Best Bets: Virus concerns spur more changes to Delaware entertainment calendar

Vocalist Brian Shouldis, right, and guitarist Joey Fulkerson with the band Hyde Park, perform a reunion show on the main stage during June Jam in Houston in 2018. June Jam officials say this year’s event is still on for June 13 but it will most likely have to be moved to mid-August due to concerns over the coronavirus. (Delaware State News file photo/Marc Clery)

This week saw the cancellation of the season at the Hollywood Bowl for the first time in its 98-year history. Also, Broadway announced it would extend its shutdown until Labor Day.

Both, of course, are due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, which has upset every facet of daily life for the past two months.

So too, here at home, plans for activities during the summer and beyond have been curtailed and/or postponed.

Delaware Gov. John C. Carney Jr. recently extended the stay-at-home order until May 31 and has called for partial reopening of the state to start June 1 provided that certain benchmarks in mitigating the virus have been met.

Here’s the latest on what we know is still on, canceled or moved to another date.

Music events

•As previously reported, the biggest musical event of the year, the Firefly Music Festival at the Woodlands of Dover has been canceled for 2020. Originally set for June 18-21, the festival was to feature Rage Against the Machine, Billie Eilish and Halsey, among others.

•Smyrna at Night, the free townwide music and beer festival originally set for June 13, has been rescheduled for Sept. 5.

Artists named so far include New Orleans’ Big Sam’s Funky Nation, The Ladybugs of Soul and local favorites Mike Hines and The Look.

•Gable Music Ventures, the producers of the event, also present the female-fronted Ladybug Music Festival in Milford set for Sept. 13. That event is still on, as is the bigger Ladybug festival in Wilmington slated for July 16 and 17.

•Gable’s Fortify Music Fest at Fort DuPont has been canceled.

•June Jam officials announced this week that although their current June 13 date has not been officially ruled out, it’s looking more likely that the charity music event, held annually at the G&R Campground in Houston, will be moved to mid-August.

“We haven’t canceled our June date as of yet,” said June Jam President Bob Hartley on Thursday.

“Our game plan is not to cancel the date until we have another date to move to. Is there much chance that we will have June Jam in June? I don’t think there’s much chance. We would like to move to mid-August but we just don’t know yet if that’s going to be enough time for things to subside.”

Mr. Hartley said the campground will be amenable to any new date and the artists have an open schedule so the only question is the safety of the event.

“Can we keep it safe for the people who attend, our staff members and the bands? Fortunately we have access to have a lot of medical information so we are going to take the best information we can get. But the chance of having a June Jam in June is slim,” he said.

This would be the 42nd year for the event, which has never been canceled.

Artists on the bill include Tom Petty tribute band Damn the Torpedoes, Jason Morton and the Chesapeake Sons, Petting Hendri, Nothin But Trouble, a reunion of the band Hotwire, Tenfold Trouble and Scrapple.

“Basically we’re on one lilypad waiting to see about jumping to the next lilypad,” Mr. Hartley said.

Country superstar Dierks Bentley’s show at the Delaware State Fair has been canceled. This year’s state fair is still on with social distancing guidelines to come.

•At the Smyrna Opera House, the May 29 show by local blues band Bad Juju has been canceled as has the May 30 Smyrna Singers spring concert.

The June 6 concert by The WannaBeatles has been rescheduled for Nov. 14 at 7 p.m. Tickets purchased for the June 6 show will be honored for the new date.

• At the Freeman Stage in Selbyville, the season, originally slated to begin Memorial Day weekend, has been pushed back to late June, with the organization working to reschedule several performances. No performances have been announced as yet.

•The Delaware State Fair announced recently that their concert lineup has been canceled this year. The slate of shows was supposed to include Hank Williams Jr., comedian Jim Gaffigan, country performers Chris Janson and Dierks Bentley and Latin performer Becky G.

The fair, set for July 23-Aug. 1 itself is still on as of now. Officials say social distancing guidelines will make the event look a bit different this year but no details have been announced.

Additionally, the Roots and Boots show with Sammy Kershaw, Collin Raye and Aaron Tippin, set for June 13 at the fairgrounds’ Quillen Arena, also has been canceled.

•At the Bottle & Cork in Dewey Beach, its concert schedule is starting June 5 barring any further developments.

The band Hot in Herre will play June 5 with national acts King Calaway, Old Crow Medicine Show, Dashboard Confessional, Citizen Cope, Justin Moore and Gone West with Colbie Caillat scheduled throughout the summer.

Theaters affected

•Last week, the board of directors of Second Street Players (SSP) announced the cancellation of the remainder of its 2020 season of shows, including Main Stage and Children’s Theater productions and Movies at Riverfront Theater.

SSP will move three of the Main Stage shows planned for 2020 to its 2021 season, including “Caught in the Net,” “Oliver!” and “It’s a Wonderful Life.” 2021 will also include two additional shows to be named later.

Two of the 2020 SSP Children’s Theater shows will be moved to 2021: “Bedtime Stories (As Told By Our Dad Who Messed Them Up)” and “The Big Bad Musical.” The Children’s Theater will also stage a third show to be announced later.

SSP board members say season ticket holders for 2020 Main Stage shows will have a range of options. They may consider their 2020 purchase a donation to SSP and purchase new 2021 season tickets when available; they may transfer their 2020 season tickets to the 2021 season at no additional cost; or, they may request a refund for the four shows canceled in 2020. All season ticket holders will be reached by mail with information on how to select their preference.

