Cherry Blossom Festival, Philadanco and ‘Hadestown’ in this week’s ‘Things To Do’

April 11–14: Chef Conference in Philly, Vicki Lawrence in N.J. and “Deathtrap” in Del. are among the weekend highlights.

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Cherry blossoms on a tree

'Close up' blossoms from Yoshino cherry trees in West Fairmount Park. (Jennifer Lynn/WHYY)

Nostalgia continues to reign supreme as the star of “The Carol Burnett Show,” Vicki Lawrence, heads to South Jersey. In Philadelphia, The Chef Conference makes its inaugural run with superstars of the food world in Philadelphia for four days. Bon appétit! Jazz Appreciation Month brings director Sam Pollard to Scribe Video Center for a screening and conversation about his 2023 documentary “Max Roach: The Drum Also Waltzes.” And Sakura Weekend returns to celebrate East Fairmount Park’s cherry blossom trees while they’re in full bloom. Alas, that’s not for long, so enjoy them while you can. 

New Jersey | Delaware | Special Events | Arts & Culture | Kids | Comedy | Music

New Jersey

Vicki Lawrence and Mama: A Two Woman Show 

Vicki Lawrence
Vicki Lawrence arrives for the filming of the NBC television special “Carol Burnett: 90 Years of Laughter and Love,” Thursday, March 2, 2023, at the Avalon Hollywood in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)
  • Where: Broadway Theatre of Pitman, 43 S. Broadway, Pitman, N.J.
  • When: Saturday, April 13, 2 p.m., 8 p.m.
  • How much: $45

Nostalgia is the gift that keeps on giving for performers of classic TV and music. Vicki Lawrence is heading to South Jersey for “Vicki Lawrence and Mama: A Two Woman Show.” First, she appears as herself for a mix of stand-up and life observations, then returns to the stage as Mama, the beloved character she originated on the classic variety program “The Carol Burnett Show” during its 1967-1978 run. 

Los Lobos 

While their most recognizable hit, “La Bamba,” was in 1987, Los Lobos has continued to be among the music industry’s most popular Latin American touring bands. Though the lineups have changed over the years, the mix of Latin music genres, R&B, folk and rock has given Los Lobos its distinctive sound. In 2024, they were inducted into the California Hall of Fame. This weekend, they’re in South Jersey. 

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  • Where: Resident Ensemble Players, David and Louise Roselle Center for the Arts, 110 Orchard Rd., Newark, Del.
  • When: Thursday, April 11 –  Sunday, April 28
  • How much: $30 – $39 

Playwright Sidney Bruhl’s career is at a crossroads when a former student sends him a play that could change his declining fortunes. He’ll just have to kill him to take credit for it. That’s the premise of “Deathtrap,” a play within a play that has enthralled audiences since its inception in 1978. 

Special Events 

The Chef Conference

Chad and Hanna Williams at Friday Saturday Sunday, winner of the 2023 James Beard Award for the nation's best restaurant
Chad and Hanna Williams at Friday Saturday Sunday, winner of the 2023 James Beard Award for the nation’s best restaurant. (Courtesy Friday Saturday Sunday)
  • Where: Multiple venues
  • When: Friday, April 12 – Monday, April 15
  • How much: Various prices

Philadelphia is a city of restaurants representing a variety of cuisines. At the inaugural Chef Conference, food purveyors and food lovers come together for four days of intimate dinners, tours, tastings, panels, speakers, live podcasts and more with rock stars of the local and national food world. Note: Make those dinner reservations ASAP as spots are limited and sellout potential is high. 

Punk Rock Flea Market 

  • Where: 23rd St. Armory, 22 S. 23rd St.
  • When: Friday, April 12, 4 p.m. – 10 p.m., Saturday, April 13, Sunday, April 14, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
  • How much: $10

The Punk Rock Flea Market will sell all things punk and vintage, from apparel to music. There will be 200 vendors on each day of the market, with a different group of vendors each day. One ticket purchase is good for admission on all three days. 

Cherry Blossom Festival 

Cherry blossoms on a tree
‘Close up’ blossoms from Yoshino cherry trees in West Fairmount Park. (Jennifer Lynn/WHYY)
  • Where: Fairmount Park Horticultural Center, 100 N. Horticultural Dr.
  • When: Saturday, April 13, 10 a.m.  – 5 p.m. Sunday, April 14, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
  • How much: Free

The Cherry Blossom Festival celebrates the spring season’s most beautiful time — when trees blossom all over the city. The epicenter of the woefully short season in Philadelphia is the Horticultural Center in Fairmount Park, which has over a thousand trees. The free two-day festival, hosted by the Japan America Society of Greater Philadelphia, includes traditional dance and music performances along with food, beer, workshops and more. 

