Sunday, July 17, 2022

DelShakes' Festival Roars Back into Rockwood with "The Tempest"

By Mike Logothetis
Theater reviewer Mike Logothetis grew up in North Wilmington, performing in school and local theater productions. He lives in Newark, but you can find him wherever the arts are good.

Stephano tugs at a covered Trinculo as Caliban looks on. Photo by Alessandra Nicole.
After a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic, Delaware Shakespeare’s revered Summer Festival is back at historic Rockwood Park in Wilmington with a spirited production of The Tempest. Producing Artistic Director David Stradley points out that the play is “...about what happens when you encounter chaos. And that certainly is apt. We’ve all been through quite a tempest in the last few years.” Agreed.

But what happens on stage is neither chaos nor merely a tale to “cure deafness.” The classic story centered on vengeance is put together quite nicely with a flowing style that is paced to perfection.

Also the show’s director, Stradley states: “The play asks us to consider what we do when someone has wronged us and also how we respond when we have wronged someone else. These are powerful questions to consider as a community.”

The Tempest is a tale of forgiveness and family. The show begins with the titular storm that Prospero conjures to bring his seafaring enemies to the island where he lives. The sorcerer and former Duke of Milan was usurped by his treacherous brother, Antonio, who took his dukedom with help from the Queen of Naples. After escaping by boat with his infant daughter Miranda, Prospero plots his revenge and uses his magical powers to keep the island’s only inhabitant (Caliban) as a slave and a local spirit (Ariel) as a servant. He torments the shipwreck survivors by separating them into groups which he can manipulate as he fancies. 

But now that his enemies are within reach, will Prospero exact his long-awaited revenge? Can forgiveness be found in recognizing the blossoming love between Miranda and the Prince of Naples (Ferdinand)? And, in the end, what should become of Ariel and Caliban?

Stradley emphasizes: “Everybody [on the island] either has either done something wrong or had something wrong done to them, and they’re all on this journey about how to move forward together as a community. That’s also something that we’re wrestling with maybe more now than we were — when things go wrong, how we reconnect and move forward together.”

Ariel threatens Queen Alonsa, Sebastian, and Antonio.
Photo by Alessandra Nicole.
Prospero is played by Jolie Garrett, who makes his DelShakes debut this summer. Garrett is able to successfully move from moments of serenity to those of anger convincingly, effectively showing Prospero’s mood swings and on-edge personality.

Lexi Thammavong is captivating as the fairy Ariel, who does Prospero’s bidding in hopes of one day earning her freedom from servitude. Thammavong is lithe and spritely – flitting between the disparate groups to cause mayhem or mend rifts.

The physical Gerrad Alex Taylor brought empathy to the “monster” Caliban. The dehumanized character only wants what’s rightly his, but is never fully acquitted the dignity he deserves. Only the drunkards Stephano and Trinculo – exceptionally played by Rachel O’Hanlon-Rodriguez and Jack O’Neill – give Caliban some modicum of respect. Plus, they delivered all the best jokes from their pieces of the script. Note: Due to a COVID-19 case, Trinculo’s original player Matthew Johnston had to sit out Opening Night.

The stage is a multi-angled space with a round flat center, which allows for dynamic action for all of the audience seated around it. Movements are easily followed and the innovative lighting set the various moods well.

If Shakespeare intimidates you, there is a pre-show orientation. Forty minutes prior to curtain, two actors from the production offer insight of the play. Plus, several of the actors out on an engaging comedic pre-show utilizing themes from The Tempest.

The Summer Festival will be employing “Pay-What-You-Decide” ticket pricing this year. The three price options are $10, $20, or $30. There is no student or group pricing in 2022. Children age 5 and under are free. Every Sunday is “Family Night,” with special activities before the performance and free admission for children 12 and under when accompanied by a paying adult. 

 To buy tickets, go to www.delshakes.org or purchase at the door. Curtain is at 7:30pm from Wednesdays through Saturdays and at 6:00pm on Sundays. Gates open at 6:15pm for pre-show entertainment and picnics Wednesday through Saturday and at 4:45pm on Sundays. The festival concludes its run on July 31.

Attendees are invited to bring their own chairs, blankets, and picnic baskets to Rockwood Park. Alcoholic beverages are allowed on the grounds for those of legal age. If you have a particularly lush spread, let the staff know and be entered to win the Janssen’s Market Picnic Contest. DelShakes will take a picture of your picnic and post it on social media with other entries each week. At the end of the run, a favorite picnic will be selected as champion. The winner will receive a gift certificate to Janssens’ Market, tickets to the 2023 Summer Festival, and all-important bragging rights.

A limited number of reserved lawn chairs are available at each performance. These “Saved Seats” are set up in premium locations in the first row of the “lawn chairs” section, behind blankets and low-backed beach chairs. Reservations must be made in advance and cost $42.

