Weekly Entertainment Guide – The Elixir of Love

    A reimagined version of Donizetti's bel canto comedy

    A reimagined version of Donizetti's bel canto comedy "The Elixir of Love" takes to the stage at the Academy of Music

    Robin Bloom offers 17 suggestions for what to do this week!

    What’s Happening

    Pasión y Arte’s “Tablao Philly”

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    Pasión y Arte, Philadelphia’s premier all-female flamenco dance company, recreates the café like environment of the 18th and 19th century “tablaos” of Spain atmosphere where diverse audiences would gather to drink, eat and enjoy music, rhythm, and movement by masters of the flamenco art form. Tablao Philly showcases unique interpretations of flamenco with legendary flamenco artist and special guest Rosario Toledo along with guitarist Behzad Habibzai, cantor Jose Marquez, percussionist Adam Bailey, dancers Alexa Miton and Xianix Barrera, and Pasión y Arte’s Artistic and Executive Director Elba Hevia y Vaca. Performances April 28-30 at Asian Arts Initiative, 1219 Vine Street, Philadelphia. Wine and tapas will be served. Photo by Ana Palma.

    The Oscar Hammerstein Festival

    The Oscar Hammerstein Festival returns to the Bucks County Playhouse April 29 through May 1, in honor of the master writer and celebrating the importance of lyrics in the creation of new musicals. The weekend brings musical theatre experts, artists and enthusiasts offering expert mentorship to early career composers and lyricists. Events include New Songwriters Tonight! and Don’t Ever Leave Me: The Love Songs of Oscar Hammerstein II, featuring the Tony-nominated stars of the recent Broadway production of “Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella,” Laura, Osnes, Santino Fontana and Victoria Clark, and an evening of new work focusing on the award-winning music theatre writer Adam Gwon, 70 South Main Street, New Hope, PA. Photo by Margaryta Kenis.

    Cape May Spring Festival

    Cape May celebrates the season with its annual Spring Festival, April 29 through May 8, with private home tours, ghost tours, murder mystery meals, Time Capsule Trolley Tour, food and wine events, and more, along with the exhibit “Tommy’s Folly: The 200th Anniversary of Congress Hall Hotel.” An opening reception is Friday, April 29, 7pm, Carriage House Gallery at the Physick Estate, 1048 Washington Street, Cape May, NJ. The exhibit will be on display through October 10. Photo courtesy of the Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts & Humanities.

    Rutgers Day & New Jersey Folk Festival

    Celebrate Rutgers University’s 250th anniversary at the annual Rutgers Day, Saturday, April 30, 10am-4pm. In New Brunswick, visit the 42nd annual New Jersey Folk Festival (pictured), rain or shine, offering a bluegrass showcase. Headliners include Tony Trischka, Dan O’Dea and Eagle Ride and Pete Seeger protégé Spook Handy. Check out the juried craft market of 100 vendors, food vendors, folk music marketplace, children’s area, jamming tent, storytelling tent and more at the Eagleton Institute Grounds on the Douglass Campus of Rutgers University in New Brunswick, NJ. The NJFF is the only festival run entirely by students. Enjoy Rutgers Day for the first time in Camden with music, dance, hands-on activities, games, and demonstrations hosted by professors, students, and staff, Third Street between Cooper Street and the Ben Franklin Bridge. Free. Photo courtesy of the New Jersey Folk Festival.

    The Haverford Guild of Craftsmen Spring Fine Craft Show

    The Haverford Guild of Craftsmen Spring Fine Craft Show is Saturday, April 30, 10am-9pm, and Sunday, May 1, 10am-4pm, at Saint Anastasia School, 3309 West Chester Pike, Newtown Square, PA. A chapter of the Pennsylvania Guild of Craftsmen, the group is one of the oldest professional craft guilds in the country and showcases the local handmade work of over 35 artists in media such as jewelry, leather, ceramics, glass, fiber, photography, painting, wood, illustration and mixed media, along with demonstrations. Free. A reception with the artists takes place Saturday evening from 6pm-9pm. Pictured: The work of painter Sandra Jahnle. Photo courtesy of the Haverford Guild of Craftsmen Spring Fine Craft Show.

