Celebrating service and science — the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Benjamin Franklin. Robin Bloom shares a selection of activities and shows that focus on science and explore human rights, social, political, and cultural themes…and some that are just fun.
Lantern Theater Company’s “Doubt: A Parable”
Opening this week at Lantern Theater Company is John Patrick Shanley’s Doubt: A Parable, about a New York City Catholic school principal who suspects the parish priest of misconduct with a troubled student, January 15 through February 15. The timely show raises questions of moral certainty, faith, authority, and tradition, and won the Bronx-born playwright and screenwriter the Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award for Best Play. Veteran Philadelphia actors Mary Martello and Ben Dibble each brings his and her own flair to the production, directed by Associate Artistic Director Kathryn MacMillan and also starring Clare Mahoney and Lisha McKoy, St. Stephen’s Theater, 10th and Ludlow Streets, Philadelphia. Special programs and events include Directors in Conversation pre-show discussion January 23, Artists in Conversation January 25 and February 1, and open captioning on February 6 and 7. Photo by Plate 3 Photography.
InterAct Theatre’s “Dangerous House of Pretty Mbane”
InterAct Theatre Company takes on the issue of being LGBT in South Africa with Dangerous House of Pretty Mbane by Jen Silverman. The provocative play is centered on a young talented soccer player who flees to England to escape persecution. Her activist lover goes missing and she returns to South African during the World Cup to face her country’s disregard for LGBT related violence. Directed by New York based theatre director Pirronne Yousefzadeh and starring local actors Aimé Donna Kelly, Akeem Davis, and Ross Beschler, along with New York City actors Lynnette Freeman and Eric Berryman, January 16 through February 8, 2030 Sansom Street, Philadelphia. Photo courtesy of InterAct Theatre Company.
“Sizwe Banzi is Dead” at McCarter Theatre
McCarter Theatre Center partners with the Market Theatre of Johannesburg and Syracuse Stage to bring Sizwe Banzi is Dead to the United States. The groundbreaking play was first staged in 1972 in South Africa, created by a collaboration among South African artists Athol Fugard, John Kani, and Winston Ntshona. The show went on to Broadway and brought international attention to the injustices of South Africa’s apartheid system. A new production for a new audience is onstage January 16 through February 15, directed by John Kani (who appeared in the original production), and stars Kani’s son Atandwa and Mncedisi Shabangu (as Banzi), with lighting design by Market Theatre co-founder Mannie Manim, 91 University Place, Princeton, NJ. Special programs and events include Dialogue on Drama with John Kani, post-show discussions, open captioning, audio described, and ASL interpreted performances. 45 minutes before all performances, catch a 20 minute talk by a member of McCarter’s artistic staff. Photo by Ruphin Coudyzer.
Buddy “Raves On” at Zoellner Arts Center
Get your nostalgia on with the crowd-pleasing production of Buddy – The Buddy Holly Story, onstage for one night only at Lehigh University’s Zoellner Arts Center, Saturday, January 17, 8pm. Having just concluded its tour of the UK, the production marks the U.S. launch of the popular jukebox musical that pays tribute to the seminal musician who at the young age of 22 had an immense impact on the music industry and changed the face of popular music. Featuring a host of his greatest hits including “Peggy Sue,” “That’ll be the Day,” “Oh Boy,” “Maybe Baby,” “Not Fade Away,” and much more – performed live onstage by Roger Rowley – “Buddy” tells the story of the three years in which Buddy Holly became a music legend, Baker Hall, 420 E. Packer Avenue, Bethlehem, PA. In partnership with NPR station WDIY. Photo courtesy of Zoellner Arts Center.
Brat’s “Always Coming Soon: The Future” is back
Brat Productions’ 2014 sold-out hit Always Coming Soon: The Future returns for four performances, January 15-17 at the Painted Bride Art Center. The visually striking and satirical remount examines the passing of time with a group of eccentric vagabonds who find a “machine” in a trash heap and struggle whether to step inside. Expect Brat’s signature gypsy rock cabaret style, inspired by dark, vintage circus imagery, and absurdist physical comedy, with 9 original songs by Peter Gaffney, who leads a band of experimental musicians. The original cast includes Brat’s Artistic Director Jess Conda, Tabitha Allen, Rob Cutler, and Justin Rose, directed by Scott Sheppard, 230 Vine Street, Old City Philadelphia. Accompanied by a new gallery exhibition by Jauhien Sasnou (photo by Jauhien Sasnou).
