Robin Bloom shares her recommendations for what to do this week in the Philadelphia region!
Aspen Santa Fe Ballet
Aspen Santa Fe Ballet arrives in Philadelphia May 3-7 for five performances at the Prince Theater as part of the NextMove Dance Series. Under the artistic direction of Tom Mossbrucker, ASFB, a contemporary ballet company, mixes American athleticism with European sophistication and the program offers three Philadelphia premieres showcasing the Company’s technical prowess and range of moods and styles. The Company’s newest commissioned work is “Eudaemonia” by Cherice Barton, choreographer for Broadway’s “Spiderman: Turn off the Dark” and “America’s Got Talent.” Also featured are two works by Spanish-born choreographers Cayetano Soto’s Huma Rojo (2016) and Alejandro Cerrudo’s Silent Ghost (2015), 1412 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia. Photo by Lois Greenfield.
Cellblock 3 opens at Eastern State Penitentiary
Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site opens its long-abandoned medical wing to the public for the first time with fifteen minute guided tours throughout the day. Cellblock 3, or the Hospital Block, features an operating room, laboratories, a pharmacy, X-ray lab, hydrotherapy rooms, psychiatric department, and a solarium for treating tuberculosis patients. Medical artifacts that remain in place will also be on display. Eastern State Penitentiary was built in 1829 and in use until 1971. Today it remains in “preserved ruin” with stabilization efforts to allow visitors to tour the facility, 2027 Fairmount Avenue, Philadelphia. Photo courtesy of Eastern State Penitentiary.
Historic Philadelphia’s Philadelphia Chinese Lantern Festival
The Philadelphia Chinese Lantern Festival opens at Franklin Square Park on May 9, offering visitors another opportunity to walk among the larger than life illuminated displays created in Zigong in Sichuan province, China (the capital of Chinese lantern-making for thousands of years) and built on site by twenty Chinese artisans who have had the skills passed down from generation to generation. The celebration of light and culture features the newly rebuilt Chinese Dragon and all other brand new silk wrapped giant animals, flowers, trees, and other larger than life illuminated displays of 1500 sculptures with more than 15,000 LED lights. The display can be seen through June 11, accompanied by all new performances, 6th and Race Streets, Philadelphia. Open to the public and free during daytime hours. After 6pm at ticket is required for entry. Presented by Historic Philadelphia. Photo by Robin Bloom.
Philly POPS perform POPS Rocks: The Eagles, Fleetwood Mac, Journey, revisiting the hits of the 1970s and 1980s. The 65 piece orchestra, led by Michael Krajewski, will be joined by vocalists and guitarists Shem von Schroek, Lori Wilshire, and Micah Wilshire (pictured) for favorite hits like “Landslide,” “Take it Easy,” “Don’t Stop Believin'” and more, May 5-7 at the Kimmel Center. Related programs and events include a pre-concert Q&A session on opening night with John DeBella and former Eagles guitarist Don Felder, free and open to the public on the Plaza Stage. Photo courtesy of the Philly POPS.
South Street Spring Festival
The South Street Spring Festival returns on Saturday, May 6, 11 a.m. – 8 p.m., with over 40 bands, restaurants, vendors, and the annual German Maifest outside Brauhaus Schmitz including German beer, dancers and a May Pole. The huge outdoor block party spans 12 blocks around South Street with 3 main stages along with a kid’s zone, and more. Celebrate Philly’s love of pizza and cheesesteaks with the Philly Taco Eating Contest that combines an oversized Lorenzo and Sons pizza slice wrapped around a Jim’s Steak’s cheesesteak! All ages, free, and rain or shine. Presented by South Street Headhouse District. Photo courtesy of South Street Headhouse District.
Philadelphia Art Book Fair
The Philadelphia Art Book Fair takes place Friday, May 5 and Saturday, May 6, featuring new releases from photo and art book publishers, as well as artist books, zines, publications from art institutions, conversations, book signings and more than 60 exhibitors from around the country and the region at Twelve 27, 1227 N. 4th Street, Philadelphia. Free and open to the public. Presented by Philadelphia Photo Arts Center and The Print Center. Photo courtesy of Philadelphia Photo Arts Center.
“Clue: On Stage” at Bucks County Playhouse
Check out the world premiere of Clue: On Stage at Bucks County Playhouse. Adapted from the cult classic film (which was adapted from the Hasbro game), the new comedy features a cast of Broadway veterans led by two-time Emmy winner Sally Struthers (pictured) as Mrs. Peacock and Tony Nominee Erin Dilly as Mrs. White. Directed by Hunter Foster through May 20 at 70 South Main Street, New Hope, Pennsylvania. Related programs and events include an LGBT Night performance with a post-show talkback on May 9 and a Ladies’ Night performance on May 18. Photo courtesy of Bucks County Playhouse.
