Picasso, Loman, Smoke, Spine, Werther, Pippin, Chicago, Mummers and more! Robin Bloom shares her picks for what to do this week.
“Picasso: The Great War, Experimentation and Change” at The Barnes Foundation
An exhibit examining the dramatic fluctuations of Pablo Picasso’s style during the period surrounding the First World War, from 1912 to 1924, opens at the Barnes Foundation, February 21. In partnership with the Columbus Museum of Art, Ohio, Picasso: The Great War, Experimentation and Change brings together some 50 works by the influential Spanish artist (who spent much of his life in Paris) from major American and European museums and private collections, including paintings, drawings, watercolors, and costumes designed for the avant-garde ballet Parade and several pieces by his friends and contemporaries. Unlike other members of the Parisian avant-garde, Picasso never directly addressed World War I as a subject in his art and the exhibit looks closely at the strange ambivalence that characterized his wartime production, through May 9. Related programs and events include an opening party, Saturday, February 20, 6pm-10pm, as well as lectures, family art programs, workshops and more, 2025 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia. Accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue. The exhibit heads to the Columbus Museum of Art in June. Pictured: Harlequin Musician, 1924. Oil on canvas, 51 3/16 × 38 1/4 in. (130 × 97.2 cm). National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. Given in loving memory of her husband, Taft Schreiber, by Rita Schreiber, 1989.31.2 © 2015 Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.
“Garber in Spring” at Michener Art Museum
An exhibition that celebrates the return of a masterpiece to Michener Art Museum opens February 20. Garber in Spring features key works created in the first half of the 20th century by Daniel Garber (1880-1958), a central figure in the Pennsylvania Impressionist movement, who studied and taught at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. Highlights includes the return for the first time of the artist’s most well-known painting Tanis (pictured), presented to the Philadelphia Museum of Art by Philadelphia-area philanthropists Marguerite and H.F. Gerry Lenfest as a gift with the stipulation that the painting return on loan to the Michener for three months every three years. The painting will be on display along with additional Garber paintings from the Michener’s world-class collection of Pennsylvania Impressionist painting and on loan from private collectors through August 7, 138 South Pine Street, Doylestown, PA. Pictured: Tanis, 1915, by Daniel Garber.
Curio Theatre Company’s “Death of a Salesman”
Curio Theatre Company takes on Arthur Miller’s classic exploration of the American Dream with Death of a Salesman. Considered one of the greatest plays of the 20th century, the production is directed by Dan Hodge with Paul Kuhn, Curio’s Artistic Director, tackling the role of protagonist Willy Loman, an aging salesman whose career is on the decline. Curio Managing Director Gay Carducci (Kuhn’s real spouse) plays Loman’s wife Linda. Cast also includes Aaron Kirkpatrick, Brian McCann, Chase Byrd, Colleen Hughes, and Robert DaPonte, through March 5, Calvary Center for Culture and Community, 4740 Baltimore Avenue, Philadelphia. Photo by Rebecca Gudelunas.
Theatre Exile’s “Smoke”
The Philadelphia premiere of the erotic thriller Smoke takes to the stage February 18 through March 13 at Studio X. Theatre Exile continues its 19th season with the first full length play by new American playwright Kim Davies – a disquieting game of cat and mouse set in a New York City apartment. Producing Artistic Director Deborah Block, who directs the production, calls it “an intimate exploration of morality, power dynamics and the danger that we sometimes seek.” Starring Matteo Scammell and Merci Lyons-Cox, 1340 S. 13th Street, Philadelphia. Photo by Robert Hakalski.
Inis Nua Theatre Company’s “Spine”
Inis Nua Theatre Company continues its mission of producing contemporary, provocative plays from Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales with the American premiere of Spine by English playwright Clara Brennan. The heart-warming, funny play debuted at the Edinburgh Festival in 2014 and tells the story of a teenager who forges an unlikely friendship with an elderly widow living in a house of stolen books. Together they discover they may be each other’s last resort in life. Directed by Philadelphia based director, dramaturg, and teaching artist Claire Moyer and starring Emily Johnson through March 6 in the Louis Bluver Theatre at the Drake, 1512 Spruce Street, Philadelphia. Take $5 off your ticket at the door by donating a new children’s book to the Free Library of Philadelphia. Related programs and events include “setting the scene” talks preceding performances on February 24 (with Siobhan Reardon of the Free Library of Philadelphia) and on March 2 (with Derick Dreher of the Rosenbach). Photo courtesy of Kory Aversa.
