Celebrating Shakespeare, The Wonderful Brandywiners and a Rock Show to End All

Celebrating the Bard—at Last

We’re deep into the annual Delaware Shakespeare Festival at Rockwood Mansion Park in Wilmington. This year the festival celebrates its 10th anniversary with a production of the hilarious “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” through July 28. During one enchanting forest night, a fairy king and queen duel for supremacy, young lovers fall wildly out of and into love, and the world’s worst acting troupe puts on a remarkable show. It’s a magical way to celebrate the season—and one very important event. 415-3373, delshakes.org

If you miss the fest, don’t forget “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” as part of Shakespeare in the Garden at the Rehoboth Art League. Meet the New Faces of Shakespeare, a company of the Possum Point Players in Georgetown, on Aug. 4. The old farm is the perfect setting for an evening of magic. 227-8408, rehobothartleague.org

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Fired Up

If you call alternative rock and other contemporary music culture, then this is fair game: The Firefly Music Festival, featuring a lineup of artists the size and quality of a Lollapalooza. The weekend of July 20-22, 40 acts play The Woodlands, 87 acres of forested event space at Dover International Speedway. Performers include rockers The Black Keys and the one-and-only Jack White, current darlings Death Cab for Cutie, Philly-fave John Legend, love god Michael Franti and Spearhead, neo-soul man Mayer Hawthorne, alt eccentrics The Flaming Lips, The Killers, The Felice Brothers and Heartless Bastards. Four stages, four pop-up restaurants. Camping, RV sites and hotel rooms from bottom dollar to super swank. Ticket packages range from $198 to $1,195 for the works, including on-stage viewing. If you thought NASCAR brought the crowds, just wait till you see this. Dover will never be the same. fireflyfestival.com

They Had Us at ‘Hello’

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Big pipes and uproarious comedy—it can be only The Brandywiners, those singular sensations of summer. This year they present “Hello Dolly!” at Longwood Gardens July 26-Aug. 4. The Tony Award-winning musical includes “Put On Your Sunday Clothes,” “Ribbons Down My Back,” “Before the Parade Passes By,” “Elegance,” “It Only Takes A Moment” and “So Long, Dearie”—as only The Brandywiners can sing them. Celebrate the joie de vivre of the fabulous Dolly Gallagher Levi in one of the most fabulous places on earth. (800) 338-6965, longwoodgardens.org

Super Shows

Visit The Freeman Stage at Bayside on July 19 to “Opera, Operetta, and Broadway,” a program of favorites by Mozart, Puccini and Verdi presented by OperaDelaware. The evening features four soloists who have recently appeared in major roles with OD. You’ll also hear songs from traditional Viennese operetta and the American musical theater. Bring your chairs and blankets, then settle in for one enchanted evening. 436-3015, freemanstage.org

The Clear Space Theatre Company’s Summer Repertory is well underway, with productions of “Cabaret” and “Annie,” as well as “Broadway at the Beach,” its own popular revue of classic show tunes. The shows run in two-day rotations, Tuesday through Sunday, through Sept. 2. It’s a boatload of fun. 227-2270, clearspacetheatre.org

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The dynamaic duo behind the Rehoboth Summer Children’s Theatre have been hard at work. This year, don’t miss “The Jungle Book” through Aug. 15, “Puss in Boots” through Aug. 21 of “Cinderella” through Aug. 29. Most shows are at the Baycenter for the Performing Arts in Dewey Beach’s Ruddertowne. 227-6766, rehobothchildrenstheatre.org

Life is Short, Art Shows are Long

Don’t forget to take a Tuesday to see Andrew Wyeth’s recently opened studio, which shows how a true American master thought and worked. Docents offer “Three Generations of Wyeth Art” from the Brandywine River Museum’s collections, followed by lunch in the museum restaurant. The Chadds Ford studio was Wyeth’s workplace from1940 until 2008, the place where he created some of his most famous works. Wyeth was the son of renowned artist N.C. Wyeth (1882-1945), famous for illustrating “Treasure Island” and other classic tales, and father of Jamie Wyeth, a famous painter is his own right. To celebrate the studio’s opening, the museum offers “A Painter’s View: The Andrew Wyeth Studio,” through Oct. 28. The exhibition features paintings and drawings that reflect Wyeth’s interest in the building interior and the individuals who often posed there. Tours take place July 31, Aug. 14, Aug. 28, Sept. 11, Sept. 25, Oct. 9, Oct. 23 and Nov. 6. 610-388-2700, brandywinemusuemshop.org