The Delaware Shakespeare VIP Tent provides a place for groups of 10 or more to gather with clients, colleagues, and friends before the show. VIP Tent packages can be customized to include catered picnics, wine, reserved seats, and more.

Concessions tents will feature picnic-appropriate sandwiches and snacks from Janssen’s Market as well as soft drinks, candy, Delaware Shakespeare t-shirts, wine from Swigg, and beer…specialty beer.

New sponsor Stitch House & Brewery has crafted a Belgian Saison named “Strange Bedfellows” specifically for the Summer Festival. (The beer is named after Trinculo’s line in Act 2: “Misery acquaints a man with strange bedfellows.”) Enjoy a pint at the show! Note: Strange Bedfellows is now on tap at Stitch House, where $1 from every sale will go to DelShakes.

The 2022 Delaware Shakespeare season will include two full productions – the current Summer Festival (The Tempest from July 15-31) and a fall Community Tour (a bilingual musical adaptation of Twelfth Night). The dates for the Community Tour are yet to be determined.

As an outdoor event, no masks or vaccine status will be required for audience members. Policies may change based on public health conditions at the time of the event. DelShakes artists will be fully vaccinated and engaged in testing protocols.

Don’t be a hater (see Prospero) and go experience the show. Remember: “The rarer action is in virtue than in vengeance."

Monday, June 13, 2022

Delaware Arts Alliance Names Neil Kirschling Executive Director

The content of this post comes from a Delaware Arts Alliance press release...

The Delaware Arts Alliance (DAA) announced today the selection of Neil Kirschling as its executive director, effective June 27.

Neil Kirschling, new DAA Executive Director
Kirschling most recently was director of policy and advocacy for Rodel, the nonprofit organization that partners with Delawareans and worldwide educational innovators to transform public education in the First State. He succeeds Jessica Ball, who in November 2021 was appointed director of the Delaware Division of the Arts (DDOA).

“We are confident that Neil is the right person to help the Delaware Arts Alliance continue our mission,” said Molly Giordano, DAA board president.

“Neil’s experience in education and government will be of immeasurable value as we continue our work with DDOA, the General Assembly’s Arts and Culture Caucus, and other stakeholders to promote equitable access to the arts in Delaware, particularly in classrooms,” she continued. “Neil also will guide our statewide cultural recovery and economic growth plan. Our plan is funded by a $1 million grant through Governor Carney’s American Rescue Plan Travel, Tourism, and Outdoor Recreation program secured by Jessica Ball during her tenure.”

At Rodel, Kirschling was responsible for strategic planning, policy development, coalition management, program management, and local and national stakeholder engagement. He previously served as a legislative fellow in the Delaware General Assembly; conducted research for the University of Delaware’s Institute for Public Administration; and participated in the Delaware Department of Education’s “Future Education Policy Leaders” program.

Kirschling volunteers as a Governor-appointed commissioner on the Delaware Hispanic Commission, where he leads education and advocacy efforts in support of Hispanic youth and English learner students. He is an advisor for the Delaware Community Foundation’s Youth Philanthropy board, a volunteer and performer with various local theaters, and a regular patron of arts and culture organizations in the state.

He earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Public Policy and Master’s Degree in Public Administration from the University of Delaware.  

DAA is the unifying voice for the arts throughout Delaware, advocating for the central role of the arts and arts education in advancing dynamic communities and a creative citizenry. DAA informs, empowers, and mobilizes Delawareans who cultivate, support, and advance the arts

Monday, June 6, 2022

49th Annual Members' Fine Craft Show Kicks Off Summer at Rehoboth Art League

The content of this post comes from a press release from Rehoboth Art League...

The Rehoboth Art League (RAL) has an exciting range of shows coming up this June and July. Summer at RAL will kick off with the 49th Annual Members’ Fine Craft Exhibition, as well as Barbara Martin’s Eastward to Wyoming, Prints and Paintings by Alexi Natchev, and Faces of Many Nations clay masks by Amelie Sloan. All are on display June 10 to July 17. On June 10 from 5:00-7:00pm, RAL will host receptions for all the exhibitions, inviting anyone interested to visit the Corkran, Tubbs, Ventures, and Homestead Galleries to see these new shows.

The Members’ Fine Craft Exhibition is a signature summer show for the league and contains works created by member artists in a wide variety of media, including baskets, ceramics, fiber, glass, jewelry, leather, metal, mixed media, wood, and more. Artists and the public are invited to hear from this year’s exhibition judge, Andrea Uravitch, during her free Gallery Talk on Saturday, June 11, at 10:00am in the Corkran Gallery. Uravitch, who has shown in over 300 hundred invitational, juried, and solo shows in museums, galleries, art centers, college galleries and institutions, will discuss her selection of the award-winning pieces.

