Beginning Aug. 8, the Candlelight Dinner Theatre in Arden, Del., will present the play "Phantom of the Opera" by Maury Yeston. Yes, that's right; the composer is Maury Yeston, not Alfred Lloyd Webber. Both "Phantoms" are based on the original book by Arthur Kopit, but the Yeston Phantom is a gentler, kinder show than the Webber version. Before you begin to think it is second rate, the show, which has played only in regional theatres, has grossed over $71 million. It has been produced across the country to great acclaim, but it has never gone to Broadway.Yeston, who has written the music for the Broadway shows "Nine," "Titanic" and "Grand Hotel," winning Tonys, Drama Desk Awards and the Lawrence Olivier Award, as well as writing numerous other music. He had finished writing "Phantom" and gotten $3 million to put it on Broadway when the unbelievable happened. Alfred Lloyd Webber announced the Broadway production of his "Phantom."
The show at the Candlelight is from Aug. 8 through Oct. 5. Tickets for the show and an outstanding buffet are $49 - one of the best deals in town - and tickets for the show only are $25, available on show day only. For tickets call 302-475-2313.
The sensational masterpiece "Carmina Burana" by Carl Orff will be the centerpiece of the Aug. 16 concert at Longwood Gardens by the Kennett Symphony of Chester County. These poems of wandering students and monks in the Middle Ages caused a sensation when they were first introduced in 1937.
Tickets ($33 and $10 for students) include daylong admission to Longwood, a fountain display and free parking. Pre-concert dinner packages are available for The Terrace Restaurant at Longwood and the Simon Pearce Restaurant on the Brandywine. Call the Symphony at 610-444-6363 for details and concert tickets.
That energetic trio known as Old Springs Pike will bring their unique style to the Anson B. Nixon Park on Wednesday, Aug. 6, at 7 p.m. for a free concert. This outdoor bit of fun is currently touring the East Coast. Bring chairs and a picnic, or buy dinner from Newton's on State with ice cream from Michoacana Ice cream.
Upcoming concerts at Myrick Conservation Center include the outstanding Bryn Mawr Mainliners Barbershop Chorus on Aug. 7 and the group called Good News. This Christian country and bluegrass group is both uplifting and fun. The 7:30 p.m. concerts are free. Bring a blanket or a chair.
Monty Python's "Spamalot," the 2005 Tony Award for Best Musical will be part of the Kimmel Center's Cadillac Broadway Series. This outrageous musical comedy is about King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table as they search for the Holy Grail. It has everything from flying cows, killer rabbits to show stopping musical numbers. For tickets call 215-893-1999.
The Riverfront Blues Festival in Wilmington in the park next to the Amtrak station will be Aug. 8, 9 and 10. On Friday the gates open at 4:30 p.m. with shows until 10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday the gates open at 11 a.m. with shows from noon to 10 p.m. on Saturday and until 6 p.m. on Sunday.
Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 day of on Friday, $29 in advance and $25 day of on Saturday and Sunday, A three-day ticket is $50, with children 12 and under free. Send checks to Cityfest Inc. Riverfront Blues Festival, c/o Tina Betz, 800 N. French St. Wilmington, DE 19801. There is free parking across the tracks at the Wilmington Parking Authority. No glass containers or alcoholic beverages may be brought in.
Don't forget the Friday, Aug. 1 Art Stroll in Kennett that begins at 6 pm. This week's stroll will have a murder mystery by KATS (Kennett Amateur Theatrical Society) near the Genesis walkway. In addition, the Friends Home will present its second annual photography show with prints from the residents and staff.
Sunday, Aug. 10, from noon to 3:30 p.m. is the free Pirate Fun Day at the Delaware Art Museum. Dress the children like pirates and come join in the pirate inspired art activities and a treasure hunt through the galleries.
Bike and hike
Every Wednesday night from 5 to 8 p.m. Hagley Museum grounds are open for hiking, biking and picnics for $2 a person. Enter at the main entrance off Route 141.
All during August, Saturday admission to Hagley Museum is only $1. The hours are from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
There is always a group of exhibits at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Some that are currently at the museum would fill a day of art appreciation.
Ansel Adams - photographs showing elements of abstraction through Aug. 17. European Popular Print of the 1800s - through August 24.
