Weekly Entertainment Guide: 'The Winter's Tale,' Opera Philadelphia, and Tacita Dean
Looking for something to do this weekend? WHYY's Robin Bloom sorts through hundreds of listings and has some recommendations on what's happening in the Philadelphia region. Here are her picks:
The People's Light & Theater Company reinvents Shakespeare's "The Winter's Tale" into a unique festival experience. The campus of the theater is transformed into festival grounds as visitors enjoy warm cider, music and dance before the performance, then go on to view a story full of passion, adventures, shipwrecks, death, clowns, and bear attacks. The production features classic elements of the Shakespearean tragedy, but turns them into a celebration of springtime's restoration and forgiveness. Scotland's Guy Hollands makes his United States directing debut, imagining the production as a traveling acting troupe that celebrates the seasonal turn from winter to spring through live music, dance, food and merriment, onstage through March 3 at 39 Conestoga Road, Malvern, PA. Join the cast for post-show revelry at the Farmhouse Bistro.
Experience the true story of a World War I Christmas Eve cease-fire between Scottish, French, and German officers in Opera Philadelphia's East Coast premiere of "Silent Night." Winner of the 2012 Pulitzer Prize in Music, the new opera marks the first by American composer Kevin Put, featuring a libretto by Mark Campbell. Directed by Oscar-winning, Tony-nominated Eric Preisser, and starring acclaimed tenor William Burden, soprano Kelly Kaduce and baritone Troy Cook, Friday, February 8 through February 17, Academy of Music, 240 S. Broad Street, Philadelphia.
On display at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts is "Modern Women at PAFA: From Cassatt to O'Keeffe" exploring the work of modern female artists who established themselves artistically and paved the way for future generations. Since its first exhibition in 1811, women artists have been an important aspect of PAFA's programs and educational mission. This installation serves as a companion to the museum's exhibit, "The Female Gaze: Women Artists Making Their World" and looks at themes of motherhood and beauty, natural landscape, self-portraiture, women in their community, women illustrators, and modern women in motion, through September 1 at PAFA's Historic Landmark Building, 118 North Broad Street, Philadelphia.
In Bristol Riverside Theatre's "Deathtrap," by two-time Edgar Award winner Ira Levin, Sidney, a writer, attempts to overcome a slump by plotting to market his student's perfect suspense play as his own after murdering the would-be playwright. Richard Edelman directs this production of Broadway's longest running comedy-thriller and Tony Award nominee for Best Play, starring Keith Baker (Carbonell Award recipient for Best Actor), Barbara McCulloh, Jo Twiss, Mordecai Lawner and Robert Ross (Law and Order, P.S. I Love You), with performances through February 24, 120 Radcliffe Street in Bristol, PA.
George Bernard Shaw's provocative comedy of morals, "Mrs. Warren's Profession" opens at The Stagecrafters this Friday, February 1. Set in late Victorian England, the show tells the story of two strong women, mother and daughter, each determined to hold their respective world views and life choices, revealing the reality of the position of women in society at the time, onstage through February 17, with the February 8 performance followed by Cast and Director Q&A sessions, 8130 Germantown Avenue, Philadelphia.
Theatre Horizon presents "An Infinite Ache," written by David Schulner and directed by Megan Nicole O'Brien, Friday, February 1 through February 17. The production stars Bi Jean Ngo as Hope and Griffin Stanton-Ameisen as Charles, a bi-racial couple whose half-century marriage is played out through snapshots as they navigate love, children and tragedy, all within their changing bedroom.
To celebrate the opening of "Drawn to Dinosaurs: Hadrosaurus foulkii" at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University, artist and educator Jason Poole will create a life-size dinosaur drawing while museum visitors watch and ask questions about the 25-foot-long, duck-billed Hadrosaurus foulkii, alongside a full mounted cast of that dinosaur (discovered in 1858 in Haddonfield, NJ). Using colored chalk to sketch the prehistoric creature on a blackboard installed in the Art of Science Gallery, the day-long process will be turned into a time-lapse video that will be installed in the exhibit the following week. The event takes place on Saturday, February 2, 10am-4:30pm, with a break from 12pm-1pm, 1900 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia.
Welcome the Year of the Snake at Penn Museum's annual Chinese New Year Celebration, Saturday, February 2, 11am-4pm with performances by the Penn Chinese Dance Club, MeiMei Dance Troupe, Qin Qian and Kurt Jung on traditional instruments, martial arts demonstrations, Chinese fables, Feng Shui, and many more activities for all ages, culminating with the Grand Finale Lion Dance to chase away evil and usher in a year of good luck, 3260 South Street, Philadelphia.