•The Kent County Theatre Guild’s Board of Trustees announced this week that its season has also been canceled in Dover.

“Cliffhanger,” “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum,” “Laughter on the 23rd Floor” and “The Red Velvet Cake War” will be moved to the 2021 season, with an additional show added for December 2021.

All season tickets for the 2020 season will be good for the entire 2021 season, with no action being necessary on the part of the ticketholder.

During the remainder of 2020, the Kent County Theatre Guild will be making improvements to the Patchwork Playhouse. They’re also working on behind-the-scenes videos of the theater, a new website, digital improv, and a Reader’s Theater.

•Down in Georgetown, the Possum Point Players’ production of Noel Coward’s comedy “Hay Fever,” previously scheduled for the last two weekends of June, has been postponed and will become part of the 2021 season.

The fund-raising event “All the Fixins” has been postponed to a later date to be determined.

The Possum Juniors summer production of “Back to the 80s” has been canceled as has the Summer Theatre Academy and Summer Arts Camp. Officials say they will investigate the possibility of Saturday morning camps for this fall and winter.

The fall production of the Mel Brooks musical comedy “The Producers” has been postponed and will become part of the 2021 season.

A production of the musical “Godspell” has been rescheduled for Sept. 11-13, 18-20. The Friday performances will be at 6:30 p.m. and the Saturday and Sunday performances will be at 2 p.m. They are planning for this to be an outdoor production, unless the COVID-19 situation allows it to be inside the theatre.

The holiday production of “Elf” will remains as scheduled for Dec. 3-13.

The Possums are now accepting applications for directors of three shows in the 2021 season of mainstage productions.

Directors are needed for the following shows:

A January production of the courtroom drama “12 Angry Jurors;” a renowned adaptation of the classic Reginald Rose play.

A fall mystery, “A Murder Is Announced,” by the inimitable mystery writer Agatha Christie.

A late fall holiday musical, “Holiday Inn,” adapted to the stage and based on the beloved film by the same name, and featuring the musical score of Irving Berlin.

Applications are due by May 31 and can be emailed to donnadek@comcast.net.

•The Rehoboth Summer Children’s Theatre has had to cancel all public performances for the 2020 season. Theatre and film camps will be conducted online instead.

While the shows won’t be“ live and on stage, RSCT will be active throughout the summer. The staff of instructors has created virtual camps in theatre and film for ages 5-14. The company will also be working with area libraries, providing streaming content to replace the live performances that were originally scheduled. For the public at large, videos of previous performances will rotate on the RSCT website throughout the summer.

Information on the film and theatre camps, as well as special programming can be found at www.rehobothchildrenstheater.org.

July 4 events

•It was announced late Thursday that the Smyrna/Clayton July 4th Foundation has voted not to have the Fourth of July parade, the activities at the park, or the fireworks display this year.

While July 4 events have also been canceled in places such as Dover, Rehoboth and Bethany Beach, organizers in Millsboro have fingers crossed that COVID-19 public gathering restrictions will be lifted in time to stage an Independence Day tradition in that Sussex town.

Beijing, the faithful canine rescue companion of Millsboro resident Judy Taylor, sports patriotic colors for the 2019 Fourth of July Children’s Parade and Program at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Millsboro.

Armed with Millsboro council’s unanimous blessing, plans are proceeding for the 14th Annual July 4 Celebration/Children’s Parade on the grounds of St. Mark’s Episcopal Church.

“We’ve been doing this for many years, but we are in unusual times now,” said event organizing spokeswoman Gale White during council’s May teleconference session. “We’re still planning at this point to have the event. Hopefully, July 4 will be a time when we will be able to get together. But again, it is totally an unknown thing.”

Ms. White said organizers would probably need to “have some call on it one way or the other by mid-June.”

If held, the event and festivities will begin at 10:30 a.m.

Children’s bikes, strollers and wagons are typically dressed for the occasion in red, white and blue for the parade around the St. Mark’s labyrinth just off State Street. The event also spotlights the history of Independence Day, and more specifically Delaware’s ties to America’s quest for independence.

Town Councilman Larry Gum was among the seven council members who cast approval to hold the event.

“A lot of us have attended these and it is a nice little town-friendly children’s parade and a great little event. I have no objections,” said Mr. Gum.

Other events

Two events presented by the Delaware State News are still on.

Two T-Rex creatures walk along with the crowd during Comic Con 2019 in Dover.

•The family-friendly Dover Comic Con 2020 is set to return to downtown on Saturday, Aug. 15. The day will be filled with vendors, artists, panels, cosplay, food trucks, attractions and so much geeky fun. Visit www.DelmarvaEvents.net for more information.

Dover Comic Con is presented by the Delaware State News in partnership with the Dover Public Library and the city of Dover.

• The W3 What Women Want Fest is still planned for Saturday, July 25 at Wild Quail Golf & Country Club in Wyoming.

The day will include shopping, giveaways, a fashion show by Talbots, demonstrations, door prizes, light refreshments, a signature cocktail and more.

W3 What Women Want Fest is sponsored by Merrill Lynch & Co.

Tickets are available at www.DelmarvaEvents.net.

Now showing

New this week on DVD and download is a remake of “The Invisible Man.”

Staff writer Glenn Rolfe contributed to this story.


Helpful Coronavirus links

Delaware Division of Health Coronavirus Page
CDC: About the Coronavirus Disease 2019
CDC: What to do if You Are Sick
Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center
AP News Coronavirus Coverage
Reopening Delaware: Resources for Businesses
Delaware Phase 2 guidance

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