Looking for something to do this holiday season? WHYY’s Robin Bloom has some recommendations on what’s happening in the Philadelphia region. Here are her picks:
This Christmas, experience the spectacular both indoors and out at Longwood Gardens with “A Longwood Christmas,” living floral displays, opulent ornaments, stunning trees, more than a half-million lights, dancing fountains, musical and dance performances including choral groups and choirs, organ sing-alongs, strolling performances, garden railway, and much more. See the 18-foot Douglas fir with 175 hand blown glass pears created by California artisans, through January 12 on Route 1, Kennett Square, PA. Timed admission tickets.
“Tributaries: A Modern Cantata,” a one-night only, multi-media experience at the Water Works is Saturday, December 14, 4pm-6pm. The original, site-specific presentation by the Agave Opera Company and Blair Brothers Music explores how water shapes our lives. The audience is seated in the empty lanes of Kelly Pool, while three singers (from the perspective of three of Eastern Pennsylvania’s many tributaries – each of which converge into the Schuylkill River) and a live orchestra perform against the backdrop of the national historic landmark. Admission includes one drink and opening act, The Silver Ages, a men’s close harmony vocal ensemble. Fairmount Water Works is located off Kelly Drive in Philadelphia’s East Fairmount Park.
Independence Seaport Museum’s 4th annual Parade of Lights is Saturday, December 14. The festivities begin inside the museum at 11am with carolers, complimentary refreshments, visits with Santa, and the display “Silver & Sugar Ships,” featuring dozens of tiny silver ships from the Museum’s collection and clear toy candy ships provided by Shane’s Confectionery, who will also offer old-fashioned candy making from 3pm-5pm. At 5pm, the parade of festively decorated working vessels and pleasure boats begins its march down the Delaware River, led by the Jupiter, a vintage 1902 tug maintained by the Philadelphia Ship Preservation Guild. Great views from the 2nd floor balcony overlooking the Delaware River inside the Museum, 211 South Christopher Columbus Boulevard, Philadelphia.
Enchantment Theatre Company’s holiday production of “Aladdin and Other Enchanting Tales,” takes to the stage December 17-30 at the Arts Bank. The original production is based on the Tales from the Arabian Nights and follows the magical stories of Sinbad, Aladdin, and the Kalender Prince, with the storyteller heroine Scheherazade. Incorporating the music of Rimsky-Korsakov, arranged for this show by Charles Gilbert, and brought to life by actors, dancers, puppets, magic and stunning costumes, at Broad and South Streets, Philadelphia. Arrive early to explore a Persian Bazaar with interactive activities for all ages. Opening celebration on December 21 and family theater workshops December 22-30.
Hedgerow Theatre presents the 21st annual production of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol,” an adaptation by award-winning playwright Nagle Jackson. Artistic Director Penelope Reed, who directs the play, says this year’s production has a unique spin while remaining faithful to the classic story. Featuring Shaun Yates as Scrooge and Zoran Kovcic as the narrator at “America’s first repertory theater” through December 31, at 64 Rose Valley Road, Rose Valley, PA.
“Meet Me in St. Louis: A Live Radio Play” is onstage at Bucks County Playhouse. Based on The Kensington Stories by Sally Benson and the MGM motion picture Meet Me In St. Louis starring Judy Garland, the show features songs by Hugh Martin and Ralph Blaine, including the classics “The Boy Next Door,” “Skip To My Lou,” “The Trolley Song,” “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” and “Meet Me in St. Louis.” The timeless holiday play in classic radio format, adapted by Joe Landry, stars Broadway’s Geoff Packard, Jay Russell, Broadway and Bucks County alumni Garth Kravits, Lauren Molina and Chelsea Packard, with Victoria Cook, directed by Gordon Greenberg, through December 29, 70 South Main Street, New Hope, PA.
The Mercer Museum captures the excitement of Christmases past from a child’s perspective with an exhibit of toys and games from the 1860s to the 1960s with their annual holiday display. “Under the Tree: A Century of Holiday Trees and Toys” features decorated trees and popular toys from the Victorian age through the post-World War II period on view through January 5. Nearby Fonthill Museum’s Holiday Lights Meander is Saturday, December 14, 6:30pm-9:30pm, features live music and light refreshments, East Court Street and Route 313, Doylestown, PA.
Sellersville Theater 1894 hosts holiday concerts and shows: Free screening of “A Christmas Story,” Monday, December 16, 7:30pm; Tony Trischka’s (pictured) Glory Shone Around holiday bluegrass with Yulegrass (fiddler Lauren Rioux and Tim Eriksen), Thursday, December 19, 8pm; Eileen Ivers and Immigrant Soul Irish Christmas, Friday, December 20, 8pm; Annie Haslam (of Renaissance) and Friends “In the Spirit of the Holidays,” Saturday, December 21, 8pm and Sunday, December 22, 2pm; Free screening of “It’s a Wonderful Life,” Monday, December 23, 2:30pm and 7:30pm; 24 West Temple Avenue, Sellersville, PA.
