Wednesday, December 18, 2013

A Christmas Tradition Continues with Carols in Color

Photo: Eleone Dance Company

Few holidays shows are as inspiring as Carols in Color, a Holiday Dance Music Celebration, performed in Wilmington by Eleone Dance Theatre and presented by Christina Cultural Arts Center and Revive the Village. For 22 years, the show, a spectacular telling of the Biblical Christmas story with an African American Gospel flavor, has graced area stages. Whether the show is performed in a high school auditorium or a big proscenium theater, it always delivers. This year, the Wilmington show was performed at The Grand Opera House downtown to a packed room, including many local children and families, some of whom were gifted with tickets through CCAC.

That generosity is part of Eleone Dance Theatre Artistic Director Shawn-Lamere Williams' mission. "We must invest in our children," he said after the show. "There's a saying, 'It Takes a Village to Raise a Child.' Today it takes a World to Raise a Child."

Funds raised from Carols in Color and its sponsors, including United Way of Delaware, Delaware Division of the Arts, AstraZeneca, Black Heritage Education & Theatre Group, Center Wilmington Early Learning Readiness Team, and Delaware Office of Early Learning, help to support Christina Cultural Arts Center Education Programs.

For the uninitiated, Carols in Color is an original production of the Eleone Dance Company in Philadelphia, conceived by the company's founder, E. Leon Evans, II. It combines modern dance and a live Gospel chorus, as well as music from various gospel artists, to tell the Christmas story starting from Gabriel's first visit Mart?. Several local students of Christina Cultural Arts Center? also participate in the show.

The first act of Carols in Color focuses on the confusion, helplessness and hardship Mary and Joseph faced as they dealt with her very unexpected pregnancy. Most of the first act is comprised of beautiful solo dances -- performed this year by Anthony Rhodes as Gabriel, Dara J. Meredith as Mary, Matthew Thomas as Joseph and A'aliyah Khan as the Angel of God -- with their voices sung by Jeremy Isaac, Tina Finks/Germaine Downing, Kairi Guinn and Tia McNeil, respectively. Songs include "What Shall I Do," "Bridge Over Troubled Waters" and "No Place To Go."

The second act opens with "Go Tell It On The Mountain," as Mary presents the baby Jesus, played by little Dakota Meredith. The celebration continues with "Hallelujah" from Handel's Messiah: A Soulful Celebration, "The First Noel," "Silent Night," with "Angels We Have Heard On High" finishing the show with the entire cast of dancers and singers on stage.

If you missed this year's celebration, be sure to catch it next year, when the company will continue the tradition for the 23rd year. For more information on how to support Christina Cultural Arts Center and Carols in Color, go to and

Friday, December 13, 2013

DCCA Call for Solo Exhibition Artists

The Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts (DCCA) is now accepting applications for 2016 Members' Solo Exhibitions. The DCCA is a non-collecting museum that functions as a kunsthalle for temporary exhibitions. Previously a railroad car factory, the DCCA is situated in the growing Riverfront area adjacent to downtown Wilmington.

Download the printable PDF application here or call 302.656.6466 for more information.

To apply for a solo exhibition scheduled in 2016, you:
* must be a current DCCA member at the time of the postmark deadline.
* must not have exhibited in a solo show at the DCCA in the last two years.

Postmark Deadline January 31, 2014.  Late entries or works not conforming to these guidelines will not be reviewed. No application materials will be returned. If you have questions, please contact J. Gordon, Curatorial Associate, at, or by calling 302.656.6466, ext 7112.

Mail all materials to: Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts, 200 S. Madison Street, Wilmington, DE 19801
Attention: 2016 Members’ Solo Exhibition Review

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Let City Theater Company Entertain You!

Karen Murdock and Nicole Hemphill
When an excerpt of the 1957 memoirs of the stripper Gypsy Rose Lee was published in Harper’s Magazine, it caught the attention of both producer David Merrick and theatre star Ethel Merman.  Merman refused to have an unknown composer (Stephen Sondheim) write the music, so they got Jule Styne to create the rather complex and busy score of Gypsy.  Michael Gray produced this musical for the City Theater Company to celebrate their twentieth anniversary and created a lively production that is every bit as sharp and poignant as I remember from the giant Broadway production of a few decades ago.

The orchestra started quietly and then warmed up with superb cues and panache as they bumped it with great trumpet from Bob Baronio from the small pit orchestra seated in the middle of the courageously raised rectangular round walkway.  The spaces behind the seats were also used for stripping, teasing and other exciting burlesque.  Men had their heads rubbed, shawls draped over them and 'Mr.Goldstone' was drafted without notice from the audience. (Watch out, gentlemen — you may find yourself on stage!)  The only complaint I could make about the stage setup was that if you sit across from the spotlights, you will be blinded.
Dylan Geringer and Zachary Chiero
Mama Rose was an unstoppable train as Karen Murdock played the role with a vengeance.  Her stage motherness was palpable and she built to a crescendo her desire for fame and success.  Murdock’s singing is truly moving, and she took it to the Merman-esque growl with perfection.  (Totally different from her tear-jerking solo of Send in the clowns in CTC's 2011 production of A little night music, which is still in my head). 
Another brilliant move was placing the three Junes and three Louises together to show their physical growth, which Mama Rose never wanted to recognize.  Kerry Kristine McElrone used some sort of magic to evince the horror she felt when Mama Rose wanted her to go beyond entertainment to survival. Her small gestures were so dramatic and yet subtle as she remembered her youthful self (appearing on stage) and swallowed it while moving on.
And Nicole Hemphill, a veteran child actrress, was a treat as the perfect baby June — following the masterful choreography (designed by CTC longtime choreographer, Dawn Morningstar) of Zachary Chiero’s Tulsa as if she had been waiting for a leader.  Dylan Geringer was also excellent at bumping her ballet up to a fine femme fatale.  And you ain’t seen nothin’ 'til you see Mazeppa bump it. It is hard to tell whether his instant costume change or his outrageousness is more impressive!
The production is about the bawdy, but I recommend it as safe for the whole family as the message is much more about love and ambition than anything else.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Things to “Artify” Your Holidays

