Towns put on free events at the beach almost daily. Why do they do this? Produced by Gray Hughes
Vineyard Wine Bar and Bistro is providing an upscale food and wine experience at the beach. Wochit
Ocean View Police Department hosted "Officer for a Day" a program working with 311 Tactical, LLC. designed to allow citizens to experience policing from an officer's perspective. Produced by Megan Raymond
Rosemary Connelly speak about learning to draw and sketch and tips to stick with it.
Chef Chris Parks has elevated the cuisine at Lupo in Rehoboth over the last few years. Produced by Jeff Neiburg
New complaints were filed this week on behalf of several former town employees and one businesswoman against Dewey Beach Town Manager Marc Appelbaum, including allegations of sexual harassment and unprofessionalism. Wochit
On the Millsboro municipal website, a message is displayed front and center about the town's new vision: "Explosive Growth. Retailers Wanted. Families & Employers Welcome." It's part of a plan that focuses on attracting businesses to boost the quiet little town's economy. Produced by Gray Hughes
State Sen. Brian Pettyjohn missed his flight Thursday after TSA found his handgun in his carry-on. Wochit
Some members of the General Assembly want to create a task force that would figure out how much money Delaware could save if it reduced the number of school districts. Wochit
Farming irrigation system damage on Donnie Calhoun's farm east of Greenwood. Jason Minto/The News Journal/USA TODAY
Security camera footage of possible tornado damage at Delaware Electric Cooperative Monday. Delaware Electric Cooperative
KK Kan Kare makes sure Rehoboth Beach residents do not run afoul of the city's trash ordinance.
The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Lawrence Lawson, along with members of the Marine Education, Research & Rehabilitation Institute and members of Sea Turtle Recovery rescue a loggerhead turtle approximately 3-miles east of Cape Henlopen near Lewes. Coast Guard video
Former Vice President Joe Biden, the longest-serving Delaware senator, and his wife, Jill, fulfilled a longtime dream by purchasing a vacation home at the Delaware seashore. Video by Keith Demko
SoDel's Scott Kammerer at the newest Bluecoast Seafood Grill and Raw Bar Produced by Megan Raymond
A Dagsboro police officer was forced to kill a rescued stray pit bull Tuesday when it could not be made to stop attacking an officer from Delaware Animal Services, police said. Produced by Doug Ferrar
Marty Lamper, Concerned Resident of White Creek speaks about the proposed watercraft slips and a boat ramp Produced by Megan Raymond
Delaware Governor John Carney talks about his plan for prison reform in Delaware at a press conference at Legislative Hall. Jason Minto/The News Journal/USA TODAY
Wilmington police investigate a shooting on Sixth Street that injured a 6-year-old boy on Tuesday, June 6, 2017. Adam Duvernay and Daniel Sato/The News Journal
Margaret Guy, Outreach Minster for Stop the Violence Prayer Chain, reacts to the city's most recent shooting, which happened near her outreach ministry. Adam Duvernay/The News Journal
View of the new Resilient Tunnel Plug built by ILC Dover. The Resilient Tunnel Plug is capable of blocking tunnels during terrorist attacks and natural disasters. Jason Minto/The News Journal/USA TODAY
A 17-year-old girl will not serve prison time for last year's fatal attack of Howard High School of Technology sophomore Amy Inita Joyner-Francis. 6/5/17 Damian Giletto/The News Journal
- WATCH: Free events at the beach add extra value
- WATCH: A new wine experience in Rehoboth
- WATCH: Ocean View Police Department "Officer for a Day"
- WATCH: Rosemary Connelly speaks about learning to draw and sketch
- WATCH: Chef Chris Parks shining at Lupo in Rehoboth
- WATCH: New complaints of sexual misconduct vs. Dewey town manager
- Millsboro says plan to draw business, residents is working
- State Senator misses flight when gun found in carry-on
- Lawmakers consider fewer Delaware school districts
- Irrigation system turned over during storm in Greenwood
- Possible tornado damage at Delaware Electric Cooperative
- Meet Rehoboth Beach's trash valet company
- Watch: Coast Guard rescues loggerhead turtle off Lewes coast
- WATCH: Bidens purchase vacation home in Rehoboth area
- WATCH: SoDel's Bluecoast Seafood Grill open in Rehoboth
- Watch: Police shoot dog during attack on animal control officer
- WATCH: Residents, developer argue over White Creek usage in Ocean View
- Governor talks plan for prison reform
- Wilmington police investigate shooting on 6th Street
- Wilmington shooting: "This stuff is nonsense"
- ILC Dover develops big plug with an even bigger job
- Trinity Carr sentenced to six months in death of Joyner-Francis
Coming from the land of Southern hospitality, actor Dwight Robinette said he worried about how things would be up north in Rehoboth Beach.
