Weekly Entertainment Guide – ‘The Art of the Brick,’ ‘Prodigal Son’ & OSCAR Mania!

     The world's largest display of LEGO art comes to the Franklin Institute. 'The Art of the Brick' features more than 100 pieces by renowned New York based contemporary artist Nathan Sawaya. Pictured: Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa (Brick Count: 4573). (Photo courtesy of the Franklin Institute)

    The world's largest display of LEGO art comes to the Franklin Institute. 'The Art of the Brick' features more than 100 pieces by renowned New York based contemporary artist Nathan Sawaya. Pictured: Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa (Brick Count: 4573). (Photo courtesy of the Franklin Institute)

    20 things to do this week in the Philly region.  Robin Bloom offers her picks.


    Pennsylvania Ballet’s “Prodigal Son”

    Pennsylvania Ballet and new Artistic Director Angel Corella starts the New Year with two internationally known masterpieces and a World Premiere, with five performancesFebruary 5-8. The program includes the biblical story of George Balanchine’s Prodigal Son, set to Prokofiev’s original score. Christopher Wheeldon’s modern and complex Polyphonia, set to a score by György Ligeti. Also, Shift to Minor by Choreographer in Residence Matthew Neenan, inspired by Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 5 in A major, K. 219, showcasing solo violinist Luigi Mazzocchi and featuring 15 dancers. This world premiere is Neenan’s 16th commissioned world premiere with the Company, Merriam Theatre, Broad Street, Philadelphia. Pictured: Former Pennsylvania Ballet Soloist Philip Colucci in Prodigal Son, choreography by George Balanchine (The George Balanchine Trust). Photo by Alexander Iziliaev.

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    Theatre Exile’s “The Whale”

    Theatre Exile takes on the Philadelphia premiere of The Whale by Sam D. Hunter. Scott Greer transforms into Charlie, a 600 pound man who is stuck on his couch in a self-imposed isolation following the loss of his partner. The darkly comic story borrows themes from Moby Dick and Jonah and the Whale, riding the wave to find acceptance, beauty, and redemption in unexpected places, February 5 through March 1. Directed by Associate Artistic Director Matt Pfeiffer and starring Kate Czajkowski, Campbell O’Hare, Trevor William Fayle, and Amanda Grove. Costume design by Alison Roberts, scenic and lighting by Thom Weaver and sound design by Christopher Colucci, Studio X, 1340 S. 13th Street, Philadelphia. Photo by Plate 3 Photography.

    Inis Nua Theatre Company’s “Long Live the Knife”

    Inis Nua Theatre Company continues its tradition of presenting contemporary plays from Ireland, England, Scotland, and Wales with the American premiere of Long Live the Knife by David Leddy, a fast-paced Scottish comedy featuring con artists turned art forgers, February 4-22. The funny show will make you question who and what you can trust as the audience is set in an abandoned construction site turned artist studio with limited edition art forgeries posing as programs. Directed by Tom Reing and starring Corinna Burns and Tim Dugan, Off Broad Street Theater, First Baptist Church, 1636 Sansom Street, Philadelphia. The playwright will be in attendance for a talkback on February 4, a post-show reception on February 5, and on opening night, February 6. Photo by Plate 3 Photography.

    “Into the Woods” at Theatre Horizon

    Tickets are going fast for Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine’s Tony Award winning hit Into the Woods, onstage at Theatre Horizon, with a cast of Philadelphia favorites including Alex Bechtel, Charlie DelMarcelle, Liz Filios, Steve Pacek, Rachel Camp, Kala Moses Baxter, Michael Doherty, Kristine Fraelich, Leigha Kato, and Ben Michael. The web of beloved fairy tales twisted with the consequences of reality is directed by Theatre Horizon’s Barrymore Award-winning Resident Director Matthew Decker with musical direction by Amanda Morton, February 5 through March 1, 401 DeKalb Street, Norristown, PA. Photo by Plate 3 Photography.

    “Michael & Edie” at Villanova Theatre

    Barrymore Award-winning director James Ijames makes his directorial debut at Villanova Theatre with the Philadelphia premiere of Michael & Edie by Rachel Bonds, February 10-22. The coming of age story about two adolescents attempting to figure out their lives, immersed in books and a world of fantasy at a bookstore where they work, stars Mitchell Bloom as Michael and Sophia Barrett as Edie in Villanova University’s Vasey Hall, Lancaster and Ithan Avenues, Villanova, PA. February 19 is Speaker’s Night, offering a post-show discussion with the playwright, director, dramaturg, cast and crew. Free parking in VU’s main lot. Photo by Kimberly Reilly.

    OSCAR Mania!

