Looking to honor the memory of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. this holiday weekend? WHYY’s Robin Bloom has some recommendations on what’s happening in the Philadelphia region. Here are her picks:
Philadelphia honors the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. with the 18th annual Martin Luther King Day of Service, this Monday, January 21. The event, run by Global Citizen, is the largest and most expansive volunteer community service effort of its type in the country with more than 100,000 volunteers participating in over 1500 community service projects across the region. Find a project near you.
In the 1930s, Jewish academics from Germany and Austria who were dismissed by the Nazis from their teaching positions sought work in the United States. Of the several hundred refugee scholars who came to this country, more than 50 of them found positions at historically black colleges. The National Museum of American Jewish History spotlights the remarkable story of the interracial cooperation that took place during that time with “Beyond Swastika and Jim Crow: Jewish Refugee Scholars at Black Colleges.” The exhibit tells the story of how the refugees and African-American students steered through the challenges of life in the segregated south and worked together for freedom and opportunity, efforts that inspired the early years of the Civil Rights movement, on view through June 2 at 101 South Independence Mall East, Philadelphia.
The NMAJH celebrates Martin Luther King, Jr. Day on Monday, January 21, 10am-5pm, with art projects, screenings of the documentary, “From Swastika to Jim Crow” at 11am and 2pm, including a talkback with director Steve Fischler after the 2pm screening, and more. Free and open to the public.
The City of Philadelphia’s Mural Arts Program offers a special African American Iconic Images Collection Tour this Saturday, January 19 with Richard Watson, curator of Exhibitions at the African American Museum in Philadelphia, guiding a tour of over thirty of the city’s iconic murals from the Albert M. Greenfield African American Iconic Images Collection. The tour departs from The African American Museum, 701 Arch Street, at 10am and finishes at noon.
The Cape May Carriage House Gallery celebrates the region’s African American heritage with an exhibit, “Celebrating Community Service: Black Fraternal, Social, and Civic Organizations of Cape May County,” exploring the significance of organizations like GEMS, Masons, Eastern Stars, and the Black PSO in African American social life, on view January 19 through April 14, with a free opening on Monday, January 21, 4pm, 1048 Washington Street, Cape May, NJ. Co-sponsored by the Mid -Atlantic Center for the Arts & Humanities and the Cape May Center for Community Arts.
The Philadelphia Theatre Company commemorates the 50th Anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech with the Philadelphia premiere of “The Mountaintop,” by Katori Hall. The production debuted in London at Theatre 503, earned the 2010 Olivier Award for Best New Play, and opened on Broadway in 2011 and portrays a blend of the leader and the man in an imaginative depiction of the night before his assassination in Memphis, 1968. Directed by Patricia McGregor and starring Sekou Laidlow (Law & Order and The Wire), “The Mountaintop” is onstage January 18 to February 17 at the Suzanne Roberts Theatre, 480 South Broad Street, Philadelphia.
The Historic Philadelphia Center hosts a celebration of great figures and moments in history with “History Makers Weekend,” January 18-21, 12pm-3pm, as families can take part in activities that honor Ben Franklin’s Birthday, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, and the Presidential Inauguration, 150 South Independence Mall West, Philadelphia. Mention “Ben’s birthday Present” January 18 through President’s Day and get 50% off tickets to the “Liberty 360” 3D show.
The Music School of Delaware hosts “Cultural Crossroads,” a Martin Luther King, Jr. and Black History tribute, Friday, January 18, 7pm-9pm, with concerts and workshops, a “ring shout,” a West African religious tradition, a 40th anniversary celebration of Herbie Hancock’s landmark jazz-funk album “Headhunters,” and excerpts from “The Meeting,” Jeff Stetson’s fictional play about a meeting between Dr. King and Malcolm X, 4101 Washington Street, Wilmington, DE.
Eastern State Penitentiary hosts readings of one of the most influential letters written by Martin Luther King, Jr. in the margins of a newspaper and smuggled out of Birmingham Jail, Saturday, January 19 through Monday, January 21, 11:30am and 2:30pm each day. Free and open to the public. Guided tours available with information about how the civil rights movement affected Eastern State Penitentiary and how inmates reacted to Dr. King’s assassination.
