Events through year-end mark the return of Wilmington’s vibrant scene
As much as I embrace our steamy Delaware summers, I’m much more of an autumn gal, eagerly awaiting the chance to chill and get my fill with local arts and culture pals. There’s something for everyone in this sneak peek at what’s to come.
Arden Concert Gild
Arden is reopening. First up is the 113th Arden Fair on Sat., Sept. 4, with its customary mix of games, food, antiques, along with bands like Splashing Pearls and Montana Wildaxe. The official Grand Reopening concert is Yo La Tengo on Wed., Sept. 22 — but sorry fans, it’s sold out (congrats Arden). Never fear, the remaining season is rich with acts like the musician extraordinaire Larry Campbell with singer Teresa Williams Friday, Oct. 8; Sierra Hull’s full band show on Friday, Oct. 22; The Claudettes’ wild punkish swing music Sat., Oct. 30; ADG7, a combo of South Korean folk and K-pop with dancing and costumes, Thursday, Nov. 18; and Twisted Pine high-energy acoustic music on Sat., Dec. 4; and Marshall Crenshaw rounds out the season on Sat., Dec. 11. All of Arden’s indoor shows will require proof of vaccination.
2126 The Highway, Arden • 898.9308 • Tickets: ardenconcerts.com
Facebook: @ArdenConcertGild • Twitter: @ArdenConcerts
Boot(less) hits the ground Fri., Sept. 10 with English for Criminals: A Comedy Game Show for mature audiences hosted by comedian Brandon Jackson and Na’im Ali. This show’s freshly jailed “convicts” enroll in prison English 101 class, only to discover the instructor goes rogue. On Sat., Sept. 18, laughs continue with The Comedy Corner at Bootless, a monthly mix of local, regional, and national comedians hosted by Belynda Cleare and K-Mack. Concerts at Bootless presents Romeo Rage produced by Realize Records, arrives on Sat., Sept. 25. It’s the debut of the duo who blur genres from theatrical to new wave, British punk, and more. Oedipus for Kids! – A Musical of Epic Proportion runs Sept. 30 through Oct. 2 and take note: It is so NOT for kids. It’s a misguided, educational experience that spirals into a Charybdis-like whirlpool of dark comedy. Finally, the family-friendly Every Time A Bell Rings – An Original Holiday Adaptation, runs Dec. 9-11. This adaptation of It’s A Wonderful Life finds George Pratt standing at the edge of a bridge contemplating his life’s importance.
1301 N. Broom St., Wilmington • 887.9300 • Tickets: bootless.org
Facebook/Instagram: @BootlessStageworks • Twitter: @BootlessDE
The Candlelight Theatre
Their season launches with Best of Candlelight – A Musical Spectacular (Sept. 18 to Oct. 31), a collection of iconic moments from the past 20 years. In a seasonal celebration of theater reopening comes Christmas Carol by Candlelight (Nov. 20 through Dec. 22), with the first act staging a reimagining of A Christmas Carol followed by holiday music audiences have come to love in the Christmas by Candlelight series. Main-stage tickets include dinner and show. Also on the playbill is Candlelight Comedy Club, running Thur., Sept. 16, Oct. 21 and Dec. 2 and Quizzo with Dan Healy on Mon., Sept. 20, Oct. 18, Nov. 22, and Dec. 13.
2208 Millers Rd., Wilmington
475-2313 • candlelighttheatredelaware.com
Chapel Street Players
Following a season of virtual performances, Chapel Street returns to the live stage! First up in September is Moon Over the Brewery (which was delayed in 2020). Kathleen Kimber directs this story of a single mom, her daughter, and the daughter’s imaginary friend. November finds Zachary Jackson directing All Together Now, a review of classic and contemporary hits from musical theatre that’s sure to be a night of fun, highlighting special guests and major announcements! Get into full holiday swing with A Christmas Carol: A Live Radio Show. Director Brian Touchette and his cast of radio actors bring Dickens’ classic to life in a way you have to hear to believe.
27 N. Chapel St., Newark • 368-2248 • chapelstreetplayers.org
Choir School of Delaware
October 21 through 24, The Choir School hosts the inaugural Bent, But Not Broken — a four-day conference amplifying the musical contributions of Black artists. The weekend is comprised of performances from nationally esteemed choral groups complemented by workshops led by the nation’s most knowledgeable scholars of music and history. Following the conference, Total Praise fills the air on Sun., Oct. 24 at Grace Church. This performance of music by Adolphus Hailstork — guest-conducted by Dr. Jason Max Ferdinand with a guest instrumental ensemble — amplifies stories of triumph and struggle still resonant today. Sounds of the Season brings the music to Winterthur on Sat., Dec. 11, in a two-part program with messages of diversity and hope. Margaret Bonds’ The Ballad of the Brown King — a Christmas cantata composition with poet Langston Hughes — opens the program with holiday works by musicians of color rounding out the performance.
