Wilmington Mayor Dennis Williams’ Hope (and Plan) for Change

As a rookie cop on the city’s South Side in the ‘70s, Williams confronted crime head-on. As mayor, nothing changes.



photo by Michael Sahadi

Dennis Williams made his bones as a rookie cop on the mean streets of Wilmington’s South Side.

In 1976 the area around A and B streets—near the river—was something of a war zone. That’s where the former center fielder and cornerback for P.S. duPont High School, all of 5-9 and 145 pounds, pounded a beat alone, his weapon and his radio his best friends. Often, before he left the police locker room to begin his shift, he would hit his knees and pray.

“Guys laughed at me all the time,” says Williams. “But you know what? I’m still here.”

The rookie proved to be a quick study. In less than two years, he had made detective. One of his partners, Marty Hageman, remembers Williams’ passion for his hometown.

“You’re in the car a lot,” says Hageman, now director of Downtown Visions, “getting from point A to point B—wherever your investigations take you—and Dennis would sometimes say, ‘I would really like to be the mayor of this city someday.’ And I would ask him why, and he would say, ‘I’d really like to make a change. There’s so much that needs to be done that isn’t done, and it’s  not coordinated.’” 

The partners were close friends, says Hageman, “So of course I would tease him and say, ‘Oh, Den, you’ll never be mayor.’ But he somehow felt he would. It was like a dream to him.”

On his 60th birthday—Jan. 8, 2013— that dream came true. Williams was sworn in as the 55th mayor and the first native-born Wilmingtonian since Bill McLaughlin (1977-84) to assume that office.

Crime was virtually the only issue in the mayoral campaign, not surprising for a city that was labeled “the most dangerous city in America” by Parenting magazine.

The ex-cop was given a clear mandate (and an endorsement from the State Fraternal Order of Police), easily winning the five-person Democratic primary, which is tantamount to election in Wilmington. He rolled to a 25,000-vote margin in the general election.

He enters the office after serving continuously in the Delaware House of Representatives since 1995, when he won a special election to fill out the term of Orlando George Jr., who resigned as representative of Wilmington’s First District to become president of Delaware Technical Community College. In a district of 21,000 residents, Williams won that first election over Republican Karen Miller by a count of 1,757 to 897, and has been unopposed in every general election since except in 2008, when he crushed Republican James McClain Jr.

If, as Hageman says, being mayor was always Williams’ dream, the obvious question is, why did he wait so long to seek it? The answer reveals the shrewd politician who always seems to be dressed in a suit and tie.

“When you have good political sense,” Williams says, “you don’t want to take incumbents on, you look for the open seat, and that way you don’t ruffle a lot of feathers either. Timing is everything.”

Williams takes over for three-term Mayor James Baker, who couldn’t run again due to the three-term limit. Despite Baker’s bizarre behavior during his last year in office, he worked well with Williams’ transition team, and the new mayor hit the ground running, making key appointments a day after the election. He named the city’s first female police chief, Capt. Christine Dunning, a 26-year veteran, to replace Michael J Szczerba. For fire chief, he picked Anthony Goode, who was promoted from battalion chief to replace Willie Patrick Jr.

Williams, the father of three girls, has said his administration will include “younger people and females.” At one press conference, he said, “The day of the grouchy old men in the room is over.”

Among his other appointments were Alexandra Coppadge as communications and media relations director and John Matlusky as chief of staff. A 2010 graduate of the University of North Carolina, Coppadge has worked as a television and radio reporter and as a constituent relations liaison in Gov. Jack Markell’s office. She is the daughter of Family Court Judge Arlene Minus Coppadge. A former Republican national committeeman, the 44-year-old Matlusky was a policy attorney and chief of staff in the state House of Representatives.

Matlusky went to work in Dover in 1997 and met Williams soon afterward. “I was impressed with him,” says the Salesianum graduate. “One thing I liked was that he’s a decisive leader. A lot of politicians will say yes to everybody, or they’re good at kicking the can down the road. There are times when you’ve got to say no. Dennis has an ability to do that more than a lot of other elected officials.”

Matlusky believes Williams has the ideal résumé to be mayor of the city of 72,000. “Besides his police background, he has experience on the budget side of things,” he says, referring to Williams’ co-chairmanship of the powerful House Joint Finance Committee and chairmanship of the Appropriations Committee in the General Assembly. 

A financial grounding will come in handy for a mayor who faces a $5.5 million deficit and a struggling business climate. 

Williams appears not to be intimidated by the economic challenge. “As chairman of the JFC, I had an $800 million deficit four years ago. I got out of that nonsense, and we’ll get through this.”

During the campaign, he said his first act would be “to conduct a top-down review of city government and audit the books,” in an effort to “eliminate waste, fraud and abuse.” While that may save some money, it’s doubtful it will make up a significant portion of the deficit. That in turn raises the possibility of increased taxes, which Williams claims is a last resort. “I think city residents have been taxed enough over the last 12 years,” he told The News Journal.

The business community representsanother possible revenue source. Months before he took office, Williams formed a Business Roundtable of 35-plus members. He says they will serve as “a sounding board for new initiatives to grow business and jobs in the city.” He contends that businesses have been frustrated with the city’s regulations and bureaucracy, both of which he hopes to reduce. Matlusky is more direct. “Over the last few years, I think there’s been a little bit of alienation with the business community in terms of dealing with the city.” He says Williams is “more customer-friendly” than the previous administration and views both businesses and private citizens as “customers, not constituents.”

Fellow Democrats control the power in county, state and federal offices, and Williams has reached out to them, seeking alliances—particularly around crime issues. He says the city may share resources, including police, with New Castle County, which is once again under the direction of fellow ex-cop Tom Gordon. And in mid-November, the new mayor and Matlusky went to Washington for meetings with the Department of Justice and other federal agencies. The meetings were arranged by Sen. Chris Coons.