    Headhouse Farmer’s Market

    The Food Trust kicks off Headhouse Farmer’s Market’s 10th season Sunday, May 1, 10am-2pm, underneath Philadelphia’s historic Headhouse shambles. Expect fresh food vendors, live music, and more, plus a bell-ringing and opening day ribbon-cutting, Second and Lombard Streets. Special events coming up include a Chef’s Market Tour and brunch with Jason Cichonski on June 5, Celebrity Chef Book Signing on June 19, and Tomato Day on August 14. Photo courtesy of the Food Trust.

    The Chestnut Hill Home and Garden Festival

    The Chestnut Hill Home and Garden Festival celebrates 20 years, Sunday, May 1, 11am-5pm, with over 150 vendors, live gardening demonstrations, musical performances, children’s activities, displays, food, and more, along Germantown Avenue in Chestnut Hill.

    *** UPDATE: The Chestnut Hill Home and Garden Festival has been rescheduled and will take place on May 15.


    Art Sanctuary’s Celebration of Black Arts Festival

    Art Sanctuary honors authors and institutions who have been major contributors to the proliferation of black literature and literacy with the 32nd annual Celebration of Black Arts Festival, May 1-31. The centerpiece of this year’s festival is the month-long exhibition by Dr. Deborah Willis, “Posing Beauty,” exploring beauty in its many forms and challenging our most fundamental assumptions about what it means to be “beautiful.” Also, look for the Legacy Awards Ceremony and Show, a literary and arts conference and film screening of “BaddDDD Sonia Sanchez,” the documentary film about poet and activist Sonia Sanchez (pictured). Photo by Darragh Dandurand.


    Allentown JazzFest

    Allentown JazzFest, a 10 day celebration of music, arts and ideals, offers a variety of musical styles including funk, neo-soul, EDM, afro-cuban and latin jazz, April 29 through May 8. World-renowned performers include five time Grammy winner Jeff “Tain” Watts, internationally acclaimed saxophonist Steve Coleman (pictured), trumpeter Al Chez, L.A. based vocalist Lucy Woodward, Grammy winner Laurence Hobgood, violinist Scott Tixier, pianist Eric Mintel, and more at various venues in Allentown, PA. Many events free. Photo by John Rogers NYC Photography.

    Center City Jazz Festival

    Celebrate Jazz Appreciation Month at the 5th annual Center City Jazz Festival, Saturday, April 30, 1pm-7pm, showcasing Philly’s jazz scene with a “festival crawl” offering 20 bands at five venues all within walking distance. Artists include Grammy-nominated singer Gretchen Parlato with Taylor Eigsti, Brandee Younger, Orrin Evans (pictured) and the Captain Black Big Band, Chris Oatts, and Tim Green, and many more at Fergie’s Pub, 1214 Sansom Street, Milkboy Philadelphia, 1100 Chestnut Street, Franky Bradley’s, 1320 Chancellor Street, U-Bahn Philly, 1320 Chestnut Street, and TIME, 1314 Sansom Street. All access ticket $20 in advance and $25 same day. Photo by Jimmy Katz.

    Wyebrook Music Festival

    Wyebrook Music Festival is back at the Wyebrook Farm, Saturday, April 30. Gates open at 10am with live sets by bands including Frog Holler, Mason Porter, Hezekiah Jones, The Youngers, Manatawny Creek Ramblers, and Tin Bird Choir. BYOB and bring lawn chairs or blankets and explore the grounds, 150 Wyebrook Road, Honey Brook, PA. On-site parking available. Photo courtesy of Wyebrook Music Festival. #SassySays

    Cello PlayIN

    One hundred cellists from the Philadelphia region perform alongside The Philadelphia Orchestra’s full cello section in a free PlayIN with special guest Yo-Yo Ma (pictured) on Saturday, April 30, 6pm at the Kimmel Center’s Verizon Hall. Orchestra Principal Guest Conductor Stéphane Denève and Ma join the PlayIN midway through as participants perform works by Breval, J.S. Bach, Schubert, Paganini, Vivaldi, Suzuki, and more. Free and open to the public. Denève and Ma kick off a celebration of the music of John Williams. Ma performs “Cello Concerto,” which was written for him by Williams. Photo by Michael O’Neill.

