A ‘chill’ Fourth, ‘Hamilton’ is here, indoor and outdoor holiday fun in this week’s ‘Things To Do’

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4th of July fireworks

Spectators watch fireworks from Von Colln Athletic Field on July 4, 2018. (Jonathan Wilson for WHYY)

Welcome America events continue online with its biggest concerts of the week and more outdoor attractions are reopening just in time for the holiday.

America’s chill birthday

Philadelphia’s official music ambassador, rapper/entrepreneur Chill Moody has curated a music performance for the Welcome America celebration on Saturday. His set is the pre-show for the night’s headlining performances from Cynthia Erivo and Jason Derulo. Chill’s handpicked fellow local artists are Lester London, LiMM, DioMara, Great Time and Hank McCoy. It’s part of a day of music from Q102’s livestream from noon to 7 p.m., the Pennsylvania Lottery Groove Stage starting at 3 p.m. and then Chill and friends onstage at 5 p.m. Chill is also curating an all-female jam and virtual art exhibit happening at 5 p.m. And on Friday, July 3 at 7 p.m., the Philly POPS, with performers Allison Blackwell, Terell Stafford and Michael Cavanaugh will debut a newly commissioned work “Fanfare for the Essential Workers.” All of the performances will stream live from the Welcome America website.

Party with ‘Hamilton’

Alexander Hamilton could have never imagined he’d be this popular over 200 years after his untimely death at the hands of Aaron Burr. But the Lin-Manuel Miranda Broadway musical about his life has proven to be one of the most successful pop culture moments of the last few decades. On Friday, July 3, Disney+ is releasing the film version of the original Broadway production. The Museum of the American Revolution is hosting a watch party so that fans can follow along as historians and museum curators provide insights on Hamilton’s life. The party starts at 8 p.m. on the museum’s Twitter account.

Safari… in New Jersey

Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson, N.J., will return for their summer season on July 4 with an extensive set of safety protocols to account for the coronavirus, including temperature taking, mandatory masks for both guests and employees (except in the water attractions) limited park capacity, online reservations and more. If that’s too much to contend with, the park has also reopened their Wild Safari Drive-Thru Adventure attraction which includes 1,200 animals from six continents on a 350-acre preserve.

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Green gardens

Now that Pennsylvania is in the green phase, many of its most scenic attractions have opened their grounds to visitors. Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square is now open on a limited basis, with advance reservations, face coverings and social distancing required. Not all buildings are available to visitors and dining and shopping are limited. But you can order a snack picnic tote in advance with refreshments and beverages for individuals, couples and families. (These must be ordered by noon on the day prior to your visit.) Philadelphia’s Morris Arboretum has also reopened with social-distancing and face-covering requirements as well. While the visitor center, the shop and Compton Café are closed, among other attractions, bathrooms are open and are regularly sanitized. Picnicking in designated areas is available as well. All reservations must be made in advance online.

Movies light

If the current news cycle has you searching for a respite and you’re just not ready to head to theaters yet, or this weekend’s sizzling holiday forecast has you seeking a recliner and the closest AC vent, there’s good news. Right now, there are escapist movie options that seem particularly suited for the moment. Here are four to watch:

“The Weekend” (2019) Amazon Prime

Comedian and former ‘Saturday Night Live” actress Sasheer Zamata stars in the lighthearted film that poses the question – what happens when you, your ex-boyfriend and his new girlfriend spend the weekend together at a bucolic California retreat owned by your family? As you might imagine, both pathos and humor ensue. Actress/comedian Kym Whitley of “Raising Whitley,” DeWanda Wise of “She’s Gotta Have It,” Tone Bell of “American Soul,” and Y’lan Noel of “Insecure” also star.

“7500” (2020) Amazon Prime

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First-time feature film director Patrick Vollrath creates a taut thriller by honing in on the POV of co-pilot Tobias Ellis (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), an American flying the Berlin to Paris route when the cockpit is breached by terrorists.

Feel The Beat” (2020) Netflix

It’s corny, predictable and it’s been done many times before. But I still loved every minute of it, thanks to the breakout performance of former Disney star Sofia Carson as April, an aspiring Broadway dancer who gets humbled and is forced to move back to her Wisconsin hometown.

“Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga” (2020) Netflix

It’s Will Farrell and Rachel McAdams playing what seems to be two ABBA rejects who are nevertheless a duo hoping to win an international song contest. Oh and Pierce Brosnan’s in it, too. What’s not to love?

Keep checking with “Things To Do” as we continue to provide our picks for entertainment and culture during the industry’s COVID-19 hiatus. Please consult our coronavirus updates to keep up with the latest information regionally.  

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