From Center City to the Jersey Shore, we've got your week covered. WHYY's Arts Calendar curator Robin Bloom searches hundreds of listings each week to find out what's happening in the Delaware Valley. Here are her picks:

Next to Normal at Arden Theatre Company

Onstage at Arden Theatre Company is "Next to Normal." Brian Yorkey and Tom Kitt's Pulitzer Prize winning rock musical follows the Goodmans, a suburban family dealing with a mother's worsening bipolar disorder. Terrence J. Nolan directs the play, which kicks off the Arden's 25th Anniversary Season, running through November 4 at 40 North 2nd Street, Philadelphia. $15-$48.

Opera Company of Philadelphia's La bohème

Puccini's timeless, romantic "La bohème" takes to the stage at the Academy of Music, performed by the Opera Company of Philadelphia with soprano Norah Amsellem, tenor Bryan Hymel, baritone Troy Cook, and soprano Leah Partridge, with Music Director Corrado Rovaris conducting performances September 28 through Sunday, October 7, Broad Street, Philadelphia. Performed in Italian.

 

Images of Asian Pacific America by Corky Lee at Asian Arts

On display at Asian Arts Initiative is "Into the Picture: Images of Asian Pacific America by Corky Lee," an exhibit that walks viewers through photojournalist Corky Lee's images of labor, protest and resistance, as well as the celebrations, rituals and gatherings that have defined the socio-political and cultural landscape of Asian and Pacific Islander American communities over the past five decades, through October 5 at 1219 Vine Street, Philadelphia. In conjunction with the exhibit "Jano Cohen's The Vibrant Community of Philadelphia Chinatown: A Work in Progress," documenting the neighborhood through portraiture.

Bread & Butter Puppet Theater

Bread and Butter Puppet Theater presents "The Complete Everything Everywhere Cabaret," Friday, September 28, 8pm, and Saturday, September 29, 8pm, Hepburn Teaching Theater, Goodheart Hall, Bryn Mawr College and "The Circus of the Possibilitarians," Sunday, September 30, 2pm, Thomas Great Hall Cloisters (rain location: McPherson Auditorium), Bryn Mawr College, with giant puppets, storytellers, and stilt dancers with commentary on politics, reflections on daily life, and more. Free.


Olde Time Italian Festival in Wildwood

Wildwood, New Jersey hosts "An Olde Time Italian Festival," an "old world" family festival weekend with crafts, games, rides, Italian food, continuous free entertainment, and more, Friday, September 28, 5pm-midnight and Saturday, September 29, noon-midnight, Fox Park at Ocean Avenue between Burk and Montgomery Avenues, Wildwood, NJ. Free.

Campus Philly's College Day

The annual Campus Philly "College Day" is this Saturday, September 29, beginning at 10am on the Ben Franklin Parkway, geared to welcome new and returning college and graduate students to the Philadelphia area, with free music and entertainment, free admission to museums and cultural attractions along the Parkway and Historic Philadelphia, a crash course in Philly's many neighborhoods, and much more. Presented by Campus Philly. Friday, September 28, the Philadelphia Museum of Art hosts the "Philadelphia DJ Dance Party, kicking off the event.

Astral's 20th Anniversary Gala Concert

Astral Artists presents its 20th Anniversary Gala Concert, Saturday, September 29, 7:30pm, as Astral artists and alumni perform works by Bach, Mozart, and Mendelssohn, along with the Philadelphia premiere of Vivian Fung's "Birdsong" and an encore performance of the Astral-commissioned animated short film "Who Stole the Mona Lisa?" at the Kimmel Center's Perelman Theater, Broad Street, Philadelphia. Tickets: $35.

