Return to Yesterday?

Sapori can do its own thing, but it needs to step up its game to compete with restaurants that are riding the trends.



The vitello al Finocchio features veal medallions sautéed with grape tomatoes, asparagus and fennel finished in a lemon-wine sauce and topped with smoked mozzarella. Photograph by Thom Thompson.Sapori Ristorante Italiano

Greenville Center, 3801 Kennett Pike, 654-9501
www.sapori-de.com

Prices
Appetizers $10-$12
Entrées $16-$29

Recommended dishes
Olive Ascalone, veal saltimbocca, bresaola
 

 

 

Delaware was once populated by white-linen Italian restaurants whose names still evoke a sense of nostalgia: L’Osteria, Carruci, Positano, Vincente’s, Mario’s, Cynthia’s and Amalfi. Vincente’s left the state. The others are long gone.
In many respects, Sapori Ristorante Italiano in Greenville brings back the old days, a time when upscale Italian fare was synonymous with fine dining and special occasions. The question is whether enough Delaware diners want to return to those days, given the preponderance of hip bistros and the trend toward Mediterranean fusion.
Sapori is located in Amalfi’s old digs. Happily, that restaurant’s dark, clubby atmosphere is gone, and the intimate dining room is now light and airy. The decor is attractive, though not terribly innovative. Some customers might feel like they’re eating in the formal dining room of a McMansion. Pillars have been faux-finished to resemble marble, and there’s cool natural stone in the entrance-bar area.
Sapori, which means “flavors” in Italian, offers several dishes you won’t see at Olive Garden or Macaroni Grill. Consider olive Ascalone, bresaola and baccala. Seeing these lyrical-sounding items on a menu gives the restaurant a stamp of authenticity.
Chef-owner Antonio Lubrano prepares a dish. Photograph by Thom Thompson.Olive Ascalone was by far my favorite dish at Sapori, and I can certainly imagine stopping at the bar for a plate of these fried beauties and an icy martini—though a glass of wine would have been more economical. We were charged $2 extra for requesting a dirty martini with rocks on the side. The cost of olive juice and water has apparently gone up with the price of gas.
Surrounding a mound of sautéed garlicky spinach, the breaded olives were stuffed with Asiago cheese and fried into crunchy gold orbs. The crisp, gooey combination, infused with a dusky flavor, made jalapeño poppers and mozzarella sticks look pedestrian.
Bresaola is worth a repeat visit. Lemon-spritzed arugula decorated with Parmesan cheese provided the backdrop for the paper-thin slices of ruby-red beef. The combination was slightly salty, slightly sharp, slightly citrusy and all together wonderful.
Bruschetta, available at lunch, was dear at $8 for three slices, even with the touted homemade mozzarella. Unfortunately, the tomatoes were pale and tasteless. I liked the springy cubes of alabaster mozzarella, but the whole dish needed a sprinkle of salt and a heavier dose of fresh, sharp garlic.
More garlic also would have elevated orecchiette tossed with broccoli rabe and sausage. I could see flecks of garlic resting in the cup-shaped pasta. I just couldn’t taste its bite. Otherwise, the pasta was a straightforward dish, the orecchiette acting as a catcher’s mitt for bits of greens and sausage.
Sapori offers other appealing pasta options, including simple capellini tossed with cherry tomatoes in a basil sauce, homemade fettuccine with shrimp in pesto, and lobster ravioli.
Owner Lucia Lubrano pours a martini alongside a Sapori Bellini (a cocktail of peach purée and Prosecco).  Photograph by Thom Thompson.Though the crimped edges of the homemade lobster ravioli were tough and chewy, the vodka cream sauce was a winner. I was delighted that the baby shrimp were larger than the tiny rock shrimp I’d expected.
I was disappointed, however, in the shrimp that nested in the risotto. A few of the promised jumbo shrimp curled like pink commas next to ribbons of red and yellow sweet peppers and strips of tart sun-dried tomato. Tucked into the mix were shrimp that could fall into the large or even medium category. The arborio rice still had teeth, but the texture wasn’t in the least creamy.
The kitchen struck a nice balance with veal saltimbocca, medallions pounded into tender submissiveness. A savory buttery-sage sauce softened the saltiness of the prosciutto, which was a rosy blanket atop the veal. I would have enjoyed it more if the side of sautéed spinach had indeed been served on the side. Olive oil ran into the sage sauce, diluting the nice flavors.
I’m surprised, given the availability of fresh seafood, that Sapori doesn’t offer more than salmon and flounder on its standard menu. What does stand out is the baccala, baked with onions, potatoes and olives in a plum tomato sauce.
“It tastes like cod,” said our server, who was new to the restaurant. Not really. Baccala is salt cod, a dish with its roots in many countries, including Spain, Norway and Portugal. Salt cod is easily stacked and therefore easily transportable, and because it’s heavily salted, it can survive a prolonged journey. Using baccala in the kitchen requires numerous soakings, with frequent water changes, to re-hydrate the fish before cooking and eliminate the saltiness.
Manager Laura Lubrano delivers Sapori’s homemade tiramisu. Photograph by Thom Thompson.Our server explained none of this to us, and any diner expecting a cod-like dish would have been let down. I put a piece of white fish in my mouth and started to chew. Then I chewed some more. I’d expected the fish to be firm, but I felt like I was grinding away at fish gum. Perhaps another bath or two would have helped. We found it inedible.
Baccala is pretty exotic stuff for most palates, or perhaps it’s more accurate to say it’s an acquired taste. Never fear. There are plenty of familiar entrées on Sapori’s menu, including shrimp cocktail, Caesar salad, grilled filet mignon, pork chops in Madeira sauce, and a veal chop topped with prosciutto and fontina cheese.
Sapori has the ability to fill a niche that’s been left open for too long. Chains specializing in Italian fare—or what passes for it in the United States—are nevertheless a threat. So are the bistros that fuse Italian cuisine with fare from Spain and France.
To fill this niche, the execution and the quality must live up to the prices, which seem to reflect the neighborhood more than the preparation. The lowest-priced pasta dish at dinner was $18, which seems steep for pasta with sautéed vegetables. And the up charge on the martini made our jaws drop. I’ve paid more for a certain type of vodka but never for olive juice or ice.
Greenville is a demanding area. If Sapori really wants us to pine for the good old days, it needs to deliver exceptional cuisine that’s expertly prepared. In other words, we need an old-fashioned bang for the buck.
 