The 30th Annual Interfaith Celebration of the Legacy of Martin Luther King is Sunday, January 20, 3pm, titled, “Working Together for Peace: Continuing the Legacy of MLK and NIM (Neighborhood Interfaith Movement)” and features religious leaders reflecting on local interfaith cooperation inspired by King’s teachings. Performances will be given by Jewish, Christian, and Muslim groups at Germantown Jewish Centre, 400 W. Ellet Street, Philadelphia. Free.
The Delaware Museum of Natural History presents “African American Champions of Nature,” Monday, January 21, 9:30am-4:30pm, with special activities for all ages focused on the accomplishments of African American scientists to natural history. Visitors can view live arthropods, make a marine invertebrate craft, and play an interactive matching game about George Washington Carver’s uses for peanuts and other plants, 4840 Kennett Pike, Wilmington, DE.
The National Constitution Center hosts the double celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and the 57th Presidential Inauguration, Monday, January 21, 10am-5pm, with service projects including sewing quilts and baby blankets for the Women Against Abuse shelter, live performances by “Two of a Kind,” a reading of the “I Have a Dream” speech, and more. Admission is free, but registration required for some events, 525 Arch Street, Philadelphia.
The Philadelphia Museum of Art honors Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. with a “Pay What You Wish” admission and special family events, Monday, January 21, 10am-3pm, with art activities, a reading by illustrator E. B. Lewis, whose books share the message of love and service, and more, Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia.
The African American Museum in Philadelphia presents “Sharing the Heritage!” Monday, January 21, 11am-5pm, featuring events for the whole family at the museum, 701 Arch Street, Philadelphia and off-site locations.
The Franklin Institute celebrates Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service on Monday, January 21, 11am-2pm, with the “I Have A Dream” speech broadcast on the walls of Franklin Hall at the top of every hour, activities including “African American Scientists Scavenger Hunt” and hands-on arts and crafts, 222 North 20th Street, Philadelphia.
Celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day at Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens, Monday, January 21, 11am-5pm, offering visitors the opportunity to paint tiles for an upcoming community mural project by Isaiah Zagar. Tours offered but reservations required, 1020 South Street, Philadelphia.
The Arts Council of Princeton, Kidsbridge Tolerance Museum, and the Historical Society of Princeton hosts the Martin Luther King, Jr. Art Workshop at the Paul Robeson Center for the Arts on Monday, January 21, 1pm-4pm. Take part in interactive workshops and puppet shows for the children. Participants are encouraged to bring nonperishable foods for donation to the Crisis Ministry. The event is free at 102 Witherspoon Street, Princeton, NJ,
Enjoy an afternoon of music and food in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. with “Remembering the Dream,” Monday, January 21, 3pm-5pm. William Douglas directs Serena Sol Brown and the Sol Unlimited Orchestra with complimentary refreshments at Cliveden, 6401 Germantown Avenue, Philadelphia. Free.
Yannick Nézet-Séguin conducts the Philadelphia Orchestra’s 23rd Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Tribute Concert, Monday, January 21, 4pm, at the Martin Luther King High School, 6100 Stenton Ave, Philadelphia. Guests include music director Jeri Lynne Johnson of the Black Pearl Chamber Orchestra, award-winning storyteller Charlotte Blake Alston, violinist Elena Urioste, and Dorina Morrow directing the Philadelphia All City Choir. Tickets are free but must be reserved.
Other event happening thorughout Philadelphia, South Jersey and Delaware:
Plays & Players extends the hit rock musical “Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson,” composed and written by Philadelphia native and OBIE Award recipient Michael Friedman. Andrew Jackson rose to the presidential office through his populist movement, only to break promises and forge the Trail of Tears. Songs like “Populism, Yea, Yea!” and “I’m So That Guy” modernize the nation’s seventh president with satirical social critiques of current political movements. Played on Broadway and at The Public Theater, the show won the Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards and was nominated for multiple Tony Awards. The production features pre-show talks, performances by the Andrew Jackson Rock Band, and post-show talkbacks, through February 10, 1714 Delancey Place, Philadelphia.