50th Annual Puerto Rican Day Parade

The 50th Annual Puerto Rican Day Parade, Philadelphia's largest outdoor celebration of Puerto Rican and Latino heritage is Sunday, September 30, noon-3pm (approx.), with an afternoon of music, dancing, floats and more along the Ben Franklin Parkway, ending at Eakins Oval, hosted by Daisy Maria Martinez and organized by the Council of Spanish Speaking Organizations of Philadelphia (Concilio).

Lewis Black premiere at George Street Playhouse

Opening October 2 at George Street Playhouse is "One Slight Hitch," a New Jersey premiere by comedian Lewis Black, directed by Joe Grifasi and featuring Mark Linn-Baker, Lizbeth Mackay, Clea Alsip and more, through October 28 at 9 Livingston Avenue, New Brunswick, NJ.

 

Eileen Neff's "Three or Four Clouds"

Opening October 3 at Bridgette Mayer Gallery is the first solo exhibition of Philadelphia artist Eileen Neff, "Three or Four Clouds," inspired by the aerial perspective from the 29th floor of her apartment building, through October 27 at 709 Walnut Street, Philadelphia. Opening reception is Friday, October 5, 6-8:30pm.

The Assassination of Jesse James

EgoPo Classic Theater's yearlong American Vaudeville Festival features prominent performance events of the American Stage from 1880s to 1920s and kicks off its new season with "The Assassination of Jesse James," directed by Brenna Geffers, October 3-21, with an all-female cast at the Plays and Players Theater, converted into a Western Saloon for the performance, 1714 Delancey Place, Philadelphia. $20-$50.

Night Market Philadelphia: Chinatown

The Night Market Philadelphia street food festival comes to Chinatown, with the chance to explore the city's best food trucks and ethnic restaurants during a night of food, drink, music, and fun, Thursday, October 4, 7pm to 11pm, 10th and Race Streets, Philadelphia. Free.

 

Temple University Dance's "Reflection: Response"

Temple University Dance presents "Reflection: Response" with the Ananya Dance Theatre performing Moreechika: Season of Mirage, the third work in a four-part investigation into violence, trauma, resistance and empowerment experienced by communities of color, Friday, October 5, 7:30pm and Saturday, October 6, 7:30pm, Conwell Dance Theater, Broad Street, Philadelphia. Tickets: $20, $15 students and seniors, $10 with Dance USA Philadelphia Pass, $5 with student OWLcard.

Denise Love McDaid's "Sculpture" at Chestnut Hill College

On display at Chestnut Hill College is "Sculpture," an exhibition of artist Denise Love McDaid's work with clay, which plays with the tension between whimsy and formality in art. An alumnus of Chestnut Hill College, Denise Love McDaid's career in clay sculpture began after 25 years of designing children's dress wear and women's sleepwear. She began studying with local artist Jim Lloyd and has been included in numerous exhibitions over the last 15 years. McDaid's sculptures range from portraits to abstract forms, yet she always focuses on an organic reference point. "Sculpture" runs through October 7 at 9601 Germantown Avenue, Philadelphia. Free.

Other events in Philly

The Manayunk StrEAT Food Festival is Saturday, September 29, 10am-5pm, as Main Street is lined with some of Philadelphia's best food trucks, gourmet food vendors and local farmers' markets, food-centric arts and crafts, live music and more, to kick off the five day Manayunk Restaurant Week beginning Sunday, September 30 through Friday, October 5, Manayunk.

Onstage this weekend at Allens Lane Theater is "Childe Byron," by Romulus Linney, directed by Ellen Wilson Dilks, the story of Ada Byron Lovelace's search to know more about her father, Lord Byron, through October 13 at 601 West Allens Lane, Philadelphia. Single tickets $18 with reservations, $20 at the door.

The Go West! Craft Fest is Saturday, September 29, 11am-5pm with over 60 of the region's arts and crafts vendors, along with live music, food and children's activities, at the Woodlands, 40th & Woodland, Philadelphia.

