Nonprofit Charities in Delaware: The Rev. Dale Dunning Runs Jusst Sooup Ministry in to Feed the Hungry and Homeless in Sussex County

Souper Woman—This hero needs no cape—just a ladle.


Published:

It started with a hot plate, which turned into a Crock-Pot, which turned into 17 Crock-Pots. Then it became a ministry.

Is that business savvy, or is it a spiritual mission so intense that it fortified its leader to serve thousands in need despite her own hardships? In this case, it’s a little of the former, and a lot of the latter.

Meet the Rev. Dale Dunning, whose Jusst Sooup Ministry serves 1,000 quarts of soup a week to feed the hungry and homeless in Sussex County. Dunning has led 17 downstate soup kitchens, and helped start two new ones near Newport last year. Jusst Sooup has served more than 55,000 meals, and assisted at least 5,000 homeless people since 2007.

The press loves her. And why wouldn’t we? About the time Dunning was receiving her Jefferson Award in Delaware, People Magazine was naming her a “Hero in Hard Times.” For serving the hungry here at home, she’s earned the ink.

This isn’t just about soup, as the name suggests. This is a ministry that draws its inspiration from John 21:17 If you love me, then feed my sheep.

“I wouldn’t have called me,” says Dunning. “But God called me.”

If you want to keep up with Dunning, you’d have to wear your running shoes. The reverend sets up shop at Rehoboth Presbyterian Church Monday and Thursday mornings, where she serves soup, sandwiches, apples and iced tea. On Tuesdays, she works at Brandywine Counseling in Georgetown. Sometimes she’ll visit the Home of the Brave, a home for veterans, located south of Milford.

Dunning, a graduate of the Sussex County School of Theology, does more than ladle soup. She dispenses prayers, hugs and smiles, too. She helps people write their names, put on their socks, find temporary housing and fill prescriptions.

“For me, it’s an honor,” Dunning says. “The more I do this, the more I desire to do this.”

People can freshen up in her donated motor home that she parks outside the door wherever she visits. Named Beulah after Dunning’s mother, the vehicle is a fixture in local Christmas parades.

The community supports Dunning’s mission. People donate toiletries. Local churches make sandwiches. Kickin’ Chicken and Domino’s Pizza donate food, as do the residents of Independence, a local development. Shore Taxes and AAA Storage help out, too. “The people of this community are absolutely wonderful to Jusst Sooup,” she says.

Music plays an important role in the ministry. Dunning’s son, Brooks, welcomes visitors by playing reggae and gospel music from just outside the dining room door. Local musicians created a CD called “Just Soup.” The CD, which raises money for the ministry, features icons like Keith Mack and Ed Shockley. Its cover boasts a photo of Dunning with her arms stretched to the heavens. (The CD is available at Browseabout Books in Rehoboth Beach.)

“There are some people who feel that all hope is gone,” says Dunning. “People need to know someone cares.”

Dunning rises before 2 a.m. most days to make soup in her Lewes home. She wakes her husband, Ken, at 3:15 a.m. They arrive at church by 5:45 a.m. Ken, a quiet man who likes a good (or bad) joke, is often at some soup kitchen well before dawn.

Ken, like his wife, is a workhorse. When he’s finished at the soup kitchens, he starts his full-time job for a utilities company. He works three jobs, in fact, and would work a fourth to support his wife. The couple has been married for 40 years. And they’ve been through some seriously hard times.

Ken and Dale Dunning know what it’s like to lose a home to foreclosure, because they’ve lost theirs. That’s why their compassion feels sincere. They see themselves in the people they serve. “Everyone deserves to be treated with respect,” she says.

The only time Dunning is anything but positive is when she thinks of the way people treat the unfortunate among us. “People tend to look down on them,” she says. “What right do I have to humiliate anyone? How can I say I’m better than she is? No one deserves to be disrespected like that.”

Jusst Sooup is a family affair, and the Dunnings could not do what they do without stalwart volunteers.

Marion Forman, 84, is one of them. “It just breaks your heart when you have a nice home and you see these people wandering around with nothing,” she says.

