Weekly Entertainment Guide – Celebrate Spring with Cherry Blossoms, Jazz appreciation, & A Waltz in the Woods

     The Subaru Cherry Blossom Festival of Greater Philadelphia returns through April 12. (Emma Lee/for NewsWorks)

    The Subaru Cherry Blossom Festival of Greater Philadelphia returns through April 12. (Emma Lee/for NewsWorks)

    Enjoy spring blooms with the Subaru Cherry Blossom Festival, Longwood Gardens, Shofuso Japanese House and Garden, Morris Arboretum, and more.

    Celebrate spring!

    The Subaru Cherry Blossom Festival

    The Subaru Cherry Blossom Festival of Greater Philadelphia returns to celebrate Philadelphia’s rich cultural connections with the art, music, food, natural beauty and industry of Japan with a week’s worth of events in Philadelphia and throughout the region. Highlights include Japanese Culture Week at Liberty Place, the Cherry Blossom 10K/5K, “Sakura Under the Stars,” sushi making classes, amateur sushi making competition, art show, film screening, and more, culminating in the annual “Sakura Sunday,” an all-day outdoor celebration featuring food, live music, dance performances, and activities for all ages on April 12 at the Fairmount Park Horticulture Center. Presented by the Japan America Society of Greater Philadelphia, the festival began in 1998 to honor Japan’s sesquicentennial gift to Philadelphia with the planting of 1,000 cherry trees in Fairmount Park. Photo by Emma Lee/NewsWorks.

    Spring Blooms at Longwood Gardens

    Take in this year’s Spring Blooms at Longwood Gardens as indoor and some outdoor gardens burst with seasonal color. Walk the grounds to see blossoming crocus, snowdrops, winter-aconite and witch-hazel, or visit the conservatory to enjoy yellow clivia, Easter lilies, echium, hydrangeas and Forget-me-nots. A special exhibition, New Heights Project, explores the cutting edge technology, horticulture and architecture behind the revitalization of the Main Fountain Garden. Enjoy musical performances, talks, tours, the 600 foot long Flower Garden Walk, Idea Garden, Topiary Garden, New Meadow Garden, children’s activities and more. On Easter Weekend, live music in the Conservatory with harpist Gloria Gallante, 12pm-3pm both days. Peak blooms will be on view through May 31 at 1001 Longwood Road, Kennett Square, PA. Photo by William Hill/courtesy of Longwood Gardens.

    Shofuso Japanese House and Garden

    Shofuso Japanese House and Garden, located in Philadelphia’s West Fairmount Park, was built in Japan in 1953 using traditional techniques and materials and moved to Philadelphia on the site of several previous Japanese structures continuously maintained since the 1876 Centennial Exposition. The traditional-style house with its hinoki roof, the only one of its kind outside of Japan, can be toured, along with the gardens, koi pond and island. Shofuso is now open for the season and offers tea ceremonies, workshops, Sakura Sunday, Tanabata (traditional Japanese star festival held midsummer), and more, on the grounds of the Horticulture Center, Lansdowne and Horticultural Drives. Now newly accessible from the Avenue of the Republic, next door to the Please Touch Museum. Photo courtesy of Shofuso Japanese House and Garden.

    A Waltz in the Woods at Morris Arboretum

    Join the grand opening celebration of internationally acclaimed Stickwork artist Patrick Dougherty’s new sculpture, A Waltz in the Woods, at Morris Arboretum of the University of Pennsylvania this Saturday, April 4, 11am. The unique, eco-friendly, site-specific art sculpture (pictured) was created in three weeks during March from twigs, saplings, branches and sticks collected along the banks of the Wissahickon Creek. Activities include a guided sculpture tour led by a bagpiper and traditional Irish music in celebration of the artist’s heritage, a Discovery Table to create your own structure, scavenger hunt, and more, along with the opportunity to enjoy the 92 acre horticultural garden, 100 East Northwestern Avenue, Chestnut Hill. Morris Arboretum celebrates the Japanese Cherry Blossom Festival on April 11 and 18 with activities for the whole family. Photo courtesy of Morris Arboretum.

    Ink and Gold: Art of the Kanō

    On display at the Philadelphia Museum of Art is Ink and Gold: Art of the Kanō, the first major exhibition outside Japan dedicated to the one of the most famous schools of Japanese painting, the Kanō School. Works span the entire history of this significant chapter in the history of Japanese art, the dominant style of painting from the late 15th century until the Meiji period which began in 1868. Focusing on the artistic achievements of leading figures of the influential dynasty, pieces include rare paintings of Masanobu, large-scale folding screens and sliding doors, and use of gold leaf, drawn largely from Japanese imperial, national, and private collections. Presented only in Philadelphia in rotations: now through April 12 and April 15 through May 10, Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia. Accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue, co-published by Yale University press. Related programs and events include a family party, Children’s Day in Japan, lectures, and more. Pictured: Two Dragons [in Clouds], 1885. Kano Hōgai, Japanese, 1828–1888. Ink on paper, framed, 35 1/2 x 53 1/4 inches. Philadelphia Museum of Art, Gift of Mrs. Moncure Biddle in memory of her father, Ernest F. Fenollosa (courtesy of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.)