Performance venue: Varying in Delaware
543-8657 • choirschoolofdelaware.org
Facebook: @choirschool • Instagram: @choirschoolofdelaware
Christina Cultural Arts Center
Christina honors the majesty of the holiday season with two festive performances. The first is the magnificent dance musical, Carols in Color, on Sunday, Dec. 12 at The Playhouse on Rodney Square. Now in its 30th year, Carols is performed by Philly-based Eleone Dance Theatre and is the retelling of the Gospel according to St. Matthew delivered through stunning contemporary dance and stirring narration. It is based on Black Nativity by Langston Hughes and a 1960s musical adaptation by Vinette Carrol. On Friday, Dec. 17, the entire community can enjoy the Christina Cultural Arts Center Holiday Showcase, highlighting talent in student and faculty performances alike. Christina also hosts exhibits from local visual artists each month as part of Wilmington Art Loop.
705 N. Market St., Wilmington • 652.0101 • ccacde.org
City Theater Company
CTC is thrilled to return to their distinct brand of “in-your-face” intimate theater and comedy improv this fall and announce a new collaborative partnership with The Delaware Contemporary! Beginning monthly September through November, Fearless Improv delivers regular shows packed with plenty of on-the-spot hilarious scenarios, games, and long-form improvisation. CTC’s fall mainstage presents the Delaware Premiere of the Tony Award–winning musical, Once (Dec.10-18), about a young Irish musician about to give up his career because his songs – about a former love – are too heartbreaking to sing. Expect staged readings of new works by regional playwrights as well as more live and virtual programs with that special “CTC-twist.”
Performance venue: 200 S. Madison St., Wilmington
220-8285 • city-theater.org
Clifford Brown Year ’Round
This series maintains the fun and energy of Wilmington’s signature jazz festival through monthly performances. Concerts this fall will be in-person or virtual depending on COVID guidelines and will feature some of the region’s top jazz artists on Fri., Oct. 29, Nov. 19, and Dec. 17.
Performance venue: Varying in Delaware • 576-2100 • cliffordbrownjazzfest.com
Delaware Art Museum
The Museum continues its wildly popular Copeland Sculpture Garden programs by welcoming patrons to the Korean Festival, Fri., Sept. 24, followed by Sips & Sculptures on Sat., Oct. 2, and Día de los Muertos: Walking with the Ancestors, on Sat., Oct. 30. But inside the galleries is as equally captivating, as an iconic exhibit returns after 50 years (on view Oct. 23-Jan. 23, 2022) in Afro-American Images 1971: The Vision of Percy Ricks. Included in this historic display is a work by renowned local artist Edward Loper, Jr. entitled, Pool Room 11th & Walnut, 1971. Music is also a part of the menu, with Arnold Hurtt & Funk Factory on Sun., Nov. 7; and Celebrate! Pyxis at the Holidays on Thur., Dec. 9. Wrapping the holidays is the Winter Arts Festival Sat., Dec. 11, where visitors can shop with regional artisans and local fare while surrounded in festive music.
2301 Kentmere Pkwy., Wilmington • 571.9590 • delart.org
The Delaware Contemporary
The Delaware Contemporary’s new fall exhibition season, PRESENTATION, opens Fri., Sept. 3. The kickoff is the First Friday Event on Sept. 10 entitled, Fields and Formations: A Group Exhibition Exploring Mid-Atlantic Abstraction. The exhibit unites approximately 70 works by 12 distinguished women and non-binary artists from the Mid-Atlantic who infuse emotional and metaphorical content into abstract paintings, drawings, prints, and sculpture. Next First Fri., Oct. 1, join an artist talk with curator Michael Dika and exhibitors from The Medium is the Message: An African Diaspora Story, on display at the University of Delaware. All First Friday programs bring food trucks, a cash bar, and a free arty party every month. Two exclusive nights provide interactive fun for Contemporary members. Thur., Sept. 16, features Super Ngewel African Percussion Ensemble’s high-energy singing, dancing, and storytelling. Tue., Oct. 26, Haunting at the Museum with First State Improv takes guests through galleries to help ghost hunters solve a spooky mystery.