The Ahi Poke appetizer at Nalu is made with sushi-grade ahi tuna and stacked with avocado and mango. Photograph by Keith Mosher.Plenty Good Mahalo

New Hawaiian restaurants offer something truly fresh.

Many eager restaurateurs claim their new digs will transport diners to another world. Regan Derrickson might actually have a case.
Derrickson’s companion Dewey Beach restaurants—Ponos Hawaiian Fine Dining and Nalu Hawaiian Surf Bar & Grille—have been turning heads since they opened in March. Specifically, patrons crane their necks upward at Ponos, where the ceiling is covered with 1,600 fiber optic stars, each one painstakingly installed by Derrickson and his father.
It took 80 hours, but the results are breathtaking. When matched with tranquil waterfalls and a 12-by-32 foot mural, “It’s very impressive,” Derrickson says. “Like a Hawaiian rainforest at nighttime.”
Nalu is a bit more relaxed. It’s a family-friendly environment with a thatched roof, totem poles, surfboards and, of course, a tiger shark hanging from the ceiling.
Ponos Hawaiian Fine Dining and Nalu Hawaiian Surf Bar & Grille (1306 and 1308 Coastal Hwy., Dewey Beach, 227-3119) also differ slightly when it comes to food.
Ponos’ signature dish is macadamia and cilantro crusted opakapaka, a Hawaiian red snapper, with smoked coconut, charred pineapple, toasted corn and tomato concasse and yuzu butter. Nalu is where you saddle up to Kalua pig and lau lau.
 “Hawaii has such good cuisine. There are elements of Pan-Asian, American West Coast and fresh island flavor,” Derrickson says, “right off the vine, right out of the water.”
And right under the stars.       —Matt Amis


 

Tara Voigt of Sweet and Sassy Cupcakes (right) greets the Food Network’s Gina Neely.Nine Million Viewers Can’t Be Wrong

A Newark couple makes their television debut. The icing on their cupcake? Lots of new business.

