A guide to a variety of autumn treats, including some spooky tales

Autumn is my favorite time of the year, and not only because the air has that cool, crisp feel, leaves morph into golden and fiery shades, and Halloween ghosts and goblins roam freely. It’s also because now’s the time when the arts are in full vibrancy as well. There’s live music, art exhibits, theater, symphony, opera, dance, and more. The choices can be daunting, but don’t be frightened—below we’ve selected some artsy treats and haunts to get you started.

Shakespeare, Poe & Fiends Will Spook You

This month heralds the return of Delaware Shakespeare’s popular annual performance series Shakespeare, Poe & Fiends! This autumnal tradition is designed for fright as well as delight, with actors delivering readings of gothic tales from prose, poetry and plays in four historic (and perhaps spooky) locations around the state. Oct. 10-13 will see the performances travel to the New Castle Court House Museum in Old New Castle; the Stone Stable in historic Odessa; Old Town Hall of the Delaware Historical Society, and the Old State House in Dover. Tickets are $18 at delshakes.org, but don’t dilly-dally; these tickets will surely “ghost” you if you wait!

OperaDelaware Turns Juke Joint

Get your quarters out for an evening of greatest hits with Opera Jukebox. OperaDelaware starts its season by inviting a few of its favorite singers to perform some of the most well-known and beloved operatic works—including aria requests. The October program features OD’s head of music, Aurelien Eulert, as well as Brandie Sutton, soprano; Melanie Ashkar, mezzo-soprano; Jonathan Kaufman, tenor, and Michael Mayes, baritone. Performances are Friday, Oct. 11, at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, Oct. 13, at 2 p.m. at OperaDelaware Studios. Wine, beer, sandwiches and other light refreshments will be available for purchase. Tickets start at $29 and are available at operade.org or by calling 442-7807. 

Market Street Music Launches 10th Anniversary Season

On the north corner of Rodney Square, Market Street Music is celebrating a decade as the purveyors of downtown’s most affordable and diverse concert series. Says Music Director David Schelat of  this milestone: “Market Street Music is excited to present its 10th season of bringing memorable music to Greater Wilmington. We’re also delighted to expand from our primary location (First & Central Presbyterian Church) to present in new venues with partners like Wilmington Alliance and Delaware Historical Society. We plan to further extend that reach as we move into our second 10 years.”

Performed in the sanctuary of First & Central, the music begins on Thursday, Oct. 3, at 12:30 p.m. with Schelat on organ, and continues through the month with Thursday Noontime Concerts featuring saxophonist Tae Ho Hwang, Lyra Russian Choir from St. Petersburg, the Copeland String Quartet, and Center City Chorale. Thursday Noontimes are especially geared toward enticing local community and corporate lunchtime visits; each is only 30 minutes long and free to attend ($5 donation suggested).

Full-length concerts also begin on Sunday, Oct. 27, at 3 p.m., with Schelat returning as the featured artist in an eclectic program of music from Renaissance to contemporary. Admission is $25 general and $10 for students at marketstreetmusicde.org, or $30 at the door. For this season’s Festival Concerts, Market Street Music is partnering with popular neighboring food hall DE.CO, which will be the official post-concert reception venue.

A new offering this season, geared to area community or church choirs, is Market Street Music’s Lending Library, where ensembles may search and borrow from nearly 1,000 classical works. And next summer, the community can groove with MSM artists as they return to offer evening jazz concerts with community partner The Rock Lot (8th Street between Tatnall and West streets).

Irene Rises Anew

Local musician/composer Shaun Dougherty has breathed new life into his original vampire-themed, rock-tinged ballet, Irene, transforming it into a completely new theatrical experience.

Initially premiered as a full production by First State Ballet Theatre in February 2014, the piece has been reworked by Dougherty into an intimate “dramatic burlesque,” with a five-dancer cast accompanied by two musicians (Dougherty on guitar and Art Bookout on drums) and a pre-recorded, full-orchestra backing track. The adaptation also features Devin MasoKiss as choreographer and one of the stars in the production.

It’s a story of love and loss, where not every ending is a “happily ever after.” It follows Irene, a beautiful young dancer, who finds that her classmates are not what they seem. After discovering that they’re all vampires, the young ingénue must decide which path to take.

“I feel the music is so strong and the story so interesting, that it had to be performed again,” says Dougherty. “I’ve been asked many times over the years ‘when is Irene coming back’? So here she is with a sexy new twist!”

The performance returns to The Grand for a one-night-only show on Saturday, Oct. 12, at 6 p.m. in the baby grand. Tickets are $20 and are available at thegrandwilmington.org.

ArtzScape has introduced “Mom Mom & Me Paint & Sip” classes. Photo courtesy of Connie Drummond

ArtzScape Brings Generations Together

Connie Drummond, director of ArtzScape By Lady C Productions, wanted to do something different to engage families and introduce them to the arts. The result is monthly “Mom Mom & Me Paint & Sip” classes at ArtzScape, which began in September and continue on Saturday, Oct. 19, Saturday, Nov. 16, and Thursday, Nov. 21, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

“I wanted to offer it because I haven’t seen it done here, and it’s something that until now has been primarily for adults,” Drummond says. “It’s like a traditional ‘paint and sip,’ but without the alcohol. We’ve had dads, moms, godparents, and foster parents come out. It’s a great way for adults to bond with the children in their lives.”

Drummond serves as the instructor of the class, which provides juice boxes for kids and lemonade or iced tea for adults, as well as assorted snacks and cupcakes during the painting sessions. Admission is $25 for adults and $10 for children, and can be reserved on eventbrite.com or by calling 433-6622.

Music School Partners with Wilmington University

This fall, the Music School of Delaware will offer for-credit college-level courses in music education in a new partnership with Wilmington University. The courses will qualify as elective classes for already-enrolled WilmU students as well as college credit opportunities for high school juniors and seniors.

Courses currently available are Elements of Music (Music Theory) and Introduction to Piano. Students enrolled at WilmU who successfully complete these courses at the Music School’s Wilmington Branch will receive three undergraduate credit hours as Fine Arts or Humanities electives.

“In keeping with our goal of providing students with learning opportunities by connecting with area businesses and organizations, we are pleased to partner with the Music School on this offering,” says Dr. Danny Walker, chair of Philosophy & Arts. “We look forward to expanding awareness of and continuing to build this partnership to promote quality music education in our area.”

Elements of Music is taught by Music School faculty J. Andrew Dickenson. The course covers fundamentals of musical notation and will help enhance a student’s performance, composition, and appreciation of music. Introduction to Piano is taught by Music School faculty member Joan Fasullo. This course teaches students how to play the piano, in repertoire ranging from classical to pop selections.

Elements of Music will start Wednesday, Oct. 9, and Introduction to Piano Oct. 10 at the Music School’s Wilmington Branch. Deadline to enroll is Friday, Oct. 4. For more information or to register, call 762-1132.

Michelle Kramer-Fitzgerald
Michelle Kramer-Fitzgerald is the owner of arts publicity company Arts in Media and manager of the blog Delaware Arts Info. She is a self-described "cheerleader" for the arts and animal rescue, a die-hard Penn Stater and a doting dog mom. She's a big fan of The Beatles, Bon Jovi, strong java and red blends, and in a parallel universe, she's pretty sure she's a writer for Rolling Stone. She and hubby Scott Fitzgerald share their Wilmington home with lovable mutt Eli.