Premier Centre kids kicking off Dover Days weekend

This weekend’s Dover Days Festival continues its 82-year tradition of providing family entertainment, kicking things off tonight with selections from the Broadway play, “13 The Musical” on Legislative Mall.

Followed by a Zambelli Fireworks show at dusk, the performance will be staged by young actors from the Premier Centre for the Arts, with theaters in Middletown and Milton, starting at 6:30.

From left, Tyana Pierce, Timmy Bradford and Shannon Lutz are featured in the Premier Centre for the Arts’ production of “13: The Musical.” Selections will be performed tonight and Saturday on the Dover Days Festival’s Legislative Mall Stage. (Submitted photo)

From left, Tyana Pierce, Timmy Bradford and Shannon Lutz are featured in the Premier Centre for the Arts’ production of “13: The Musical.” Selections will be performed tonight and Saturday on the Dover Days Festival’s Legislative Mall Stage. (Submitted photo)

“13: The Musical,” written by Tony Award winner Jason Robert Brown, is a story about a teenager’s move from New York City to small-town America, as he struggles with his parents’ divorce, faces his bar mitzvah and navigates the complicated social circles of a new school.

Every character in the show is 13 years old and they are played by teens of varying ages from Delaware, Pennsylvania and Maryland.

“It’s a coming-of-age story told from the world perspective of people 13 years of age,” said Premier Centre director and founder Fred Munzert.

“It’s really a great show. It has both hysterical and very poignant moments.”

Although the Dover Days audience will just hear musical selections from the production tonight and also Saturday starting at 11:30 a.m., the Middletown theater is in the midst of performing the entire show, premiering it last weekend and again at 7 p.m. Saturday and at 2 p.m. Sunday.

Mr. Munzert said it’s always been a favorite show of his and of the kids performing it.

“I’m always asked when are we going to do it again,” he said. The theater has performed it once before and also has featured excerpts in previous revues.

Best Bets logo CLEAR copy“I’m a personal fan of Jason Robert Brown. He’s in the vein of Sondheim with deep, intense characters and great compositions. The music is very memorable. Once you see the show once, you become a fan immediately.”

The musical had a short life on Broadway, premiering in October of 2008 and running for just 105 performances and 22 previews. It was the first Broadway show with an all-minor cast.

The production has gone on to be staged all around the world and in August of 2014, it was announced that a film version is in the works.

Mr. Munzert said last week’s run was an overwhelming hit.

“We had someone drive down from New York City who had never seen the show,” he said.

“They knew someone in the cast and they thought it was just amazing and couldn’t believe how well the young kids performed. So that was pretty cool.”

Saturday morning’s Dover Days show by the kids from the Premier Centre will not only include songs from “13” but also selections from Disney films and other Broadway shows. Visits from Disney princesses Elsa, Anna and Belle also are expected.

The fun continues Sunday as the Premier Centre will host two Dover Days Princess Teas at the Murphey School Auditorium on Del. 8 in Dover, for two seatings at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., again featuring Elsa, Anna and Belle.

The interactive tea party includes light refreshments and fun served table side. Characters will sing, dance and tell stories during the party. A meet and greet will allow participants to snap a photo next to their favorite characters.

A very limited amount of tickets at $12 per person, still are available at www.DoverDaysFestival.com or www.PCADE.com.

Mr. Munzert opened the Premier Centre for the Arts’ Middletown location at 27 Anderson St., 14 years ago. It has gone on to host performances of all kinds.

“The whole (complex) used to be old warehouses. We gutted the entire thing. Our offices used to be a chicken coop,” he said.

“Now we have 14 studios and a black box theater. It’s a neat space.”

The Premier Centre opened a second location in the Milton Theatre, at 110 Union St., last June. The 100-year-old building had laid dormant for several years prior to that.

“That was something that wasn’t even on our radar. But someone from the Milton Chamber of Commerce came to see our holiday show in Middletown the year before last and grabbed me after the show to approach me about the possibility,” Mr. Munzert said.

“It’s been tremendous. We’ve had almost 10,000 tickets sold to various shows. We’ve just had great community support from donors who wanted to see the theater thrive.”

A Broadway-style benefit in March raised money for new seating in the venue.

Upcoming shows at the Milton Theatre include an evening with two psychic mediums on Sunday, an autism-friendly performance of Broadway tunes by a cast of high school students on May 9, a tribute to Judy Garland May 16 and 17, a Frank Sinatra tribute on July 18 and a one-man show about famed actor Jack Lemmon performed by his son Chris July 31-Aug. 2.