Demand is up for Dunning’s services. According to the National Alliance to End Homelessness, Delaware increased from 933 homeless people to 1,130 people statewide—about a 21 percent increase—between 2008 and 2009. Those stats reflect the impact of the economic downturn. Dunning knows there are more homeless people in Sussex County than she can help. They sleep in cars or in the woods.

In December, Schell Brothers, a local developer, donated six acres of land near Harbeson to Jusst Sooup. It’s a cornfield now, but Dunning hopes to establish her own building there soon, complete with a commercial kitchen, chapel and garden. Its name will be The Jusst Sooup Ranch.

Dunning’s smile widens when she talks about the building. The ideas burst from her like water over a dam. “We can have a mega-garden and a mega-kitchen,” she says. “There are a lot of things I cannot do, but I’m going to try real hard to put a dent in hunger.”

People in need can stay at the Dunnings’ ranch temporarily. If they’re unemployed, they can mow grass or tend the garden or wash dishes to earn a few bucks. If they’re alcoholics, they get rides to AA meetings.

“We’re going to be a family,” Dunning says. “If we all pull together, it will not be so hard on anyone. I know the Lord did not bless me with six acres of land for it to just sit there.”

Chris Schell of Schell Brothers calls Dunning “one of those rare people who truly puts the needs of others before her own,” he says. “Her unselfish labor of love has been life changing for people right here in the local community.”

The Dunnings would rather feed somebody else before themselves, Schell adds. “They’ve been helping people for over 15 years and they deserve a little help from the community.”

So, yes: It started with a hot plate. But it grew to be so much more. “I never thought it would get this big,” says Dunning. “I thought I would just keep carrying around that little pot.”
 

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Cost: FREE

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View map »


Telephone: 130-265-66466

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Slow down, settle your mind, and step into the quietude of the Museum’s Labyrinth.     

Cost: Free; donations are accepted to assist with maintenance.

Where:
Delaware Art Museum
Wilmington, DE  19806


Website »

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In a continuing effort to prevent losing lives to overdoses, the Division of Public Health (DPH) will distribute free naloxone kits at clinics in March. If you or someone you care about is...

Cost: FREE

Where:
Delaware Tech — Terry Campus
100 Campus Drive
253 N.E. Front St.
Dover, DE  19904
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Sponsor: Division of Public Health
Telephone: 302-424-7140

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The Lighthouse Inc. Church presenta el servicio de la iglesia en espanol.  El servicio de la iglesia en espanol comenzia 14 de merzo de 2019.  Hables espanol?  Entonces este es el...

Cost: free

Where:
The Lighthouse Inc., Church
6 S Railroad Ave
Wyoming, DE  19934-1026
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Sponsor: The Lighthouse Inc.Church
Telephone: 302-697-1472
Contact Name: Christopher Gore

More information

By Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee  Directed by Sanford Robbins  “It’s not about science versus religion. It is about the right to think.” Inspired by the sensational Scopes “Monkey...

Cost: 15-32

Where:
Thompson Theatre, Roselle Center for the Arts
110 Orchard Rd.
Newark, DE  19716
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Telephone: 302-831-2204
Website »

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Epilepsy Foundation of Delaware’s Yara’s Fund supports the emergency medication program.  Individuals with epilepsy, who struggle to pay for their medication can receive assistance...

Cost: NO COST - SHOE DRIVE

Where:
Bear-Glasgow YMCA
351 George Williams Way
Bear, DE  19702
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Sponsor: Kind Girls Rule The World
Telephone: (302) 219-0718
Contact Name: Valerie Nelson
Website »

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Jacalyn Beam “A Way of Seeing”  Plein Air landscape paintings from the Brandywine Valley and Delaware beaches. Opening Reception to Meet the Artist - Friday, March 1, 5...

Cost: free

Where:
The Station Gallery
3922 Kennett Pike
Greenville, DE  19809
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Telephone: 302-654-8638
Website »

More information

CCArts Winter class registrations are open   The Center for the Creative Arts presents its Winter 2019 class and workshop offerings. With over 50 classes and workshops there is...

