Weekly Entertainment Guide – Cherry Blossom Fest, Figaro Plays, and PAFA in Bloom
Looking for something to do this week? WHYY's Robin Bloom has some recommendations on what's happening around the Philadelphia region. Here are her picks:
British Pop Art invades the Allentown Art Museum. A new exhibition, "British Pop Prints," highlights the museum's Pop Art holdings designed to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of The Beatles' earth-shattering arrival in America. Featuring artists like David Hockney, Peter Phillips, Patrick Caulfield, Eduardo Paolozzi, and Peter Blake (who designed the cover of the Beatles' "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band"), the exhibition showcases the colors, collages, and iconic images of the British Pop Art movement, which paved the way for postmodernism, through June 22. Special events include a gallery talk with Museum chief curator Diane Fischer, Wednesday April 2 at noon, a lecture on Pop Art fashion and more, 31 N. 5th Street, Allentown, PA. The Museum is open to the public free on Sundays. Pictured: "Gravy for the Navy," Peter Phillips.
The Subaru Cherry Blossom Festival of Greater Philadelphia returns to celebrate Philadelphia's rich cultural connections with the art, music, food, natural beauty and industry of Japan with 11 days of events in Philadelphia and throughout the region. Highlights include the Karaoke Kickoff on Wednesday April 2 at 7pm at Yakitori Boy, 211 N. 11th Street, Philadelphia, the Cherry Blossom 5K on Saturday April 12, "Sakura Under the Stars" an ohanami party on Saturday April 12 at 5pm at the Shofuso Japanese House and Garden, Tamagawa Taiko Drum and Dance Troupe performances, culminating in the annual "Sakura Sunday" an all-day outdoor celebration featuring food, live music, dance performances, and activities for all ages on April 13 at the Fairmount Park Horticulture Center. Presented by the Japan America Society of Greater Philadelphia, the festival began in 1998 to honor Japan's sesquicentennial gift to Philadelphia with the planting of 1,000 cherry trees in Fairmount Park.
The inaugural "PAFA in Bloom" blossoms at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. For three days only, April 4-6, the museum's galleries will showcase floral works of art interpreting American art masterpieces. Renowned floral designers Bill Schaffer and Kristine Kratt of Schaffer Designs worked with floral clubs and designers from the region and beyond to create more than sixty unique displays inspired by the museum's collections. Special events include workshops with acclaimed British floral designers Wendy Andrade on Friday April 4 and Neil Whittaker on Sunday April 6, as well as "The Designer's Studio," a contest created in conjunction with the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, on Saturday April 5. On view at PAFA, 118-128 N. Broad Street, Philadelphia.
The Artists Circle Annual Art Show and Sale is April 4-6, showcasing hundreds of original works and signed quality prints by members of one of the region's largest professional artist's collectives, along with live demonstrations of painting styles and media. Artists include Judy Antonelli, Lin Webber, Wendy Scheirer, Maureen O'Neill (pictured), Myra Ryan and more. The show opens on Friday, April 4 at 1pm, with a Meet-the-Artists reception from 6pm-9pm. Free to the public, St. Luke Lutheran Church, 203 North Valley Forge Road, Devon, PA.
Boheme Opera NJ commemorates Giuseppe Verdi's 200th birthday with a fully-staged new production of "La Traviata," Friday, March 28, 8pm and Sunday, March 30, 3pm at the College of New Jersey. Joseph Pucciatti directs the Boheme Opera Orchestra. Acclaimed soprano Lorraine Ernest stars as Violetta, with tenor Jeffrey Hartman and baritone Michael Corvino. Sung in Italian with projected English supertitles in Kendall Main Stage Theater, Ewing, NJ. Free pre-curtain talks one hour before performance.
"Pinkalicious, the Musical" opens Saturday, March 29 and has already been extended through April 27. Eat, sleep and sing pink with the Pinkertons in the hour-long musical adaptation of the popular children's book by Elizabeth and Victoria Kann at Walnut Street Theatre for Kids. The colorful, playful production is directed by Allison Heishman and stars Sarah Biddle as Pinkalicious, Max Cove, Angelica Jackson, Nichalas Parker and Marissa Barnathan, 825 Walnut Street, Philadelphia. Also on the Independence Studio on 3 is the comedy "The Rise and Fall of Little Voice," through April 13.
Leading opera director Stephen Wadsworth returns to McCarter Theatre with a fresh adaptation of "The Barber of Seville" and "The Marriage of Figaro," two great farces known as the Figaro Plays. The new translation of Pierre Beaumarchais' comic masterpieces (that inspired Rossini and Mozart's operas) brings with it plenty of surprises and laughs, April 1 through May 4. Wadsworth directs a talented cast including Adam Green as Figaro, Neal Bledsoe as Count Almaviva, and Naomi O'Connell as Rosine. Special events include Full-Day Figaro and the scenic changeover, Dialogue on Drama, A Reading of Beaumarchais' The Guilty Mother, audio described performances and more, 91 University Place, Princeton, NJ.