Expressions Performing Arts Company (EPAC) presents "Miss Minnie Mae's Going Home Party," by Edmonia Hite-Thomas, the poignant story of Minnie Mae Walker, an African American antiques dealer. After Minnie Mae's untimely death, her friends discover her secrets at her shop on Point Breeze Avenue in South Philadelphia. Performances are Saturday, September 29, 1pm and 7pm, Sts. John Neumann/Maria Goretti HS Theatre, 1736 S. 10th Street (10th & Moore Streets), Philadelphia. $20.

Choral Arts celebrates its 30th anniversary season with Rachmaninov's stunning sacred masterpiece for a cappella chorus, "VESPERS," performed with magnificent acoustics in the Cathedral Basilica of Sts. Peter & Paul, 18th Street at Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia, Saturday, September 29, 8pm. Tickets: $30, $20 seniors, $10 students, $20 groups.

The Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia opens its 2012/2013 season with "Haydn | Beethoven," Sunday, September 30, 2:30pm, and Monday, October 1, 7:30pm. The program begins with conductor Dirk Brossé's work "Sire," followed by Haydn's "Miracle" Symphony. The night closes with Queen Elisabeth International Music Competition finalist Lorenzo Gatto performing with the orchestra for Beethoven's Violin Concerto, Kimmel Center, Philadelphia.
$24-$66.

Filmtech's Film Snob Series hosts "The Best Hitchcock Films Not Made by Hitchcock," with Philly screenwriter and critic David Greenberg, Sunday, September 30, 7pm, and an unlikely double feature of "Charade" and "Throw Momma From the Train," 2019 S. Juniper Street, 2nd Floor (between Snyder and McKean), Philadelphia. Light snacks. BYO. $5

"Planetarium on the Parkway" provides a unique stargazing opportunity with an interactive, free event hosted by Derrick Pitts, Chief Astronomer at the Franklin Institute. Pitts, as part of the Association for Public Art's "Open Air" project, will use an iPad to direct the lights toward the stars and constellations above the Parkway. Bring your own telescope or view through two large telescopes provided by Philadelphia's Rittenhouse Astronomical Society, Tuesday night, October 2, 8:30pm, Eakins Oval, Ben Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia.

The Inis Nua Theatre Company presents "A Slow Air" at the Off-Broad Street Theater in the First Baptist Church. David Harrower's drama revolves around the relationship between Athol and Mona, two siblings who became estranged after the 2007 Glasgow Airport terrorist attack, October 3-21, with a preview this Tuesday, October 2, 1626 Sansom Street, Philadelphia. $20-$25.

Celebrate the 50th anniversary of "West Side Story" as the Philadelphia Orchestra plays Leonard Bernstein's electrifying score and Stephen Sondheim's memorable songs live with the newly re-mastered film shown in high definition on the big screen with the original vocals and dialog intact, Friday, October 5, 8pm, Verizon Hall, Kimmel Center, Broad Street, Philadelphia.

"Shipwreck! Winslow Homer and The Life Line," is on display at the Philadelphia Museum of Art through December 16, Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia.

Wilma Theater celebrates the 20th anniversary of "Angels in America Part Two: Perestroika," the Tony Award-winning play by Tony Kushner, following in the success of Part One this past spring, a play that explores social, political, and sexual revelations, directed by Blanka Zizka through October 21, 265 South Broad Street, Philadelphia. Tickets: $23-$59.

"This Is The Week That Is: The Election Special!" comes to the Plays & Players Theatre, 1812 Production's annual political satire show, this year taking on the 2012 presidential election with a newscast parody rewritten nightly to stay relevant. See the presidential candidates croon in "Presidential Idol" and compete in a Presidential Pageant with a swimsuit competition. Skewering politics, local news, and entertainment tabloids, and sparing no one from their humor, through November 4 at 1714 Delancey Street, Philadelphia. $22-$38.

