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Department of Theatre and Dance

  • Stages by David Lee Nelson

Stages | March 7-8, 2019

The UofSC Dept. of Theatre and Dance, in partnership with the Colorectal Cancer Prevention Network (CCPN), will present a special engagement of Stages by David Lee Nelson at the Lab Theatre, March 7-8.

Shows are at 8pm nightly.  Tickets for the production are $10, and available online at or at the door.  The Lab Theatre is located at 1400 Wheat St., on the first floor of the Booker T. Washington building.  

In 2017, award-winning performer David Lee Nelson received news that would change his life. At 38 years old, he was diagnosed with Stage Four Colon Cancer. He kept a blog of his time in chemotherapy – a heartbreakingly funny chronicle of a disease which affects over nine million Americans. This material became the basis for his newest solo play, Stages.  Not simply a play about sickness, Stages is a story of life’s setbacks and surprises, and searching for hope in the most unlikely of places.

The one-man show, directed by Adam Knight, debuted at Pure Theatre in Charleston, SC during the 2018 Piccolo Spoleto Festival.  Charleston City Paper hailed it as “an incredibly moving examination of mortality,” while The Post and Courier raved that Stages “shifts effortlessly from the comic to the serious and back again.”  Nelson, who has toured the show to several other locations around the country in the past year, will conduct a post-show audience question-and-answer session after each performance.

Stages is being presented as a kick-off to Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month.  An offshoot of UofSC’s Center for Colon Cancer Research, the CCPN works to reduce colorectal cancer death in South Carolina through statewide education and awareness, as well as providing screening services to medically underserved South Carolinians.

Dr. Frank Berger, Research and Outreach Director of the CCPN, says David’s experience in being diagnosed with the disease at such a young age touches on a key messaging priority for the Network.

“We’ve learned that while colorectal cancer incidences and deaths in people over 50 have gone down in the last couple of decades , those in people under 50 have increased,” says Berger.  “Unfortunately, we do not yet know why.

While the number of affected people under 50 is still a relatively small fraction of the total, he says, the lack of screening in younger age groups often leads to cancer being diagnosed at more advanced stages .

“We need younger people to understand this is happening,” says Berger.  “They need to be aware.” 

As part of the awareness mission, the CCPN will present a brief informational talk before each  performance.

For more information about Stages, contact Kevin Bush in the UofSC Dept. of Theatre and Dance by phone at 803-777-9353 or via email at 




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