The Monterey Jazz Festival 55th Anniversary Tour, celebrating the longest consecutively running jazz festival in the world, is Saturday, February 2, 8pm, featuring Dee Dee Bridgewater, Christian McBride, Benny Green, Lewis Nash, and Chris Potter, and Ambrose Akinmusire, at the Merriam Theater, 250 South Broad Street, Philadelphia.
Glencairn hosts its annual Medieval Festival this Sunday, February 3, 1pm-5pm, a journey back to a time of "heavenly inspiration," showing stained glass windows being assembled by hand, a Gutenberg-style printing press in use, and music played on period instruments. Visitors can learn about religion's influence on medieval weaponry, view a sword battle, and get a chance to spin wool, 1001 Cathedral Road, Bryn Athyn, PA.
The Allentown Art Museum of the Lehigh Valley shines a spotlight on artwork from Haiti with "Haitian Art from The Rodale Family Collection," a new exhibit opening Sunday, February 3 of forty paintings, displaying pieces that are expressive and dynamic despite generations of crippling poverty and despair. More than twenty artists are featured, including Seymour Bottex, Yves Estime, Eugene Jean, Audes Saul (pictured) and more, on display through April 14, 31 North Fifth Street, Allentown, PA.
Montgomery Theater celebrates its 20th anniversary with Theresa Rebeck's "Bad Dates," a one-woman comedy starring Sarah Sanford, winner of the 2010 F. Otto Haas Award for an Emerging Philadelphia Theatre Artist, as the Texan Haley Walker. After eight years of raising a daughter alone, Haley begins a fashionable new career in New York City while searching for a love like the perfect pair of shoes. Directed by Jessica Bedford, Wednesday, February 6 through February 24, 124 Main Street, Souderton, PA.
Arcadia University Art Gallery premieres "JG," a new film project by internationally acclaimed Berlin-based artist Tacita Dean, shot in looped 35mm anamorphic film and her recently patented system of aperture gate masking. A sequel in technique to FILM, a 2011 project for Tate Modern's Turbine Hall, the work traverses the connections between Robert Smithson's earthwork and film Spiral Jetty and J.G. Ballard's short story The Voices of Time, while responding to Ballard's challenge to "treat the Spiral Jetty as a mystery her film would solve," Thursday, February 7 through Sunday, April 21, 450 S. Easton Road, Glenside, PA.
Street Beat, a theatrical show featuring boisterous drumming and dancing, performs at the Stockton Performing Arts Center, Thursday, February 7, 7:30pm. The concert blends African, Cuban, Latin, and jazz concepts to create an infectious and rich musical experience, 101 Vera King Farris Drive, Galloway, NJ.
The Philadelphia Art Alliance presents two adventurous exhibits that focus on both craft and canvas. "The Tool at Hand" began with a challenge to sixteen British and American artists: craft a work of art using only one tool. Dental drills and bare hands were among the tools chosen by the artists, which produced creative results in a variety of mediums. The accompanying exhibit, "Molly Hatch: Reverie," finds inspiration in the Vermont-born artist's childhood home. Molly Hatch grew up on a dairy farm, surrounded by antique chinaware passed down through her family. As part of her "effort to claim the functional surface of the dinner plate as a painting surface," the artist uses design elements from her family's plate collection to create new works of art. Both exhibits run from Thursday, February 7 through April 28 at 251 South 18th Street, Philadelphia. An opening reception will be held from 6pm-9pm on Thursday, February 7.
John Mayall, the "Godfather of British Blues," performs at the Colonial Theatre on Friday, February 8, 8pm. An influential piece of the 1960s British Blues movement, Mayall shared the stage with Eric Clapton, Mick Taylor, and Peter Green with his seminal band, The Bluesbreakers, 227 Bridge Street, Phoenixville, PA.
Dweezil Zappa plays the music of his father, Frank Zappa, at Harrah's this Friday, February 8, 9pm. Zappa took three years off in order to study the physical and musical composition of his father's performances to then recreate the Frank Zappa experience in the most authentic way possible, Atlantic City, NJ.
