Weekly Entertainment Guide – ‘Venus in Fur,’ ‘Uncle Tom’s Cabin,’ and Morris Garden Railway

    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:

    “Venus in Fur” at Philadelphia Theatre Company

    The Philadelphia premiere of David Ives’ dark comedy “Venus in Fur” takes to the stage this weekend at Philadelphia Theatre Company, telling the story of a gifted and demanding director who is desperately searching for an actress to play the lead role in a play about seduction based on Sacher-Masoch’s classic novel, Venus in Furs. At the last minute, a commanding young actress arrives at the director’s studio, determined to win the part. Director and actress pursue a cat and mouse game of submission and domination as the action unfolds. The two-actor play blurs the lines between fantasy and reality, through June 23, Suzanne Roberts Theatre, 480 South Broad Street, Philadelphia.


    Amistad in Philadelphia

    Topsail Schooner Amistad, the 129-foot Baltimore Clipper built in 2000 to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the abolition of the Atlantic slave trade in the former British Empire and the United States, visits Philadelphia May 24-28, offering deck and river tours along with the opportunity to see the exhibit “Tides of Freedom, African Presence on the Delaware River,” on display at the Independence Seaport Museum, Penn’s Landing, Philadelphia.


    Wildwood Memorial Day Weekend Events

    New Jersey’s Wildwoods host special events: Wildwoods International Kite Festival, Friday, May 24 through Monday, May 27 on the Beach at Rio Grande Avenue and inside the Wildwoods Convention Center, beginning with illuminated night kite fly, Friday, May 25, 9pm; Boardwalk Craft Shows, Saturday and Sunday, May 25-26, 9am-5pm; Wildwood Crest Summer Kickoff Concert, Sunday, May 26, 7:30pm, outdoor concert with the Fabulous Greaseband, Centennial Park, Fern Road and Ocean Avenue, Wildwood Crest, NJ.


    Morris Arboretum’s Summer Garden Railway Display

    The grand opening of Morris Arboretum’s popular summer Garden Railway Display is this weekend with the theme “Around the World in an Afternoon!,” 12 architectural wonders, including the Great Wall of China, Leaning Tower of Pisa, the Sphinx, Eiffel Tower (pictured), recreated in miniature with natural materials, on a quarter-mile track through the Arboretum’s garden, nestled among woody plants and colorful flowers, 100 Northwestern Avenue, Chestnut Hill, Philadelphia. Grand opening celebration is Saturday, May 25, 1-3pm, with children’s activities. Pennsylvania Train Weekend, June 8-9, Train Enthusiast Night, June 13, Circus Week, June 29 through July 7.


    Longwood Gardens’ Fireworks and Fountains shows

    Longwood Gardens’ Fireworks and Fountains kicks off this weekend with illuminated fountain shows, fireworks and concerts scheduled throughout the summer: Rocket Man: Music of Elton John, May 25, August 17, September 14; Celebrate America, July 3; Festive Fireworks: Music of Dmitri Shostakovich, July 20, August 31. Includes all day admission to the Gardens, Route 1, Kennett Square, PA.


    Woodmere Art Museum’s 72nd Annual Juried Exhibition

    Woodmere Art Museum takes a turn from traditional portraiture, landscape and abstraction with “In Front of Strangers, I Sing,” May 25 through September 1. In its 72nd year, the annual juried exhibition focuses on 52 local, contemporary artists, including Frank Bramblett, Stephanie Bursese, Anthony Campuzano, Virginia Fleming, Ryan Foley, Jennifer Packer, Dani Frid Rossi, Camille Schefter (pictured), Matthew Sepielli, Leslie Stahl and more, selected by Philadelphia artists Dona Nelson and Rubens Ghenov, 9201 Germantown Avenue, Philadelphia. Gallery talk on Saturday, June 8, 3pm-4pm.


    42nd Annual Antiques Show at Brandywine River Museum

    The 42nd annual Antiques Show returns to the Brandywine River Museum this Memorial Day Weekend, May 25-27, with over thirty prominent antiques dealers showcasing a variety of American and English furniture, glass, folk art, quilts, and other fine collectibles. Explore the museum’s new exhibit, “Which Way the Wind Blows: Antique American Weathervanes,” featuring 28 weathervanes, including one unusual example that originally stood on the cupola of the Chester County Prison, on loan from the Chester County Historical Society. Once essential to the workings of farms and maritime villages and now considered works of folk art, the exhibit can be seen May 25 through July 28 at U.S. Route 1,
Chadds Ford, PA.