Doesn't everyone deserve a chance at love? Villanova Theatre says "yes" and celebrates life and love in every sense with "The Light in the Piazza," the bilingual musical by Craig Lucas and Adam Guettel, winner of 6 Tony Awards, including Best Original Score. Escape to "La Dolce Vita" in 1950s Italy with a beautiful tale of passion, forgiveness and love. Dr. Valerie Joyce directs a cast of 16 Villanova theater students and alums, April 1-13, Vasey Hall, Lancaster & Ithan Avenues, Villanova, PA. Special events include Speaker's Night, April 10, a post-show discussion with director, dramaturg and others. Free parking available.
Enter the cut-throat world of stamp collecting with the Drama Group's "Mauritius." The play, Theresa Rebeck's Broadway debut, is a sharp comedy about two sisters who inherit a pair of rare stamps that may be worth a fortune (the Blue Mauritius). Directed by Robert Bauer and starring Monroe Barrick, Steven Roberson Butler, McKenzie Jones Clifford, Michele S. Scutti, and Wayne Snover through April 5 at the First United Methodist Church of Germantown, 6001 Germantown Avenue between High Street and Walnut Lane, Northwest Philadelphia. Contains strong language, not recommended for children.
Join the legend of "Camelot," the Lerner and Loewe musical featuring King Arthur, Guinevere and Sir Lancelot, onstage at Clear Space Theatre Company, through April 6. Enjoy classics like "If Ever I Would Leave You," "How to Handle a Woman," and the title song in the all new production at 20 Baltimore Avenue, Rehoboth Beach, DE.
"Dear Diary, Bye," a new comedy by photographer Ellie Brown, is onstage April 4-13 in the Skinner Studio at Plays & Players Theatre, 1714 Delancey Place, Philadelphia. Based on the diary of a 9 year old girl (Brown), brought to life by a man, actor Arlen Hancock, and directed by Seth Reichgott. Brown was inspired to put on this play after hearing her father read her diary out loud. The production was workshopped for the SoLow Festival in 2013 and is for ages 11 and up.
Choreographer Marion Ramirez honors her Puerto Rican heritage with a multidisciplinary performance combining dance, live music, cooking and more, Friday and Saturday, March 28-29, 7:30pm. "Musa Paradisiaca" features collaborations with Philadelphia artists Jungwoong Kim, Michelle Tantoco, Megan Stern, and Tim Early, an original musical score by Puerto Rican composer and percussionist Victor Pablo Garcia, played by Garcia and pianist Dennis Guevara, in Conwell Dance Theater, Temple University, Broad & Montgomery Street, Philadelphia.
The Los Angeles-based dance company, BODYTRAFFIC makes their Annenberg Center debut with three Philadelphia premieres, Thursday, April 3, 7:30pm, Friday, April 4, 8pm, and Saturday, April 5, 8pm. Featuring works by acclaimed contemporary choreographers Barak Marshall, Richard Siegal, and Kyle Abraham, 3680 Walnut Street, Philadelphia. Special events include talk backs after the performances, a Student Discovery performance on Friday, April 4, 10:30am, and a complimentary master class on Friday, April 4, 2pm.
For one weekend only Tangle Movement Arts presents their new full-length dance, acrobatics, and circus arts show "Timelines" at the Christ Church Neighborhood House. Suspended in time, swinging from a pendulum, and rising into the air, the all-female, nine member troupe brings past, present, and future to life in vertical and horizontal space. The production is part of the Queer Media Activism project, a new hub for performing, media, visual, and literary arts. Performances April 3-5 at 20 N. American Street, Philadelphia.
Celebrate Korean pop this Friday night, March 28 with the Philadelphia Museum of Art's Art After 5, beginning at 5:45pm. Inspired by the exhibit "Treasures from Korea: Arts and Culture of the Joseon Dynasty, 1392-1910," the evening features K-Pop music and dance party with New York based dance company I Love Dance, along with a mini dance class, and fashion show by student designers from the Art Institute of Philadelphia. The museum will stay open late until 9:45pm, Ben Franklin Parkway. Included with museum admission.
The Chestnut Hill Friends Meetinghouse kicks off the spring season with their first concert, on Friday, March 28, 7pm. Enjoy a classical music performance by the award winning Arneis Quartet, including mezzosoprano Christina English, along with the sunset in the open Skyspace at 20 E. Mermaid Lane, between Mt. Airy and Chestnut Hill in Northwest Philadelphia.
