The first major retrospective of the art of Jamie Wyeth will open at the Brandywine River Museum of Art on Jan. 17 and run through April 5. The show will feature more than 100 works and examines six decades of his work which pretty much covers his entire life as he was born in 1946. By beginning with his earliest drawings the evolution of his creative process may be studied.

The show that will have a national tour gives a good overview of his works, starting with his childhood drawings, his portraits and images from his participation in NASA’s “Eyewitness to Space” program. His paintings depict landscapes of both the Brandywine valley and coastal Maine, family members and fellow artists and animals, both wild and domesticated,

As if a retrospective show of his work at the Brandywine River Museum of Art was not enough, Jamie has another show, “Jamie Wyeth: Paintings from Six Decades” Jan. 16 to March 7 at Greenville’s Somerset Manning Gallery at 101 Stone Block Road. Some of the paintings on display have never been shown.

DisplayLongwood Gardens never looked better than it did this Christmas. Their theme of birds was inspired and carried out brilliantly. However the last day you may visit is Jan. 11, and then the Conservancy will be closed for two days on the 12th and 13th, although the outdoor gardens will be open those two days.

KATSKATS (Kennett Amateur Theatrical Society) will present its annual panto in the British style on Friday, Jan. 23, at 7:30 p.m., and Saturday, Jan. 24, at 2 and 7:30 p.m., at Kennett High School. This year this mad cap comedy will have two dames, not one, in a play called “Comedy of Errors and Pirates.” Now I bet you have never seen anything like that! Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children age 12 and under. Tickets are available from Katskennett@gmail.com or at the door. This is always great fun.

Spit kitOne of the most interesting Christmas presents I received this year was a DNA kit from my daughter-in-law, who is quite a good amateur genealogist. I have heard of these kits that with a swipe of a swab on your cheek can tell you your DNA history for the past five generations, and have secretly wanted to try one of these. I am certain that what she was giving everyone will work, but there was no swab. Instead each of us had to spit a considerable amount into a narrow test tube. When one is trying to spit into a narrow test tube, the spit does not always go exactly where expected. One image that I don’t think I will be able to get out of my mind is the family sitting in the den all trying to spit into test tubes.

The samples were sent off to be tested, with results expected in several weeks. I am very excited about this family activity and anxious to hear the results, secretly hoping for some exciting ancestor like Genghis Khan. If so, I shall most certainly share the exciting news. However, if it is someone even worse, you are not going to hear it from me.

New playsNow that the holidays are over all the theatres are opening with new plays. Here are some of the most exciting bits of theater that are now active.

‘Young Frankenstein’ >> Mel Brooks wowed film goers with his funny retelling of the Gothic tale about Frankenstein. Then he turned it into an award winning Broadway play. This hilarious wacky comedy will be at the Candlelight Theatre in Arden, Delaware from Jan. 17 through Feb. 22. For tickets to the dinner theatre call 302-475-2313. The season at the theatre will be “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying,” “Steel Magnolias,” ”Nonsense,” ”Sweeney Todd” and “Mame.” To subscribe to this block buster line up call the box office number above.

‘Always…Patsy Cline’ >> This musical tribute to country singer Patsy Cline will be at the Bristol Riverside Theatre Jan. 27 to Feb. 22. Based on a true story, this tells of the unusual friendship between Patsy and an avid fan who became a dear friend. Patsy was killed at an early age in an airplane crash, leaving a tremendous body of music and influence for a musician who had performed such a short time. Featured in the show are her blockbuster songs including “Anytime,” “Walkin’ After Midnight,” “Sweet Dreams” and “Crazy.” Special events include Friday Festival with complimentary wine, hors d’oeuvres and dessert after the show on Friday, Jan. 30, Wine Down Wednesday on Feb. 4 at 6:30 p.m., Thirsty Thursday on Feb. 12, from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m., and Theatre Theology on Feb. 15. For tickets call 215-785-0100.

SymphonyThe Kennett Symphony of Chester County will hold a Junior Instrumental Competition for grades four through six and grades seven and eight on Feb. 7 in the auditorium at Kendal at Longwood. All instruments usually found in an orchestra or band are involved. Each student will perform one intermediate or higher composition lasting no longer than five minutes. Memorization is encouraged but not required. Prizes in each group are $100, $50 and $25.