Says Matlusky: “You’re going to see a lot more collaboration between Wilmington and the U.S. Attorney and the state Attorney General’s office and some federal agencies, which hasn’t been happening [recently].”

Collaboration with experts from both the public and private sectors was a thread that ran through a post-election interview at P. S. duPont Middle School, an interview in which Williams showed he’s far more than simply a law-andorder mayor. 

Education is a key issue for Williams, who in 1999 got the final credits needed for his associate degree in criminal justice from Delaware Tech.

“A 59 percent dropout rate is deplorable,” he said. “If we don’t stem the tide of these dropouts, you can make all the arrests you want, nothing’s going to change. Because when folks are not educated, they feed right into the criminal justice system. It’s a proven fact. It’s a revolving door.”

He said he would talk to the superintendents and set up a roundtable of counselors and teachers “who have worked with problem kids who have been arrested, been in and out of the system, and pick out the things we think will work.”

Williams even demonstrated knowledge about a low-profile but potentially serious issue that never came up during the campaign: flooding in low-lying, mostly poor areas of the city. According to the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, a large portion of South Wilmington lies within the 100-year floodplain, and many locations experience chronic flooding issues. (Mortgage holders on properties within the 100-year floodplain, as defined by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, require owners to carry flood insurance.)

“Southbridge is on a floodplain like New Orleans,” says Williams. “I have never understood why the Army Corps of Engineers hasn’t come in to take a strong look at that. We are going to advocate for that. We are going to bring in some engineers— some we may have to pay, some we may ask to volunteer—because if we ever have a major storm like Sandy, and we don’t get people out quick enough, the death toll could be severe, never mind the economic devastation.”

Still, crime is the vortex around which all of Wilmington’s problems swirl. Cut crime, and more businesses and visitors will come to the city, bringing more funds for municipal coffers. Take drugs and guns off the streets, and more kids will stay in school. 

Wilmington to the bone, the native son is confident he’s the right man for the job of stopping his city’s 16-year rise in violent crime. “One thing I know how to do, I know how to fight crime,” he says. “I don’t want to tell the criminal how I’m coming at them, but you’re going to see a major change, a major change.” 

Williams promises to provide the police with “the best training, the best leadership, the best equipment and support,” along with a new command structure that will energize them.

Marty Hageman waxes downright philosophical when predicting his former partner’s impact on his hometown: “Dennis sticks to it until he solves the problem. I think we’re going to see a new city arising.”

Echoing that optimism, Williams seems to hark back to his days as a rookie cop when he speaks of Wilmington’s future.

“We’ll get through this, I’m telling you, we will. All we have to do is persevere, stay focused, don’t panic, and call on the good Lord every now and then.”

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May 2016

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Cost: $5; free FAHP Members

Where:
Marshall Steam Museum at Auburn Heights
3000 Creek Road, Box 61
Yorklyn, DE  19736
View map »


Sponsor: Friends of Auburn Heights Preserve
Telephone: 302-239-2385
Contact Name: Jesse Gagnon
Website »

More information

Painfully funny, technically ingenious, and viciously physical, this wild romantic comedy by England’s most popular living playwright, Sir Alan Ayckbourn features convoluted relationships worthy...

Cost: $15-$29

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


Sponsor: Resident Ensemble Players
Telephone: 302-831-2204
Contact Name: REP Box Office
Website »

More information

Just what is art and who gets to decide?    Raw and provocative, this the 2010 Tony Award winner for Best Play paints a mesmerizing portrait of master abstract painter Mark Rothko as he works...

Cost: $15-$29

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


Sponsor: Resident Ensemble Players
Telephone: 302-831-2204
Contact Name: REP Box Office
Website »

More information

Dave Wakeling is a hell of a nice guy! Dave loves to tell you the stories behind his songs, either from stage or after the show. Ask any one of the thousands of fans who have met him over the years...

Cost: $22-32

Where:
World Cafe Live at the Queen
500 N Market St
Wimington, DE
View map »


Sponsor: World Cafe Live at The Queen
Telephone: 302-994-1400
Contact Name: MP Intern

More information

Dave Wakeling is a hell of a nice guy! Dave loves to tell you the stories behind his songs, either from stage or after the show. Ask any one of the thousands of fans who have met him over the years...

Cost: $22-32

Where:
World Cafe Live at The Queen
500 N Market St
Wilmington, DE
View map »


Sponsor: World Cafe Life
Telephone: 302-994-1400
Contact Name: MP Intern
Website »

More information

Month 4: Cochlear Implants Location: John H. Ammon Medical Education Center, Christiana Hospital Campus, 4755 Ogletown-Stanton Road, Newark, Classrooms 4, 5 & 6 To register, call (800)...

Where:
, DE

More information

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Looking to build your social network with fun and competition? Give tennis a try! It’s time to grab a racquet, your sneakers and some tennis balls and head to your local court to be part...

Cost: varies

Where:
Banning Park
201 Middleboro Road
Wilmington, DE  19804
View map »

More information

Asteroids and comets are messengers from space with a significant effect on Earth’s history, and they are likely to influence the future as well. Great Balls of Fire: Comets, Asteroids,...

Cost: Free with admission

Where:
Delaware Museum of Natural History
4840 Kennett Pike
Wilmington, DE  19807
View map »

More information

Made in the Americas: The New World Discovers Asia examines the profound influence of Asia on the arts of the colonial Americas. Featuring some of the most extraordinary objects produced in the...