    40th Street Summer Series returns

    The 40th Street Summer Series returns to Philadelphia every fourth Saturday of the month through September at 6pm, opening this Saturday, May 25 with a performance by the 11 piece brass band, Brooklyn Qawwali Party, along with complimentary Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream and pretzels. Upcoming performances include Philadelphia Ukulele Orchestra, Spaceship Aloha (featuring Man Man drummer/producer Christopher Sean Powell), and Millennial Territory Orchestra performs the music of Sly & The Family Stone, behind the Walnut Street Free Library, 40th and Walnut Streets, Philadelphia.

    Sun Ra Arkestra celebration

    Ars Nova Workshop hosts a performance by the Sun Ra Arkestra in celebration of Arkestra leader Marshall Allen’s 89th birthday, Saturday, May 25, 8:30pm, with an opening performance by Mike Reed’s People, Places and Things, Johnny Brenda’s 1201 N. Frankford Avenue, Philadelphia.



    “Inherit the Wind” at Bristol Riverside Theatre

    Bristol Riverside Theatre concludes its season with the legal drama “Inherit the Wind,” recounting the 1925 Scopes “Monkey” Trial, during which teacher John Scopes was tried and convicted of teaching Darwin’s theory of evolution in small town Tennessee. The play considers more than the debate between creationism and evolution; it questions the values of independent thinking and the ability to develop intellectual opinions. A large ensemble cast features professional actors such as Keith Baker, Liz Filios, Michael McCarty and more as well as Bucks County community members, with direction by Susan D. Atkinson, onstage through June 9 at 120 Radcliffe Street, Bristol, PA.


    Cape May Music Festival

    The 24th Annual Cape May Music Festival features music for all, from classical to world traditions to new sounds. Artists include Girsa with McDermott’s Handy performing traditional Irish Music, as well as classics from the Bay-Atlantic Symphony, the New York Chamber Ensemble and the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra Chamber Players, to Zoe Muth & the Lost High Rollers (pictured). Bach’s Lunches, mini-concerts offered by members of the Bay-Atlantic symphony, offer an alternate intimate environment where concert goers can enjoy afternoon concerts and elegant tea luncheons. The Festival kicks off Sunday, May 26 through Thursday, June 13 at various venues in Cape May, NJ. Presented by the Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts and Humanities (MAC).


    “Common Threads: A History of Fashion through a Woman’s Eyes”

    Hot pants to prom dresses are on display in the exhibition “Common Threads: A History of Fashion through a Woman’s Eyes,” featuring highlights from the University of Delaware’s Historic Costume and Textiles Collection. The show focuses on 20th century women’s fashion and more broadly, fashion and art in social and historical contexts. Faculty, staff, and students from Fashion and Apparel Studies, Art Conservation, Art History, University Museums, and Women’s Studies worked together to put on the show, May 29 through June 28 at the University of Delaware, Old College Gallery, 30 N. College Avenue, Newark, DE.


    Cirque Du Soleil’s TOTEM

    Cirque Du Soleil brings TOTEM, a live performance that traces the fascinating journey of the human species from its original amphibian state to its ultimate desire to fly, to the Philadelphia area. The characters evolve on a stage evoking a giant turtle, the symbol of origin for many ancient civilizations. Inspired by many founding myths, TOTEM illustrates, through a visual and acrobatic language, the evolutionary progress of species, and opens May 30 under the big top at Lot 11, the surface parking lot just south of Campbell’s Field at the intersection of Cooper Street and Delaware Avenue, on the waterfront in Camden, NJ.


    World Premiere of “Uncle Tom’s Cabin: An Unfortunate History”

    “Uncle Tom’s Cabin: An Unfortunate History” takes to the stage as the finale of EgoPo Classic Theater’s yearlong American Vaudeville Festival. Uncle Tom’s Cabin was the best-selling book of the 19th century and radically transformed the nation’s sentiments toward slavery, and the stage adaptation became the most seen play in American history. Into the 20th century, theatrical productions fostered racial stereotypes, ironically inhibiting the kind of social progress that the book had sought to promote. EgoPo revisits the original story with a twist – a race-reversed adaptation that tackles questions of diversity, empathy, race relations and liberation, starring Ed Swidey as Uncle Tom, Steven Wright as Augustine St. Clare, and Tiffany Bacon as Marie St. Clare. Directed by Lane Savadove and choreographed by Paule Turner, the unique world premiere is onstage May 31 through June 9, Plays & Players Theatre, 1714 Delancey Place, Philadelphia.


    “Into the Woods” at McCarter Theatre

    The forests are not always what they seem in Stephen Sondheim’s “Into the Woods,” onstage at McCarter Theatre. The Fiasco Theater teams up with McCarter for the witty musical that weaves favorite fairy tales together. The inventive new production, directed by Noah Brody and Ben Steinfeld, can be seen through June 9, 91 University Place, Princeton, NJ.