200 S. Madison St., Wilmington
656-6466 • decontemporary.org
DelShakes transforms downtown’s Rodney Square into a magical forest of love and laughter with a free production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream — possibly the first full theatrical performance ever in the historic square (Sept. 16-19). One of The Bard’s most popular comedies, “Midsummer” takes audiences to an enchanted woods full of confused lovers, bumbling actors, and powerful fairies meeting to pursue their wildest dreams. An ensemble of nine actors will bring 21 characters to life, accompanied by live music composed by Arreon Harley-Emerson and Jonathan Whitney, and a chorus from The Choir School of Delaware. Join in this celebration of love and humanity! Eric Mills (pictured with Krista Apple in 2018’s Much Ado About Nothing) will play the iconic Oberon.
Performance venue: Varying in Delaware
468.4890 • delshakes.org
This fall, the Delaware Symphony returns to live performances with its intimate Chamber Series in the splendid surrounds — and new venue — of the DuPont Country Club. Chamber I (Tue., Sept. 21) opens the season with associate concertmaster Luigi Mazzocchi and principal pianist Lura Johnson performing a program including Brahms and Gershwin’s Three Preludes. On Tue., Oct. 19, the Strings of the DSO take the spotlight with composer Shelly Washington’s 2016 work Middleground and a Brahms string sextet. The series culminates with Chamber III on Tue., Nov. 16, with Vivaldi’s Four Seasons featuring concertmaster David Southorn. And this fall is just a taste of what’s to come as the Classics Series returns to Copeland Hall in The Grand Opera House in the New Year.
Performance venue: 818 N. Market St., Wilmington
656.7442 • delawaresymphony.org
Delaware Theatre Company
Hasan Minhaj was the host/creator of the Netflix 2018 comedy show, Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj, which explored the modern cultural and political landscape with depth and sincerity. A first-generation American, Minhaj joined The Daily Show with Jon Stewart as a correspondent in 2014 and continued through August 2018. Now, he brings his unique comedic voice to the DTC stage (Sept. 9-12). Following this is Philly sports commentator Ray Didinger’s autobiographical show, Tommy and Me (Oct. 6-17), where he recounts helping his lifelong hero, Philadelphia Eagles’ tough wide receiver Tommy McDonald, get into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Finally, the musical Million Dollar Quartet (Dec. 1-19) hits the right notes, directed by DTC’s own Matt Silva and inspired by the legendary Sun Records session that brought together icons Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Carl Perkins for a once-and-only jam session in December 1956.
200 Water St., Wilmington • 594.1100 • DelawareTheatre.org
First State Ballet Theatre
First State begins its season with free outdoor performances statewide including one Sun., Sept. 5 at Bellevue State Park in Wilmington. Then, the ballet leaps back onto the Grand Opera House stage (Oct. 8, 9 & 10) with a world premiere, one-act ballet by its favorite choreographer, Viktor Plotnikov. Next, one of its most popular events, Up Front on Market (Nov. 12, 13 & 14), highlights classical repertoire and new contemporary work. Performed in Studio 1 at The Grand, Up Front gives audiences the experience of dance in an intimate setting. Finally, join in the magical journey and Wilmington’s favorite holiday tradition as Delaware’s only professional ballet company presents The Nutcracker (Dec. 10, 11 & 12) in Copeland Hall at The Grand Opera House.
Performance Venue: The Grand, 818 N. Market St., Wilmington • 658.7897 • firststateballet.com • Tickets: TheGrandWilmington.org
Facebook/Instagram: @FirstStateBallet • Twitter: @FSBTheatre
Market Street Music
Market Street Music is excited to present a “normal” season once again, including free, weekly half-hour Thursday Noontime Concerts, running October through mid-December, and two full-length Festival Concerts. Festival Concerts are moving to Saturday afternoon at 3 p.m. this season, with a happy hour at DE.CO following each. Market Street Music presents the most diverse lineup of music in Wilmington. You can enjoy performances ranging from acoustic singer-songwriters and jazz to string quartets and choral music. Ticket prices range from free admission (Thursday Noontime Concerts) to $30 (Festival Concerts), with special pricing for students.
