Travel through decades of abstract expressionism, enjoy road trip comedies and world premieres, and get inspired by science. Robin Bloom shares her picks for this week.
Procession: The Art of Norman Lewis at PAFA
The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts hosts the first comprehensive museum retrospective of Norman Lewis since his death in 1979. Procession: The Art of Norman Lewis considers the complexity of the art created by the African-American painter, scholar, and teacher. A participant in the New York City art scene, Lewis began his career in 1933 as a figurative artist and evolved to abstract expressionism, subtly referencing social and political issues in his artwork. The exhibition is organized chronologically into six sections and features 90 paintings and works on paper from the early 1930s through the late 1970s as well as his handmade dolls and other archival material, bringing together work from major public and private collections, many on view to the public for the first time. Accompanied by a fully illustrated scholarly catalog and related programming through April 6, 118-128 North Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA. Pictured: Title Unknown (Man with Yellow Hands), 1944, Oil on canvas, 19 x 26 1/2 in., Collection of Darrell and Lisa Walker, © Estate of Norman W. Lewis; Courtesy of Michael Rosenfeld Gallery LLC, New York, NY.
“An Elegy for Tesla” at Rowan University
On view at Rowan University Art Gallery is a multi-media, motion-activated installation inspired by the life of the physicist, inventor, electrical engineer, mechanical engineer and futurist best known for his contributions to the design of the modern alternating current (AC) electricity supply system, Nikola Tesla. An Elegy for Tesla is an interdisciplinary collaboration of art and technology. Artist Jeanne Jaffe integrates technology with sculpture, evocative soundscapes and theatrical sets to create a psychological dreamscape and biographical narrative through January 30, Rowan University Art Gallery West, lower level of Westby Hall, Route 322, Glassboro, NJ.
“The Hard Problem” at Wilma Theater
Following a sold-out run at the National Theatre in London, Tom Stoppard’s newest play The Hard Problem, takes to the stage at the Wilma Theater on January 6 and is already extended through February 6. Taking its title from philosopher David Chalmers’ name for the question of consciousness, the British playwright draws upon a wide range of brain research, game theory, and cognitive philosophy, blurring the lines between science and technology and exploring what makes us human. Directed by Blanka Zizka and starring Shravan Amin, Krista Apple-Hodge, Ross Beschler, Taysha Canales, Sarah Gliko, Lindsay Smiling, Steven Rishard, Jeena Yi, and Gaby Bradbury. Related programs and events include college night, beer tasting pre-show reception, directors dialogue, post-show chats, opening captioning and more, 265 South Broad Street, Philadelphia. Check out the new WynTix, offering subsidized rates. Photo by Matt Saunders.
“Hans Brinker and the Silver Skates” at Arden Theatre Company
Arden Theatre Company’s winter family production, Hans Brinker and the Silver Skates, is a world premiere based on the 1865 book by Mary Mapes Dodge and written by playwright, director and screenwriter Laura Eason. Commissioned and developed by the Arden’s Independence Foundation New Play program, in partnership with the Delaware River Waterfront and Blue Cross Riverrink, the new play transports the audience to 19th century Holland, a world of windmills and sheets of ice, and a thrilling race for the coveted silver skates. Celebrating the importance of grit and determination, the show is appropriate for ages 6 and up. Cast includes Rachel Camp, Lauren Hirte, Ciji Prosser, Brian Ratcliffe, Matteo Scammell, Ed Swidey and Steven A. Wright, set to original music by harpist/violinist Jay Ansill, through January 31 at 40 N. 2nd Street, Philadelphia. Special events include post-show question and answer sessions following each performance and ASL shadow interpreted performances on January 15-16. Photo by Mark Garvin.
“A Moon for the Misbegotten” at Walnut Street Theatre
Be the first to see Walnut Street Theatre’s A Moon for the Misbegotten, January 12 through February 7. The production will head out on a national tour following its Philadelphia run. One of Eugene O’Neill’s greatest dramatic works, the Tony Award-winning show about two lost souls who find hope under a lover’s moon is directed by Kate Galvin. Philadelphia actor and Walnut veteran makes his return to the stage, with Angela Smith, Jamison Foreman, and Anthony Lawton, Independence Studio on 3, 825 Walnut Street, Philadelphia. Photo by Mark Garvin.
