Weekly Entertainment Guide – BOOM! Big Noise, and ‘Absolute Brightness’

     The North American tour of

    The North American tour of "Dirty Dancing – The Classic Story on Stage" is onstage at the Kimmel Center's Merriam Theater through May 21. Photo by Matthew Murphy.

    Big Noise, Big Sam, and big dance parties.  Robin Bloom offers 25 things to do this week in the Philadelphia region!

    What’s Happening

    Parks on Tap

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    Parks on Tap, the mobile beer garden, is back for another year starting off at the Azalea Garden, Kelly Drive and Fairmount Avenue in Philadelphia, and will travel to a different park each week for 20 weeks before concluding for the season on Sunday, October 1. The joint project between the Fairmount Park Conservancy, Philadelphia Parks and Recreation, and FCM Hospitality features food, beer on tap, wine, snacks, and non-alcoholic beverages in a festive outdoor environment of comfortable chairs and hammocks, family friendly activities, and clean restrooms. Photo by Albert Yee for Fairmount Park Conservancy.

    Philadelphia International Children’s Festival

    The annual Philadelphia International Children’s Festival returns to Annenberg Center Live, May 18-20, with accessible and affordable performances for all ages. Highlights include Mexico Beyond Mariachi (pictured), BOOM!, Bird Stories, Teen Voices of the City Ensemble, Enchantment Theatre Company, Philadanco D/2 Company, Mister G, Frozen Sing-A-Long, and PlazaMania with interactive performances and activities, 3680 Walnut Street, Philadelphia. Photo by Christopher Duggan.

    Philly Fests

    The 11th annual Asian Pacific American Heritage Month Festival takes place at Franklin Square, Saturday, May 20, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m., rain or shine, featuring traditional dance and instruments dating back thousands of years, teams of drummers, hip hop and rock and roll, a health fair, Asian food trucks, children’s activities, and more, 6th and Race Streets, Philadelphia. Presented by the Pan Asian Association of Greater Philadelphia.  Plazapalooza is Saturday, May 20, 12 p.m. – 7 p.m., featuring live music by Tropical Disease, Montrose Allstars, Lara & Joe, Tall Trees, and Natural Selection, along with food, beer, children’s activities, Grays Ferry Avenue between 23rd and South Streets at the Triangles Plaza, Philadelphia. Rain date May 21.  The annual Trenton Avenue Arts Festival is Saturday, May 20, 12 p.m. – 6 p.m., celebrating East Kensington’s mix of local artists, musicians and eateries. Organized by the volunteers of the East Kensington Neighbors Association and featuring over 200 local arts and food vendors, the festival is free and open to the public at Trenton Avenue and East Susquehanna, Philadelphia and is held in conjunction with the Kensington Kinetic Sculpture Derby, a design competition and parade of human powered vehicle floats, beginning at noon at Trenton Avenue and Norris Street, Philadelphia.

    The 9th Street Italian Market Festival

    The 9th Street Italian Market Festival is this Saturday, May 20 and Sunday, May 21, 11 a.m. – 6 p.m., rain or shine, with 100 outdoor vendors, live music on several stages, Procession of the Saints, children’s activities and more, along South 9th Street, from Fitzwater to Federal Streets, in South Philly’s Italian Market, the nation’s oldest outdoor market. Photo courtesy of the 9th Street Italian Market Festival.

    Rittenhouse Row Spring Festival

    The Rittenhouse Row Spring Festival is back this Saturday, May 20, 12 p.m. – 5 p.m., rain or shine with live music, food, children’s activities and more at 19th and Walnut Streets in Philadelphia. Free and open to the public. Photo courtesy of the Rittenhouse Row Spring Festival.


    The “All Star” Craft Beer and Wine Festival

    The “All Star” Craft Beer and Wine Festival is Saturday, May 20, 3 p.m. – 7 p.m. with over 100 craft beer and wine vendors, food, musical entertainment, giveaways, activities, and the Philly Phanatic. Guests receive free parking, a voucher for two Phillies tickets and an opportunity to “walk the bases” and have your picture taken in the dugout. Benefits the Fraternal Order of Police and the Barkann Family Healing Hearts Foundation, Citizen’s Bank Park, South Philadelphia. Photo by Kimberly Paynter/NewsWorks.

    Commonspace LIVE

    Commonspace, the radio program and podcast invites you to join in seven days of arts programming in theater, magic, and storytelling that responds to the pressing issues of our time including gentrification, profiling, ethnicity, social awareness, and more. Commonspace LIVE, presented by First Person Arts and WHYY, takes place May 22-31 at various venues across Philadelphia with the theme “Battle Scars.” Events include a StorySlam, four distinct curated performances, open mic style competition, two live auditions for upcoming broadcasts, and “Now You See Me,” with illusionist Sheeyash Palshikar. Photo by Jennifer Boshnack.

