Spring Forward

Wilmington arts scene set to deliver plenty of live, in-person performances

For more than a year, we’ve eagerly anticipated the return of the Wilmington arts scene. Finally, we can finally begin to satisfy that craving. The following listings offer enough options to keep you singing, dancing, and celebrating right up to fall. Enjoy and welcome back to the arts.

Candlelight Theatre

Candlelight looks forward to welcoming patrons back with several performances scheduled. Running now through Sun., May 23 is Clever Little Lies, a hilarious exposé of the relationships between husbands and wives, parents and children, and unintended consequences. Next, the theater will be abuzz with Beehive (June 12-July 18), a rollicking musical tribute to the ladies who left their mark on the music of the ‘60s. The sassy, sultry musical celebration of the Golden Age of Jazz, Ain’t Misbehavin’ hits the stage next (July 31-August 29). And, The Best of Candlelight opens Sat., Sept. 18 to celebrate the best staged works at Candlelight over the past 20 years. Visit CandlelightTheatreDelaware.org

Delaware Art Museum

The Museum has been busy lining up a bevy of arts events. They’ve partnered again with DelArt Cinema for the Drive-In Movie Series

Delaware Art Museum. Shannon Woodloe photo.

in Parking Lot B of the museum. The series, which began in April, will continue select Fridays at dusk through October. Upcoming titles include The Cotton Club, Ed Wood, Weekend at Bernie’s, The Color Purple, Dazed and Confused, Dead Poets Society, and The Blues Brothers. Additionally, DelArt Cinema Movies in the Sculpture Garden run Fri., July 2 through Fri., Sept. 10, with an array of pop-culture favorites like Jaws, Get Out, Tommy, American Graffiti, and Selena. Happy Hours on the Terrace and Sculpture Garden start Thur., May 27, at 4pm and continue until Thur., Sept. 16 with live music, artisans, a cash bar of local brews, wine and cocktails, and food vendors. Sat., June 19 welcomes the free 2nd Annual Beyond Juneteenth: Egungun Festival, held in the Copeland Sculpture Garden, where festival-goers can connect and be empowered by live performances, guest speakers, food trucks, and art activities. The same day, the Picturing America exhibit opens at 10am. This exhibit kicks off a series of reimagined galleries opening throughout Summer 2021. The Museum’s main floor reimagines stories told with art, including significant new works by women and Black artists. Following exhibits are Radical Beauty on Sat., July 31; Sassafrazz: From Roots to Mastery on Sun., Aug. 8 (in partnership with Clifford Brown Jazz Festival); and Illustration: America’s Imagination on Sat., Sept. 11. Other spring and summer events include Summer Solstice Labyrinth Walk (June 20); Mixers with Molly (4th Thursdays, 4:45 p.m. via Zoom); Dara Meredith Dance Premiere of The Bridge of Our Roots (virtual, July 1); and the virtual 2021 Wilmington Writers Conference (July 24). Visit DelArt.org 

The Delaware Contemporary

Celebrate the opening of The Contemporary’s summer exhibitions at its free West Street Art Festival, Sun., June 13, beginning at 11am. Indoor and outdoor art-based activities, live performances, arts & crafts vendors, food trucks, and refreshments abound at the family-friendly festival. The Contemporary partnered with neighboring Wilmington Riverfront non-profits to deliver a day of fun for all ages. Highlights of the day include a community bike ride with the Urban Bike Project and a community mural focusing on mental health awareness, designed by artist 7GOD. All COVID-19 precautions will be in place for this event. Visit DeContemporary.org

Delaware Theatre Company

For their 2020/21 Season, Take 2!, DTC has produced several experiences engaging a variety of Hollywood, Broadway, and regional performers with social-distancing guidelines in place. They’ve created a new admission process, designating 58 general admission (i.e., first-come, first served) “boxes” that accommodate either two or four people. Subscription series performances are organized in short-run productions of either one-actor or small ensemble shows. Patrons can purchase eight- or five-show packages running from May 4 to August 14, which include works like Taylor Rodriguez’s homage to Elvis, A Tribute to the King (May 11-15); Harry Hamlin in Icarus, the Sun and the Limelight (May 18-22); Jenna Pastuszek in the Judy Garland salute, Get Happy! (June 22-26); and local jazz artist Jonathan Whitney’s The Whitney Project — A Celebration of Black Joy (July 13-17). Other “Front & Center” offerings include Robert Dubac in The Male Intellect: An Oxymoron? (June 9-12); Clare O’Malley in My Immigration Story (July 20-24) and another local jazz favorite, Fostina Dixon, in 5 Women (August 6-7). Visit DelawareTheatre.org

