Looking for something to do this week? WHYY’s Robin Bloom has some recommendations on what’s happening in the Philadelphia region. Here are her picks:
Philadelphia Theatre Company’s new season starts with “4,000 Miles” by Amy Herzog, onstage through Nov. 10. The show, which won the 2012 OBIE Award for Best New American Play, tells the funny, yet touching story of a grandson who, after a trying cross-country bike trip, seeks solace from his 91-year-old grandmother in her New York City apartment. Directed by Mary B. Robinson and starring Beth Dixon, Leigha Kato, David Raphaely, and Shannon Sullivan, with set design by Jason Simms, lighting by Thom Weaver, sound design by Bart Fasbender, and costume design by Elizabeth Hope Clancy, Suzanne Roberts Theatre, Broad and Lombard Streets, Philadelphia. Special programming includes a meet the artists talk back on Oct. 31, discussion with the playwright, Nov. 10, pre-show Happy Hours from 6:30 p.m. to curtain every Friday during production, and more.
Quintessence Theatre Group, known for adapting epic works of classic literature and drama for the contemporary stage, opens its fourth season with Shakespeare’s “Hamlet,” through Nov. 23. The Sedgwick Theater in Mt. Airy is transformed into an Elizabethan Courtyard-style theater with the seated audience on elevated risers around the central stage, allowing the audience to look down on the action in the yard below. Much like the groundlings in Shakespeare’s Globe Theater, lower-priced tickets are offered for audience members to stand in the “pit” around the stage platform and can interact with the abridged two hour production. Directed by Alexander Burns with Josh Carpenter as Hamlet at 7137 Germantown Ave., Philadelphia. The production is presented in rotating repertory with Oliver Goldsmith’s comedy “She Stoops to Conquer,” through Nov. 24.
The legendary Paul Taylor Dance Company returns to the Annenberg Center for Dance Celebration’s 31st season. The performance features 16 dancers, two classics, and two Philadelphia premieres, including a reconstruction of the 1961 “Fibers,” set to music by Arnold Schoenberg, and the 1979 “Profiles,” with a commissioned score by Jan Radzynski. Also, the 2011 “Gossamer Gallants,” an insect “battle of the sexes” commentary on the mating rituals of the bug world (pictured), set to music by Czech composer Bedrich Smetana, and a new full-company work “American Dreamer,” set to the music of Stephen Foster, Thursday, Oct. 24, 7:30 p.m., Friday, Oct. 25, 8 p.m., and Saturday, Oct. 26, 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Post-show talk back on Oct. 25, 3680 Walnut St., Philadelphia.
Perfect for the fall season, Hedgerow Theatre Company stages Shakespeare’s dark tragedy “Macbeth,” through Nov. 17. The play, complete with witches and ghosts and other supernatural touches, is a fast-moving, modern production directed by Barrymore Award-winner Dan Hodge, co-founder of the Philadelphia Artists’ Collective. Associate Artistic Director Jared Reed plays the title role with Jennifer Summerfield as Lady Macbeth, 64 Rose Valley Road, in Rose Valley, Pa. Hedgerow Theatre is America’s first repertory theatre, celebrating its 90th anniversary.
The 14th Annual Philadelphia Open Studio Tours is Oct. 19-20 for studios west of Broad Street, as hundreds of professional visual artists open their studios to the public for the display and sale of their artwork, guided tours, workshops, artist talks and more, noon-6 p.m. each day. Free. Presented by the Center for Emerging Visual Artists, which also has launched “Made in Philly,” celebrating the accomplishments of the individuals behind Philadelphia’s ongoing renaissance through a coordinated takeover of street-level advertising spaces with large-scale artwork. Free mobile app and smartphone guide available to plan your own itinerary. Guided trolley tours available Oct. 20.
On display at the National Liberty Museum’s new Gallery Three Two One is “Small Worlds,” an exhibition of nearly one hundred 20th century paperweights from its collection. The show illustrates and explains the origination of paper-weight making, along with an overview of techniques commonly used by paperweight artists. Several dozen objects by internationally renowned glass artists and “father” of modern glass paperweights, Paul Stankard, are featured (pictured) as well as works by Randall Grubb, Ken Rosenfeld, Gordon Smith, Ken Carder, and others, through Dec. 30 in G321, 321 Chestnut St., Philadelphia.