Mike and Tara Voigt were meant for TV. The telegenic husband and wife own Sweet and Sassy Cupcakes in Newark, which rolls out heavenly cupcakes across the country daily. He bakes the cakes, she makes the frosting. He’s the sweet, she’s the sassy.
For seven hours in June, Mike and Tara mixed, frosted and mugged for Food Network cameras. It was only a matter of time.
The prime-time program “Road Tasted with the Neelys” features celebrity chefs Pat and Gina Neely traveling the country for awesome food finds. The Neelys staged their Main Street entrance on a muggy Friday morning, then proceeded to interview the Voigts and walk through the cupcake-making magic.
“Off camera we were fantastic,” Tara Voigt says with a laugh. “Once the cameras started rolling, it was such a blur, I don’t even remember what we said.
“It was very formal. There were multiple retakes, walkthroughs, and then you have to do it again and make it seem spontaneous,” she says. “The Neelys made it look so easy, but they are truly a gifted, talented couple.”
The show—and its expected 9 million viewers—should be a boon for business. Food Network warned the Voigts might see a big spike in sales once the show airs—somewhere in the neighborhood of 600 to 800 orders within the first six hours of airtime. That’s a lot of cupcakes.
At the end of the day, the Voigts’ segment may be as short as 10 minutes, but if that leads to 800 orders, the Voigts will take it gladly. Still, “I don’t anticipate ‘The Mike and Tara Show’ on Food Network anytime soon,” Voigt says. “We’ll probably be cringing with embarrassment.”
Catch Sweet and Sassy on “Road Tasted with the Neelys” on Food Network this month. Time TBA.         —Matt Amis

 

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January 2017

January 3 - 28  “Winter Group Show” Rotating Group Show features a variety of art in different styles and media. Custom Framing & Gift Certificates are always available. Gallery Hours:...

Cost: free

Where:
The Station Gallery
3922 Kennett Pike
Greenville, DE  19807
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Telephone: 302-654-8638
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Sports Card & Collectible Show at Aetna Fire Hall on Jan. 22—sign up now! -Sports Cards McFarlane Figures Comic Books Non-Sports cards Wrestling Items Vintage Starting...

Cost: $2

Where:
Aetna Fire Hall
400 Ogletown Road
Newark, DE  19711
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Sponsor: A2Z Promotions
Telephone: 302-983-2636
Contact Name: Bob Harper
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The Rehoboth Beach Film Society announces the next play in the exciting series of National Theatre Live screenings. National Theatre Live is a groundbreaking project that presents the best of...

Cost: $18-$20

Where:
Cinema Art Theater
17701 Dartmouth Drive, #2
Lewes, DE  19958
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Sponsor: Rehoboth Beach Film Society
Telephone: 302-645-9095
Contact Name: Jeri Kaplan
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Belly Dance Classes with Zahra Beginner & intermediate classes open to teens and adults Sundays in January starting Jan 8th Beginner: 2:30-3:30 p.m. Intermediate: 1 - 2 p.m (must get...

Cost: $15-$42

Where:
Take the Lead Studio
320 Lantana Drive
Hockessin , DE  19711
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Sponsor: Take the Lead
Contact Name: Zahra
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The Resident Ensemble Players, Delaware’s professional acting company performing at the University of Delaware, presents The Bells by Theresa Rebeck. During the great Yukon gold rush of the...

Cost: $15 - $30

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
Website »

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Ah, typecasting—the baritone is always the bad guy! In Devils, Drunks & Dastardly Dudes, we’ll go on an operatic journey of men behaving badly. We’ll add a tenor to the mix, too… but we...

Cost: $29-$59

Where:
OperaDelaware Studio
4 South Poplar St.
Wilmington, DE  19801
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Sponsor: OperaDelaware
Telephone: 302-442-7809
Contact Name: Mary Wilcosky
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Come give curling a try! At this 2-hour intro-to-curling event we'll provide a basic lesson then coach you through a mini-game.  Whether you just want to cross #curling off your bucket list or...

Cost: $35

Where:
The Pond Ice Arena
101 John Campbell Rd
Newark, DE  19711
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Sponsor: Diamond State Curling Club
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January 3 - 28  “Winter Group Show” Rotating Group Show features a variety of art in different styles and media. Custom Framing & Gift Certificates are always available. Gallery Hours:...

Cost: free

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


Telephone: 302-654-8638
Website »

More information

The Rehoboth Beach Film Society announces the next play in the exciting series of National Theatre Live screenings. National Theatre Live is a groundbreaking project that presents the best of...

Cost: $18-$20

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

Notbybreadalone Ministries presents Feeding the Hungry Outreach. All are welcome to come and partake of food, fun and fellowship. Those who desire a better way of life through Jesus Christ are...

Cost: Free

Where:
2nd and 3rd Streets
Wilmington, DE  19801


Sponsor: Notbybreadalone Outreach Ministries
Telephone: 442-0440
Contact Name: Ministers Wayne and Stephanie Dumpson
Website »

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Guest speakers Patty Dailey-Lewis, executive director of the Beau Biden Foundation, and Delaware Family Court commissioner Loretta Young will discuss how participation in social media can too...

