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If you’ve been itching for a visit with The Thinker, you better hurry. Philly’s Rodin Museum will close up for a month, starting this Thursday, January 7th, to undergo renovations on a new exhibit that focuses on Rodin’s achievements as a portraitist.
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Contrary to popular belief, the amazing cultural scene in Philly doesn’t slow down during the winter season: There’s a host of wonderful dance, theater, music, and visual arts events that are lined up during the region’s most frosty months. We surveyed the offerings and picked our ten best Philly bets that will sure to keep you entertained and inspired, even if you have to wear your toastiest winter gear to the venue!
Motown: The Musical, Academy of Music
It's been an insane success on the Great White Way. Now, the musical that CBS called "More than a Broadway show … a celebration of music that transformed America" is on the way to Philly's Academy of Music. Motown: The Musical features over 40 top hits from the likes of Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, Smokey Robinson, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, and The Temptations. It is clearly the highlight of the touring Broadway season here in the city. Don't miss our interview with one of the stars of the show, Jesse Nager. (January 6-January 18, Academy of Music, 240 S. Broad St., Philadelphia)—Bryan Buttler
The Body of an American, Wilma Theater
Award-winning writer Dan O'Brien brings his gripping, essentially autobiographical, drama The Body of an American to the Wilma Theatre. The work is based on O'Brien's own interactions and friendship with Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist Paul Watson, who took a photograph of a dead American being dragged through the streets of Mogadishu. Two actors, Harry Smith and Ian Merrill Peakes, play over twenty roles in what's being billed as a work that breaks all theatrical conventions. (January 7-February 1, Wilma Theatre, 265 S. Broad St., Philadelphia)
Direct from a much warmer Miami comes a dance event that almost defies definition: Is it dance? Theater? Performance art? Drag? Contemporary Ballet? The answer is all of the above. Rosie Herrera Dance has enthralled audiences since 2009; critics have called the troupe's performances "so innovative, searing and disturbing" that they warrant “repeat viewings." The group will be performing their numbers "Various Stages of Drowning" and "Dining Alone" at the Annenberg Center's Zellerbach Theatre. January 15-January 17, Zellerback Theatre, 3680 Walnut Street. —Bryan Buttler
The Fabulous Philadelphians are lead by the incomparable Yannick Nezet-Seguin for a three-week celebration of master Russian composers during the Philadelphia Orchestra's St. Petersburg Festival. Listeners will be treated to works by Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninoff, and Shostakovich, as well as the North American premiere of Mark-Anthony Turnage's "Piano Concerto." January 15-January 30, Kimmel Center, 300 South Broad Street. —Bryan Buttler
This world-premiere production at the Arden Theatre Company is sure to cause lots of thought-provoking discussion: a man dying of kidney failure asks his estranged daughter to give him one of hers. Under the Skin, written by award-winning playwright and Villanova professor Michael Hollinger, poses questions about organ donation, forgiveness, inheritance and family. January 15-March 15, Arden Theatre, 40 North 2nd Street. —Bryan Buttler
You've probably heard world-renowned flutist Julius Baker at one point or another and just haven't realized it: The Curtis and Juilliard professor is featured on the soundtracks to Fame, Beauty and the Beast, and West Side Story. Now, the Philadelphia-based Dolce Suono Ensemble, lead by one of Baker's top prodigies, Mimi Stillman, will present the first major tribute to Baker after his 2003 death. The concert at the Trinity Center for Urban Life will feature eight new world premieres with guest artist Jeffrey Khaner, principle flute of The Philadelphia Orchestra, who also studied under Baker. January 18, Trinity Center for Urban Life, South 22nd. and Spruce streets. —Bryan Buttler.
