Great News from the DSO

Here’s the biggest news going in the world of local arts: The Delaware Symphony Orchestra will resume full-orchestra performances—and we couldn’t be happier. The symphony, whose future was in question just a few months ago, will perform a series of  programs in January, March and April at The Grand Opera House in downtown Wilmington and the Laird Performing Arts Center at Tatnall School in Greenville. The series will open with DvoÅ™ák’s New World Symphony. It will close with Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Symphony. “We have crafted a season that is broad and beautiful, one that celebrates great symphonic repertoire and the talent of our own DSO musicians, orchestra players and soloists,” says music director and conductor David Amado. “From Humperdinck’s Prelude to Hänsel and Gretel to Debussy’s Danses sacrée et profane, Dvorak’s New World to Beethoven’s Seventh, our season is filled with stellar music and musicians to match.” Says general manager Diana Milburn “It’s a whole new world at the DSO, and our decision to open the Classical Series with the New World Symphony reflects that. We have a new season and a new plan, and we have made a number of changes that will help us better serve our patrons and help return the DSO to solid financial footing. As we continue to rebuild from the financial difficulties that emerged earlier this year, we are thrilled to be able to fill the stage and the air with the musical magic that Maestro David Amado and our musicians are so exceptional at creating.” Tickets are on sale now. Subscriptions to all three programs are $165. Look for more information as the concerts near. And for the love of Mike, go see the symphony. It really is one of our greatest treasures. 652-5577,

Wonderful Winterthur

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Themed “A Feast for the Eyes,” Yuletide at Winterthur is designed to tempt visitors with visions of holidays past and spark ideas for their own celebrations. Guests can explore how Americans have celebrated the winter social season from the 1800s to the present during the Yuletide at Winterthur tour through Jan. 6. In celebration of the exhibition “Uncorked! Wine, Objects & Tradition,” several displays explore customs of drinking and dining as they relate to the holidays. The court invites visitors to step into a 19th-century market square where a variety of goods necessary for winter festivities are sold. The setting and mood evoke images of people from all walks of life strolling through cold cobblestone streets. Then proceed upstairs to see how those goods were used to create holiday displays and experiences. Visitors can explore how the ideal holiday meal evolved from the “groaning board” of the Colonial era to the sophisticated elegance of the early national period. A lavish Victorian-era setting focuses on festive trappings, a glittering tree and a table arrayed with towers of gaily wrapped gifts. There’s more, including classes and workshops on holiday entertaining and decorating, so check the Web site for more. Ad don’t miss the live performances of “A Christmas Carol” by Gerald Charles Dickens, the great-great grandson of Charles Dickens. It happens Dec. 13. 888-4600,

A Holiday Classic

Here’s a show we love: The Possum Point Players production of Irving Berlin’s “White Christmas: The Musical,” based on the 1954 Paramount film starring Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney and Vera Ellen. This score features 17 Irving Berlin standards, including “Happy Holiday,” “The Best Things Happen While You’re Dancing,” “Count Your Blessings Instead of Sheep” and, of course, “White Christmas.” Hear them during PPP’s show Nov. 30-Dec. 1, and Dec. 7-8. The story is this: Veterans Bob Wallace (Kenney Workman of Milford) and Phil Davis (Don Megee of Georgetown) have a successful song-and-dance act after World War II. With romance in mind, the two follow a duo of beautiful singing sisters, Betty and Judy Haynes (Lorraine Steinhoff of Dover and Deni Robinson of Lewes) to their Christmas show at a Vermont lodge, which happens to be owned by Bob and Phil’s former Army commander, Maj. Gen. Thomas F. Waverly (Michael Williams of Georgetown), so they decide to put on a show. But you don’t need to go to Vermont. Just head to Georgetown. 856-4560,

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Sex, Sex, Sex

“If ‘Anything to Declare?’ has one redeeming quality, it’s laughter,” says director Steve Tague. “The play is all about sex, but sex in a world of old-fashioned innocence where young women remain chaste until their wedding night and husbands would do anything—including a visit to a working girl—to prove how much they love their wives.” “Anything to Declare?” presented by UD’s Resident Ensemble Players, is running now at The Thompson Theatre. Billed as a question—wacky farce or camel drama?—the hilarious play tells the tale of Robert, who, after marrying into the du Pont family, returns from his honeymoon in desperation. “In a French farce, of course, the innocence is wrapped in a wacky story of misplaced pants, mistaken identities, and a whirlwind of zany characters running in and out of lots of doors,” Tague says. “Anything to Declare?” has it all. Unable to fulfill his husbandly duties, Robert must deal with two grandchild-demanding in-laws, a jilted fiancée, a camel dealer, and one very popular and artistic courtesan. This contemporary translation of Maurice Hennequin and Pierre Veber’s classic play is guaranteed to keep you in stitches. Did we mention it happens in Paris in 1912? See it through Dec. 9. 831-2204,