Cost: Included with admission. Members free. $5-$20

Where:
Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library
5105 Kennett Pike (Route 52)
Wilmington, DE  19807
View map »


Sponsor: DuPont, Glenmede and John L. and Marjorie P. McGraw. Additional support from M&T Bank and Potter Anderson & Corroon LLP
Telephone: 800.448.3883
Contact Name: Information and tours
Website »

More information

RAIL EXPLORERS Opens their Delaware Division! Partnering with the Wilmington & Western Railroad and the Delaware State Parks Rail Explorers brings their unique adventure to the...

Cost: Tandem $75 (2P), Quad $125 (4P)

Where:
Rail Explorers Delaware
200 Gun Club Road
Hockessin, NY  12983
View map »


Sponsor: Rail Explorers
Telephone: 302 601 0888
Contact Name: Mary Joy Lu
Website »

More information

What was behind the legendary story of King Midas and his golden touch? That is the question to be answered—not with chests full of gold, but with a spectacular array of ancient artifacts,...

Cost: Adults $20; seniors $18; students (with ID) $15; children (ages 6–17) $15

Where:
Penn Museum
3260 South St.
Philadelphia, PA  19104
View map »

More information

Explore some of the diverse ways that human beings have understood sex and sexuality, gender and gender diversity in this small but broad new exhibition, presented in conjunction with the 2015-2016...

Cost: Free with Museum Admission.

Where:
Penn Museum
3260 South St.
Philadelphia, PA  19104
View map »


Website »

More information

Drawing from Hagley’s collection of automotive advertising art, this exhibition features rare marketing materials highlighting everything from Duesenbergs to Datsuns. This exhibition asks “Did...

Cost: Included in regular admission and free for members.

Where:
Hagley Museum & Library
201 Hagley Creek Road
Wilmington, DE  19807
View map »


Sponsor: Hagley Museum & Library
Telephone: (302) 658-2400
Contact Name: Vanessa Spence
Website »

More information

The islands take over Cinco de Mayo with $5 Margaritas! From May 2 through May 5, celebrate with four tequila-filled-days of fun and over ten flavors of margaritas, including our handcrafted...

Cost: Cost of meal

Where:
Bahama Breeze
500 Center Blvd
Newark, DE  19702
View map »

More information

Geared toward individuals 60 and over. Participants must be able to walk and stand. Walking aids—canes and walkers—are allowed. Wear comfortable clothing and stable shoes. Sneakers...

Where:
Bayhealth Physician Specialty Practice
315 N. Carter Road, Conference Room
Smyrna, DE
View map »

More information

Written by Nell Benjamin (playwright of "Because of Winn Dixie") Directed by Bud Martin The story: London, 1879. The prestigious Explorers Club is in crisis: their acting president...

Where:
Delaware Theatre Company
200 Water St.
Wilmington, DE
View map »

More information

Just what is art and who gets to decide?    Raw and provocative, this the 2010 Tony Award winner for Best Play paints a mesmerizing portrait of master abstract painter Mark Rothko as he works...

Cost: $15-$29

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


Sponsor: Resident Ensemble Players
Telephone: 302-831-2204
Contact Name: REP Box Office
Website »

More information

Just what is art and who gets to decide?    Raw and provocative, this the 2010 Tony Award winner for Best Play paints a mesmerizing portrait of master abstract painter Mark Rothko as he works...

Cost: $15-$29

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


Sponsor: Resident Ensemble Players
Telephone: 302-831-2204
Contact Name: REP Box Office
Website »

More information

Dr. Jeremy McInerney, Professor of Classical Studies, University of Pennsylvania, speaks about the Amazons in Greek legend and art. Who were these warrior women and why did they remain a source of...

Cost: $5

Where:
Penn Museum
3260 South St.
Philadelphia, PA  19104
View map »

More information

Participate in a 2-hour training to learn how you can help improve Delaware’s waterways. Stories from across the nation highlight the importance of residents getting actively involved in...

Cost: Free

Where:
DuPont Environmental Education Center
1400 Delmarva Lane
Wilmington, DE  19801
View map »


Sponsor: Clean Water: Delaware's Clear Choice Campaign
Telephone: 302-239-2334 ext. 13
Contact Name: Michael Bard
Website »

More information

The Rehoboth Beach Film Society and Lewes Public Library present THEEB as May’s film for the Around the World series. THEEB, a coming-of-age adventure will screen at 7 p.m. on Wednesday,...

Cost: Free

Where:
Cinema Art Theater
17701 Dartmouth Drive, #2
Lewes, DE  19958
View map »


Sponsor: Rehoboth Beach Film Society
Telephone: 302-645-9095
Contact Name: Jeri Kaplan
Website »

More information

Just what is art and who gets to decide?    Raw and provocative, this the 2010 Tony Award winner for Best Play paints a mesmerizing portrait of master abstract painter Mark Rothko as he works...

Cost: $15-$29

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


Sponsor: Resident Ensemble Players
Telephone: 302-831-2204
Contact Name: REP Box Office
Website »

More information

Painfully funny, technically ingenious, and viciously physical, this wild romantic comedy by England’s most popular living playwright, Sir Alan Ayckbourn features convoluted relationships worthy...

Cost: $15-$29

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


Sponsor: Resident Ensemble Players
Telephone: 302-831-2204
Contact Name: REP Box Office
Website »

More information

Paula Cole has played before audiences all over the world, opening for artists like Peter Gabriel, Melissa Etheridge and Sarah McLachlan, and as part of the Lilith Fair lineup before she began...

Cost: $30

Where:
World Cafe Live at The Queen
500 N Market St
Wilmington , DE
View map »


Sponsor: World Cafe Live at The Queen
Telephone: 302-994-1400
Contact Name: MP Intern

More information

Free lecture on the advances of minimally invasive surgery and other solutions to prostate cancer. Men and women welcome. Location: John H. Ammon Medical Education Center, Christiana Hospital...

Where:
, DE

More information

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Looking to build your social network with fun and competition? Give tennis a try! It’s time to grab a racquet, your sneakers and some tennis balls and head to your local court to be part...