Gable Music Ventures

Gable continues to deliver accessible live music experiences, while providing much-needed exposure and work for independent artists. While they’re not able to announce all their ventures just yet, here is the confirmed lineup. Live performances, in the open-air urban oasis of Makers Alley, run Friday & Saturday nights May 1 through June 26 at 7 p.m. and feature an array of artists such as Nic Snow, Genesis Z & the Black Mambas, Darnell Miller, Sarah Czechowski & Clark Cummins, Too Tall Slim, Eastern Elk, AlyCat and more. Gable’s Rockford Summer Concert Series runs June 14 through August 16, with 6:30pm performances by the likes of Nihkee Blue, Honey Badgers, HOT Breakfast!, Howl Train and others. The Sugar Bowl Summer Series, running June 16 to August 18, brings 6:30pm shows by Haha Charade, The Blues Reincarnation Project and Lili Anel, to name a few. Finally, Gable is developing the Glasgow Summer Concert Series, a set of 6 p.m. shows with bands to be announced. Visit GableMusicVentures.com

The Grand/The Playhouse on Rodney Square

Concerts by Car at Frawley Stadium. Matt Urban photo.

The Grand and The Playhouse on Rodney Square remain grateful to the community for continuing to support live entertainment during this time of extended closure. Its staff is forging ahead with plans to reopen for indoor performances by this  fall. Until then, keep an eye out for a return of their popular Drive-In Movies at Bellevue State Park, rockin’ Concerts by Car series, and the addition of socially distanced walk-in concerts. The Grand aims to safely and gradually raise the curtain on both the Broadway In Wilmington and Music & Variety schedules in the fall. For the immediate future, The Grand is finishing up its Live @ 818 series on Thur., May 13 at 8pm with a performance by local singer-songwriter and “artivist,” Jea Street, Jr. Visit TheGrandWilmington.org

Hagley Museum

The beauty of Hagley in springtime is showcased in a new series featuring pop-up restaurants, live music, and children’s activities. Hagley Alfresco invites patrons to dine behind the E.I. du Pont Barn each Thursday evening in May, accompanied by the sounds of local bands. Featured restaurants and musicians include Piccolina Toscana and The Acoustic Jam Band (May 6); Caffé Gelato and The Acoustic Jam Band (May 13); Goober’s Diner and Nick Alfieri (May 20); and Le Cavalier at The Green Room and Nick Alfieri (May 27). Visit Hagley.org

Market Street Music

Hoochie Koochie. Yarissa Luna photo

Popular local classical ensemble Pyxis Piano Quartet closes out this season of the free Market Street Music Virtual Concert Series in a two-part performance, viewable on YouTube. Part One premieres Saturday, May 1, and Part Two on Tue., May 4, both at 7:30pm. Market Street Music also renews its partnership with Wilmington Alliance this summer, bringing free monthly Outdoor Concerts to 7th & West Community Park. The first date sees popular Dover-based, soul-blues band Hoochi Coochi take the stage on Thur., June 17 at 7pm. They’re followed on Thur., July 15, at 7 p.m. by well-known and loved local jazz ensemble, Sharon Sable Quartet. The final date of Thur., Aug.19, has an act still to be determined, so stay tuned for details! Masks must be worn at all performances. Visit MarketStreetMusicDE.org

The Music School of Delaware

The Music School has creatively pivoted throughout the pandemic, finding new ways to deliver musical experiences to audiences —music-based Zoom chats, virtual concerts and

The Music School of Delaware. Andre Lamar photo.

recitals — and they continue that creative approach this summer. With a Song in Our Hearts (Sun., May 30, 3pm) is a livestream-only concert spotlighting the Music School’s Voice Faculty members, advanced voice students, and its premier choral ensembles, The Delaware Women’s Chorus and Cantabile Women’s Chorus. The livestream is free to view, but advance reservation should be made. The Music School is also presenting Serafin Summer Music live and livestream at its Wilmington Branch, June 4-19 (see below). Visit MusicSchoolofDelaware.org


If music be the food of love, play on! OperaDelaware collaborates with Delaware Shakespeare for Shakespeare in Song, May 20 through 23, with 8pm performances — all in the parking lot of OperaDelaware Studios. DelShakes’ actors will bring the original material to life while OD soloists give voice to the operatic equivalents. The performance will delight audiences with scenes from Romeo and Juliet, The Tempest, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Macbeth, Twelfth

OperaDelaware. Joe del Tufo photo.

