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photograph by Shane McCauley www.shanemccauley.com


 

Powell to the People

 

His local theater company may be dark for now, but Keith’s star is burning brightly.

 

Keith Powell has finally recovered from jet lag.

Powell, a New Castle native who founded Contemporary Stage Company in Wilmington in 2004, currently stars on NBC’s “30 Rock.” But a few months ago he was in L.A. shooting the pilot for “Judy’s Got a Gun.” It wasn’t picked up by a network, but Powell got to play the lead. That’s show biz.

So right about now, fans of Contemporary Stage, a multicultural summer theater, are piecing it all together. If Powell wasn’t in Delaware over the summer, he was in Los Angeles, which almost explains why Contemporary Stage’s stage went dark.

Despite glowing reviews from Variety, Contemporary Stage is about $40,000 in the hole. Sponsors, grants and donations plummeted last year. So Powell handed over his last $17,000 to backers. For two months, he collected unemployment compensation.

“To be quite honest, it would’ve been irresponsible of me to continue to amass debt and produce last summer,” Powell says. “Let’s hope the debt gets eliminated. Let’s hope for a season next year.”

Don’t cry for him, Delaware. NBC just gave him a raise. And he has “a million projects” on his plate. This month, he’ll become associate artistic director of the Stamford Center of the Arts in Connecticut. He’ll also direct “Whisper House,” a musical he helped conceive with Tony winner Duncan Sheik.

 “Right now, I’m in a great place,” Powell says. “I get to do whatever I want with the people I want to do it with.”                                                                                                                                                                —Maria Hess

 

 

 


From left: Sharon Litcofsky, Lauren Morgens and Corey Young run the show on the Kalmar Nyckel.

photograph by Pat Crowe II

 

Ten Years and Tall Orders

 

A decade ago, the Kalmar Nyckel Foundation built a tall ship for $6 million, put her in the water, then asked, Now what? “We’re still asking,” says executive director Marcia Ferranto. Here’s her to-do list:

• Invite the state to an anniversary bash at Dravo Plaza on Wilmington’s Riverfront September 24-29. Feature Kalmar replica builder Allen Rawl. Hire blacksmith Kelly Smith to hold clinics. Make sure the whole family has a blast and, for once, let them go below deck.

• Build a replica of the Fogel Grip. The original 65-foot long companion ship accompanied the first Kalmar Nyckel from Sweden.

• Educate more children. The foundation has taught 80,000 so far. Beef up offerings on maritime and industrial history.

• Raise $6 million to turn the Kalmar Nyckel Foundation on the Seventh Street Peninsula into a maritime heritage center.

Thanks to exhaustive marketing, the masses are finally understanding that the Kalmar Nyckel is more than a beautiful vessel. She actually holds a place in history.

The original sailed from Sweden to the New World in 1638. When her Swedish, Finnish, German and Dutch passengers debarked, they created the first permanent European settlement in the Delaware Valley, the Colony of New Sweden. Today we call it Wilmington.

Bragging rights? Yep. Is anyone on this peninsula satisfied? Nope.

Which is precisely the reason the Board of Trustees appointed Ferranto, a former Delaware Art Museum administrator, to be the first Kalmar Nyckel Foundation director without a captain’s license.

And move over boys. Three women are battening down the vessel’s hatches: Captain Lauren Morgens, Chief Mate Sharon Litcofsky and Second Mate Corey Young.

And now for the biggest dream of all: to sail the Kalmar Nyckel to Sweden. She’s licensed to travel just 20 miles offshore, so she’ll need new qualifications. But first, someone needs to score $300,000.

Development director Peg Tigue, who’s been with the Kalmar since day one, learned long ago that the sails won’t fill without public awareness, supportive politicians and lots of cash. Says Tigue, “There’s only so long you can keep a dream floating.”     —Maria Hess

 

 
illustration by Tom LaBaff www.tomlabaff.com

 

 

A New Low in Heights

 

The second smallest state is now the second lowest, too. Can’t we have just one record?

 

Florida, you cheaters.

Delaware, after holding the distinguished honor of lowest high point in any state (Ebright Azimuth in Wilmington, a mere 442 feet above sea level), has had its title usurped by those gator-lovin’ fogeys in the Sunshine State. How, you ask?

Theirs sunk. Literally. Britton Hill, located near a lovely sinkhole in Lakewood, Florida, actually fell below Delaware’s mark, settling in at around 345 feet above sea level. The home of electile dysfunction now also owns the title of America’s flattest state.

We simply cannot take this defeat lying down, Delaware. Here are a few suggestions for lowering Ebright Azimuth and reclaiming our proud topographical heritage:

• Build one (1) Grotto Pizza, one (1) Jake’s Hamburgers and one (1) Curves fitness studio on Ebright Road. The constant traffic should do the trick.

• Commission a paleontological dig for the elusive Cluckosaurus, an ancient relative of the Blue Hen.

• Re-route the Middletown Hummers Parade, hold daily. If the parade cannot be rerouted, simply drive actual GM Hummers up and down the road in a parade-like fashion.

• Kidnap Michael Flatley and the McAleer School, then force them into repeat performances of Riverdance ad infinitum.

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