UD's REP does “Hamlet”

This is Delaware’s Year of Shakespeare, and UD’s Reperatory Ensemble Players are doing their share to celebrate with a production of the great “Hamlet” Feb. 28-March 7. From REP itself: “Murder, melancholy, and madness rock this powerful and engrossing production of Shakespeare’s greatest play. The death of his father and his mother’s hasty remarriage leave the Prince of Denmark in suspicious mourning when his father’s ghost appears to him, demanding revenge. Hamlet uncovers a world of deception and corruption as he grapples with his morality and mortality while putting into motion a plan of vengeance that will have devastating consequences for the entire kingdom.” Every time you see a Shakespeare play, it’s something entirely new. And who can resist a description like that? See it at the Thompson Theatre of the Roselle Center for the Arts in Newark. 831-2206, rep.udel.edu

Hanging By a String

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No one knows string music better than The Strad magazine, and it has nothing but praise for the Jasper String Quartet. Coastal Concerts brings the group to Bethel United Methodist Church in Lewes on March 2. To its rapidly growing list of top honors, Jasper added winner of the 2012 Cleveland Quartet Award for its stylish, powerful music. The program at Bethel will feature quartet pieces by Bartok and Schubert. See Jasper before it really hits the big time. 888-212-6458, coastalconcerts.org

Playing Possum

The Possum Point Players in Georgetown will host the Delaware Theater Association Festival on March 2, when five Delaware community theater groups will compete for the privilege of moving on to additional regional and national competitions. The groups are The Everett Theatre from Middletown, The Reedy Point Players, the Second Street Players from Milford; The Wilmington Drama League and The Possum Point Players from Georgetown. DTA sponsors and promotes the annual festival showing off the best and brightest of the Delaware community theater scene. Their work will be something special to see, so get to Possum Hall. 856-3460, possumpointplayers.org

Get Moving

It won’t be PHILADANCO’s first visit to The Grand Opera House in Wilmington, but it will be something new: a ballet by hip-hop choreographer Rennie Harris. The Philadelphia-based troupe of dancers has won hearts around the world over the past 40 years through its dazzling blend of ballet, modern dance and jazz. Ths is the cutting edge. See it March 3. If circus-style movement is your thing, see the return of The Golden Dragons, China’s premiere acrobatiic company, on March 23. 652-5577, thegrandwilmington.org

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The Jazz Sage

Music has often inspired painting. In the case of artist Ellen Priest of Wilmington, that music is jazz. You can see a solo show of her work at the Delaware Division of the Arts Mezzanine Gallery in Wilmington March 1-29. A division Individual Artist Fellow in Painting, Priest’s Jazz Series works, begun in 1990, layer interesting papers—vellum, watercolor stock—with drawing and painting to capture the joy and energy of the music. Influenced by abstract expressionists such as Paul Cezanne, Priest says, “One sees a painting through a painting.” See for yourself what she means. 577-8278, artsdel.org

High Adventure—In a Hurry

In our time of extreme feats, we can still count Jules Verne’s “Around the World in 80 Days” as a classic adventure tale. See it performed by Phillly’s at Walnut Street Theatre at The Schwartz Center for the Arts in Dover March 3. Watch Phineas Fogg defy death, storms, physics and other obstacles in his high-speed race around the globe while mistakenly being chased by police. What could be more fun? Since you asked, “Peter Pan” plays March 23-24. 678-5152, schwartzcenter.com

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For Film Fans

We love The Rehoboth Beach Film Society, and this is why: films like “Protecktor.” March’s film for the Around the World series, “Protecktor” tells the story of Emil, a radio reporter in Prague who is married to the Hana, an actress whose new film has catapulted her into fame. As the Nazis come to power, Hana’s Jewish heritage precipitates her fall from stardom to the bottom of the social ladder. To protect her, Emil compromises himself by collaborating with the new Nazi-controlled state radio station. But as he starts enjoying some new attention and respect, his fidelity and loyalty to Hana falter. The assassination of the Third Reich deputy protector and a chance encounter on a bicycle bring their marriage to a crisis. See the award-winning film on March  6 at Movies at Midway. Admission to this film series is free and open to the public. 645-9095, rehobothfilm.com

Imagine This

Straight from the Delaware College of Art and Design to the Delaware Art Museum, professor Alexi Natchev has his work exhibited in “Imagined Places: The Art of Alexi Natchev,” starting March 2. The illustrator was born and educated in Sofia, Bulgaria. Since moving to the United States in 1990, he has illustrated 17 children’s books, collaborating with major authors and publishers. His work has been shown in many international exhibitions and he has received several national awards. His illustrations conjure up an imaginary world of playful creatures, fairy-tale places, folktales and more. “Imagined Places” features over 60 works by Natchev, including paintings and prints representing the range of his career as an artist and illustrator. See how he researches the art and literature of a region for his illustrations in order to create a sensitive balance between fantasy and believability. “Alexi Natchev is deservedly celebrated for his colorful and imaginative children’s books and is an accomplished printmaker with impressive fluency in various techniques,” says Mary F. Holahan, curator of illustration. “We are thrilled to be able to display the whimsical and sometimes enigmatic illustrations of such a distinguished artist of our region.” 571-9590, delart.org

