Journey from Modern Delaware to Renaissance Verona with 21 Statewide Theatrical Delights
Delaware Shakespeare’s transition from a single summer festival to a year-round company has long been complete. The troupe is approaching its fourth annual fall Community Tour featuring statewide performances of “Romeo and Juliet” running Oct. 23—Nov. 17, and is now offering a related Sept. 20 fundraiser, built on Del Shakes’ 2019 theme, “Delaware in love.”
This year, Del Shakes is asking Delaware arts supporters, “Did my heart love till now?”
Delaware in Love welcomes Delaware lovers to the stage. “DELebrities” will put their spin on the Bard’s legendary tale of star-cross’d young beaus to raise funds for Delaware Shakespeare’s initiative to bring the state together with classical theatre, including the free, three-county Community Tour of “Romeo and Juliet.” Participants range from elected officials to longtime Delaware arts supporters:
The Hon. Jack and Mrs. Carla Markell; The Hon. Chris Coons and daughter Maggie Coons (via video); Sharin Apostolou and Ryan MacPherson; Drewry Fennell and Lisa Goodman; Marisa de los Santos and David Teague; Lynne Howard and Don Brown; Mihaela and David Plaza; Michelle and David Stradley; and, Katrina M. Watson.
Honorary Chair Carla Markell said, “We wanted to support Delaware in Love because of the tremendous work Del Shakes, David Stradley and all of them do to connect the underserved and general population to Shakespearean storytelling. So many of the plays share a common theme to social challenges we face today and the language is simply beautiful when spoken by the caliber of professional actors Del Shakes employs. The underserved often feel forgotten and Del Shakes offers connection, solace, and life learning.”
Delaware in Love takes place at OperaDelaware, 4 S. Poplar St., Wilmington, Del. at 6 p.m.
Then over the next two months, “Romeo and Juliet” travels to the full spectrum of humanity in the state as a Community Tour production. Two dreamers awake to love—and a world trying to tear them apart—as they fight to hold on to their vision of wonder and a new life.
Producing Artistic Director David Stradley says, “You’ll never feel the power of Shakespeare’s vital romantic tragedy more immediately than in our Community Tour production, where every audience member is within ten feet of the performers.”
Del Shakes has scheduled 18 free full-length performances at venues in all three counties:
October 23, 5:30 p.m. – Groves Adult High School (Red Clay), Stanton
October 24, 6 p.m. – Christina Cultural Arts Center, Wilmington
October 25, 12:30 p.m. – Milton CHEER Activity Center, Milton
October 26, 6:30 p.m. – Sankofa Cultural Arts Center, Dover
October 28, 10 a.m., Easter Seals, New Castle
October 29, 1 p.m. and 6 p.m. – Delaware State University, Dover
October 30, 5:30 p.m. – Ferris School, Wilmington*
November 1, 2 p.m. – Milford Public Library, Milford
November 5, 12:45 p.m. – Baylor Women’s Correctional Institution, New Castle*
November 6, 5:30 p.m. – Sussex Correctional Institution, Georgetown*
November 7, 5 p.m. – First State Community Action Agency, Georgetown
November 8, 6 p.m. – Latin American Community Center, Wilmington
November 9, 2 p.m. – Route 9 Library & Innovation Center, New Castle
November 12, 12 p.m. – Howard R. Young Correctional Institution, Wilmington*
November 13, 6 p.m. – Ezion-Mt Carmel United Methodist Church / Delaware Center for Homeless Veterans, Wilmington
November 14, 4 p.m. – Kingswood Community Center, Wilmington
November 15, 5:30 p.m. – Central YMCA, Wilmington
*Not open to the public
The Community Tour closes with two ticketed performances at the Siegel JCC, 101 Garden of Eden Rd, Wilmington, Del., on November 16, 8 p.m. and 17, 2 p.m.
“Romeo and Juliet” is directed by Philadelphia’s Lindsay Smiling and stars Freddy Amill as Romeo and newcomer Sol Madariaga as Juliet. They are joined by Cassandra Alexander, Newton Buchanan, Cameron DelGrosso, Maria Konstantinidis, J Hernandez, and Tai Verley. Amill, Buchanan, Hernandez and Verley are returning Community Tour actors and Buchanan performed in The Merry Wives of Windsor this summer. Konstantinidis, Hernandez and Verley appear through the courtesy of Actors’ Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States.
As has been typical with past Community Tours, the production will feature live, original music, with Emily Schuman returning as both Composer and Musician.
Limited tickets are available for each of the free public “Romeo and Juliet” performances, and must be requested in advance by email firstname.lastname@example.org, Only 125 tickets are available for each of two ticketed studio performances at Siegel JCC, priced at $25, and $18 for students.
Tickets to both Delaware in Love and “Romeo and Juliet” are available at delshakes.org.
“Romeo and Juliet” and the Delaware Shakespeare Community Tour are made possible by gifts and grants from the Laffey-McHugh Foundation, the Longwood Foundation, Maurice Amado Foundation, New Castle County, Danaher Lynch Family Foundation, Kent County Fund for the Arts, City of Wilmington, Alice D. Reilly, and Laurel A. Riegel. This Community Tour is partially supported by a National Endowment for the Arts Challenge America grant, which provides backing to efforts to extend the reach of arts to underserved populations. Delaware Shakespeare received a second NEA grant through the Shakespeare in American Communities – Juvenile Justice program to offer six acting classes at Delaware youth detention facilities. These classes will start with an acting class focused on “Romeo and Juliet” at The Ferris School, one of the venues for the Community Tour.
For more information, visit delshakes.org.
About the Delaware Shakespeare Community Tour:
Delaware Shakespeare launched its Community Tour in 2016 with Pericles, Prince of Tyre, followed by As You Like It and The Merchant of Venice. The productions travel throughout the state bringing thrilling, professional Shakespeare to audiences who may not have easy access to professional arts experiences. Community Tour productions play in non-theatrical settings such as multipurpose rooms, cafeterias, and gymnasiums. The production values are scaled for those spaces, with live music, minimal sets, and whatever lighting is available. The productions are performed with a cast of eight-to-nine actors and a musician.
About Delaware Shakespeare:
Now in its seventeenth season, Delaware Shakespeare creates year-round professional theatre and educational programs for residents and friends of the State of Delaware. At Del Shakes, people from all walks of life celebrate and explore their shared humanity through the lens of Shakespearean work.