Weekly Entertainment Guide – SPY, ‘Carnival of the Animals,’ and Center City Jazz Festival

    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:


     SPY: The Secret World of Espionage

    Opening this weekend at the Franklin Institute is “SPY: The Secret World of Espionage,” featuring over 200 historical artifacts from the CIA, FBI, the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), and the private collection of intelligence historian H. Keith Melton. Items include a collapsible motorbike, a two-man submersible, a robotic catfish, personal disguises and more. See the evolution of spy technology and experience it firsthand by navigating through a laser field, using voice altering technologies, and creating your own spy disguise, through October 6, 222 North 20th Street, Philadelphia.

    Tides of Freedom

    Independence Seaport Museum opens “Tides of Freedom: African Presence on the Delaware River,” the first exhibit in the museum’s River of Freedom series, exploring the idea of freedom through the lens of the African and African American experience. Catch the Opening Celebration, Saturday, May 4 from 10am-4pm, featuring a blessing of the river ceremony open to the public and a full day of family-friendly activities, music, and crafts celebrating African and African American culture. In the exhibit, recently uncovered artifacts from the Museum’s collection, gripping first-person accounts and interactive elements provide visitors with opportunities for discovery and communication. Curator Tukufu Zuberi, practiced storyteller and professor at University of Pennsylvania, introduces the four segments, Enslavement, Emancipation, Jim Crow, and Civil Rights, through short video sections, Penn’s Landing, Philadelphia.


    DINO! An Evening with Dean Martin at the Latin Casino

    Celebrate the life of the “King of Cool” with “DINO! An Evening with Dean Martin at the Latin Casino,” the world premiere written by Armen Pandola, directed by Fran Prisco and starring Nat Chandler, revealing the humor, warmth and “cool” that made Martin one of the biggest stars, onstage through June 23, Walnut Street Theatre’s Independence Studio on 3, Walnut Street, Philadelphia.


    When the Rain Stops Falling

    Allens Lane Arts Center presents “When the Rain Stops Falling,” by Australian playwright Andrew Bovell, directed by Robert Bauer, May 3-18, a family saga that journeys back and forth in time from one generation to another from London to Australia, 601 West Allens Lane, Philadelphia. A talk back with the director and cast will take place after the performance on Sunday, May 12.


    The Rat Pack Show at Bristol Riverside Theatre

    Bristol Riverside Theatre recreates the 1960’s era of the fab four, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Peter Lawford and Joey Bishop with “Sandy Hackett’s The Rat Pack Show,” Friday through Sunday, May 3-5. The critically acclaimed theatrical production includes new arrangements of the Rat Pack’s classics as well as never before heard songs written by the late, legendary songwriter Ron Miller and recorded voiceovers made exclusively for the show by Sandy Hackett’s father, the comedian Buddy Hackett, 120 Radcliffe Street, Bristol, Pennsylvania.


    Draftsmen of Provincetown

    Stadler-Kahn brings the art scene of Provincetown down the coast to Philadelphia with “Draftsmen of Provincetown: The drawings of Dermot Meagher & Larry Collins,” a show of new drawings by the two celebrated artists, both important figures in the active P-town art community. The exhibit opens with a First Friday reception, May 3, 6pm-8:30pm, with the opportunity to talk with Dermot Meagher. On view through May 29, 1724 Sansom Street, Philadelphia.

    Architectural Walking Tours

    The Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia kicks off the 2013 season of its award-winning “Architectural Walking Tours,” with a free guided tour of Littlest Streets Fitler Square, Saturday, May 4 at 10am to commemorate the birthday of the great urban thinker Jane Jacobs. Future tours range from Center City locales, including Society Hill and Rittenhouse Square, to notable neighborhoods such as South of South, Fishtown and Callowhill, and include themed tours such as Lewis and Clark in Philadelphia, Bankers’ Heaven, and Art Deco. Reservations are not required, but tickets may be purchased in advance at the Philadelphia Visitor Centers or online. Walking Tours run rain or shine, Saturdays at 10am and 2pm, Sundays at 2pm and Wednesdays at 6pm from May through October. For the opening tour May 4 meet at the center of Fitler Square, 23rd & Pine Streets.