    Philadelphia is going “Wilde” with events and performances in honor of Oscar Wilde’s visit to America. Be sure to catch Opera Philadelphia’s East Coast premiere of Oscar by American composer Theodore Morrison, with five performances February 6-15 at the Academy of Music.  Also, the exhibit Everything is Going on Brilliantly: Oscar Wilde and Philadelphia, on display January 23 through April 26 at the Rosenbach Museum and Library.

    “Mickle Street” at Walnut Street Theatre

    Spend an afternoon with two great writers as Walnut Street Theatre imagines a private conversation between Oscar Wilde and Walt Whitman with Mickle Street. Local playwright Michael Whistler came up with the idea for the play 25 years ago when reading a biography of Oscar Wilde that mentioned meeting Walt Whitman in Camden, New Jersey when he was visiting Philadelphia in 1882. The world premiere play was commissioned by Walnut’s Producing Artistic Director Bernard Havard and is directed by Greg Wood, February 17 through March 8. Daniel Fredrick makes his Walnut debut as Wilde with Buck Schirner as Whitman, 825 Walnut Street, Philadelphia. Photo by Brae Howard.

    Oscar Wilde’s Salomé: Illustrating Death and Desire at Delaware Art Museum

    Complete sets of the first and most recent illustrations inspired by Oscar Wilde’s infamous play Salomé are on display at Delaware Art Museum February 7 through May 10. Written in French by Wilde (1893) and translated into English by Alfred Douglas, the provocative retelling of the biblical story was banned from production in London and then not performed until three years later in Paris. Oscar Wilde’s Salomé: Illustrating Death and Desire features 36 original works including lithographs by the controversial artist and illustrator Aubrey Vincent Beardsley (pictured) and engravings by Barry Moser (accompanied by Joseph Donohue’s translation of the original French play). Also, books and periodicals featuring illustrations by Louis Jou, Andre Derain, and Valenti Angelo, and more, 2301 Kentmere Parkway, Wilmington, DE. Pictured: The Peacock Skirt, 1906, Illustration for “Salome” by Oscar Wilde. Aubrey Vincent Beardsley (1872 1898).

    Hands-on Science

    Philly Materials Science & Engineering Day

    Philly Materials Science & Engineering Day offers hands-on workshops that give participants an in-depth look at how materials science is applied to solving some of today’s pressing problems. Activities and demonstrations include making ice cream from liquid nitrogen, building robots, and more, Saturday, February 7, 10am-4pm, Drexel University’s Bossone Research Center, 3140 Market Street, Philadelphia. Free and open to the public. In collaboration with the University of Pennsylvania’s Department of Materials Science and Engineering, the Franklin Institute, the Academy of Natural Sciences, the Chemical Heritage Foundation, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and North Penn High School. Photo courtesy of Drexel University.

    Wagner’s Winter Wonderland

    Wagner Free Institute of Science hosts Wagner’s Winter Wonderland, Saturday, February 7, 12pm-4pm, an afternoon of storytelling, winter-themed arts and crafts, scavenger hunts, hands-on activities, and the opportunity to explore the natural history museum. Geared toward children ages 6-12, 1700 West Montgomery Avenue, Philadelphia. Free with donations encouraged. Photo courtesy of Wagner Free Institute of Science.


    Alo Brasil Carnaval

    Join Philadelphia’s legendary Brazilian collective Alo Brasil to celebrate the Brazilian Carnival at World Café Live Saturday, February 7 with an early show at 7pm (doors open at 6pm) and a late show at 10:30pm (doors open at 10pm), 3025 Walnut Street, Philadelphia. Photo by Johanna Austin.

    International Guitar Night

    International Guitar Night, the mobile guitar festival, comes to Philadelphia Sunday, February 8, 7:30pm, featuring internationally acclaimed guitarists from around the world including Diego Figueiredo from Brazil (pictured), whose music is a fusion between jazz, bossa nova and classical, innovative classical guitarist and composer Andrew York from the United States, Iranian-born Maneli Jamal, and San Francisco “guitar poet” Brian Gore (the program’s founder), for a night of diverse solos, duets and quartets. Hosted by Crossroads Music at Calvary Church, 801 South 48th Street at Baltimore Avenue, Philadelphia. Photo by Kallie Ann Winners.

    Red Baraat

    The Brooklyn band Red Baraat (pictured) brings their unique blend of traditional Indian bhangra and New Orleans jazz to the region with a show at Ardmore Music Hall on Saturday, February 7, 9pm (doors open at 8pm). Progressive hip-hop, soul, blues, jazz rocker Kuf Knotz opens, 23 East Lancaster Avenue, Ardmore, PA. Photo by Sachyn Mital.

