The DuPont Clifford Brown Jazz Festival Celebrates 25 Years in Rodney Square

PLUS: Chapel Street Players celebrates its 50th FUNdraiser, La Cage Aux Folles comes to Rehoboth’s Clear Space Theatre, and more.




Jazzed

The DuPont Clifford Brown Jazz Festival—the largest free jazz festival on the East Coast—celebrates its 25th anniversary June 19-22. Head to Rodney Square in Wilmington to see headliners that include Benny Golson and the Benny Golson Quartet, the Buster Williams Quartet, To the Maxx, BWB, the Pedrito Martinez Group and Lalah Hathaway. It’s one of the best parties of the summer. Learn more online. (800) 489-6664, cliffordbrownjazzfest.com

Beautiful Music

Delaware Chamber Music Festival is still underway until June 23 at the Music School of Delaware in Wilmington. Under the leadership of Philadelphia Orchestra first violinist, Barbara Govatos, the festival consists of four concerts featuring the area's best chamber players, musicians who have been heard from Vermont's Marlboro Festival to Salzburg’s Mozarteum, winning both critical acclaim and the audience’s appreciate. Don’t miss it. 442-0572, dcmf.org

Musical Fun

Tommy Edward as Sir Rod Stewart is in its 14th year running. Edward has captured the wild hair, the voice and the body language of the real Rod, winning over packed houses every night. See him at the Freeman Stage at Bayside near Fenwick Island on June 20. The next night, June 21, Grammy-winning Terrance Simien & The Zydeco Experience will change your perception of Creole music. Simien, an eighth-generation Louisana Creole, has become one of the most respected and internationally recognized touring and recording artists in roots music today. Simien has performed more than 5,000 concerts in 40 countries during his 25-year career. 436-3015, freemanstage.org

Music Along the Bank at Winterthur brings Buffalo Chip & The Plainsmen, with their spirited harmonies and bluegrass undertones. It’s perfect music for the setting and the second-longest day of the year. See it June 21. 888.4600, winterthur.org

Melissa Etheridge is one of the great voices and writers in rock music today, as proven by her Grammy Award for Best Female Rock and Best Original Song. See why she won them when she visits The Grand Opera House in Wilmington on June 16. Known for hits like “I’m the Only One” and “Come to My Window,” she’s also an ASCAP Songwriter of the Year. It should be quite a show. 652-5577, thegrandwilmington.org

Summer Theater

Next, Chapel Street Players celebrates its 50th FUNdraiser with a broad, bawdy and fast-paced musical, “A Funny Thing Happened on the way to the Forum,” through June 22. Based on the writings of the Roman playwright Plautus, inventor of the situation comedy, who captured so well man's gift for silliness, pomposity and hypocrisy; with Stephen Sondheim's incomparable music and lyrics. “Forum” is a story about slaves, virgins, pirates and, for those of you who don't like pirates, courtesans. This also marks Rene O'Leary's 50th FUNdraiser, and to celebrate, the show will include an "explosive" ending you will not want to miss. 368-2248, chapelstreetplayers.org

Continuing on, the Pulitzer Prize-winning “Driving Miss Daisy” will take the stage at New Candlelight Theatre in Arden through June 23. The comedy-drama, made famous by the movie starring Dan Akroyd and Jessica Tandy, follows the friendship between an elderly Southern woman and her African-American chauffeur from 1948 to 1973. You can’t beat that show with any dinner. 475-2313, nctstage.org

Kent County Theatre Guild kicks off its 60th season with the Tony Award-winning musical “The Drowsy Chaperone,” a madcap show-within-a-show that parodies American musical comedies of the 1920s. The Broadway production won five Tony Awards in 2006, including Best Book of a Musical and Best Original Score. See it in Dover through June 29. 800-838-3006, kctg.org

The Delaware Theatre Company in Wilmington announces an evening of Broadway Magic with Tony Award-winning Donna McKechnie and Tony-nominated Malcolm Gets in “From the Chorus” on June 22. McKechnie and Gets will guide the audience through individual stories from their days in the chorus to the present via their favorite Broadway tunes in a cabaret-style performance. Guests can bid on artwork from DTC's recent presentation of “Love, Loss and What I Wore,” view personal photographs of McKechnie and Gets as they were growing up in the business, and have an opportunity to have photos taken with the stars. 594-1100, delawaretheatre.org