Rhymin’ Reason

NPR listeners and poetry aficionados, this is for you. Liane Hansen, Emmy Award-winning radio personality of National Public Radio’s “Weekend Edition Sunday,” will be the mistress of ceremonies for this year’s Delaware State Poetry Out Loud finals. Upon retiring from NPR, Hansen moved to Bethany Beach from Washington, D.C. She joined Delaware First Media as an adviser in 2011, supporting the creation of WDDE 91.1 FM, the first Delaware-based NPR news station. Listeners of her “Weekend Edition Sunday” program know Hansen for her personal warmth, her signature voice, and her ability to engage her guests in lively, meaningful conversations. She will be a wonderful addition to an evening featuring some of Delaware’s best student poetry recitations. The competition happens at the Smyrna Opera House on March 6. Admission is free. smyrnaoperahouse.org

Beautiful Music

The excellent Music on the Brandywine series resumes at the Brandywine River Museum in Chadds Ford March 7 and May 9. On March 7 hear Grammy-nominated pianist Andrius Zlabys. Zlabys began his instruction in his native Lithuania before studying at Philadelphia’s Curtis Institute of Music. He has appeared as a soloist with the New York Philharmonic, Boston Symphony and Cleveland Orchestra. Zlabys will play works by Grieg, Franck and Brahms. On May 9, pianist Michael Djupstrom and violist Ayane Kozasa will present a program of works by Enescu, Porter and Schubert, as well as an original composition by Djupstrom himself, titled “Walimai.” Composer-pianist Djupstrom has won awards from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the American Composers Forum. He has performed in the United States, United Kingdom, France, China and Japan. Ayane Kozasa’s performances have been broadcast on Philadelphia’s WHYY. She currently studies at the Curtis Institute of Music. “It is a joy to experience the stellar talent of these exciting new performers in such a beautiful setting and acoustically live space,” says Brandywine Conservancy director Virginia Logan. We couldn’t agree more. The museum galleries will be opening, making for a winning combination of visual art and music. 610-388-2700, brandywinemuseum.org

Fee Fi Fo Fum

The Kennett Symphony of Chester County will present “Jack and the Beanstalk…and other Orchestra Favorites” during its annual Children’s Concerts on March 3 at the International Cultural Center on the campus of Lincoln University and on March 10 at Emilie K. Asplundh Hall at West Chester University. The Kennett Symphony’s annual Children’s Concert has been a family tradition for many years. The hourlong program opens with Handel’s majestic “Entrance of the Queen of Sheba,” followed by Copland’s “Hoedown” from Rodeo. Short demonstrations of strings, woodwinds, brass and percussion follow, then flute soloist Nicole Ozdowsky, second place winner in the 2012 Instrumental Competition, will perform. “Jack and the Beanstalk,” the Kennett Symphony Children’s Chorus closes the concert. 610-444-6363, kennettsymphony.org

Blue Screen, Blank Canvas

What digital information floats in cyber space, and what of it is worth your time? Find out as The Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts in Wilmington presents “This Space Is Intentionally Left Blank” by Texas artist Kerry Adams, on view through April 21. Adams’ installation integrates traditional installation art and technology through the use of tablets that display live Twitter feeds. The installation encourages the viewer to engage with the exhibition by posting comments to Twitter with the hashtag #leftblank while within the installation. The exercise creates a literal dialogue with visitors about the ubiquitous nature of technology and the role of individuality and community in daily life. Introducing text, electrical cords, and tablet computers as aesthetic, sculptural elements, the exhibit hinges upon social media and physical engagement. According to the artist, being able to tweet to her exhibition “will allow you to add to the dialogue about attempts to communicate, failed communication, and the moments we miss right in front of us as we search for what is out of reach.” Ironically, as viewers approach the tablets to read the messages, a motion sensor forces the Twitter streams to turn off, metaphorically enabling us to unplug from the screen-based chatter and to re-engage with our present surroundings. According to Pear Analytics, most tweeting includes spam, self-promotion and babble. Only 3.6 percent of tweets are considered newsworthy and 8.7 percent of pass-along value. In “This Space,” Adams’ work would seemingly suggest the gallery as a test site for face-to-face conversation. 656-6466, thedcca.org

The Father of Illustration

“Before Howard Pyle and N.C. Wyeth rose to the height of their profession as illustrators, there was Felix Octavius Carr Darley, whose skill in book and magazine illustration made him one of the most popular artists of his time and earned him a reputation as the Father of American Illustration,” says Audrey Lewis, an associate curator at the Brandywine River Museum in nearby Chadds Ford. Go there to see his work in “The Magic Pencil of the Amazing F.O.C. Darley.” The self-taught Darley, active till his death in 1888, drew for works by such literary giants as James Fenimore Cooper and Nathanial Hawthorne. He settled in Claymont at a time when his work was so popular, books were advertised as “illustrated by Darley.” Take a look through March 10. 610-338-2700, brandywinemuseum.org

A Picture of Today

The year 2012 might have been Delaware Art Museum’s 100th anniversary year, but the celebration continues with “State of the Art: Illustration 100 Years After Howard Pyle” through June 1. The exhibition features more than 60 works from eight of the most important contemporary illustrators. In 2011, the museum launched its centennial celebration with a major retrospective dedicated to illustrator Howard Pyle. “State of the Art” marks the celebration’s end and reflects on Pyle’s legacy. In the century since his death in 1911, American illustration has diversified into a wide range of art forms, including animated films, computer-generated images to graphic novels and conceptual art. “No single exhibition could possibly do justice to the noisy, rambunctious history of illustration over the past century,” says curator David Apatoff. “I’ve chosen instead to feature eight individuals whose diverse talents demonstrate that illustration is no longer the singular profession it was in Pyle’s day. It pervades our culture, reaching out to us from billboards, television, store windows, and computer screens.” This is one cool exhibition, with something for everyone in the family. 571-9590, delart.org

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