Wesley College’s Arts in the Parlor salutes Broadway

Last year's theme for Arts in the Parlor was the Roaring 20s. (Submitted photo)

Last year’s theme for Arts in the Parlor was the Roaring 20s. (Submitted photo)

DOVER — Organizers at Wesley College are giving their regards to Broadway for the school’s Arts in the Parlor event next week.

The annual evening, which showcases the arts at Wesley, is April 10 at the Schwartz Center for the Arts in Dover.

This year’s theme is “On Broadway.”

Proceeds benefit Wesley student scholarships.

Arts in the Parlor promises to be a glamorous evening and a tribute to the Great White Way.

When guests arrive at the Schwartz, they’ll strut down a red carpet and pose against celebrity backdrops while paparazzi snap photos.

Then the opening performance will portray backstage Broadway auditions and feature student musicians and singers.

“It’s loosely a show within a show,” said James Wilson, associate professor of music at Wesley College, who organized the performance.

The 30-minute show will feature a range of numbers, from Cole Porter to Oscar Hammerstein.

The theme is “nice and broad in that it can cover a lot of different eras of music,” Dr. Wilson said.

“It gives us the flexibility to have different styles so the whole show doesn’t sound similar.”

In putting the show together, the college brought in an award-winning stage director from New York, Greg Ganakas.

He worked with the students for three days, helping them piece together the Broadway tunes with dialogue and choreography.

His credits cover many musical theater productions, as well as opera and television. His collaborations include everything from Disney Live Entertainment to Radio City Music Hall Productions.

He has also served on the faculty of New York University, where he founded their musical theater program.

“He kind of brought everything up to a new level and the students really enjoyed working with him and it was great learning experience,” Dr. Wilson said.

Guests can mingle in the Schwartz Center after the performance, from 7:30 to 10 p.m.

While singers perform Broadway tunes in the ballroom, attendees can enjoy visual arts displays, Painted Stave Distillery tastings, culinary delights and cocktails.

Arts in the Parlor will also be a farewell event for Wesley College President Dr. William Johnston and his wife Susan.

Dr. Johnston plans to retire in June. Dr. Wilson said the couple will be honored in speeches and referenced in the show.

Arts in the Parlor is now in its sixth year.

“It’s an elegant event,” Dr. Wilson said.

“It’s a chance for people to go out and do something fun, have their picture taken and feel like a celebrity for the evening.”

The first year, guests were invited to the Cannon House, the Victorian manse where the Johnstons live, for an intimate evening of the arts in their parlor.

As the event became more popular, though, it outgrew its space, and was moved to the larger Schwartz Center.

Each year, Arts in the Parlor draws up to 200 guests and raises between $25,000 and $30,000, Dr. Wilson said.

He said he hopes to continue to grow the event.

Arts in the Parlor begins 6:30 p.m. at the Schwartz Center, 226 S. State St., Dover. Doors open at 6 p.m.

The cost is $75 per person. Formal attire is suggested.

Today is the last day to RSVP.

For more information, visit alumni.wesley.edu and find “Arts in the Parlor” under listed upcoming events.

 

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