Cost: varies

Where:
Banning Park
201 Middleboro Road
Wilmington, DE  19804
View map »

More information

Asteroids and comets are messengers from space with a significant effect on Earth’s history, and they are likely to influence the future as well. Great Balls of Fire: Comets, Asteroids,...

Cost: Free with admission

Where:
Delaware Museum of Natural History
4840 Kennett Pike
Wilmington, DE  19807
View map »

More information

Spring Session: Thursdays from 9:30-12; first day is April 7 Location: Bucktoe Creek Preserve (432 Sharp Road, Avondale, PA 19311) Join TLC for our Drop-In on...

Cost: TLC members Free, Non-members free for first session, $5 for pre-registration

Where:
Bucktoe Creek Preserve
432 Sharp Road
Avondale, PA  19311
View map »


Sponsor: The Land Conservancy for Southern Chester County
Telephone: 610-347-0347
Contact Name: Hannah
Website »

More information

What was behind the legendary story of King Midas and his golden touch? That is the question to be answered—not with chests full of gold, but with a spectacular array of ancient artifacts,...

Cost: Adults $20; seniors $18; students (with ID) $15; children (ages 6–17) $15

Where:
Penn Museum
3260 South St.
Philadelphia, PA  19104
View map »

More information

Explore some of the diverse ways that human beings have understood sex and sexuality, gender and gender diversity in this small but broad new exhibition, presented in conjunction with the 2015-2016...

Cost: Free with Museum Admission.

Where:
Penn Museum
3260 South St.
Philadelphia, PA  19104
View map »


Website »

More information

RAIL EXPLORERS Opens their Delaware Division! Partnering with the Wilmington & Western Railroad and the Delaware State Parks Rail Explorers brings their unique adventure to the...

Cost: Tandem $75 (2P), Quad $125 (4P)

Where:
Rail Explorers Delaware
200 Gun Club Road
Hockessin, NY  12983
View map »


Sponsor: Rail Explorers
Telephone: 302 601 0888
Contact Name: Mary Joy Lu
Website »

More information

Drawing from Hagley’s collection of automotive advertising art, this exhibition features rare marketing materials highlighting everything from Duesenbergs to Datsuns. This exhibition asks “Did...

Cost: Included in regular admission and free for members.

Where:
Hagley Museum & Library
201 Hagley Creek Road
Wilmington, DE  19807
View map »


Sponsor: Hagley Museum & Library
Telephone: (302) 658-2400
Contact Name: Vanessa Spence
Website »

More information

The Show House will include a Boutique and Garden Shoppe with articles for sale from interior and landscape designers. 14 interior and landscape designers will transform a spacious home situated...

Where:
52 Rolling Rd.
Henlopen Acres, Rehoboth Beach, DE
View map »


Sponsor: Village Improvement Association of Rehoboth Beach

More information

Made in the Americas: The New World Discovers Asia examines the profound influence of Asia on the arts of the colonial Americas. Featuring some of the most extraordinary objects produced in the...

Cost: Included with admission. Members free. $5-$20

Where:
Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library
5105 Kennett Pike (Route 52)
Wilmington, DE  19807
View map »


Sponsor: DuPont, Glenmede and John L. and Marjorie P. McGraw. Additional support from M&T Bank and Potter Anderson & Corroon LLP
Telephone: 800.448.3883
Contact Name: Information and tours
Website »

More information

Rockford Tower opens for the season during the annual Flower Market, a spring tradition in Rockford Park.  Climb this historic structure and see the Flower Market and the city of Wilmington.  Free.

Cost: Free

Where:
Rockford Park
2000 Lookout Drive
Wilmington, DE  19806
View map »


Telephone: 302-577-7020
Website »

More information

96th Annual Wilmington Flower Market The 96th Annual Wilmington Flower Market adds an extra evening of festival fun with WFM Rocks the Park on Wednesday from 5-8 p.m....

Cost: Free

Where:
Rockford Park
Wilmington, DE


Sponsor: Wilmington Flower Market
Website »

More information

The islands take over Cinco de Mayo with $5 Margaritas! From May 2 through May 5, celebrate with four tequila-filled-days of fun and over ten flavors of margaritas, including our handcrafted...

Cost: Cost of meal

Where:
Bahama Breeze
500 Center Blvd
Newark, DE  19702
View map »

More information

Geared toward individuals 60 and over. Participants must be able to walk and stand. Walking aids—canes and walkers—are allowed. Wear comfortable clothing and stable shoes. Sneakers...

Where:
Bayhealth Physician Specialty Practice
315 N. Carter Road, Conference Room
Smyrna, DE
View map »

More information

Just what is art and who gets to decide?    Raw and provocative, this the 2010 Tony Award winner for Best Play paints a mesmerizing portrait of master abstract painter Mark Rothko as he works...

Cost: $15-$29

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


Sponsor: Resident Ensemble Players
Telephone: 302-831-2204
Contact Name: REP Box Office
Website »

More information

Just what is art and who gets to decide?    Raw and provocative, this the 2010 Tony Award winner for Best Play paints a mesmerizing portrait of master abstract painter Mark Rothko as he works...

Cost: $15-$29

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


Sponsor: Resident Ensemble Players
Telephone: 302-831-2204
Contact Name: REP Box Office
Website »

More information

Nanticoke Physician Network General & Bariatric Surgery will be hosting bariatric support groups on the first Tuesday and third Thursday of each month from 5:30 pm to 6:30 pm at Nanticoke Memorial...

Cost: FREE

Where:
Nanticoke Memorial Hospital
801 Middleford Road
Seaford, DE  19973
View map »


Sponsor: Nanticoke Physician Network General & Bariatric Surgery
Telephone: 302-629-6611 x 8810
Contact Name: Shelly Geis

More information

Patrick McGovern, Scientific Director of the Biomolecular Archaeology Project for Cuisine, Fermented Beverages and Health, and his oft-times collaborator Sam Calagione, Founder and President of...

