Weekly Entertainment Guide – Journeys to New Worlds, ‘Ideal Husband,’ and Paleopalooza

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

     Journeys to New Worlds: Spanish and Colonial Art

    “Journeys to New Worlds: Spanish and Colonial Art from the Richard and Roberta Huber Collection” opens at the Philadelphia Museum of Art this Saturday, February 16. The Hubers began collecting Spanish and Portuguese colonial art in 1973 and their collection soon grew into an engagement with what was an under-appreciated study at the time. The gallery features ivory religious sculptures, furniture, ornate silverwork, and aristocratic paintings, offering a unique insight on converging cultures within 17th and 18th century trade routes, which allowed new artistic traditions to form within Portugal and Spain’s colonies in South America and Asia. The collection is on display through May 19, Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia.

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    “An Ideal Husband” at Walnut Street Theatre

    The Walnut Street Theatre presents Oscar Wilde’s classic comedy, “An Ideal Husband,” now through March 3, directed by Malcolm Black. An old acquaintance threatens Under Secretary for Foreign Affairs Sir Robert Chiltern’s spotless reputation, and only his not-so-perfect friend is scheming and dishonest enough to help. By one of the greatest playwrights of the Victorian Era, the witty play of romance, insider trading and scandal premiered in London’s West End and Broadway in 1895. Starring Ian Merrill Peakes as Sir Robert, Jennie Eisenhower, Luigi Sottile and Kate Fahrner on the main stage, 825 Walnut Street, Philadelphia.

    Clifford Odets’ rarely performed “Awake & Sing!” at South Camden Theatre

    South Camden Theatre Company takes on Clifford Odets’ “Awake and Sing!,” the story of a second generation Jewish immigrant family in New York struggling to survive during the Great Depression, onstage February 15 through March 3. Directed by Christopher ‘Jumbo’ Schimpf, the production, generally regarded as Odets’ masterpiece, was the first play on Broadway to focus entirely on a Jewish family, at the Waterfront South Theatre, 400 Jasper Street, Camden, NJ.

    West Philadelphia Orchestra at Johnny Brenda’s

    The West Philadelphia Orchestra brings their eclectic sound to Johnny Brenda’s, Friday, February 15, doors open at 8pm, show at 9pm, 1201 N. Frankford Avenue, Philadelphia. Show 21 and over.


    Works by Kenyan artist Wangechi Mutu at Drexel

    The newly expanded Leonard Pearlstein Gallery in Drexel University’s Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design features Kenyan-born artist Wangechi Mutu for its inaugural exhibit. The Brooklyn-based artist uses mixed media to explore themes from female identity and definitions of beauty to environmental desecration and post-colonial Africa. One of her most famous works, “Suspended Playtime,” will be on display, a piece that gains inspiration from Kenyan children making soccer balls out of bound garbage bags. The exhibit runs from Friday, February 15 through March 30, with an opening reception on Friday, February 22 at 5pm. The reception will have special performances by poet Sonia Sanchez and the Drexel Dance Ensemble. 3141 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia.

    The annual “Paleopalooza” at the Academy of Natural Sciences

    The annual two-day festival “Paleopalooza” returns, Saturday and Sunday, February 16 and 17 to the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University. New this year is “Life in Scales,” a high energy live animal show from Clyde Peeling’s Reptiland. Check out the Academy’s world-renowned collection of dinosaur, reptile and other fossils, meet paleontologists, race trilobites, or hunt for and keep real fossils, 1900 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia.

    The Blind Boys of Alabama at The Grand

    Five-time Grammy Award winning Gospel Legends, Blind Boys of Alabama, arrive at The Grand this Saturday, February 16 at 8pm. With a career spanning over 70 years, the Boys have become living legends with their foot-stomping and roof-raising live shows, 818 North Market Street, Wilmington, DE.