The Clover Market 

  • Where: 25 W. Highland Ave., Chestnut Hill, Pa.
  • When: Sunday, April 14, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
  • How much: Free, pay as you go

The intersection of West Highland Avenue and Germantown Avenue is where the Clover Market kicks off its seasonal run. The market brings over 90 specially curated local artisans together. Pay-as-you-go food trucks will be on-site all day, along with live music performances. Well-behaved dogs on leashes are welcome. Note: Parking can be scarce. Designated [paid] parking is available in Parking Foundation lots. 

Freedom Seder Revisited

Passover is on the way, and the Weitzman National Museum of American Jewish History is hosting its annual Freedom Seder Revisited, open to people of all faiths and backgrounds. Participants from the Mural Arts Restorative Justice Program and Rabbi Arthur Waskow of the Shalom Center, who organized the original Freedom Seder in 1969, are on the program, along with performances by Vanessa Hidary and Snacktime.

Arts & Culture

Spring Fest 

  • Where: Philadelphia Film Center, 1412 Chestnut St.
  • When: Friday, April 12 – Sunday, April 14
  • How much: $15 – $17 per screening

Preview some of the movies everyone will be talking about in a few months at the Philadelphia Film Center’s SpringFest. Screenings include “The Idea of You,” starring Anne Hathaway, “Sing Sing,” starring West Philly’s own Colman Domingo and Toronto International Film Fest fave “We Grown Now,” with Jurnee Smollett. Check individual film listings for post-screening chats.  


Lana Gordon in Hadestown
Lana Gordon in ‘Hadestown’ (Charles Erickson)

Hadestown,” the eight-time Tony Award-winning Broadway musical, heads to the Academy of Music stage, but not for long. The commercially successful and critically acclaimed production was on Broadway from 2019-2021 and also won a 2020 Grammy for Best Musical Theater Album. Based on the mythical tale of Orpheus and Eurydice, it retells the story with a contemporary, multicultural twist. 

PHILADANCO! Roots & Reflections

Philadanco! Roots and Reflections
Philadanco! Roots and Reflections (J. Harris)
  • Where: Perelman Theater, 300 S. Broad St. (inside the Kimmel Center)
  • When: Friday, April 12, 7:30 p.m., Saturday, April 13, 2 p.m., 7:30 p.m., Sunday, April 14, 2 p.m.
  • How much: $29 – $49

Philadanco restages its most requested ballets in its spring season production, “PHILADANCO! Roots and Reflections.” The program includes “Suite Otis,” a tribute to R&B icon Otis Redding choreographed by George Faison, Talley Beatty’s “Pretty Is Skin Deep, Ugly to the Bone,” Ronald K. Brown’s “Gatekeepers” and the titular ballet “Roots & Reflections” by Harold Pierson.

Producers Forum: Sam Pollard 

Documentary filmmaker Sam Pollard edited several films with Spike Lee before getting behind the camera to closely examine monumental people and events that shaped American history. His docs “MLK/FBI,” “Lowndes County and the Road to Black Power,” “The League” and “Mr. Soul!” added to the historical record from a sharply hewn Black perspective. He’ll screen and discuss his latest, “Max Roach: The Drum Also Waltzes,” with John Morrison at Scribe Video’s “Producer Forum: Sam Pollard.”

Philly Otaku Fest

  • Where: Cherry Street Pier, 121 N. Christopher Columbus Blvd.
  • When: Friday, April 12, 4 p.m. – 9 p.m., Saturday, April 13, noon – 9 p.m., Sunday, April 14, noon – 6 p.m.
  • How much: Free, pay as you go

Come to the Philly Otaku Fest to cosplay, observe, buy, eat — or just hang out. The three-day festival celebrates people who are avidly interested in computers, anime, manga and video games. There’s a Cosplay Parade, cosplay stars and free gaming. Pay-as-you-go food and drink includes French Toast Bites, Electronic Eats and Philly Tacos.


“Sweat” is one of playwright Lynn Nottage’s two Pulitzer Prize-winning plays. (The other is “Ruined.”) This one is set in the working-class community of Reading, where tension roils a group of factory workers whose livelihoods and relationships are threatened by their corporate overseers, union unrest and racism.  


