Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Smokey Joe’s Café Ignites the Wilmington Drama League Stage!

By Charles "Ebbie" Alfree, III

Smokey Joe’s Café -- with songs by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller -- is a toe-tapping, hand-clapping stroll through a bygone era. The show doesn’t have a plot like most jukebox musicals of late; instead, Smokey Joe’s Café is a musical revue including 39 of Lieber and Stoller’s classic rock & roll and rhythm & blues songs, spanning the 1950s and 60s.

Director and choreographer Dominic Santos stages a seamless production that easily flows from one song to the next. Instead of depending on many set pieces, Santos uses projections by AV Designer Tony DelNegro to create atmosphere. He also houses the show’s outstanding band on the stage (led by Musical Director Anthony Vitalo), which enhances the exuberant performances.

The nine-member cast (Tonya "TS" Baynes, Tommy Fisher-Klein, Lauren Hope Gates, Corey Kelly, Chelsea Miller, Lyndie Moe, Mr. Santos, Dan Urdaneta and Jacob Bauer Zebley) gives electrifying performances. From the smooth four-part harmony of Fisher-Klein, Kelly, Santos and Urdaneta singing "Keep on Rollin’" and "On Broadway" to the take-charge attitude of Baynes, Gates, Miller, and Moe singing "I’m a Woman" to the rollicking good time of Bauer Zebley performing "Jailhouse Rock" (I LOVED his Elvis moves), there are no dull moments in the two-hour show.

Of course, there are few ballads sprinkled throughout the revue, such as "Spanish Harlem" and "I (Who have Nothing)," respectively performed Urdaneta and Fisher-Klein. While Urdaneta performs a gorgeous rendition of "Spanish Harlem," Moe dances the part of the girl who is on his mind. Fisher-Klein bares his soul and finds the anguish and sadness of the haunting "I (Who have Nothing)."

I can’t finish my review discussing ballads, so I have to mention the scantily clad Baynes' captivating performance of "Don Juan." The lady knows how to turn up the heat! She amazingly sings the seductive tune and works a boa like a true temptress!

Smokey Joe’s Café is great nostalgic fun. The show runs through February 1 at the Wilmington Drama League. Visit the website or call 
302.764.1172 for additional information and tickets.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Hot Breakfast Serves Up Two Exciting New Partnership Dishes

Some content courtesy of Hot Breakfast eNews...

    Delaware's favorite "dork-rock power duo" HOT BREAKFAST! (insert obligatory fist pump here) has some exciting news to share. Sure they release hilarious video, play to packed-house crowds and win beloved Homey Awards, but now they're adding to their musical menu. What better completes the most important band in your day than MILK(MEN) and FORKS(with DORKS). Read on...

    BREAKFAST with MILK(MEN)Hot Breakfast is recording with the legendary DEAD MILKMEN this weekend, Saturday and Sunday, January 17 & 18. How did two Delaware dorks get asked to record with one of their favorite bands of all time? Apparently, it's a long story.  Nonetheless, Jill is contributing her vocals (and vocal arrangement skills) and Matt his acoustic guitar-playin' to a new Milkmen track, as part of the Weathervane Music Organization's Shaking Through series, an ongoing documentary about the guerrilla recording and producing process. 

    The Dead Milkmen
    And, the recording sessions are being filmed --- you can watch live from the comfort of your couch! You can even write comments and ask questions during the session. And when the song is completed, you'll be able to download the completed song, but you'll also be able to download all of the separate tracks in the song and make your own remix. It's a music-dork's dream! Click here on Saturday, January 17, and click here on Sunday, January 18. Both sessions run from 11am - 8pm EST. You can also join the Facebook Event page to stay up-to-date. Or read more about it on the HOT BREAKFAST blog.

    BREAKFAST with FORKS(and DORKS)It was likely inevitable that the Breakfast Duo appear on a podcast named "Dorks and Forks." They'll hang and chat with hosts Brian Wild and Dan Sanchez and guest Corey Osby over beer, wine and breakfasty nosh by Chef Tim of Harry's Savoy Grill. Oh, they'll also perform a song live. 
    The podcast will air Monday/Tuesday of next week, January 19-20. Check out the Dorks and Forks Facebook and Twitter pages to get the final word. 

    Now I'm hungry...for an omelet and some good music. 

    Thursday, January 15, 2015

    Seven Student Playwrights Selected: DTC's 2014-2015 Delaware Young Playwrights Festival

    Post content courtesy of Delaware Theatre Company

    Delaware Theatre Company is pleased to announce the six finalist plays in the 2014-2015 Delaware Young Playwrights Festival (DYPF):
    • Cutting Strings by Sam Stewart, William Penn High School 
    • Darkness: a Happy Sappy Extravaganza! by Dylan Lang, Cab Calloway School of the Arts 
    • Ed and Coop by Hannah Biener and Charles Teague, Charter School of Wilmington 
    • Letting Go by Mitali Patel, St. Elizabeth High School 
    • Transcendence by Anastasia Hutnick, Padua Academy 
    • The Wheel of Fortune by Anna Smith, Padua Academy 

    The finalists will participate in a series of playwriting workshops with professional theatre artists from Delaware Theatre Company to further refine their writing and ready their works for a public showcase performance on February 24, 2015 at 7:30pm on the DTC stage.

    This year's DYPF began with a kickoff workshop for Delaware high school teachers and students in September. From there, 41 plays written by 49 students representing eight different Delaware high schools were submitted for the first round. Each playwright received personal feedback about his or her play from a teaching artist of the Delaware Theatre Company staff. Student playwrights had the opportunity to revise their plays. Participating schools were then invited to resubmit their top five plays for the second round, also known as the "competition round." From these entries, the six finalist plays were selected for additional development under the guidance of Delaware Theatre Company's team of theatre artists and educators.

    Now in its fourth year of the relaunch of this acclaimed program, DYPF invites high school students to write a play based on a theme inspired by one of Delaware Theatre Company's productions. This year's theme was inspired by a quotation from NORA, written by Ingmar Bergman, produced and presented by DTC in February 2015. The quotation used was, "If I ever hope to learn anything about myself and the things around me, I've got to stand completely on my own." Through the use of a standards-based writing rubric, students created and shaped their original plays with regard to characters, conflict, dialogue, theme, and other dramatic criteria.