Weekly Entertainment Guide – ‘Constituting Liberty,’ ‘Murray the Elf,’ and ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’

     Celebrate the holiday season with Act II Playhouse's

    Celebrate the holiday season with Act II Playhouse's "Murray the Elf and the Case of the Stolen Sleighbells," onstage December 20-28. (Photo courtesy of Act II Playhouse)

    Save Christmas with Murray the Elf, take a historic holiday house tour, skate by the river, see the Bill of Rights, go down the rabbit hole with Alice, hear the people sing, and celebrate Hanukkah.  Robin Bloom on what to do this week.

    Constituting Liberty at the National Constitution Center

    Constituting Liberty: From the Declaration to the Bill of Rights, is now on display at the National Constitution Center. The museum is the first institution in Pennsylvania to exhibit one of the 12 surviving copies of the Bill of Rights to the general public. It has been preserved as part of The New York Public Library’s research collection for over 100 years. The historic document is displayed alongside a first edition Stone Engraving of the Declaration of Independence and a rare copy of the first public printing of the U.S. Constitution, on display for three years, through December 2017 in the brand new George H.W. Bush Gallery, Independence Mall, 525 Arch Street, Philadelphia.

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    “Making Spirits Bright” with “Murray the Elf” at Act II Playhouse

    Help save Christmas with Act II Playhouse’s Murray the Elf and the Case of the Stolen Sleighbells, opening Saturday, December 20 and already extended through December 28. Written by Act II’s Bill D’Agostino and Carrie Nielsen and directed by Artistic Director Tony Braithwaite, the new play mixes mystery with comedy for an exciting and fun story for the whole family. Starring Will Dennis as Murray and Andy Shaw, who plays all of the other characters including Mrs. Claus, Rudy the Reindeer, Luke Cool the Snowman, and Candy Kane. Designed for children ages 5 and older. Also onstage, Making Spirits Bright (pictured), a comedy cabaret, as Tony Braithwaite and friends present an evening of song, dance, original comedy skits and holiday-themed improvisation, extended through January 3, 56 East Butler Avenue, Ambler, PA.

    Quintessence Theatre’s “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland”

    Escape from the holidays down the rabbit hole with Quintessence Theatre Group’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Simon Reade’s stage adaptation offers fun for the whole family with an imaginative production directed by Alexander Burns and featuring original songs by Philadelphia musician David Cope. Emiley Kiser stars as Alice, with Quintessence regulars Sean Close, Sean Bradley, Khris Davis, Johnny Smith, Andrew Betz, plus Anita Holland, and Faith Fossett through January 4 at the Sedgwick Theater, 7137 Germantown Avenue, Mt. Airy. Special events include talkbacks on December 18 and 21.

    “Les Miserables” at Media Theatre

    Here’s the chance to see Les Miserables in our region with Media Theatre’s well-received production of the award-winning show based on the novel by Victor Hugo. Directed by Jesse Cline and designed specifically for the Media Theatre stage by Media Music Theatre Company, the talented cast includes John D. Smitherman as Jean Valjean, James Zannelli as Javert, Elisa Matthews as Fantine, Lauren Cupples as Cosette, Zach Monroe and Sean Thompson, accompanied by a live orchestra, extended through January 18, 104 E. State Street, Media, PA.

    Holiday Happenings

    Franklin Square’s Holiday Festival

    Stop by Franklin Square for the Holiday Festival and Electrical Spectacle: Holiday Light Show, 4pm-8pm daily, through December 31, as the park is transformed into a magical place with carols, dancing snowflakes, holiday music and more. Activities include a winter beer garden, holiday shopping marketplace in collaboration with PHAIR, food truck Fridays, Santa Saturdays, seasonal sounds, children’s activities, the Lightning Bolt Holiday Express, and the light show, made of 50,000 LED lights, featuring a sculptural 12 foot kite and synchronized to holiday music, 6th and Race Streets, Philadelphia.

    Winterfests and Riverfront Holiday Skating

    Skate with Santa this weekend at the Blue Cross Riverrink Winterfest, 12pm-4pm both Saturday and Sunday. Enjoy Philadelphia’s outdoor ice skating rink on the waterfront, featuring a winter garden with holiday trees, fire pits, the Lodge, light shows, and more. Holiday hours expand beginning Friday, December 19 (11am-12:30am), Penn’s Landing, 101 South Columbus Boulevard, Philadelphia.Cooper River Park hosts a Winterfest wonderland with twinkling lights, vendors, and skating at the Jack Curtis Stadium on 5300 North Park Drive, Pennsauken, NJ. Hours are Monday through Friday, 3pm-10pm, and Saturday and Sunday noon-10pm, through January 6. Free parking in lots by stadium.Justison Landing Green has been transformed into a winter wonderland with holiday decorations, twinkling lights, and festive music and now offering open-air ice skating at the Horizon Services Riverfront Rink with family friendly events on the riverfront in Wilminton, DE.