    Art Appreciation

    The Art of the Brick at the Franklin Institute

    The world’s largest display of LEGO art comes to the Franklin Institute for the first major museum exhibition to use the toy bricks as the sole art medium, opening Saturday, February 7. The Art of the Brick features more than 100 pieces by renowned New York based contemporary artist Nathan Sawaya. Millions of LEGO bricks form original pieces and reimagined versions of some of the world’s most famous art masterpieces like Leonardo DaVinci’s Mona Lisa, Van Gogh’s Starry Night, and more. Also, a gallery showcasing a multimedia collection of LEGO brick photography, and a never before seen design created exclusively for Philadelphia, through September 6, Mandell Center, 222 North 20th Street, Philadelphia. Pictured: Yellow (piece Count: 11,014). Photo courtesy of the Franklin Institute.

    Pallets & Palates: Placing Taste, Sound and Sight at Asian Arts Initiative

    Explore your senses with Asian Arts Initiative’s exhibit that considers how food brings us together and builds a community. Pallets & Palates: Placing Taste, Sound and Sight features an environment created out of repurposed industrial pallets by local collaborating artists Heidi Ratanavanich and Eileen Shumate. Also, works by painter Mala Iqbal, sound artist Matthew Lee, and food educator Miki Palchick’s ceramic fermentation crocks, through February 20, 1219 Vine Street, Philadelphia. First Friday reception and community meal (tasting), February 6, 6pm-8pm. Pictured: Sunset at the Edges by Mala Iqbal.

    Open Lens: Photography Exhibition at Da Vinci Art Alliance

    Da Vinci Art Alliance, the non-profit, artist-run organization that has been advancing community-based arts, cultural and educational exchanges for over 80 years presents Open Lens: Photography Exhibition, an open juried photography exhibition featuring a wide range of works and themes, drawn from submissions by the general public, February 7-28, 704 Catharine Street, Philadelphia. Entries will be juried by Joel Katz, award-winning designer and photographer, with prizes awarded. A reception with the artists takes place Wednesday, February 11, 6pm-9pm (open to the public). Pictured: Delaware, Road 2014 by Leon Kuechler.

    Crystal Beings at University City Science Center

    Esther Klein Gallery at the University City Science Center explores the relationships between art, science, and technology with Crystal Beings, a group exhibition of artwork inspired by the mystical, mysterious rocks. Featuring North American artists – each with a different approach to their subject and a wide range of processes and media – like Alexis Arnold (pictured), Jaime Alvarez, Elyse Graham, Malena Lopez-Maggi, Russell Leng, Jonathan Latiano, Christine Nguyen, Chris Ritson, and Paige Smith, examining how the crystalline solids have played a key role in ancient and modern culture. Opening February 5 through March 20 with an opening reception February 5, 5pm-7:30pm at EKG, 3600 Market Street, Philadelphia. Pictured: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Alexis Arnold. Photo courtesy of Esther Klein Gallery.

    Civil Rights Movement exhibits

    “Danny Lyon: Memories of the Southern Civil Rights Movement” at TCNJ

    The College of New Jersey Art Gallery commemorates the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act with an exhibit of iconic photographs of the Civil Rights Movement. Danny Lyon: Memories of the Southern Civil Rights Movement features 50 images taken by renowned photographer and filmmaker Danny Lyon, whose 1960s photographs of that time period are considered to be some of the defining images of the era. His photographs were published in The Movement, a documentary book about the Southern Civil Rights Movement and through a non-profit traveling exhibition organization, are on loan by art2art Circulating Exhibitions through March 1 at TCNJ, in AIMM Building, 2000 Pennington Road, Ewing, NJ. Related programs and events include a screening of Lyon’s 1975 film Los Niños Abandonados about homeless children in Columbia, February 11, 10am. Pictured: Sheriff Jim Clark arrests two demonstrators who displayed placards on the steps of the federal building in Selma 1963 by Danny Lyon.

    “Under Color of Law” at Berman Museum of Art

    Philip and Muriel Berman Museum of Art at Ursinus College brings together works by five acclaimed African American artists – some with local connections to the Philadelphia area – Terry Adkins, Nsenga Knight, Hank Willis Thomas, Nari Ward, and Carrie Mae Weems, to raise important conversations about race, privilege, speech, and historical memory. Under Color of Law is on display through May 15. The title of the exhibition refers to the legal term for the appearance of authority that covers the actions of police officers, judges, or other governmental officials, whether those actions are lawful or not. The works make references to the early activism of W.E.B. Du Bois, the final speeches of Malcolm X, the lingering legacy of Jim Crow, the Voting Rights marches from Selma to Montgomery, and the current “stop-and-frisk” policies, 601 E. Main Street, Collegeville, PA. Also on display, Museum Studies: An Insider’s Look at What Makes Museums Work, with an opening reception on Tuesday, February 10, 4pm-6pm. Pictured: Amelia Falling by Hank Willis Thomas, 2014.



    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 artscalendar@whyy.org.

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