The National Museum of American Jewish History hosts an exhibit that highlights the achievements of a Jewish Philadelphia filmmaker and founder of the Betzwood Motion Picture Studio. “Now Showing: “Pop” Lubin’s Silent Film Empire” tells the story of an ophthalmologist, Siegmund Lubin, who began making magic lantern slides at his optical shop, marketed his own camera equipment, opened theaters, distributed films and eventually established a network of studios across the country. Lubin produced over 3,000 silent movies during the 2 decades of his film career. The exhibit includes artifacts ranging from publicity stills to two films released in 1908 and 1909 that have not been shown in public for over 100 years, on display through Feb. 7 at 101 S. Independence Mall East, Philadelphia. This Saturday, join the NMAJH at the Arden Theatre Company for a post-show discussion on “Parade,” the musical based on the true story of Leo Frank, following the 2 p.m. performance, 40 N. Second St., Philadelphia.
Scientists, mathematicians, engineers and artists have been pushing the boundaries of origami to create what has been called “Extreme Origami,” blending math and science with the ancient art of paper folding. Lafayette College showcases many examples with a new exhibit, “Crease, Fold and Bend,” folded animals and anatomically correct insects, a sea-worthy kayak, a display of 36 folded white crabs, video installations, and more, through Oct. 27, Williams Center Gallery, Easton, Pa.
The Philadelphia Chamber Music Society opens its new season with the Emerson Quartet (pictured), Friday, Oct. 18, 8 p.m., Kimmel Center; Trio Cavatina and Samuel Rhodes, viola, Sunday, Oct. 20, 3 p.m., Kimmel Center; Jeffrey Khaner, flute and Charles Abramovic, piano, Tuesday, Oct. 22, 8 p.m., Settlement Music School; Jennifer Johnson Cano, mezzo-soprano and Christopher Cano, piano, Wednesday, Oct. 23, 8 p.m., American Philosophical Society; Garrick Ohlsson, piano, Thursday, Oct. 24, 8 p.m., Kimmel Center; Orion Quartet, Wednesday, Oct. 30, 8 p.m., Kimmel Center.
The annual Venezuelan Expressions celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month with “Composers,” a program showcasing the artistic talent of Venezuelan musicians and dancers in the Philadelphia region, Sunday, Oct. 20, 3 p.m., Painted Bride Art Center, 230 Vine St., Philadelphia. Special guest artists include Elite Strings Chamber Orchestra, Allegro Voce Children Choir, and José Layo Puentes (pictured) paying tribute to Venezuelan composers. Presented by Casa de Venezuela.
Mendelssohn Club begins its 140th anniversary season with a program of great works for chorus and organ from the early and mid-20th century, Friday, Oct. 25, 7:30 p.m. in Verizon Hall at the Kimmel Center. Works include Benjamin Britten’s Festival Te Deum and Jubilate Deo, in honor of his birth centenary, Louis Vierne’s Messe Solennelle and Marcel Dupré’s Four Motets, along with Charles Ives’ setting of Psalm 90, and Zoltán Kodály’s Laudes Organi. Featuring organist Michael Stairs, commentator Michael Barone of American Public Media’s “Pipedreams,” and the Fred J. Cooper Memorial Organ, the largest mechanical-action concert organ in the country.
Multiple Blues award winner and Grammy Award nominee Shemekia Copeland brings her soulful sound to Sellersville Theater Friday, Oct. 25, 8 p.m., 24 West Temple Ave., Sellersville, Pa.
Festivals, Fairs & Fall Fun
In October 1913, an ancient Egyptian Sphinx from Memphis, Egypt arrived at the Penn Museum. Join in the centennial celebration of the largest Egyptian Sphinx in the western hemisphere, “Hijinks with the Sphinx,” and a variety of Egypt-related programming, Saturday, Oct. 19, from 1pm-4pm, National Archaeology Day celebration. Guests are invited to join in stories, games, races, demonstrations, a display of pop-culture “kitsch” drawn from the Museum Egyptologists’ personal collections, lectures, and more, including an exclusive behind-the-scenes sphinx history tour in the museum archives, 3260 South St., Philadelphia. Dress like an Egyptian and get in for half price!
