Delaware’s Arts & Culture Guide for 2013-2014

Mark your calendars. This is going to be a great season for arts enthusiasts.

“Costumes of Downton Abbey” is presented at Winterthur March 1-Jan. 4.  //  Downton® and Downton Abbey®. A Carnival Films/Masterpiece Co-Production.    © 2005 Carnival Film & Television Limited. Masterpiece is a trademark of the WGBH Educational Foundation. All Rights Reserved.  Photograph by Nick Briggs, © 2012 Carnival Film & Television Limited. All Rights Reserved.

It seems romance is in the air. If you have “Downton Abbey” fever, visit Winterthur March 1-Jan. 4, 2015, to see “Costumes of Downton Abbey,” a display of about 35 original designs form the smash television series. On view now through Jan. 5, “The Look of Love: Eye Miniatures from the Skier Collection” features hand-painted portraits of individual eyes, a tradition, dating to the late 18th century, that began with a love story. (Wilmington, 888-4600,

Biggs Museum of American Art
“Bayard Taylor Berndt: Brandywine Valley Artist” is a retrospective of Wilmington framer and painter Bayard Taylor Berndt (1908-1987). Former owner of the iconic Hardcastle Gallery in Wilmington, the prolific Berndt was one of the area’s first modernist painters, says curator Ryan Grover. Nov. 1-Feb. 23. (Dover, 674-2111,

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Brandywine River Museum
In 2010, Los Angeles-based artist James Welling initiated a series of photographs inspired by the painter Andrew Wyeth. Welling began the series as an examination of Wyeth’s influence on Welling’s career, from his earliest watercolors in the 1960s through his photography of today. Shot in Pennsylvania and Maine—in the same areas where Wyeth painted throughout his life—the series will culminate with new work created specifically for an exhibition at the Brandywine River Museum. It runs Sept. 26, 2014 through Nov. 23, 2014. (Chadds Ford, Pa., 610-388-2700,

City Theater Company
CTC celebrates 20 years with a great season that begins Oct. 5 with an in-concert version of “Jesus Christ Superstar” at the Queen Theater. Producing artistic director Michael Gray takes over for December’s production of the musical “Gypsy” at The Black Box in OperaDelaware Studios. In February, look for “Best Of: 2.0,” a show of 10-minute plays by local writers. (Wilmington, 220-8285,

Clear Space Theatre
A couple longtime Broadway favorites brighten the winter and spring. “The Odd Couple” runs on weekends, Jan. 31-Feb. 16, then “Camelot” March 21-April 6. One not to miss: the puppet show “Avenue Q” May 2-18. (It’s a naughty version of “Sesame Street.”) (Rehoboth Beach, 227-2270,

Coastal Concerts
Starting Oct. 19, quartet-in-residence at New York’s Mannes College of Music, Orion String Quartet brings its concert of works by past masters and living composers. The virtuositic Brasil Guitar Duo plays classical and world music on Nov. 16. The Danish String Quartet brings its “fun” approach to traditional music on Feb. 8. (Lewes,

Delaware Art Museum 
This is huge: “American Moderns, 1910-1960: From O’Keeffe to Rockwell” features works from Georgia O’Keeffe, Stuart Davis, Arthur Dove, Rockwell Kent, Grandma Moses and Norman Rockwell in an exploration of a dynamic 50 years of changing and emerging styles. The exhibition, traveling from the Brooklyn Museum, includes paintings and sculptures from its renowned American collection. Oct. 12-Jan. 15. (Wilmington, 571-9590,

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Sir Derek Jacobi narrates “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” for the DSO on New Year’s Eve.

Delaware Symphony Orchestra
Welcome back, DSO. After a year of retooling, the symphony returns with a full schedule: a four-program Classics Concert Series, a Chamber Concert Series of four concerts, the return of the New Year’s Eve celebration, and appearances by internationally acclaimed pianist Misha Dichter and British actor Sir Derek Jacobi. Jacobi closes the Classics Series by narrating Mendelssohn’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” as part of the concert “Classic Characters.” Guest soloists Mary Wilson, soprano; Clint Williams, countertenor; Jonathan Beyer, baritone; and the University of Delaware’s 130-voice Symphonic Chorale will join the DSO in performing “Carmina Burana.” (Wilmington, 656-7442,


Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts
Brew as art? Believe it. In conjunction with the exhibition “The Act Of Drinking Beer With Friends Is The Highest Form Of Art” through Nov. 17, you have three more opportunities to tip one with local celebrities: Oct. 9, Oct. 23 and Nov. 13. The celebrity guests will lead great conversation in artist Tom Marioni’s beer bar installation. The California-based conceptual artist re-defines the gallery space to elevate the act of drinking beer to one of aesthetic significance, one as important as viewing the Mona Lisa. (Wilmington, 656-6466,

Delaware College of Art and Design
DCAD offers “Six: Women Photographers of the Mid-Atlantic,” a curated exhibit featuring the work of women artists who have previously lectured at the college through the Artist Speakers Series. Featured artists include Alida Fish, Connie Imboden, Amy Stein, Martha Madigan, Jeannie Pearce, and France Scully Osterman, with photographic works ranging in technique from historic practices, like prints from collodion negatives, to contemporary digital work. It runs Nov. 1-Jan. 12. (Wilmington, 622-8000,

Delaware Children’s Theatre 
Following its best season in 20 years, DCT has a gangbuster schedule for the year, featuring “Annie” Oct. 5-Nov. 3, “The Wizard of Oz” Nov. 23-Dec. 15, “Aladdin” Jan. 18-Feb. 9, “Seussical, the Musical” March 1-23, “Sleeping Beauty” April 5-May 10 and “The Adventures of Winnie the Pooh” May 17-25. Cool things of note: “Sleeping Beauty” is the premiere of a re-written play—by Emmy-winner Donna Swajeski, daughter of theater founder Marie Swajeski—with updated themes that modern kids can relate to. As with “Snow White” last year, “Sleeping Beauty” will be produced in other theaters around the country. And there’s a new concert series for adult, Music of the Night. It features tunes from “Phantom of the Opera” Jan. 24-25 and “Forty Shades of Emerald” March 7-8 in time for St. Patrick’s Day. (Wilmington, 655-1014,

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Delaware Museum of Natural History
Check out “Nature’s Bounty” March 7-April 20, a collaboration with the Delaware College of Art and Design. The juried exhibition will feature 25 to 40 pieces of nature-inspired artwork by DCAD students. 

“The goal is to celebrate nature and art together while reaching out to groups of people who might not otherwise encounter one or the other,” says communications director Dan McCunney. From Oct. 11 till Jan. 5, you can touch the fossils of the sabertooth cat, woolly mammoth, dire wolf and giant beaver in “Ice Age Imperials.” (Wilmington, 658-9111,

Delaware Theatre Company 
A farce, a musical, a play with a social conscience and a Broadway classic—that’s what’s on tap for the season at DTC. Our fave: “Ain’t Misbehavin’” April 2-27. If you love the music, lyrics and wicked piano of the inimitable Fats Waller, this 1978 Tony Award winner is for you. (Wilmington, 594-1100,

Mary Kate Reynolds // Photo by Tisa Della-Volpe

First State Ballet Theatre 
First, the world premiere: “Irene” on Feb. 21 tells the story of a young dancer who joins a new company—made up of vampires. It’s a collaboration with Wilmington guitarist-composer Shaun Dougherty and original choreography by FSBT’s Alex Buckner. The Delaware premiere of “Cinderella” closes the mainstage season April 12-13. If you can’t wait that long for your ballet fix, see “Swan Lake” Oct. 13 at the Schwartz Center in Dover, Oct. 19-20 at The Grand Opera House in Wilmington. (Wilmington, 658-7897,


Dover Downs Hotel & Casino 
The “Chattanooga Choo-Choo” pulls into Dover to deliver the The Glenn Miller Orchestra, maker of such classics as “Moonlight Serenade,” “Tuxedo Junction” and “A Sentimental Journey.” See it Oct. 25. Country darling Kellie Pickler plays Nov. 29. (Dover, 800-711-5882,

Dover Symphony Orchestra
This outstanding community orchestra offers an “Invitation to the Dance” at its fall classical concert at Calvary Assembly of God on Oct. 19. It plays “Ringing in the Holiday Season” at Dover Downs on Dec. 1, followed by its spring classical concert there March 23 and the Dover Days Pops Concert on May 4. (Dover,

DuPont Theatre
It’s Halloween. When better to see “The Addams Family?” Created by the team of “Jersey Boys,” this is a musical version of artist Charles Addams’ macabre comic. Then, whether you are a Shark or a Jet, you’ll want to see the classic “West Side Story” Dec. 3-8. Don Quixote rides into town as “The Man of La Mancha” March 25-30. (Wilmington, 656-4401,