Mt. Airy Day
The 47th annual Mt. Airy Day returns to the grounds of Cliveden of the National Trust Saturday, May 6, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m., with food, live entertainment, vendors, children’s activities and more, 6400 Germantown Avenue. Rain date: May 7. Photo courtesy of East Mt. Airy Neighbors and West Mt. Airy Neighbors.
Morven in May
One of Princeton’s most anticipated spring rituals, Morven in May: A Celebration of Art, Craft and Garden, is a juried exhibition and sale of contemporary, American-made fine craft. Morven Museum and Garden welcomes a select group of over 35 professional fine craft artists from around the country. Art media include glass, ceramics, decorative and wearable fiber, mixed media, jewelry, furniture and basketry, displayed in gallery-style booths in a grand tent on the museum’s Great Lawn. Also, heirloom perennials and unique annuals for sale at the former New Jersey Governor’s Mansion, 55 Stockton Street. Kicking off Friday, May 5 with a preview party and open to the public. Hours are Saturday, May 6, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., and Sunday, May 7, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Free parking. Step inside the museum and check out Bruce Springsteen: A Photographic Journey, on view through May 21. Pictured: Pieces by celebrated porcelain artist Cliff Lee, featured artist at Morven in May. Photo courtesy of Morven Museum and Garden.
“Ansel Adams: Early Works” at Biggs Museum of American Art
Forty works of the iconic American photographer Ansel Adams will be displayed at the Biggs Museum of American Art, May 5 through July 30. Ansel Adams: Early Works offers pieces by the photographer, musician, conservationist, naturalist, explorer, critic, and teacher, on loan from a private collector. Also, on display, an up-close look at cameras and tools that photographers used during the early era of photography, similar to what Adams would have used. Additionally, the Frank E. Schoonover Archive features photographs the Brandywine School illustrator used to create works in the Biggs Museum’s collection, the Stargatt Collection of Leonard C. Talley Stereoscopes highlights the little known, 19th century photographer from northern Delaware, and the Sewell C. Biggs Archive documents the Biggs Museum founder’s 1937 trip around the world, 406 Federal Street, Dover, Delaware. Opening reception Friday, May 5 p.m. and free admission on selected Dover Days Festival. Pictured: Yosemite Valley, High Clouds, from Tunnel Esplanade, Yosemite National Park, California, ca. 1940. Photograph by Ansel Adams. Reproduced by permission of the Trustees of The Ansel Adams Publishing Rights Trust.
Dover Days Festival
The 84th annual Dover Days Festival takes place May 5-6, celebrating the history of the First State with live music, historical interpreters, colonial songs and antique instruments, lectures, exhibits, hundreds of craft vendors, colonial and Victorian tradespeople and crafters, Civil War and Revolutionary war reenactments, fireworks, parades (including a pet parade) and more in historic Dover, Delaware. Photo by Dave Chambers.
Theatre Exile’s “Buzzer”
The Philadelphia premiere of the darkly comedic and gripping drama Buzzer takes to the stage May 4-28 at Studio X. Theatre Exile concludes its 20th season with Tracey Scott Wilson’s story of three young people as they move into a gentrified neighborhood. Racial and sexual tensions ignite in the thought-provoking production, written by the Temple alum and writer and co-producer on the FX show “The Americans.” Directed by Exile’s Associate Artistic Director Matt Pfeiffer, the show features Akeem Davis, Alex Keiper, and Matteo Scammell, 1340 S. 13th Street, Philadelphia. Photo by Robert Hakalski.
“My Name is Asher Lev” at South Camden Theatre Company
Onstage at South Camden Theatre Company is My Name is Asher Lev, the Barrymore Award-winning production about a Hasidic Jewish artist in New York City who must be a painter despite his faith and the will of his family. The play was adapted from the best-selling novel by Chaim Potok by Aaron Posner, co-founder of the Arden Theatre Company, where the show had its world premiere in 2009. Josh McLucus directs a cast of three including Stacy Skinner, Steve Gleich and Tyler S. Elliott as Asher Lev through May 21 at the Waterfront South Theater, 400 Jasper Street, Camden, NJ. $5 tickets available to Camden City residents with proof of residency.
Inis Nua’s “Swallow”
Inis Nua Theatre Company continues its mission of producing contemporary, provocative plays from Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales with the American premiere of Swallow by Scottish playwright Stef Smith, onstage through May 14. Winner of the 2015 Fringe First and the Scottish Arts Club Theatre Awards, the compelling production follows three lives that are intricately connected and the quiet, traumatic struggles of being human, portrayed by Corinna Burns, Samy el-Noury and Felicia Leicht. Claire Moyer directs at the Proscenium Theater at The Drake, 302 South Hicks Street, Philadelphia. Related programs and events include “setting the scene” talks preceding performances on May 3 and 10. Photo by Katie Reing.
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.