Taking over the Ventures this month will be abstract works in Barbara Martin's solo show, Eastward to Wyoming. This collection was inspired by Martin’s time at the Jentel Artist Residency in the Lower Piney Creek Valley of the majestic Bighorn Mountains in eastern Wyoming. Using the rhythm of the passing landscape and summer sky, these works encompass the movement and sensations of the vast openness of the Montana and Wyoming area.  

RAL’s historic Peter Marsh Homestead will display Prints and Paintings by Alexi Natchev. Born, educated, and starting his artistic career in Bulgaria, Natchev’s body of work, as a whole, reflects the scope and range of his creative endeavors in different fields of visual art: illustration, drawing, painting, and public art. This exhibit displays Natchev’s range, giving viewers the chance to see his technical processes and layered technics. 

Finally, the DeWitt Gallery will showcase Faces of Many Nations, a display of Amelie Sloan’s ceramic hand-built masks. A longtime RAL member and niece of one of the league’s founding members, Ethel P.B. Leach, Amelie leaves a lasting legacy at RAL, with a namesake room in the pottery studio on campus as well as an endowed exhibition award offered annually for excellence in ceramic hand building. This exhibition will allow the public the rare opportunity to purchase some of Amelie’s masks.  

The exhibitions are free and open to everyone during regular gallery hours of Monday through Saturday, 10:00am to 4:00pm and Sunday, noon to 4:00pm.

Visit https://www.rehobothartleague.org/.

Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Glowing Goose Productions hosts a 24-hour Musical Extravaganza!

Delaware Arts Info reviewer Charles "Ebbie" Alfree III discusses No Sleep ‘Til Theatre: A 24-hour Musical Extravaganza with Lacey Eriksen, Executive Director of Glowing Goose Productions, and Sarah Nowak, Artistic Director of Glowing Goose and director of the 24-hour musical extravaganza!


For additional information or to purchase tickets for No Sleep ‘Til Theatre: A 24-hour Musical Extravaganza on June 4 and 5 at 6:00pm, at Theater N in downtown Wilmington, visit www.glowinggooseproductions.org.

Monday, May 23, 2022

Delaware Art Museum Celebrates Indigenous Faces of Wilmington in New Exhibit

The content of this post comes from a press release from the Delaware Art Museum...

This month, the Delaware Art Museum (DelArt) opens Indigenous Faces of Wilmington, the first in a series of 2022 events honoring indigenous culture. The powerful portrait-style exhibit showcases diverse Wilmingtonians captured by local Nanticoke photographer Andre’ L. Wright Jr of Color of Life Branding.

"Indigenous Faces of Wilmington shares the faces and tells the stories of diverse indigenous people who live in our city and represent rich cultures and roots. My hope is that this exhibition will open a dialogue to re-introduce, re-discover, and re-educate individuals about the many cultures represented here in Wilmington today," says Iz Balleto, the DelArt Community Engagement Specialist who conceived of the project. Balleto’s connection to the project is personal --- he is a Peruvian native of the Quechua Indians of the central Andes who are direct descendants of the Incas. “I look forward to this powerful exhibit, which will bring light to many who reside and live among us today.”

Indigenous Faces of Wilmington aligns with DelArt's major summer exhibition, In Conversation: Will Wilson. Diné (Navajo) photographer Will Wilson's art explores the legacy of historical representations of Native people. The exhibit will include photographs Wilson takes in Delaware this spring, of Lenape and Nanticoke community members, through his Critical Indigenous Photography Exchange. The exhibition is guided by an Advisory Committee made up of indigenous and community leaders. Associated programming includes a Pow Wow of Arts and Culture on July 23 and a storytelling program titled "My Land, My Roots" on September 8.

“For many years we, Indigenous People, have carried stereotypes, carried hurt, and carried fear. It’s time to change the narrative and share the beauty,” states Balleto.

Andre’ L. Wright Jr.’s photographs embody the essence and heart of indigenous people in Wilmington. This exhibit is his tribute to culture and indigenous ancestors. The representation of diverse indigenous individuals in art can help break barriers, bring forth unity, and open mindfulness.

Participants of the Indigenous Faces of Wilmington exhibit include India Colon Diaz (Taína of Boriken Nation of Puerto Rico), Rosa Ruiz (Aztec), El Indio (Boricua Taino), Jose Avila Macias and Susana Amador Hernandez (Chichimeca), Olakunle Oludina (Seminole and Cherokee), Abundance Child (Cherokee, Lumbee, Muscogee/Creek), Andre’ L. Wright, Sr. (Cherokee) Sharon L Street Wright (Nanticoke), Jea Street (Nanticoke), Jonathan Whitney (Nanticoke), and Ashanti Morales (Arawak Taína of Boriken).