Father of Indian Art - (Nandalal Bose) through Sept. 1
Jewelry by Alexander Calder-through Nov. 2
Photographic Art of Gilbert & George - through Nov. 2
Modern Art of India - through Dec. 7
A secret guide to Cabinetmakers' prices in 1772 in Philadelphia is the only remaining copy of the world's first published furniture price guide alongside 23 pieces of Colonial furniture it lists. Enlargements of specific pages are helpful, as the actual pocket sized book is only 3-and-three-quarters by 6-and-an-eighth inches. The book also tells the craftsmen's early use of price fixing to steady the market.
Thomas Eakins' "The Gross Clinic" and Saint-Gauden's "Angel of Purity" were purchased as they were considered important icons that should be kept for Philadelphia.
If you can see all these in one visit, congratulations.
The movies at Theatre N in Wilmington will be
"Refusnik"-Documentary of the 30 year movement to free Soviet Jews. Aug. 1 at 2 p.m., Aug. 2 at 5 and 8 p.m. and Aug. 3 at 5 p.m.
"Savage Grace"-A glimpse into the lives of the rich and dysfunctional heirs of the Bakelite plastics fortune. Aug. 1 at 8 p.m., Aug. 2 at 5 and 8 p.m. and Aug. 3 at 2 p.m.
The Delaware Children's Theatre directed by Marie Swajeski will hold Imagination Celebration Drama Camp Monday, Aug. 11 through 15 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily. This is for children ages 9 to 14, but call about camp for other ages. The camp will be held at the Wilmington Christian School, 825 Loveville Road, Hockessin, Del. Call 302-655-1014 for details.
The concert film "Eric Clapton Crossroads Guitar Festival 2007" will run on Aug. 7 and 14 at 6 p.m. As the film runs for four hours if people cannot stay for the entire film on the Aug. 7, Theatre N will give them a ticket so they can return on the Aug. 14. The concert has almost every guitar great around.
After the Philadelphia Orchestra for the first time in 60 years performed at Longwood Gardens two weeks after the Kennett Symphony played, the rumors began. A columnist at The Philadelphia Inquirer ran a column saying that the Philadelphia Orchestra and Longwood Gardens were "holding talks" that they might be considering Longwood Gardens as the Philadelphia Orchestra's summer venue as the Boston Symphony does at Tanglewood in the Berkshires. While it is certainly true that Longwood and the Philadelphia Orchestra will talk, there are no ongoing talks about a descent on Longwood. Each organization has its own busy schedule.
If you are unfamiliar with Tanglewood, it is the great summer music center and summer home for the Boston Symphony with knockout lawns and gardens, a recital hall so perfect people come from around the world to record there, unending students and concerts, room for 20,000 to attend a concert on the lawn with the parking space to accommodate them, and a large performance "shed" with seating for 3,000.
It certainly would be possible to turn Longwood into this, but they do have their own agenda. The question that arose was whether or not the Philadelphia Orchestra would push the Kennett Orchestra out of Longwood.
In conversations with Amy Shearer and Trish Evans of the PR department of Longwood, they assured me that this was not true. Longwood is quite cognizant of the groups that have been performing at Longwood for many years, such as The Savoy Co., the Brandywiners, and the Kennett Symphony. When the Performing Arts Department is scheduling the next year's programs, and they do use a lot of entertainers, the longtime performers are scheduled in, and then like working a jig saw puzzle the others are fitted in, depending on their schedules and Longwood's.
The question of Director Paul Redman being in talks about an ongoing summer partnership, was a thought by the columnist. Yes, the Philadelphia Orchestra will probably perform at Longwood again, but not only at Longwood. The newspaper article was a little confusing. Redman said, "It would be premature at best to be discussing a long term partnership. But who knows what the future may bring? We want to extend our audience but also be a good community partner."
His PR staff mentioned that in his two years here Redman has encouraged his staff to become active in community groups, which may be one reason so many of them are available to be helpful on committees and boards. Redman himself has reached out to local businesses and organizations, even being seen at the entrance greeting visitors.
This is not to say that the Philadelphia Orchestra will not perform again at Longwood. Their performance was such a triumph, they probably will, if scheduling permits. However as of this time there are no on going plans for it to be their summer home. o Caryl E. Huffaker lives in Kennett Township.