Cost: $20

Where:
Penn Museum
3260 South St.
Philadelphia, PA  19104
View map »

More information

Games, food & fun for the whole family 68– p.m. at Smyrna Wesleyan Church Parking Lot

Cost: Free

Where:
Smyrna Wesleyan Church
433 West Commerce Street
Smyrna, DE  19977
View map »


Sponsor: SWC Family Nite
Telephone: 302-653-8440
Contact Name: Deb Souder
Website »

More information

Written by Nell Benjamin (playwright of "Because of Winn Dixie") Directed by Bud Martin The story: London, 1879. The prestigious Explorers Club is in crisis: their acting president...

Where:
Delaware Theatre Company
200 Water St.
Wilmington, DE
View map »

More information

Dr. Vicki Howard, Hartwick College, will recount the evolution of department stores from prominent locally owned institutions to stores that were part of national chains, and then to today’s...

Cost: Free

Where:
Hagley Museum & Library
Soda House
298 Buck Rd.
Wilmington, DE  19807
View map »


Telephone: (302) 658-2400
Contact Name: Vanessa Spence
Website »

More information

Just what is art and who gets to decide?    Raw and provocative, this the 2010 Tony Award winner for Best Play paints a mesmerizing portrait of master abstract painter Mark Rothko as he works...

Cost: $15-$29

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


Sponsor: Resident Ensemble Players
Telephone: 302-831-2204
Contact Name: REP Box Office
Website »

More information

Painfully funny, technically ingenious, and viciously physical, this wild romantic comedy by England’s most popular living playwright, Sir Alan Ayckbourn features convoluted relationships worthy...

Cost: $15-$29

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


Sponsor: Resident Ensemble Players
Telephone: 302-831-2204
Contact Name: REP Box Office
Website »

More information

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Join Kind to Kids Foundation and celebrate five years of helping Delaware children who are victims of child abuse, neglect, poverty and at-risk youth.  Register Now, this event sells out...

Cost: $40 per person or $300 per table of 8

Where:
Hotel DuPont, Gold Ballroom
11th & Market Streets
Wilmington, DE  19801
View map »


Sponsor: Kind to Kids Foundation
Telephone: 302-654-5440
Contact Name: Jeanette De Bright
Website »

More information

The Delaware Division of the Arts Mezzanine Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition of photographs by Yaprak Soysal during the month of May. “My Human and I” is an exhibition of...

Cost: Free

Where:
Mezzanine Gallery
820 N. French St.
Carvel State Office Building, 2nd Floor
Wilmington, DE  19801
View map »


Sponsor: Delaware Division of the Arts
Telephone: 302-577-8283
Contact Name: Roxanne Stanulis
Website »

More information

Looking to build your social network with fun and competition? Give tennis a try! It’s time to grab a racquet, your sneakers and some tennis balls and head to your local court to be part...

Cost: varies

Where:
Banning Park
201 Middleboro Road
Wilmington, DE  19804
View map »

More information

New paintings and drawings by Philadelphia artist Ed Bronstein are featured in a solo show. Ed’s new work includes still life paintings, landscapes and city scenes from Delaware and the...

Cost: free

Where:
The Station Gallery
3922 Kennett Pike
Greenville, DE  19807
View map »


Telephone: 302-654-8638
Website »

More information

Asteroids and comets are messengers from space with a significant effect on Earth’s history, and they are likely to influence the future as well. Great Balls of Fire: Comets, Asteroids,...

Cost: Free with admission

Where:
Delaware Museum of Natural History
4840 Kennett Pike
Wilmington, DE  19807
View map »

More information

RAIL EXPLORERS Opens their Delaware Division! Partnering with the Wilmington & Western Railroad and the Delaware State Parks Rail Explorers brings their unique adventure to the...

Cost: Tandem $75 (2P), Quad $125 (4P)

Where:
Rail Explorers Delaware
200 Gun Club Road
Hockessin, NY  12983
View map »


Sponsor: Rail Explorers
Telephone: 302 601 0888
Contact Name: Mary Joy Lu
Website »

More information

Made in the Americas: The New World Discovers Asia examines the profound influence of Asia on the arts of the colonial Americas. Featuring some of the most extraordinary objects produced in the...

Cost: Included with admission. Members free. $5-$20

Where:
Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library
5105 Kennett Pike (Route 52)
Wilmington, DE  19807
View map »


Sponsor: DuPont, Glenmede and John L. and Marjorie P. McGraw. Additional support from M&T Bank and Potter Anderson & Corroon LLP
Telephone: 800.448.3883
Contact Name: Information and tours
Website »

More information

The Show House will include a Boutique and Garden Shoppe with articles for sale from interior and landscape designers. 14 interior and landscape designers will transform a spacious home situated...

Where:
52 Rolling Rd.
Henlopen Acres, Rehoboth Beach, DE
View map »


Sponsor: Village Improvement Association of Rehoboth Beach

More information

What was behind the legendary story of King Midas and his golden touch? That is the question to be answered—not with chests full of gold, but with a spectacular array of ancient artifacts,...

Cost: Adults $20; seniors $18; students (with ID) $15; children (ages 6–17) $15

Where:
Penn Museum
3260 South St.
Philadelphia, PA  19104
View map »

More information

Drawing from Hagley’s collection of automotive advertising art, this exhibition features rare marketing materials highlighting everything from Duesenbergs to Datsuns. This exhibition asks “Did...

Cost: Included in regular admission and free for members.

