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Music, flowers, dance, and the dawn of Women’s History Month

Listen 4:35
Tulips on display at the 2018 Philadelphia Flower Show. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

Tulips on display at the 2018 Philadelphia Flower Show. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

Ushering in Women’s History Month, the music of Billy Joel and Elton John, a weekend of dance and flower power highlight this week’s “Things To Do.”

Jim Witter’s Piano Men
The Playhouse on Rodney Square
1007 N. Market St., Wilmington, Delaware
March 2; 8 p.m.
$30-$35

Last year, Elton John announced his retirement from touring, albeit three years in advance. Billy Joel has done no such thing, but after decades on the road, both men probably need a break…or a clone. That’s where Canadian musician Jim Witter comes in. His show, “The Piano Men,” pulls from the legendary songbooks of both artists, focusing on Joel and John’s prodigious output of the 1970s and ‘80s.

Citizen Cope
Franklin Music Hall
421 N. Seventh St., Philadelphia
March 1; 8:30 p.m.
$39.50

Clarence Greenwood, better known to music fans as Citizen Cope, grew up in Washington, D.C., but has traveled the globe following his musical muse. Blues, rock, soul and hip-hop inform his music, which has been extensively covered by other artists and included in several film and TV projects. His new album “Heroin and Helicopters” on his RainWater Recordings label comes out Friday. Acknowledging that “people try to politicize my music sometimes,” Cope says he doesn’t write political records. “My music has always been built around consciousness.”

Rehoboth Gumbo Crawl
Main Street, Rehoboth Beach, Delaware
March 2; 2-5 p.m.
$10 (Cash-only tickets available at The Purple Parrot Grill and other participating restaurants.)

Like gumbo? If so, plan a trip to Rehoboth Beach Saturday — and plan to arrive hungry. Several different eateries will be serving up plenty of the seafood stew at this weekend’s competitive Mardi Gras Gumbo Crawl. Eleven participating restaurants and one food truck will compete for the best gumbo, an honor won last year by Café Azafrán, returning this year. Ticket proceeds benefit the Rehoboth Beach Volunteer Fire Department. Mardi Gras wear is not required, but if photos of previous years are any indication, dressing up is part of the fun.

Burlington County St. Patrick’s Day Parade
6 High St., Mount Holly, New Jersey
March 2; 11 a.m.-4 p.m.

Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day starts early in Burlington County. Though the actual date is March 17, the county’s only annual St. Paddy’s Day parade is always held the first Saturday in March. The event includes a 5K Run and a Family Fun Walk to benefit Mount Holly’s recreation programs. Five dozen groups will be joining in the parade led by a grand marshal and Miss St. Patrick. Refreshments, beverages of the regular and adult kind, and music will be part of a post-parade celebration to take place in a heated tent.

Intro to Afro-Cuban Dance
Philly Art Collective
253 N. Third St., Philadelphia
March 2; 1-2 p.m.
Free for first 10 with registration; after that, by donation

Dance instructor Jonathan Delgado-Melendez, who studied at the University of the Arts, will instruct dancers in this latest artistic event out of the Philly Art Collective. His approach to dance instruction is grounded in West Africa, where much of this style of dance originated. Women are requested to wear dance skirts that go past the knees in the Afro-Caribbean tradition.

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater
Kimmel Center
240 S. Broad St., Philadelphia
March 1; 7:30 p.m.
March 2; 2, 7:30 p.m.
$25-$94

Dance Theatre of Harlem
Zellerbach Theater at the Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts
3680 Walnut St., Philadelphia
March 1; 8 p.m.
March 2; 2, 8 p.m.

Philadanco
Longwood Gardens
1000 Longwood Road, Kennett Square, Pennsylvania
March 2; 1-4 p.m.
Free with general admission ($12-$23)
Kids 4 and under, free

Someone must have deemed the first weekend of March as dance weekend in the Delaware Valley. Three renowned African-American dance companies will be in the region — virtually at the same times. With some advance planning, you may be able to see them all: Alvin Ailey, the pre-eminent contemporary African-American dance company; Dance Theatre of Harlem, the acclaimed ballet company; and Philadanco, Philly’s own top troupe. At the Dance Theatre of Harlem performances, you can stay after and meet the ballerinas.

