Weekly Entertainment Guide – Cherry Blossom Festival, PIFA, and ‘Big Bugs’

    Looking for something to do this week? WHYY’s Robin Bloom has some recommendations on what’s happening in the Philadelphia region. Here are her picks:

    PIFA 2013

    Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts is underway with the musical “Flash of Time,” as the Kimmel Center Time Machine comes to life with songs, puppetry, dancing, and special effects. Also, “Shut Your Wormhole,” a comic romp into the ethics and paradoxes of time travel, presented by Tribe of Fools, and many free performances on Commonwealth Plaza throughout the month of April. Additional PIFA events include:

    Savion Glover

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    Legendary tap dance prodigy Savion Glover performs a world premiere work, “Dance Space,” an improvisational solo tap dance and percussive piece designed to immerse the audience in the ethereal atmosphere with low lights, fiber optic stars, and environmental sounds, to give the sense of being outside looking up at the night sky. The performance features CeCeLia Birt, J. Donald Dumpson, Justin Guarini and Elisabeth Stevens, Saturday, March 30, 8pm, Academy of Music, Broad Street, Philadelphia.


    Bearded Ladies Cabaret

    The Bearded Ladies take on the entire Civil War in one hour with “Wide Awake: A Civil War Cabaret,” Innovation Studio at the Kimmel Center, through April 6. Meet some of the era’s historically marginalized characters in the part “Gone with the Wind, part folk-punk extravaganza.”



    “The Promise of Peace” at Woodmere Art Museum

    Woodmere Art Museum presents “The Promise of Peace: Violet Oakley’s United Nations Portraits,” on view Saturday, March 30 through April 30. The series of portraits by the Philadelphia artist record the first gathering of delegates from 51 nations convened for the first time as the United Nations in 1946 and showcase her lifelong dedication to the promotion of peace and world harmony. Works include a portrait of Trygve Halvdan Lie, the first Secretary General of the U.N., and other distinguished representatives from China, France, Haiti, India, Iran, Lebanon, Mexico and Poland. Accompanying events capture the essence of the mid-1940s with live music, film screenings and lectures, 9201 Germantown Avenue, Philadelphia.

    Other events in the Philadelphia region:

    “The Prescott Method” at Walnut Street Theatre

    Onstage at Walnut Street Theatre’s Independence Studio on 3 is the world premiere of “The Prescott Method: Easy Steps to Perfect Bread Baking, Every Time,” written by local playwright Michael Whistler, directed by Greg Wood, and starring Jessica Bedford as Peg Merwood, Madi Distefano as Veronica DiGregorio and Susan Riley Stevens as Elizabeth Prescott. The women meet regularly, break bread and take the time necessary to escape from their daily routines. As they meet, they discover that the best ingredients for coping with the lives they have chosen are friendship, conversation and trust, Walnut Street, Philadelphia.

    Subaru Cherry Blossom Festival of Greater Philadelphia

    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. Four weeks of events involve art exhibitions and film, Japanese food tastings, Japanese storytelling at area libraries, and more. On Sunday, April 14, experience the cherry blossoms during the 5K run or enjoy the festival’s centerpiece, “Sakura Sunday,” with food, live music, dance and martial arts demonstrations, crafts, children’s activities and more. 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. Now through Friday, April 26.


    Philadelphia Shakespeare Theatre

    The Philadelphia Shakespeare Theatre presents “Iago on the Couch,” as Dr. Dan Gottlieb holds a therapy session for one of Shakespeare’s greatest villains, Iago from Othello, along with J Hernandez, Saturday, March 30, 2pm, WHYY, 150 N. 6th Street, Philadelphia. PST’s next production, “Much Ado about Nothing,” takes to the stage April 3 through May 19, directed by Domenick Scudera, 2111 Sansom Street, Philadelphia.


    Easter Promenade on South Street

    The 82nd Annual Easter Promenade is Sunday, March 31, 12:30pm-2pm, rain or shine, with a costume contest, food, music, dancing and more, Passyunk and South Street, Philadelphia.



    Broadway tour of “Sister Act”

    Catch the Broadway tour of “Sister Act,” April 2-7 at the Academy of Music. Featuring original music by Alan Menken (Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid, Little Shop of Horrors), the show tells the story of Deloris Van Cartier, a wannabe diva whose life takes a surprising turn when she witnesses a crime and the police hide her in a convent.



    “1913” at Princeton University Art Museum

    The year 1913 was a pivotal year in the development of modern art and literature. Cubism was taking shape, Marcel Duchamp created his first readymade, and World War I was on the horizon. On the 100th anniversary, Princeton University Art Museum explores the complexities of the modernist revolution in art and literature with the new exhibit “1913: The Year of Modernism,” highlighting the productive tension between two poles – Paris as a center and subject, and the world beyond, as represented by artists throughout Europe and the United States at a time of global transformation. The exhibit includes a selection of prints, drawings, photographs, rare books, and periodicals including Portrait of Jean Cocteau by Amedeo Modigliani (pictured), through June 23, Princeton, NJ.


    “Spring Blooms” at Longwood Gardens

    Get ready for the new season at Longwood Gardens with the “Spring Blooms” display, as indoor (and some outdoor) gardens burst with seasonal color, through May 19, Kennett Square, PA.



    Solo works by Philemona Williamson at DCCA

    Opening this weekend at the Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts (DCCA) is Philemona Williamson New Work, a solo exhibition of paintings by the New York artist, whose oil paintings investigate the lives of young people of all races and genders, examining the complexities of adolescent life, through July 14, 200 South Madison Street, Wilmington, DE. Meet the artist at “Art on the Town” in Wilmington, Friday, April 5, 5-9pm.