"Underline," University of the Arts
Two University of the Arts alumni will present their unique and thought-provoking fibers and textile works for the Philadelphia community. Underline features the works of Maggie Casey, a Pennsylvania native and current Philadelphia resident whose award-winning work has been recognized by the American Craft Council and the Rhode Island School of Design, and South Korea native Yunjung Kang, whose studies have taken her literally around the world. Don't miss the opening reception on January 22 at 5PM. (January 21-February 24, University of the Arts, 333 S. Broad St., Philadelphia)
Prodigal Son, Pennsylvania Ballet
Matthew Neenan has been called "one of today's foremost dance poets" by The New York Times. Now, Philadelphians will have a chance to see the choreographer in action during the Pennsylvania Ballet's upcoming program Prodigal Son. The performance will feature Balanchine's ballet that tells the well-known biblical story, along with works by the world-renowned Christopher Wheeldon and Gyorgy Ligeti. (February 5-February 8, Merriam Theatre, 250 S. Broad St., Philadelphia)
Oscar, Opera Philadelphia
David Daniels is widely regarded as the world's leading countertenor who has performed in opera houses around the globe. Now, Opera Philadelphia brings Daniels to the Academy of Music in Oscar, a new opera that had its world premiere in Santa Fe in 2013. The work is based on the trials and tribulations of iconic literary figure Oscar Wilde, whose private life ultimately became devastated after his affair with Lord Alfred Douglas. The piece, performed in English, is sure to bring many out-of-town opera fans to Broad Street. (February 6-Feburary 15, Academy of Music, 240 S. Broad St., Philadelphia)
"Ink and Gold: Art of the Kano," Philadelphia Museum of Art
The legendary Japanese Kano painters, who created intricate large-scale works made of gold leaf and other materials, established a tradition of artistic excellence in their native country. Now, the Philadelphia Museum of Art presents the first exhibition outside of Japan to fully examine the Kano painters' works. Ink and Gold: Art of the Kano will feature over 120 works that explore the Kano's academy of professional artists and their various patrons. Expect to see stunning sliding doors and folding screens fit for Japanese royalty. (February 16-May 10, Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia)
Henry Ossawa Tanner’s The Annunciation, 1898.
Philadelphia Museum of Art (PMA) will kick off 2015 by pulling from its holdings 75 pieces of artwork by African American artists. The exhibit, called “Represent: 200 Years of African American Art,” is, like its name suggests, a survey of art that spans two centuries and more than 50 artists. According to the New York Observer, some of the oldest pieces in the collection include Moses Williams silhouettes that date back to 1802, artworks by free and enslaved artists and a sculpture by David Drake.
Of the collection, PMA says, “we are mindful of the many anniversaries of the civil rights movement that have recently passed or are soon to come, and are thinking equally about the way race remains a key topic of conversation in the United States today—in politics, society, popular culture, and, of course, the arts. … This is an important moment in which to explore the historic development and continuing growth of the Museum’s collections of African American art.”
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Photo via Shutterstock.
‘Twas the Night Before Hanukkah
Don’t miss this fascinating special exhibit that explores the history of Hanukkah and Christmas music and the musicians who made them. Now through March 2015, free with admission ($11-12), National Museum of American Jewish History, 101 South Independence Mall East.
12th Annual Latkepalooza
It’s a feast! Try out gourmet latkes from Talula’s Garden, Frankford Hall, Vedge, Sabrina’s Café, London Grill and more. Sunday, December 7th, 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., $15 for adults, $10 for ages 2-12, free for children under 2, The Gershman Y, 401 South Broad Street.
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The Seaport Parade of Lights is Saturday, December 13th. | Photo via Facebook.
You froze while site-seeing, you can’t get the Nutcracker theme out of your head, and you finished shopping last month. What now? Get out and warm up at one of the city’s festive holiday gatherings.
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If waiting in line at Best Buy for a $100 flat screen television is your idea of a nightmare, don’t fear. We’ve rounded up some of the best events for everyone in the Philadelphia region on Black Friday that don’t involve a single shopping bag or cash register line.
