Looking for something to do this winter season? WHYY’s Robin Bloom has some recommendations on what’s happening around the Philadelphia region. Here are her picks:
The Pennsylvania Ballet presents George Balanchine’s “Serenade,” a ballet with a unique connection to the company’s founder, Barbara Weisberger. As a student, Weisberger watched Balanchine choreograph this famous romantic ballet with a dramatic Tchaikovsky score. The diverse program also includes “Afternoon of a Faun” by Jerome Robbins, “Under the Sun Pas de Deux” by Margo Sappington, a celebrated company commission, and “Petite Mort” by Jiří Kylián, a company premiere, from February 6-9 at the Merriam Theater, Broad Street, Philadelphia. Free Pre-show talk on Friday, February 7, 6:30pm at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel, Broad and Locust Streets.
Opera Philadelphia continues its season with “Ainadamar,” the Grammy-award winning opera about the poet and playwright Federico García Lorca. Composed by Osvaldo Golijov, the flamenco-inspired Spanish opera explores Lorca’s rich literary life and his untimely death during the Spanish Civil War. Corrado Rovaris, Opera Philadelphia’s Jack Mulroney Music Director, returns from a tour of Spain with this production for its only US appearance that features dancing by the legendary Antonio Gades Company. Directed by Luis de Tavira, a co-production with the Fundación Ópera de Oviedo, Festival Internacional de Música y Danza de Granada, and Festival Internacional de Música de Santander, February 7-16, Academy of Music, Broad Street, Philadelphia. Performed in Spanish with English supertitles. Related programs and events include lectures, dance programs, and more.
The Renegade Company teams up with the Mütter Museum and The Random Tea Room to present “The Grimm’s Juniper Tree,” a production focusing on the Grimm Brothers’ little-known fairy tale, The Juniper Tree. The show mashes together Grimm tales both famous and obscure to look at the recent popularity of the brothers’ stories, examining how fairy tales translate into the modern world. The Random Tea room will provide a unique sensory experience to accompany each performance. A pre-show discussion at the Mütter Museum will be held on February 6. Written by James Stover, directed by M. Craig Getting, and onstage through February 8 at the First Presbyterian Church, 201 S. 21st Street, Philadelphia.
The Idiopathic Ridiculopathy Consortium continues its 8th season of presenting challenging and rarely-produced absurdist works from around the world with Jean Giraudoux’s “Ondine.” The epic fairy tale, considered to be the French playwright’s finest work, begins in previews February 5, is directed by Aaron Cromie, and stars Susan Giddings, Robb Hutter, Jerry Puma, Ethan Lipkin, Ed Miller, Tina Brock and more, with Ama Bollinger in the title role. Onstage at Walnut Street Studio 5 through March 2, 825 Walnut Street, Philadelphia.
The highly acclaimed “Fences” is onstage at McCarter Theatre. One of the most beloved plays in August Wilson’s ten-play cycle, chronicling the African-American experience of the 20th century, the Pulitzer and Tony Award-winning drama tells the gripping story of a father and son and the hopes and dreams which they desperately cling to in rapidly changing mid-century America. Directed by Phylicia Rashad with Esau Pritchett as Troy Maxson, “Fences” is a co-production with Connecticut’s Long Wharf Theatre, through February 16, 91 University Place, Princeton, NJ.
Spend “Tuesdays with Morrie,” onstage at Bristol Riverside Theatre through February 16. Adapted from the best-selling novel by Mitch Albom, the production tells the story of a newspaper sports columnist’s time spent with his dying 78 year old sociology professor and his mentor’s undying need to teach life’s most important lesson. Directed by Susan D. Atkinson and starring Richert Easley as Morrie and Danny Vaccaro as Mitch, 120 Radcliffe Street, Bristol, PA.
You don’t have to go all the way to the West End of London to catch Agatha Christie’s “The Mousetrap,” the world’s longest running play. The Resident Ensemble Players at the University of Delaware promise a performance that will keep you on the edge of your seat. Directed by Steve Tague through February 9 in Thompson Theatre at the Roselle Center for the Arts, 110 Orchard Road, Newark, DE.
Congress has only ever added 27 amendments to the US Constitution. The National Constitution Center’s “27 Amendments (in 27 Days)” will showcase one amendment each day in February. Brush up on your constitutional history by attending one of the many special events scheduled throughout the month, including the opening “First Amendment Fair” February 1, 9:30am-5pm and a program highlighting the Thirteenth Amendment and the Emancipation Proclamation February 13-15. Visitors are encouraged to suggest a 28th Amendment, through February 28, 525 Arch Street, Philadelphia.