Night, and The Merry Wives of Windsor as well as music by Britten, Debussy, Gounod, Verdi, and more. OperaDelaware’s parking lot plays host to yet another evening of song with Al Fresco Arias (June 17 & 18; July 22 & 23, all 8pm performances). The popular outdoor series returns with new artists and OD’s Aurelien Eulert performing fan-favorite arias. Grab a comfy chair and picnic basket, and settle in for open-air, live opera on the Wilmington Riverfront. Visit OperaDe.org

Serafin Ensemble

After postponing in 2020, The Serafins and The Music School of Delaware combine musical forces to host Serafin Summer Music festival, in both live and livestream

Serafin Ensemble

performances (June 4, 5 & 6; June 11 & 12; June 18 & 19) at the Music School’s Wilmington Branch. The roster includes 22 artists from Philadelphia, Chicago, New York, Atlanta, and even Norway. The festival opens with an all-Gershwin program on Fri., June 4. Saturday (June 5) brings a whimsical performance, Sibling Rivalry, featuring three violin/piano sibling pairs. Songs of Norway on Sun., June 6 puts the works of Edvard Grieg and other Norwegian composers at center stage. Serafin Summer Music’s repertoire delivers chamber music favorites, infrequently heard masterworks from Beethoven and Brahms, and “hidden gems” such as the String Sextet by Danish composer, Niels Gade. Tickets can be purchased singly, as a three-pack or full-festival pass. Visit SerafinEnsemble.org

Shady Grove Music Festival (Arden Concert Gild)

“Meet me at the Grove!” That’s a phrase we’re all looking forward to hearing again, as the 2021 Shady Grove Music Fest in Arden is confirmed for Sat., July 10, at 11am. Tickets for the Fest opened April 30. Here’s hoping for another sellout (in COVID terms) with a knock-out lineup of Grace Vonderkuhn, Catbite, Ellen Siberian Tiger, Buddie, Dominy, Grant Claytor, The Knotty G’s, The Luscious’s and Bad Smidgen. A $5 off “early bird” non-member ticket is available until June 30; a limited number of tickets are being issued to enable social-distancing protocols. Masks must be worn to enter and move about the festival. Distancing must be maintained between groups. Wash stations and sanitizers will be provided throughout the concert area. Visit ShadyGroveMusicfest.com

Wilmington Alliance

Get into the groove with Wilmington Alliance’s Drumming Circle, starting Tue., May 18, at 6pm and running through Tue., Oct. 12, at 7th & West Community Park. It’s a free

Drumming Circles. Wilmington Alliance photo.

night of family fun, where participants can bring a drum or use one provided to get creative in a public drumming circle. The Alliance also turns up the park’s good vibes for monthly Family Picnic Nights. On Wednesdays (June 9, July 7, & Aug. 11) from 6-7pm, families can bring chairs or blankets and gather to enjoy relaxing outdoor time and a meal from a local food vendor. Masks are required to participate in all events. Visit WilmingtonAlliance.org

Wilmington Ballet Academy of the Dance

Wilmington Ballet offers a range of summer classes for young dancers. Beginning Ballet Summer Weekly Classes run July 8 to August 12. Their Summer Intensives series are taught by Wilmington Ballet Directors Benjamin Sterling Cannon and Chris Davis with guest teaching artists. The intensives are valuable outlets for dancers to improve their technique, to exercise, and bolster their creativity in preparation for the coming season. The Advanced Intensive class runs July 12 -23; the Intermediate runs August 9-20. Finally, all young princes and princesses ages 4-6 are invited to join The Royal Academy, July 10-31, 10-11:30 a.m. Visit WilmingtonBallet.org

Wilmington Drama League

The Drama League returns to a live, indoor performance (COVID precautions in place) with the award-winning The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (May 14-23).

Wilmington Drama League. Photo by Matt Coyle.

No more than 50 tickets will be sold for this performance. Next, fairies and players abound in three outdoor performances of Shakespeare’s celebrated comedy A Midsummer Night’s Dream (June 18-20). For local thespians ages 7 to 17, summer will be full of Seuss! WDL’s Summer Stock runs June 21-July 17, with limited-audience performances of Seussical Jr. on July 16 and 17. Camp discounts will be offered for early registration and second child sign-up. Their summertime schedule rounds out with the annual Jeff Walker Youth One-Act Festival on Sat., July 24, set on an outdoor stage. Admission to that festival is free. Visit WilmingtonDramaLeague.org

Winterthur Museum & Gardens

Experience many of the region’s most talented craftspeople at Winterthur’s first-annual Artisan Market (July 17-18). Spend the

Winterthur Museum & Garden. Herb Crossan photo.

day exploring Winterthur while shopping for original objects including antiques and collectibles, up-cycled and architectural salvage pieces, high-quality crafts and handmade items, vintage clothing and jewelry, gourmet packaged goods, original art in a variety of media and garden items. The Market is included with a general admission ticket, as is access to the 60-acre garden, paths and trails, a self-guided tour of the house, access to the galleries, including latest exhibitions and a garden tram tour. Visit Winterthur.org