Local residents have been delighted to learn that the Chadds Ford Tavern, closed for several years, will re-open in early November. People have noticed all the activity at the tavern, the repainting, the cleaning and even the new sign -- that is a replica of the original one. The coat of paint outside is the same color it was in 1820.
The new proprietors, Kevin Bradley and Charlie Malizia, want to bring the Tavern back to its glory days when it was the gathering place for many in the art community. They are changing it very little. The heavy tavern type Hunt furniture will be there, although a lounge area with comfortable sofas around the fire has been added. The lighting has been raised up a few notches and the menu has been tweaked while keeping the famous shrimp Lejeune on the menu. Their chef, Christopher Montgomery, was described as a “killer chef” although I wouldn’t take that designation too literally.
Bradley has always wanted to have a tavern type restaurant. He has impeccable credentials, as he was the manager of the outstanding Suzanna Foo Restaurant in Philadelphia until she decided to close it. He is also a wine expert, a sommelier, so he will have some choice wines available, but he will also have some excellent less expensive ones. He admits he was spoiled by his mother, a very elegant lady who always took him and his sister to dine in the best restaurants.
While there will be tavern fare with hearty country food available, fine dining will be offered in the back room. At the bar will be former owner Tom Drane, the opiated Irishman who ran the tavern for so many years. Bradley is hoping to create a tavern that is warm and fun, where people feel like welcome guests. He feels that the tavern feels so right.
There are comedies and then there are farces. Farces tickle your funny bone throughout the play, even when it doesn’t make too much sense. There must be an irrational premise, split second timing, actors who straight-faced go over the top in acting and many doors that will be slammed. The two best farces are “Lend Me a Tenor” by Ken Ludwig and “Noises Off” by Michael Frayne, and both have nonstop split-second door slamming.
“Lend Me a Tenor” has visiting egotistical tenor Tito Morelli (John Plumpis) at the Cleveland Opera Company to star in “Othello.“ Accompanied by his incendiary wife (Tracie Higgins), he is late arriving and is met by the overwhelmed local group of the opera producer Saunders (Tony Braithwaite) his naïve daughter, Maggie (Eileen Cella), and his man-Friday Max (Jonathan Silver), who is gifted musically and athletically. When Morelli disappears at performance time Max volunteers to sing the part as the locals are already so thrilled with the idea of the famous singer, once Max is in costume and make up, they will accept him. And they do.
There is a glitch when the real opera singer shows up in costume and is arrested as a mad man.
Other characters behaving badly include an ambitious operatic soprano Diana (Sarah Litzsinger) and the over impressed bell hop (Howie Brown). The Grande Dame of the Opera Guild (Marcia Hepps) displays all the smooth unpleasantness we have seen in similar positions.
As the two Otellos wear a lot of black makeup, it creates funny moments as it is transferred to the ladies being kissed.
While both Otellos sang briefly and well the audience was not treated to rounds of tenor arias as I have heard in other productions that actually had two operatic tenors in the cast. Having heard the tenor Davenport the week before at OperaDelaware, a young man being compared to a young Pavarotti, there was a mental comparison.
This is a funny show that will make you leave feeling good. It will run through Nov. 3 at the Delaware Theatre Co. For tickets call 302-594-1100.
Halloween will be celebrated in Kennett Square on Sunday, Oct. 27.Start your day with a free concert by the Steve Pullara Beans Show at the Kennett Flash at 1 p.m. At 3 p.m. the Kennett Square Halloween Parade begins at Sovereign Bank on West State Street and will end at the American Legion. Trophies will be awarded for the Funniest Scarecrow, Best Kid, Pet, Adult Performance, Group and Float. The Halloween Haunted House will end the day at the Brick Garage at State and Walnut from 4 to 6 p.m. Don’t miss the scarecrow contest done by the merchants and restaurants in Kennett Square with the scarecrows in front of their businesses plus pictures of them on Historic Kennett Square website. Go to www.historickennettsquare.com/vote-favorite-scarecrow.html to vote.
Assistant Curator Amanda C. Burden will give a series of lectures on American Icons. On Oct. 25, she will speak on The Oxbow by Benjamin West, on Nov. 1 the topic will be “Woman and a Girl Driving, 1881” by Mary Cassatt, and on Nov. 8,“Both Members of the Club” by George Bellows. Single tickets are $12 for members and $15 for adults.