    Historic House Holiday Tours

    Take a Historic Houses of Fairmount Park Holiday Tour, now through December 30, as six of Fairmount Park’s “Charms,” Cedar Grove, Laurel Hill Mansion (pictured), Lemon Hill, Mount Pleasant, Woodford, and Strawberry Mansion are dressed up with themes for the holidays, with special events, and more.Morven Museum and Garden hosts the annual Festival of Trees, as the museum’s galleries are decorated with festive trees for the holiday, on display through January 4. Handmade wreaths are for sale and children can write and send letters to Santa. Morven is a National Historic Landmark and former New Jersey Governor’s Mansion, birthplace of Richard Stockton, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, 55 Stockton Street, Princeton, NJ.

    A Johnnyswim Christmas

    Husband and wife duo Johnnyswim plays a Christmas concert Friday, December 19 at Union Transfer, featuring songs from their new album A Johnnyswim Christmas. Doors open at 8pm, show at 8:30pm, 1026 Spring Garden Street, Philadelphia. Johnnyswim is Abner and Amanda Ramirez, who is the daughter of Donna Summer.

    “Christmasland” at Linvilla Orchards

    Linvilla Orchards hosts the annual Christmasland display with the farm decorated for the holiday and activities for the whole family including crafts, food, petting zoo, train rides, caroling hayrides, cut your own Christmas trees, and more, through December 23, 598 Linvill Road, Media, PA.

    Historic Smithville’s Holiday Light Show

    Historic Smithville, New Jersey hosts the annual Holiday Light Show, Thursdays through Sundays, through January 6, as over 100 Christmas trees in the lake, made from 50,000 lights, blink on and off to holiday music by the Colonial Inn, 615 East Moss Mill Road, Smithville, NJ. Free. Enjoy Breakfast with Santa, Saturday, December 20, 9am.

    Holidays in Delaware

    Hagley Museum and Library (pictured) hosts the annual Holidays at Hagley display through January 6 with a glimpse at nineteenth and twentieth-century holiday traditions in Eleutherian Mills, the ancestral home of the DuPont family. This year’s theme is winter pastimes. Bring the kids and enjoy Family Adventure Backpack, 201 Hagley Creek Road, Wilmington, DE.Read House and Gardens offers holiday tours as part of their Victorian Christmas, as the twenty-two room, 14,000-square-foot home of George Read II, son of a Delaware signer of both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, is decorated for Christmas with a holiday dinner setting, tree decorated with fruit and nut garlands and trinkets, costume party attire, and more, Through December 31, 42 The Strand, on the waterfront in New Castle, DE.Tour Rockwood Museum for free all December and enjoy the sights and sounds of 19th century holiday traditions, including party dresses, suits, accessories, and furnishings set amongst lavish holiday decorations, 610 Shipley Road, Wilmington, DE.

    Hanukkah events

    Festival of Lights at the Philadelphia Museum of Art

    The Philadelphia Museum of Art hosts a Festival of Lights Hanukkah celebration, Friday, December 19, 5pm-8:45pm, with DeLeon (pictured), a New York-based Sephardic folk band, co-presented with Temple University’s Feinstein Center for American Jewish History and the “Sounds Jewish” series, Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia.

    Klez Dispensers

    The 8 piece ensemble, The Klez Dispensers, perform a Chanukah Concert for all ages, on Sunday, November 21, 3pm at the Paul Robeson Center for the Arts, 102 Witherspoon Street, Princeton, NJ. The mix of klezmer, jazz, Yiddish swing, and original music on clarinet, trumpet, saxophone, violin, piano, bass, drums and vocals is presented by the Arts Council of Princeton.

    Festival of Lights at the Kimmel Center & Being ______ at Christmas

    Celebrate Hanukkah at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts‘ Commonwealth Plaza, with Festival of Lights, songs, story times, arts and crafts, dreidel games, and more, Sunday, December 21, 1pm, in association with the National Museum of American Jewish History. Free. Get half price admission to the Museum’s exploration of holiday music ‘Twas the Night Before Hanukkah! (pictured).Enjoy Being ______ at Christmas, the NMAJH’s annual day of family fun, Thursday, December 25, from 10am-5pm, featuring Baby Loves Disco, family activities including a project with the Clay Studio, comedy by The Great Holtzie, storytime, and more, 101 South Independence Mall East, Philadelphia.

    Matisyahu’s “Festival of Light” tour

    Matisyahu returns to Philadelphia for his Festival of Light tour, an annual Chanukah celebration, with material that spans his career and from his new album “Akeda,” Tuesday, December 23, Theatre of Living Arts (TLA), 334 South Street, Philadelphia. Doors open at 7pm, show at 8pm.

    Moo Shu Jew Show

    The Moo Shu Jew Show returns on Christmas Eve, December 24, 6pm, an evening of Jewish inspired stand-up comedy at Ocean Harbor Restaurant, with comedians Jon Fisch, Robin Fox, Dave Konig, and Stewie Stonek, and a multi-course Chinese banquet, 1023 Race Street, in Philadelphia’s Chinatown. Food is not kosher but vegetarian options are available.



    Take advantage of free meter parking in Philadelphia after 11am on Saturdays through New Year’s.

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

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