As this is intended as a serious music introduction to the competitive experience, all participants will receive feedback from the judges. Additional information and applications may be obtained at www.kennettsymphony.org or from the Symphony office at 610-444-6363.

ConcertThe University of Delaware will hold its winter concert of “Great Musical Families” with a performance on Saturday, Jan. 10, and Sunday, Jan. 11, both at 3 p.m., at the Gore Recital Hall. Two of America’s finest vocalists are married to one another. Performing will be soprano Caitlin Lynch and baritone Jonathan Lasch. They will perform opera arias, art songs and some Broadway tunes. Tickets are $25 for adults, $10 for students plus a $3 processing fee. For tickets you are supposed to buy by mail from Rep Box Office, Roselle Center for the Arts, University of Delaware, Newark, DE. 19716. Time is short so I think I would email at udel.edu/mpcs and hope someone is paying attention.

AdventureIt may seem a little early to think about a show on Sunday, April 26, but for those lovers of Chuggington, the new show “Chuggington: The New Musical,” will be at the DuPont Theatre. The 80-minute show, including intermission, has Wilson and his friends Brewster and Koko take on exciting adventures while on the rails. Tickets are $22-$45. Those who buy $45 tickets get a gift bag of Chugginton merchandise. For tickets call 302-656-4401.

‘Verge’This wacky comedy, “On the Verge” by Eric Overmeyer, award winning writer of shows “St. Elsewhere,” “The Wire,” “Homicide” and “Life on the Street” will be at the Hedgerow Theatre, 64 Rose Valley Road, near Media Jan. 8 through Feb. 8, Thursdays through Sundays. This clever play has three Victorian “lady-explorers who meet a cannibal with a German accent, a Yeti and a troll who recites Beat poetry. This off-beat nonsense is created by a star studded cast of professional actors. For tickets call 610-565-4211.

‘Private Lives’This play by Noel Coward, “Private Lives,” is considered his greatest comedy and will be celebrating its 85th anniversary when it is performed at the Walnut Street Theatre, 825 Walnut St., Philadelphia, Jan. 13 through March 1. Rich and reckless Elyot and Amanda have been divorced from each other for five years but are currently on their honeymoons with new partners. Not only are they at the same French resort, by chance they share a balcony. Naturally they meet and their dormant romantic feelings for one another are rekindled. For tickets call 215-574-3550.

‘Doubt’The Pulitzer and Tony award winning play “Doubt: A Parable” will be given at the Lantern Theatre at St. Stephen’s Theatre at 10th and Ludlow streets in Philadelphia. This timely American drama keeps the audience members in suspense, keeping you on the edge of your seat. The play runs Jan. 15 through Feb. 15. For tickets call 215-829-0395.

‘Voices’“Voices of a People’s History of the United States” from Martin Luther King Jr. to Susan B. Anthony to Bob Dylan, the diverse speeches, letters, poems and songs of ordinary people who built the movements that changed the united States will be at the Plays and Players, Jan. 29 through 31. The box office at the theatre at 1714 Delancey St. in Philadelphia can be contacted at 215-735-0630.

TheaterThe Walnut Street Theatre, 825 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, will present the two man show “A Life in the Theater,” Jan. 13 through Feb. 1 in its Independence Studio on 3. This comedy gives glimpses of backstage tensions when two leading men have to share both a dressing room and the spotlight. This is a play for all theater lovers. For tickets call 215-574-3550.

‘American’“The Body of an American” inspired by the Pulitzer Prize winning photograph of an American soldier being dragged through the streets of Mogadishu, will be at the Wilma Theatre, 265 S. Broad St., Philadelphia Jan. 7 through Feb. 1. For tickets call 215-546-7824.

‘Motown’“Motown The Musical” will be at the Academy of Music, Broad and Locust streets, on the first National Tour with original Broadway cast member Julius Thomas III Jan. 6 through 18. This is the true story of Motown founder Berry Gordon’s move from featherweight boxer to the music mogul who launched the careers of Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder and Smokey Robinson, and changed the sound of American music. For tickets call 215-790-5883.

Caryl Huffaker lives in Kennett Township.

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