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February 24, 2006     Cape Gazette
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February 24, 2006

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100 - CAPE GAZETYE - Friday, Feb. 24 - Monday, Feb. 27, 2006 Shown sharing a toastare Rep. John Atkins, R- Millsboro, left, and NKS Distributors CEO Chris Tigani. Bridin Reynolds photos Bartender's Ball mixes it up for Beebe Rusty Rudder bartenders Ian Kowell, left, and Liz Sexton get saucy at their vibrant tequila bar at the Bartender's Ball. Black-tie elegance reigned at the sixth annual event, held Feb. 18 at the BayCenter in Dewey Beach. Fine fare, flowing libations and four live bands entertained nearly 600 people. All net proceeds will benefit the Beebe Medical Center. The BayCenter was transformed into a virtual boardwalk of mock casino tables and themed bars by 10 participating local restaurants and bars. Local favorite Lisa & the Melting Pot stirred up the crowd as it entered the casino-themed Crabbers' Cove. Shown taking a well-deserved.break after per- forming are band members (l-r) Roger Hillis, Anthony Baray, Lisa Scott and Walt Hetfield. Renowned R&B band out of Washington D.C Jimi Smooth & The Hittime also took the stage. A summertime favorite in Dewey Beach, members of the band enjoyed the Bartender's Ball following their soul- ful performance. Shown are (l-r) Gregory Gaskins, Terry Russell, Steve Montgomery, proprietor of The Starboard, DeDee Montgomery, Craig Campbell and Terry Thurman. Ava and Gary Cannon, left, proprietors of Gary's Dewey Beach Grill, are joined by Gene Zebroski and Sal Levine, right. By Laura Ritter Cape Gazette staff Witty Broadway lyrics polished to high gloss bewitched a sold-out house at 59 Lake as dinner theater debuted in Rehoboth Beach. Attracting a sell-out and largely local crowd, Clear Space Productions teamed with 59 Lake to heat up a cold, Feb. 17 night with "An American Songbook." Johnny Mercer's "Too mar- velous for words" characterized the music, which started with Irving Berlin and went on to Mercer, Jerome Kern, and Frank Loesser. Still, the clever lyrics of Broadway classics were matched by the wry banter of baritone Ken Skrzesz and pianist Doug Yetter. An elegant three-course dinner preceded the show, starting with choice of rustic, white bean soup, salad of mesculin greens, or glazed oysters topped with gruyere. Intriguing main course choices included a fresh take on traditional pot roast, served with red cabbage and onion rings, a succulent chicken breast stuffed with goat cheese and green olives; or seared cod filet in a lavender dressing Desserts included a honey- poached pear, sticky toffee pud- ding and iced chocolate and orange parfait with mint custard. The rich, warm setting at 59 Lake was not lost on the perform- ers. "It's wonderful because the space is so beautiful," Skrzesz said. "It makes it very easy to per- fOrlTl." Clear Space has delivered "The American Songbook" in many venues on the East Coast, but Skrzesz said it changes every year. "I like the mix of exploring songs from a particular show and the songs of a particular compos- er," he said. What he looks for in a song, he says, is truth. "If I can find dramatic truth in it, if the lyricist writes a lyric that makes sense, and that takes you from point A to point B - that's what I like." Still, the performance of Moon River was memorable, and Skrzesz admits it took a lot of effort to make sense of Mercer's lyrics in that song. "It must be the result of all the work I had to do," he said, that the song seemed to capture the wistful and enchanting spirit of the evening. 59 Lake owners Ronnie and Bob Sokolove said both Clear Space and their restaurant are new to Rehoboth, and both are ener- gized by the partnership. "We want to embrace the com- munity and offer something really different," Bob Sokolove said. "This is an opportunity to do something well in a very nice set- Laura Ritter photo John Mclntosh and Elizabeth Russell congratulate Ken Skrzesz after his "The American Songbook" performance at 59 Lake restaurant. McIntosh said Ken is his former acting teacher, and he didn't want to miss watching his teacher per- form. ting." Clear Space will offer "Tintypes" in March, "Broadway Voices" in May and three more shows before concluding the 2006 season with "Scrooge!" in December. For information, contact nancy Hawpe at nhawpe@clearspace-