Cost: 0.00

Where:
410 Upper Snuff Mill Row
410 Upper Snuff Mill Row
Hockessin, DE  19736
View map »


Telephone: 302-239-2434
Contact Name: Nicole Schmid
Website »

More information

From End Caste Apartheid to Smash Brahminical Patriarchy: The Art of Equality Labs February 25 – April 12, 2019 Curated by Thenmozhi Soundararajan Featuring: Khushboo Gulati | Maari...

Cost: 0

Where:
Asian Arts Initiative
1219 Vine Street
Philadelphia, PA  19107
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Sponsor: Asian Arts Initiative
Telephone: 215-557-0455
Contact Name: Melissa
Website »

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TOTALLY MYTHOLOGICAL Henry Bermudez February 28 - April 25, 2019 Opening Reception: Friday, March 1, 2019 5 - 9 PM | during first Friday Art loop 5:30 - 6:30 PM | Panel discussion,...

Cost: FREE

Where:
The Delaware Contemporary
200 South Madison Street
Wilmington, DE  19801
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Telephone: 130-265-66466
Website »

More information

TIME STILLED, MY HAIR NARRATIVE A Draper Experiment by Tia Santana March 1 - April 28, 2019 Opening Reception: Friday, March 1 5 - 9 PM during Art Loop The Delaware...

Cost: FREE

Where:
The Delaware Contemporary
200 South Madison Street
Wilmington, DE  19801
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Telephone: 130-265-66466
Website »

More information

A SENSE OF PLACE 47°-80° N Bethany Springer January 16 - May 12, 2019 Opening Reception: Friday, February 1, 2019 | 5 - 9 PM during Art Loop A Sense of Place 47° - 80°...

Cost: FREE

Where:
The Delaware Contemporary
200 South Madison Street
Wilmington, DE  19801
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Telephone: 130-265-66466
Website »

More information

NEW HEIGHTS Erica Loustau  January 11 - December 11, 2019 Opening Reception: Friday, January 11, 2019  7 - 9 PM Seeking to engage the unused space of our atrium lobby, artist...

Cost: FREE

Where:
The Delaware Contemporary
200 South Madison Street
Wilmington, DE  19801
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Telephone: 130-265-66466
Website »

More information

Schedule a private group tour followed by lunch or dinner with a historic, revolutionary war era presentation.* Ideal for conferences, corporate meetings, special interest groups. $25 per...

Cost: $25–$45

Where:
The University and Whist Club
805 N Broom St
Wilmington, DE  19806
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Sponsor: The University and Whist Club
Telephone: 302-658-5125
Contact Name: Stacey Inglis
Website »

More information

ORIGINS Rick Rothrock & Stan Smokler January 8 - April 22, 2019 Special Reception: Friday, January 11, 2019  5:30 - 7:30 PM Artist Talk | 6:30 PM The Delaware Contemporary...

Cost: FREE

Where:
The Delaware Contemporary
200 South Madison Street
Wilmington, DE  19801
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Telephone: 130-265-66466

More information

The Lighthouse Inc. Church presenta el servicio de la iglesia en espanol.  El servicio de la iglesia en espanol comenzia 14 de merzo de 2019.  Hables espanol?  Entonces este es el...

Cost: free

Where:
The Lighthouse Inc., Church
6 S Railroad Ave
Wyoming, DE  19934-1026
View map »


Sponsor: The Lighthouse Inc.Church
Telephone: 302-697-1472
Contact Name: Christopher Gore

More information

By Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee  Directed by Sanford Robbins  “It’s not about science versus religion. It is about the right to think.” Inspired by the sensational Scopes “Monkey...

Cost: 15-32

Where:
Thompson Theatre, Roselle Center for the Arts
110 Orchard Rd.
Newark, DE  19716
View map »


Telephone: 302-831-2204
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

CCArts Winter class registrations are open   The Center for the Creative Arts presents its Winter 2019 class and workshop offerings. With over 50 classes and workshops there is...

