Weekly Entertainment Guide – ‘Nabucco,’ ‘Hidden Treasures Unveiled,’ & new Philly festivals

     Opera Philadelphia opens its new season with

    Opera Philadelphia opens its new season with "Nabucco" Sept. 27 - Oct. 6 at the Academy of Music.

    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:


    Opera Philadelphia’ “Nabucco”

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    Opera Philadelphia launches its new season with the company premiere of “Nabucco,” Verdi’s landmark Italian opera that symbolizes the struggle for independence, September 27 through October 6 at the Academy of Music. For the third year, Opera Philadelphia offers a free broadcast at Independence National Historical Park, the birthplace of our own nation’s freedom, Saturday, September 28, 7pm. The show will be shown in high definition on a giant outdoor screen on Independence Mall. Director and set designer Thaddeus Strassberger set the new production in 1842, capturing the original set designs with grand, hand-painted backdrops crafted in the traditional style of Italian scene painting. The season opener is in celebration of Verdi’s 200th birthday.

    Truth Values: One Girl’s Romp Through M.I.T.’s Male Math Maze

    Hear the true life story about the challenges of being a professional woman in a male-dominated field with “Truth Values: One Girl’s Romp Through M.I.T.’s Male Math Maze.” Writer, performer and “recovering mathematician” Gioia DeCari brings more than 30 characters to life in an autobiographical show that tackles the issue of gender equality and the underrepresentation of women in math, science, technology and engineering. Onstage October 1-5 at the Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, 3680 Walnut Street, Philadelphia.


    The Rainmaker

    “The Rainmaker” is onstage at People’s Light & Theatre through October 13. Written by Philadelphia playwright N. Richard Nash, the heartfelt classic is a romance set in 1936 during a late summer drought in Western Iowa. Directed by Abigail Adams and starring company members Kevin Bergen, Mark Lazar, Pete Pryor, and Graham Smith, along with visiting artists John Jarboe, Nancy McNulty, and Michael Sharon, at 39 Conestoga Road, Malvern, PA. “Scoop on Sundays: History, Context, and Gossip,” before every Sunday 7pm performance.


    Red Herring

    Villanova Theatre stages an award-winning comedy by resident playwright and professor Michael Hollinger. “Red Herring” is directed by Harriet Power (also a Villanova theatre professor) October 1-13. A fable about six people in search of love in a mixed-up world, the show explores fidelity, the misfires of attraction, and the complexities of marriage through the lens of 1950’s crime noir. The ensemble piece features Victoria Rose Bonito, Seth Thomas Schmitt-Hall, Sophia Barrett, Julia George-Carlson, Ray Saraceni, and Brendan Farrell. “Red Herring” received its world premiere at Arden Theatre Company in 2000 and has since been produced numerous times across the United States and Europe. The Sunday, September 29, 8pm performance benefits Philadelphia playwright Ed Shockley. A post-show discussion with the playwright will follow the October 10 show, Vasey Hall at Lancaster and Ithan Avenues, Villanova, PA.

    Spring Awakening

    Onstage at Steel River Playhouse is “Spring Awakening,” the musical about the trials, tribulations and exhilaration of the teenage years. Directed by Beverly Redman with music direction by Deborah Stimson-Snow, the show stars Maddie Aicher as Wendla, with Madison Devlin, Casey Cloonan, Dona Marie Pizzo, Andrew Patterson, Robb Russ and more, through October 13 at 245 E. High Street, Pottstown, PA. On Friday, September 27, Christy Altomare, who played the role of Wendla in the first national tour, will be in attendance for opening night.



    You don’t have to be a sports fan to enjoy “Lombardi,” onstage at the Eagle Theatre through October 12. Set during one week in the 1965 season, the show follows Vince Lombardi as he attempts to take his team (the Green Bay Packers) to the championship. The powerful family drama stars David Wills as the legendary coach with Marianne Green as his wife. Eagle Theatre is one of the first professional theatres in America to produce the play since it closed on Broadway, 208 Vine Street, Hammonton, NJ.


    Art Appreciation

    Museum Day live!