    An Evening of Leonard Cohen at the Gershman Y

    The Gershman Y pays tribute to the late life and work of Leonard Cohen with a multi-sensory and multi-faceted event that showcases the artistic accomplishments of the acclaimed singer, songwriter, musician, and poet. Nearly 50 years after the release of his debut album “Songs of Leonard Cohen,” An Evening of Leonard Cohen offers cinema, poetry, and music, Thursday, May 18, 7 p.m. in the Levitt Auditorium with a Philadelphia Film Festival screening of the 45 minute film “Ladies and Gentlemen…Mr. Leonard Cohen,” poems read by Philadelphia spoken word artists including Jacob Winterstein, Sarah Bloom, and Nathalie Anderson, and Cohen inspired songs and covers by Dick Rubin, Sharon Sable, and TJ Kong and the Atomic Bomb, 401 South Broad Street, Philadelphia. Photo by Route66.

    Camden Night Gardens

    Camden Night Gardens is Saturday, May 20, 7 p.m. – 11 p.m., a free nighttime art, music, food and performance festival presented by the City of Camden and Cooper’s Ferry Partnership. The event is part of “Connect the Lots,” an initiative to create safe hubs of activity and quality programming for Camden residents to enjoy the city’s public spaces. The family friendly theme is “Rise Up” in Roosevelt Plaza Park, in front of Camden City Hall, and features a dance party with Philly DJ Rich Medina, break dance workshops, light installations, food trucks, and a car show, 520 Market Street, Camden, New Jersey. Photo courtesy of Camden Connect the Lots.

    Horseshoe Crab Festivals

    Get a front row seat to witness the amazing spectacle of shorebird migration and horseshoe spawning season with the 5th annual Spring Shorebird & Horseshoe Crab Festival, Friday, May 19, 6:30 p.m. – 8 p.m., Saturday, May 20 and Sunday, May 21, 9:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., including guided shorebird viewings, horseshoe crab workshops, walks, and many other conservation-based, hands-on, interactive activities for all ages at the Wetlands Institute, 1075 Stone Harbor Blvd, Stone Harbor, New Jersey. Photo courtesy of the Wetlands Institute. The 8th annual Peace, Love & Horseshoe Crab Festival is Saturday, May 20, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m., celebrating the spring spectacle of migrating shorebirds and spawning horseshoe crabs. Festivities include live music, crafts, vendors, food, family activities and more at DuPont Nature Center at Mispillion Harbor Reserve, Milford, Delaware. Rain or shine, free and open to the public.

    Arts in Bloom

    Salem County’s annual Arts in Bloom is this Saturday, May 20 and Sunday, May 21, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., showcasing new work by over 50 artists including painting, sculpture, photography, printmaking, collage, glass art, ceramics, furniture making, woodworking, leatherwork, fashion design, fiber arts and more, along with family activities at more than 30 locations in Salem County, New Jersey. Pictured: The work of Anna Kuczynski/courtesy of Salem County’s Arts in Bloom.

    Strawberry Festival at Peddler’s Village

    Peddler’s Village hosts the 39th annual Strawberry Festival, Saturday, May 20, and Sunday, May 21, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m., with strawberries served up in various forms, juried artisans showing their wares and demonstrating their skills, live entertainment, pie-eating contests and the new Strawberry Fields Fun Area, Routes 202 and 263, Lahaska, Bucks County, Pennsylvania. Free admission, free parking, rain or shine. Photo courtesy of Peddler’s Village.

    Five Dollar Comedy Week

    The 5th Five Dollar Comedy Week is May 21-27, in the 5th month of the year, for just $5 a show! The week-long unique, independent comedy festival blends all forms of comedy and performance. Highlights include Comedy Accompanied, Lyfted, Tragedy + Time, Finding Your Fetish, and Dark Window, plus workshops, free secret shows and more at Good Good Comedy Theatre, 215 N. 11th Street, Philadelphia. Photo by Zach Roumaya.


    Dirty Dancing – The Classic Story on Stage

    The North American tour of Dirty Dancing – The Classic Story on Stage has arrived in Philadelphia with performances at the Kimmel Center’s Merriam Theater through May 21. Eleanor Bergstein, screenwriter of the film “Dirty Dancing,” wrote the book for this popular musical and has added more scenes and an eight piece band onstage performing the beloved songs including “Hungry Eyes,” “Hey Baby,” “Do You Love Me?,” and “(I’ve Had) the Time of My Life.” Christopher Tierney and Bronwyn Reed lead a company of 26, directed by James Powell with choreography by Michele Lynch based on the original choreography by Kate Champion. Photo by Matthew Murphy.

    “Gypsy” at Arden Theatre Company

    Sing out with Louise and her overbearing mother in Arden Theatre Company’s production of Gypsy, the Sondheim musical loosely based on the 1957 memoirs of striptease artist Gypsy Rose Lee. Five time Barrymore Award winner Mary Martello (pictured) leads the cast of veterans including Anthony Heald, Caroline Dooner, Rachel Camp, Malik Akil, Zack Aguilar, Andrew Betz, Jordan Dobson, Joilet Harris, Monica Horan, David Bardeen, and more, directed by Terrence J. Nolan, and featuring the classic songs including “Let Me Entertain You,” “Together, Wherever We Go,” and “Everything’s Coming Up Roses,” May 18 through June 18, 40 N. 2nd Street, Philadelphia. Related programs and events include post-show discussions on June 1, 4, 7, 11, and 14 and open captioned and audio described performances on June 9-10. Photo by Ashley Labonde, Wide Eyed Studios.