    “Big Bugs” at Morris Arboretum

    A 16-foot praying mantis, a parade of 25-foot long ants, and other whimsical sculptures take over Morris Arboretum’s 92-acre garden this Monday, April 1.  Explore the entire arboretum to find all eleven sculptures created by David Rogers. Made from natural materials such as fallen trees and willow saplings, the pieces highlight the vital role insects play in the environment. Dress as a bug for the grand opening, Saturday, April 6th, 11am-2pm, where there will be bug-inspired music and activities as well as specimens from The Academy of Natural Sciences. “Big Bugs” will be on display through August 31 with related programs and events at 100 East Northwestern Avenue, Philadelphia.


    “I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change” at Montgomery Theater

    Opening Wednesday, April 3 at Montgomery Theater is “I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change,” by Joe Dipietro, music by Jimmy Roberts, a comedic revue paying tribute to the “relationship,” through April 28 on Main Street, Souderton, PA.




    Honor the past and present of Philadelphia film with the first “Cinedelphia Film Festival,” Thursday, April 4 through Saturday, April 27. The 30 plus programs all relate to the City of Brotherly Love through the shooting location, special guests, community programmers, and more. International House kicks off the festival with a program of short films from 1979 that celebrate its partnership with the Neighborhood Film Project. Saturday, April 6 features the world premiere of Video Pirates – Philadelphia, a live comedy show comprised entirely of Philly-related VHS clips from the 70s – 90s. Full list of all programming available on the Cinedelphia website, the online center of the Philadelphia film community.


    River North Dance Chicago at Annenberg Center

    Dance Celebration commemorates its 30th Anniversary with the world premiere of River North Dance Chicago’s (RNDC) Eva as well as three Philadelphia premieres and two returning performances, Thursday through Saturday, April 4-6. Inspired by and set to the music of Eva Cassidy, Eva is the latest work by RNDC Artistic Director Frank Chaves. The jazz-based contemporary company also performs the Philadelphia premiere of The Good Goodbyes, a celebration of dance community relationships. University of Notre Dame Artist in Residence Nejla Yatkin’s Renatus features the solo dancer Jessica Wolfrum moving in a scarlet gown with a 30 foot-long train and in Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater Artistic Director Robert Battle’s Three, the acrobatics of a male trio move to an Asian-influenced mixed score, Annenberg Center, 3680 Walnut Street, Philadelphia.


    Shakespeare’s “Timon of Athens”

    The Philadelphia Artists’ Collective continues its mission of bringing rarely produced classics to Philadelphia with Shakespeare’s “Timon of Athens,” Thursday, April 4-20, directed by Dan Hodge and starring Broadway veteran Chris Coucill. Surrounded by friends in Athens, Timon’s wealth is seemingly inexhaustible, but when fortune turns, he is left alone, destitute and fighting for his survival. Yet Timon may be the only one who can dissuade a fallen war hero from destroying Athens. Chad Brown accompanies each performance with original music and visual-artist-in-residence Jenn Warpole displays pieces featured in the set design, Broad Street Ministry, 315 South Broad Street, Philadelphia. Post show talkbacks with director and cast on April 10 and 17.


    “The America Play” at Plays & Players

    Plays & Players presents Pulitzer Prize winner Suzan-Lori Parks’ “The America Play” and the world premiere of “Other American Cousins,” Thursday, April 4-21 in Skinner Studio. With questions of race and family, the play centers on an African American look-alike to Abraham Lincoln, played by Steven Wright, who disappears into the Great Hole of History. Renowned African American playwright Suzan-Lori Parks received the MacArthur Foundation “Genius” Grant in 2001 and won an OBIE Award for playwriting. Written by local playwrights Quinn D. Eli and Kimmika L. H. Williams-Witherspoon, the short plays “Other American Cousins” use contemporary notions of African American identity in response to the play President Lincoln was watching when shot, directed by Suzana Berger, 1714 Delancey Place, Philadelphia.


    Philadelphia Dance Projects’ “Motion Pictures”

    Philadelphia Dance Projects presents “Motion Pictures,” a mini-festival exploring the intersection of dance and video, co-curated by PhillyCAM Executive Director Gretjen Clausing and Philadelphia Dance Projects Executive Director Terry Fox. Events include “Dances Made to Order,” as guests will be in the studio audience of the taping of a live talk show conversation featuring local Dance Made to Order choreographers, Thursday, April 4, 7pm. On Friday, April 5, 6pm, two back to back screenings of “Short Blast”, short dance videos by local and national artists, and “Never Stand Still, Dancing at Jacob’s Pillow” at 7:30pm, featuring performance footage and candid interviews with world renown dancers and choreographers about the history of Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, at PhillyCAM, 699 Ranstead Street, Philadelphia.


    Media Film Festival

    The “6th Annual Media Film Festival” returns Friday and Saturday, April 5-6 at the Media Borough Community Center, presenting narrative, documentary, animated and experimental films by local, national and international filmmakers. The festival kicks off with the short film “Imagine,” created by local high school students as part of the Media Youth Film Initiative, and features the traditional Friday Night Horror Fest. The award ceremony follows the main showing on Saturday, 3rd and Monroe Streets, Media, Pennsylvania.

    Sarah Pike contributed reporting to this week’s guide.

    To submit an event to be considered for the Weekly Entertainment Guide email Robin Bloom at artscalendar@whyy.org.

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