As it has been for 14 years, summer camps are a staple for the Premier Centre at both its Middletown and now Milton locations.

Thirty-two camps will be run this summer with a variety of instruction in the arts.

Mr. Munzert has started a nonprofit arm of the organization, called The Muse, which funds and supports quality arts experiences “that will strengthen communities culturally, educationally and economically.” The Muse is a type of scholarship program that makes it possible for every child to afford education training in the arts. In its first year,

The Muse awarded more than $24,000 in scholarships.

He said the importance of the arts for children cannot be overlooked.

“They are very important for a young person’s development and gives them a sense of self awareness and body awareness. For some, the arts are just a hobby and for others, it leads to their passion. But either way, it’s a just a fun way for them to express themselves,” Mr. Munzert said.

For more information on both of the theaters, visit www.pcade.com and for a complete schedule of this weekend’s Dover Days activities, visit www.doverdaysfestival.com or check out the Delaware State News official program at www.delawarestatenews.net.

Hop to it Saturday

In keeping with the Dover Days theme, Saturday brings the first History, Heritage & Hops brewfest to Loockerman Street in downtown Dover, produced by the Downtown Dover Partnership Merchants’ Committee

The event will run from 3 to 9 p.m.

Participating libation partners include Dogfish Head Brewery, Mispillion River Brewing, 3rd Wave Brewing,

Mike Hines and The Look will headline Saturday's History, Heritage and Hops brewfest on Loockerman Street in Dover Saturday. (Submitted photo)

Mike Hines and The Look will headline Saturday’s History, Heritage and Hops brewfest on Loockerman Street in Dover Saturday. (Submitted photo)

Fordham & Dominion Brewing, Yards Brewing, Harvest Ridge Winery, Painted Stave Distilling, Evolution Brewing, Twin Lakes Brewing, and Delaware Distilling.

Music is also a big part of Saturday’s brewfest with appearances by local artists Trailer Park Casanovas, The Brothers Stonesifer, Rich Engle and headliners Mike Hines and the Look.

Illusionists Dan Cain and Charlie Joseph will be making magic and clown Snippy Doodles will also be on hand.

Local eateries will be on site to serve up the dishes they’re famous for. Simaron Steaks & Subs, Angelos Pizza, Caribbean Cuisine, B & L, DE Egg Roll, Good News Natural Foods, 33 West Ale House, DelMarVa Popcorn, Frankfurt Bakery & Deli, and Haass’ On The Go food truck will all be there.

The event admission is free. Drink tickets will be $5 each for a full pour and $2 for a sampling. A special VIP ticket is available for sale on EventBrite at www.eventbrite.com search – History Heritage and Hops. For more information, visit the Dover Days Festival website.

Symphony ‘Out There’

The Dover Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of Donald Buxton, celebrating his 25th year as conductor of the DSO, will conclude its 2014-2015 season at 3 p.m. Sunday at the Dover Downs Rollins Center.

The orchestra will perform a blend of classical and popular music in a program titled “Somewhere Out There.”

Included in the selections are music from “Star Wars,” “Star Trek,” “E.T.,” “Apollo 13,” “Jupiter” and “Mars” from “The Planets,” and several others. As is traditional for May concert, the orchestra will play and Armed Forces Salute.

Valet parking will be offered at $4. Additionally, there will be free shuttle service throughout the parking lots. Sweet treats will be offered at the bake sale

Admission prices are $20 for adults, $15 for seniors, students and military. Young people under 18 are free with a paying adult.

For ticket sales, visit www.doversymphony.org or call (302) 270-1903. Tickets also will be sold at the door.

Upper crust competition

Last but not least, be sure to check out the Dover Days Celebrity Peach Pie Eating Contest Saturday at 2 p.m. on Legislative Mall.

Yours truly will be competing for gastronomic glory, along with Delaware State News publisher Tom Byrd, Kent County Administrator Michael Petit de Mange, Dover Mayor Robin Christiansen, Kent County Levy Court Vice President Brad Eaby, new Central Delaware Honorary Mayor Jenny Mabus and others.

See you there!

Now showing

Opening this weekend in theaters is the super-hero blockbuster “Avengers: Age of Ultron 3D.”

New on DVD and download Tuesday is “Fifty Shades of Grey,” “Selma” and “Mr. Turner.”

 

Reach features editor Craig Horleman at chorl@newszap.com

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