The Young Friends of the Brandywine will hold their annual Halloween party that is always great fun on Saturday, Oct. 26, from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. With a carnival theme there will be games, cocktails, concession food, music and costume contests. Call 610-388-8315 if your invitation didn’t arrive. You must be 21 to attend.
The 50th annual Winterthur Delaware Antiques Show will be held at the Chase Center on the Riverfront in Wilmington, Nov. 8, 9 and 10.Tickets to the show are $15 for non-members and are good for all the days of the show
On Nov. 8 there is a ring-a-ding party that is always very special and requires a separate ticket. For tickets to that call 800-448-3883.The special exhibition this year is “50 Years of Treasures” from the Delaware Antiques Show. The keynote speaker and honorary chair is internationally known interior designer and author Lady Henrietta Spencer-Churchill who will give one of her delightful lectures on Friday, Nov. 8, at 10 a.m. Information and tickets are available at Winterthur Visitor Center or at the Chase Center during the show.
People are urged to come to Doc Magrogan’s Oyster House, 117 East Gay St. in West Chester on Tuesday, Oct. 29, bringing your laptop, iPad or cell phone. People will be there between4 and 9 p.m. to help you vote -– many times -– to preserve Passmore Williamson’s Visitor’s Book that is the pride of the Chester County Historical Society. They need $25,000 to preserve this valuable relic but they also need your votes as voting ends Nov. 1. www.docmagrogans.com/westchester for information.
Although the Farmer’s Market was cancelled the other week because of torrential rain, it will still run until Thanksgiving. It is open on Fridays. The winter schedule begins in December and will run from 2 to 4 p.m. first and third Friday each month through April.
The Delaware Museum of Natural History is host to Haddy, the 30-foot long Hadrosaurus through Feb. 24. Haddy is a plant-eating duck billed dinosaur that was found in Haddonfield, N.J. in 1838. It remained in the finder’s home as a conversation piece for 20 years until he was convinced to give it to scientists. As Haddy is from the Cretaceous period, he was found throughout North America, except for Delaware which was under water at the time.
The Brandywine Conservancy and Guardians of the Brandywine will be planting trees to help keep the Brandywine clean on Saturday, Oct. 6 at 9 a.m. Volunteers are needed, so if you have a little bit of extra energy call Wes Horner at 610-388-8124.
The musical ‘Once,’ winner of eight Tony Awards, will be at the Academy of Music Oct. 29 through Nov. 10. This is the stage version of the Academy Award film. Two musicians, an Irish musician and a Czech immigrant are drawn together for a music collaboration that turns into a romance. For tickets call 215-731-3333
Just in time for Halloween that charming Addams Family will be at the DuPont Theatre Oct. 29 through Nov. 3. This wackily entertaining musical has unexpected pleasure around every turn. For tickets call 302-656-4401.
This is a one-man tour de force by Russ Widdall as Sen. Robert F. Kennedy. Kennedy has been the hit of the Washington Fringe Festival. This play has received rave reviews as it begins in 1964 when President Johnson decided not to ask Senator Kennedy to be his running mate up until RFK’s assassination during the 1968 presidential election. It also includes information about his personal life and his relationships with brother President John F. Kennedy, sister-in-law Jacqueline Kennedy, Rev. Martin Luther King and FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover. The show will run Oct. 31 through Nov. 2 at the Adrienne Theatre Second Stage, 2030 Sansom St., Philadelphia. For tickets call 215-563-7500.
People’s Light and Theatre, 39 Conestoga Road, Malvern, is producing the dramatic story “The Devil’s Music: The Life and Times of Bessie Smith,” through Nov. 24. Miche Braden explores the stories of Smith’s rebellious and tortured life. This legendary “Empress of the Blues” blazed the trail for a century of performers from Aretha Franklin to Adele. Braden sings the classics that are the backbone of the Blues. For tickets call 610-644-3500.
The Media Theatre, 104 East Street, has the well-received musical “Spamalot.” For tickets call 610-891-0100.
After a record box office on their opening show this season, Bristol Riverside Theatre will present “pride and Prejudice” Oct. 29 through Nov. 24 in celebration of the 200th anniversary of Jane Austin’s beloved novel. For information go to www.brtstage.org.
Buddy Valastro will bring his interactive show that appears to be mostly about decorating cakes and lots of funny stories. Called the “Family Celebration Tour,” he will be at the DuPont Theatre on Saturday, Nov. 9 at 3 p.m. and at 7:30 p.m. For tickets call 302-656-4401.
Caryl Huffaker lives in Kennett Township.