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The Original Toy Story


Preparing for the Delaware Children’s Theatre production of “Babes in Toyland” are (clockwise from top) Grant Bailey, Gia Mariano, Maddie Smith and Bill Healy. Photograph by Tom NutterForget everything you knew about Contrary Mary and Little Boy Blue. In “Babes in Toyland,” a musical presented by the Delaware Children’s Theatre through December 21, the characters have bigger concerns than silver bells and cockleshells.

“Babes,” which features music by Victor Herbert, opens as the Widow Piper throws a party to celebrate the engagement of Contrary Mary and Alan. But Barnaby—a landlord so mean he puts Mother Hubbard on the street for failure to pay rent—is in love with Mary, so he coerces comic sidekicks Gonzorgo and Roderigo to capture Alan and take him out to sea.

Founder Marie Swajeski has directed nearly every DCT show since 1973. “Babes” is a favorite.

Expect to meet the Good Fairy, Little Bo-Peep, Curlilocks, Miss Muffet, an evil toymaker named Marmaduke, Raggedy Ann and Andy, and a super cool, non-threatening spider.

“Babes” is appropriate for children ages 5 and up. As Swajeski says, “Everybody lives happily ever after.”

For more, contact 655-1014 or visit www.dechildrenstheatre.org.

—Maria Hess

Unlike Minds

Before Albert Einstein and Pablo Picasso introduced the theory of relativity and cubism, they partied together at Parisian bars. Well, not really. But if they had, imagine the conversations about sex and fame that might have ensued. Comedian Steve Martin did imagine it, then wrote “Picasso at the Lapin Agile,” which plays at the Delaware Theatre Company December 3-21. When the absurdist one-act hit Broadway in 1993, The New York Times critic Vincent Canby said the play succeeds in being funny “while also suggesting that a great scientist and a great artist share a rarefied sense of beauty.” DTC director David Stradley has his own take. “This funny, warm, smart play shows us that there’s a little genius in everybody and a lot of everybody in every little genius.” For more, call 594-1100 or visit www.delawaretheatre.org.

Photograph courtesy of Delaware State NewsWe First

First Night Wilmington and First Night Dover, both December 31, ring in 2009 with a bang, and we don’t just mean fireworks. Wilmington’s shindig, Puttin’ on the Ritz, starts in Rodney Square at 4 p.m. Traditional ballroom dancing and live big band music are main attractions, but a nearby youth tent boasts marionette shows, dancers, musicians and a moon bounce. Best of all, the Market Street skating rink is back by popular demand. Dover festivities begin at 3 p.m. on and around Legislative Mall. Highlights include Calico Jack’s pirate music, the Ecarte Dance Theatre, foosball games, circus performers, a Beatles tribute band, and a midnight ball drop. For more on Dover, visit firstnightdover.com or call 741-8228. For Wilmington, visit www.delawareonline.com/firstnight or call 576-2138.

A First State Fete

Expect a few surprises during the Delaware Day celebration December 6. The folks at First State Heritage Park pull out all the stops to honor the day Delaware ratified the U.S. Constitution. This year, they’re adding a living history program at the Old State House. “We are reenacting the run-up to the ratification of the federal constitution in 1787,” says project director Elaine Brenchley. Costumed characters will include Richard Bassett and other delegates to the ratification convention. Admission is $10. Make reservations by calling 739-9194.

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