Freeman Stage at Bayside set to celebrate fifth season
The Joshua M. Freeman Foundation announced this week that the Freeman Stage at Bayside is set to celebrate its fifth season of bringing arts and entertainment to Sussex County. The Freeman Stage has attracted an average of 25,000 audience members each year in its first four seasons with offerings of dance, theater, live music and children’s performances. Located 4 miles from the Atlantic Ocean west of Fenwick Island, the Stage has partnered to present more than 200 different performing artists, which includes both local and national acts.
The 2012 season will include more than 50 performances between Memorial Day and Labor Day, including five special concert events that will include Southside Johnny & The Asbury Jukes on July 6, John Tesh: Big Band Live on July 20, country musician and sometime Hootie & the Blowfish frontman Darius Rucker on July 26, award-winning composer Marvin Hamlisch on July 29 and the original cast of Broadway’s “Jersey Boys” – The Midtown Men – on Aug. 1.
“We have just released our 2012 calendar and we couldn’t be more excited about the diversified programs and special events that our 5th season will offer,” said Patti Grimes, executive director of the Joshua M. Freeman Foundation. “So many gifted and talented artists are scheduled to grace our beautiful stage.
“The addition of special concert events to our lineup in 2011 season was a huge success, and we hope that the performances in 2012 will continue to attract new patrons, while also bringing awareness of the importance of Arts in our community.
“This year,” Grimes said, “we will also welcome PNC Bank’s Grow Up Great program – whose mission is to prepare children for success in school and life – as a sponsor of our Saturday-morning children’s performances. It’s these kind of partnerships that are necessary for the continued success of our mission at The Freeman Stage at Bayside and in our communities.”
“Studies have proven that an arts-rich environment helps children succeed in school,” said Kelly Rew, PNC Bank business banking sales manager. “The PNC Foundation grant to support the Saturday morning children’s summer program represents our investment in the inspired, cultural energy the Freeman Stage provides and furthers our commitment to school readiness through arts education.”
The Freeman Stage at Bayside, an outdoor performing arts venue located off Route 54 in the Bayside community, will host performances every Thursday and Friday evening and a few Saturday evenings throughout the summer, with children’s programs held every Saturday morning.
All events and programs are open to the public, and many of the events are free. All Thursday-night regular-season events and Saturday-morning children’s performances have free admission. For most events on Friday and Saturday nights, the cost is $10 per person, with children 18 or younger being admitted free of charge.
The five special concert events, including the Darius Rucker concert, will have additional admission costs. Tickets for all paid events will go on sale on Friday, April 6. Those who are 2012 Sponsors of the Freeman Stage at Bayside will be able to purchase tickets early, starting April 2.
Refreshments can be purchased at the Stage Café, which will be serving lite fare as well as beer and wine.
Among the performances scheduled this season are the Delaware Symphony Orchestra, Clear Space Theatre Group, Jesse Garron’s Tribute to Elvis, the Bronx Wanderers and the Morgan State University Choir. Also returning in 2012 are the Arts & Jazz Festival, Mid-Atlantic Symphony Orchestra, local artist John Donato and First State Ballet. Performers new to the outdoor stage this summer include Celtic Fire, the Eagles tribute band Hotel California, Masters of Motown, the Voloshky Ukranian Dance Ensemble and many others.
In addition to new performers at the Freeman Stage, the Joshua M. Freeman Foundation is also welcoming new staff. Four new team members are settling into their new position with the organization. They include Sue Sevier as administrative associate, Robin Spangenberg as operations manager, Bernadette Dowling as accounting manager and Lucinda Williams – former executive director of the Delaware Symphony Orchestra – as development director. They join Grimes and Doug Phillips, marketing manager, at the Joshua M. Freeman Foundation offices in Selbyville.
The Freeman Stage at Bayside will officially kick off the 2012 season on the evening of May 26, with a performance of Cirque Montage. Regular weekly performances at The Freeman Stage will commence on June 15 with a performance by the Mid-Atlantic Symphony and will continue throughout the year.
For a complete listing of all the season’s events, or to find out how to volunteer at the Freeman Stage, call (302) 436-3015 or visit www.freemanstage.org.