Center City Restaurant Week, Shakespeare’s ladies, and hoofin’ in the park in this week’s ‘Things to Do’

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Outdoor dining in Philadelphia

Outdoor dining in Philadelphia, November 2020. (Mark Henninger/Imagic Digital)

We can finally say with some authority that the event’s prognosis is looking much, much brighter. While full-scale festivals have not yet returned, if COVID vaccination rates continue to increase, expect to see some festival announcements later this year. The return of Delaware’s Firefly Festival and Camden’s XPoNential Festival are encouraging signs.

Center City Restaurant Week 

Center City Restaurant Week (Center City District)

Center City’s first big test of the post-pandemic restaurant climate comes at a good time, as COVID restrictions are being relaxed. The annual discounted dining event offers prix fixe lunch and dinner options, with both inside and outside dining from over 60 participating restaurants. Takeout is available as well at many eateries, but keep in mind, the “new normal” doesn’t yet include spontaneous dining, so make those reservations soon. Discounted parking is $9 at PPA lots and garages.

  • What: Discounted dining event
  • Where: Various venues
  • When: Through Friday, May 28
  • How much: Prix-fixe lunches for $20, dinners for $35

PAFA: Annual student exhibition

PAFA student exhibition (Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts)

The Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts is mounting its 120th annual student art exhibition. This year, the show is a hybrid, with both an online show and one in-person at the academy’s Broad Street location. All of the art can be purchased, with 30% of the proceeds going to PAFA scholarships and 70% going directly to students.

Laurel Hill Cemetery: Shakespeare-inspired play

Laurel Hill Cemetery illuminated at night in February 2020. (Emma Lee/WHYY)

What would happen if the women of Shakespeare’s most famous works got together? Charles George must have wondered too, so he wrote a play about it. Love-struck Juliet meets with five of Shakespeare’s heroines — Desdemona, Ophelia, Cleopatra, Portia, and Katherine — to seek advice on love. Given how things turned out for Juliet, we’re not sure whether the advice was bad or she didn’t heed it, but the concept of imagining how the meeting went down sounds interesting.

The Mann Center: My Morning Jacket, Brittany Howard

From left, artists Tom Blankenship and Jim James of My Morning Jacket perform at Ascend Amphitheater on Friday, July 7, 2017 in Nashville, Tenn. (Photo by Laura Roberts/Invision/AP)
From left, artists Tom Blankenship and Jim James of My Morning Jacket perform at Ascend Amphitheater on Friday, July 7, 2017 in Nashville, Tenn. (Photo by Laura Roberts/Invision/AP)

In one of the first major concert tours announced post-COVID, My Morning Jacket, the experimental rock band founded in Louisville, Kentucky will head out on a U.S. tour from August through November. They are scheduled for The Mann Center in September to support their latest project “The Waterfall II,” released in 2020. On their Philly tour stop, their opening act is Grammy award winner Brittany Howard of the Alabama Shakes, whose solo album, “Jaime,” was released in 2019.

Ars Nova: Fundraiser for Sun Ra’s Marshall Allen

An Ars Nova fundraiser will honor Sun Ra Arkestra maestro Marshall Allen (BELSH (M Slater))
An Ars Nova fundraiser will honor Sun Ra Arkestra maestro Marshall Allen (Courtesy of BELSH (M Slater))

Marshall Allen, now almost 97, is a linchpin of the Sun Ra Arkestra as an alto saxophone and electric wind instrument player in the renowned avant-garde jazz band. Music advocacy and arts organization Ars Nova is hosting a virtual fundraiser for Allen to pay homage to his life and work. The Louisville, Kentucky native lived in Philadelphia as a teen, then followed a musical path after being part of the historic 92nd infantry, also known as the Buffalo soldiers. Allen’s been a vital part of the Sun Ra Arkestra for 60 years.

  • What: Virtual charity event
  • Where: Online, via Eventbrite
  • When: Thursday, May 20, 7 p.m.
  • How much: $25 – $250 

CSz Philadelphia: Murder Manor

CSz Philadelphia: Murder Manor
Murder Manor (Courtesy of CSz Philadelphia)

In the before times, CSz Philadelphia, the city’s improv stage, troupe, and school, hosted the sold-out stage production of “Murder Manor” for three straight years. We all know what happened next. Now, the improvised murder mystery comedy show has moved online. Attendees can use the live chat function (respectfully) to guess, play along, and figure out the clues as the show goes on. The cast includes the usual suspects, err, players, that appear in the long-running “ComedySportz” show.

  • What: Online version of improvised stage production
  • Where: Virtual via Zoom
  • When: Friday, May 21, 8 p.m.
  • How much: $10 – $50

Clark Park: The Lady Hoofers

(Courtesy of The Lady Hoofers)

In the spirit of such legendary hoofers as Bill “Bojangles” Robinson, the Nicholas Brothers, the Hines Brothers, Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Gene Kelly, Savion Glover, and more, National Tap Dance Day is celebrated every year on May 23. Philadelphia’s The Lady Hoofers, the all-female tap dance troupe, celebrates it on Sunday, with a free tap performance in West Philly’s Clark Park.

Ardmore Music Hall: Aunt Mary Pat

(@auntmarypat/Instagram)

Aunt Mary Pat is baaack, hun! Though she’s the diva of Delco, she’s heading to Montco this weekend to bring her regional brand of humor to the socially distanced, limited capacity masses. That’s OK, soon she’ll be back to her usual haunts at places like Acme, and the Wawa HoagieFest. Until then, you can see her live on stage while she skewers the Delaware Valley and its denizens we all know and love or, in some cases, endure.

Franklin Square: Chinatown scavenger hunt

The streets of Chinatown in April 2020. (Emma Lee/WHYY)
The streets of Chinatown in April 2020. (Emma Lee/WHYY)

In conjunction with the Philadelphia Chinatown Development Corporation, and in celebration of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, Franklin Square is the starting point of a neighborhood scavenger hunt that takes participants through the storied area of the city to find clues that reflect its history and provenance. Participants can even win prizes.

Cooper’s Poynt: Outdoor movie night

Coming 2 America (Amazon Prime)

You don’t even need a car to enjoy Camden’s Outdoor Movie Night, just a blanket or chair and some friends. The screening of Eddie Murphy and Arsenio Hall’s “Coming 2 America,” the sequel of the 1988 classic, is being shown and admission is free, with advance registration. Masks are required when you’re not in your own group. Snacks will be provided as well.

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

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