2015 Academy Ball Featuring Al Pacino

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Philadelphia’s annual white-tie gala to celebrate the Academy of Music’s birthday — it’s 158th! — took place Saturday night at Academy of Music and the Hyatt at the Bellevue. Nearly 1,400 people attended the grand celebration which raises money to restore and maintain the Grand Old Lady of Locust Street.

The evening began with the chairman’s pre-concert reception held at the Academy of Music. Guests dined on Jose Garces catering of lamb chops and crab and eggplant sliders, and enjoyed an open bar. The MRB Jazz Project entertained guests as they mingled and posed for the society photographers on hand to capture society’s most celebrated and time-honored traditions, where men were dressed in white tails and women in ball gowns, white gloves and a few even wearing tiaras.

The concert began a little past 7:30 p.m., as Yannick Nézet-Séguin conductor of the Philadelphia Orchestra, and Al Pacino took the stage. Pacino joked throughout his piece that he wasn’t sure what he was going to do on stage; it reflected the audience’s likely thoughts when it was first announced Pacino would be the special guest after decades of musical guests like Sting, Billy Joel, and, last year, Jill Scott.

But Pacino didn’t disappoint, as fans of his movies were excited to hear his dialogue, often punctuated by laughs from the audience. And he did entertain as he did a monologue from Shakespeare’s Richard III while the orchestra played William Walton’s Preludio dalla colonna sonora. Then Pacino recited an e.e. cummings poem as the orchestra performed Copland’s Clarinet Concerto in the background. Pacino was a unique choice for a headliner, and was a complete success, delighting the audience.

After the concert, guests took part in the annual promenade up Broad Street to the Hyatt at the Bellevue for the Ball. Along the way guests were entertained by the Delaware County Christian Academy Choir (2013 More 101 FM Choir competition winners!), The Philadelphia Handbell Ensemble on Broad Street and The Philadelphia Performing Arts Charter School Choir at the Bellevue. The 158th Anniversary Concert and Ball co-chairmen were Linda Fynes Siegfried and Joseph F. Coradino. The Young Friends co-chairs were Christie Honigman and Brian Lipstein.

Photos from the Academy Ball after the jump »

13 Must-See Instagrams From The Academy Ball

A who’s-who of Philadelphia donned their best clothes and partied the night away at the annual Academy Ball on January 24, 2015. This exclusive white-tie affair is one of the only annual fundraisers to support the Academy of Music, and this year, Al Pacino teamed up with the Philadelphia Orchestra to present what was a memorable evening for those in attendance. Of course, eager socialites couldn’t help but post some great shots on Instagram, so we rounded up some of the best pre-ball prep, gorgeous clothes, and, of course, selfies. Read more »

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The members of the Philadelphia Orchestra will pack their bags this May for a voyage to Europe: It is the first time that the Fabulous Philadelphians will embark on a European tour with Music Director Yannick Nezet-Seguin.

“I have long anticipated the first tour of Europe that I will take with the musicians of The Philadelphia Orchestra,” said Nezet-Seguin. “At the conclusion of three years of our partnership I am proud to bring to European audiences this current embodiment of the great Philadelphia Sound that we have collaborated on together.” Read more »

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Don’t miss “George Balachine’s The Nutcracker” at the Academy of Music this month. | Photo via Facebook.

With all the concerts, cabarets, plays, and ballets on stage this holiday season, there are plenty of performing arts to see on a special night out.

Down Home Holiday
A holiday hoedown from the Philadelphia Gay Men’s Chorus filled with fiddlers, line dancers, classic holiday tunes and Dolly Parton jams. Thursday, December 4th through Saturday, December 6th, $30-55, Lutheran Church of the Holy Communion, 2110 Chestnut Street.

Philly Nutt Crak-Up
The Rappin’ Sugar Plum Fairy is back for another “nutty” take on a traditional holiday tale thanks to ContempraDANCE Theatre. Friday, December 5th through Sunday, December 7th, $35, Painted Bride Art Center, 230 Vine Street.

The Philly Pops Christmas Spectacular
Celebrated conductor David Charles Abell leads this popular sing-along of holiday favorites with the help of Broadway’s Phantom of the Opera, Hugh Panaro, and the POPS Festival Chorus. Saturday, December 6th through Saturday, December 20th, $40-131, Kimmel Center, 300 South Broad Street.

George Balachine’s The Nutcracker
Join the 46-year-old tradition by seeing this classic holiday show in Philadelphia with the Pennsylvania Ballet, Philadelphia Boys Choir and awe-inspiring sets and costumes. Saturday, December 6th through Tuesday, December 30th, $50-125, Academy of Music, 240 South Broad Street. 

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Black Friday

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Al Pacino Performing With Philadelphia Orchestra in January

shutterstock_111522257Film icon Al Pacino will join the Philadelphia Orchestra in January for its 158th Academy of Music Anniversary Concert and Ball. He’ll be joined by Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin and special guest, 18-year-old emerging violinist Simone Porter, for this evening that doubles as a celebration of the Academy of Music itself.

But here’s the real question: We all know Pacino’s talented … but what can he offer the Orchestra?

“In the tradition of blending great acting with great orchestral music, Pacino will join Nézet-Séguin and The Philadelphia Orchestra, sharing a favorite monologue and more,” reads a press release sent out today.

Makes more sense. Pacino definitely seems excited about it. He shares this sentiment:

“It’s a singular honor for me to perform on the stage of the Academy of Music, in the very place where Rachmaninoff conducted The Philadelphia Orchestra and where this legendary ensemble gave the United States premiere of The Rite of Spring,” Pacino says. “I could not be more thrilled to become part of the legacy of the historic Academy of Music and The Philadelphia Orchestra.”

The event takes place on Saturday, January 24, 2015. Tickets and more information can be found here.

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Corrina Burns | Photo by Jauhien Sasnou

Corrina Burns | Photo by Jauhien Sasnou

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Off-Broad Street Theater
Time and time again, we’ve heard that there’s a dearth of roles for actresses of a certain age. “But I think that might be changing,” says Corinna Burns, the female lead in Azuka Theatre’s The (curious case of the) Watson Intelligence, a 2014 Pulitzer Prize finalist. Last season, the 42-year-old Swarthmore grad was cast in just one show. This season? “I have five shows,” she says, including Revolution Shakespeare’s just-wrapped Macbeth and a Fringe play that won accolades from the New York Times. “I feel very lucky. It’s an embarrassment of riches.”

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