the city for auditions. He continued honing his theatrical skills in London's West End. "London has theater for everybody," he says. "There's a real push to [make theater accessible] to everyone" -- and mass consumption theater is "eggsactly" what Griffin is striving to bring to Charlotte.

QCTC's production of Sordid Lives closed at the end of August to sold out shows at Spirit Square's Duke Power Theater. October brings The Manuscript, "a suspense drama about fame and plagiarism, with plenty of Hitchcockian twists and turns." In November, QCTC's second stage presents The Kinsey Sicks, a five-man "Dragapella Beauty Shop Quartet" who gleefully roast political potentates and pundits in five-part harmony. Come spring, Dog Sees God focuses on the Peanuts kids, all grown up. (The action takes place at Snoopy's funeral). Next summer, Griffin debuts his first full-scale musical, Sideshow, which chronicles the career of Siamese twins Daisy and Violet Hilton (who spent their last days right here in the Queen City). "It's a great piece of local history," Griffin says, "but it's really a show about people and the human experience; about the desire to be loved."

To attain first-rate performances, Griffin admits that as a director, he must often challenge actors to "step outside the comfort zone." Although he is not the first to throw down this gauntlet, he's challenging Queen City audiences to do the same. "If there are 20 'blockbuster' movies playing and half of them are crap, there's really no excuse not to go see live theater (especially with 'Pay-What-You-Can' nights)," he says. So what's the matter, Charlotte? Ya' chicken?

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