Lyric Fest celebrates both Women's History Month and Poetry Month with a concert, "Dear March – Come In – American Women Poets in Song." Featuring premieres by composers Abbie Betinis, Benjamin Boyle, Douglas Cuomo, Michael Djupstrom, Daron Hagen, James Primosch and Maurice Wright, including the winning song of the inaugural Young Song Composers Competition, Friday, March 28, 7:30pm, Bryn Mawr College's Goodhart Hall, 101 North Merion Avenue, Bryn Mawr, PA and Sunday, March 30, 3pm, Academy of Vocal Arts, 1920 Spruce Street, Philadelphia. Guests artists include Kiera Duffy (pictured), Joseph Gaines, Randall Scarlata and Elizabeth Shammash with pianist Laura Ward.
Grammy Award winning husband and wife blues rockers Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi perform for two nights at the Scottish Rite Auditorium, Thursday, April 3 and Friday, April 4 at 8pm, 315 White Horse Pike, Collingswood, NJ.
Celebrate the Bard at 450
The Renaissance Band Piffaro celebrates with "The Band and the Bard," a concert program woven around the musical moments in Shakespeare's work including old English ballads, instrumental fantasies, and country dances, Friday, March 28, 8pm, Trinity Center for Urban Life, Philadelphia, Saturday, March 29, 8pm, Presbyterian Church of Chestnut Hill, and Sunday, March 30, 3pm, Christ Church Christiana Hundred, Wilmington.
British actor and clown Susanna Hamnett brings her one-woman show, a mischievous retelling of Shakespeare's King Lear, to the Painted Bride Art Center Saturday, March 29, 12pm and 4pm and Sunday, March 30, 12pm and 4pm. "Nearly Lear," created for family audiences ages 9 and up, is part of the Bride's new PAPAYA Series for young audiences, 230 Vine Street, Old City, Philadelphia.
Experience the classic "Othello" as an Elizabethan playgoer would have with the American Shakespeare Center's Renaissance theatrical production (pictured) at Neumann University's Meagher Theatre, Sunday, March 30, 7:30pm, Aston, PA.
Star-crossed lovers meet in Philadelphia Shakespeare Theatre's new production of "Romeo and Juliet." Shakespeare's iconic tragedy pits two young lovers against family and tradition with disastrous results. Directed by David O'Connor, this production anchors the "Year of the Bard: Shakespeare at 450" year-long celebration coordinated by the company, the Free Library of Philadelphia, and other regional organizations. Preview performances begin on April 4, through May 18 at 2111 Sansom Street, Philadelphia.
The Season of Liberation
Welcome Passover with "Seder: The Musical," Sunday, March 30, an arts-inspired interpretation of the traditional Seder services with performances by the 11th Hour Theatre Company, Altar Boyz, storyteller Charlotte Blake Alston, tap dancer Germaine Ingram, violinist Diane Monroe, flutist Chana Datskovsky, and singer/songwriter Chana Rothman, hosted by Rabbi Deborah Glanzberg Kranin at the Gershman Y, from 5pm-9pm, Broad & Pine Streets, Philadelphia.
The National Museum of American Jewish History hosts the 2nd annual Freedom Seder Revisited, Wednesday, April 2, 6:30pm, inspired by the original 1969 Freedom Seder, where hundreds of people of all backgrounds gathered to explore and celebrate freedom in the context of the Civil Rights Movement. Guests include fiddler Jay Ansill, performers including Alice Gatling, Justin Jain, Leah Walton, tap dancer and storyteller Khalil Munir, with on-screen participation from cabaret performer Dito van Reigersberg/Martha Graham Cracker, and Rabbi Arthur Waskow, founder and leader of the original 1969 Freedom Seder (pictured), Independence Mall, Philadelphia.
The annual production "Number the Stars" takes to the stage at Haddonfield Plays & Players April 2-13, with music and lyrics by Sean Hartley, based on the book by Lois Lowry about the rescue of Danish Jews during World War II, 957 East Atlantic Avenue at Crows Woods, Haddonfield, NJ. Presented with the Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) and the Goodwin Holocaust Museum and Education Center.
The Garden State Film Festival, in its 12th year, moves from Asbury Park to Atlantic City, April 3-6 in various locations including Dante Hall, Resorts, Trump Taj Mahal, and the Chelsea. Offering over 180 film screenings from over 15 countries, the festival features panel discussions, book signings, gala cocktail party, Q&A sessions, and more. Honorees attending are Laura Dern, Diane Ladd, Bebe Neuwirth, and many more. A special benefit to restore the Midmer-Losh Organ, the largest pipe organ in the world, will be held Thursday, April 3, 7pm, with a screening of the 1926 silent film The Black Pirate accompanied by live organ in Boardwalk Hall. Pictured: "Boardwalk Ballyhoo" documentary short by Vicki Gold Levi.
Can't make it to AC? Check out the 7th annual Media Film Festival, April 4-5 now held at the Media Theatre. Presenting narrative, documentary, animated and experimental films by local, national and international filmmakers, the festival kicks off with a red carpet event and screening of films, Q&A session with filmmakers, followed by the traditional Friday Night Horror Fest, Media, Pennsylvania.
Marissa Nicosia contributed reporting to this week's guide
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