Opera ‘cycles,’ 30 years of the Fresh Prince and Tom Rush live in this week’s ‘Things to Do’

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'Fresh Prince of Bel-Air' reunion (HBO Max)

'Fresh Prince of Bel-Air' reunion (HBO Max)

With cases rising in the Delaware Valley, new restrictions are in place in Delaware, New Jersey and Philadelphia, which will close museums, gyms and shutter indoor dining in an abundance of caution. Fortunately, virtual options and outdoor dining remain as venues continue to find creative ways to remain viable while prioritizing safety.

Opera in Black

The opera has not always been an inclusive space. This summer’s racial reckoning — inspired by the tragic killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery — meant many cultural institutions had to face their diversity-related shortcomings. In 2018, Opera Philadelphia debuted “Cycles of My Being,” an opera created and performed entirely by people of color. Tenor Lawrence Browlee, poet Terrance Hayes and conductor/composer Tyshawn Sorey collaborated to bring the story of the Black man’s struggle in America to vivid life. “Cycles of My Being,”

Opera Philadelphia, virtual
Friday, Nov. 20, 8 p.m., $20 for 7-day pass, $99 for Opera Philadelphia season pass

Rush hour

For many, live music is the soul-soothing antidote to any challenging life situation. Though technology has ensured many platforms to listen to music on, there’s nothing that truly replaces seeing a concert in person. That said, the availability of livestreamed concerts has been a blessing for music lovers. The Philadelphia Folksong Society is hosting a live virtual concert with folk icon Tom Rush on Saturday night. The venerable organization is using its platform to support the #KeepTheMusicPlaying initiative, which helps musicians around the globe. Rush will be accompanied by frequent collaborator Matt Nakoa and there’s even a virtual meet-and-greet after the show. 

An Evening with Tom Rush, virtual
Saturday, Nov. 21, 8 p.m.
$10 and up

Fresh reunion

Yes, it’s been 30 years since “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” was first broadcast on NBC on Sept. 10, 1990. If that makes you feel old, consider that West Philadelphia-native Will Smith looks pretty much the same, though he’s now 52. If anything could make a pandemic more bearable, it’s the 30th-anniversary reunion of one of the most popular sitcoms of all time. All of the surviving main cast members – Philly natives Smith and “DJ Jazzy Jeff” Townes, Karyn Parsons (Hilary Banks), Alfonso Ribeiro (Carlton Banks), Tatyana Ali (Ashley Banks), Joseph Marcell (Geoffrey), and Daphne Maxwell Reid (Aunt Viv) are part of the celebration. Even the show’s first ‘Aunt Viv,’ Janet Hubert Whitten, famously estranged from Smith for much of the last two decades, shows up. Expect a moving tribute to James Avery, the beloved actor who played Uncle Phil on the show, who died in 2013 at the age of 68.

“The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air 30th Anniversary Reunion
HBO Max, stream available starting on Nov. 19

Bright lights

With current restrictions in place, it’s a challenge to figure out what to do to maintain holiday family traditions. Since people are encouraged to gather as households (even for outside events), there are some things that should suit everyone from the toddlers to the elders. Longwood Gardens’ A Longwood Christmas begins this Friday and continues through Jan. 10. Tickets are limited, so make your plans in advance. Yardley’s Shady Brook Farm also hosts an annual drive-thru holiday light show with more than three million lights through Jan. 10, and you can also drive away with your Christmas tree. In Swedesboro, N.J., the mile-long annual Holiday Light Show gets started Nov. 19. 

A Longwood Christmas
Longwood Gardens, 1001 Longwood Rd. Kennett Sq., Pa.
$2 – $30 through Jan. 10

Shady Brook Farm Holiday Light Show
931 Stony Hill Rd. Yardley, Pa.
$25 – $35 through Jan. 10

South Jersey Holiday Light Show
Bridgeport Speedway, 83 Flood Gate Rd. Swedesboro, N.J.,
$23 through Dec. 30

Hot toddy

Among the great things about fall and winter are hot drinks, especially hot chocolate. David Lebovitz, an American food blogger who lives in Paris, is trying to make the best of a city largely shuttered by COVID-19. The author of “Drinking French: The Iconic Cocktails, Apéritifs, and Café Traditions of France,” demonstrates how to make the perfect Belgian hot chocolate or le chocolat chaud on his Instagram page, where he also shares other recipes, cooking tutorials and a view of how the iconic city is trying to maintain when its very essence — food and culture — have been curtailed by the pandemic.

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

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