Story of Biblical Prophet Comes to Life at the North Charleston Performing Arts Center
Jeff Walker, Entertainment Writer
The reviews are in. Secular and Christian media outlets agree 'Daniel and the Kings' is spectacular and wonderfully inspirational. Making its worldwide debut at the North Charleston Performing Arts Center, the musical chronicles one of the Old Testament's greatest prophets in over two hours of uplifting songs.
Written and produced by Summerville couple Chuck and Karen Smith, and directed by Charleston's renowned Brad Moranz, everything about 'Daniel and the Kings' is first class. The songs, the actors, the choreography, costumes, and set design are all designed to move the audience. Utilizing the combined talents of national, regional and local performers 'Daniel and the Kings' is nothing short of amazing.
Kudos to Charleston native Matt Shingledecker who went on make a name for himself in New York and Los Angeles in travelling productions and TV guest spots. His portrayal as Daniel is simply superb. Music major Caitlin Finnie is equally stellar as the sweet and overly caring Princess Nitocris. To two are heavenly together.
Voice Performance major Doug Carpenter excels in voice over work, opera productions, cruise ships, and just about everything else under the sun. Triple kudos to him for stepping into the primary role of King Nebuchadnezzar, as well as depicting King's Belshazzar and Darius. His voice and presence command the stage.
Lowcountry native Tiffany Parker has been lighting up Charleston area stages for over two decades and is a regular in Moranz productions. Portraying the Queen, Parker brings a certain amount of 'female swagger' to the character. She has solid pipes and an equal amount of confidence in her acting abilities. She complements Carpenter extremely well.
I'll extend additional praise to locals Manny Houston as Ashpenaz and Michael Minor as Daniel's father. Both are seasoned professionals and take their roles to the next level. Maddie Castro, Brandon Joyner, and Michael Catangay are comically divine as the three non-sensical wizards, easier at offering up madcap humor than they are interpreting the king's dreams. They bring the funny to stage production.
Truly everything in 'Daniel and the Kings' just falls in place and the musical flows flawlessly from start to finish. However, it wouldn't be a musical without the orchestra expertise of renowned musical conductor Abdiel Iriarte. His productions credits are too long to list, but safe to say this unique talent who's trained in classical piano, musical theory and composing brings Chuck and Karen's songs to life on the stage.
It is over 760 miles from Charleston to New York City, but 'Daniel and the Kings' is Broadway quality. God the creator is full of mysteries. There's no small wonder that He chose the Holy City to debut the Smith's passion project. Whether the good Lord has plans for this musical to move beyond Charleston, only He knows. I'd welcome seeing it play in other markets. We can only pray!
I have to give credit to Chuck and Karen Smith for writing an amazing Biblically inspired musical that not only encompasses the life of Daniel but includes a wee bit of contemporary humor. Total genius! 'Daniel and the Kings' is ideal for the whole family. With ticket prices scaled back ($25) I strongly suggest you bring your grandparents, grandkids, your Sunday school class, or Bible Study group out over the weekend. Anyone sitting in the audience will be truly inspired and leave blessed by this production. For more info and tickets visit https://danielandthekings.com/ or https://www.northcharlestoncoliseumpac.com/events/detail/daniel-and-the-kings