    Strawberry Festival at Peddler’s Village

    Peddler’s Village hosts the annual Strawberry Festival, Saturday, May 4, and Sunday, May 5, 10am-6pm, with strawberries served up in various forms, juried artisans showing their wares and demonstrating their skills, live entertainment, pie-eating contests and more, Routes 202 and 263, Lahaska, Bucks County, PA. Free admission, free parking


    2013 Turtle Artisan Tour

    The “2013 Turtle Artisan Tour” opens artists’ studios to the public with self-guided tours, this Saturday and Sunday, May 4-5, throughout the Township of Cheltenham, Pennsylvania. Download a map and create an itinerary to meet more than twenty artists, view their work and see demonstrations. Founded by Denise Shardlow, fiber artist, and Amy Ragsdale, silver/gold smith, who believe that a healthier world is one where we buy local, create sustainable relationships and have fun, 11am-6pm Saturday, 11am-5pm Sunday.


    Onion de Mayo!

    Characters from the pages of The Onion, America’s Finest News Source bring their opinions to the stage with Idiopathic Ridiculopathy Consortium (IRC)’s annual fundraiser “Onion de Mayo!,” Sunday, May 5 at L’Etage Cabaret. Proceeds from the one-night show will support the second production of the IRC’s 2013 season,Franz Kafka’s “The Castle,” which will be performed as part of the 2013 Philadelphia Live Arts and Fringe Festival. Formed in 2006, the IRC presents plays whose themes highlight the tragedy and absurdity of living that stems from the desire for omnipotence and immortality, emphasizing physical comedy, clowning and vaudeville elements to tell stories. Performances at 6, 8 and 10 pm, 624 South 6th Street, Philadelphia.


    Lend Me a Tenor

    By popular demand, Act II Playhouse extends Ken Ludwig’s hit Broadway comedy “Lend Me a Tenor,” with performances Tuesday, May 7 through Saturday, June 8. Set in 1934, renowned Italian tenor Tito Marelli is scheduled to sing the lead in Verdi’s opera Otello in Cleveland, but chaos ensues when his wife leaves him and the distraught singer is accidentally given a double dose of tranquilizers. With Tito presumed dead, a madcap chain reaction of mistaken identities, plot twists, double entendres and mayhem follows. Originally produced in London and New York in 1989, the play was nominated for nine Tony Awards, won three Drama Desk Awards, received the Olivier Award for Best Comedy of the Year, and enjoyed a Broadway revival in 2010. Former Act II Artistic Director Bud Martin directs the production, starring Barrymore winners Jeffrey Coon and Michael Doherty as well as Eileen Cella, Howie Brown, Tracie Higgins, Linda Friday and Mariel Rosati, 56 East Butler Avenue, Ambler, Pennsylvania.



    Storybook Musical Theatre presents the musical “Rumpelstiltskin,” based on the Grimm tale about a little man who can spin straw into gold. Family friendly performances run Tuesday, May 7 through Saturday, May 11 at St. Joe’s University, 5600 City Avenue, Philadelphia, and Tuesday, May 28 through Sunday, June 2 at the Mitchell Center, 2780 Buck Road, Huntingdon Valley, Pennsylvania.


    The Hound of the Baskervilles

    Curio Theatre Company presents the Philadelphia premiere of “The Hound of the Baskervilles,” a three-actor spoof of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s classic “tail” adapted by Steven Canny and John Nicolson, May 8 through June 1, 4740 Baltimore Avenue, Philadelphia.