Our Favorite Orphan

Leapin’ lizards! One of the most acclaimed musicals of the past 35 years will appear at the Smyrna Opera House for the holidays. It could only be “Annie.” Set in Depression-era New York City, little orphan Annie charms everyone as she searches for a family. “I have always wanted the opportunity to play the role of Annie,” says actress Katie Loftus, “I am very excited to get to do so at one of my favorite theaters. We have a wonderful and talented cast and crew.” Winner of seven Tony Awards, including Best Musical, “Annie” is based on the comic strip by Harold Gray, “Little Orphan Annie.” “We have rounded up the best talent that Smyrna has to offer and have a production team with a combined 45 years of professional theater experience both here in the U.S and abroad,” says director Dan Sanchez. “Smyrna better watch out this holiday season, ’cause Annie is coming to town!” The cast includes Bob Castro as Oliver “Daddy” Warbucks, Kathy DeLong as Grace Farrell, Barbara Bigelow as Miss Hannigan, Christopher Bruce as Daniel “Rooster” Hannigan and Laura Dunbar as Lily St. Regis/Star to Be. See it Dec. 14-16. 653-4236,

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The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

One of the things we love most about the holidays is visiting the Brandywine River Museum. First, there’s the model railroad. As many as five of 150 locomotives and 300 freight cars run simultaneously on more than 2,000 feet of track, winding past a village, stone quarry, oil refinery, mountains and waterfall as Santa and his sleigh fly overhead. This year’s display highlights the train experience in Japan after WWII, with model trains by Sakai, Stronlite, Ajin and IMP. Second, there’s the critter ornaments, handmade by local volunteers for sale to support the museum and programs. The decorations will adorn seven trees on the first and third floors, and charming critter scenes will surround the base of the trees and fill display cases. One towering tree, also decorated with critter ornaments, will rise three stories through the central lobby. For sale in the gift shop witll be “Teasel & Twigs, ‘Tis a Critter Christmas Tale” a new children’s picture book about the critter ornaments. This year’s celebration also features “Pop-Up! Illustration in 3-D,” a display of books that range from late 19th-century examples to sophisticated constructions designed by contemporary paper engineers working with noted artist-illustrators like Edward Gorey, Maurice Sendak and Tomie dePaola. To show the complexity of the process, the exhibition includes pre-production mock-ups by Chuck Fischer, Edward Gorey and Robert Sabuda. Also on view is “Donald Pywell: Golden Impressions of Andrew Wyeth,” which features exquisitely crafted jewelry by Pywell and inspired by Wyeth’s paintings. Pywell collaborated with Wyeth on the design for each piece. Everything is on display Nov. 23-Jan. 6. As part of A Brandywine Christmas, choral groups from local schools will provide musical entertainment in the second floor lobby throughout December. A complete list of the groups, with the dates and times of their performances, can be found on the museum’s Web site. (610) 388-2700,

Art for Arden’s Sake

You know Arden—that wacky place where all the artists live. See how they work, during the fourth annual Ardens Artists Studio Tour. It begins with a reception Dec. 7, as part of Wilmington’s Art on the Town, then continues through the weekend. Since its founding in 1900 by sculptor Frank Stephens and architect William Price, Arden has been a haven for visual artists, crafts people, musicians and actors. The three Ardens—Arden, Ardentown and Ardencroft—are Single Tax and Arts & Crafts communities. The Single Tax is an economic theory proposed by Henry George, an economist and philosopher who believed that a land value tax was the most fair and equitable tax. The Ardens also were founded on the ideals of William Morris, as an Arts and Crafts community, a reaction against the industrial revolution that valued handcrafted goods and individualistic design. The Arden Craft Shop Museum still supports this idea. It hosts Afternoon with the Artist one Sunday every month, when a local artist displays his or her work. The studio tour is different. It’s your opportunity to meet and see the artists where they work. Twenty artists are part of this year’s tour, which continues through the weekend, and group show will be mounted at the Buzz Ware Village Center on Friday night. Lots of work will be for sale. “There is a resurgence of the visual arts in Arden as we artists become more aware of each other,” says longtime Arden artist David Burslem. “The history of Arden as an artist colony is perhaps the reason that our residents and artists alike have been drawn here to live and work. It’s as if the town itself and all of its creative activities have bred a mystical place in which to nurture creativity. Just as our own art that we produce could probably be made anywhere, it’s the acceptance and interest of what we do by the community at large and the contacts that we have with our own community of artists which really allows us to more freely be creative in our own private utopia.” Burslem cites local artists Aurelius Renzetti, Bunni Hurlong, and Ash and Mary Burslem as influences. “When I moved to Arden 19 years ago from Center City Philadelphia I wondered if I would fit in,” says Linda Celestian. Her new surroundings influenced a return to nature-themed work. She also found herself regularly dropping in on friends in their studios, which never happened in the city.  “I love working in the village and being surrounded by so many artists and talented people. I walk into my studio and immediately get lost and totally absorbed in designing and making my jewelry.” says Joy Davis.

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