Cost: 0.00

Where:
410 Upper Snuff Mill Row
410 Upper Snuff Mill Row
Hockessin, DE  19736
View map »


Telephone: 302-239-2434
Contact Name: Nicole Schmid
Website »

More information

Jacalyn Beam “A Way of Seeing”  Plein Air landscape paintings from the Brandywine Valley and Delaware beaches. Opening Reception to Meet the Artist - Friday, March 1, 5...

Cost: free

Where:
The Station Gallery
3922 Kennett Pike
Greenville, DE  19809
View map »


Telephone: 302-654-8638
Website »

More information

A SENSE OF PLACE 47°-80° N Bethany Springer January 16 - May 12, 2019 Opening Reception: Friday, February 1, 2019 | 5 - 9 PM during Art Loop A Sense of Place 47° - 80°...

Cost: FREE

Where:
The Delaware Contemporary
200 South Madison Street
Wilmington, DE  19801
View map »


Telephone: 130-265-66466
Website »

More information

TIME STILLED, MY HAIR NARRATIVE A Draper Experiment by Tia Santana March 1 - April 28, 2019 Opening Reception: Friday, March 1 5 - 9 PM during Art Loop The Delaware...

Cost: FREE

Where:
The Delaware Contemporary
200 South Madison Street
Wilmington, DE  19801
View map »


Telephone: 130-265-66466
Website »

More information

TOTALLY MYTHOLOGICAL Henry Bermudez February 28 - April 25, 2019 Opening Reception: Friday, March 1, 2019 5 - 9 PM | during first Friday Art loop 5:30 - 6:30 PM | Panel discussion,...

Cost: FREE

Where:
The Delaware Contemporary
200 South Madison Street
Wilmington, DE  19801
View map »


Telephone: 130-265-66466
Website »

More information

From End Caste Apartheid to Smash Brahminical Patriarchy: The Art of Equality Labs February 25 – April 12, 2019 Curated by Thenmozhi Soundararajan Featuring: Khushboo Gulati | Maari...

Cost: 0

Where:
Asian Arts Initiative
1219 Vine Street
Philadelphia, PA  19107
View map »


Sponsor: Asian Arts Initiative
Telephone: 215-557-0455
Contact Name: Melissa
Website »

More information

NEW HEIGHTS Erica Loustau  January 11 - December 11, 2019 Opening Reception: Friday, January 11, 2019  7 - 9 PM Seeking to engage the unused space of our atrium lobby, artist...

Cost: FREE

Where:
The Delaware Contemporary
200 South Madison Street
Wilmington, DE  19801
View map »


Telephone: 130-265-66466
Website »

More information

Every Friday | 10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.   Read a story fromFairy Tales to Nursery Rhymes, explore art, and create. Ages 2+. Family Friendly.  

Cost: Free to Members, $5 per child and one adult free for Non-Members.

Where:
Delaware Art Museum
2301 Kentemere Parkway
Wilmington, DE  19806
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Website »

More information

Schedule a private group tour followed by lunch or dinner with a historic, revolutionary war era presentation.* Ideal for conferences, corporate meetings, special interest groups. $25 per...

Cost: $25–$45

Where:
The University and Whist Club
805 N Broom St
Wilmington, DE  19806
View map »


Sponsor: The University and Whist Club
Telephone: 302-658-5125
Contact Name: Stacey Inglis
Website »

More information

ORIGINS Rick Rothrock & Stan Smokler January 8 - April 22, 2019 Special Reception: Friday, January 11, 2019  5:30 - 7:30 PM Artist Talk | 6:30 PM The Delaware Contemporary...

Cost: FREE

Where:
The Delaware Contemporary
200 South Madison Street
Wilmington, DE  19801
View map »


Telephone: 130-265-66466

More information

The Lighthouse Inc. Church presenta el servicio de la iglesia en espanol.  El servicio de la iglesia en espanol comenzia 14 de merzo de 2019.  Hables espanol?  Entonces este es el...

Cost: free

Where:
The Lighthouse Inc., Church
6 S Railroad Ave
Wyoming, DE  19934-1026
View map »


Sponsor: The Lighthouse Inc.Church
Telephone: 302-697-1472
Contact Name: Christopher Gore

More information

Chadds Ford Elementary welcomes over 65 local and regional artists for the 70th Annual Art Sale & Show on March 22-23, 2019. Artists display and sell their art in an array...