Organizer and Sponsors of the exhibit include photographer: Andre’ L. Wright Jr. of Color of Life Branding; Creative Director Sara A. Crawford of The Original Coloure Collective; additional support provided by Art Bridges, the Museum Council, and the Delaware Division of the Arts.

Thursday, April 21, 2022

Celebrating 12 Years of Film Brothers' Festival of Shorts

Delaware Arts Info reviewer Charles "Ebbie" Alfree III held a video chat with Gordon DelGiorno of Film Brothers about the upcoming 12th Annual Film Brothers Festival of Shorts.

Films from around the world will be shown at this sold-out event, but if you contact Gordon (Gordon@filmbrothers.com or 302.559.2324), and mention Ebbie or Delaware Arts Info, you might win two tickets! 

The Festival is on Saturday, April 30, 7:00pm, at the Delaware Art Museum. For more information visit, www.filmbrothers.com.



Thursday, March 24, 2022

Wilmington Ballet Hosts Masterclass with NYC Ballet Soloist

Delaware Arts Info reviewer Charles "Ebbie" Alfree III had the great opportunity to virtually sit down with Benjamin Sterling Cannon, Wilmington Ballet's Executive & Artistic Director; Christopher Davis, Wilmington Ballet’s Associate Artistic Director; and Georgina Pazcoguin, New York City Ballet Soloist, author of Swan Dive: The Making of a Rogue Ballerina, and host of Wilmington Ballet's upcoming master class “Beyond the Nutcracker” at Wilmington Ballet on March 27, 2022, at 12:30pm. 

For additional information on Wilmington Ballet and the upcoming masterclass, visit https://www.wilmingtonballet.org.



Saturday, March 19, 2022

City Theater Company Celebrates a World Premiere and Honors a Legendary Bluesman

By Mike Logothetis
Theater reviewer Mike Logothetis grew up in North Wilmington, performing in school and local theater productions. He lives in Newark, but you can find him wherever the arts are good.

City Theater Company (CTC) returns to the Wings Black Box during its residency at The Delaware Contemporary (TDC) with the World Premiere of Blues In My Soul: The Legend and Legacy of Lonnie Johnson, a new play by David Robson.

Playwright Robson admits that “...Blues In My Soul has been a labor of love for me – a chance to grapple with past wrongs and find a place of connection and community through music.”

Joe Beckett as Lonnie and Righteous Jolly as Chris in Blues In My Soul. 
Photo by Joe del Tufo/Moonloop Photography.
Based on a true story, Blues In My Soul reimagines a fateful meeting between guitar legend Lonnie Johnson and music historian Chris Albertson. In 1959, Johnson was working a low-wage job at a Philadelphia hotel, his past long forgotten. When Johnson is identified and engaged by Albertson, the two men start to discuss issues of authenticity, injustice, and legacy as they work their way through a catalog of great blues tunes – performed here with the blessing of the Johnson estate. It’s obvious that Johnson – a musician who influenced the likes of Bob Dylan, Elvis Presley, T-Bone Walker, Django Reinhardt, Charlie Christian, B.B. King, and Eric Clapton – is wary of a potential return to the industry that exploited and segregated his work before casting him aside.

Blues In My Soul features CTC alumni Righteous Jolly (Chris) and Christopher Banker (Irving), while musician Joe Beckett (Lonnie) makes his CTC debut…and what a debut! Although not much is known about Lonnie Johnson’s personality and demeanor, Beckett gives a realistic portrayal of a man who’s weary of where his former talents led him in life.

After a chance meeting, Beckett was informed by Jolly that he was the perfect person to portray Johnson in this production. Beckett agreed to audition and ended up landing the gig.

“That’s when my nerves went through the roof because I’d never acted before. They sent the script and it’s a two-man play, so it’s just me and Righteous through the whole play,” said Beckett. “Again, I have no experience whatsoever.”

Some of those nerves matter on stage and some don’t. Beckett’s and Jolly’s characters verbally spar, but they end up making beautiful music together. And that’s what this show is about: Music. Specifically, The Blues. Playwright Robson thankfully included over a dozen abridged songs by Johnson so the audience can appreciate the talents of the legendary bluesman.

But to really experience The Blues, the performer has to dig down and bring the music up with him through his instrument and voice. In that realm, Beckett delivers wholeheartedly. With songs like “See See Rider” and the titular “Blues In My Soul,” we see both Johnson’s and Beckett’s significant talents.

Jolly is no slouch either as the idolizing Chris, a dedicated DJ driving to put The Blues he loves on the Philadelphia airwaves. Chris is a devotee of Lonnie and is overjoyed to play music for and with his hero as he argues his case to share Johnson’s musical legacy with the world. Jolly shows his chops playing “Tomorrow Night” and Beautiful But Dumb” for Beckett’s Johnson. “Two-Tone Stomp” and “Blues For Chris” are standout Beckett/Jolly duets which capture the true joy of complementary performance.