InterAct Theatre Company celebrates its 25th anniversary season with the premiere of “Assassin,” by local playwright David Robson, a co-production with Act II Playhouse. Inspired by a true football tragedy, the play takes an intimate look at hero worship, regret and forgiveness while examining America’s fascination with sports violence, and stars Brian Anthony Wilson from HBO’s The Wire, directed by Seth Reichgott, and set design by Dirk Durossette, January 18 through February 10 on the Main Stage at The Adrienne, 2030 Sansom Street, Philadelphia.
McCarter Theatre Center continues its collaboration with playwright Edward Albee with “A Delicate Balance,” onstage this weekend and directed by McCarter’s Artistic Director Emily Mann. The bold and touching social comedy stars Kathleen Chalfant, John Glover, Mary Beth Hurt, and more, January 18 through February 17, 91 University Place, Princeton, NJ.
Opening this weekend at the James A. Michener Art Museum is “The Mind’s Eye: 50 Years of Photography by Jerry Uelsmann,” the artist’s first retrospective in forty years, featuring nearly 100 iconic photographs. Uelsmann’s work explores universal themes of relationships, family, home and politics by creating unexpected and surprising juxtapositions using experimental and unique techniques that challenge conventional ideas and push creative and technical boundaries of photography, on view through April 28 at 138 South Pine Street, Doylestown, PA.
XYXee, a brand new theatre company, debuts its first production this weekend with Edward Albee’s “The Zoo Story,” January 18-21 at the Experimental Theatre at Richard Stockton College of New Jersey. “The Zoo Story” is a one act play by Edward Albee that shows a meeting between two men on a park bench that takes an unexpected turn, directed by Sarra Mazur and starring XYXee founder Patrick Judd and Kevin Ebner, 101 Vera King Farris Drive, Galloway, NJ.
Delaware’s Resident Ensemble Players perform “The Threepenny Opera,” Bertolt Brecht’s unusual musical that takes the audience on a romp through a seedy underworld of hoodlums, whores, and questionable morals. Set to Kurt Weill’s jazz and cabaret influenced score and directed by Matthew Earnest, the production runs January 19 through February 2 at University of Delaware’s Thompson Theatre, Roselle Center for the Arts, Newark, DE.
Steel River Playhouse presents “Emperor’s New Clothes,” a musical especially for young audiences, adapted from the Hans Christian Andersen classic fairy tale, with three performances, Saturday, January 19, 11am and 3pm and Sunday, January 20, 3pm, directed by Deborah Stimson-Snow at 245 E. High Street, Pottstown, PA.
The Art Gallery of the College of New Jersey presents “Fear and Folly: The Visionary Prints of Francisco Goya and Federico Castellon,” an exhibition of thirty-eight prints of two artists who focused their attention on the human condition. The exhibit, on loan from the Kalamazoo Institute of the Arts in Michigan, represents the artists in two major print series: Goya’s etchings of Los Disparates and Castellon’s lithographs for Edgar Allan Poe’s Masque of Red Death, on view January 23 through March 7, Arts and Interactive Multimedia Building, 2000 Pennington Road, Ewing, NJ. Exhibition opening Wednesday, January 23, 5pm-7pm, and lecture by Professor Amze Emmons, February 15, 11:30am.
Curio Theatre Company presents Peter Shaffer’s Tony Award-winning “Equus,” the modern classic that shows a psychological exploration into the religious and sexual obsessions of a young stable boy who has blinded six horses, seemingly without reason. Liz Carlson directs at the Calvary Center, January 23 through February 16, 4740 Baltimore Avenue, Philadelphia.
Femi Kuti brings his big sound to World Café Live, Thursday, January 24, 8pm. First known mostly as the son of Nigerian great Fela Kuti – considered the pioneer of Afro-Beat music that became popular world-wide – Femi, along with his band, The Positive Force, has developed his own widespread critical acclaim, 3025 Walnut Street, Philadelphia.