    The Cookers at Painted Bride Art Center

    The Cookers bring their electrifying sound to the Painted Bride Art Center this Saturday, February 16, 8pm, featuring Billy Harper, Eddie Henderson, David Weiss, Craig Handy, Orrin Evans, Cecil McBee, and Billy Hart, 230 Vine Street, Old City, Philadelphia.


    Quintessence Theatre’s “The Diary of a Madman”

    Quintessence Theatre Group presents Nikolai Gogol’s “The Diary of a Madman,” adapted by David Holman and directed by Alexander Burns. Follow Poprishchin’s descent into madness as he vents life’s frustrations as a single, poor civil servant into a diary, where he belittles superiors, obsesses over his boss’s daughter and contemplates talking dogs, before declaring himself King Ferdinand VIII. Exploring social media, the classical theatre transports Gogol’s 1835 short story into the 21st century, starring Daniel Fredrick and Rachel Brodeur, through March 10, Sedgwick Theater, 7137 Germantown Avenue, Philadelphia. In conjunction with the production is an exhibit of new works by Belarus-born artist Anya Smolnikova, on view through March 10.

    Philly Pan Stars at Crossroads

    Crossroads Music hosts the Philly Pan Stars, Trinidad Steel Drums with music for Carnival along with Unidos da Filadelfia, pulse-pounding Brazilian samba, Sunday, February 17, 7:30pm, with a free children’s program at 6pm, Calvary Center, 801 S. 48th Street, Philadelphia.



    Experience the creative process as writers develop their work with the Philadelphia Theatre Company’s third annual “PTC@Play,” a free two-week festival of staged readings of new plays by established and emerging playwrights, Monday, February 18 through Sunday, March 3 at the Suzanne Roberts Theatre. Catch a new play with music in development starring Tony and Barrymore Award winner Forrest McClendon, FuturePhilly@Play, the March 3 evening of short plays by seven emerging local playwrights, and the February 18 announcement of the Terrence McNally New Play Award. All readings begin at 7:30pm, 480 S. Broad Street, Philadelphia.

    “Assassin” at Act II Playhouse

    If you missed “Assassin” at Interact Theatre Company, catch it at Act II Playhouse. The world-premiere by local playwright David Robson, opens Tuesday, February 19. After thirty years, a NFL defensive back seeks to meet the man he paralyzed, hoping for forgiveness and redemption in a fictionalized “what-if” of the 1978 pre-season game between the Oakland Raiders and the New England Patriots that ended receiver Darryl Stingley’s career. Directed by Seth Reichcott and starring Brian Anthony Wilson from HBO’s “The Wire” and Dwayne A. Thomas, and onstage through Sunday, March 17, 56 E. Butler Avenue, Ambler, PA.

    That Person Who Is Your Creation at Asian Arts

    Asian Arts Initiative presents a collaboration among innovative Iranian artists, “That Person Who Is Your Creation: Iranian Women Exploring the Feminine Self,” opening February 19, featuring works by two Iranian artists that challenge Eastern and Western preconceived ideas about female identity. Composed of eight years of work, the colorful nude portraits from American-born Mona Shomali’s “Naked Folklore” represent the extremes of tradition and modernity in being Iranian American and explore what it takes to overcome categorization. Informed by her own immigration experiences, Iranian-born, Glasgow-based, Haleh Jamali’s video installation “Someone who is not anyone” considers how identities become fluid through choices in lifestyle and clothing, while “Departure” explores the tense relationship between women and fabric, through April 26, 1219 Vine Street, Philadelphia. Also, open mic night, Friday, February 15, 7:30pm with Gowri Koneswaran with the theme “Stories of Where We Come From.”

    “Etty” at Chestnut Hill College

    Back by popular demand at Chestnut Hill College is the 2010 Philadelphia Fringe Festival selection, “Etty,” on Tuesday, February 19, 7pm. The one-woman play is based on the diaries and letters of Etty Hillesum, a young Jewish woman deported from Holland in 1943. Susan Stein adapts Etty’s words, focusing on her gentle belief that humanity is the only solution for survival. Austin Pendleton directs the production, which is sponsored by the Institute for Forgiveness and Reconciliation at Chestnut Hill College, East Parlor, 9601 Germantown Avenue, Philadelphia.

