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Fall events in Rehoboth Beach

Everyone’s favorite summer destination keeps the party going

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Magnolia Applebottom at the Washington Blade’s Rehoboth Summer Closing Party held at Diego's Bar and Nightclub on Sept. 9. Diego’s and other venues have events scheduled throughout the fall. (Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

As falling temperatures and colorful leaves signal the end of another exciting Rehoboth summer, residents and visitors alike still have much to look forward to in a fall packed with events ranging from performances to parties and more. The Blade has compiled a list of key events in the beach resort this fall to help continue the summer fun into a new season.

SEPTEMBER

Sept. 15-20: Other Desert Cities takes to the stages of Clear Space Theatre Company, located at 20 Baltimore Ave. Performances are held on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings, with an additional matinee performance at 2 p.m. on Sundays. Tickets range from $20 to $32, and can be purchased online.

Sept. 16: The George Michael Experience, hosted by Todd Alsup, brings back iconic songs and transforms them in the musical stylings of the New York-based singer and songwriter. Held from 8 to 10 p.m. at The Pines, located at 56 Baltimore Ave. Tickets can be purchased online.

Sept. 17: DJ Greggo will host an evening of music and excitement at Diego’s Bar & Nightclub, located at 37298 Rehoboth Ave, from 9:30 p.m. to 1:30 a.m.

Sept. 24: Riddic, a local DJ, will be performing at a night of fun in Diego’s from 9:30 p.m.-1:30 a.m.

Sept. 30: ‘90s Night at The Pines brings Mike Flanagan and Lisa Bello to the stage for a live performance and stroll down memory lane. Tickets can be purchased online.

Sundays: Drag Brunch at The Pines brings the weekend to a close as local talent and delicious food come together at 11:30 a.m. each week. Tickets to the event are $15.

Mondays: Flaming Pianos Prime Rib & Show offers an upscale dining experience at The Pines each week for $23.

Tuesdays: Bingo at Blue Moon, located at 35 Baltimore Ave., offers an opportunity for light-hearted fun with this drag recreation of a classic, old fashioned church game from 8 to 9:30 p.m.

Fridays: The Spotlight Show at Blue Moon combines good food with spectacular performances from local drag stars. Shows will be held at 7 and 9 p.m.

Saturdays: The Legends Show keeps the weekend busy at Blue Moon, incorporating a cast of celebrity impersonators into a wonderful live singing show held at 7 and 9 p.m.

Saturdays: A Night of Divas, hosted by Mona Lotts and Kristina Kelly each week at The Pines, is a hilarious comedy performance you won’t want to miss. Doors open at 8 p.m., and tickets can be purchased online.

OCTOBER

Oct. 7: Fall in Love with Seth Sikes at this nightclub performance hosted by The Pines, with doors opening at 7 p.m. and tickets available for purchase online.

Oct. 14 to Oct. 30: Little Shop of Horrors is presented by Clear Space Theatre Company. Performances take place Friday and Saturday evenings and Sunday afternoons, and tickets can be purchased online for $20 to $32.

Oct. 19: The Can’t Fool The Blues concert at The Pines is the best spot for a night of fun and dancing as the Rehoboth jazz band provides musical stylings that blend various genres. Doors open at 9 p.m.

Oct. 21: “Tucking Myself In,” a hilarious comedy show headlined by drag artist Ptown’s Paige Turner, will be the latest addition to the Rehoboth comedy scene. Doors open at 7 p.m., and tickets can be purchased online.

Oct. 28: Rocky Horror Picture Show will be played in an interactive viewing at The Pines, with doors opening at 8 p.m. Tickets cost $25 and can be purchased online.

NOVEMBER

Nov. 11 to 13: The Little Mermaid will be shown at Clear Space Theatre for just one weekend in this show spotlighting youth performers. Tickets can be purchased online for $20.

Nov. 25 to Dec. 18: Elf: The Musical will ring in the holiday season in this end-of-year musical performance at Clear Space Theatre. Tickets can be purchased online for $20 to $32.

Clear Space announces new season

Clear Space Theatre announced its upcoming season at its annual gala on Sunday night held at the Rehoboth Beach Country Club. Among next season’s shows are “The Spongebob Musical,” the beloved “Kinky Boots,” “Young Frankenstein,” “Jesus Christ Superstar,” “Godspell,” “Damn Yankees,” and an exclusive new work produced just for Clear Space by alumnus Wesley Cappiello slated for June. 

Dogfish Head brewery founder Sam Calagione and his wife Mariah were on hand at Sunday’s gala to accept an award for their support. The new Clear Space season kicks off in January with a production of Stephen King’s “Misery.”

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Music & Concerts

DC Different Drummers Jazz Band to perform ‘Oasis’

Performance by combo ‘2nd Independence’ scheduled

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The DC Different Drummers Jazz Band will perform on Sunday, Oct. 16 at 3 p.m. at Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Central Library.

This concert, titled “The Oasis,” will feature the 20-person big band playing jazz pieces in a variety of styles, from swing to bossa nova to jazz fusion and more. There will also be a performance from the improvisational jazz combo, 2nd Independence.