But while the music soars, the dialog lost me at points. Perhaps it was opening night jitters or the difficulty in compressing a man’s life and career into verbal vignettes between songs, but a little tightening up would improve the flow of the show.

By no means should that minor script detail stop you from making time to see this production. Director Joe Trainor puts his two principal actors front and center, but makes sure the music is the real the star. While Lonnie laments that the music industry is a contest he “can’t seem to win,” this play is definitely a winner.

As Beckett said in an interview with the Lower Bucks Times: “I hope what people get out of this show is that music is just music. Music brings people together.” Amen.

Playwright David Robson.
Photo by Sonja Robson.
Artistic Director Kerry Kristine McElrone says, “Blues In My Soul came along at exactly the right time for CTC. We have been lucky to work with David throughout our history. …The incredible true story of this encounter between Lonnie and Chris was instrumental in creating a ‘second act’ for one of the greatest musicians of the 20th Century. This is a tale about the need for connection and the impact that art – in this case, music – can have on individuals who on the surface seem to have nothing in common, yet find community in each other through a beloved art form. ...And the process of making this play ready for an appreciative audience was very in line with our commitment to new work and involving the creator in that process.”

Robson echoes that sentiment: “As an artistic partner, CTC can’t be beat. As a long-time supporter of my work, their creative team has been instrumental in helping me nudge the play forward by asking the right questions and encouraging my efforts to hone the piece. Their belief in this story honors my work and the life of the great Lonnie Johnson.”

Blues In My Soul runs for only four performances through next Saturday (March 18, 19, 25, and 26). Curtain is at 8:00pm, and the show lasts just under 90 minutes. City Theater Company’s new home at The Delaware Contemporary is located at 200 South Madison, Wilmington, DE 19801. 

Tickets ($30-40) can be purchased at the box office or online. Special ticket pricing is available for military personnel and students. Visit city-theater.org for more details and COVID-19 protocols/policies.

Come share in the magic of rediscovered music. As Lonnie Johnson would say about The Blues: “You can have ‘em, but you can’t own ‘em.”

Thursday, March 17, 2022

JBD MusicWorks Discuss the World Premiere of Flamingos by WCO

Delaware Arts Info reviewer Charles "Ebbie" Alfree III discusses the new composition Flamingos with John Lilley, Brent Edmondson and Daniel Gallery of JBD MusicWorks

The Wilmington Community Orchestra will perform Flamingos along with two other pieces as part of their Romantic concert on Sunday, March 20, 2022, 3:00pm at The Music School of Delaware's Wilmington Branch. The performance will also feature Miles Brown, bass soloist. Tickets are a suggested donation of $10/person and may be reserved at the Music School's website.


The Wilmington Community Orchestra is an ensemble of the Music School and is led by Music Director Joseph Hodge. This accomplished amateur ensemble performs standard symphonic and concerto repertoire in 3-4 performances each season at the Music School.

About the piece, Gallery has previously noted: "Flamingos represent and symbolize balance, grace and beauty, and pink flamingos are considered a symbol of innocence and teach us to have confidence. This piece reflects the beauty of this innocence as they take their first flight."


For information about the artists and for tickets to the performance, visit https://jbdmusicworks.com


Tuesday, March 8, 2022

Another World Premiere in Delaware with the Fantastical "Other World" at DTC

By Charles "Ebbie" Alfree, III

(L-R): Charnette Batey, Jamen Nanthakumar & Bonnie Milligan star
in
Other World. [Photo by 
Matt Urban, NüPOINT Media]
Something rare is occurring at the Delaware Theatre Company…an original musical is making its World Premiere. In an age when most musicals being produced are revivals (including the reinvented versions) or shows based on a musician’s or band’s catalogue, a popular book, or film, or on a historical figure, the Delaware Theatre Company is breaking from trends with their production of Other World.

With a book by Tony nominee Hunter Bell, and music and lyrics by Jeff Bowen and Ann McNamee, Other World takes the audience on a journey beyond what most would expect from a musical. Add visionary director, Adrienne Campbell-Holt, and the cutting-edge choreographer, Karla Puno Garcia, and the show becomes a video game spectacle!

The musical begins with a group of gamers playing the widely popular Other World video game. The players are in their respective homes around the world and have never met in person but have created a friendship 
— a 'cybercommunity' devoted to the game. This bond is threatened when the company behind Other World decides to cancel the game with only a 48-hour notice. One member of the gamer's community Sri, played by Jamen Nanthakumar, has a special relationship with Other World: Besides being his favorite video game, his deceased mother also co-created it when he was a child.