Academy of Vocal Arts presents “Werther”
Academy of Vocal Arts tells the unfortunate story of Werther by Jules Massenet, February 20-27 at AVA’s Helen Corning Warden Theater. Regarded as the French composer’s masterpiece, the production is performed by AVA resident artists, accompanied by AVA pianist and vocal coach Luke Housner, presented in French with English supertitles, 1920 Spruce Street, Philadelphia. Pictured: Werther (Galeano Salas) yearns as Charlotte (Allegra De Vita) is attended by Sophie (Meryl Dominguez). Photo by Richard A. Doran.
“Pippin” at the Academy of Music
Straight from Broadway, the national tour of Pippin arrives in Philadelphia February 23-28, directed by Tony Award winner Diane Paulus with choreography in the style of Bob Fosse. With all the extraordinary acrobatics, magical feats and songs from the composer of Wicked, the revival tells the story of a young prince on his search for meaning and significance, Academy of Music, Broad Street, Philadelphia.
Ephemeral/Philadelphia Screendance Festival
Nora Gibson Contemporary Ballet performs Ephemeral, an evening length ballet collaboration. Seven classical dancers depict the beauty and poignancy of finiteness and our perception of time. Three performances take place February 19-21 in conjunction with the 2016 Philadelphia Screendance Festival, a new international “dance-for-camera” film festival, celebrating the connection between the cinematic and the choreographic with 27 short films from film and dance makers from all over the world, Christ Church Neighborhood House Theater, 20 N. American Street, 4th Floor, Philadelphia.
“Chicago” at the Playhouse on Rodney Square
The national Broadway tour of Chicago comes to the Playhouse on Rodney Square, February 23-28. The legendary, Tony Award-winning show holds the record as the longest-running musical revival and the longest-running American musical in Broadway history and tells the story of Roxie Hart, a housewife and nightclub dancer who maliciously murders her on-the-side lover after he threatens to walk out on her. Familiar songs include “Cell Block Tango,” “Mister Cellophane,” and “All That Jazz.” Starring Dylis Croman, Terra C. MacLeod, Tom Hewitt, Paul Vogt, Roz Ryan, and D. Ratell, 1007 N. Market Street, Wilmington.
Mummers Mardi Gras in Manayunk
The Philadelphia Mummers return to Main Street in Manayunk to celebrate Mardi Gras on Saturday, February 20. Route starts at Shurs Lane at 11am and proceeds down Main Street with performances by over 15 of the most prominent string bands parading down Main Street in a daylong celebration. Rain date Saturday, February 27. Photo by JPG Photography. Courtesy of Manayunk Development Corporation.
What is This Thing Called Freedom? With Diane Monroe & Friends
Arts at Trinity hosts a Black History Month concert, What is This Thing Called Freedom? The Transforming and Timeless Songs of Protest, with Philadelphia jazz violinist Diane Monroe and friends, Saturday, February 20, 7:30pm. The program blends music, vocals and dance with an ensemble featuring vocalist Paul Jost, bassist Gerald Veasley and Tony Miceli on vibes, along with guest dancer and vocalist Germaine Ingram, Trinity Episcopal Church, 1108 N. Adams Street, Wilmington. Free!
Ars Nova Workshop’s “The Music of John Zorn”
Ars Nova Workshop presents a two-night celebration of the music of an Avant-garde composer, arranger, producer, saxophonist and multi-instrumentalist with The Music of John Zorn Part I, Saturday, February 20, 8pm, featuring longtime Zorn collaborator Jamie Saft and his trio and Hollenberg-Millevoi Quartet. On Sunday, February 21, 8pm is The Music of John Zorn Part II, featuring Cleric (who was invited by Zorn to interpret his third book of Masada compositions), with Uri Caine at Johnny Brenda’s, 1201 N. Frankford Avenue, Philadelphia.
Daddy Mack Blues Band
Daddy Mack Blues Band brings their down-home, funky, and raw approach to blues to Philadelphia Saturday, February 20, 8pm as part of the African Roots, American Voices series at Annenberg Center Live, 3680 Walnut Street, Philadelphia. The four piece group is the house band at the Center for Southern Folklore on Beale Street in Memphis. Photo courtesy of Daddy Mack Blues Band.
Mid-Atlantic Brass Band Festival
The Mid-Atlantic Brass Band Festival comes to Rowan University, February 20-21, featuring performances by the world renowned Cory Band from Wales (pictured), along with the Atlantic Brass Band from New Jersey, Chesapeake Silver Cornet Brass Band from Delaware, Penn View Brass Band from Pennsylvania, and Rockville Brass Band from Maryland, offering clinics, master classes and more, Wilson Music Hall, 201 Mullica Hill Road, Glassboro, NJ.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.