When everything was put on pause in March in an effort to reduce the spread of COVID-19, it hit industries deemed “nonessential” hard, from hair salons and barbershops to taverns to malls.
Venues and theaters were among the very first to be shuttered, both because they drew crowds of people to enclosed spaces, and because live entertainment is not technically essential to life, especially in a Netflix world.
So it wasn’t long before artists, from John Legend to Neil Diamond, started using social media to put on mini-concerts from home for fans. There was also the iHeart Living Room Concert for America that aired on primetime TV on March 29 and featured the likes of Alicia Keys and Billie Eilish.
All that’s going to show that the arts and music are, in a way, essential. It just needs to be delivered differently right now — and that goes for local artists, too.
Delaware Shakespeare, also known as DelShakes, has been using its time under lockdown to share daily sonnets while raising money for the freelance artists who have been economically hit by COVID-19.
“The Sonnet Project is an easy way to stay present,” said DelShakes Producing Artistic Director David Stradley. “Sonnets are so nice and self-contained.”
At first, Stradley and DelShakes Development Associate Cassie Alexander recorded the daily sonnets. As it evolved, local actors — sometimes by request — record sonnets on their smartphones to be uploaded to the organization’s Facebook and Instagram pages. The sonnets are accessible for free, but fans are encouraged to buy a “ticket” for $30, which goes to pay an actor for one sonnet.
“We’ve been pleasantly surprised,” Stradley said. “So far we have had about $1,000 in sales — enough to pay for 30 to 35 sonnets.”
DelShakes has also moved its Salon Series to Zoom; the next one will be on April 23 and feature composer and lyricist Liz Filios and director and script consultant Tanaquil Márquez sharing insights into the creative process behind creating a musical adaptation of “Twelfth Night” that includes Spanish dialogue and Latin-infused music. Tickets are $20.
Shakespeare Day, originally planned as a live event in Milford on April 16, will now happen on May 2 at 2 p.m. online.
“We are planning to do some live, some recorded,” said DelShakes General Manager JulieAnn Cross. For more information, check out DelShakes on Facebook.
Here’s a roundup of some more Delaware-made arts and entertainment you can experience online:
Ladybug Festival livestream concert series
The country’s largest celebration of women in music is scheduled for the still-iffy midsummer on July 16 and 17 this year, but Gable Music Venture’s biggest music event is already offering an online concert series on Tuesday and Friday nights at 8 p.m.
“It’s four artists per evening, each doing 15 minute sets,” said Gable cofounder Gayle Dillman. “Viewers just need to visit the Ladybug Festival Facebook page, which the artists will be using to go live from all over the country.” Attendees are encouraged to Venmo a few bucks to the artists if they’re able.
Give back to Gable
Speaking of Gable Music Ventures, Miverva and E. Joseph will be holding a Facebook Live concert on Wednesday, April 15, from 5 to 7 p.m. in support of the org. The concert is free to watch, and attendees are encouraged to send donations to help support the company that has contributed much to the local music scene over the years.
Even before the lockdown, DETV Channel 28 was committed to broadcasting local music, along with partners Gable and Out and About. Lockdown content includes live televised and virtual events like concerts and DJ spotlights. Follow the channel on Facebook to get alerts.
DJ Cale ThaBoy live on social media
Hot Breakfast coffee break concerts
Wilmington dorkrock duo Hot Breakfast are putting on 15-minute concerts from lockdown on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, starting at 3 p.m. live on their Facebook Page.
Grab a cup, take a break, listen to a few songs, have a check-in, feel better.
More ➡️ pic.twitter.com/ZrI2uWFTAi
— HOT BREAKFAST! is the time to say 'I love you' (@hotbreakfast) March 30, 2020
Wilmington Drama League
The WDL will be presenting Shutdown Showcase, a collection of varied performances aimed at both children and adults. The once-a-week (at least) performances will be presented by actors practicing social distancing, either sheltering in place together or filmed in separate locations. Check out its Facebook Page for more info.
The Music School of Delaware
The Music School of Delaware in Wilmington is offering several free and paid online events:
- Virtual Music Masters Concerts (free)
Every Wednesday at noon — On the Music School’s Facebook page, a two- to three-minute “concert” by a faculty artist, of classical or jazz music
- Rock, Jazz, Folk & Beer ($10)
Weekly Thursday night — Zoom-based show with the Music School’s faculty artists performing rock, jazz or folk music accompanied by a local beer pairing; must pre-register for Zoom code
- Classical Cafe ($10 pre-register)
Weekly Saturday morning — Zoom-based lecture series with faculty guests discussing music-related topics highlighted with performances; must pre-register for Zoom code
The Music School is also offering private lessons via Skype, Zoom or FaceTime in piano, guitar, violin, voice, cello, or trumpet for $250 for six 30-minute lessons, and music class six packs of 45-minute virtual classes for $125.
re you or someone you know locally offering virtual arts & entertainment? Let us know at email@example.com!