Although Sri has isolated himself in his home for the past three years, working remotely and only playing Other World, the cancelation of the game has driven him to leave his home and visit the man with whom his mother co-created the game. When Sri arrives at the man’s house, he is greeted by Lorraine, played by Bonnie Milligan, the co-creator’s daughter. She explains to Sri how the two met when they were younger and that her father has passed away.

She invites Sri to explore her father’s workroom in the garage and talks of her dislike of the game. Rather, she enjoys going out with friends and watching reality shows. While in the garage, Sri stumbles upon the computer used to build Other World and it opens a portal that transports Sri and Lorraine into the actual game. Now the two must face the game’s challenges to open the portal home before Other World ends forever.

Once in the game, Sri and Lorraine meet and befriend Other World characters, including the game’s host/guide, Temula played by Charnette Batey and the cyborg, 1011, played by Seth Rettberg. Temula, 1011, and additional Other World characters assist the humans in the challenges created to open the new portal. The challenges lead to the final battle with the wicked Antagon, played by Ryan Andes. Antagon wants to open the portal for himself and take over Earth.

Mr. Nanthakumar beautifully manifests Sri’s shyness and fears of the outside world 
 a feeling that many can identify with since the beginning of the pandemic in 2020. He’s able to peel the layers of his character and make him a hero that wins over the audience. Ms. Milligan charms as the sassy Lorraine. Besides having a gorgeous singing voice, her timing is perfect for the funny quips Mr. Bell has written for her character.

Ms. Batey and Mr. Andes are fierce in their respective roles. She brings down the house with the final song of Act One, "My Journey Begins." She moves effortlessly while not only singing the inspiring song, but also performing a very precise battle scene. Mr. Andes exudes fear as the maniacal villain, always standing above the action and eliminating anyone who tries to stand in his way.

Ms. Batey and Mr. Andes, along with most of the Other World characters wear magnificent, futuristic costumes conceived and designed Tilly Grimes and Wētā Workshop. Cassie J. Williams perfectly matches the costumes with her stunning wigs, hair, and makeup designs.

In addition to the costumes, Wētā Workshop, along with Achesonwalsh Studios and the Other World production team 
 Mary Hamrick, scenic design; Grant Yeager, lighting design, Hidenori Nakajo, sound design; Lucy Mackinnon, projection design; and Rebekah Tisch, art director  have designed the incredible puppets and effects that delight throughout the show. Their collective talents bring the magnificent video game and its inhabitants to life.

Ms. Campbell-Holt has done an amazing job staging Other World. The show is a technical juggernaut, but at the core is a story about people wanting connection, being a part of the world, and finding their inner strength. She does such a great job balancing the fantasy and humanity aspects of the show.

Ms. Puno Garcia’s transcendent choreography incorporates Filipino martial arts in the extraordinary fight scenes, some disco hustle to one of the video game’s dance challenges, and even modern dance when two of the video game characters slink onto the stage.

Mr. Bell’s book could have easily become a total fantasy story and relied on the technical aspects of the production, but he has created complex characters who evolve as the story progresses. Matching his book with Mr. Bowen and Ms. McNamee’s thrilling and passionate score, the three artists have written an intriguing piece about family, connection, and love with the backdrop of a video game.

Other World a great show for the whole family to enjoy. See it before it closes on March 20!

For information and tickets, visit www.delawaretheatre.org.

Sunday, March 6, 2022

David Robson's "Blues in My Soul" Makes Its World Premiere at City Theater Company

Delaware Arts Info reviewer Charles "Ebbie" Alfree III caught up with playwright David Robson to discuss his latest play (with music) about blues and jazz legend Lonnie Johnson.

Blues in My Soul opens on Friday, March 18,  at City Theater Company’s new home at The Delaware Contemporary. 

For information and tickets, visit https://city-theater.org.



Tuesday, March 1, 2022

Delaware Art Museum Presents Commissioned Work by Richard Raw

The content of this post comes from a Delaware Art Museum press release...

The Delaware Art Museum presents a new performance by Richard Raw and the Word Warrior Band on Thursday, March 10, at 5:00pm at The Queen in downtown Wilmington (500 N. Market Street). The work premieres as part of Shades of Excellence: The Blackout Experience, Freire Charter School’s annual event celebrating Black History Month that honors the cultural contributions, past and present, of people of the African diaspora. Students will blend Afro-Caribbean, Afro-Indigenous, and Black American culture to honor African Heritage, and the event will be headlined by Richard Raw’s new work.

Raw’s performance will tell the story of a boy returning to Africa after 400 years of separation, greeting his ancestors and indigenous heritage. The performance will feature poetry, storytelling and African dancing with appearances by Ile Igoke Temple and stage design by The Stylistics. Raw will premiere songs from his forthcoming album Orisa Soul Music.

