Best Bets: Sherlock Holmes, Watson solve crime in Dover

Historical interpreters Gavin Malone, left, as Dr. Watson, and Chris Hall, as Sherlock Holmes, will appear in the play “The Scorched Pamphlet: Sherlock Holmes Returns to Delaware” at The Old State House in Dover Saturday.

While much of Dover Comic Con looks to the future, the Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs will offer guests a trip to the past.

On Saturday at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., The Old State House, located at 25 The Green in Dover will present “The Scorched Pamphlet: Sherlock Holmes Returns to Delaware,” a theatrical performance in which the celebrated British detective, on his second trip to the First State, is called upon to solve a grisly case at Delaware College.

“The Scorched Pamphlet” was created by historic-site interpreters from The Old State House, Gavin Malone and Chris Hall.

The play is based on an actual 1858 New Castle court case.

“It’s about a murder that happened at Delaware College, which is what the University of Delaware used to be. There was a brawl in a dorm room over a fake (pamphlet) that other students made up regarding a speech that another student was going to make,” Mr. Hall said.

“That student got stabbed to death.”

No need for a spoiler alert. The murder was never solved.

“We went through resources and records of the trial investigation to make up the ending and we’ll present that on Saturday,” said Mr. Hall who portrays Sherlock Holmes to Mr. Malone’s Dr. Watson.

Mr. Hall said a co-worker brought the story to his attention several years ago and he never forgot about it.

The presentation is a followup to last year’s Sherlock Holmes Comic Con adventure called “The Empty Glass,” which was based on a Dover murder that was actually tried at the Old State House and did come to a conclusion about who dunnit.

“On that one, we had to stick to the ending. We’re bound by historical records. There wasn’t much wiggle room,” Mr. Hall said.

The two have been performing these mashups since the second year of Comic Con five years ago.

“They approached us in the second year about getting involved and we were kidding around that we were going to do Dr. Who meets Caesar Rodney,” Mr. Hall recalled.

“Well, word spread around and we learned not to tell jokes like that. So we had to do it that year.”

A few more years of Dr. Who productions followed before they switched to Sherlock Holmes.

“It’s easier to make that character fit into the history that we are trying to present,” Mr. Hall said.

“Plus many of these stories use a court building, which is what we have right here.”

Mr. Hall, who has been working as a site interpreter for the Old State House and the Johnson Victrola Museum, for the last eight years, said he and Mr. Malone are both Holmes’ aficionados.

“I’ve always been fascinated by the Robert Downey Jr. movie. I think I’ve watched it more times that any human being should be allowed. I also watched the BBC version, which updated him to modern times,” Mr. Hall said.

“Gavin is a Sherlock Holmes nut who can run off any of the stories just by heart.”

Mr. Hall said it’s fun to bring history alive for folks in such a manner as they will be doing on Saturday.

“It’s a way of bridging the gap between pop culture and history and a vehicle to deliver history in a way that most people don’t even realize they are learning,” he said.

Admission to the play is free but visitors are encouraged to arrive early to ensure seating. For additional information, call 744-5054.

‘Captain Marvel’ showing

To get ready for Comic Con, the Smyrna Opera House will hold a free showing of “Captain Marvel,” in partnership with the town of Smyrna, tonight at 6. Doors open at 5:15.

Concessions will be for sale and you are invited to dress up like your favorite superhero.

The Smyrna Opera House is at 7 W. South St.

Chaka Khan at Dover Downs

Word came Thursday that singer-songwriter Chaka Khan will perform at Dover Downs Hotel & Casino’s Rollins Center on Friday, Nov. 15 at 9 p.m.

Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased by visiting doverdowns.com. Prices range from $50-$115.

During her career, Ms. Khan has 10 number one songs on the Billboard charts, seven RIAA-certified gold singles and 10 RIA-certified gold and platinum albums.

Singer Chaka Khan will perform at Dover Downs’ Rollins Center on Nov. 15. Tickets are on sale now.

Her career has spanned nearly five decades, beginning in the 1970s as the lead vocalist of the funk band Rufus.