Admission is free and more details are available on the event’s website

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Out & About

Smithsonian Zoo programming is back

Family-friendly Halloween event begins Oct. 28

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(Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

The Smithsonian National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute will host “Boo at the Zoo” starting on Friday, Oct. 28 at 5:30 p.m. 

This is a family-friendly Halloween event that includes special after-hours access for animal viewing at the Elephant Community Center, Small Mammal House, Reptile Discovery Center, Great Ape House and Think Tank, a Halloween souvenir treat bag, dance party and 30 trick-or-treat stations around the festively decorated Zoo. 

Tickets start at $25 and can be purchased on the Smithsonian’s website.

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Theater

‘Hamilton’ star boosting Afro-Latinx, queer representation

Gonzalez and partner launch DominiRican Productions

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Pierre Jean Gonzalez (Photo courtesy Ambe J. Photography)

‘Hamilton’
Through Oct. 9
The Kennedy Center Opera House
2700 F St., N.W.
$59–$399
Kennedy-center.org

For gay Latinx actor Pierre Jean Gonzalez, playing the title Founding Father in the national tour of “Hamilton” isn’t just another part.

“It’s a powerful thing,” says Gonzalez, recognizing the enormity of the job. “We all learned history in school. We know who’s who when we look at a textbook; but when people who look like you are telling the story, it shifts.”

Currently moored to the Kennedy Center Opera House through Oct. 9, Lin-Manuel Miranda’s seminal 2015 sung-and-rapped through musical presents early American history in a novel and inclusive way, focusing on the life experience of one man. With 11 Tony Awards and a Pulitzer Prize for Drama, the show continues to be the hottest draw in town wherever it pitches its tent. 

“When I step on stage as Hamilton, I’m continually amazed by the pandemonium in the audience, especially the younger fans. If we miss a single lyric, the children know,” he says. 

“It’s a drama, a soap, and an action movie. An ambitious immigrant, Hamilton pushes through obstacles, creates his own narrative, and doesn’t throw away a shot. Audiences like that.”

Reared in a housing project in the Bronx as the only boy in a Dominican/Puerto Rican family it wasn’t cool to be queer, says Gonzalez. So, he played it straight until his second year at Rutgers University when a comfortably out friend inspired him to follow suit. Back at home, the family wasn’t all that surprised, he adds with a chuckle.

Navigating through life as his authentic self gives Gonzalez a leg up. He explains, “I think feeling more connected and open makes me a better actor.”

As a drama student at Rutgers University in New Jersey, Gonzalez spent a life-altering junior year studying Shakespeare at the Globe in London: “For me the metronome, cadence, the words and music in ‘Hamilton’ are very much connected to Shakespeare, and that’s why I’m here now.”

After school, despite finding an agent and auditioning, those first four years weren’t good. “For a Latinx actor with my look there were three roles: thug #3, a dishwasher, or hitman.”

He was dismayed. Despite possessing training, talent, energy, and good looks, casting agents didn’t see him as a leading man. But with “Hamilton,” the industry changed and so did Gonzalez’s self-perception: “Finally, I knew I was the right choice to play a leading man.”

In total, Gonzalez has toured with “Hamilton” for five years counting 18 months of “pandemic nothingness,” he says. Before being promoted to playing Alexander Hamilton in August of 2021, he was standby, covering Hamilton, Burr (the villain) and Britain’s King George. At a moment’s notice he might have been called on to play one of three tracks. “It was turning me on artistically,” he says. “One of the last crazy days before the pandemic, I was Hamilton for a Saturday matinee and that same evening I was Burr. Not a lot of actors can say that.”

During the early days of the pandemic and before, Gonzalez and his fiancé Cedric Leiba Jr., an Afro-Latino actor, had many conversations surrounding career frustrations. They discussed the challenges faced by actors of color, and how those challenges can be compounded when said actors are also queer.

In 2020, the couple founded DominiRican Productions, an award-winning film production company whose mission is to ramp up Afro-Latinx and queer representation both behind and in front of the camera.

“It kind of happened as a protest,” he explains. “George Floyd had just been killed and the country was starting to look at itself and ask why are Black and Brown bodies treated this way?”

Success has ensued with two collaborative, celebrated shorts — “Release” and “Rhythm Is Gonna Get Who?” — both directed by Gonzalez. 

While working with your partner can sometimes be a lot, it also has its advantages, says Gonzalez. He appreciates the pair ultimately always have one another’s back. Also, they’re different in complementary ways. “Cedric is more type A, really gets things done,” says Gonzalez “He keeps me tethered to the ground.” 

For the moment, the affianced actors have put nuptials on the back burner, preferring to invest their time and money in the company. Gonzalez says, “We don’t have kids or a mortgage, the company is our child; it’s what drives us.” 

And what about “Hamilton”? “Another year, maybe longer? Whatever happens, I’m taking it one day at a time and feeling a lot of gratitude,” he says. 

Pierre Jean Gonzalez as Hamilton. (Photo by Joan Marcus)
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