The Possum Point Players are producing one of the most famous mysteries for the stage: “And Then There Were None,” which plays as dinner and a show June 21-23. The play was adapted by author Agatha Christie from her best-selling mystery. Ten people who had knowledge or took part in the deaths of others but escaped notice or penalty are lured to an island, where they are killed in a manner befitting their crimes. Justice or barbarism? You decide. 856-4560, possumpointplayers.org

Finally, after four years on Broadway and several world tours, the dark and dangerous love story “Jekyll & Hyde” comes to Wilmington, via the peerless Delaware All-State Theatre June 21-23 and June 28-30. The cast, directed by local legend Jeffrey Santoro, is made up of the most talented student actors in the state, and they are something to see. See “Jekyll & Hyde” at Tatnall School in Wilmington. dastonline.org

Uncaged

What are family values? See one version when the popular “La Cage Aux Folles” welcomes you to the home of Zaza and Les Cagelles, for glitz, glamour and “A Little More Mascara.” Georges, the manager of a drag club, and Albin, the star, are faced with a dilemma when their son announces his engagement to a girl whose father’s mission is to destroy the place in the name of family and morality. You’ll laugh and you’ll cry as the whole conflicted crew clashes over values. See it at Clear Space Theatre in Rehoboth Beach June 27-Aug. 29. 227-2270, clearspacetheatre.org

Passport to Culture

You’ve got a whole summer on your hands. Why not check out the 11 Brandywine musuems and gardens via the Brandywine Treasure Trail Passport? On sale now at each of the member organizations, the passport gives you free admission to attractions such as Longwood Gardens, Delaware Art Musuem, Winterthur, Brandywine River Museum, Hagley and more. A $75 passport for one-time admission to any attraction saves a family of five $380, and there’s no limit on the number of places you can visit in a day, and it’s good till Sept. 2. “The whole experience is so rich, so beautiful,” says Sara Teixido, chair of the Brandywine Musuems and Gardens Alliance. “Whether your interest is history, art, gardens or the outdoors, there really is something for everyone in the family.” Individual passports are available, too. (800) 489-6664, visitwilmingtonde.com/passport

Never Enough Wyeth

A small island off the coast of Maine, Monhegan has long lured artists with its dramatic ocean vistas, rugged landscapes, and inspiring scenes of men struggling against nature. The exhibition “Jamie Wyeth, Rockwell Kent and Monhegan” examines the fascination that Monhegan and its people held for both Kent (1882-1971) and Wyeth (b. 1946). Though the two artists never met, their paintings, when viewed together, depict a century’s worth of Monhegan life and landmarks from vantage points most other artists never saw. The exhibition will include some of Wyeth’s most recent paintings and works from his personal collection of Kent seascapes. If you go, you’ll also see the debut of a new painting by Wyeth. View the exhibit June 15-Nov. 17. And don't forget about guided tours of the Andrew Wyeth Studio and the N.C. Wyeth House and Studio. Explore the connection between art and life during an individual tour or package. Art of Andrew Wyeth Studio Tour, on Mondays and Tuesdays through Nov. 19, lets you immerse yourself in the art of Andrew Wyeth with a visit to the location where many of his finest works were painted. The program begins with a docent-led tour of the museum's renowned Wyeth Galleries, followed by a lunch in the museum restaurant overlooking the scenic Brandywine Creek. After lunch, board a shuttle bus for a short ride to the studio where, surrounded by the tools of the artist as he left them, a guide will discuss Wyeth's creative process. On Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, tour all three studios, fascinating spaces where three generations of Wyeths have painted. A docent-led tour of the Wyeth galleries provides an introduction to the family. (610) 388-2700, brandywinemuseum.org

A New Twist

Coming soon to the Delaware Art Museum, “French Twist: Masterworks of Photography from Atget to Man Ray” features 100 vintage prints from the golden age of French photography. The exhibition celebrates the variety and inventiveness of native and immigrant photographers working in France from 1910 till 1940, encompassing Eugène Atget’s lyrical views of Paris streets and gardens, Man Ray’s surrealist experiments, and Henri Cartier-Bresson’s pioneering photojournalism, as well as works by Ilse Bing, Brassaï, Jacques-Henri Lartigue, André Kertész, and Dora Maar. See it June 29-Sept. 25.

