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August 14, 1998     Cape Gazette
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August 14, 1998

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1 78 - CAPE GAZETTE, Friday, August 14 . August 20, 1998 Dixie Carter, John Wall0witch bring Little Theatre audience to its feet . Henlopen Theater project's inaugural performance a sellout By Dennis Forh'ey Dixie Carter and John Wallow- itch brought a sellout Cape Hen- lopen Little Theatre crowd to its feet on Saturday night for the in- augural Henlopen Theater Project "Broadway at the Beach" event. The actress, singer and dancer of Broadway and "Designing Women" television fame teamed with the renowned New York composer and pianist to enthrall the crowd with a set of his original carabet-style songs and a second set of songs ranging from Gersh- win and Springsteen to "The Fan- tasticks." The crowd laughed with and ap- plauded Carter as she sang and danced Wallowitch's spoof on ag- ing called "I'm 27." Their laugh- ter then grew more quiet and inti- mate as Carter drifted aboard the full-length, black grand piano to sing WaUowitch's seductive song about the attractiveness of the pi- ano. Lying full-length on her stomach with her face toward Wallowitch at the keyboard, Carter exuded the sultry flirta- tiousness of cabaret style. One bare leg, bent upward from her knee, left Carter's full-length, black cocktail dress and toyed with a shoe in the air above the pi- ano as she sung the chorus of the song: "I have a fine way, with a Steinway." " ..... The crowd hungon every word and motion, enjoyed the intimacy between the actress, the piano and the pianist, and erupted into ap. plause as Carter, spent from the: ' musical lovemaking, finished the piece with one languid and loving stroke of the side of the piano. Carter and Wallowitch finished the evening, before a brief encore demanded by the audience, with the popular show tune from "The Fantasticks," "Try to Remember." That piece, which sings to the beauty, excitement, energy and gracefulness of all the stages of our lives, connected the audience to the comic treatment of aging in Wallowitch's first set song, "I'm 273 and in the process buttoned the evening in a magnificent wrap. Most striking about the two- hour performance was the lack of any wasted motion or note. From drinks of water out of a highball glass to the light drying swipes across her face with a white hand- kerchief lying on the piano, every inch of Carter's motions and every word of her brief dialogue between songs were precisely measured, polished and natural. With the exception of a momen- tary lapse during a key change in one of Wallowitch's soogs, the performance enchanted the audi- ence from the start and kept them. engaged from beginning to end. The performance marked the high point of a Dixie Carter week- end in Delaware's Cape Region. Continued on page 79 Dennis Forney photos Above, Lisa Pelikan of the Henlopen Theater Project, left, is shown with actors Hal Holbrook and Dixie Carter during a reception for the en- tertainers Friday evening, Aug. 7, at the Rehoboth Beach home of Meredith Jen- ney and Jimmy Marshall. At left, Lewes Mayor George Smith, third from left, is shown with hosts for the Dixie Carter and Hal Hol- brook reception (l-r) Mar- shall Jenney and his mom, Meredith Jenney, and Jimmy Marshall. Henlopen Theater Project eyes six-week schedule for 1999 summer By Dennis Forney Henlopen Theater Project, which sponsored the Aug. 8 Dixie Carter and John Wallowitch per- formance, hopes to inaugurate a full, six-week summer season of professional performances at Cape Henlopen High School in 1999. Lisa Pelikan, a professional ac- tress who has been working with her mother, Henlopen Theater Project (HTP) founder Helen Pe- likan, said she envisions an artist- based theatre designed to draw top names to Delaware's Cape Re- gion. She and former Delaware The- ater Company artistic director Cleveland Morris - an adviser to HTP - spoke with supporters in Cape Henlopen High School Lit- tle Theatre on Sunday morning, Aug. 9, prior to a Dixie Carter master class. "What we do here must feel cre- ative to the actors we attempt to attract," said Pelikan. "It must be something that excites them. For example, I spoke with Stephanie Zimbalist. She told me that she would like to do 'Betrayal' by Harold Pinter. So I got her togeth- er with actor David Dukes and an- other actor for a reading of the play. It was quite wonderful. Above, Emily Bishoff, a senior at Cape Henlopen High School, sings for actress and performer Dixie Carter, right, They all said they would be inter- ested in coming here to do the play. The beach is here - it's a great place to spend time. I've spoken with actors, directors, writ- ers and designers and they say this will work here. But we have to keep all the ingredients together to attract big names to give this pro- ject the energy to fill this Little Theatre for eight plays a week for six weeks. If people really want it to happen it will. So far I'm really wowed by the actual support in the community for this." Morris said he feels the Little Theatre proved itself to be an ade- quate venue for professional the- atre with the Dixie Carter perfor- mance. "It really was a wonderful and intimate setting. The theatre does have some limitations in terms of professional flexibility. For example, the polished hard- wood floor is not what you want to enter the world of Harold Pinter or Stephen Sondheim. However, the history of theatre startups shows that the ones that succeed put their emphasis in the rehearsal hall, not Angle Moon photos and receives critiques during a master class held Sunday, Aug. 9, in the Little Theatre. in the building. That's called 'edi- fice complex' when the focus gets on buildings. Here, the opportuni- ty exists to open the magic of the rehearsal hall to the audience. The audience wants to retain the inti- macy that they felt here with Dixie Carter. The emphasis must re- main on the powerful art of acting and designing. That's more pow- erful than a building. A new building is secondary to the pas- sion Lisa is talking about." Morris also said the connection between education and the Hen- lopen Theater Project is vital. Pelikan noted that Chris King, who works with Cape Henlopen High School theatre program, is heading up HTP's educational committee. She said, "I know that Chris is planning a summer theatre camp in 1999 that will be the beginning of the National Youth Theater Academy to serve the best and brightest students of theatre." Peggy Amsterdam, director of Delaware's Division of the Arts, Continued on page 79