Virtual ballet, Rembrandt revisited, and Freedom Seder in this week’s ‘Things to Do’

March 25 - 31: The week’s events include virtual screenings of the Pennsylvania Ballet, local theater performances available online, and a historic Passover Seder.

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Pennsylvania Ballet

(Courtesy of Pennsylvania Ballet)

While Pennsylvania has relaxed restrictions on restaurants, casinos, gyms, and other gathering places, the city of Philadelphia will not follow suit right away as a rise in COVID-19 cases means we’re not quite out of the woods yet. But venues and eateries continue to provide creative ways to reach audiences and patrons, with virtual events and creative rethinking of many of our entertainment choices.

Curio Theatre: ‘A Symphony for Saint-Georges’

A waterfall trickles down the head of a violin and spills into a pink pool, representing Guadeloupe, the birthplace of Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges. It is the beginning of a theatrical journey created by Rich Bradford and Paul Kuhn, artistic directors at the Curio Theatre Company. (Emma Lee/WHYY)

Composer, violinist, conductor, champion fencer, and colonel in Europe’s first all-Black regiment, Joseph Bologne de Chevalier Saint-Georges is among history’s hidden figures. The Guadeloupe-born prodigy, who was born to an enslaved mother, was considered Black Mozart in the 1700s. The Curio Theatre brings his story to life through a physically distanced play/installation that combines video footage with sculpture, video, music, set design, and projections.

Arden Theatre: ‘74 Seconds… to Judgment’

The ensemble in ’74 Seconds … to Judgment’ at Arden Theatre Company. (Courtesy of Mark Garvin)

Written by Philadelphia native Kash Goins and originally mounted as an Arden Theatre production in 2019, “74 Seconds…to Judgment” has been reimagined as an on-demand radio play. The radio version, like the stage production, details what happens when six jurors struggle to reach a decision in a case that involves determining just what constitutes “justifiable homicide.” The play’s title references the killing of Philando Castile, the Minnesota man who was fatally shot by a police officer during a traffic stop just 74 seconds after being pulled over.

Cherry Street Pier: Sisterly Love Food Fair

(Sisterly Love Citywide Food Fair/Facebook)

As part of the celebration of Women’s History Month, the food fair focuses on the culinary efforts of women in and around the Delaware Valley. Sponsored by Let’s Talk Philadelphia, an alliance of women in the food industry, it makes its final stop this month at the Cherry Street Pier. Members include Bridget Foy, Tanesha Trippett,  Jen Carroll, and Jezabel Careaga. You can find a list of vendors here.

African American Museum of Philadelphia: ‘Black Diamond Queens’

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Maureen Mahon’s 2020 book “Black Diamond Queens: African American Women and Rock and Roll” highlights the previously untold contributions of Black women in rock. From Tina Turner to Betty Davis, Mahon, a professor at New York University, gives these women their just due. She’ll discuss her book and the badass musicians who inspired it with Deborah Thomas and Guthrie Ramsey of the University of Pennsylvania, and Dejay Duckett, director of curatorial services at AAMP.

Pennsylvania Ballet: ‘Strength, Resilience, Beauty’

Artists of Pennsylvania Ballet in George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker. (Photo by Alexander Iziliaev)

After a six-month pandemic hiatus, The Pennsylvania Ballet debuts 14 virtual performances, a combination of new and classic ballets specifically created for streaming. The spring season is dedicated to the memory of Pennsylvania Ballet’s founder, Barbara Weisberger, who died last year. In a press release, artistic director Ángel Corella says the productions mounted this season are among the “most physically demanding the company has ever created.” The streaming schedule will run in three installments: March 25 – 31, April 29 – May 5, and May 27 – June 2.

  • What: Pennsylvania Ballet 2021 spring season
  • Where: Online via Pennsylvania Ballet website
  • When: Through Wednesday, June 2
  • How much: $25 – $30 individual performances, $50 for three-month pass, $175 for VIP pass

Allentown Art Museum: ‘Rembrandt Revealed’

Rembrandt’s “The Portrait of A Young Woman.” (Shan Kuang via Allentown Art Museum)

Rembrandt’s “The Portrait of A Young Woman,” created in 1632, was at first believed to be the work of the Dutch master, but then, in the 1970s, was credited to someone else in his studio. However, new technology has shown that, in fact, Rembrandt is most likely to have painted it himself. This was discovered by the conservation efforts of the Allentown Art Museum, which has owned the painting since 1961. How modern imaging techniques helped the museum solve the mystery is the center of their exhibit “Rembrandt Revealed,” happening through May.

Fredericka Foster: ‘Think About Water’

Adam Wolpert’s Pond Series (Courtesy of Think About Water)

Water is one of Earth’s most precious resources, yet most people take it for granted. But that isn’t the case for a group of ecological artists, who created their own takes on H2O and its life-sustaining properties. The work is showcased through a website created by artist Fredericka Foster, which invited artists, writers, and activists to provide news and information on water-based subjects — including that 2.2 billion people worldwide don’t have access to safe drinking water. The virtual exhibit went online this week. Participating artists include Adam Wolpert, Diane Burko, Jaanika Peerna, and Sant Khalsa.

Kindred The Family Soul: ‘Auntie and Unc’

(Courtesy of Kindred The Family Soul)

Philly’s favorite auntie and uncle, otherwise known as the duo Kindred the Family Soul, spent the pandemic creating new revenue streams when their steady live gigs dried up. During their downtime they also made music, recording a new album, “Auntie and Unc.” The first single “The Best Things” is out now. On April 3, they’re performing a virtual live show to promote it.

PAFA: ‘Rediscovering Jacob Lawrence’

‘The Library’ by Jacob Lawrence. (Courtesy of PAFA)

Artist Jacob Lawrence was born in Atlantic City and spent some time in Philadelphia before heading off to New York City, Seattle, and his destiny. Now revered as one of America’s preeminent visual artists for his portrayals of African Americans, the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art is hosting a discussion to further explore his life, work, and towering legacy. They will also take on an art mystery – that of the missing panels of Lawrence’s “Struggle Series…from the History of the American People (1954-56).” (Note: Two of the five missing have since been located.) The discussion will be led by Brittany Webb, the Evelyn and Will Kaplan curator of Twentieth-Century Art and the John Rhoden collection at PAFA, and Austen Barron Bailly, the chief curator at the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Arkansas.

  • What: Virtual discussion
  • Where: Online via PAFA
  • When: Tuesday, March 30, 7 p.m.
  • How much: Free

National Museum of American Jewish History: Freedom Seder revisited

Rev. Chaz Howard (Photo by Matthew Christopher)

In 1969, a year after the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated, an interfaith Passover Seder was held at a church in Washington, D.C. with over 800 people in attendance. In the spirit of that celebration, since 2013, the National Museum of American Jewish History has hosted an annual event on Independence Mall. This year’s celebration goes virtual, re-airing some of the stories and performances from an array of perspectives in the past years.

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  • What: Virtual Seder
  • Where: Online, via the National Museum of American Jewish History Facebook page, a Zoom link, and on the official website
  • When: Wednesday, March 31, 8 p.m.
  • How much: Free, with $10 suggested donation

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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