Best Bets: Milford’s Rescignos put a twin spin on Christmas

Twin brothers Robbie, left, and Paul Rescigno, of Milford, will perform their show “The Rescignos: Merry Christmas to Paul, and to Paul a Good Night (featuring Robbie)” at the Milton Theatre Sunday at 8 p.m. (Submitted photo/Michelle Kinney)

The holidays will be doubly special at the Milton Theatre Sunday night as twin brothers Robbie and Paul Rescigno present their cabaret-style show “The Rescignos: Merry Christmas to Paul and to Paul A Good Night (featuring Robbie).”

It will be the 10th annual holiday production presented by the Milford natives, who have been living and performing in New York City for over a decade. This will be the third Christmas show they’ve performed in Milton and fourth overall.

The brothers say it’s always fun to come back and perform in Delaware and at the Milton Theatre, in particular.

“I’m blown away by the programming at the Milton Theatre,” Robbie Rescigno said.

“It’s an absolute pleasure to perform there. It’s a special group of people and (executive director) Fred Munzert is amazing.”

Robbie said they are always happy to be able to inject a little bit of Delaware humor in the shows back home.

“It’s a different audience who have different experiences and will laugh at different things than a New York audience might laugh at,” he said.

“One time (in Milton) we mentioned a teacher who had us enter a duck stamp drawing contest and we heard this cheer in the crowd and it turned out the teacher was there.”

Graduates of Milford High School in 2002, they followed their sister Tricia in performing with Milford’s Second Street Players and later at the high school.

Coming from a family of educators, they both considered going on to become teachers — Paul in math and Robbie in history.

But when it came time to decide, both, independent of the other, decided theater was the way to go and they both chose Syracuse University.

“I just decided ‘Let’s see what happens. If it works out, great.’ And Syracuse worked out. I loved it. It was so wonderful,” Paul said.

Once Paul got accepted to the school, Robbie said it made his decision easier.

“There was like a one-day gap when we each found out. Then I think once we both found out we were going, it helped our parents since they only had to make one trip to drop us off,” Robbie joked.

They received Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees in acting from the university with Paul graduating summa cum laude and Robbie finishing magna cum laude.

During their time there, they spent one semester studying at London’s famed Globe Theatre, which is now a reconstruction that sits just 750 feet from the original site that is closely associated with William Shakespeare.

“It was a pretty magical place,” Robbie said. “It’s from out of a different time. It was just a cool experience to be able to perform on that stage.”

After college, they moved to New York City and became pages — Robbie with NBC and Paul with “The Late Show with David Letterman.”

“We would get people who had just done a tour of (NBC headquarters) 30 Rock and would come over to see Letterman and they would stop me and say ‘Didn’t I just see you?’” Paul said.

While they each served a year as a page, Paul stayed on with the Letterman show for eight years as an audience coordinator. He was also a freelance monologue writer, getting some of his jokes on the air.

He would email the writers in the morning and then wait until show time to see if Mr. Letterman told his jokes on the air later that night.

“He’s a legend so I was thrilled and honored to work there and to hear him say some of the words that I wrote was amazing,” Paul said.

The brothers started performing shows together in 2006 at Syracuse. Since then, they have performed to sold-out crowds all over New York City, earning rave reviews and winning both the 2011 Nightlife Award and 2011 Bistro Award.

Robbie jokes that they’ve even gone international, performing at the Haskell Opera House where the stage is in Canada and the audience is in the U.S.

Their television work has included combined appearances on the Netflix comedy “The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” and Bravo’s “Odd Man Out” with Paul also appearing in Amazon’s “Mozart in the Jungle.”

Their holiday shows have been a staple for the last decade, first in New York and now also in Delaware. Working with Mike Hadge, they brainstorm original songs a few months prior to the show and script material around the tunes, throwing in favorite bits from past productions.

They will be bringing to Milton a troupe of players who they have performed with throughout the years. Some have appeared on shows such as “30 Rock” and “Friends from College” as well as theatrical productions.

“That’s the nice thing about living in New York,” Robbie said.

“You get to meet and work with a good pool of talented people who are incredible. We give them every reason to say no but each year they keep saying yes.”

As for the future, they are producing a web series and Paul filmed an episode of an upcoming Comedy Central show.

“We aren’t competitive with each other at all,” Robbie said.