Rosie Herrera Dance Theatre’s Philadelphia Premiere
Rosie Herrera Dance Theatre bursts into Annenberg Center Live, making its Philadelphia debut with two full-length dance theater works that fuse contemporary dance, theater, opera, music, performance art and drag with four performances January 15-17. The edgy, colorful, and innovative dance company out of Miami is known for its surreal works, dark humor and a diverse ensemble. Program includes Dining Alone (2011), about the drama and comedy of food and eating alone, set to a diverse score. Various Stages of Drowning: A Cabaret (2009) uses water as a metaphor for the unconscious and recreates dream states by incorporating dance, theatre, cabaret, and film. Choreographed by Artistic Director Rosie Herrera, 3680 Walnut Street, Philadelphia. Free master class and artist chat with Herrera, Friday, January 16. Dance Celebration is co-presented by Dance Affiliates and Annenberg Center Live. Photo by Adam Reign.
Represent: 200 Years of African American Art
Represent: 200 Years of African American Art highlights the significant holdings of works by artists of African descent at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. From rare examples of fine and decorative arts by free and enslaved artists prior to the Civil War to classically trained painters to self-taught artists, the exhibit spans two centuries with more than 160 works by more than 50 artists, representing a broad range of stories, subjects, styles, mediums and traditions. Also included are historical and contemporary portraits and excerpts from recorded interviews with several of the living artists featured in the exhibition, through April 5, Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia. A new catalogue co-published by the Philadelphia Museum of Art and Yale University Press accompanies the exhibition. Programs and special events include gallery talks, school tours, family programs, and more such as Pictures at an African American Exhibition and Late Night Dance Party, January 16, Represent and Celebrate, January 17, and events in conjunction with the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service. Pictured: Martin Luther King, Jr., 1981, by John Woodrow Wilson/licensed by VAGA, New York.
Kongo across the Waters at Princeton University Art Museum
Witness the first North American exhibition to explore the legacy of Kongo culture at Princeton University Art Museum. Kongo across the Waters features more than 100 masterpieces of Kongo and African American art (many never before exhibited in the U.S.) that span 500 years, ranging from works discovered in 1483 when Portuguese explorers first arrived in the Kingdom of Kongo to contemporary pieces. A large number of enslaved Africans in the United States came from the Kongo region and the exhibit addresses the slave trade and colonialism, divided into section by geography and time. Works on loan from the collection of the Royal Museum for Central African in Tervuren, Belgium through January 25, before traveling to the New Orleans Museum of Art in February. A 448 page illustrated catalogue accompanies the exhibit along with a video on the influence of Kongolese music on the development of jazz, Princeton, NJ. Pictured: Staff finial, 17th – 18th century, brass, Kongo artist, Lower Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo (courtesy of the Princeton University Art Museum).
Lexias Pardalis and Caryn Babaian: Nature in Chalk at Academy of Natural Sciences
Here’s your chance to view the rare, unusual, half male and half female butterfly (Lexias pardalis) at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University, on public display for a limited run January 17 through February 16. The gynandromorphic butterfly came to the Academy in October as one pupa among many from Malaysia and was discovered by a volunteer in the museum’s Butterflies! Exhibit, and has been saved for research. The condition of bilateral gynandromorphy can be caused by non-disjunction of sex chromosomes, an error that sometimes occurs during the division of chromosomes at a very early stage of development. While at the museum, enjoy Caryn Babaian: Nature in Chalk, on display January 17 through May 31, large scale nature mandalas in colorful chalk. A Mandala is an intricate diagram of the universe, popular since around the 12th century, with various purposes and meanings, such as religious or political, 1900 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia. Photo by Isa Betancourt/ANSP.
Happy Birthday Benjamin Franklin!
Celebrate what would be the 309th birthday of Benjamin Franklin with events this weekend in the Historic District. At the Historic Philadelphia Center, 6th and Chestnut Streets, enjoy Ben Franklin in 3D at the Liberty 360 3D Show in the PECO Theater, featuring an appearance by Dr. Franklin, storytelling, crafts, and many more activities including a special Benjamin Franklin Tippler’s Tour, January 16-18. Enjoy free birthday cake on Saturday, January 17, 1pm. Photo by Jeff Fusco for HPI.The Benjamin Franklin Museum offers free admission, January 17-19, with armonica demonstrations, tours, family activities and more at Franklin Court, between 3rd and 4th Streets off of Market or Chestnut.
