‘ArtStuff’ to Keep You Warm with Excitement

Michelle Kramer-Fitzgerald

Ballet, Music School open mic, and Bud Martin takes the stage for second time in 37 years

First State Ballet Theatre heats up the baby grand stage this month as it presents a “double bill of dance” with Paquita and The Young Lady & The Hooligan.

Paquita, a ballet by French composer Édouard Deldevez and Paris Opera Ballet Master Joseph Mazilier, premiered in Paris in 1846. It tells the story of a young girl abducted by gypsies as a child who is ultimately reunited with her noble family and finds love with a young French army officer.

In 1881, dancer and choreographer Marius Petipa—considered one of the most influential ballet masters in history—produced a revival of the ballet in Russia, adding new pieces arranged and composed by Ludwig Minkus.

The additions included the Paquita Grand Pas Classique, now known as one of the foundations of the traditional ballet repertory. The Paquita Grand Pas Classique blends Spanish flair with classical performance in an expressive and timeless masterpiece.

First State Ballet last performed the work in May 2009. For this iteration of Paquita, its principal dancers are Rie Aoki, Leonid Goykhma and Zane Winders.

The Young Lady and The Hooligan is based on Vladimir Mayakovsky’s 1918 film about a criminal transformed by his love for a young teacher. The work was initially performed at the Leningrad Malii Opera Theater in 1962. The dynamic music conveying this melancholy lovers’ tale comes from composer Dmitri Shostakovich. The score was created from a number of Shostakovich’s existing works, arranged by his longtime musical colleague, Levon Atovmyan.

The Music School of Delaware offers monthly open mic nights for musicians and spoken-word artists at its Wilmington Branch. Photo courtesy of The Music School of Delaware

Principal dancers are First State Ballet’s Mary Kate Reynolds as the Young Lady and Richy Romero as the Hooligan. Executive Director Kristina Kambalov notes that Artistic Director Pasha Kambalov chose the two pieces because they are completely different stylistically, emotionally and technically. “The Young Lady and the Hooligan has a great deal of emotion and drama, and Paquita is pure classicism,” she says.

Dates for this double bill are Saturday, Feb. 17, at 7 p.m. and Sunday, Feb. 18, at 2 p.m. Tickets are available at tickets.thegrandwilmington.org.

Music School Expands Open Mic Night

Beginning this month, The Music School of Delaware’s Open Mic Nights will become a regular event at its Wilmington Branch. The open community event now expands to the second Thursday of each month (Feb. 8, March 8, April 12 and May 10 at 7 p.m., with a 6:30 p.m. artist sign-up) and offers a revised staging setup.

“In addition to regular dates, we’re also excited to offer a new format for these events,” says Chris Braddock, the Music School Studio Department head and Open Mic Night coordinator. “Our previous open mics were more like small concerts; this setup will be less formal, with club-style seating for musicians, their families and friends.”

Braddock also notes that new sound equipment will be available for performers’ use, and food and drink will be available during the show. Also new this year: One act will be chosen from each open mic performance to participate in a “Best Of” concert in December.

The Music School Open Mic Nights are open to soloists or groups ages 14 and up in all musical genres as well as spoken-word artists. For more information, call the Music School’s Wilmington Branch at 762–1132.

DTC’s Bud Martin Onstage!

Another regional premiere hits the Delaware stage in playwright Simon Stephens’ Heisenberg, running Feb. 7-25 at Delaware Theatre Company (DTC).

Stephens—also playwright of the celebrated The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time—opened this play off-Broadway in 2015. It was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Actor in 2017.

The story opens in a bustling train station in London, as Georgie spies Alex, a much older man, and kisses him on the neck. The encounter plunges the two into a fascinating and life-changing game.

The DTC production is directed by Matt Pfeiffer and stars Karen Peakes as Georgie (seen previously in DTC’s Something Wicked This Way Comes, The War of the Roses and The Explorers Club) and DTC Executive and Artistic Director Bud Martin as Alex. This show marks just the second time in 37 years that Martin will take the stage as an actor.

“It’s a beautiful show about how two lonely, hurt people—very unlikely to ever get together—can find something astonishing when they give in to the unpredictability of their future,” Martin says of the production.

“[This production] is a perfect role for Karen, whom I adore,” he says, “and they don’t often write these roles for older men. When else would I get the chance to play a part like this with someone like Karen?”
Due to sexual situations and profanity, the show may be best suited for mature older teens and adults.

Two show dates (Wednesday and Thursday, Feb. 14 and 15) have already sold out. Tickets for the remaining dates are $15 for students and $25-60 for all other seating and are available at delawaretheatre.org.

Celebrate Mardi Gras in Arden

The folks of Arden invite you to bring your beads, masks and a pair of comfy dancing shoes as Nathan & the Zydeco Cha-Chas take over the Gild Hall for a proper Mardi Gras music festival beginning at 8 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 9.

Band leader Nathan Williams hails from St. Martinsville, La., the heart of Creole country. He moved to Lafayette to pursue his dream of playing zydeco and was mentored by two of the greats—Clifton Chenier and Arden’s favorite son, Buckwheat Zydeco.

Tickets are $25 and available at ardenconcerts.com. The Gild Hall dance floor will be wide open on Feb. 9; join in the fun and allons danser!

So, what do you think? Please comment below.