While it is commonly said that we live in an era of unprecedented connectivity, a new exhibition at the The Rosenbach of the Free Library of Philadelphia Foundation, “Networking Before the Net: Sharing Information in the Pre-Digital Age” reminds us that social networks have long flourished. Comparing pamphlets and blogs, nineteenth-century photography and Instagram, this exhibition pairs analog and digital media to explore how we share now and how we connected in the past, through June 16, 2008-2010 Delancey Place, Philadelphia.
Be Alarmed: The Black Americana Epic: Movement I – The Visions by Philadelphia-based artist Tiona McClodden premieres Friday, January 31 at the University City Science Center’s Esther Klein Gallery. The epic film has been broken into short trailers, allowing the viewer to piece together an overall narrative. These brief scenes run within an exhibition that pairs them with sculptures and film artifacts created by McClodden, which reveal pieces of the narrative and the artist’s personal family history and themes of the greater African-American experience. An opening reception will be held on the 31st from 5pm to 7:30pm and the exhibit runs through March 15, 3600 Market Street Philadelphia.
“Step Right Up! Behind the Scenes of the Circus Big Top, 1890-1965” explores a history fraught with intrigue and majesty, offering a behind the scenes look at the circus, its dramatic pageantry, colorful past, and living presence of the grand American theatrical tradition. See dozens of colorful posters, costume artifacts, photographs and past performers’ oral histories from an era spanning the early 20th century through depression times, dust bowl, the Red Scare, and more, through March 16 at Mercer Museum, 84 South Pine Street, Doylestown, PA. The exhibit is by ExhibitsUSA, a national division of the Mid-America Arts Alliance and the National Endowment for the Arts. While there, check out “Playing Together: Games,” an opportunity to play games that span generations and cultures, through May 11.
With the Kids
Travel back in time to the age of the dinosaurs to discover the link between the prehistoric creatures and modern birds with “Charlie & Kiwi’s Evolutionary Adventure” at the Delaware Museum of Natural History. Follow Charlie on a kid-friendly storyline – with drawings by Peter Reynolds, the award-winning illustrator of Judy Moody and other children’s books – and unravel puzzles, play games, explore computer interactives, and observe live birds through May 26, 4840 Kennett Pike, Wilmington, DE.
Walnut Street Theatre for Kid’s production of “Alexander Who’s Not Not Not Not Not Not Going to Move” takes to the stage this weekend, following the success of last season’s “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.” The hour-longmusical adaptation of Judith Viorst’s third book in her popular children’s series is directed by Bill Van Horn and features Brandon O’Rourke as Alexander as well as the entire cast from last year, through February 8, 825 Walnut Street, Philadelphia. Offering weekday and weekend matinee performances.
The Delaware Art Museum hosts a Chinese New Year celebration with the Hanlin Chinese Culture Association, Saturday, February 1, 11am. Festivities include traditional art activities, artist demonstrations, a gallery scavenger hunt, a lion and folk dance, and more, 2301 Kentmere Parkway, Wilmington, DE. There is no Museum admission during Chinese New Year and all galleries will be open throughout the day from 10am–4pm.
Painted Bride Art Center introduces PAPAYA, live performances designed to engage young audiences. The international family series kicks off this Saturday and Sunday, February 1-2, 12pm and 4pm, with 2X2: Dutch Dance Duets, featuring two performances that push the limits of physical possibilities, 230 Vine Street, Old City, Philadelphia. Recommended for grades 3 and up.
Wagner Free Institute of Science hosts “Wagner’s Winter Wonderland,” Saturday, February 1, 12pm-4pm, a free afternoon of storytelling, winter-themed arts and crafts, scavenger hunts, hands-on activities, and the opportunity to explore the natural history museum. Geared toward children ages 6-12, 1700 West Montgomery Avenue, Philadelphia. Presentation will be ASL interpreted.
Astral Artists partners with the Trinity Center for Urban Life for “Music in Wonderland,” the first of three Concerts for Kids and Their Grown-up Friends, Saturday, February 1, 1:30pm. Performers include Kathryn Guthrie, soprano (pictured), Adam Fry, bass-baritone, Ayane Kozasa, viola, and Andrea Lam, piano, 2212 Spruce Street, Philadelphia. Meet the musicians at an ice cream social after the performance.
The 22nd annual African American Children’s Book Fair is Saturday, February 1, 1pm-3pm, hailed as one of the oldest and largest events for African American children’s books in the country, with presentations by authors, games, prizes, giveaways, and a wide selection of books for purchase. Authors and illustrators include Eric Velasquez (pictured), Tonya Bolden, E.B. Lewis, Kathleen Wainwright, and more, at the Gymnasium of the Community College of Philadelphia, 17th and Spring Garden Street, Philadelphia.
Marissa Nicosia contributed reporting to this week’s guide.
To submit an event to be considered for the Weekly Entertainment Guide email Robin Bloom at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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