Cost: FREE

Where:
Chadds Ford Elementary School
3 Baltimore Pike
Chadds Ford, PA  19317
View map »


Sponsor: Chadds Ford Elementary PTO
Contact Name: Kara Hyman
Website »

More information

By Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee  Directed by Sanford Robbins  “It’s not about science versus religion. It is about the right to think.” Inspired by the sensational Scopes “Monkey...

Cost: 15-32

Where:
Thompson Theatre, Roselle Center for the Arts
110 Orchard Rd.
Newark, DE  19716
View map »


Telephone: 302-831-2204
Website »

More information

Poisoned apples. Glass slippers. Who needs ’em?! Not Snow White and her posse of disenchanted princesses in the hilarious hit musical that’s anything but Grimm. Forget the princesses...

Cost: $10 - $25

Where:
Bootless Stageworks
1301 N. Broom Street
Wilmington, DE  19806
View map »


Telephone: 130-288-79300
Contact Name: Box Office
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Jacalyn Beam “A Way of Seeing”  Plein Air landscape paintings from the Brandywine Valley and Delaware beaches. Opening Reception to Meet the Artist - Friday, March 1, 5...

Cost: free

Where:
The Station Gallery
3922 Kennett Pike
Greenville, DE  19809
View map »


Telephone: 302-654-8638
Website »

More information

CCArts Winter class registrations are open   The Center for the Creative Arts presents its Winter 2019 class and workshop offerings. With over 50 classes and workshops there is...

Cost: 0.00

Where:
410 Upper Snuff Mill Row
410 Upper Snuff Mill Row
Hockessin, DE  19736
View map »


Telephone: 302-239-2434
Contact Name: Nicole Schmid
Website »

More information

TOTALLY MYTHOLOGICAL Henry Bermudez February 28 - April 25, 2019 Opening Reception: Friday, March 1, 2019 5 - 9 PM | during first Friday Art loop 5:30 - 6:30 PM | Panel discussion,...

Cost: FREE

Where:
The Delaware Contemporary
200 South Madison Street
Wilmington, DE  19801
View map »


Telephone: 130-265-66466
Website »

More information

TIME STILLED, MY HAIR NARRATIVE A Draper Experiment by Tia Santana March 1 - April 28, 2019 Opening Reception: Friday, March 1 5 - 9 PM during Art Loop The Delaware...

Cost: FREE

Where:
The Delaware Contemporary
200 South Madison Street
Wilmington, DE  19801
View map »


Telephone: 130-265-66466
Website »

More information

A SENSE OF PLACE 47°-80° N Bethany Springer January 16 - May 12, 2019 Opening Reception: Friday, February 1, 2019 | 5 - 9 PM during Art Loop A Sense of Place 47° - 80°...

Cost: FREE

Where:
The Delaware Contemporary
200 South Madison Street
Wilmington, DE  19801
View map »


Telephone: 130-265-66466
Website »

More information

Delaware & Pennsylvania Home Owners Thinking of selling your home? Whether you're just considering selling or have already started to prepare, our experts will walk you through...

Cost: FREE

Where:
INDEPENDENCE MALL
1601 Concord Pike, Suite 88
Wilmington, DE  19803
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Sponsor: The Kat Geralis Home Team
Telephone: 302-575-1080
Contact Name: April Griffith
Website »

More information

NEW HEIGHTS Erica Loustau  January 11 - December 11, 2019 Opening Reception: Friday, January 11, 2019  7 - 9 PM Seeking to engage the unused space of our atrium lobby, artist...

Cost: FREE

Where:
The Delaware Contemporary
200 South Madison Street
Wilmington, DE  19801
View map »


Telephone: 130-265-66466
Website »

More information

Schedule a private group tour followed by lunch or dinner with a historic, revolutionary war era presentation.* Ideal for conferences, corporate meetings, special interest groups. $25 per...