    Mendelssohn Club’s “The Passing of the Year”

    Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia, one of the America’s longest-standing choruses, led by its new Artistic Director Paul Rardin, concludes the season with The Passing of the Year. The program, devoted to choral music from England and Philadelphia, features Jonathan Dove’s score The Passing of the Year, a joyous celebration of life’s cycles. Other season-themed music is from earlier English greats Ralph Vaughan Williams (Serenade to Music) and Benjamin Britten (Choral Dances from Gloriana). Additionally, honoring the 27 years of inspired musical leadership of Rardin’s predecessor Alan Harler, the ensemble presents Alleluias for Alan, two world premiere compositions by prominent Philadelphia composers and Harler’s long-time collaborators Robert Maggio and James Primosch, Sunday, May 1, 4pm, Lutheran Church of the Holy Communion, 2110 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia PA. Pre-concert talk with Paul Rardin “MendelSounds” starts at 3pm. Photo by Sharon Torello.

    Bach@7 Cantata Series: The Plague

    Choral Arts Philadelphia and the Bach Festival of Philadelphia’s final Bach@7 Cantata Series of the season takes on the Rapture in an unprecedented collaboration with Philadelphia based South-African born multi-genre composer, singer and multi-instrumentalist Andrew Lipke. For the first time, the premier chamber chorus will feature work by a “non-classical” rock composer, as the Bach Cantata BWV19 is set to text from the Book of Revelation, juxtaposed with Lipke’s new world premiere, full length oratorio The Plague, for choir, soloist and Baroque strings, a contemporary take on the end of days, using text from the “Judgment Day is Coming” by Rev. J.M. Gates and Lipke’s own lyrics, Wednesday, May 4, 7pm, St. Clement’s Church, 20th and Cherry Streets, Philadelphia. Lipke will also perform solo vocals and will play guitar and keyboard.  A reception follows the performance. Photo by Chris Sikich.


    Opera Philadelphia’s “The Elixir of Love”

    A reimagined version of Donizetti’s dazzling bel canto comedy The Elixir of Love takes to the stage at the Academy of Music, closing Opera Philadelphia’s 41st season. The co-production with Santa Fe Opera is set during World War II and features Curtis Institute grad soprano Sarah Shafer as Adina, tenor Dimitri Pittas as Nemorino, baritone Craig Verm in debut role, bass Kevin Burdette, soprano Katrina Thurman with a libretto by Felice Romani. Performed in Italian with English supertitles in five performances, April 29 through May 8. Related programs and events include Vivace Night on May 6 and Family Day on May 8. Enjoy special drinks at local bars in honor of L’elisir d’amore. Photo by Ken Howard.

    EgoPo Classic Theater’s “Machinal”

    EgoPo Classic Theater concludes its American Giants II Festival focusing on influential female playwrights with the expressionist feminist theatre masterpiece Machinal. Inspired by the real life case of convicted and executed murderer Ruth Snyder, the show premiered on Broadway in 1928, written by Sophie Treadwell, the prolific writer, producer, director, and actor who was involved in the suffragette movement, advocated for sexual independence, birth control rights, increased sexual freedom for women, and was the only American female war correspondent in WWI. The haunting drama is directed by Brenna Geffers and the cast includes Mary Tuomanen, Ross Beschler, Steve Wright, Lee Minora, Colleen Corcoran, Chris Anthony, Carlo Campbell, Shamus Hunter McCarty, and Kirsten Kunkle, with production design by Thom Weaver, through May 8, Latvian Society, 531 N. 7th Street, Philadelphia. Photo by Dave Sarrafian.

    Inis Nua Theatre Company’s “The Radicalisation of Bradley Manning”

    Inis Nua Theatre Company continues its mission of producing contemporary, provocative plays from Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales with the American premiere of The Radicalisation of Bradley Manning by Welsh playwright Tim Price. The fictional biographical production was inspired by the true story of a controversial figure who made history in 2010 by leaking 250,000 classified military documents to WikiLeaks in an effort to unveil the human cost of war, touching on Manning’s isolation and struggles with sexuality in the military. Directed by Tom Reing and starring Trevor Fayle, David Glover, Campbell O’Hare, David Pica, Johnny Smith and Isa St. Clair, April 29 through May 15, at the Drake, 1512 Spruce Street, Philadelphia. Related programs and events include “setting the scene” talks preceding performances on May 4 and 11. Photo courtesy of Kory Aversa.

    Look for #SassySays for pet friendly events. Let us know if your event is pet-friendly! Email artscalendar@whyy.org and put #SassySays in the subject line.


    Check out the Music Festival Guide to the festivals within driving distance of Philadelphia from April through September from New York to Virginia.


    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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