Travel back to the days of 1872 with Walnut Street Theatre’s production of Jules Verne’s “Around the World in 80 Days,” adapted by Mark Brown. Londoner Phileas Fogg finds adventure and villainy in exotic locales as he attempts to travel around the world. The production runs through February 3 before embarking on its own tour across the country. Bill Van Horn directs at Independence Studio on 3, 825 Walnut Street, Philadelphia.
Due to popular demand, Lantern Theater Company has extended its production of Martin McDonagh’s “The Beauty Queen of Leenane” through February 10. McDonagh’s Tony Award-winning play satirizes the silent feuds between mothers and daughters. In western Ireland, the unmarried Maureen is stuck at home, lamenting missed opportunities and arguing with her mother, Mag. Starring Mary Martello (pictured) and Megan Bellwoar and directed by Kathryn MacMillan at St. Stephen’s Theater, 10th & Ludlow Streets, Philadelphia.
The Marcellus Shale Gas Project offers an unprecedented look at the impact of the Marcellus Shale gas industry through the eyes of six photographers with a revealing exhibit at the Gershman Y’s Open Lens Gallery, on view through February 14, 401 South Broad Street, Philadelphia. Opening reception on Wednesday, January 23, 6pm, including a panel discussion with Jeff Schmidt, Director of Sierra Club PA and others. Additional pieces are on view at the Sol Mednick Gallery at the University of the Arts, Anderson Hall, 333 S. Broad Street, Philadelphia through February 8.
Next City, the Philadelphia-based nonprofit dedicated to connecting cities and informing the people working to improve them, presents “Portraits of Brewerytown,” a photography exhibition by Tieshka Smith, exploring themes of urban renewal, celebrating the past, present, and future of a Philadelphia neighborhood in transformation. The subjects featured in the exhibit represent a cross-section of business, government, and the non-profit sectors, who have all contributed to the neighborhood’s ongoing revitalization, affecting change through both formal and informal channels, on display through February 16 at Next City’s Storefront for Urban Innovation, 2711 W. Girard Avenue, Philadelphia.
Hagley Museum and Library’s “Invention Convention” takes place this weekend, January 19-21, 10am-4pm, with family-oriented, hands-on activities relating to inventing, engineering, and science, including demonstrations and interactive performances, a tinkering table, Create-an-Invention room and more, 200 Hagley Road, Wilmington, DE.
Astral Artists hosts award winning clarinetist Romie de Guise-Langlois’ Philadelphia recital debut with works by Brahms, Debussy, and Bartok, Sunday, January 20, 3pm. Violinist Kristin Lee and pianist Andrea Lam accompany the evening of world premieres by Kinan Azmeh and Jerome Langlois at the Trinity Center for Urban Life 2212 Spruce Street, Philadelphia.
International Guitar Night, the mobile guitar festival, is Sunday, January 20, 7:30pm, featuring internationally acclaimed guitarists from around the world including Martin Taylor from Scotland, Madagascar native Solorazaf, and Brazilian Celso Machado, along with founder Brian Gore for a night of diverse solos, duets and quartets at Calvary Church, 801 South 48th Street at Baltimore Avenue, Philadelphia.
Thirdbird presents the world premiere of Meg Foley’s sunset dance performance, “The whole time in the meanwhile,” a collaboration with lighting designer Lenore Doxsee and composer/performer Chris Forsyth. Foley’s choreography plays with the perception of time, space, and bodies and the connection between time and the different senses, Wednesday, January 23 through Sunday, January 27 at the Christ Church Neighborhood House Theater, 20 North American Street, Philadelphia.
LocalArtsLive showcases “Ancient Instruments and New Music,” Friday, January 25, 7:30pm with percussion, voice, and harp performances. Adam Vidiksis transforms his found object drumming into a unique experience, while Center City Opera Theater’s young artists sing arias and Elizabeth Morgan-Ellis performs contemporary harp music at William Way LGBT Community Center 1315 Spruce Street, Philadelphia.
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 email@example.com.
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