High School Musical(s)
On the same day we lost Hal Prince—a colossus of the theater world—NPR released a database of the plays and musicals most frequently produced in high schools over the past 60 years. Quite a few of the shows Prince produced or directed were on the list, which imbued the information with a dash of poignancy.
I graduated in the 70s, when the six most popular high school musicals of the decade were Oklahoma!, The Music Man, You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown, Bye Bye Birdie, Fiddler on the Roof, and Guys and Dolls.
The class of 2020 will experience a very different set of musicals. The shows in my school were about humans with real-life problems. Schroeder was close to my heart, so despite being a cartoon character, he at least seemed real.
The six top shows of the decade now? Beauty and the Beast, Into the Woods, Little Shop of Horrors, The Addams Family, The Wizard of Oz, and Seussical. Notice a trend? The humans in 75 percent of these shows are easily outnumbered by dancing clocks and candelabra, man-eating plants from outer space, Munchkins, witches…even Yertle the Turtle.
I’m not questioning the validity of these shows, but I do find the ascendance of anthropomorphism disturbing. It’s much the same feeling I had when I first saw Phantom of the Opera. Sir Lloyd Webber and Mr. Prince had created a musical which relied as heavily on spectacle as it did on singing talent—but how would the show fare minus the smoke and mirrors?
I took my mother to the Kennedy Center in the early 80s to see the show and the production was a technical disaster. The chandelier was stuck and refused to crash to the stage, leaving two dozen actors gasping in horror for what felt like hours.
Two stagehands were caught when the lights came up early in the manager’s office, and they simply took refuge under the desk. The final effect of the show—the Phantom disappearing—also failed. The bewildered ballet dancer ripped the cloth from the elaborate golden chair only to find the Phantom was still there trying desperately to make himself invisible.
Without the magic, the audience was denied the opportunity to have any emotional investment in the plot.
The recent revival of Oklahoma! strips the production down to the bones. A small band of instruments indigenous to the territory, a few minor set pieces and props…the basic universality of the show allows us to be a part of the story.
While I don’t mind a little fantasy, I’ll admit I’m partial to relatable story lines. Give me more real people having real-life problems and less smoke and mirrors and actors with a meerkat on their head. Please….
CAMP Rehoboth Puts Art at The Heart of Our Community
Award-Winners Showcasing DE Talent
The Gallery at CAMP Rehoboth is hosting the Award Winners XIX Exhibition—a group show featuring the work of the 2019 Delaware Division of the Arts Individual Artist Fellows in collaboration with the Biggs Museum.
The Artist Fellows are represented by work from a very diverse group, all winning grants from the state to pursue their art, and include: environmental activist G. W. Thompson, artists Susan Benarcik, Shawn Faust, and Matthew Glick, photographer Shannon Woodloe, writer Billie Travalini, musician Shelley Kelley, and jeweler and crafter Kaitlyn Evans. The show remains on exhibit through September 1.
Honeypot! The Sweet and Sticky Lives of Bears
Held in conjunction with Rehoboth Beach Bears Weekend, this art show will feature the work of artists depicting the bear/cub community and will be on display September 2-30, with an Artist’s Reception on Saturday, September 21 (4-7 p.m.).
CAMP Rehoboth Gallery Hours:
9 a.m.-5 p.m. Mon.-Fri. | 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Sat. | 10 A.M. -4 P.M. SUN.
CAMP Rehoboth Chorus (37 Baltimore Avenue; 302-227-5620) features their 24-voice ensemble in “Bad Boys/Bad Girls”—an evening of greed, lust, murder, treachery, corruption, and adultery—all those things we hold near and dear to our hearts. September 27 and 28 at the Unitarian Universalists of Southern Delaware (30486 Lewes-Georgetown Highway). Tickets are $20 and may be purchased at camprehoboth.com.
Cinema Art Theater (17701 Dartmouth Drive, Lewes; 302-313-4032) screens new independent films through the Rehoboth Beach Film Society. Try “Food & Film Wednesdays”—attend the 4 p.m. screening for $8, and have dinner at Lefty’s Alley & Eats for $10. The 2019-2020 Met season starts in October with Turandot. Check their website for films and show times.
Clear Space Theatre Company (20 Baltimore Avenue; 302-227-2270) has Mamma Mia!, Hello, Dolly!, and The Wedding Singer—running Monday-Saturday through Labor Day weekend. Children’s Theatre every Saturday morning (11 a.m.), and The LateR Night Show select Saturday nights after the mainstage show. Their annual Bow Tie & Barefoot fundraiser will be held September 14 at Kings Creek Country Club. Opening September 20: Edward Albee’s Three Tall Women
Dickens Parlour Theatre (35715 Atlantic Avenue, Millville; 302-829-1071) offers magic and comedy in an intimate setting. Randy Forester—through August 29; Andrew Goldenhersh—through August 27; John George—August 28-September 3; Chris Capehart—September 5-7; Francis Menotti—September 19-21; and running six nights a week through September 1—The Comedy Show Tonight.