Known as the Queen of Funk, Ms. Khan was the first R&B artist to have a crossover hit featuring a rapper (Melle Mel), with “I Feel for You” in 1984. She has won 10 Grammys and has sold an estimated 70 million records worldwide.

Her latest single “Like Sugar” has earned high marks from tastemakers; the track is from her “Hello Happiness” album, released in February.

Johnny Cash tribute

Also at the Smyrna Opera House this weekend, there are limited tickets left for “Revisiting the Legend of Johnny Cash” featuring Joe Staffieri as Johnny Cash and Debbie Feeser as June Carter Cash will play the Smyrna Opera House Saturday at 7:30 p.m.

Mr. Staffieri is an accomplished accordionist and pianist. He began studying with world-renowned accordionist Daniel Desiderio at the age of 9, and has been entertaining ever since. While studying voice at the age of 20, he discovered an uncanny ability for impersonating Johnny Cash in vocal style and mannerisms and has been performing as a Johnny Cash tribute artist ever since. He is in his 47th year of entertaining.

Ms. Feeser has spanned years encompassing different genres performing standards, pop, oldies, show tunes, jazz, Latin, country and more.

Tickets are $20 general admission, $16 for SOH members, senior citizens (65-plus) and military and $10 for children 12 and under.

They can be purchased by calling or stopping by the box office at 7 W. South St. or visiting SmyrnaOperaHouse.org.

Folk Heroes contest

Delaware Friends of Folk will present the second and final preliminary event in their 13th annual Delmarva Folk Heroes contest in conjunction with the Saturday coffee house.

The event begins at 7:30 p.m. in the Bennett Chapel at Wesley College in Dover. Sign-up will start at 7 p.m. and each performer will get 15 to 20 minutes on the Friends of Folk stage.

Ballots will be distributed for the audience to vote for their favorite performer and three finalists from each evening will be selected by those present. The finalists will each get a performance slot on Friday night, Sept. 27, at the Delmarva Folk Festival. Again that evening, the audience will vote for their favorite, and the winner will be named the 12th Delmarva Folk Hero.

Prizes include $100 cash, the opening performance spot the next day for the Delmarva Folk Festival, an invitation to appear live with Mark Rogers on WSTW’s “Hometown Heroes” show and more.

Performers should present a genre similar to the ones typically presented by Delaware Friends of Folk – folk (traditional, new, or “singer songwriter”), bluegrass, blues, Americana, Celtic, jazz, New Age, World, old-time, roots, and story-telling, preferably using acoustic instruments. To simplify changeovers, acts should be no more than five performers, with a strong preference toward fewer members in any act. No drum kits and no previously recorded accompaniment please.

Admission is $5 for members of Delaware Friends of Folk and $7 for nonmembers. Performers and those 12 and under are admitted free.

Middletown Peach Festival

Finally, the Middletown Peach Festival will be held Saturday beginning at 8:45 a.m. with the annual Peach Parade on Broad Street and will conclude at 4 p.m.

Many activities are centered around Main Street, which will be closed to traffic along with a portion of adjoining North Cass Street.

Entertainment is scheduled throughout the day around town. There are activities for children, a local artist exhibit, historical exhibits, a peach pie contest, crafts, music, food, games, and of course peaches.

The Peach Festival is a rain-or-shine event. Last year’s attendance was about 27,000 people.

There are shuttle buses for the handicapped and seniors. Buses will circulate to the locations frequently and will be available from 8 a.m. through the close of the festival at 4:30 p.m.

Dropoff locations will be:

•Redding Middle School, East Main Street (Del. 299).

•Appoquinimink Public Library, 651 N. Broad St.

• Dutch Country Farmers Market, Middletown Shopping Center lot, 600 N. Broad St.

Now showing

New this weekend in theaters is the animated sequel “The Angry Birds Movie 2,” the suspense sequel “47 Meters Down: Uncaged,” the adult comedy “Good Boys,” the Cate Blanchett comedy “Where’d You Go, Bernadette?” and the Bruce Springsteen-inspired film “Blinded by the Light.”

On DVD and download starting Tuesday is the comedy “The Hustle” and the family film “A Dog’s Journey.”

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

Reach features editor Craig Horleman at chorl@newszap.com

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