    Smithsonian Magazine’s annual Museum Day live! is this Saturday, September 28, offering free admission for one person plus a guest (per household) to museums across the country. Participating area museums include the American Swedish Historical Museum. Now on view, “The Enduring Designs of Josef Frank” (pictured), a traveling exhibition on the Austrian-born designer and architect who was a leading pioneer of Swedish Modern design, at 1900 Pattison Avenue in South Philadelphia. Other museums include the African American Museum in Philadelphia, National Constitution Center, Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University, Delaware Art Museum, Battleship New Jersey, and more. For a complete list and to reserve your free tickets, visit the website.

    Wild Flowers: Paintings and Drawings by Peter Paone

    Opening this weekend at Woodmere Art Museum is “Wild Flowers: Paintings and Drawings by Peter Paone,” a collection of fantastical, imaginative and often unsettling pieces by the local artist. Born and raised in South Philadelphia, Paone attended the Philadelphia College of Art (now the University of the Arts), and teaches at PAFA. While he has exhibited nationally and internationally, this exhibit offers an exclusive look at 86 never before seen works that until now remained in the confines of his Mount Airy studio. On display through January 19 at 9201 Germantown Avenue in Chestnut Hill. A free open house is Saturday, October 12, 1pm-4pm and upcoming programming includes lectures with Paone and a free family flower-making event.

    Hidden Treasures Unveiled: Watercolors

    The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA) debuts the new Richard C. von Hess Foundation Works on Paper Gallery with the inaugural exhibition “Hidden Treasures Unveiled: Watercolors,” opening Saturday, September 28 through January 5. Drawn from the Museum’s extensive collection, the display features 42 extraordinary examples of watercolors from the 18th through the 21st centuries that have remained little-known to the public. PAFA’s works on paper spans over 9,500 drawings, watercolors, sketchbooks, prints, and photographs in traditional and experimental media. Highlights include Benjamin West’s Portrait of Prince Octavius (1783), William Trost Richards’ Seascape with Foreground Rocks (1874), and Winslow Homer’s North Road, Bermuda (1900) (pictured). On view at the Historic Landmark Building, 118 North Broad Street, Philadelphia. Also – the “PAFA After Dark” series returns for a new season on Thursday, October 3, 6pm-9pm, with “Masters of the Universe.” The evening’s highlights include the Martha Graham Cracker Cabaret, Isaiah Zagar, founder of Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens, art-making activities, refreshments, gallery talks and more!


    On display at Rowan University Art Gallery is “Dialogic,” a multi-media group exhibition that examines how language is perceived, communicated and translated through the distortion and filtering of visual qualities and symbolic power of the text. The term “dialogic” refers to the concept that everything ever spoken exists in response to things that have been said before and in anticipation of things that will be said in response. With language mined from Patty Smith, the Bible, the Koran, Hamlet, Emily Dickinson, Morse code, Braille, the Beach Boys, and more, Dialogic incorporates words and poetic phrasings into video, soundscapes, interactive tech-works, sculpture, and paintings to show the internal contradictions, hidden meanings, and implicit ideologies of language artists. Works by Jenny Holzer, Glenn Ligon, Dawn Kramlich, Meg Hitchcock, Barbara Hashimoto (pictured), Sue White, and more. Curated by Gallery Director, Mary Salvante, the exhibition runs through October 8, Westby Hall lower level, Route 322, Glassboro, NJ. Free and open to the public. Also – The Rowan University Concert Choir, featuring more than 200 voices, performs on Saturday, September 28, 8pm, in Pfleeger Concert Hall.

    Festivals, Fairs & More

    Pearl Street Block Party

    Asian Arts Initiative is hosting the first-ever Pearl Street Block Party this Saturday, September 28, 2pm-5pm, a free neighborhood festival of arts and community that celebrates Chinatown North/Callowhill as a diverse, creatively rich, and burgeoning cultural hub, and provides an opportunity for Philadelphians to participate in all kinds of interactive art-making. The 1200 block will come alive with a myriad of activities, including live music, food, community art vendors, displays hosted by local galleries, and an array of multi-disciplinary art installations. Also, a community furniture build led by Oakland-based landscape architect Walter Hood, Fleisher Art Memorial’s ColorWheels, a mobile art studio, a free community feast organized by Philly Stake founder Theresa Rose, and more. Free with registration. In the event of rain, the party moves indoors at Asian Arts Initiative, 1219 Vine Street, Philadelphia. For a complete list of events, visit the website.