    Fred Grandy stars in “Sleuth,” the Tony Award-winning comedy thriller by Anthony Shaffer, opening May 8 as part of Surflight Theatre’s 64th season. Known to television audiences as Gopher on The Love Boat, Grandy stakes the stage with Christian Pedersen, directed by Clayton Phillips, through May 18, Engleside and Beach, Beach Haven, NJ.


    Carnival of the Animals

    Actor John Lithgow joins the Pennsylvania Ballet for Christopher Wheeldon’s lighthearted “Carnival of the Animals,” May 9-12, the story of a young boy who falls asleep in the American Museum of Natural History and dreams that he faces wild creatures come to life, set to the well-known Camille Saint-Saëns score. The performance is one of three parts that also includes George Balanchine’s masterpieces Ballo della Regina and The Four Temperaments. Ballo de Regina, or “Dance of the Queen,” features virtuoso ballet performances. The Four Temperaments, a Balanchine standard and a specialty of the company, explores the four aspects of human disposition according to ancient doctrines: melancholic, sanguine, phlegmatic, and choleric, The Academy of Music, 240 South Broad Street, Philadelphia.


    Center City Jazz Festival

    The Center City Jazz Festival returns for its second year with an expanded schedule, headlining pianist Orrin Evans, described by The New York Times as “a poised artist with an impressive template of ideas at his command.” Friday, May 10, 5pm-8:45pm kicks off at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, with vocalist Venissa Santi and Grammy-nominated saxophonist, Jane Bunnett, during Art After Five. The “festival crawl” takes place Saturday, May 11, 12pm-7pm with more than a dozen bands playing across five stages, culminating with a performance by Orrin Evans, 7:30pm at The Arts Bank Theater at the University of the Arts. See website for all performers and locations, Philadelphia.


    Leningrad’s Perestroika: Crosscurrents in Photography, Video, and Music

    Photographs and videos made by restless young Russians living in 1980s Leningrad, now St. Petersburg, are the subject of an exhibit on view at the Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers University. “Leningrad’s Perestroika: Crosscurrents in Photography, Video, and Music” explores work made during the reforms known as “perestroika” (restructuring) and “glasnost” (openness) that were implemented in the final years of the Soviet Union. The artists on display had a common goal to stimulate reflection on Soviet society and disrupt social norms. Most of the work has never before been shown in the United States. The exhibition also features newly translated interviews with artists that present firsthand accounts of participation in underground networks of musicians, photographers, and filmmakers. In May, special tours led by exhibition organizer Corina L. Apostol are offered. On view through September 13, 71 Hamilton Street, on the College Avenue campus of Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey.

    Additional events in the region:

    Local and international artists, business and nonprofits stage ideas about money and financial systems at “The Proposition Tent,” a new participatory First Friday art show, Friday, May 3, 7pm-10pm, part of FringeArts’ new visual arts program, North 11th and Carlton Streets between Vine and Callowhill, Philadelphia.

    Onstage at Old Academy Players is Nancy Frick’s newest work “Waiting for the Fat Lady to Sing,” through May 12. The world premiere comedy is co-directed by Frick and Charlotte Higgins, at 3544 Indian Queen Lane in the East Falls section of Philadelphia.

    Brandywine Ballet presents the world premiere of “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz,” with innovative choreography by Nancy Page, telling the classic story from a female perspective as the Scarecrow, Tin Man, and Cowardly Lion will all be played by women, providing opportunities for several pas de deux, May 3-5, Asplundh Concert Hall, 700 S. High Street, West Chester, PA.

    The hit 1980 film “9 to 5” takes to the stage in musical form at Clear Space Theatre Company, May 3-19, with music and lyrics by Dolly Parton, 20 Baltimore Avenue (Beach block), Rehoboth Beach, DE.

    The Premier Centre for the Arts presents “The Little Mermaid,” based on the classic Hans Christian Anderson fairy tale, Friday, May 3, 7pm and Saturday, May 4, 7pm, performed by the Musical Theatre Ensemble at the Schwartz Center for the Arts in Dover, DE.