The seventh-annual PAWS “Mutt Strut,” Dog Walk and Adoption Festival is Saturday, Oct. 19, to raise funds and awareness for PAWS’ efforts to save Philadelphia’s homeless, abandoned, and unwanted animals. Check-in begins at 9am, strutting starts at 11a.m., with music, food, pet costume contest, training tips, pet activities, grooming and more in a new location at the Navy Yard, 4747 S. Broad St., Philadelphia. If you don’t have a pet, you can “rent” a PAWS dog.
Tour the New Jersey coast from Sandy Hook to Cape May with the Lighthouse Challenge, Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 19-20, and the opportunity to climb the Garden State’s maintained lighthouses to help fund their preservation. The event includes a number of participating lighthouses, including Barnegat Light (pictured) and many more. Fees or donations differ for each location.
The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University hosts the annual Philadelphia Shell Show and Festival, called the largest show of its kind in the Northeast, Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 19-20, featuring displays in judged categories that reflect various aspects of shell collecting, international shell market, behind-the-scenes tours, a touch tank, activities for kids and more, 1900 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia. Included with museum admission.
The fifth-annual “Bloktoberfest” returns this Saturday, Oct. 19, noon-8 p.m., offering a wide selection of beer by craft breweries from around the country, food from neighborhood vendors and food trucks, and multiple stages of live music on four blocks of South Street, between Broad Street and 18th streets, Philadelphia. Free to attend with beer proceeds going to local charities and programs.
The Hagley Craft Fair is back this weekend, Saturday, Oct. 19 and Sunday, Oct. 20, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. both days, featuring works on display and for sale in wood, pottery, jewelry, fibers, metal, and other media. New this year is a specialty market featuring gourmet food vendors, Buck Road east entrance off Route 100, Wilmington, Del. Bring the kids and enjoy Hayrides at Hagley, Saturdays in October from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. with family activities, a gunpowder explosion, the roll mill in action, working nineteenth-century machines, and more.
Batsto Village’s annual Country Living Fair is Sunday, Oct. 20, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., with exhibits, music, crafts, antiques, quilting, old-time engines and cars, food, children’s activities and more, in the Wharton State Forest in the South Central pinelands of New Jersey, 31 Batsto Rd., Route 542, Hammonton, N.J. Free admission and parking.
Halloween events in the region
The Delaware Shakespeare Festival presents “Shakespeare/Poe,“ a night of readings from “the dark side,” by two masters of the macabre, Friday, Oct.18, 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, Oct. 26, Newark Arts Alliance, Main Street, Newark, Del.; Saturday, Oct. 19, 7:30 p.m. and Friday, Oct. 25, 7:30 p.m. at the Read House and Gardens, 42 The Strand, New Castle, Del. And on Sunday, Oct. 20, 6:30 p.m. and Sunday, Oct. 27, 6:30 p.m. at the Rockwood Mansion, 4651 Washington Street Extension, Wilmington, Del.
Wagner Free Institute of Science hosts “CLAWS! A Spooky Creature Feature,” a Halloween family open house featuring live animals from the Elmwood Park Zoo, Saturday, Oct.19, noon-4 p.m., with activities and crafts and more. Kids are encouraged to come in costume, 1700 West Montgomery Ave. Philadelphia. Free.
Pumpkinfest returns to Doylestown, Pa. on Saturday, Oct. 19 beginning at noon with area artists carving out a giant pumpkin squash into glowing works, followed by performances, children’s activities, movies and more at 4 p.m., Moravian Tile Works, 130 E. Swamp Rd Doylestown, Pa.
Ebenezer Maxwell Mansion hosts a live murder mystery “Twisted: A Dickensian Mystery,” Saturday, Oct. 19, 5:30 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 20, 2:30 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 26, 5:30 p.m., and Sunday, Oct. 27, 2:30 p.m., 200 W. Tulpehocken St., Philadelphia. Reservations required.
Broadway Theatre of Pitman presents “The Little Monsters BIG Halloween Adventure,” live children’s theater, Friday, Oct. 25, 10 a.m. and Saturday, Oct. 26, 10 a.m. and 1 p.m., 43 S. Broadway, Pitman, N.J.
Graeme Park hosts its annual Haunted Moonlight Halloween tours, Friday, Oct. 25, 7 p.m.-9:30 p.m., 859 County Line Rd, Horsham, Pa.