It turned out that Robinette, who is from New Orleans, didn’t have much to worry about.
“Everyone is so nice,” he said.
Robinette is one of about 20 people performing with Rehoboth Beach’s Clear Space Theatre Company in three shows this summer. The same group of actors are part of “A Chorus Line,” “Legally Blonde: The Musical” and “The Little Mermaid,” said Wesley Paulson, executive director at Clear Space.
Paulson said this is the third year the theater has found performers at an audition in New York City for its summer shows.
“For us, it’s a chance to see a pool of hundreds of actors,” Paulson said.
The actors, who come from various cities for the auditions, also have the opportunity to audition with plenty of theaters, he said. Most of the Clear Space summer actors are either juniors or seniors in college or recent college graduates, he said.
Once the actors get to Rehoboth Beach, they need somewhere to stay. That’s where people like Chris Berg come in.
Berg, along with his husband and 3-year-old niece, is hosting two Clear Space actors this summer. Berg said volunteering as a host family allows them to contribute to the theater while providing a safe and welcoming place for the students to stay during the rehearsals and show season.
Berg, who was a music major, can also relate to their aspirations.
“I have so much appreciation for what these actors — what these young actors are embarking on, adventure-wise,” Berg said.
He’s kept in touch with an actor who stayed with him in 2015, and being a host is an experience he would recommend to others.
“It’s just been entirely wonderful,” said Berg, who has been involved with Clear Space in different ways.
Paulson said before the shows start, actors — who receive a stipend — have three weeks of lengthy rehearsals with an hour break for both lunch and dinner. Restaurants who participate in a Starving Artists program provide lunch for the actors, and there is also a card with restaurant discounts, he said.
The actors learn about Rehoboth Beach and what it has to offer, taking on an unofficial role as “ambassadors” of the area, Paulson said.
Melanie Bradley, the musical director for “Legally Blonde: The Musical” and “A Chorus Line,” said there were some restaurants that even donated lunch twice.
“It’s really, really great to get that support from the community,” Bradley said.
Bradley is a local who also plays for Clear Space’s musicals during the rest of the year. As she plays the keyboard, she also directs the band.
Each summer, she works with a different group of actors. So, it’s nerve-wracking the night before rehearsals start, she said. But then, once she hears them sing together, she said she gets that feeling of “this is why I do this.”
Even though the summer actors change each year, the Clear Space staff is close and works well together, Bradley said.
“There’s one clear vision,” said Bradley, who is also involved in Clear Space’s summer camps.
If not for a change in the Delaware budget — which was passed after the July 1 deadline — Clear Space was just one organization that would have had to make do with less. The cut the state Joint Finance Committee approved on May 30 was $550,000 statewide — “a nearly 20 percent cut in state funding for arts programming,” according to the Delaware Arts Alliance website.
Using a hodgepodge of marginal tax increases and budget cuts, lawmakers agreed to reverse the elimination of the state’s grant-in-aid program, which scores of Delaware nonprofits have come to rely upon to fight fires, feed the homeless and provide arts programs, among other activities.
“The state of Delaware has always been supportive of the arts through the grants program at the Delaware Division of the Arts,” Paulson wrote in an email. “I was glad to hear the news that the legislators and Governor (John) Carney were able to agree on a smaller cut to arts funding than was proposed earlier.”
While the final decision loomed, actors were busy getting ready for the upcoming shows at Clear Space.
Robinette plays the roles of Sebastian in “The Little Mermaid,” Richie in “A Chorus Line,” and Sundeep Padamadan in “Legally Blonde: The Musical.”
In that show, he is also an understudy for the roles of Nikos and Carlos.
He described rehearsals as “intense.” The actors practiced all three shows between 9 a.m. and 9:30 p.m., with breaks for lunch and dinner, he said.
Robinette, a musical theatre and dance major at Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, Louisiana, said he became friends with a castmate through Snapchat before coming to Rehoboth Beach, and then he got to know more people through events such as mixers. He’s even found a friend so close it’s like they were “separated at birth.”
The cast spends a lot of time together and really gets to know each other.
“We became very close,” Robinette said.
The News Journal Staff Writer Karl Baker contributed to this report.