Cost: Free

Where:
Wilmington University - Dover
Building A Auditorium
3282 N DuPont Highway
Dover, DE  19901
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Sponsor: Wilmington University College of Social & Behavioral Sciences
Telephone: 302-295-1164
Contact Name: Dr. Johanna Bishop
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January 3 - 28  “Winter Group Show” Rotating Group Show features a variety of art in different styles and media. Custom Framing & Gift Certificates are always available. Gallery Hours:...

Cost: free

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


Telephone: 302-654-8638
Website »

More information

Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9:30AM-12:00PM Fall session: Thursday, Dec 1st thru Thursday, December 15th Winter session: Tuesday, January 17th thru Thursday, March 30th   Drop in on Nature is...

Cost: see description

Where:
The Annex
501 Chandler Mill Rd
Kennett Square, PA  19348
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Sponsor: The Land Conservancy
Telephone: 610-347-0347 ext.104
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East Coast Garden Center Indoor Farmers Market Nov 8, 2016 - April 11, 2017  11 am- 2 pm 25 vendors Location:  East Coast Garden Center 30366 Cordrey Rd Millsboro, DE 19966 302-945-3489

Cost: frr

Where:
East Coast Garden Center
30366 Cordrey Rd
Millsboro, DE  19966
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Sponsor: East Coast Garden Center
Telephone: 302-945-3489
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East Coast Garden Center Indoor Farmer's Marke 25 vendors

Cost: Free

Where:
East Coast Garden Center
30366 Cordrey Rd
Millsboro, DE  19966
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Telephone: 302-945-3489
Website »

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The Rehoboth Beach Film Society announces the next play in the exciting series of National Theatre Live screenings. National Theatre Live is a groundbreaking project that presents the best of...

Cost: $18-$20

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

A four-week series of ballroom dancing classes taught by teachers from the BlueBallroom. Tuesdays starting Jan. 10. Classes are $30 a lesson for Non-Members. Non-Member slots are limited. For...

Cost: $30

Where:
University and Whist Club
805 N Broom St
Wilmington, DE  19806
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January 3 - 28  “Winter Group Show” Rotating Group Show features a variety of art in different styles and media. Custom Framing & Gift Certificates are always available. Gallery Hours:...

Cost: free

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


Telephone: 302-654-8638
Website »

More information

The Rehoboth Beach Film Society announces the next play in the exciting series of National Theatre Live screenings. National Theatre Live is a groundbreaking project that presents the best of...

Cost: $18-$20

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

Show More...
Show Less...

January 3 - 28  “Winter Group Show” Rotating Group Show features a variety of art in different styles and media. Custom Framing & Gift Certificates are always available. Gallery Hours:...

Cost: free

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


Telephone: 302-654-8638
Website »

More information

Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9:30AM-12:00PM Fall session: Thursday, Dec 1st thru Thursday, December 15th Winter session: Tuesday, January 17th thru Thursday, March 30th   Drop in on Nature is...

Cost: see description

Where:
The Annex
501 Chandler Mill Rd
Kennett Square, PA  19348
View map »


Sponsor: The Land Conservancy
Telephone: 610-347-0347 ext.104
Website »

More information

Thursdays from 4:00PM-5:30PM Fall session: December 1st, 8th and 15th Winter session: Starts January 19th, every other Thursday until March 30th This program is based entirely outdoors and is...

Cost: Cost: $30 for TLC members / $40 for non-members

Where:
Bucktoe Creek Preserve
432 Sharp Rd
Avondale, PA  19311
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Sponsor: The Land Conservancy
Telephone: 610-347-0347 ext.104
Website »

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MARC BROUSSARD In 2004, Marc Broussard, then a precocious 22-year-old singer/songwriter, released his major-label debut; he called it Carencro, after the Louisiana town where he was born and...

Cost: $22 SRO- $32 SEATED

Where:
World Cafe Live Wilmington
500 N Market St
Wilmington, DE  19801
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Telephone: 215-222-1400
Contact Name: MP Intern
Website »

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The Resident Ensemble Players, Delaware’s professional acting company performing at the University of Delaware, presents The Bells by Theresa Rebeck. During the great Yukon gold rush of the...

Cost: $15 - $30

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


Sponsor: Resident Ensemble Players
Telephone: (302) 831-2204
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

January 3 - 28  “Winter Group Show” Rotating Group Show features a variety of art in different styles and media. Custom Framing & Gift Certificates are always available. Gallery Hours:...