    College Day

    The annual Campus Philly “College Day” is back this Saturday, September 28, beginning at 10am on the Ben Franklin Parkway, geared to welcome new and returning college and graduate students to the Philadelphia area, with free music and entertainment, free admission to museums and cultural attractions along the Parkway and Historic Philadelphia (with valid student ids), a crash course in Philly’s many neighborhoods, and much more. Presented by Campus Philly.

    Painted Bride Art Center’s Family Day

    The Painted Bride Art Center kicks off a new season with a Family Day and a parade along 2nd Street, Saturday, September 28, beginning at 1pm, leading to the Bride for a performance by the Universal African Dance & Drum Ensemble (pictured) with dance workshops, children’s activities, stilt walkers, acrobats, and more, 230 Vine Street, Old City, Philadelphia.


    New Hope Arts & Crafts Festival

    The 20th annual New Hope Arts & Crafts Festival returns this Saturday, September 28 and Sunday, September 29, 10am-6pm both days, with over 200 fine art, jewelry, crafts, and photography exhibitors, music, food, family activities, and more at New Hope-Solebury High School, New Hope, PA. Free. While in New Hope, enjoy the 4th annual Sweet Edge Sculpture Tour, September 28-29, 10am-5pm, as 5 of the areas contemporary sculptors open their studios and gardens to exhibit recent works in stone, steel, bronze, and stoneware. For studio locations, including Cedar Maze (pictured), visit Sweet Edge Sculpture Tour. 

    Wilmington’s first Harvest Hop Fest

    Wilmington’s first Harvest Hop Fest is Saturday, September 28, 12pm-5pm, offering samples from over 30 breweries, along with live music by Josh and Rob from The Sermon, and more. Hosted by World Café Life at the Queen, outside in Wilmington Square, 500 N. Market Street, Wilmington, DE.


    Art-Reach Fall Festival

    The inaugural Art-Reach Fall Festival is Sunday, September 29, 12pm-4pm, an all-inclusive festival featuring live music, interactive art activities, food trucks, vendors and more, to celebrate the organization’s 27 years of service in the Philadelphia region. The non-profit was established to make the arts more accessible to area residents who are disabled or are economically disadvantaged and have provided discounted or free live arts tickets and museum admission to over 17,000 people. The festival is held on the grounds of Ridgeland Mansion in Philadelphia’s West Fairmount Park.

    Puerto Rican Day Parade

    The 51st Annual Puerto Rican Day Parade, Philadelphia’s largest outdoor celebration of Puerto Rican and Latino heritage is Sunday, September 29, noon-3pm (approx.), with an afternoon of music, dancing, floats and more along the Ben Franklin Parkway, ending at Eakins Oval, organized by the Council of Spanish Speaking Organizations of Philadelphia (Concilio).


    Night Market Chinatown

    The Night Market Philadelphia street food festival comes to Chinatown, with the chance to explore more than 60 of the city’s best food trucks and ethnic restaurants during a night of food, drink, music, and fun, Thursday, October 3, 7pm to 11pm, 10th and Race Streets, Philadelphia. Free.



    40th Street Summer Series concludes

    The 40th Street Summer Series concludes this Saturday, September 28, 6pm, with Millennial Territory Orchestra, trumpet-composer Steven Bernstein’s 12 piece ensemble, performing the music of Sly & The Family Stone. Enjoy complimentary Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream and pretzels, face painting, circus arts, balloon art, and more. Located behind the Walnut West Free Library, 40th and Chestnut Streets, Philadelphia. Free.


    Lambertville Music Hall Concert Series

    To celebrate the proposed Lambertville Music Hall, a community-based performing arts center that will present a cultural variety of different programs and performances, the Bucks County Playhouse hosts a 10 day concert series of national recording artists, October 3-13. Performances by Travis Tritt (pictured), October 3, 8pm, Ana Popovic, October 4, 8pm, Ginger Baker and his Jazz Confusion, October 8, 8pm, Jefferson Starship, October 10, 8pm, Eddie Money, October 12, 8pm, and more, with local bands opening each night at 70 South Main Street, New Hope, PA. The Lambertville Music Hall, currently under renovation, will be at the historic First Baptist Church on Bridge Street in Lambertville, NJ.

    Yifei Kong 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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