DuPont Theatre Children’s Series
The packed schedule begins with “Skippyjon Jones,” the best sword-fighting dog in all of Mexico, even though he’s a cat. See it Oct. 22-23. “Freedom Train” tells the story of Harriett Tubman Jan. 30-31. “The Monster Who Ate My Peas” on May 13 shows what happens to a boy who doesn’t like vegetables. (Wilmington, 656-4401,

Fringe Wilmington 2013
The alternative performing arts festival kicks off with a preview of the performances at World Cafe Live at the Queen on Oct. 30. See five minutes of each show from the 40 to 60 invited artists. Follow that on Oct. 31 with a costume ball at the Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts on the Riverfront. Enjoy Fringe shows from 6 p.m. till 9 p.m., followed by the ball, which goes until midnight. The fun lasts at about 12 venues across Wilmington through Nov. 3. (

The Grand Opera House
With a heavy emphasis on rock, pop and comedy shows, The Grand offers comics Cheech & Chong Oct. 26 and Lily Tomlin March 27, singer-songwriter Gordon Lightfoot Nov. 6, crooner Aaron Neville Nov. 8 and—drum roll, please—blues goddess Bonnie Raitt Nov. 26. Former Stray Cat Brian Setzer brings the 10th anniversary tour of his Christmas Rocks Extravaganza Dec. 5. (Wilmington, 652-5577,

“Everybody’s Hero, The Jackie Robinson Story” hits the Schwartz Center Feb. 8, 2014.

Schwartz Center for the Arts
Beatlemaniacs, 2014 is your year, the 50th since the Fab Four hit the States. Celebrate them, along with Herman’s Hermits, The Zombies and other ’60s faves, with “The British Invasion Tribute” on Oct. 26. Hear the music, see the fashion and dance like crazy. If you liked the movie “42,” you will love “Everybody’s Hero, The Jackie Robinson Story,” which plays Feb. 8. (Dover, 678-3583,


Hagley Museum and Library
Z. Taylor Vinson collected automotive memorabilia almost since the modern auto was born. You can see items such as catalogs and models May 17-Feb. 6. You can still see “Fashion Meets Science: Introducing Nylon” through March 14 to find out how DuPont’s synthetic fiber changed the world. (Wilmington, 658-2400,

Longwood Gardens
On Oct. 22 celebrated pianist André Watts will show why Leonard Bernstein admired him. The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain will bring its all-uke show on Nov. 23. Grammy-winning fiddler Mark O’Connor’s Appalachian Christmas celebrates the season with traditional mountain tunes on Dec. 4. Venice Baroque Orchestra plays period tunes on period instruments Feb. 20. (Kennett Square, Pa., 610-388-1000,

Mid-Atlantic Symphony Orchestra
Kevin Short, Esther Jane Hardenbergh other vocalists from the University of Miami Frost School of Music visit Mariner’s Bethel United Methodist Church in Ocean View Dec. 6 and Cape Henlopen High School in Lewes on Dec. 7 for two evenings of traditional seasonal favorites, both vocal and orchestral, conducted by maestro Julien Benichou. (888-846-8600,

Mispillion Art League
It’s a big year for the annual members’ show—No. 10—so visit Oct. 1-Nov. 23 to see “Autumn Bliss,” an exhibition of the very best pieces by league members. Don’t forget the annual holiday show. Beginning Nov. 29, it’s a great opportunity to buy some unique gifts. (430-7646,

The Music School of Delaware
The Music Masters series starts Oct. 23 with Piano Palooza, an all-piano concert by four faculty members plus two “rising stars,” students. It continues with Woodwind Wingding Nov. 13; a program for organ, harpsichord and guitar Feb. 12; the Vocal Extravaganza concert by the voice faculty on March 12; and, on April 16, the Harp and String Quartet and Ravel Piano Trio. Wilmington Community Orchestra concerts happen Nov. 10, Feb. 12, March 23 and May 16. Conductor David Schwartz steps off the podium March 23 to play a world premiere of Charles Abramovic’s violin concerto, while Abramovic conducts.  (Milford, 422-2043; Wilmington, 762-1132,

The New Candlelight Theatre 
Playing through Nov. 3, “A Chorus Line” has been pleasing audiences for almost 40 years with its depiction of working actors trying to get hired for a Broadway show. NCT is also bringing back its popular “Christmas by Candlelight.” Nov. 15-Dec. 22. (Ardentown, 475-2313,