Les Ballets Jazz de Montréal at the Prince Theater
Les Ballets Jazz de Montréal returns to Philadelphia offering three premieres by world-class choreographers with five performances, January 13-17 at the Prince Theater, 1412 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia. Canada’s most popular touring company is recognized worldwide for its artistry, technical virtuoso dancers and repertoire that combines the aesthetics of ballet with other dance forms. Program includes Rouge by Rodrigo Pederneiras from Brazil’s Grupo Corpo, and Kosmos by Andonis Foniadakis from Greece, under the direction of Louis Robitaille. Catch a free master class on Friday, January 15, 1pm at the University of the Arts. Part of Dance Affiliates’ NextMove at the Prince series.
“Approaching Zanzibar” at Players Club of Swarthmore
The Players Club of Swarthmore presents Approaching Zanzibar by Tina Howe, the road trip comedy about a family traveling across the United States to visit a dying aunt, January 8-23. The cast of regional actors displays talents like fly fishing, guitar playing, harmonica playing, dancing, speaking Spanish and communicating with American Sign Language, adding to the creative elements of the show, directed by George Mulford, 614 Fairview Avenue, Swarthmore, PA.
“On the Road Again” at Act II Playhouse
Tickets are going fast for On the Road Again, the newest comedy cabaret by Philly’s favorite comedic couple, Tony Braithwaite and Jennifer Childs. Following their first two hugely successful original cabaret shows, the duo teams up for a third time with a world premiere production taking on travel, vacations, and that need to get away from it all with skits, song and improv comedy and of course, impressions! Mary Carpenter directs with Owen Robbins on piano, January 12-31 at Act II Playhouse, 56 E. Butler Avenue, Ambler, PA. Co-produced with 1812 Productions in Philadelphia.
Anwar Marshall at Cheltenham Center for the Arts
Catch drummer Anwar Marshall and his band, Wednesday, January 6, 7:30pm, for the First Wednesday Neighborhood Concert Series – Jazz in Cheltenham, presented by Jazz Bridge, a non-profit organization dedicated to assisting jazz and blues musicians in the Greater Philadelphia area. The concert with the Philadelphia percussionist takes place at the Cheltenham Center for the Arts, 439 Ashbourne Road, Cheltenham, PA. Photo by Anthony Dean Photography.
“More Awesome Americans” by Vox Ama Deus
Vox Ama Deus performs More Awesome Americans, a pops-oriented concert featuring the music of Leonard Bernstein, George Gershwin, Scott Joplin and John Williams (yes – Star Wars music!), performed by the Ama Deus Ensemble with internationally famed English pianist Peter Donohoe, under the direction of Valentin Radu, artistic director and conductor, Friday, January 8, 8pm, Perelman Theater, Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, Broad and Spruce Streets, Philadelphia.
The Felice Brothers at Arden Gild Hall
The Felice Brothers, the folk rock/country rock band who started out playing in the New York City subway, now tour the country and are stopping in our area this Saturday, January 9, 8pm, back by popular demand, with Steve Gunn opening, Arden Gild Hall, 2126 The Highway, Arden, DE.
Philadelphia Chamber Music Society Concerts
The Philadelphia Chamber Music Society starts the new year with concerts: the Orion Quartet and Richard Woodhams, oboe, Sunday, January 10, 3pm, Perelman Theater; Hye-Jin Kim, violin and Ieva Jokubaviciute, piano, Wednesday, January 13, 8pm, Philosophical Society; eighth blackbird, Friday, January 15, 8pm, Perelman Theater; Daedalus Quartet with Randall Scarlata, baritone and Marcantonio Barone, piano, Tuesday, January 19, 8pm, Settlement Music School; Musicians from Marlboro II, Thursday, January 21, 8pm, Perelman Theater; Europa Galante with Fabio Biondi, violin/conductor, Friday, January 22, 8pm, Perelman Theater; Imani Winds (pictured), Sunday, January 24, 3pm, Philadelphia Museum of Art. Photo by Matthew Murphy.
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.