Where:
Hagley Museum & Library
201 Hagley Creek Road
Wilmington, DE  19807
View map »


Sponsor: Hagley Museum & Library
Telephone: (302) 658-2400
Contact Name: Vanessa Spence
Website »

More information

Explore some of the diverse ways that human beings have understood sex and sexuality, gender and gender diversity in this small but broad new exhibition, presented in conjunction with the 2015-2016...

Cost: Free with Museum Admission.

Where:
Penn Museum
3260 South St.
Philadelphia, PA  19104
View map »


Website »

More information

Rockford Tower opens for the season during the annual Flower Market, a spring tradition in Rockford Park.  Climb this historic structure and see the Flower Market and the city of Wilmington.  Free.

Cost: Free

Where:
Rockford Park
2000 Lookout Drive
Wilmington, DE  19806
View map »


Telephone: 302-577-7020
Website »

More information

96th Annual Wilmington Flower Market The 96th Annual Wilmington Flower Market adds an extra evening of festival fun with WFM Rocks the Park on Wednesday from 5-8 p.m....

Cost: Free

Where:
Rockford Park
Wilmington, DE


Sponsor: Wilmington Flower Market
Website »

More information

This year’s Tyler Arboretum Plant Sale offers gardeners the chance to “Take Tyler Home,” with a themed range of plants from Tyler’s meadows, trails, collections, and...

Where:
Tyler Arboretum
515 Painter Road
Media, DE  19063
View map »


Telephone: 610-566-9134
Contact Name: Gary Bloomer
Website »

More information

Just what is art and who gets to decide?    Raw and provocative, this the 2010 Tony Award winner for Best Play paints a mesmerizing portrait of master abstract painter Mark Rothko as he works...

Cost: $15-$29

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


Sponsor: Resident Ensemble Players
Telephone: 302-831-2204
Contact Name: REP Box Office
Website »

More information

Just what is art and who gets to decide?    Raw and provocative, this the 2010 Tony Award winner for Best Play paints a mesmerizing portrait of master abstract painter Mark Rothko as he works...

Cost: $15-$29

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


Sponsor: Resident Ensemble Players
Telephone: 302-831-2204
Contact Name: REP Box Office
Website »

More information

Nanticoke Health Services is again joining forces with the Greater Seaford Chamber of Commerce and the City of Seaford to promote women’s health awareness at the 3rd Annual LIVE FOR CHOCOLATE...

Cost: Free

Where:
Downtown Seaford
304 High Street
Seaford, DE  19973
View map »


Sponsor: Nanticoke Health Services, Greater Seaford Chamber of Commerce, & the City of Seaford
Website »

More information

The Penn Museum's popular sleepover program, geared to ages 6 to 12 and their families or chaperones, invites guests to an overnight "expedition" of the Museum. The night's...

Cost: $55

Where:
Penn Museum
3260 South St.
Philadelphia, PA  19104
View map »

More information

Join the fun at Friends for Rescue and Pet Care's Quarter Auction in Newark on Friday, May 6, 2016. At least 100 great prizes. Raise your paddles to win a prize for as little as 1, 2,...

Cost: $5 per paddle per attendee

Where:
Aetna Fire Hall
400 Ogletown Rd.
Newark, DE  19711
View map »


Sponsor: Friends for Rescue & Pet Care
Telephone: 302-307-2980
Contact Name: Barbara
Website »

More information

Painfully funny, technically ingenious, and viciously physical, this wild romantic comedy by England’s most popular living playwright, Sir Alan Ayckbourn features convoluted relationships worthy...

Cost: $15-$29

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


Sponsor: Resident Ensemble Players
Telephone: 302-831-2204
Contact Name: REP Box Office
Website »

More information

Just what is art and who gets to decide?    Raw and provocative, this the 2010 Tony Award winner for Best Play paints a mesmerizing portrait of master abstract painter Mark Rothko as he works...

Cost: $15-$29

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


Sponsor: Resident Ensemble Players
Telephone: 302-831-2204
Contact Name: REP Box Office
Website »

More information

Meeting every Friday, Bayhealth Kent General Hospital, 640 s. State Street, Dover, 7:30 pm., Private Dining Room #3 in the basement. For those who have, or think they may have a gambling problem....

Cost: 0.00

Where:
Bayhealth Kent General Hospital
640 S. State Street
Private Dining Room #3
Dover, DE  19901
View map »


Telephone: 800-855-2CALLGA
Website »

More information

Written by Nell Benjamin (playwright of "Because of Winn Dixie") Directed by Bud Martin The story: London, 1879. The prestigious Explorers Club is in crisis: their acting president...

Where:
Delaware Theatre Company
200 Water St.
Wilmington, DE
View map »

More information

Join our guides though historic Dover and its cemeteries by lantern light this spring. Space is limited; call (302) 739-9194 for reservations. Lantern tours cancelled due to inclement weather will...

Cost: $10 per person

Where:
First State Heritage Park
Johnson Victrola Museum
375 S. New Street
Dover, DE  19901
View map »


Sponsor: First State Heritage Park
Telephone: 302-739-9194
Contact Name: Sarah Zimmerman
Website »

More information

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Dover Days Celebration Held annually since 1933, Dover Days celebrates the Capital of the First State. An annual week-long celebration of Dover Days events takes place on April 30 - May 8;...

Cost: Free

Where:
First State Heritage Park
121 Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd N
43 The Green, 25 The Green
Dover, DE  19901
View map »


Sponsor: First State Heritage Park
Telephone: 302-739-9194
Contact Name: Sarah Zimmerman
Website »

More information

New paintings and drawings by Philadelphia artist Ed Bronstein are featured in a solo show. Ed’s new work includes still life paintings, landscapes and city scenes from Delaware and the...

Cost: free

Where:
The Station Gallery
3922 Kennett Pike
Greenville, DE  19807
View map »


Telephone: 302-654-8638
Website »

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First Saturdays in the First State   Programs and events on the first Saturday of each month. Sites are open, 9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., check website for...