Freeman Stage (31750 Lake View Drive, Selbyville; 800-840-9227) offers these August events: 23: Jim Gaffigan—the Secrets and Pies Tour; 24: The Beach Boys Now & Then; 28: First State Ballet; 29: Brown Box Theatre’s Measure for Measure; 30: Masters of Soul; 31: Mid-Atlantic Symphony—Season Finale and fireworks. September 6: Bruce in the USA—Springsteen tribute. September 14: Arts & Jazz Festival. Check their website for details.
The Milton Theater (110 Union St., Milton; 302-684-3038) “keeps Milton weird”! August events: 23/24: Simply Streisand; 30: Lawless & Mae; 31: The Rock Orchestra—an evening of The Who. September events: 6: It Was a Very Good Year—Tribute to Frank Sinatra; 7: The Over-the-Hill Gang Comedy Show; 13-15: Next to Normal—a Milton Theatre production (the cast looks incredible!); 20: Kathie Martin and the Hotrods; 21: Separate Ways—the Ultimate Tribute to Journey; 22: Delmarva Big Band. See website for details and to register your young ‘uns for their Triple Threat program.
Rehoboth Beach Bandstand (Rehoboth Avenue at the Boardwalk) hosts these remaining August concerts: 23: Earth, Wind, and Fire Tribute Band; 24: North of Mason-Dixon; 25: Big House Band; 30: The Fabulous Hubcaps; 31: Still Surfin’—Beach Boys Tribute. All concerts begin at 8 p.m.
Second Street Players (2 South Walnut Street, Milford; 302-422-0220/800-838-3006) offers an old favorite—Run For Your Wife—September 13-22.
Stango Park Concerts (corner of Kings Highway & Adams Street, Lewes) presented for two more Tuesdays at 7 p.m. August 20: The Gibbonses; August 27: 5th Avenue Jazz featuring Vincent Varrassi. Bring a blanket or a beach chair! Rain location: Cape Henlopen High.
GALLERIES & MUSEUMS
Abraxas Studio of Art (515 Federal Street, Lewes; 302-645-9119) features the oil portraits and landscape paintings of Abraxas.
The Brush Factory on Kings (830 Kings Highway, Lewes; 302-745-2229) houses a co-op of 50 local artisans and merchants.
CAMP Rehoboth Gallery (37 Baltimore Avenue; 302-227-5620) features Award Winners XIX (through September 1) and Honeypot! The Sweet and Sticky Life of Bears (September 2-30). (See listing elsewhere in this column.)
Cape Artists Gallery (110 W. 3rd Street, Lewes; 302-644-7733) is a half block from the Zwaanendael Museum and features the work of two dozen artists, with much of their art focused on beach scenes.
Delaware Art Gallery (239 Rehoboth Avenue; 302-853-5099) offers new and classic Delaware photographs by Kevin Fleming.
Gallery 37 (8 South Walnut Street, Milford; 302-265-2318) represents over 45 artists and artisans from around the country with fine art, wood-turned vessels, fibers, glass art, and more.
Gallery 50 (50 Wilmington Avenue; 302-227-2050) in addition to original paintings, there’s jewelry, glass, sculpture, ceramics, and mixed media. Currently showing works by Rae Hamilton—seascape, landscape, farm life oils—through August 29. Opening August 30: Terry Isner is back with his comic book series—through September 19. Meet the artist August 30 (5:30-8 p.m.). Opening September 20—Michael Fitts presents photo realistic images in oil, painted on various metals. Through October 10.
Heidi Lowe Gallery (328 Rehoboth Avenue; 302-227-9203) has unique hand-made pieces and classes in jewelry making. Currently showing: Ways of Untangling—works by Kaitlyn Evans—and Earrings Galore (through December 31).
Peninsula Gallery (520 E. Savannah Road, Lewes; 302-645-0551) offers over 3,000 square feet of display and custom framing. Through August 31: Coastal Camera Club Juried Exhibition. Opening September 7: Water, Water…a multiple artist exhibition with water as a theme. Opening reception: September 7 (5-7 p.m.). Through September 28.
Rehoboth Art League (12 Dodds Lane, Henlopen Acres; 302-227-8408) opens three new exhibitions: 81st Annual Members’ Fine Art Exhibition (through September 1); Ethereal Ireland—works by Beth Trepper (through September 1); and Rehoboth Dreaming—Juried Members’ Showcase (through October 20). Check their website for fall class offerings.
Rehoboth Beach Museum (511 Rehoboth Avenue at the Canal, 302-227-7310) opens their Annual Needlework Exhibition on September 14 and a judge from the National Academy of Needlearts will award Best in Show in 10 categories. You’re invited to attend the show and cast your vote for the People’ Choice award. Check the calendar on their website for walking tours and special events.
Tideline Gallery (111 Rehoboth Avenue; 302-227-4444) offers unique gifts, Judaica, jewelry, pottery, lamps, and art glass.
Ward Ellinger Gallery (CAMP Rehoboth Courtyard, 39 Baltimore Avenue; 302-227-2710) features art in different mediums by abstract expressionist Ward Ellinger and Sondra N. Arkin. ▼
Doug is the Artistic and Musical Director for CAMP Rehoboth Chorus, Director of Music Ministries at Epworth UMC, and co-founder and Artistic Director emeritus of the Clear Space Theater Company. Contact Doug if you want to add your events to the calendar.