The Trenton City Museum at Ellarslie Mansion exhibits "In My View: Stephen Smith - Florence Moonan - William Hogan," paintings and sculptures by three unique area artists who share a passion in expressing the effects of travel and the arts. Stephen Smith's work ranges from humorous ink caricatures and small sculptures to richly colored paintings, Florence Moonan represents abstract art, and William Hogan (pictured) features immense canvases of color and form. Hear from the artists in a Gallery Talk, Sunday, February 10 at 2pm. Exhibit is on display through February 24, in Cadwalader Park, Trenton, NJ.
Berman Museum of Art at Ursinus College presents "In Country: Soldiers' Stories from Iraq and Afghanistan," a gallery of photographs by Jennifer Karady that bridge together staged narrative and cognitive behavioral therapy. For the past six years, Karady has been extensively interviewing American veterans, collaborating with her subjects to restage a chosen moment from war within the safe space of his or her everyday environment, often surrounded by family and friends. The staging process takes a month and involves conceptualization, sketching, approval, props, costumes, rehearsal, extras, and other steps to ensure authenticity. Each large-scale color photograph is accompanied by a recounting of the veteran's story in his or her own words that has been transcribed and edited from the interviews, on view through April 7 at 601 E. Main Street, Collegeville, PA.
Rehoboth Art League celebrates its 75th anniversary with an exhibit featuring selected works by Bertha Riley, a founding artist of the League and one of the many women artists involved in the establishment of Rehoboth as a key art community in Delaware, February 1 through March 3. The exhibit features approximately twenty original works including paintings and sketches from the collection of Francis Riley, Bertha's grand nephew. Additional memorabilia and historical information also on display. Opening reception on Saturday, February 16, 4pm-6pm with Francis Riley, 12 Dodds Lane, Rehoboth Beach, DE.
Other events happening around the region:
Footlighters Theater presents "Places!," a World Premiere musical by local author and composer Danny Scott, opening Friday, February 1 through February 16. Directed by Carmen Rossi, the play follows the musical paths of uniquely talented strangers as they grow to become the closest of friends in a heart warming, toe tapping production about relationships that are created in community theater, 58 Main Avenue, Berwyn, PA.
"Once On This Island," presented by Bryn Athyn College, opens this Saturday, February 2 through February 9. Based on Lynn Ahrens' 1985 novel, My Love, My Love, the production uses elements from Romeo and Juliet as well as The Little Mermaid to form the heartfelt story into a musical at the Mitchell Performing Arts Center, 800 Tomlinson Road, Bryn Athyn, PA.
"Food Fight," a solo performance about eating disorders is Saturday, February 2, 5pm, written and performed by psychotherapist and performing artist Judy Freed, portraying the poignant reality of food compulsions through original music, monologue and movement, taking the audience on a deeply personal journey of recovery with a post-performance discussion, Act II Playhouse, 56 E. Butler Avenue, Ambler, PA. Portion of every ticket goes to AABA (American Anorexia and Bulimia Association) and Moving Creations' "Girls on the Move" project at Germantown High School.
Martin Sexton comes to the Landis Theater this Saturday, February 2 at 8pm with special guests The Alternate Routes. Influenced by rock 'n' roll and the Boston folk scene, Sexton's personal and soulful songwriting won him the 1994 National Academy of Songwriter's Artist of the Year, 830 East Landis Avenue, Vineland, NJ.
Learn about the skill of printmaking at Fleisher Art Memorial's 13th Annual Print Love-In, this Sunday, February 3. Three sessions will be offered during the day at 10am, 1pm, and 5pm, teaching beginners about lithograph, silkscreen, wood, and linoleum block printing. Attendees get to create and decorate their own Valentine's Day cards. The first two sessions are open to ages 5 and up, the third is limited to adults 21 and older, 719 Catharine Street, Philadelphia.
Inis Nua Theatre Company, known for showcasing contemporary plays from Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales, presents the Philadelphia premiere of D.C. Jackson's "My Romantic History," February 5-24. Directed by Tom Reing and starring Jenna Horton, Emilie Krause and Aubie Merrylees, the production is part irreverent romantic comedy, part office fantasia about lust, loneliness, loyalty and the perils of office romance, at the Off-Broad Street Theater in the First Baptist Church, 1636 Sansom Street, Philadelphia.
"Muhammad Ali: A Tribute to the Greatest" opens at the Crossroads Theatre Company this Thursday, February 7 through February 17, written and starring Geoffrey Ewing, 7 Livingston Avenue, New Brunswick, NJ.
Brett Rader and Sarah Pike contributed reporting to this week's guide.
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