Primary Performance Venue: First & Central Presbyterian Church, 1101 N. Market St., Wilmington • 654.5371
The Music School of Delaware
The Music School begins the fall season with its annual Wilmington Branch Opening Night performance on Tue., Oct. 5. A Music School faculty and guest orchestra will perform under the direction of Simeone Tartaglione, with soloist Augustine Mercante, in Bach’s Cantata #54. Also on the program are Orchestral Suite #3 by Bach and Beethoven’s Symphony #8. Other season highlights include its annual Martin Luther King and Black History Tribute; Classical Café — an informal coffee-and-donuts chat about musical topics — and free monthly Open Mic Nights and Bluegrass Jams. Faculty & Friends concerts feature Music School faculty, Serafin Ensemble, and other artists throughout the year. The Music School offers more than 100 public performances annually, many free of charge, including student recitals, ensemble concerts, masterclasses, and workshops.
4101 Washington St., Wilmington
762.1132 • musicschoolofdelaware.org
Join OperaDelaware (Oct. 7 & 8) for an abridged live performance of beloved bel canto comedy, Don Pasquale! Penny-pinching bachelor Don Pasquale wants his nephew to marry for money, but young Ernesto has other plans — he’s smitten with the lovely (but poor) widow Norina. When the lovers discover Don Pasquale’s plan to disinherit his rebellious nephew, they team up with cunning Dr. Malatesta to hatch an outrageous plan to walk down the aisle and teach Pasquale a lesson. It’s a boisterous battle of wits and wills, all set to Donizetti’s sparkling score.
4 S. Poplar St., Wilmington • 442.7807 • operade.org
The Playhouse on Rodney Square
& The Grand Opera House
After more than 500 days, The Grand and The Playhouse on Rodney Square will reopen for public indoor performances in September, with comedian Brian Regan kicking off the season Sun., Sept. 26. Highlights of this year’s lineup include Lewis Black (Sat., Oct. 9), Postmodern Jukebox (Sat., Oct. 23), The Temptations (Wed., Oct. 27), American Idol winner Kris Allen (Sat., Nov. 13), Jane Lynch’s A Swingin’ Little Christmas (starring Kate Flannery from NBC’s The Office) (Fri., Dec. 3), Santa Saves Christmas (Sun., Dec. 5), and more! This year also brings a New Year’s Eve Concert collaboration with the Delaware Symphony Orchestra, OperaDelaware, and the stunning vocal talent of Tony Award-winner Brian Stokes Mitchell. Broadway in Wilmington opens in November with Sara Bareilles’ Waitress; followed by vibrant jukebox bio-musical SUMMER: The Donna Summer Musical, the 25th anniversary edition of dance extravaganza Riverdance; and closes with a new production of the classic Fiddler on the Roof. More shows will be added as touring artists return to the road.
The Grand: 818 N. Market St., Wilmington • 652.5577
The Playhouse: 1007 N. Market St., Wilmington
888.0200 • Tickets: TheGrandWilmington.org
Facebook: @TheGrandWilmington • Facebook: @ThePlayhouseDE Twitter/Instagram: @TheGrandWilm
University of Delaware School of Music
Start the season with The University of Delaware Music Spectacular, an outdoor performance at The Freeman Arts Pavilion in Selbyville Thur., Sept. 16. Performances will span the breadth of the School of Music, featuring students and faculty of the Wind Ensemble, Symphony Orchestra, Chorale, Jazz Band, and the UD Fightin’ Blue Hen Marching Band. Register your “pod” for free tickets at freemanarts.org. The acclaimed Calidore String Quartet — quartet-in-residence and newly appointed School of Music faculty — returns to Gore Recital Hall at the UD Roselle Center for the Arts, on Thur., Sept. 30 and Wed., Oct. 20 at 8:00 p.m.
Gore Recital Hall, Roselle Center for the Performing Arts, Newark • 831.2578 • music.udel.edu
Facebook: @MusicatUD • Instagram: @udschoolofmusic
Wilmington Ballet Academy of the Dance
Wilmington Ballet celebrates its 65th anniversary this year, with inspiring programming to mark the occasion. On Sun., Nov. 7, the ballet hosts a vital panel discussion, “The Changing Face of the Arts,” at Buttonwood School in New Castle. Artists from the American Ballet Theatre, New York City Ballet, as well as local arts executives will lead a dialogue on increased diversity in the performing arts. In the heart of the holiday season, the ballet stages the 53rd annual production of The Nutcracker at The Playhouse on Rodney Square (Dec. 17, 18, & 19). Guest artists for this iconic performance include members from the New York City Ballet, Dance Theatre of Harlem, and Voloshky Ukranian Dance Ensemble.