    “Susan Rethorst: Inquiring Mind/Choreographic Mind”

    “Susan Rethorst: Inquiring Mind/Choreographic Mind” concludes its residency in the Bryn Mawr College Performing Arts Series with the Philadelphia premiere of “Behold Bold Sam Dog” and the world premiere of “208 East Broadway Part 5,” Friday, February 22 through Sunday, February 24, with a “Day-of-Dance” on Saturday, February 23, 12:30pm, featuring events that focus on the career of Susan Rethorst, acclaimed New York choreographer, dancer and recent Philadelphia transplant, Goodhart Hall, 150 North Merion Avenue, Bryn Mawr, PA.

    “Grey Gardens” at Players Club of Swarthmore

    The Players Club of Swarthmore brings the Tony Award-winning musical, “Grey Gardens” to its main stage through February 23, telling the tale of “Big Edie” and “Little Edie” Beale, two relatives of Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy, and their descent into squalor within a mansion. Stars Claudia Carlsson, Allison Gerrard, and Debbie Schiller Schrager, 614 Fairview Road, Swarthmore, PA.

    “Muswell Hill” at Villanova Theatre

    Villanova Theatre presents the U.S. premiere of “Muswell Hill,” by award-winning English playwright Torben Betts, directed by Harriet Power, and onstage through Sunday, February 24. First performed at the Orange Tree Theatre in London, the production was nominated for Best New Play at the Off West End Theatre Awards in 2012 and received the Time Out Critics Choice Award. Inspired by a scene Bett witnessed of a disengaged couple discussing the 2010 Haitian earthquake tragedy as if it were merely weather, the production features six “connected” characters who illustrate the promise and limitations of technology as they obsess over work, weight, and dinner. A discussion with playwright and screenwriter Torben Betts will follow the Thursday, February 21 performance, Vasey Hall, Villanova University, 800 Lancaster Avenue, Villanova, PA.

    “Good People” at George Street Playhouse

    The award-winning Broadway hit “Good People” is onstage at George Street Playhouse. Written by Pulitzer Prize winner David Lindsay-Abaire and directed by David Saint, the American play centers on single mother Margie in South Boston who, desperate for a job, tracks down her now successful high school sweetheart, Mikey. Starring John Bolger, Ellen McLaughlin, Marianne Owen, Eric Riedmann, Cynthia Lauren Tewes, and Zakiya Young, through Sunday, February 24, 9 Livingston Avenue, New Brunswick, NJ. Produced in association with Seattle Repertory Theatre.

    “Africa Imprint” at Indigo Arts

    Indigo Arts exhibits “Africa Imprint,” contemporary artwork from Africa and the African diaspora, on display through Saturday, March 9, reflecting the diversity of work from the African continent and the rich trans-Atlantic tradition of African descendants in the New World. Featuring paintings, prints and sculpture from Nigeria, Kenya, Tanzania, Botswana, Haiti, Cuba and Brazil, The Crane Arts Building, 1400 North American Street, #104, Philadelphia.


    “MAPnificent: Artists Use Maps,” an exhibit curated by Yulia Tikhonova, is on display at the AIGA Philadelphia SPACE, challenging a group of artists to creatively use the technique of mapping to convey unorthodox information like sociological data or aesthetic stimuli. Featured artists include Paula Scher, Doug Beube, Amy Pryor, Robert Walden, Paul Fabozzi, and more through March 31, 72 North 2nd Street, Philadelphia.

    “Fresh Eyes/Fresh Artists”

    The Philadelphia Foundation’s Community Art Gallery presents “Fresh Eyes/Fresh Artists,” showcasing 25 large-format reproductions of children’s art. The works were donated by students from some of the nation’s most under-resourced public schools in the Philadelphia, Norristown, New York City, and Denver areas for the purpose of raising funds to stock art classroom shelves. The exhibit is on display through April 19, 1234 Market Street, Suite 1800, Philadelphia.