Currently at Delaware Art Museum, Delaware College of Art and Design professor Alexi Natchev has his work exhibited in “Imagined Places: The Art of Alexi Natchev" through Aug. 4. The illustrator, born and educated in Sofia, Bulgaria, has illustrated 17 children's books, collaborating with major authors and publishers, since moving to the United States in 1990. His work has been shown in many international exhibitions and he has received several national awards. His illustrations conjure up an imaginary world of playful creatures, fairy-tale places, folktales and more. “Imagined Places” features over 60 works by Natchev, including paintings and prints representing the range of his career as an artist and illustrator. See how he researches the art and literature of a region for his illustrations in order to create a sensitive balance between fantasy and believability. “Alexi Natchev is deservedly celebrated for his colorful and imaginative children's books and is an accomplished printmaker with impressive fluency in various techniques," says Mary F. Holahan, curator of illustration. "We are thrilled to be able to display the whimsical and sometimes enigmatic illustrations of such a distinguished artist of our region.” 571-9590, delart.org

Unique Family Fun 

The Rehoboth Summer Children’s Theatre brightens the summer with four sparkling plays for family. From the Land of Oz to Nottingham Forest, theater-goers can follow a trail lined with humor, adventure and breath-taking action. “The Wizard of Oz” opens the series on June 30. “Robin Hood” premieres July 2. “Jack and the Beanstalk” starts July 5. And “Millie and the Orange Dragon” launches July 15. The four shows will rotate until Aug. 27. Audiences in downtown Rehoboth can enjoy Sunday evening shows at the Clear Space Theater. On Tuesday evenings and Wednesday mornings, plays are performed in The Epworth Methodist Church in Rehoboth. Plays are also presented at the Lewes Presbyterian Church. All productions are staged in the unique two-actor format, with imaginative staging, lightning-quick costume changes and a lively sense of humor. Audiences will be amazed as the two performers bring the familiar stories of Dorothy and Toto, Jack and the Giant, and Robin and his Merry Men to life. Millie and the Orange Dragon is an enchanting and charming new show, featuring a serving girl who befriends a very misunderstood lizard. Plan your summer now. rehobothchildrenstheatre.com

Classic

During its early history, Boston attracted many of the finest woodworking craftsmen in America. The prominent seaport depended on artisans to build ships, homes, and furniture. Today, all the vessels are gone, and most of the Colonial architecture has been replaced. The furniture, however, has survived in quantity and over the past century has been passionately pursued by collectors. In the 1920s, Henry Francis du Pont began a journey in collecting that rewarded him with many treasures, including a magnificent array of Boston furniture. Today Winterthur has more than 300 Boston pieces, ranging in date from the 1650s to the 1830s. Enjoy 50 of the most outstanding pieces in Boston Furniture at Winterthur. It’s on view in the “In Wood” gallery through Oct. 6. And don't forget about “Common Destinations: Maps in the American Experience.” More than 100 rare objects illustrate Americans’ changing interaction with maps as they evolved from an elite status symbol into a crucial tool for day-to-day life. “Common Destinations” reveals the compelling story of how America’s identity was inextricably linked with maps, whether traditional maps on paper or map images on objects, ranging from playing cards to needlework. You can see it now. 888-4600, winterthur.org

Art of Healing

Now at The Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts, see the fiber art installation exhibition of New Jersey artist Erin Endicott, “Healing Sutras,” through Aug. 4.  Endicott uses deconstructed vintage children's clothing embellished with bright red embroidery and stained with walnut ink to represent personal histories and healing processes. Representation (the literal garment) and abstraction (the stained and embroidered forms) are integrated in each piece. “‘To stitch; a thread or line that holds things together. This is the literal translation of the ancient Sanskrit word ‘sutra,'” Endicott says. “’The Healing Sutras’ grew out of years of work examining psychological wounds—mainly my own— their origins and how they insinuate themselves into our lives.” Despite the self-referential subjects and forms, there is no way to ignore other more outward meanings, says curator J. Susan Isaacs. See it now. 

