The Arts Buzz: A blog about Howard Pyle's influence on Hollywood, two great versions of "A Christmas Carol," "Noises Off" by UD's REP, "The Beauty Queen of Leenane" at Chapel Street Players and more




Pyle in Tinseltown

Let’s consider the possibility that famed illustrator Howard Pyle created the imagery that became the standard for tales like “Treasure Island” and “Robin Hood.” So influential were his paintings that the sets and costumes of many Hollywood films emulated them. See how when art historian David Lubin presents “Buried Treasure: Howard Pyle and the Silver Screen” on Nov. 17 at Delaware Art Museum. Using snippets of classic adventure films such as “The Black Pirate,” he’ll show just how big a mark Pyle made on Hollywood. The talk begins at 6:30 p.m. Remember: It’s the third Thursday of the month, so new parents and caregivers are invited to bring their strollers and carriers—with children, of course—to tour the galleries, starting at 10:30 a.m. For more, call 571-9590, or visit delart.org.

Christmas by Candlelight

Can it be? The holidays again? If you’re humbugging already, get in the mood at The New Candlelight Theatre during a modern retelling of “A Christmas Carol” Nov. 11-Dec. 23. The new tale goes like this: Veteran stage director Devlin Powers is unhappy with life and disgusted with the cast and crew of his current show. On the verge of closing his theater days before his Christmas show opens, he's visited by a parade of Broadway characters past, present and future. As the ghosts showed Ebenezer Scrooge the meaning of Christmas, these quirky characters help Powers regain his joy for the season. You’ll hear tunes such as “It's The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year,” “Baby It's Cold Outside” and “We Need A Little Christmas”—because we do, and right this very minute. So pick up the phone and order those tickets. Call 475-2313, or visit nctstage.org.

Speaking of “A Christmas Carol”…

Delaware Children’s Theatre will present “Scrooge: The Musical” at its historic playhouse Nov. 20-Dec. 18. It’s the same story as the classic Charles Dickens tale, but with music. Don’t miss it. Call 655-1014, or visit dechildrenstheatre.org.

Dark Beauty

As Mag schemes to keep her 40-year-old daughter, Maureen, hidden at home in Western Irelad, far from men so that she’ll have a caregiver in her waning days, Maureen despairs—until Pato Dooley arrives on the scene. Will Mag sabotage her daughter’s chance at marriage just to serve her own needs? Find out when the Chapel Street Players open “The Beauty Queen of Leenane” on Friday. Written by Martin McDonagh, called a “born storyteller” and the “most wickedly funny young dramatist on either side of the Irish Sea” by the New York Times, “Beauty Queen” is hilarious and dark in its portrayal of a relationship that is comical and cruel. The show runs Nov. 11-13 and Nov. 17-19. Call 368-2248, or visit chapelstreetplayers.org.

Off Again, On Again

This one comes straight from the UD’s Resident Ensemble Players: “The New York Times critic Frank Rich called ‘Noises Off’ ‘the funniest play written in my lifetime.’ Frayn’s brilliantly riotous romp cleverly follows both the backstage antics and onstage calamities of a woefully inept theatre troupe attempting to perform a sex comedy called ‘Nothing On.’ Flubbed lines, overblown egos, misplaced props and falling trousers abound as the wonderful REP acting company deliver a madcap melee of theatrical mishaps that will have you grasping your sides and gasping for air!” Who can resist that? We’ll see you there. The show runs Nov. 16-Dec. 11. Call 831-2204, or visit rep.udel.edu.

A Special Night for the Symphony

Delaware Symphony Orchestra continues its classical series Nov. 18-19 at The Grand Opera House, with guest violinist Gil Shaham performing Brahms’ Violin Concerto and Elgar, Enigma Variations. “Between Friends” promises a musical testament to the power of friendship. Go early for the pre-concert lecture. Call 652-5577, or visit delawaresymphony.org.

A Unique Celebration of Song

On Nov. 25, the chamber ensemble CoroAllegro wil celebrate 25 years of stunning performances with a special concert at the beautiful and historic Immanuel Church on the Green in New Castle. The program features audience favorites, as well as more challenging works. The concert begins at 4 p.m. For more , call 652-3997, or visit please visit coroallegro.com.

Unique Song to Celebrate

This promised to be great fun. The Diamond State Chorus, a group of women barbershop-style singers—2011 regional barbershop champions—will perform at the annual Festival of Trees for Delaware Hospice. This is a capella holiday music with heart. See them at Cokesbury Village in Hockessin on Nov.19. Visit diamondstatechorus.org for more.

A Classical Gas—and More

Few chamber groups are as versatile as the Philmore Ensemble. The musicians play tunes from the renaissance through the 21st century, as well as tunes of often overlooked composers. “Versatile” extends from the repertoire to the playing. Members use various combinations of voice, flute, violin, viola, mandolin, lute and guitar to provide a different kind of concert experience. See it at South Coastal Library in Bethany Beach on Nov. 17. You’ll learn a bit about musical history, too. Admission is free. Call 539-5231, or visit southcoastal.lib.de.us.

Poets, Unite!

Visit Kent County Library Nov. 17 for an open reading, organized by the Holly Branch of the National League of American Pen Women. Maggie Rowe, author of “Every Mother Moves To A New Country,” published by Finishing Line Press in August,  will give a short reading, followed by attendees. The event is free, but poets and attendees must register. Call 698-6440. The event begins at 6:30 p.m.

Intimate Dance

Join First State Ballet Theatre at The Baby Grand in Wilmington on Nov. 18 for “Up Front,” as informal performance by the state’s only professional ballet company. Meet the dancers, faculty and staff during a reception afterward. Seating is limited to 100. To get in on it, call 658-7897 ext. 3851, or visit firststateballet.com.

A Bit of Broadway

Clear Space Theater Company presents “Broadway Rhythms” at The Schwartz Center for the Arts in Dover on Nov. 18. The Rehoboth-based performers will perform selections from 10 great American musicals, including “Show Boat,” “Sweeney Todd” and “Cabaret.” It’s not the same old song and dance. Call 678-5152, or visit schwartzcenter.com.

A Songwriter on the Rise

Fans of local songwriter Melissa Cox can celebrate the release of her fourth CD, “Harmonious Maladies,” at the Newark Arts Alliance on Nov. 18. Described as a “musical manifestation of the singer’s slightly bi-polar life,” the album addresses everything from depression and psychotherapy to love and the divine. Music styles range across genres, so we’ll decline to describe it here. Suffice it to say, Cox’s talent has been well recognized by the local media, so the party will be worth your while. For more, visit MelissaCoxMusic.net.

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