Weekly Entertainment Guide – ‘No Reservations,’ ‘Lizzie,’ and holiday family fun

     The Skybox at the Adrienne Theater presents

    The Skybox at the Adrienne Theater presents "No Reservations" November 26 - December 15.

    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:


    Donizetti’s “L’elisir d’amore”

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    Curtis Opera Theatre’s production of Donizetti’s “L’elisir d’amore” (The Elixir of Love) takes to the stage at the Prince Music Theater. The enduring tale of unrequited love and the amusement that comes from endeavors to win affections, is conducted by Curtis alum Vinay Parameswaran and directed by New York based opera and theatre director Jordan Fein, accompanied by the Curtis Symphony Orchestra and sung in Italian with English supertitles. Catch the fully-staged, popular comic opera Friday, November 22, 7:30pm, Saturday, November 23, 7:30pm and Sunday, November 24, 2:30pm at 1412 Chestnut St, Philadelphia.

    11th Hour Theatre Company’s “Lizzie”

    Onstage this weekend is “Lizzie,” 11th Hour Theatre Company’s rock musical about the famed axe-wielding murderess, Lizzie Borden, November 23-25. Borden was a small-town Sunday school teacher who was accused of the gruesome 1892 murders of her father and step-mother, found brutally chopped to death by a hatchet. She was tried and acquitted of the killings and no one else was ever arrested for the crime. The infamous case was covered by the press nationally and continues to intrigue today. Directed by Kate Galvan and starring Alex Keiper, Cara Noel Antosca, Rachel Brennan, and Meredith Beck, “Lizzie,” a fusion of theater and rock music, is a story of rebellious youth with music and lyrics by Steve Cheslik-deMeyer, Alan Steven Hewitt, and Tim Maner, and Jamison Foreman leading the musical accompaniment, at the Caplan Studio Theatre at the University of the Arts, 211 South Broad Street, Philadelphia.

    “No Reservations”

    The World Premiere of the holiday farce “No Reservations” takes to the stage at the Skybox at the Adrienne Theater. The original, madcap comedy by New York Times best-selling author and humorist Josh Piven (known for his tongue-in-cheek Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook series), reimagines the Nativity story with an inventive modern twist that satirizes our celebrity-obsessed, media-saturated culture. Directed by Allison Heishman, Artistic Associate at Azuka Theater, with an ensemble cast of Philadelphia actors including Jared Michael Delaney, Wendy Staton, Brian McCann, Mary Beth Shrader, Colleen Corcoran and Brandon Pierce, November 26 through December 15, at 2030 Sansom Street, 3rd Floor, Center City, Philadelphia.

    Britten Birthday Centennial Celebration

    Celebrate the legendary English composer who wrote some of the 20th century’s best-loved choral and operatic works. Benjamin Britten would be 100 on November 22 and Lyric Fest honors his memory with “Biography in Music: Benjamin Britten,” Sunday, November 24, 3pm. The theatrical concert reveals his life through letters, biographical narration and song, set against the backdrop of two World Wars and his artistic and personal relationship with Peter Pears. Guest artists include tenor William Ferguson, soprano Kelly Ann Bixby, baritone Jarrett Ott, actor Jim Bergwall, and pianist Laura Ward, at Academy of Vocal Arts’ Helen Corning Warden Theater, 1920 Spruce Street, near Rittenhouse Square, Philadelphia.

    “The Rape of Lucretia”

    University of Delaware Opera Theatre presents the powerful and disturbing chamber opera “The Rape of Lucretia,” Friday, November 22, 8pm, with legendary operatic conductor David Effron, and Sunday, November 24, 3pm, conducted by UDOT Music Director James Allen Anderson, Loudis Recital Hall, DuPont Music Building, Amstel Avenue and Orchard Road, Newark, DE. Not recommended for younger audiences.

    Family events

    “Elf” at Walnut Street Theater

    Walnut Street Theater brings an all-new production of the Broadway family musical, “ELF” to the main stage. Based on the film by the same name, starring Will Ferrell and written by Philadelphia native David Berenbaum, about Buddy, a young orphan who mistakenly crawls into Santa’s bag of gifts and is transported to the North Pole. Christopher Sutton leads the cast as Buddy, with jolly Bill Van Horn as Santa Claus, Kate Fahrner as Jovie, Kristine Fraelich as Emily, Cary Michele Miller as Deb, and Charles Pistone as Walter Hobbs. Also, look for an extended cast of children from the Philadelphia area. The sweet performance (sweet, that is, as an elf’s four main food groups – candy, candy canes, candy corns, and syrup) is onstage through January 5, at 825 Walnut Street, Philadelphia.