A Philadelphia Nutcracker
This unique production of the holiday dance classic by the Philadelphia Dance Theatre takes the action and moves it to areas throughout 19th century Philadelphia, including Germantown, Mt. Airy, and Chestnut Hill. The Gothic-style Thomas Mansion on Wissahickon Avenue is the setting for the Act I party scene that everyone has come to know and love. You'll have to prance over David Kurtz Center to see the rest! (7:00PM, David Kurtz Center, 3000 W. Schoolhouse Lane, Philadelphia)
Polaris and Radiator Hospital at Johnny Brendas
Polaris, the house band lead by Mark Mulcahy, rose to fame in the 90's when they were featured on the now defunct The Adventures of Pete and Pete. They are teaming up with Radiator Hospital for a one-night only concert at Philly's notorious Johnny Brenda's. Tickets are going fast for what is sure to be a great night of fun and music. (8:00PM, Johnny Brenda's, 1201 N. Frankford Ave., Philadelphia)
Black Friday Comedy Marathon
After you had to deal with all of your lovely in-laws the night before, you may need to laugh…a lot. No worries: Philly Improv Theatre is presenting a 24-hour series of comedy acts that run all day on Black Friday and into Saturday. Aptly called the Black Friday Comedy Marathon, the festival has something for just about everyone, including stand-up, variety shows, and sketch acts. With late-night sessions called "Porn: The Musical," this is one marathon that isn't for the faint of heart! (Starts at 10:00AM, Philly Improv Theatre, 2030 Sansom St., Philadelphia)
Rogers and Hammerstein's Cinderella: Kids' Night
The national tour of the Broadway hit Cinderella has two performances on Friday at the Academy of Music, but here's a deal that's just as good as a pair of glass slippers: the 8:00PM show has a special Kids' Night discount where young theatre goers can attend for up to 50% off. Don't miss the sweeping music, the award-winning costumes, and all of the tunes that you know from the multiple made-for-television versions of this classic musical. (2:00PM and 8:00PM, Academy of Music, 240 S. Broad St., Philadelphia)
Morris Arboretum Holiday Garden Railway
The return of the Morris Arboretum's most popular attraction starts Friday. Guests will be wowed by replicas of Philadelphia landmarks made out of all-natural materials, including barks, leaves, and twigs. Of course, there's the quarter mile of toy railroad track that weaves throughout the arboretum's winter gardens. (10:00AM, Morris Arboretum, 100 E. Northwestern Ave., Philadelphia)
Say Anything and Saves The Day Concert
It's one of the hottest tickets in town: bands Say Anything and Saves The Day are teaming up for a remarkable concert that celebrates the 10th anniversary release of Say Anything’s …is a Real Boy and the 15th anniversary of Saves The Day’s Through Being Cool. Reggie and the Full Effect will be joining them on stage as all three bands perform their albums in full for concert goers. Tickets are going extremely fast for the evening at the TLA. (7:00PM, Theater of the Living Arts, 334 South St., Philadelphia)
Last Chance To See Full Circle: Works by Richard Pousette-Dart
It is your final chance to see the work of the twentieth century's most create draftsmen, Richard Pousette-Dart, at The Philadelphia Museum of Art. The exhibit, Full Circle: Works on Paper, features 60 of Pousette-Dart's most iconic works, including 6 of his notebooks. The exhibit closes on Sunday after a nearly three month run. (Opens at 10:00AM, The Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia)
A Very Furry Christmas at Sesame Place
Can you tell me how to get to Sesame Street, or, more specifically, Sesame Place? This family-friendly holiday celebration features everyone's favorite characters from the television show in special Christmas shows and at Santa's Furry Workshop. Don't forget to bring your own little monsters to Cookie's Monster Land and stick around for the Christmas Light Show. (Opens at 1:00PM, Sesame Place, 100 Sesame Rd., Langhorne)
Mary Poppins at Walnut Street Theatre
Everyone's favorite magical nanny has flown into Philly. Based on the beloved Disney film, the Broadway treatment of Mary Poppins is playing the Walnut Street Theatre. A great family affair that has two Black Friday performances, the musical features everyone's favorite songs, including "A Spoonful of Sugar," "Feed the Birds," and my favorite tongue twister of all-time, "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!" Tickets can be purchased here. (2:00PM and 8:00PM, Walnut Street Theatre, 825 Walnut St., Philadelphia)