Yes – Cape May is the new Off Broadway. Cape May now has three theater companies plus a dinner theater! Cape May Stage is presenting a full season extending through Christmas, plus lots of special short-term productions featuring famous actors visiting Cape May for a few days. East Lynne theater Company will be running plays in the Presbyterian Church all through the summer. And, the new kid on the block, Actors Offstage, will present three plays this summer at the Cape May elementary school.
Our dinner theater is of course, Elaine’s dinner theater, which will presentd a lineup of silly and funny plays to delight our visitors.
Cape May Stage will present plays for every taste this season, from light comedies to serious drama. First will be Chapter Two by Neil Simon from late June through early August. August 8 through mid-September will bring The Lion in Winter. From September 9 through November 9, we’ll have The Shuck – a family drama set in Cape May. The season finale will be An Actor’s Carol, running through New Year’s Eve. You can find all of the details and order tickets at Cape May Stage’s website.
East Lynne Theater Company will be presenting lots of crowd-pleasers this summer. On the Sunny Side of the Street will run until July 21 – featuring favorite music by Dorothy Fields. July 21 through September 1, will bring one of my favorites of all time – Arsenic and Old Lace. I grew up watching the Cary Grant movie version over and over. August 12 at the Chalfonte, East Lynne will present We’ll Meet Again – Songs of WWII. Silent Sky follows from September 19 through October 13. October brings two greats of the mystery genre Poe by Candle-light and Sherlock Holmes – Adventure of the Speckled Band. Finally, the year ends with O.Henry’s Christmas Talesfrom November 24 through December 8. Go to the East Lynne website for all of the details.
New Theater Company
Our third theater company is called Actors Off Stage, and will present the Sherlock and Shakespeare Festival from June 19 through September 30. Sherlock Holmes and the Avenging Angel will be offered Tuesdays and Thursdays June through August. And I Hate Monologues will be available on Mondays and Wednesdays, June through August and Sundays in September. Their website has all of the info that you need.
The Cape May Music Festival has something for everyone.
What kind of music do you like? We’ve got it in the Cape May Music Festival! Whether traditional Irish music, June 2, with Deirdre Reilly, or jazz on Sunday, June 5 with brunch at Alethea’s Restaurant and singing by Mary Lou Newnam singing from The Great American Songbook. More jazz with the Jost Project on Sunday June 5 at Convention Hall and even more jazz on Sunday, June 12 at the George Mesterhazy Tribute Concert.
If you like classical music, Thursday, June 16, will feature Elliot Bailen leading the New York Chamber ensemble in a program that includes Puccini (La Bohème), Vivaldi, and Respighi.
The Bay Atlantic Symphony will bring us The Brandenburg Concertos, Thursday, June 9, which are some of the best music every written, anywhere.
Don’t worry. Sherlock and Dr. Watson are here. It happens every year. The buds are swelling. The birds are chirping. Someone is mysteriously killed. Friday evening, March 18, everyone will gather and one of their number will be snuffed out. The characters are acting suspicious. Saturday, you get to tour through lots of Cape May bed and breakfasts (including Leith Hall, of course) searching for clues. Deduct (or guess) who’s the villain and see if you are right. Sunday morning there will be honors and prizes galore.
Leith Hall is participating in this year’s Sherlock Holmes Weekend, presented by the Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts. Go online at www.leithhall.com to make your reservations now. Then either email Janice Coyle at email@example.com or go to their website www.capemaymac.org to buy your package tickets. Let them know that you’re staying with us and your room will be paid for through the package.
Cape May’s annual Spring Festival is next week – and this year there are lots of spectacular activities. There will be the Spring Festival Crafts and Collectibles show, as well as several tours like Cape May After Dark, Chocolate Tasting Tour, and Historic Haunts Combo Tour.
The Self-guided Winery and Brewery Tour and the Hawk Haven Vineyard and Winery Tour, and the Winery Cellar Tour and Tasting may all sound like the same thing, but are really three very distinct experiences – at different wineries and with different presentations. You can link to the Mid-Atlantic Center’s website to get details and sign up for activities.
My favorite part of this year’s Spring Festival is an exhibit of paintings by Alice Steer Wilson, who was a great painter who lived in Cape May. Her watercolors were extraordinary and in the same league as Winslow Homer’s or John Singer Sargent’s.
Cape May’s Chalfonte Hotel has been hosting guests for 137 years. And, Karen Fox has documented its fascinating history in her book and in this season’s show at the Carriage House Gallery at the Emlen Physick Estate. Henry Sawyer built the hotel – and his story is unforgettable. He was captured by the confederacy and held in the infamous Libby Prison in Richmond Virginia. He was condemned to die by chance in the cruel “Lottery of Death”, but his wife Harriet would not let that happen. She got to President Lincoln through Secretary of War, Stanton, and Lincoln ordered Henry Sawyer and two other prisoners exchanged for Robert E, Lee’s son plus two others. Harriet saved her beloved Henry, and Cape May got back its Civil War hero and hotelier.
The exhibit opens today, April 26th, and will run through the whole summer.