    Other events and listings throughout the region:

    Onstage at Haddonfield Plays and Players is “The Full Monty,” by Terrence McNally, music and lyrics by David Yazbek, through March 2 at 957 East Atlantic Avenue, Haddonfield, NJ. Recommended for mature audiences.

    Thespis, Etc. of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Delaware County opens its production of Gilbert & Sullivan’s “Ruddigore” or “The Witch’s Curse,” taking the classic parody of 19th century melodramas and placing it in America in the 1950s. Although the setting may be different, the story remains the same: The Baronets of Ruddigore are under a curse that requires them to commit a crime each day or else they will perish painfully, February 15-24, 145 West Rose Tree Road, Media, PA.

    Astral Artists presents “Inspired By The Spiritual,” a concert celebrating African-American music and poetry, this Saturday, February 16, 3pm. The lineup includes Astral’s artists in world premieres by composers Evelyn Simpson-Curenton, David Sanford, and Alvin Singleton, the Church of the Holy Trinity, 1904 Walnut Street, Philadelphia.

    The Grand Theatre’s big reopening gala is this Saturday, February 16 beginning at 5:30pm. The night includes a silent auction, cocktails, desserts, and a 7pm performance of “Hairspray.” Audience members can stick around after the show for a special dance party. The family-friendly production continues through March 2, 504 South Main Street, Williamstown, NJ.

    For Presidents Day Weekend, The National Constitution Center hosts “Commander-in-Chief” themed events and activities for the whole family. Children can create presidential crafts including masks, hats, seals, and campaign buttons. Get “sworn in” as the next president by a Supreme Court Justice, vote in fantasy elections that pair famous U.S. Presidents, and see artifacts including Teddy Roosevelt’s shaving kit, Ronald Reagan’s jelly bean jar, and Andrew Johnson’s Impeachment Trial Ticket, Saturday, February 16 to Monday, February 18 with extended hours on Sunday, February 17, 525 Arch Street, Philadelphia.

    David Auburn’s Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning drama, “Proof,” opens Thursday, February 21 at Arcadia University’s MainStage Theater. Catherine cared for her father, a world-renowned mathematician, as he drifted into insanity and now she struggles with maintaining his legacy while coping with her own mental future. Directed by Kevin Glaccum, the show runs through March 3, 450 South Easton Road, Glenside, PA.

    Orchestra 2001 performs “Winds Past and Present: Renaissance Meets Contemporary” with Piffaro Renaissance Band and Soprano Julianne Baird and a program of contemporary pieces, Friday, February 22, 8pm, the Trinity Center, 22nd and Spruce Streets, Philadelphia, Saturday, February 23, 8pm, the Presbyterian Church of Chestnut Hill, 8855 Germantown Avenue, and Sunday, February 24, 3pm, Lang Concert Hall, Swarthmore College.

    The Philadelphia Orchestra partners with Philadelphia Live Arts to present a 21st century treatment of Stravinsky’s “The Rite of Spring,” along with the New York based Ridge Theater, featuring dancers, video projection, and theatrical lighting, February 21-24 under the baton of Maestro Yannick Nézet-Séguin, with Jean-Yves Thibaudet on piano, at the Kimmel Center, Broad Street, Philadelphia. “The Rite of Spring” received its U.S. premieres in both staged and concert versions in Philadelphia under the direction of Leopold Stokowski.

    On display at the Perkins Center for the Arts is the Photo 31 Awards Exhibition, featuring work by three photographers selected from last year’s Photography 31 Exhibition including Roger Matsumoto, Norman Sarachek, and Jackie Neale Chadwick, curated by Philip Carroll and Karen Chigounis, through March 23 with a Meet the Artists Reception on March 9 from 6pm to 9pm, 30 Irvin Avenue, Collingswood, NJ. Presented with PNC Arts Alive.

    Brett Rader and 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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