Invention Convention at Hagley
Hagley Museum and Library inspires innovation and creativity with the annual Invention Convention, January 17-19. This year’s theme is the science of lights and lasers. Saturday, January 17 is “Light Fantastic,” focusing on the chemistry behind lights and lasers. Sunday, January 18 is “Eye to the Sky,” featuring demonstrations of astronomy and the light spectrum with the Franklin Institute. Monday, January 19 is “Cool Chemistry,” exploring the lights, colors and booms of chemistry, 10am-4pm all three days. Also, the usual fun, hands-on activities include tinkering tables, Create an Invention, a science fair, experiments, and more, Buck Road East entrance off Route 100 in Wilmington, DE. Photo courtesy of Hagley Museum and Library.
Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend events
The 20th annual Martin Luther King Day of Service
Philadelphia honors the life and legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. with the 20th annual Martin Luther King Day of Service, this Monday, January 19. The event, run by Global Citizen, is the oldest, largest, and most expansive volunteer community service effort of its type in the country with more than 120,000 volunteers participating in approximately 1700 community service projects across the region. Find a project near you. Photo by Colin M. Lenton, courtesy of the Points of Light Institute.
The Philadelphia Orchestra’s 25th Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Tribute Concert is Monday, January 19, 1:30pm, Girard College Chapel, 2101 S. College Avenue, Philadelphia. Yannick Nézet-Séguin conducts a program of Brahms, Barber and more, including the world premiere of Hannibal’s One Land, One River, One People, commissioned by the Fabulous Philadelphians. Guests include soprano Laquita Mitchell, tenor Rodrick Dixon, storyteller Charlotte Blake Alston reciting King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, and Dorina Morrow directing choirs from the Philadelphia High School for the Creative and Performing Arts. Concert is free, tickets required. Concert is 90 minutes with no intermission.
Eastern State Penitentiary hosts readings of one of the most influential letters written by Martin Luther King, Jr. in the margins of a newspaper and smuggled out of Birmingham Jail, Saturday, January 17 through Monday, January 19, 11:30am, 1:30pm and 3:30pm each day. Free and open to the public with tickets required. Children ages 7-12 can create art with Art Sanctuary in response to themes found in the letter, 2027 Fairmount Avenue, Philadelphia.
The Franklin Institute celebrates Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service on Monday, January 19, 11am-2pm, with the “I Have a Dream” broadcast on the walls of Franklin Hall, activities including “African American Scientists Scavenger Hunt” and hands-on arts and crafts, 222 North 20th Street, Philadelphia.
The African American Museum in Philadelphia presents Sharing the Heritage! Monday, January 19, 11am-5pm, featuring events for the whole family, including arts and crafts, performances, and more, 701 Arch Street, Philadelphia. Bring food to donate to Philabundance and books for Philadelphia Reads. Free.
The National Constitution Center hosts a celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day on Monday, January 19 with service projects, live performances by “Two of a Kind,” a reading of the “I Have a Dream” speech, crafts, and more. Part of Macy’s Family Days, 525 Arch Street, Philadelphia.
The National Museum of American Jewish History celebrates Martin Luther King, Jr. Day on Monday, January 19, 10am-5pm, featuring art projects with Fleisher Art Memorial, screenings of the documentary, “Eyes on the Prize: America’s Civil Rights Movement,” storytelling, and performances by the Sister Cities Girl Choir, and more. Free and open to the public. Bring a non-perishable food item to donate to Philabundance.
The Delaware Museum of Natural History presents African American Champions of Nature, Monday, January 19, 9:30am-4:30pm, with special activities for all ages focused on the accomplishments of African American scientists to natural history. Visitors can view live arthropods, enjoy marine activities, games and more, 4840 Kennett Pike, Wilmington, DE.
The Arts Council of Princeton, the Historical Society of Princeton, and the Princeton High School Community Service Group hosts the Martin Luther King, Jr. Art Workshop at the Paul Robeson Center for the Arts on Monday, January 19, 1pm-3pm. Workshops and activities for children, and more, 102 Witherspoon Street, Princeton, NJ. Free.
To submit an event to be considered for the Weekly Entertainment Guide email Robin Bloom at firstname.lastname@example.org.