“We welcome the Wilmington community to join us at The Queen for this much-anticipated new performance,” says Saralyn Rosenfield, Director of Learning and Engagement at the Delaware Art Museum. “Richard Raw’s commission aligns with the Museum’s work to connect people with art and to highlight the strength and legacy of artists working in our city.” Shades of Excellence continues DelArt’s series of commissions supporting the creation of new art and performance by national and local artists of color over the past 5 years.

Richard Raw combines soul with hip-hop and invigorating, thought-provoking lyrics. He works as a community activist, using his lyrics and performances as tools to inspire and educate the next generation. Raw was awarded a 2021 Established Artist grant by the Delaware Division of the Arts for his music. Once Iz Balleto, Community Engagement Specialist at the Delaware Art Museum, heard about the student-centered Blackout Experience, he identified the opportunity to bring in Richard Raw and the Word Warrior Band to amplify Black excellence. This format supports the Museum’s mission, creates a new partnership between Freire and DelArt, and aligns with Richard Raw’s artistic practice.

"Freire Schools is thrilled to be extending the reach of our annual event honoring Black History Month by partnering with the Delaware Art Museum," said Freire Charter Wilmington Co-Head of School Nate Durant, "Every day we are preparing our students for college and beyond, and that happens both inside and outside of the classroom. When students are afforded opportunities like this Blackout Experience to elevate their voice, celebrate their history, and join with their community to advocate for what they believe in, it is transformative, not just for our school but for our whole community. We look forward to welcoming Richard Raw and the Word Warrior Band and celebrating the many "Shades of Excellence" that shine daily at Freire Wilmington and in our city.”

Tickets for this show are $15 and can be purchased at www.delart.org.

Thursday, February 17, 2022

Delaware Division of the Arts Hosts Annual State Employee Art Exhibit

The content of this post comes from a Delaware Division of the Arts press release...










The Delaware Division of the Arts will host the 11th annual Delaware State Employee Art Exhibition, from February 21 to March 14, 2022 at the Art Center/Gallery at Delaware State University, Dover. 

This year, more than 200 State of Delaware employees and their family members submitted artwork and will be competing for awards and cash prizes. The exhibition is free and open to the public. 

Prizes include:
  • Adult, Amateur, Intermediate & Professional
    • First Place Awards of $350
    • Second Place Awards of $250 
    • Third Place Awards of $150
  • Youth/Teen
    • First Place Awards of $150
    • Second Place Awards of $100
    • Third Place Awards of $50
  • A Best of Show Award of $400
  • An Art Education Award of $200 for reimbursement for arts instruction and materials
  • People’s Choice Award, Facebook and in-person ballot
Additional awards including Honorable Mentions will be awarded at the discretion of the judges. Awards are limited to one cash award per artist per classification.

Visitors are invited to join Division and Art Center/Gallery staff for a special, weekend-long celebration of all this year’s participants and to see the winning artwork during the exhibition’s final weekend, Saturday, March 12 and Sunday, March 13 from 12:00-4:00pm. There will be activities, snacks, and giveaways for Gallery visitors.

The exhibition at the Arts Center/Gallery can be viewed during these hours:
  • Monday: Closed to the public
  • Tuesday: 10:00am-6:00pm
  • Wednesday-Friday: 10:00am-4:00pm
  • Saturdays, March 5 & 12: 12:00-4:00pm
  • Sunday, March 13: 12:00-4:00pm
Sponsored by the National Arts Program in support and cooperation with the State of Delaware and the Delaware Division of the Arts, the exhibit is judged by professional artists and visual art professionals. The Delaware State Employee Art Exhibition is designed to give artists at all skill levels a unique opportunity to exhibit their creative work and to compete for cash prizes.

Participants must be a current employee, or immediate family member of a current employee of the State of Delaware. All entries must be the original work of the applicant and completed within the last three years.

Friday, February 11, 2022

Delaware Theatre Company Brings the "Other World" to Wilmington

Delaware Arts Info reviewer Charles "Ebbie" Alfree III got a rare treat to virtually sit down with the creative team of Other World, the World Premiere musical debuting at Delaware Theatre Company. 

He chats with Book Writer, Hunter Bell; Co-composer and Lyricist, Jeff Bowen; Director, Adrienne Campbell-Holt; Co-composer and Lyrcist, Ann McNamee; and Choreographer, Karla Puno Garcia. 

Other World begins at the Delaware Theatre Company on February 23, 2022. For information and tickets, visit www.delawaretheatre.org.