“It’s a ton of fun to work together but speaking for myself, if Paul books a gig by himself, that’s fantastic. We do bring different things to the table. I always say we play with the same deck of cards but we tend to favor different hands.”

Paul feels the same as his brother and is hopeful for the future.

“It’s exciting to be doing what we’re doing. We’re just going to keep plugging away and take advantage of every opportunity we get,” he said.

Tickets for Sunday’s all-ages 8 p.m. show are $20-$25.

They can be purchased online at www.MiltonTheatre.com, via phone by calling 302-684-3038 or at the box office at 110 Union St.

Celebration of Cannon

Annie Jump Cannon, the astronomer who was a Dover resident for over 30 years, will be celebrated with weekend events across the state.

Two programs are at the Old State House on The Green, which will host the Cannon Scholars and Dava Sobel, author of “The Glass Universe,” Friday at 6:30 and the Dover Mayor’s Essay Contest winners and Ms. Sobel at 9:30 a.m. Saturday.

She will be at the Dover Public Library Saturday for a book signing at 1:30 p.m.

All other regional events from Salisbury, Maryland, to Hockessin are free and open to the public.

The fourth event in Dover is the tour of Annie Jump Cannon’s State Street home and her birthday party celebration, hosted by Wesley College President and Mrs. Robert Clark Sunday at 2 p.m.

This is a ticketed event due to space limitations and will be a celebration of Annie in the surroundings of her home.

For more information, visit www.parkegreengalleries.com/annie-jump-cannon.

Holiday Stroll in Milford

Downtown Milford Inc. will hold the 13th annual Holiday Stroll Friday from 5 to 8 p.m.

There will be costumed strolling holiday carolers, live holiday music, the Delmarva Miniature Horse Club, alpacas, carriage rides provided by Indian Branch Drafts, decorated business windows, and a visit to Santa’s House.

Stroll the decorated three-block downtown district with holiday-trimmed store windows. Visit the shops, restaurants, bakery, and art galleries for complimentary seasonal treats, store sales, children’s activities, live holiday music, and more.

Traditional entertainment is one of the highlights of the Holiday Stroll; everything from barbershop quartets, bands, young carolers, faculty/student performances at the Music School of Delaware and dance performances by the First State Dance Academy.

The event is free.

Christmas at Belmont Hall

Christmas at Belmont Hall will be celebrated Sunday from 1 to 4 p.m. to mark the 250th anniversary of the town of Smyrna with decorations from the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries, holiday music, refreshments and more.

Children can visit Mr. and Mrs. Claus and have a photo taken, listen to readings of “The Night Before Christmas,” and make a period tree ornament. Tom Welch will engage visitors as Allen McLane, Delaware Revolutionary War figure.

Belmont Hall is located at 217 Smyrna Leipsic Road. Smyrna. Admission is $3 for adults, $1 for K-12th grades. Members are free.

For more information, visit www.belmonthall.org or call 302-264-9048.

‘Mary Poppins Holiday’

The Centre Ice Rink at Delaware State Fair in Harrington will bring familiar characters to life on ice as Bay Country Figure Skating Club presents its holiday show, “A Very Mary Poppins Holiday,” at 6 p.m. today and 3 and 7 p.m. Saturday.

The Bay Country Figure Skating Club will present “A Very Mary Poppins Holiday” today and Saturday at the Centre Ice Rink at the Delaware State Fair in Harrington. (Submitted photo)

Directed by the Centre’s skating director Jerry Santoferrara and coach Tom Harrison, the show features an original story and is choreographed to a variety of familiar music. Local skaters of all ages and levels including Bay County Figure Skating Club members as well as students and coaches from the rink’s skating programs will perform.

Tickets cost $10 for adults and $8 for children ages 2-12, with free admission for children under age 2. For more information, visit www.delawarestatefairgrounds.com and click the Centre Ice Rink icon, or call 302-398-5900. Tickets also will be available for purchase at the rink.

Now Showing

Now new movies hit theaters this weekend.

On DVD and download starting Tuesday is Denzel Washington in “The Equalizer 2,” Jennifer Garner in the action thriller “Peppermint” and the animated “Smallfoot.”

To share news of your entertainment group, venue or event, contact Craig Horleman at 741-8224 or chorl@newszap.com.

Reach features editor Craig Horleman at chorl@newszap.com

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