    The Ocean City Spring Block Party is Saturday, May 4, 9am-5pm, with over 350 crafters, vendors, food, and more from 5th to 14th Streets on Asbury Avenue, Ocean City, NJ.

    Hundreds of vendors from across the United States gather for the “PA Spring Music Explosion,” at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center, Saturday, May 4 10am-6pm and Sunday, May 5, 10am-4pm. The free event features the largest CD, record, video, music memorabilia and pop culture collectibles store in the world. Guests include Vince Martell of the Vanilla Fudge and Garry Shrum and Jim Steele from Heritage Auctions, who recently curated and hosted the record-breaking auction for the autographed Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album. Garry and Jim are available for appraisals of Records and Music collectables with a donation to the American Red Cross, 100 Station Avenue, Oaks, Pennsylvania.

    South Street Headhouse District hosts its first Spring Festival, Saturday, May 4, 12pm-8pm, a free celebration for all ages with live music by the Philadelphia Blues Messengers, Sweet Leda, Mikey Junior & the Stone Cole Blues, the Strange Heat, and more, along with food, children’s activities, and much more, on South Street between 2nd and 8th and on the 2nd Street Plaza between South and Lombard, Philadelphia.

    Plazapalooza is Saturday, May 4, 1pm-7pm, featuring live music from local bands like New Pony, Tall Trees, Minas and the Clef Club Jazz Ensemble, food, beer, children’s activities and more, Grays Ferry Avenue between South & 23rd Streets at the Catharine Thorn Fountain, Philadelphia.

    The 17th annual Chestnut Hill Home and Garden Festival is Sunday, May 5, 11am-5pm, as Germantown Avenue is transformed into an outdoor marketplace with a wide selection of plants and seedlings, flowering baskets, garden sculptures and more, along with live music by the City Rhythm Orchestra, food, vendors, children’s activities, games, and more, between Rex and Willow Grove Avenues.

    The Arts Council of Princeton hosts a Cinco de Mayo Celebration Sunday, May 5, 2pm-3:30pm, a free event featuring Mexican art projects, Ballet Folklorico Dancers, and more, Albert E. Hinds Community Plaza, Princeton, NJ.

    The Philadelphia Burger Brawl is Sunday, May 5, 3pm-6pm, as more than 20 of the city’s top burger chefs compete to see which burger is the best, emceed by Marc Summers, with many favorite burger joints participating at Fleisher Art Memorial, 719 Catharine Street, Philadelphia.

    Lyric Fest presents “Rosetta Stone: Listening to Language in Other Words,” Sunday, May 5, 3pm, exploring the relationship of language, music and cultures in a playful and thought provoking program that asks the question “what are the cross-cultural overtones that result when artistic expression is filtered through a language that is not your own?” Guest artist tenor George Ross Somerville joins mezzo soprano Suzanne DuPlantis, soprano Randi Marrazzo, and pianist Laura Ward for an animated portrayal of composers’ texts in languages foreign to their own: Samuel Barber in French, Charles Ives in German and French and Lowell Lieberman in Spanish, Academy of Vocal Arts, 1920 Spruce Street, Philadelphia.

    OperaDelaware performs “Macbeth,” Shakespeare’s drama set to the music of Verdi, closing out the “Year of the Bard,” May 5-11, The Grand, 818 North Market Street, Wilmington, DE.

    The Meiravi Quartet performs a world premiere of composer-in-residence Peter Nocella’s third in his Quartet Color Series, “String Quartet No. 3 in Green,” Sunday, May 5, 7pm, along with Alexander Borodin’s “String Quartet No. 2 in D Major,” at Amado Recital Hall, University of Pennsylvania, 3401 Spruce Street, Philadelphia. Dr. Nocella will also speak on Borodin’s life and music.

    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 artscalendar@whyy.org.

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