The holidays are a time to celebrate, make memories and give a little back. We’ve compiled an arts-centric list so you can do just that. Happy (Arty) Holidays from Delaware Arts Info!  

1. Shop the Arts
There’s nothing like finding that perfect, one-of-a-kind holiday gift — and nowhere better to find it than shopping with the Arts!  The Delaware Center for Contemporary Arts’ Alternatives Museum Shop Holiday Craft Show on December 6 & 7 features more than 20 artists’ work in jewelry, ceramics, woodworking and fun accessories.

That same weekend, the Delaware Art Museum’s Winter Art Fair on December 7 & 8, features museum Studio Art instructors and their works. Plus, 25% of proceeds benefit the museum’s education department.

 And also this weekend: Rehoboth Art League Holiday Open House on December 7, offering plenty unique gift options, art demonstrations, activities for adults and children, refreshments and maybe even a visit from Santa!

Barry Schlecker and friends certainly know how to throw a Fest. And, they're doing it again on December 6 with Taste of the Holidays, at the Delaware Center for Horticulture. Not only can you find great arts & crafts for gifting, you can sample yummy holiday sips (beer, wine & spirits) and hear some great live music!  Taste of the Holidays  

2. Support an Artist and Her Cause
Sarah Davenport is a designer, a photographer, an ardent supporter of the Arts…and a sufferer of chronic late-stage Lyme disease.  Her fundraiser — FEARLESS: A Fight Against Chronic Lyme Disease — will help defray the cost of her extensive treatment and raise awareness for the disease. On December 7, the event features a mix of music, art and charity, including a silent auction of some fantastic objet d'arts.
Tickets available at

3. Go “Nuts” with Dance

It’s a holiday tradition, and Delaware provides plenty of chances for you to experience The Nutcracker. Take your pick:

  • December 7 & 8 with the Delaware Dance Company at John Dickinson High School
  • December 7 with New Castle Dance and Music Academy's Ballet Company at the Smyrna Opera House
  • December 7 & 8 with Diamond Dance Company at Milford Senior High School
  • December 13 & 14 with Mid-Atlantic Ballet at UD
  • December 21 with First State Ballet Theatre at the Grand Opera House December 21 with Wilmington Ballet Academy of the Dance at the Dupont Theatre
Details: or

4. The Greatest Story Ever Told…Through Music & Dance

Christina Cultural Arts Center and Eleone Dance Theatre present Carols in Color.” CCAC brings back this powerful show, based on the gospel according to St. Matthew, on December 15 at the Grand. “Carols in Color” re-tells the story of the birth of Christ through exuberant dance, contemporary music and powerful narration.

5. Rejoice in the Voice(s) of the Holidays

There’s plenty of holiday chorale music this time of year; here’s a sampling of the voices you’ll hear exalting the season:

Celebrate Christmas with the Mastersingers on December 8. The celebrated Mastersingers, organist Marvin Mills, conductor David Schelat and orchestra provide some of the greatest Christmas music of all time.

The Music School of Delaware ensembles partner with neighboring synagogues for a stunning performance in Winter Reflection: Winter Choral Concert on December 15. The program features the Delaware Children’s Chorus, the Delaware Women’s Chorus and choirs of Congregation Beth Emeth and Beth

The “Singing Ambassadors of Wilmington” bring their annual performance and amazing talent to the masses with the Wilmington Children's Chorus Candlelight Holiday Concert on December 13 &

6. Laugh Your Way Through the Holiday
Need a good laugh to brighten your Blue Christmas? Head to World Café Live for The Second City's Nut-cracking Holiday Revue on December 5. The troupe that bore many SNL faves brings you magic and mayhem of the season with original songs, new sketches and classic favorites. 

7. Love Live & Local Holiday Tunes
Local and national musicians get into the holiday spirit with these awesome seasonal sets:

TOMORROW, December 4, Lunasa: Christmas from Ireland comes to the Grand, with a blend of homey nostalgia, rollicking high energy and what The Irish Voice calls “the hottest Irish acoustic group on the planet.”

Market Street Music presents the Cartoon Christmas Trio on December 5.  Celebrate with a nostalgic repertoire of classic cartoon themed-music including Vince Guaraldi “Peanuts” music.

Our very own favorite DOCK-ROCK power duo, HOT BREAKFAST!, release their single, An Idiot for Christmas, just in time for your holiday party playlist! Get it here:

Celebrate New Year’s Eve with the David Bromberg Quintet. Bromberg’s played with everyone, toured everywhere, and now hosts a New Year’s Eve bash at the Queen just for Delaware fans on December 31.