    Cheltenham Center for the Arts’ 2013 Resident Artists Exhibition

    Three artists working in painting, sculpture, and ceramics present their work at the Cheltenham Center for the Arts’ 2013 Resident Artists Exhibition. In “The ah of normal 2012-13,” Colleen Hammond presents paintings that are inspired by old family photographs and vintage snap shots (pictured), and which seek to uncover emotions of delight, relief, and regret in everyday objects. Patti Nelson, who works in porcelain and resin, has installed the exhibit “of our own design,” which explores the difficulty of communicating with others and seeing different perspectives. Laura Demme presents “Looking Out,” a series of paintings on ceramics and wood that use encaustic, or hot bees wax mixed with resin, on display through June 9, 439 Ashbourne Rd, Cheltenham, PA.


    “Photographing Israel: Changing Visions” at Gershman Y Galleries

    The Gershman Y galleries celebrate the State of Israel’s sixty-fifth anniversary with “Photographing Israel: Changing Visions,” on display through August 11. Two photographic exhibits illuminate Israeli history from pre-independence settlements to modern building projects. In the Borowsky Gallery, contemporary Israeli landscape photographers, Yosaif Cohain, Neil Folberg (pictured) and Gilad Ophir display their historic photography while in the Open Lens Gallery, Guest Curator Netanel Eliezer Portier displays his photographic essay of the evolution of Petah Tikvah, a historic Zionist settlement. The Gershman Y is located on 401 South Broad Street in Philadelphia.


    Additional events and listings in the region:

    The 3rd Annual Philadelphia International Tango Festival is Friday, May 24 through Monday, May 27, featuring instructors and performers offering opportunities for dancers at all levels, at Ruba Club Studios, 416 Green Street, Philadelphia.


    The National Constitution Center pays tribute to the men and women who have given their lives in defense of the Constitution and its legacy of freedom with activities that explore how Americans today honor our military heroes this Memorial Day Weekend, Saturday, May 25 through Monday, May 27, with special shows, flag etiquette workshops, flag ceremonies, flag folding activity, karaoke, make and take crafts and more, included with museum admission, 525 Arch Street, Philadelphia.


    The Biggs Museum of American Art hosts the annual Delaware By Hand Spring Show, spotlighting the First State’s fine arts and crafts community, Saturday, May 25, 10am-4pm, in the park at the Zwaanendael Museum, Lewes, DE, featuring a wide array of works for sale by 50 artists including furniture, wood, metal, glass, ceramics, photography, fiber, sculpture, baskets, printmaking, jewelry and painting.


    Camden Children’s Garden hosts a Fit and Fun Family Festival, highlighting easy and fun ideas for a healthy lifestyle, with crafts, a veggie make-n-take planting activity and educational activities that support healthy living, Saturday and Sunday, May 25 & 26, 1-4pm, 3 Riverside Drive, Camden, NJ.


    Celebrate the opening of the Hidden City Festival with a Block Party, Saturday, May 25, 7pm-11pm, with live entertainment, gourmet food trucks, craft beer and more, the Goldtex Building, 12th & Wood Streets, Philadelphia under the Reading Viaduct.


    Mount Airy Home Companion, the radio-style variety show, comes to Chestnut Hill’s Conkey Center for the Performing Arts, written and produced by the Northwest Philly musical group Saint Mad, performing parodies, Broadway hits, classic oldies and original compositions, with comedy by the Mount Airy Players, hosted by Chestnut Hill Local humor columnist Jim Harris, Saturday, May 25, 7pm and Sunday, May 26, 4pm, Springfield Avenue and Valley Green Road, Philadelphia.


    New Ark Chorale performs “An American Tapestry X,” the annual celebration of American and patriotic music and reflections for the Memorial Day weekend featuring music by William Billings, Randall Thompson, Mark Hahn, Dwight Gustafson, Z Randall Stroope, Michael Larkin, Jon Washburn and more, with Michael Larkin conducting, Sunday, May 26, 3pm, Newark United Methodist, 69 E. Main St, Newark, DE. Ice cream social to follow.


    The People’s Light & Theatre presents “Barcelona” by Bess Wohl, the story of a young American woman who leaves her own party to embark on a daring adventure with an older Spanish man. The play touches on themes of identity, false facades and prejudice. Jackson Gay directs the one act piece that begins May 29 through June 23 at 39 Conestoga Road, Malvern, PA. For history and context, attend a Sunday Scoop at 5:30 P.M. before every Sunday evening performance.

    Cecily Garber and Ilana Levinson 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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