Delaware Theatre Company pays tribute to friendship with the heartwarming holiday tale “The Story of My Life,” written by Brian Hill and music by Neil Bartram. The musical follows two friends through their adventures and struggles, to discover the importance of friendship and what ultimately binds us together. Starring Ben Dibble as Tom and Rob McClure as Alvin, with a 6 piece orchestra under the direction of Tom Fosnocht, and directed by Bud Martin (DTC’s Executive Director), who originally produced the play on Broadway, through December 22, 200 Water Street, Wilmington, DE.
After the successful run of “RFK,” New City Stage Company continues its season of Philadelphia premieres that surround the personalities trying to get into (and out of) the White House, with “Frost/Nixon.” The historical drama by Peter Morgan tells the story behind the true account of the 1977 face-off between British talk show host David Frost and recently resigned United States president Richard M. Nixon. Under the direction of Aaron Cromie, Dan Olmstead (Nixon) and Russ Widdall (Frost) return to the stage together through January 5 on the Main Stage at the Adrienne, 2030 Sansom Street, Philadelphia.
Sing out with Louise and her overbearing mother in “Gypsy: A Musical Fable,” City Theater Company’s revamp of the beloved Sondheim musical through December 21. Karen Murdock leads the 10 person cast as Mama Rose, accompanied by the Gypsy orchestra, and directed by Michael Gray. The untraditional production is performed in the round, with cabaret and bench seating and audience involvement in the Black Box at OperaDelaware Studios, 4 South Poplar Street, Wilmington, DE.
B. Someday Productions continues their Family Theatre Series of literature-based performances for all ages with the Philadelphia premiere of “American Fairy Tales,” little-known stories of L. Frank Baum, author of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Co-directed by artistic directors Michelle Pauls and Stan Heleva, who adapted The Girl Who Owned a Bear, Box of Robbers, and The Queen of Quok for the stage. The fast-paced, interactive, family-friendly holiday show features Dave Ferrier, Sara Braun, Matt Shell IV, Michael Trainer, and Helen Sher, December 18-31 at Walking Fish Theatre, 2509 Frankford Avenue, Philadelphia.
Kenneth Grahame’s “The Wind in the Willows” takes to the stage at the Sedgwick Theater. Quintessence Theatre Group, known for performing and adapting epic works for classic literature and drama for the contemporary stage, presents its first family classic for the holiday season, through January 5. Catch Daniel Fredrick, Khris Davis, Sean Close, Josh Carpenter (pictured), Sean Bradley, Jamison Forman, Jake Blouch, and Johnny Smith as Rat, Toad, Mole, Chief Weasel, Albert the horse, Otter, Badger and the Magistrate. Adapted for the stage by Alan Bennett and directed by Alexander Burns at 7137 Germantown Avenue, Mt. Airy. Post-show discussions with the cast and director on December 19 and the 2pm performance on December 29.
Dance, film and theater unite in BodyVox’s Philadelphia premiere of “The Cutting Room,” a full-length journey through film genres, Friday, December 13, 8pm and Saturday, December 14, 2pm and 8pm at Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts. The multi-media dance performance, filled with imagery, athleticism and humor, consists of eight dances with a sound score that crosses many time periods from Mozart to Miles Davis, 3680 Walnut Street, Philadelphia. Post-show talk back on December 13.
Sounds of the Season
The Philadelphia Orchestra celebrates the holiday season with a Christmas Kids Spectacular! Saturday, December 14, 11:30am, featuring selections from The Nutcracker, a vaudeville-inspired performance of ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas, a Santa sing-along and more; the annual Glorious Sound of Christmas, named for the Fabulous Philadelphians’ best-selling album. December 19-21 featuring the Mendelssohn Club; the holiday tradition of Handel’s “Messiah,” Sunday, December 22, 2pm, conducted for the first time in Philadelphia by Cristian Macelaru and featuring the Philadelphia Singers; Verizon Hall, Kimmel Center, Philadelphia.
Mendelssohn Club’s annual “Feast of Carols” is back, Saturday, December 14, 5pm, with old and new carols, the Mendelssohn Brass and Michael Stairs on organ, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church of Chestnut Hill, 22 E. Chestnut Hill Avenue, Philadelphia.
Academy of Vocal Arts resident artists and alumni partner with First Presbyterian Church for “Voices for Relief II – Philippine Benefit Concert,” Saturday, December 14, 7:30pm. All proceeds support the International Services of the American Red Cross. Inspired by Jeffrey Halili (of Filipino heritage), the artists are volunteering their time for this performance at 21st and Walnut Street, Philadelphia.
The annual tradition, “Christmas on Logan Square,” performed by the Philadelphia Singers, returns for the 41st year, under the direction of David Hayes, in a new location at the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul, Sunday, December 15, 3pm. The theme is “Christmas Across America,” with Morten Lauridsen’s O Magnum Mysterim, Conrad Susa’s Carols and Lullabies in the Southwest, Abbie Betinis’ Mary and Gabriel, and more, including the traditional candlelight procession and family carol-sing, 18th Street and Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia.
To submit an event to be considered for the Weekly Entertainment Guide email Robin Bloom at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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