Cost: Free

Where:
First State Heritage Park
121 Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd N
Dover, DE  19901
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Sponsor: First State Heritage Park
Telephone: 302-739-9194
Contact Name: Sarah Zimmerman
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Looking to build your social network with fun and competition? Give tennis a try! It’s time to grab a racquet, your sneakers and some tennis balls and head to your local court to be part...

Cost: varies

Where:
Banning Park
201 Middleboro Road
Wilmington, DE  19804
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First Saturdays in the First State   Programs and events on the first Saturday of each month. Sites are open, 9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., check website for...

Cost: Free

Where:
First State Heritage Park
121 Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd N
Dover, DE  19901
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Sponsor: First State Heritage Park
Telephone: 302-739-9194
Contact Name: Sarah Zimmerman
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Asteroids and comets are messengers from space with a significant effect on Earth’s history, and they are likely to influence the future as well. Great Balls of Fire: Comets, Asteroids,...

Cost: Free with admission

Where:
Delaware Museum of Natural History
4840 Kennett Pike
Wilmington, DE  19807
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The Show House will include a Boutique and Garden Shoppe with articles for sale from interior and landscape designers. 14 interior and landscape designers will transform a spacious home situated...

Where:
52 Rolling Rd.
Henlopen Acres, Rehoboth Beach, DE
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Sponsor: Village Improvement Association of Rehoboth Beach

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96th Annual Wilmington Flower Market The 96th Annual Wilmington Flower Market adds an extra evening of festival fun with WFM Rocks the Park on Wednesday from 5-8 p.m....

Cost: Free

Where:
Rockford Park
Wilmington, DE


Sponsor: Wilmington Flower Market
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Drawing from Hagley’s collection of automotive advertising art, this exhibition features rare marketing materials highlighting everything from Duesenbergs to Datsuns. This exhibition asks “Did...

Cost: Included in regular admission and free for members.

Where:
Hagley Museum & Library
201 Hagley Creek Road
Wilmington, DE  19807
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Sponsor: Hagley Museum & Library
Telephone: (302) 658-2400
Contact Name: Vanessa Spence
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Wilmington Garden Day offers an opportunity to stroll through some of the Brandywine Valley’s most enchanting gardens. Join us on this self-guided tour and plan a day that fits your scheduled....

Cost: $30

Where:
Hagley Museum & Library
298 Buck Rd.
Wilmington, DE  19807
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Sponsor: Wilmington Garden Day
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Made in the Americas: The New World Discovers Asia examines the profound influence of Asia on the arts of the colonial Americas. Featuring some of the most extraordinary objects produced in the...

Cost: Included with admission. Members free. $5-$20

Where:
Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library
5105 Kennett Pike (Route 52)
Wilmington, DE  19807
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Sponsor: DuPont, Glenmede and John L. and Marjorie P. McGraw. Additional support from M&T Bank and Potter Anderson & Corroon LLP
Telephone: 800.448.3883
Contact Name: Information and tours
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RAIL EXPLORERS Opens their Delaware Division! Partnering with the Wilmington & Western Railroad and the Delaware State Parks Rail Explorers brings their unique adventure to the...

Cost: Tandem $75 (2P), Quad $125 (4P)

Where:
Rail Explorers Delaware
200 Gun Club Road
Hockessin, NY  12983
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Sponsor: Rail Explorers
Telephone: 302 601 0888
Contact Name: Mary Joy Lu
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The definition of the word art has changed over time. From the late Middle Ages it referred to a skill acquired through knowledge and practice as well as the objects produced as a result of that...

Cost: Members free. Included with admission, $5-$20.

Where:
Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library
5105 Kennett Pike (Route 52)
Wilmington, DE  19807
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Telephone: 800-448-3883
Contact Name: Information and Tours
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What was behind the legendary story of King Midas and his golden touch? That is the question to be answered—not with chests full of gold, but with a spectacular array of ancient artifacts,...

Cost: Adults $20; seniors $18; students (with ID) $15; children (ages 6–17) $15

Where:
Penn Museum
3260 South St.
Philadelphia, PA  19104
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Explore some of the diverse ways that human beings have understood sex and sexuality, gender and gender diversity in this small but broad new exhibition, presented in conjunction with the 2015-2016...

Cost: Free with Museum Admission.

Where:
Penn Museum
3260 South St.
Philadelphia, PA  19104
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Rockford Tower opens for the season during the annual Flower Market, a spring tradition in Rockford Park.  Climb this historic structure and see the Flower Market and the city of Wilmington.  Free.

Cost: Free

Where:
Rockford Park
2000 Lookout Drive
Wilmington, DE  19806
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Telephone: 302-577-7020
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Attend a Free Family and Community Concert May 7, 2016! Immerse yourself in a mystery about the most famous painting in the world as the Delaware Chamber Music Festival presents an animated...

Cost: Free

Where:
Laird Performing Arts Center of the Tatnall School
1501 Barley Mill Road
Wilmington, DE  19807
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Sponsor: Delaware Chamber Music Festival
Telephone: 302 442 0572
Contact Name: Kyle Bartlett
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Come celebrate the great outdoors at Taylors Bridge! Delaware Wild Lands is celebrating our latest conservation success — acquisition of the beautiful 1,250-acre Roberts...

Cost: Free

Where:
Taylors Bridge Roberts Farm
170 Staves Landing Rd
Townsend, DE  19734
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Sponsor: Delaware Wild Lands
Telephone: 302-378-2736
Contact Name: Wendy Scott
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This new walking tour tells remarkable stories of black powder explosions that occurred when Hagley was a gunpowder manufactory and the men and women whose lives were changed as a result. Tour...

Cost: Included in regular admission and free for members.