Based on an Italian children’s story, the classic Disney tale “Pinocchio” finds new life in its stage adaptation, which includes the songs from the 1940 animated version. Billed as suitable for “children of all ages,” it’s at the Arden through June 2. Smart caption glasses are available for all shows after April 27 and ASL performances on selected dates.  

Chloé Arnold’s Syncopated Ladies Live

Syncopated Ladies
Syncopated Ladies (Joey Kennedy)

Dancer-choreographer Chloe Arnold was mentored by Debbie Allen. But it was Beyoncé’s co-sign that brought her all-female tap dance squad Syncopated Ladies national attention. In 2018, Queen Bey reposted their “Formation” tribute on her website, making it go viral. Now, you can see what moved the star to champion them at Chloé Arnold’s Syncopated Ladies Live, which brings the squad to Philly for a one-night-only showcase.


Karaoke for Kids 

  • Where: Adobe Cafe South Philly, 736 S. 8th St.
  • When: Sunday, April 14, 1 p.m. – 4 p.m. (ongoing every Sunday)
  • How much: Pay as you go

Karaoke for Kids should be everywhere kids are. But if you’re in South Philly, you’re lucky because there’s a weekly karaoke right in your hood. The ongoing event offers several afternoon sing-along hours for kids with moxie, talent — or just the willingness to get on the mic.  


T.K. Kirkland 

  • Where: Punch Line Philly, 33 E. Laurel St.
  • When: Friday, April 12, 7:30, 9:45, Saturday, April 13, 7 p.m., 9:15 p.m., Sunday, April 14, 7 p.m.
  • How much: $47 and up

Funnyman T.K. Kirkland is among the group of African American comics who’ve been grinding it out for years on tours and in comedy clubs. Although he’s not a household name in every household, he’s maintained a loyal following. He’s at Punchline Philly for five shows from Friday to Sunday. 


The Secret Special Show With Matt Quinn of Mt. Joy 

Matt Quinn of Mt. Joy performs the Secret Special Show concert at Brooklyn Bowl Philadelphia. We guess the cat’s out of the bag now, but it’s all for a good cause — to benefit the Zach and Julie Ertz Family Foundation. (Their family is growing as they are expecting their second child.) It’s happening at Brooklyn Bowl Philadelphia, and organizers promise some special, surprise guests.

Swingin’ With Josh Lee and The Extended Family

Josh Lee
Josh Lee (Artcinia)

Artcinia brings the music to you instead of having you leave your neighborhood to find it. This week, they’re hosting Swinging With Josh Lee and the Extended Family in the gayborhood during Jazz Appreciation Month. The educator, saxophonist and Grammy nominee brings together the best musicians in the city who can recreate the big band swing sound. He’s got that down, as he’s also a member of the Count Basie Orchestra. 

Spotlight Series: Yo-Yo Ma and Kathryn Stott 

Yo-Yo Ma
World renown US cellist Yo-Yo Ma plays during the Dubai Expo 2020 closing ceremony in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Thursday, March 31, 2022. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)

Renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma teams up with frequent collaborator and pianist Kathryn Stott in the Philadelphia Orchestra Spotlight Series, which comes to Verizon Hall on Friday night. They will play selections from Dvořák, Fauré, Shostakovich and Franck, among others. 

Music at the Mansion: Rarefied Airs

The Woodlands hosts a chamber music concert at the mansion on the grounds of the cemetery in West Philadelphia. Though it is the final resting place for many Philadelphia residents, it’s also an oasis of calm in the bustling city frequented by joggers and dog-walkers that hosts several seasonal events. Flutist Steven Zohn, viola player Amy Leonard and bassist Heather Miller Lardin perform at the Rarefied Airs concert, hearkening back to early classical chamber music written by then “new” artists Franz Anton Hofmeister, Johannes Sperger, Carl Ditters von Dittersdorf and Michael Haydn.

Elle Varner 

R&B songstress Elle Varner hit big with “Only Want to Give It to You” in 2011. Her 2012 debut release “Perfectly Imperfect” came with the follow-up “Refill,” an earworm that helped her become one of the hottest young stars of the time. While her rise has cooled in recent years, she’s a skillful vocalist who will perform an Unplugged set during two shows on Saturday night at City Winery.

Saturdays just got more interesting.

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