Cost: free

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


Telephone: 302-654-8638
Website »

More information

Tutto Fresco has live entertainment every Friday night from 6:30–9:30 p.m. Call for details. http://tuttofrescode.com/

Where:
Tutto Fresco
514 Philadelphia Pike
Wilmington, DE  19809
View map »

More information

The Resident Ensemble Players, Delaware’s professional acting company performing at the University of Delaware, presents The Bells by Theresa Rebeck. During the great Yukon gold rush of the...

Cost: $15 - $30

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


Sponsor: Resident Ensemble Players
Telephone: (302) 831-2204
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
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Telephone: 800-855-2CALLGA
Website »

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Cost: $12-$20

Where:
Wilmington Drama League
10 West Lea Blvd.
Wilmington, DE  19802
View map »


Sponsor: Wilmington Drama League
Telephone: 302-764-3396
Contact Name: Kathy Buterbaugh
Website »

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Show Less...

January 3 - 28  “Winter Group Show” Rotating Group Show features a variety of art in different styles and media. Custom Framing & Gift Certificates are always available. Gallery Hours:...

Cost: free

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


Telephone: 302-654-8638
Website »

More information

January 28 – Saturday – 1 to 4 p.m. Science Saturday – Truss Me, You Won’t Fall! Become an engineer for the day. Design a bridge to hold as much weight as possible....

Cost: Activities are included in regular admission and free for members.

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


Sponsor: Hagley Museum
Telephone: (302) 65802400 x 238
Contact Name: Jessica Eisenbrey
Website »

More information

The Resident Ensemble Players, Delaware’s professional acting company performing at the University of Delaware, presents The Bells by Theresa Rebeck. During the great Yukon gold rush of the...

Cost: $15 - $30

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


Sponsor: Resident Ensemble Players
Telephone: (302) 831-2204
Website »

More information

GRILLED CHEESE AND CRAFT BEER TASTING We have taken two of the best things on earth and paired them together – Grilled Cheese and Craft Beer – and paired them together in unexpected and...

Cost: $40

Where:
World Cafe Live Wilmington
500 N Market St
Wilmington, DE  19801
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Telephone: 215-222-1400
Contact Name: MP Intern
Website »

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Saturday, January 28, 2017 at  7:30 pm at St. David’s Episcopal Church, 763 Valley Forge Rd, Wayne, PA 19087 Sunday, January 29, 2017 at 3 pm at Church of the Holy Trinity, Rittenhouse Square...

Cost: Tickets are $25 online, and $30 at the door. Student tickets $10 at the door.

Where:
Church of the Holy Trinity
1904 Walnut St.
Philadelphia, PA  19103
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Sponsor: Lyric Fest
Telephone: 215-438-1702
Contact Name: Jessica Nelson
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Fan favorite, Dick Smith, returns to the Dickinson Theatre Organ Society concert stage on Saturday, Jan. 28, 2017 for a show that is sure to bring the house down! Dick Smith has been a...

Cost: $15 Adults; $10 Students

Where:
John Dickinson High School Auditorium
1801 Milltown Road
Wilmington, DE  19808
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Sponsor: Dickinson Theatre Organ Society
Telephone: 302-995-2603
Contact Name: Bob Dilworth
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The Dickinson Theatre Organ Society presents Dick Smith. For tickets, click here: http://www.dtoskimball.org/events-tickets/ticket-information/ For further information, please call us at...

Where:
, DE

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The Resident Ensemble Players, Delaware’s professional acting company performing at the University of Delaware, presents The Bells by Theresa Rebeck. During the great Yukon gold rush of the...

Cost: $15 - $30

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


Sponsor: Resident Ensemble Players
Telephone: (302) 831-2204
Website »

More information

Cost: $12-$20

Where:
Wilmington Drama League
10 West Lea Blvd.
Wilmington, DE  19802
View map »


Sponsor: Wilmington Drama League
Telephone: 302-764-3396
Contact Name: Kathy Buterbaugh
Website »

More information

MOTHERSHIP Mothership is the area's premier Led Zeppelin Tribute show. Composed of seasoned, professional musicians Mario Padovani - vocals, keyboards, Frank Ginocchio - drums, Chris Julian -...

Cost: 15

Where:
World Cafe Live Wilmington
500 N Market St
Wilmington, DE  19801
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Telephone: 215-222-1400
Website »

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