    “The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey” at Philadelphia Theatre Company

    Philadelphia Theatre Company closes the season with the one man tour-de-force The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey. Written and performed by James Lecesne, the play tells the story of the of the disappearance of Leonard Pelkey, a 14 year old boy who dared to be different, and the small New Jersey town that will never be the same without him. Directed by Tony Speciale with original music by Duncan Sheik, the award-winning show is onstage through June 4, Suzanne Roberts Theatre, Broad and Lombard Streets, Philadelphia. Related programs and events include Meet-the-Artists with James Lecesne, May 25 and June 1, post-show onstage Q&A session.Photo by Matthew Murphy.


    Camp Jam in the Pines Music Festival

    The Camp Jam in the Pines Music Festival takes place May 18-21. Big Sam’s Funky Nation headlines with The Main Squeeze, Ginger Coyle Band, Cris Jacobs, Jersey Corn Pickers, and more. Plus, workshops, camping and more at the Paradise Lake Campground in the heart of the Pine Barrens in Wharton State Forest, Hammonton, New Jersey. Photo by Bob Adamek Photography.

    Bromberg’s Big Noise Festival

    Bromberg’s Big Noise Festival hits his hometown of Wilmington, Delaware on Saturday, May 20, 12 p.m. – 8 p.m. with live music featuring six nationally acclaimed bands including David Bromberg’s Big Band (pictured), Dr. John, Chris Robinson Brotherhood, Anders Osborne, Larry Campbell & Teresa Williams, and Front Country. The afternoon also offers food trucks and craft merchants, Tubman Garrett Riverfront Park, Water Street, (between Market & French Streets). Photo by Kim Sallaway Photography.

    40th Street Summer Series returns

    University City District’s 40th Street Summer Series returns this Saturday, May 20, 6 p.m., with a performance by the Sun Ra Arkestra (pictured). Upcoming monthly performances include Brian Sanders’ JUNK, Dan Blacksbergs’ Heisser Klezmorim and the West Philadelphia Orchestra, Worldtown Soundsystem and more, behind the Walnut Street Free Library, 40th and Walnut Streets, Philadelphia. Photo by Ben Tran, courtesy of University City District.

    Tempesta di Mare’s “Bohemian Rhapsody”

    Tempesta di Mare Chamber Players present Summer: A Bohemian Rhapsody. The program includes Vivaldi’s Concerto No. 2 in G minor, Op. 8, RV 315, “Summer” from The Four Seasons, dedicated to Vivaldi’s patron, the Bohemian count Václav z Morzinu. The Baroque orchestra also focuses the concert program on the compositions of little-known Bohemian-born composers including Samuel Friedrich Capricornus, Johann Gottlieb Janitsch, Gottfried Finger, Jan Dismas Zelenka, Philipp Jacob Rittler, and Johann Wenzel Anton Stamitz. Performances take place Saturday, May 20, 8 p.m., American Philosophical Society, 427 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia and Sunday, May 21, 4 p.m., Presbyterian Church of Chestnut Hill, 8855 Germantown Avenue, Philadelphia. Photo courtesy of Tempesta di Mare.

    Singing City’s Spring Concert

    Singing City’s spring concert features renowned guest choral conductors and arrangers Anton Armstrong and André Thomas, Sunday, May 21, 3 p.m., at Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church, 625 Montgomery Avenue, Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania. Singing City, the Singing City Children’s Choir, the Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church Sanctuary Choir, Children and Youth Choirs are joined by the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, numbering more than 150 singers for a program of works by David Conte, Kenneth Jennings, Kurt Weill, Kim André Arnesen, André Thomas, and others. On display in conjunction with the concert is African Art of the George Purvis Collection, Harcum College, and Voices in Quilts from Ghana shared by Christina Johnson, highlighting African sculpture in different materials, masks, fabrics, textiles and household items (pictured). A reception follows the performance. Photo by Lauren Anderson.

    Big Huge Yiddish Dance Party

    The Philadelphia Folklore Project and the Community Klezmer Initiative hosts the Big Huge Yiddish Dance Party, Sunday, May 21, 6 p.m. – 9 p.m. The Community Klezmer Orchestra (led by Susan Lankin Watts) and the Klezmer in the Afternoon All-Stars (led by Dan Blacksberg) perform traditional and innovative Klezmer music focused on getting the crowd on the dance floor, Commodore Barry Club, 6815 Emlen Street, Philadelphia. All ages. Photo courtesy of the Philadelphia Folklore Project.



    Each week, the Entertainment Guide spotlights interesting local arts offerings happening now, including music, dance, theater, museums, special exhibitions and other arts events from across the region.

    To submit an event to be considered, email Robin Bloom at artscalendar@whyy.org.

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