Other events in the region

Possum Point Players presents "City of Angels," September 28 through October 7, set in 1940s Hollywood, a musical homage to the Hollywood crime genre using comedy and a jazz score to tell the story of Stine, an author who has to make a number of compromises to see one of his novels adapted for the stage. The Possum Point Players' play-within-a-play makes use of black and white props and costumes to mimic popular private eye films of the time, 441 Old Laurel Road, Georgetown, DE. $23 for adults, $22 for students and seniors.

The New Hope Arts & Crafts Festival returns this Saturday, September 29 and Sunday, September 30, 10am-6pm both days, bigger than ever, with over 200 fine art, jewelry, crafts, and photography exhibitors, music, food, family activities, and more at New Hope-Solebury High School, New Hope, PA. Free.

The Mays Landing Fall Festival is Saturday, September 29, 10am-4pm, with live musical entertainment, food, craft vendors, children's activities and more, Main Street & Route 50, Mays Landing, NJ. Free.

The 2nd annual Italian Festival is Saturday, September 29, 10am-5pm, with Italian food, entertainment, wine tastings, vendors, children's activities, and more, the Towne of Smithville Village Green, off of Route 9, Smithville, NJ. Free.

The 12th annual Margate Funfest by the Bay is Saturday, September 29, 11am-6pm and Sunday, September 30, 11am-5pm with two stages of entertainment, food, crafts, children's activities and more, on the bay, Margate, NJ. Free.

The Hillside farm Heirloom and Heritage festival is Saturday, September 29, 11am-4pm, celebrating the harvest with seasonal food, heritage breed animals, pie bake off, hayrides, homestead demonstrations, a tomato contest and more, Elwyn Road, Media, PA. Free.

Enjoy a plethora of food, art, music, beer, and crafts at the Woodbury Fall Arts Fest, Saturday, September 29 with over 300 artists and craftspeople, live music, belly dancing, poetry reading, and cooking demonstrations in the historic town of Woodbury, 11am-6pm, Railroad Avenue, Woodbury, NJ. Free.

The Brandywine Valley Wine Trail's 10th Annual Harvest Festival begins this Saturday, September 29 through October 7 with hayrides, live music, food, and wine tasting all among the valley's pastoral setting. This year, you can even help in the wine-making process, as select wineries will offer special grape stomping events for festival-goers. The Trail's vineyards include Black Walnut Winery, Chaddsford Winery, Kreutz Creek Vineyards, Penns Woods Winery, and more, 12pm to 5pm. $20.

The Fringe Wilmington Festival continues through Sunday, September 30 with unconventional and experimental performances, films, and visual arts in venues around Wilmington, DE. $5-$25.

The Downingtown Fall Fest is this Sunday, September 30, 12pm-4pm. Local vendors and restaurants will be there, live music, as well as a Beer Garden presented by Victory Brewing Company, Lancaster Avenue, between Wallace Avenue & Green Street, Downingtown, PA. Free.

The 21st Annual Delmarva Folk Festival is Friday and Saturday, October 5-6. The music begins at 7pm on Friday with the conclusion of this year's Folk Hero contest, followed by a night of folk performances, continuing from noon-10pm on Saturday. This year's lineup includes the Philadelphia Jug Band, Honey Badgers, John Flynn, Trini, and more. Craft vendors, food vendors, kids' activities, and guitar workshops will provide entertainment for the entire family. Presented by the Delaware Friends of Folk, 352 Downs Chapel Road, Clayton, DE. $5-$25.

Paula Vogel's award winning drama, "How I Learned to Drive" is onstage at Villanova Theatre through October 7, 800 East Lancaster Avenue, Villanova, PA. $19-$25.

Onstage at Bristol Riverside Theatre is David Mamet's "Oleanna," directed by Keith Baker, through October 14 at 120 Radcliffe Street, Bristol, PA. $24-$45 with discounts available for students.


To submit an event to be considered for the Weekly Entertainment Guide email Robin Bloom at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Brett Rader contributed reporting to this week's guide.