1709 Gilpin Ave., Wilmington • 655-1004 • wilmingtonballet.org
Wilmington Drama League
The Drama League?comes?back to life this?fall, kicking off its eight-show season on Fri., Oct. 22 with the Edgar Award Winner for Best Mystery Play, The Art of Murder (Oct. 22-24). On Fri., Nov. 12 and Sat., Nov. 13, the Ruby M. Stanley One-Act Festival shines the spotlight on local playwrights’ original works and calls on audiences to select their favorite. Through December (Dec. 10-29), the highly anticipated Elf – The Musical fills the stage with holiday cheer as this beloved fish-out-of-water comedy follows Buddy the Elf in his quest to find his true identity.
10 W. Lea Blvd., Wilmington • 764.1172 • wilmingtondramaleague.org
Enjoy an artsy zoo weekend during the Brandywine Festival of Arts (Sat., Sept. 11 and Sun., Sept. 12). At Zippity Zoo Days, kids can create chalk art along the walks inside the zoo, and families can enjoy a special admission rate of $3/person. Later this month, party with the Madagascar lemurs (and other zoo pals) on Fri., Sept. 17 at Lemurs & Lagers. Complementing the revelry are up-close avian encounters with Animal Behavior and Conservation Connections; zookeeper talks; ice cream from Hy-Point; libations by Bellefonte Brewing Company, Dogfish Head Brewery, and Liquid Alchemy; music by Spokey Speaky; and entertainment by WSTW. Celebrate Halloween with Boo at the Zoo (Oct. 22-24), a merry (not scary) event in the wildly decorated zoo! Kids of all ages can trick-or-treat throughout and visit animals. The year closes out on Fri., Dec. 31 with Noon Year’s Eve, ringing in the New Year at with games, crafts, and a celebratory sparkling cider toast as the clock strikes 12 (noon)!
1001 N. Park Drive, Wilmington
571.7747 • Tickets: BrandywineZoo.org
On Thur., Oct. 7, the Delaware Historical Society will honor Dr. Velma P. Scantlebury-White, the first Black woman transplant surgeon in the U.S., recently retired from Christiana Care Transplant Program. The Delaware History Makers Award is given annually to individuals who have made extraordinary contributions to the quality of life in Delaware, our nation, and the world. The evening includes hors d’oeuvres, dinner, and live music by The Joseph Whitney Steel Band. Business attire is requested and valet parking will be provided. Both in-person and virtual tickets are available for members and non-members.
504 N. Market St., Wilmington • 655.7161 • dehistory.org
Facebook: @dehistory • Instagram: @delawarehistoricalsociety Twitter: @thisisdehistory
Hagley Museum & Library
Hagley Craft Fair welcomes you to an open-air fall market on Sat., Oct. 16, and Sun., Oct. 17. This marketplace brings together Mid Atlantic–area artisans displaying and selling fine arts and crafts with works in wood, pottery, jewelry, fibers, metal, and other media, along with gourmet items in a specialty food market. Vendors are stationed throughout Hagley’s beautiful upper property as well as inside the Soda House. Then get ready for a boo-tiful weekend of tricks and treats during Halloween at Hagley, Sat., Oct. 30 and Sun., Oct. 31. Children are invited to come in costume and visit treat stations throughout the property. Trick or treat is included with admission and free for Hagley members.
298 Buck Rd., Wilmington • 658-2400 • hagley.org
Nanci Hersh Art Exhibit –
Unmasked: Portraits from the Zoom Room
This exhibition and artist reception opens at The Mill in downtown Wilmington Wed., Nov. 17 (runs Nov. 1- Dec. 31). An ongoing series of acrylic paintings — created during the COVID-19 pandemic — Unmasked captures the faces of artists, educators, and colleagues the artist has seen every day on Zoom in her role as executive director of the Delaware Institute for the Arts in Education. Hersh notes that the pandemic-created environment magnified the need and the power of human connectivity.
1007 N. Orange St., 4th Floor, Wilmington • nancihersh.com
Facebook: @NanciHersh.Artist • Instagram: @nancihersh
Dara J. Meredith Dance Premiere –
The Bridge of
On Fri., Sept. 17 at Delaware Theatre Company, director and choreographer Dara J. Meredith (Faculty Member, Christina Cultural Arts Center; Dance Instructor, Eleone Dance Unlimited) presents The Bridge of Our Roots, a work of modern dance originally commissioned by the Delaware Art Museum with support by Art Bridges. Meredith’s creation is a soul-searching performance inspired by Southern Souvenir No. II, a riveting painting by artist Eldzier Corter, depicting the disembodied figure of Black women. In her piece, Meredith explores the complexity of Black womanhood with a multi-generational ensemble whose fluid, yet formidable movements exude tales of both sisterhood and strength.
200 Water Street, Wilmington