Also at Brandywine River Museum, see “Summer Sojourns: Art on Holiday,” nearly 100 paintings, drawings and prints from its collection made while their famous creators where visiting  other parts of the country, as well as Europe, Asia and the Mideast, on summer vacations. The exhibition includes work from  N.C. Wyeth’s visits to Port Clyde, Maine, including “Herring Gut” and Untitled (View of Eight Bells), and works that show how the ocean and dunes in Rehoboth Beach inspired some of Howard Pyle’s paintings of pirate lore. There’s more, of course. See it through Sept. 3. (610) 388-2700, brandywinemuseum.org

A highlight of every season at the Biggs Museum of American Art in Dover  is “Award Winners,” an annual celebration of achievements of Delaware Division of the Arts Individual Artist Fellowships recipients. “Award Winners XII” honors top-tier visual and performing artists and writers. They are: Mahasveta Barua, William Bretzger, David Brinley, Anne Marie Cammarato, Fostina Dixon-Kilgoe, Xiang Gao, Gary Hanna, Ramona Maziarz, Abby Millager, James Miller, Ellen Priest, Nicholas Serratore, Jessica Stephens, Sally Van Orden and Carol Woolworth. It’s an opportuniy to see, hear and read the best, as well as study at their knees. See “Award Winners XII” through Oct. 21. 674-2111,

First up at the Delaware Art Museum, “Once Upon a Time in Delaware/In Quest of the Perfect Book” explores decorative book covers through the eyes of artist Nina Katchadourian and local collector Mary G. Sawyer. Katchadourian used volumes from Sawyer’s collection of 2,000 rare books to makes photographs of books grouped so their titles can be read as a sequence. The results are both humorous and insightful. In commemoration of the museum’s centennial, “100 Works for 100 Years” displays a fraction of the 12,000 objects in its collection, each selected for its aesthetic merit, popularity or provenance. Each tells a unique tale. 571-9590, delart.org

If ever you were even slightly disturbed by your own body, you may be interested in “Entropy” by Carson Zullingier at the DCCA through Sept. 9. The artist explores the inner self through a photographic examination of the body’s decline from birth till death. “We see metaphors for youth and age, dark and light, good and evil, and the spiritual and the physical,” says curator J. Susan Isaacs. “The gallery space represents a tomb and a laboratory,” reflecting Zullinger’s interest in both Egyptian funerary architecture and physics. How do our inner and outer selves relate to the universe? This is one way to look at it. 656-6466, thedcca.org

Also at the DCCA: “And the WORD is…” a group exhibition of work by four contemporary artists who use religious language in their work. That work ranges from humorous and ironic to revelatory. Stephanie Kirk’s photography shows messages on church signs such as, “God wants full custody, not a weekend visit” and, “You think it’s hot here?” Blind sculptor David Stephens’ large wooden panels offer words from the Bible carved in Braille. Martin Brief’s 14-panel installation shows-written book titles searched from Amazon.com containing the word “God.” Nick Kripal steel and salt installation takes center stage, spelling out “Epiphany.” All of it will make you think. 656-6466, thedcca.org

Winterthur’s “Uncorked! Wine, Objects & Tradition,” features 300 objects and imagery created in response to our love of wine. “Uncorked!” shows how wine was marketed and consumed in America and Britain from the 1600s through the 1800s. View unique wine bottles, decanters and cellarettes, lead figures of Bacchus, “Champagne Charlie” song sheets, advertisements and more. The exhibition will be on view through Jan. 6. winterthur.org/uncorked

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