Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Show Off the Art You Love at Newark Arts Alliance

The Newark Arts Alliance (NAA) is presenting its “Community Art Gallery” for the second year, on view Tuesday, August 5 to Saturday, August 23.  For this exhibition, the community is invited to drop off artwork they own and love for display in the NAA gallery.  Participants will be asked to write a brief statement (max 200 words) on why they chose their piece.  Works can be submitted from Friday, August 1 to Sunday, August 3, from 11:00am–3:00pm daily.

Works of art need not be original.  This exhibition offers a chance for art lovers and collectors who are not necessarily artists themselves to participate in an exhibition.  However, artists are welcome to submit their own creations.  Only one work can be submitted per participant.  Submitting a work is free, and works will not be offered for sale.

Hanging works should have a tight hanging wire across the back.  Central hanging devices (e.g., rings and saw-tooth hangers) do not work with the NAA’s hanging system.  The NAA’s Exhibition Committee will select as many works for display as space will allow.  The Exhibition Committee reserves the right to decline works, including works that are not properly prepared for hanging or display.

The Newark Arts Alliance will celebrate the “Community Art Gallery” with a reception on Friday, August 8, from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.  This event will be free and open to the public.  Drinks and light refreshments will be served.


Monday, July 14, 2014

Get Thee to Delaware Shakespeare Festival’s Exhilarating Production of Hamlet!

There is nothing like spending a gorgeous summer night with friends, wine, nosh and one of The Bard’s most famous plays performed live outside. Thankfully the Delaware Shakespeare Festival (DSF) provides this opportunity in Rockwood Park! Regardless if you are a Shakespeare aficionado or novice, you will have a delightful evening at DSF.

This year’s DSF production is Hamlet. Of course, most of us have read Hamlet and/or seen a production of the play or a film version. We know Hamlet, but director David Stradley breathes new life into this iconic piece. His sophisticated production ignites the enchanting grounds of Rockwood Park and makes the material fresh and exciting.

The multi-level stage by Scenic Designer Oona Curley with the park as its backdrop is enthralling. The cutout quasi-square–shaped back wall not only makes it convenient for the actors to enter and exit the stage, but it also frames the scenes with the lush green field in the distance. It’s as if each scene begins as a picture that comes to life.

And, bringing the play to life is a stellar cast led by Griffin Stanton-Ameisen as Prince Hamlet. Mr. Stanton-Ameisen’s Hamlet has an emo rock star look, which is fitting for a character that is quite expressive with his thoughts and feelings. Mr. Stanton-Ameisen’s dynamic performance conveys the depths of anger and pain his character feels once finding out his uncle (Claudius, the now King of Denmark) has married his mother (Gertrude) after killing his father. Carl Granieri and Caroline Crocker give magnificent performances as the devious Claudius and weary Gertrude.

Clare Mahoney as the lovelorn Ophelia— who is told by Hamlet to go to a nunnery when she professes her love for him — and James Kassees as Opheila’s father Polonius, are both compelling and remarkable in their roles.  

As most know, Hamlet doesn't end well for its leading characters, but that doesn't dampen the lovely evening only DSF can provide in a charming atmosphere.  Don’t delay; get your tickets today before this production closes!

Hamlet plays at Rockwood Park until July 27. Purchase tickets at the door or visit Don’t forget to bring your own chairs, drinks and food! If you don't want to pack food, the Wandering Chef Catering Cart is in the park selling delicious fare!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Wanna Give It a Go? Imaginary Mr. Marmalade!

By Guest Blogger, Kevin Regan
Kevin Regan is the Director of Multimedia and a player with CSz Philadelphia as well as a sometime performer, producer and other "p-words" with Wilmington's City Theater Company.

Emma Orr and Thomas Russell
You have a mere three chances to see Mr. Marmalade by Noah Haidle, at Chapel Street Players in Newark this weekend. That means you should keep that babysitter you have scheduled, but cancel whatever you planned for the evening. Then you can spend the night laughing hysterically at Lucy and her imaginary friend, Mr. Marmalade, while wondering what the hell your kids are doing.

Mr. Marmalade is an extremely dark comedy about children, for adults. Directed by CSP veteran J.W. Pukatsch, it explores a theme that has been tackled by everyone from Stephen Sondheim (Children Will Listen) to everyone's favorite 1980s Anti-Drug PSA ("I learned it from watching you...") — that our children are internalizing everything we say and do.

Lucy, who is played to perfection by Emma Orr, is a lonely four-year-old with a healthy imagination. As long as your definition of "healthy" includes sex, drugs and the occasional dildo thrown in for good measure. She creates a world based on all of the unseen men her mother brings into their home. This amalgamation is transformed into her friend, Mr. Marmalade, played with equal parts charm and sleaze by Thomas Russell, to create the bigger-than-life character. Think The Cat in the Hat, if Dr. Seuss was a sadist and you'll begin to get the picture. His addictions, bombastic temper and self-centeredness do little to alleviate the little girl's loneliness.

The whole show takes place in the family living room over the course of one night, while Lucy's mother Sookie (Tricia LaRock) is on a date. Lucy interacts with both real and imagined characters, including the disinterested babysitter (Rachel Diamond), Mr. Marmalade's hilarious and often injured assistant Bradley (Jimmy Van Buren) and a very real five-year-old named Larry (Andrew Dluhy), who might have more baggage than Marmalade himself. Lucy & Larry will have to work to find a way to exist in the harsh reality of our adult world.

Pukatsch does an amazing job utilizing the simple family room set, representing the four-year-old's reality, in both fantastic and pragmatic scenes. Especially poignant is the dance scene with Lucy and Mr. Marmalade while Bradley croons a la a 1940s nightclub. Orr, as well as Dluhy, is exceptional as an adult actor playing a child without ever becoming "cartoonish." And Russell's morally lacking Marmalade will make you wonder if you picked the right person to babysit your kids tonight.

Unfortunately, a lot of theaters go dark in the summer months for fear that the audiences cannot be lured away from vacation. I applauded Chapel Street Theater for putting up this show, even if it is only for a short three-day run. I implore you to leave the beach behind for a day and see this adult world through the eyes of a four-year-old this weekend. Mr. Marmalade is playing Thursday (7/10), Friday (7/11) and Saturday (7/12). All showtimes are 8:00pm.

Now STOP READING THIS and buy your tickets at