Cost: $25–$45

Where:
The University and Whist Club
805 N Broom St
Wilmington, DE  19806
View map »


Sponsor: The University and Whist Club
Telephone: 302-658-5125
Contact Name: Stacey Inglis
Website »

More information

Keeper Talks, 11:30am & 1:30pm, www.brandywinezoo.org (302) 571-7747 Join our keepers for daily talks about the animals here in the Zoo. Topics and animals change daily, so there’s always...

Cost: Adults $ 5, Seniors $4, Kids $3; free for under 3yrs and for members.

Where:
Brandywine Zoo
1001 North Park Drive
Wilmington, DE  19802
View map »


Website »

More information

ORIGINS Rick Rothrock & Stan Smokler January 8 - April 22, 2019 Special Reception: Friday, January 11, 2019  5:30 - 7:30 PM Artist Talk | 6:30 PM The Delaware Contemporary...

Cost: FREE

Where:
The Delaware Contemporary
200 South Madison Street
Wilmington, DE  19801
View map »


Telephone: 130-265-66466

More information

Meet Marilyn A. Bauman, author of Edward L. Loper Sr., The Prophet of Color.     Image:Old Farm,1954. Edward Loper Sr. (1916–2011). Oil on canvas, 18 × 22...

Cost: Free with Museum admission.

Where:
Delaware Art Museum
2301 Kentmere Parkway
Wilmington, DE  19806
View map »


Website »

More information

ART & SOUL ART AUCTION AND CONTEMPORARY AFFAIR Saturday, March 23, 2019 7 - 10 PM VIP Pre-Party | 6 - 7 Celebrate our 40th anniversary at this glamorous event inspired by the...

Cost: $80 - $250

Where:
The Delaware Contemporary
200 South Madison Street
Wilmington, DE  19801
View map »


Telephone: 130-265-66466
Website »

More information

Chadds Ford Elementary welcomes over 65 local and regional artists for the 70th Annual Art Sale & Show on March 22-23, 2019. Artists display and sell their art in an array...

Cost: FREE

Where:
Chadds Ford Elementary School
3 Baltimore Pike
Chadds Ford, PA  19317
View map »


Sponsor: Chadds Ford Elementary PTO
Contact Name: Kara Hyman
Website »

More information

The Lighthouse Inc. Church presenta el servicio de la iglesia en espanol.  El servicio de la iglesia en espanol comenzia 14 de merzo de 2019.  Hables espanol?  Entonces este es el...

Cost: free

Where:
The Lighthouse Inc., Church
6 S Railroad Ave
Wyoming, DE  19934-1026
View map »


Sponsor: The Lighthouse Inc.Church
Telephone: 302-697-1472
Contact Name: Christopher Gore

More information

By Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee  Directed by Sanford Robbins  “It’s not about science versus religion. It is about the right to think.” Inspired by the sensational Scopes “Monkey...

Cost: 15-32

Where:
Thompson Theatre, Roselle Center for the Arts
110 Orchard Rd.
Newark, DE  19716
View map »


Telephone: 302-831-2204
Website »

More information

Poisoned apples. Glass slippers. Who needs ’em?! Not Snow White and her posse of disenchanted princesses in the hilarious hit musical that’s anything but Grimm. Forget the princesses...

Cost: $10 - $25

Where:
Bootless Stageworks
1301 N. Broom Street
Wilmington, DE  19806
View map »


Telephone: 130-288-79300
Contact Name: Box Office
Website »

More information

Sal "The Voice" Valentinetti comes to The Event Center at SugarHouse Casino on Saturday, March 23, at 8 p.m. Tickets go on sale Friday, Jan. 11, and cost $29 to $49.

Cost: $29-49

Where:
SugarHouse Casino
1001 N. Delaware Ave
Philadelphia, PA  19125
View map »


Website »

More information

The concerto grosso, one of the high baroque’s most varied and conversational forms, pivots on dialogue between an orchestra and groups of soloists. We perform masterpieces of the genre by...

Cost: $25-39

Where:
Philadelphia Episcopal Cathedral
23 S. 38th St.
Philadelphia, PA  19104
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Sponsor: Tempesta di Mare
Telephone: 215-755-8776
Contact Name: Ulrike Shapiro
Website »

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