Where:
Hagley Museum & Library
201 Hagley Creek Road
Wilmington, DE  19807
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Telephone: (302) 658-2400
Contact Name: Vanessa Spence
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Bill Dixon Yamaha Stunt Rider will be doing his thing on his Yamaha here at Powersports East on Saturday, May 7th at 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.! Come out (FREE ADMISSION) and enjoy the show, while...

Cost: Free

Where:
PowerSports East
620 Pulaski HWY (Route 40)
Bear, DE  19701
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Sponsor: Powersports East
Telephone: 302-322-4120
Contact Name: Lynn Fasten
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Stop by to see the Wilmington State Parks’ Naturalist at White Clay Creek State Park’s Creek Fest!   Join Delaware State Parks, White Clay Wild and Scenic Program, National Park Service, Suez...

Cost: Free with paid park admission

Where:
White Clay Creek State Park
880 New London Road
Newark, DE  19711
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Telephone: 302-577-7020
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What better way to celebrate mom than enjoying "An Afternoon Paris"? You will be painting, sipping, enjoying Parisian treats on the patio of Cardinal Hollow Winery. Saturday, May...

Cost: $30 - $60

Where:
Cardinal Hollow Winery
1830 West Point Pike
Lansdale, PA  19486
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Sponsor: Creative Paint Events
Telephone: 267-312-8339
Contact Name: Charisse
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Mispillion River Brewing will be hosting its second annual fundraiser, Short ‘N Stout, for the National Criminal Enforcement Association in honor of Patrolman Chad E. Spicer. The Short...

Cost: $25 in advance, $35 at the door

Where:
Mispillion River Brewing
255 Mullet Run St.
Milford, DE  19963
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Sponsor: Mispillion River Brewing
Telephone: (302) 491-6623
Contact Name: Lauren Bigelow
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Written by Nell Benjamin (playwright of "Because of Winn Dixie") Directed by Bud Martin The story: London, 1879. The prestigious Explorers Club is in crisis: their acting president...

Where:
Delaware Theatre Company
200 Water St.
Wilmington, DE
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Just what is art and who gets to decide?    Raw and provocative, this the 2010 Tony Award winner for Best Play paints a mesmerizing portrait of master abstract painter Mark Rothko as he works...

Cost: $15-$29

Where:
Studio Theatre, Roselle Center for the Arts
110 Orchard Rd
Newark, DE  19716
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Sponsor: Resident Ensemble Players
Telephone: 302-831-2204
Contact Name: REP Box Office
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Just what is art and who gets to decide?    Raw and provocative, this the 2010 Tony Award winner for Best Play paints a mesmerizing portrait of master abstract painter Mark Rothko as he works...

Cost: $15-$29

Where:
Studio Theatre, Roselle Center for the Arts
110 Orchard Rd
Newark, DE  19716
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Sponsor: Resident Ensemble Players
Telephone: 302-831-2204
Contact Name: REP Box Office
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Capital Ringers, community handbell ensemble, presents spring shows, “Bach to Rock!” Featuring music from Bach and Mozart to contemporary artists, the Capital Ringers 2016 Spring Concert Tour...

Cost: Freewill/Donations

Where:
Limestone Presbyterian Church
Wilmington, DE


Telephone: 302-632-3106
Contact Name: Linda Simms
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The Penn Museum's popular sleepover program, geared to ages 6 to 12 and their families or chaperones, invites guests to an overnight "expedition" of the Museum. The night's...

Cost: $55

Where:
Penn Museum
3260 South St.
Philadelphia, PA  19104
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Capital Ringers, community handbell ensemble, presents spring shows, “Bach to Rock!” Featuring music from Bach and Mozart to contemporary artists, the Capital Ringers 2016 Spring Concert Tour...

Cost: $15pp/$25per family

Where:
The Smyrna Opera House
Smyrna, DE


Telephone: 302-632-3106
Contact Name: Linda Simms
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Just what is art and who gets to decide?    Raw and provocative, this the 2010 Tony Award winner for Best Play paints a mesmerizing portrait of master abstract painter Mark Rothko as he works...

Cost: $15-$29

Where:
Thompson Theatre, Roselle Center for the Arts
110 Orchard Rd
Newark, DE  19716
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Sponsor: Resident Ensemble Players
Telephone: 302-831-2204
Contact Name: REP Box Office
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Painfully funny, technically ingenious, and viciously physical, this wild romantic comedy by England’s most popular living playwright, Sir Alan Ayckbourn features convoluted relationships worthy...

Cost: $15-$29

Where:
Thompson Theatre, Roselle Center for the Arts
110 Orchard Rd
Newark, DE  19716
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Sponsor: Resident Ensemble Players
Telephone: 302-831-2204
Contact Name: REP Box Office
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Formed in 1992, Splintered Sunlight quickly became the most popular Grateful Dead Tribute band in the Philadelphia area, gaining praise from Dead Heads and Non Heads alike. Since that time,...

Cost: $12-15

Where:
World Cafe Live at The Queen
500 N Market St
Wilmington, DE
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Telephone: 302-994-1400
Contact Name: MP Intern

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Written by Nell Benjamin (playwright of "Because of Winn Dixie") Directed by Bud Martin The story: London, 1879. The prestigious Explorers Club is in crisis: their acting president...

Where:
Delaware Theatre Company
200 Water St.
Wilmington, DE
View map »

More information

Formed in 1992, Splintered Sunlight quickly became the most popular Grateful Dead Tribute band in the Philadelphia area, gaining praise from Dead Heads and Non Heads alike. Since that time,...

Cost: $12-15

Where:
World Cafe Live at The Queen
500 N Market St
Wilmington, DE
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Sponsor: World Cafe Life
Telephone: 302-994-1400
Contact Name: MP Intern
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