Also at DCCA, “Taxonomy of Trash" finds Tim Eads, artist-in-residence at Revolution Recovery, a Philadelphia recycling company, uniting a team of professionals in what “is at once a hybrid form of art, connoisseurship, scientific research, audio-visual documentation, readymade sculpture, and performance that underscores much of today’s collaborative, multi-disciplinary approach to artistic practice,” according to curator Maiza Hixon. As she explains, Eads invited a sound engineer, videographer, photographer, and biologist to help him analyze the aesthetic potential of trash. From Revolution Recovery’s inventory, the team selected objects of visual interest, recorded the sounds the objects made when activated as ersatz instruments, and photographed and categorized them in a phylogenetic tree chart. At the Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts, all of these inventive examinations and permutations of art and trash are on display. In addition to the sensory connection to trash that the visitor experiences in the gallery, Eads supplements "Taxonomy" with a kinetic sculpture called the “Mobile Trash Lab.” This photography studio/garbage bike on wheels travels to litter-strewn locations and enables the driver or citizens off the street to select ubiquitous city trash, then have it “taxonomized” on the spot, free of charge. Displayed alongside audio-visual recordings of garbage picked from this geographic region and exhibited in proximity to a chart categorizing these biodegradable and non-biodegradable items, the DCCA visitor is invited to view both an objective and ethical analysis of what we throw away. See it through July 13. Also at the DCCA, a solo exhibition of oil paintings by well-known artist Philemona Williamson investigate the complexity of lives of adolescents of all races and genders, delving into the complexities of adolescent life. See it through July 14. 656-6466, thedcca.org

Much Better Living Through Science

Hagley Museum and Library is displaying a portion of its fashion collection for the first time in its newest exhibit, “Fashion Meets Science: Introducing Nylon.” This exhibit shows how nylon revolutionized the fashion industry and influenced how people have dressed since its launch in 1938 by the DuPont Co. Whether a science geek or a fashion fan, you’ll love this exhibit. It runs through March 31. 658-2400, hagley.lib.de.us

Celluloid Hero

Don't forget about “The Projectionist,” on view through June 23 at the Biggs Museum of American Art in Dover. “The Projectionist” is a documentary, book and multi-media exhibition that explores one man’s lifelong fascination with the golden age of film and, in particular, the grand movie palace. The exhibition features a fully operational 1920s-style movie theater that was created in the basement of Middletown native Gordon Brinckle. A documentary, created by Kendall Messick, provides a penetrating gaze into the life of this self-taught artist. The narrative follows the course of Brinckle’s life, revealing the profound desire, frustration and motivation that propelled him to create such a distinctive art environment. Original works on paper by Brinckle such as blueprints and floor plans and fine art photographs by Messick of Brinckle operating the theater are also on view. It’s a show to see. 674-2111, biggsmuseum.org

Rock On—and On and On and On…

The legendary rocker Tom Petty is old enough to be the grandfather of most performers at the Firefly Music Festival, but many wouldn’t be there if not for some trailblazing by Petty and his Heartbreakers, one of the biggest bands to break out of the 1970s. Follow Petty with ’80s-’90s phenoms The Red Hot Chili Peppers, then the usual cast off contempoarary artists, and Firefly gets an even broader appeal. The first festival, held last year, was a runaway success. This years’, to held June 21-23 at The Woodlands of Dover International Speedway, should be bigger and better. A sampling of the talent: alt rockers yeah Yeah Yeahs and Vampire Weekend, alt popsters Passion Pit and Ellie Goulding, neo-folkies The Avett Brothers and The Lumineers, the rotttsy Alabama Shakes, rap giants Public Enemy, local faves Dr. Dog from Philly and Wilmington’s Spinto Band, and on and on and on. That’s almost 70 bands, plus special attractions, such as an open-air arcade with vintage games, evening light and video displays in The Pathway, a Dogfish Head Brewery featuring Firefly Ale, The Vineyard winery and several restaurants. Camp, roll in your RV, or stay at a local hotel. It’s a weekend fans of new music won’t want to miss. fireflyfestival.com

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