First Friday! Black Pearl Orchestra
The Barnes Foundation
2025 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia
March 1, 6-9 p.m.
$28

Jeri Lynne Johnson made her own history as the first African-American woman to win the prestigious Taki Concordia Conducting Fellowship. In 2008, she founded the Black Pearl Chamber Orchestra, hoping to diversify the world of classical music. With musicians trained at the nation’s leading music conservatories, Black Pearl has played for President Barack Obama and partnered with middle and high schools for a groundbreaking afterschool program in conducting. The Lyric Bass Quintet and flutist Julietta Curenton are on the bill playing Mozart’s Flute Concerto No. 2 in D Major and Haydn’s Symphony No. 45 in F# minor, ”The Farewell.” Access to the Barnes collection and its new photography exhibit is included with admission.

Nina Simone: Four Women
People’s Light
30 Conestoga Road, Malvern, Pennsylvania
Through March 31
$35-$77

Playwright Christina Haim turns Nina Simone’s classic recording into a musical play that explores what might have happened had Simone met three of the four women referenced in the song at Birmingham, Alabama’s 16th Street Baptist Church. That’s where four little girls were murdered in a bombing in 1963, a galvanizing moment in the civil rights movement. The incident is said to have influenced Simone’s activism.

Così Fan Tutte
Helen Corning Warden Theater at the Academy Of Vocal Arts
1920 Spruce St., Philadelphia
March 2, 5, 7, 9; 7:30 p.m.
March 12; 7:30 p.m. at Haverford School’s Centennial Hall
$68 and up

Mozart’s famed opera about relationships and infidelity is staged by the Academy of Vocal Arts with Maestro Christofer Macatsoris conducting the AVA Opera Orchestra. Stage director Dorothy Danner previously helmed AVA productions “L’italiana in Algeri” and “Ariadne auf Naxos.” This production features a single performance in Haverford as well.

Author Talk: Karin Bergöö Larsson and the Emergence of Swedish Design
American Swedish Historical Museum
1900 Pattison Ave., Philadelphia
March 3; 2 p.m.
Free with museum admission

Author Marge Thorell is on hand to discuss her book “Karin Bargöö Larsson and The Emergence of Swedish Design” about the Scandinavian woman who was instrumental in what we now know as modern Scandinavian design. Although her husband, Swedish painter Carl Larsson, made her give up painting, the mother of eight turned instead to home design, using her own home as the canvas. Larsson’s paintings of their domestic environment made Bargöö Larsson famous, creating the blueprint for Scandi home design as exemplified globally by IKEA. A book signing follows.

Sixers vs. Golden State Warriors
Wells Fargo Center
3601 S. Broad St., Philadelphia
March 2; 8:30 p.m.
$163 and up

Currently perched in second place in the Eastern Conference Atlantic division, the Sixers are pretty confident of making a run in the playoffs. Joel Embiid asked fans to “trust the process,” and the team has been surging to respectability ever since. This weekend, they battle defending NBA champs Golden State Warriors who, though not leading the league in wins this season, are still among the league’s elite.

Harlem Globetrotters
Liacouras Center
1776 N. Broad St., Philadelphia
March 1; 7 p.m.
$18-$120
Wells Fargo Center
March 3; noon, 5 p.m.
$22-$175

If the Sixers tickets are a little too high, that storied basketball performance troupe, The Harlem Globetrotters, slam dunks into town to perform at two different venues. After 93 years, the Globetrotters are as popular as ever for their family friendly shows. The current crop of stars — Big Easy Lofton, Ant Atkinson, Hi-Lite Bruton, Hammer Harrison, Thunder Law, Bull Bullard and Cheese Chisholm — along with women players TNT Lister, Torch George, Hoops Green and acrobats the Flying Globies should make for an entertaining day.

Philly Craft Beer Festival
Navy Yard
1100 Flagship Ave.
(Shuttles from Broad and Pattison begin at 1 p.m.)
March 2; 1:30 p.m.-5 p.m.
$12 and up (VIP tickets sold out, only general admission and designated driver tickets still available)

Philly Beer Scene has dubbed this festival “Best Beer Fest” for three years running, so if you can’t find a brew to savor among the 200 featured varieties, you may want to reconsider your choice of adult beverages. As food and beer go hand in hand, food trucks will be onsite, as will photobooths, backyard games and the ever-popular ax throwing.

Flowers After Hours
Pennsylvania Convention Center
12th and Arch streets, Philadelphia
March 2; 8:30-11:30 p.m.
$75, $85

Cocktails and flowers combine at Flowers After Hours, the late-night highlight of this week’s Philadelphia Flower Show, the nation’s largest and longest-running show of its kind. The show opens Saturday and runs through March 10. But if the daytime crowds wear you out, you can enjoy the flowers while being serenaded by the Beat-Tells, a Beatles tribute band, and the sounds of DJ Robert Drake. Flower-related games and programs and a cash bar featuring special cocktails are all a part of the evening’s festivities. (Ticketed exhibits will not be accessible.)

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