UD’s REP offers “The Mouse Trap” Jan. 23-Feb. 9.  //  Photo by paul cerro

UD Resident Ensemble Players and
Professional Theater Training Program

No one wrote murder mysteries like Agatha Christie. See the players tackle the story of a group of guests trapped by snow in an English country house as a police detective tries to prevent another murder. “The Mouse Trap” runs Jan. 23-Feb. 9. If you prefer laughs to suspense, try “A Servant of Two Masters” Nov. 14-Dec. 8. The commedia dell’arte masterwork promises disguises, traps, tricks, lots and lots of meatballs, a team of commedia dell’arte experts straight from Italy and Mabel, a beautiful Percheron carriage horse from White Horse Farm in Landenberg—onstage. (Newark, 831-2204,


Newark Symphony Orchestra
Among the four concerts in the symphony series, which starts Oct. 27 with a program of works by German composers, NSO performs its holiday concert on Dec. 7. Mother’s Day at the Symphony happens May 11. All symphony concerts are given at Independence School in Newark. Check the website for chamber series concerts at Newark United Methodist Church. (Newark, 369-3466,

Wine, women and song at The Grand Opera House. First, “L’elisir d’amore” (“The Elixir of Love”) Oct. 11 and Oct. 13, featuring tenor William Davenport, who as Nemorino, is drawing comparisons to Luciano Pavarotti. “Il Trovatore” (“The Troubadour”) May 2 and May 4 features some of Verdi’s most powerful music, and it features maestro Giovanni Reggioli, who returns after conducting Verdi’s “Macbeth” last year. Check out the Opera Undressed series at Opera Studios in Wilmington for stripped down performances of classic and favorite works. (Wilmington, 652-5577,

Rehoboth Art League 
See “The Spirit of the Miniature Exhibition” Oct. 4-27, a first in Southern Delaware. On Nov. 2, don’t miss the annual Holiday Fair, where 40 artisans from the region will show and sell their work. In January, “Hot Off the Press” will show the work of college students from Delaware and Maryland. It will run through mid-February. (Dates TBD.) Younger students from Sussex County get their show, “Young at Art,” March 8-23. (227-8408,

Rehoboth Beach Independent Film Festival 
The 16th annual festival happens Nov. 6-10, with more than 100 features, shorts and docs from around the world. See “Blue Caprice” about the Washington, D.C.-area snipers, and the feature “Comrade Kim Goes Flying,” one of the first films done in North Korea with Western money. It tells the story a small-town girl who moves to the big city of Pyongyang and fulfills her dreams of becoming a flying trapeze artist. This year’s Country Spotlight is on Germany. Former NPR personality Liane Hansen will host A Conversation with Brian Geraghty, star of the Academy Award-winning  “The Hurt Locker.” (Rehoboth Beach, 645-9095,

Rehoboth Beach Museum 
See “The Beach Eats” through March, an exhibition and celebration of 100 years of dining at the resort. See memorabilia such as photos from well-known restaurants past and present, like Chez la Mer, Sydney’s Side Street, The Back Porch Café, Gus and Gus, The Avenue Restaurant and the Belhaven Hotel. (Rehoboth Beach, 227-7310,


University Museums
It’s been 150 years since the publication of Los Desastres de la Guerra and its 80 etchings depicting scenes of war, famine, and political commentary—created by Francisco Goya y Lucientes 50 years earlier. The UD’s Janis Tomlinson has ordered prints from the first edition to re-create the order in which the images were made. See them in “Goya’s War: Los Desastres de la Guerra” at the Old College Main Gallery through Dec. 8. Concurrently, “From Samurai to Soldier: Japanese Prints of War” shows woodblock prints depicting scenes of war and warriors. It’s in the Old College West Gallery. (Newark, 831-8037,

WilmFilm Festival
On the heels of a highly successful first festival this year, WilmFilm No. 2 is still in the planning, but organizer Barry Schlecker promises more of the same at Penn Cinema on Wilmington’s Riverfront: great indies and socially conscious or local-interest films shown in partnership with local nonprofits. It happens April 25-27. (690-5555,

World Cafe Live at the Queen
This is all you need to know: There’s a bassoon soloist, and he’s an Elvis impersonator. See it for yourself when the Delaware Symphony Orchestra presents “Igor and Elvis” Jan. 31. That’s Igor Stravinsky, whose “A Soldier’s Tale” will be featured with Michael Daugherty’s “Dead Elvis,” which is scored for Stravinsky’s instrumentation. On Jan. 25, “One Child Born: The Music of Laura Nyro” presents the range of the songwriter’s prodigious talents as one woman explains how the music affected her life. (Wilmington, 994-1400,   

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