Welcome to Delaware Today’s arts blog, the spot to dish on the many cultural opportunities available to Delaware audiences. We’ll cover as many genres as possible, and note cool events offered by organizations large and small, in all three counties.
In the next several weeks alone, The Grand Opera House is hosting smokin’ musicians and performers like Rickie Lee Jones, Lewis Black, Jesse Cook, Keb’ Mo’ and Lyle Lovett. But seriously, this is just for starters. The whole year’s lineup rocks. Check it out at TheGrandWilmington.org.
Watch for “First,” WHYY-TV’S new magazine-format show dedicated to what else, The First State. The program is aired Fridays at 10 p.m., Saturdays at 11 a.m., Sundays on WHYY-TV’s Y Info channel, and streams at http://www.whyy.org/video. If you’re a Comcast subscriber, you can watch “First” anytime with On-Demand.
My thanks to senior publicist Brian Rossiter and all the folks at WHYY for letting me watch a taping on Wednesday. John Mussoni, managing editor and executive producer, was most gracious, too. Now that I’ve seen super hosts Stephanie Aldrich, Tom Byrne and Bill Cook in action, I’m sure the show will be successful. We don’t want to lose our local voice, and I can’t think of better “voices” to represent Delaware.
Look for a larger piece on “First” in the December issue of Delaware Today. In the meantime, tune in and watch extensive interviews with newsmakers, in-depth pieces on Delaware trends and culture, and fun and informative chat with invited guests.
More on “First” later.
The long-awaited Delaware Theatre Company’s opener is finally here. And we have been waiting and waiting and waiting for this, especially since the one and only Kevin Ramsey (of “Sam Cooke Forever Mr. Soul” fame) returns with the East Coast premiere of “Fire on the Bayou: A Mardi Gras Musical Extravaganza.”
The show, told through the eyes of Hurricane Katrina survivors, rocks the music and spirit of Ramsey’s hometown of New Orleans. Ramsey conceived and directed the production, too. If you are not moved by this show, you can’t be moved.
Welcome back, Mr. Ramsey. We’ll be there.
Contact info: The show runs October 14 thru November 1. delawaretheatre.org or 594-1100
Page 2: The Cat’s Meow
The Resident Ensemble Players at the University of Delaware are doing “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof,” from October 15 thru Nov. 1.
This, in my mind, is Tennessee Williams’ best work, though I may be biased, since he and Arthur Miller are my favorite playwrights. I’ve seen Williams’ productions performed by community groups, those that were regional and professional, and productions on Broadway and at London’s West End. The cast matters. The technical elements matter. And when the aforementioned are top notch, a play by either playwright is something you never forget.
But “Cat” is special. Williams’ characters are bitter yet soulful, angry yet funny. They are lonely, lost souls who have no sense of reality, and so spoiled that they see no need to live graciously. They are family members united by name, not love. The conflict goes deep in “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.”
When most people think of “Cat,” they think of the film, largely because of its cast, including Jack Carson, Paul Newman, Burl Ives, and, of course, Elizabeth Taylor, who played the impossibly sexy Maggie. While this cast was stellar (Who can forget those bedroom scenes with Taylor and Newman?), there’s something to be said about watching a live drama.
The REP hasn’t let us down yet, especially after that opener, “I Am My Own Wife,” a fabulous one-man show starring Michael Gotch. I’m predicting an excellent show.
Click here to read about REP star Elizabeth Heflin, who plays Maggie.
Contact info: udel.edu/theatre or 831-2204.
Page 3: Hip Granny
Author and playwright Barbara Graham pays a visit to the Milton Public Library on October 17. Her lecture, “Off the Page,” offers excerpts from her book “Eye of My Heart.” In it, Graham talks candidly about the pleasures and perils of grandmotherhood.
And, as it turns out, being a grandmother today looks a lot different than it did yesterday. My guess is that women of all ages (and men who respect those women) will get something out of this. I’ve heard Graham at other events, and she’s a gifted speaker. Makes those of us of a certain age realize that while we may get older, we also get better…and smarter.
Graham will sell and sign “Eye of My Heart,” an excellent collection of essays.
Contact info: The Milton Public Library is located at 121 Union St. in Milton. This “Off the Page” event, one of several, is free. Seating is first-come, first-served. No resos.