    Easter Promenade on South Street

    One of Philadelphia’s oldest Easter traditions returns on Sunday, April 5, 12:30pm-2pm. The 84th Annual Easter Promenade is rain or shine, with a parade, costume contest, food, live music by the Philadelphia Freedom Band, dancing and more, including a visit by the Easter Bunny, South Street Headhouse District (Passyunk and South Street), Philadelphia. Free. Photo courtesy of South Street Headhouse District.

    Eastern State Penitentiary’s Pop-Up Museum

    Get a glimpse into the inmate experience at Eastern State Penitentiary with the 3rd annual Pop-Up Museum, April 2-12. The exhibit offers rarely seen artifacts that were unable to be displayed previously due to the lack of museum-quality climate control inside the historic prison. This year’s theme is escape and includes escapee inmate mugshots, an escape tunnel map, wanted posters, confiscated shanks and other weapons, keys, locks, and handcuffs, plus archival photos of escape tunnels and recaptured inmates and the officers who found them, 22nd and Fairmount Avenue, Philadelphia. Included with museum admission. While there, take the “Voices of Eastern State” Audio Tour, narrated by actor Steve Buscemi. Photo courtesy of Eastern State Penitentiary.


    InterAct Theatre Company’s “Uncanny Valley”

    InterAct Theatre Company explores the desire for immortality with the world premiere of Uncanny Valley by Thomas Gibbons, playwright in residence at InterAct, April 3-26. Set in 2050, the intriguing science fiction play centers on Julian, the newest advancement in AI (artificial intelligence), who was created in a lab to take on the consciousness of a dying billionaire. Directed by Producing Artistic Director Seth Rozin and starring local actors Sally Mercer and Frank X at the Adrienne, 2030 Sansom Street, Philadelphia.  Produced by the Contemporary American Theater Festival, San Diego Repertory Theatre, and Capital Stage, through the National New Play Network, which develops a new work with multiple creative teams in at least three different communities. Photo by Polly Edelstein and Julie Mercik.

    Philadelphia Artists’ Collective’s “The Fair Maid of the West”

    Philadelphia Artists’ Collective (PAC) continues its commitment to promote rarely performed classical plays with the Philadelphia premiere of The Fair Maid of the West by Thomas Heywood, April 1-18. The English Renaissance comedy about a sword-wielding barmaid who outwits her enemies and becomes the pirate queen is adapted and directed by Charlotte Northeast with a cast headed up by Barrymore Award winner Rachel Camp as Bess, Adam Altman, Robert DaPonte, Christopher Fluck, Dan Hodge, Jennifer MacMillan, KC MacMillan, Brandon Pierce, and Eric Scotolati at Broad Street Ministry, 315 S. Broad Street, Philadelphia. Photo by Wide Eyed Studios.

    Philadelphia Shakespeare Theatre’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”

    Colors bloom onstage in time for spring in Philadelphia Shakespeare Theatre’s production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, the Bard’s comedy about love, lust, and fantasy, April 3 through May 17. Artistic Director Carmen Khan, who directs the show, drew inspiration from the bright colors of India, the Indian Holi Festival, and the Middle East. Cast includes Brian Anthony Wilson as Oberon, John Zak as Bottom, Eleni Deloupolous as Titania, and Melissa Dunphy as Puck, 2111 Sansom Street, Philadelphia. Photo by John Bansemer.

    EgoPo Classic Theater’s “The Hairy Ape”

    EgoPo Classic Theater closes its “American Giants Festival” season exploring the promise of the American Dream through the work of three great American playwrights, Tennessee Williams, Arthur Miller, and Eugene O’Neill with O’Neill’s expressionist masterpiece The Hairy Ape, April 8-26. Matteo Scammell (pictured) makes his EgoPo debut as Yank, the harsh, thoughtless worker who searches for a sense of belonging in a world controlled by the rich. Also starring Lee Minora, Colleen Corcoran, Amanda Schoonover, Langston Darby, Steven Wright, Maria Konstantinidis, Carlo Campbell, and Chris Anthony. Directed by Brenna Geffers with a set design by Thom Weaver at the Latvian Society, 531 N. 7th Street, Philadelphia. Grab a custom-brewed signature beer made especially for the show, available at the theater. Photo courtesy of EgoPo Classic Theater.


    Jazz Appreciation Month

    Celebrate Jazz Appreciation Month in Philadelphia! Famed for fostering jazz icons like John Coltrane, Billie Holiday, Stan Getz, Eddie Lang, Joe Venuti and Dizzy Gillespie, the city is currently home to a thriving contemporary jazz scene. Enjoy live performances, panels, films, and art exhibitions including All That’s Jazz, on display April 6 through May 29 in the Art Gallery at City Hall, 2nd & 4th floor, NE corner. Activities continue at various venues, culminating in International Jazz Day on April 30. Philadelphia Jazz Appreciation Month is a project of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History. Pictured: You’re So Fine by Sibylle Pfaffenbichler, one of the featured artists in “All That’s Jazz.”


    Indiana band Houndmouth takes to the stage at Union Transfer with their mix of roots and rock on Saturday, April 4, 8:30pm (doors open at 8pm). Parker Millsap opens, 1026 Spring Garden Street, Philadelphia. Photo by Bebe Besch.



    Lady Lamb

    Lady Lamb (formerly known as Lady Lamb the Beekeeper) brings her dreamy sound to World Café Live Upstairs, promoting her new album “After,” Wednesday, April 8, 8pm (doors open at 7pm) with Rathborne opening, 3025 Walnut Street, Philadelphia.  Photo by Lyynks music.



    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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