Monday, January 17, 2022

DDOA Announces 2022 Individual Artist Fellowship Awardees

The content of this post was taken from a press release by the Delaware Division of the Arts

Twenty-five Delaware artists are being recognized by the Delaware Division of the Arts for the high quality of their artwork. Work samples from 132 Delaware choreographers; composers; musicians; writers; and folk, media, and visual artists were reviewed by out-of-state arts professionals, considering demonstrated creativity and skill in their art form. The 25 selected fellows reside throughout Delaware including Dover, Georgetown, Hockessin, Lewes, Magnolia, Middletown, Newark, Smyrna, Townsend, and Wilmington.

Awards were given in three categories: $10,000 for the Masters Award; $6,000 for the Established Professional Award; and $3,000 for the Emerging Professional Award. Fellows are required to offer at least one exhibit or performance during the upcoming year, providing an opportunity for the public to experience their work. Additionally, the work of the Fellows will be featured in a group exhibition, Award Winners XXII, at the Biggs Museum of American Art tentatively set for June 3 through July 23, 2022.

“Individual Artist Fellowship grants recognize Delaware artists for their outstanding work and commitment to artistic excellence,” said Jessica Ball, director of Delaware Division of the Arts. “The financial award allows them to pursue advanced training, purchase equipment and materials, or fulfill other needs to advance their careers. The Division of the Arts understands that artists have been hard hit by the economic fallout of the pandemic and was pleased to be able to allocate some additional funds to recognize more artists this year.”

The Masters Fellowship is open to different artistic disciplines each year. In Fiscal Year 2022, Masters Fellowship applications were accepted in Literary Arts and Media Arts from artists who had previously received an Established Professional Fellowship. In addition to exemplifying high artistic quality, Masters Fellowship applicants must demonstrate their involvement and commitment to the arts in Delaware and beyond. Listed below are the Delaware Division of the Arts 2022 Individual Artist Fellows.

Linda Blaskey has been awarded this year’s Masters Fellowship in Literature: Poetry. Blaskey’s work has been chosen for inclusion in Best New Poets, 2014, and in North Carolina’s Poetry on the Bus project for National Poetry Month. She is poetry/interview editor emerita for Broadkill Review, is coordinator for the Dogfish Head Poetry Prize, and current editor for the new online journal, Quartet. She organized a presentation of Icelandic poetry for the Rehoboth Beach Film Festival, and her work was included in Southern Delaware Choral Society’s presentation of Haydn: “Mass in the Time of War.” She sat on the panel, “Collaborative Publishing,” for Western Maryland Indie Lit Festival at Frostburg State University. Blaskey’s work has been published in numerous journals and anthologies, and she is the author of four poetry collections, two of which are collaborations, one forthcoming in 2022. She lives with her husband on a small horse/goat farm in Sussex County, Delaware.

2022 Individual Artist Fellows
Masters Award ($10,000)
  • Linda Blaskey, Lincoln - Literature: Poetry
Established Professional Award ($6,000)
  • JoAnn Balingit, Newark - Literature: Creative Nonfiction
  • Joseph Barbaccia, Georgetown - Visual Arts: Crafts
  • Tim Broscious, Townsend - Music: Contemporary Performance
  • Jamie Brunson, Wilmington - Literature: Playwriting
  • Caleb Curtiss, Newark - Literature: Poetry
  • t. a. hahn, Middletown - Visual Arts: Sculpture
  • Jeff Knoettner, Wilmington - Jazz: Performance
  • Roger Matsumoto, Newark - Visual Arts: Photography
  • Isai Jess Muñoz, Hockessin - Music: Solo Recital
  • Mia Muratori, Wilmington - Visual Arts: Painting
  • Tad Sare, Wilmington - Media Arts: Video/Film
  • Aaron Terry, Wilmington - Visual Arts: Works on Paper
  • William Torrey, Middletown - Literature: Fiction
Emerging Professional Award ($3,000)
  • Stephanie Boateng, Newark - Visual Arts: Painting
  • Christina Durborow, Wilmington - Literature: Creative Nonfiction
  • Kiara Florez, Magnolia - Visual Arts: Painting
  • Gregory Hammond, Wilmington - Literature: Fiction
  • Jim Hawkins, Smyrna - Literature: Playwriting
  • Gail Husch, Wilmington - Visual Arts: Crafts
  • Alice Morris, Lewes  - Literature: Poetry
  • Maia Palmer, Wilmington - Visual Arts: Works on Paper
  • TANKSLEY, Middletown - Music: Contemporary Performance
  • Leanna Thongvong, Dover - Folk Art: Visual Arts
  • Katie West, Wilmington - Visual Arts: Photography
To contact an individual artist, please email or call: Roxanne Stanulis, Program Officer, Artist Programs and Services, Roxanne.Stanulis@delaware.gov or 302.577.8283. The next deadline for Individual Artist Fellowship applications will be Monday, August 1, 2022.