    Gingerbread House Competition & Display at Peddler’s Village

    Peddler’s Village hosts the annual Gingerbread House Competition & Display, debuting Friday, November 22, with a show of confections in categories including traditional, authentic reproduction of a significant building, amateur, unusual 3D creation, and more, through January 4, 2014 in the gazebo. Friday, November 22, 6-9pm is the “Grand Illumination Celebration,” as Santa switches the outdoor holiday light display on to kick off the holiday season, with cider and marshmallow toasting, Routes 202 and 263, Lahaska, Bucks County, PA. Free admission and free parking.

    Upper Darby Performing Arts Center’s “The Nutcracker”

    Members of the Pennsylvania Academy of Ballet Society perform the region’s first holiday performance of “The Nutcracker” at the Upper Darby Performing Arts Center this weekend, Friday, November 22, 7:30pm, Saturday, November 23, 11am and 3pm, and Sunday, November 24, 1:30pm and 5:30pm at 601 North Lansdowne Avenue, Drexel Hill, PA. Production is approximately 90 minutes and appropriate for children ages 4 and up. Free parking available.

    Macy’s Grand Court Light Show

    Macy’s Grand Court Light Show returns the day after Thanksgiving through December 31. Get a preview this Saturday, November 23 with a holiday window unveiling beginning at noon with musical and dance performances by Mack Wilds, Max Schneider, cast of Jersey Boys, Rock School, Wanamaker Organ, and more, plus a sneak peek performance of Walnut Street Theatre’s “A Christmas Carol,” children’s activities and of course, the Dickens Village, 13th and Market Streets, Philadelphia.

    Storybook Musical Theatre’s “Princess and the Pea”

    Storybook Musical Theatre’s “Princess and the Pea,” the musical based on the Hans Christian Andersen tale about a princess who must pass a very unusual test to marry a prince, takes to the stage November 23 through December 1, at the Klein JCC Theater, 10100 Jamison Avenue, in Northeast Philadelphia


    Metropolitan Ballet Company’s “Tea for Ruby”

    Metropolitan Ballet Company opens its new season with a company premiere of “Tea for Ruby,” adapted from the picture book by illustrator Robin Preiss Glasser (Fancy Nancy) and author Sarah Ferguson, The Duchess of York, Saturday, November 23, 12:30pm and 4:30pm and Sunday, November 24, 1pm and 4pm, Josephine Muller Auditorium at Abington Friends School, 575 Washington Lane, Jenkintown, PA. Also on the program is David Lichine’s “Graduation Ball.” Glasser (pictured), who previously danced with the Pennsylvania Ballet, appears as “the Queen” at Ruby’s Royal Tea Party, held in between the Saturday performances, and will sign books at all four performances.

    Please Touch Museum’s 5th Birthday

    Celebrate Please Touch Museum’s 5th Birthday at Memorial Hall in Fairmount Park with a yearlong party kicking off Wednesday, November 27, 10am-3pm, with Ernie & Neal performing, animated characters Super Why and Princess Presto, story time and more. The fun continues on the 5th of each month with special meet & greets, musical appearances and more. Don’t miss the return of the Lit Brother’s Enchanted Colonial Village, on display through January 2, depicting holiday scenes of an 18th century village with a blacksmith shop, bakery, village store, more, 4231 Avenue of the Republic, Philadelphia.

    Dinosaur Days at Academy of Natural Sciences

    The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University’s annual Dinosaur Days returns November 29 through December 1 with family activities and educational experiences including live animal shows at 11am and 3pm each day, demonstrations by paleo-illustrator Jason Poole, real fossils, crafts and more, along with the opportunity to check out the “Dinosaurs Unearthed” exhibit of more than a dozen animatronic, full-size creatures from the Jurassic Period, 1900 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia.

    “Haddy” at Delaware Museum of Natural History

    The Delaware Museum of Natural History hosts a display of a full cast of the original fossilized skeleton of the plant-eating duckbill dinosaur nicknamed “Haddy,” the Hadrosaurus, discovered by John Estaugh Hopkins 175 years ago in Haddonfield, NJ. The Hadrosaurus lived throughout much of what is now North America during the Cretaceous period, about 75 million years ago. On loan from the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University in Philadelphia through February 24, 4840 Kennett Pike, Wilmington, DE.

    “Miniature Marvels” at Biggs Museum

    Biggs Museum of American Art celebrates the holiday season with “Miniature Marvels,” the Barbara Merrell Collection of Handmade Doll Houses, offering the opportunity to peek inside half and quarter inch scale miniature structures of a toy shop, grade school, holiday craft shop, bungalows and more, through December 29. Also, on view is “Landscapes of Bayard T. Berndt,” over 70 paintings spanning the 60 year career of the local artist who studied under N.C. Wyeth and Frank Schoonover. Many of his works portray scenes from the Brandywine Valley, including the Wilmington Riverfront, Buckley’s Tavern, historic Odessa, and other locations, through February 23, 406 Federal Street, Dover, DE.

    “Cinderella: A Musical Panto” at People’s Light

    People’s Light & Theatre celebrates its 10th year of staging holiday pantos that take well-known folk tales and other favorite children’s stories and change them in a surprising and interesting way, with “Cinderella.” Written by Kathryn Petersen with music and lyrics by Michael Ogborn, the show is set in the not-so-distant land of Malvernistan in the roaring 1920s. Cinderella’s animal friends are gangster types that help her with her chores and also help solve the crime of what really happened to Cinderella’s mother. Directed by Pete Pryor through January 12, 39 Conestoga Road, Malvern, PA. Special events include conversation about the production with the artists after select Thursday evening performances and Panto Brunch with Cinderella characters.

    Thanksgiving activities

    Philadelphia’s annual Thanksgiving Day parade, in its 94th year as the oldest Thanksgiving Day parade in the country, is Thursday, November 28 beginning at 8:30am at 20th & JFK Boulevard to 16th Street and then along the Ben Franklin Parkway, concluding at Eakins Oval in front of the Art Museum. Special guests include Cedric the Entertainer, Danielle Bradbery from “The Voice,” Ryan Howard, Santa and Mrs. Claus and many more.

    The National Constitution Center’s Thanksgiving Weekend Celebration offers visitors the opportunity to learn about the history of the American holiday, from George Washington’s first Thanksgiving proclamation to modern day traditions with “History of Thanksgiving” show. Interactive programs, seasonal crafts, a gallery talk with Philadelphia Inquirer photographer David Swanson, a Soldier Mail Call station (to write and send letters of gratitude to men and women serving overseas), and more, including the opportunity to check out the feature exhibit “Capture the Moment: The Pulitzer Prize Photographs,” Friday, November 29 through Sunday, December 1 (closed Thanksgiving Day), 525 Arch Street, Philadelphia. Included with museum admission.

    Hagley Museum and Library offers Thanksgiving weekend activities, offering a celebration of the food and traditions of the nineteenth century. Enjoy a taste of a traditional Thanksgiving meal and discover the quirks and challenges of cooking with a wood stove. Wear your nineteenth-century best clothing, Friday, November 29 through Sunday, December 1, 12pm-4pm, off Route 141 in Greenville, Delaware approximately 4 miles from downtown Wilmington.

    Hanukkah at the Gershman Y

    The Gershman Y hosts an exhibit of Hanukkah menorahs or Hanukkiot, the central ritual object of the Festival of Lights, through December 8. The invitational exhibition features the work of twelve glass artists, including Steve Resnick, Bella Feldman, Eunsuh Choi, Ede Horton, Shards Studio, and more, on display and for sale in the Borowsky Gallery, 401 S. Broad Street, Philadelphia. Admission is free. Pictured: menorah by Canadian artist Jacques Rivard, made from small blocks of recycled glass.


    Klez Dispensers

    The 8 piece ensemble, The Klez Dispensers, perform a Chanukah Concert for all ages, on Sunday, November 24, 2:30pm 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.


    Mama Doni Band and LATKEPALOOZA

    The Mama Doni Band brings their quirky and offbeat blend of contemporary American bluegrass, reggae, rock, disco, Latin, and klezmer to the Philly area for two interactive family “Chanukah Fever” shows. Performances are Friday, November 29, 8:15pm, Congregation Beth Or, 239 Welsh Road, Maple Glen, PA, and Monday, December 2, 4:30pm, at VIE, 600 North Broad Street, Philadelphia, as part of the annual LATKEPALOOZA, as top Philly chefs cook up original latke creations for sampling.


    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, Wednesday, December 4, 38th and Chestnut Streets, Philadelphia. Doors open at 7:30pm, show at 8:30pm.


    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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