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)
Film 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.
Corrina Burns | Photo by Jauhien Sasnou
The (curious case of the) Watson Intelligence
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.”
More November must-dos after the jump
October 8th and 9th
Academy of Music
The gritty Canadian singer and guitarist has always had a huge Philadelphia fan base, and his shows here are the stuff of legend. He performed a solo set and one with Crosby, Stills and Nash at Live Aid, he headlined a special 2008 concert to commemorate the end of the Spectrum, and his 2007 Tower shows were memorialized by filmmaker Jonathan Demme in the documentary Neil Young Trunk Show. If you don’t catch at least one of his two performances here this month, you’ll be missing out.
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Illustration by Andy Friedman
My name is … Yannick Nézet-Séguin, since I was 16. I was born Yannick Séguin, but I decided to legally add my mother’s last name, Nézet, because we were the only family in North America with that name. And my mother is the only child of her family, so I wanted to make a future for that very strange name. People assume I am Egyptian or Hungarian or Turkish, but it is very plainly Celtic French.
My friends call me … Yannick. I was desperate when I was younger to get friends to call me Yan or Nick. But I never got anyone to do it.
I am a … lover of life.
I grew up in … Montréal, in the city and very close to everything — so much so that I never bothered to take driving lessons. I still don’t have a driver’s license. A conductor but not a driver.
My secret junk food obsession is … poutine. But the problem is, I am lactose-intolerant. So when I have those cheese curds and poutine, I assume the consequences.
The thing most people don’t understand about my job … is how much psychology is involved. I have a mysterious job to begin with, but everything has to do with using the right amount of psychology and diplomacy.
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Lorde performs at the Mann Center on September 5th.
Maybe you’ll see Cecily Tynan there, singing along to “Royals.” The 17-year-old Kiwi is one of her personal faves. Mann Center, September 5th.
Zachary Chiero and Peter Andrew Danzig are gay Mummers in Tribe of Fools’ “Two Street,” part of the FringeArts Festival.
Every year, we wonder if the event previously known as the Philadelphia Live Arts Festival & Philly Fringe is going to lose its mojo. But based on this year’s lineup, which includes everything from an interactive public art installation floating on the Delaware River (WetLand) to Two Street, a gay version of Romeo and Juliet as told through the lens of South Philadelphia and the Mummers to one of the most unusual walking tours you’ll ever join (Experiment #39) and a few dozen other shows, and the fact that the FringeArts venue is now fully open, complete with brasserie, outdoor performance plaza and 240-seat theater, it seems the mojo is stronger than ever. Various locations, September 5th to 21st.
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Seven musicians from The Philadelphia Orchestra brass section will toot the “Star Spangled Banner” at tonight’s Phillies game at Citizen’s Bank Park. The ensemble includes Jennifer Montone, Jeffrey Lang, and Jeffry Kirschen on French horns, Robert W. Earley and Darin Kelly on trumpets, and Blair Bollinger and Brian Santero on trombones. In case the names don’t ring a bell, this is the same group who did that pop-up performance on a delayed plane last year that spread like wildfire across the Internet.
The engagement marks the homecoming of the Philadelphia Orchestra, which just returned from trips to Colorado and Asia, and the beginning of a busy week: On July 23rd and 24th, catch them at the Kimmel Center, where they’ll perform “A Tribute to the Beatles.” Then, on July 25th and 26th, they’ll perform “PIXAR in Concert.”
Tickets to all shows can be found here, and you can still snag seats to tonight’s game—when the Phillies take on the San Francisco Giants—here.
You know what the doctor says: A little music every day keeps the blahs away. To help, we round up a concert for every day of this week.
Piers Morgan sure had it wrong when he told Lindsey Stirling the world had no place for a dancing dub-step violinist during the 2010 season of America's Got Talent. (Today, her viral hit "Crystallize" has over 95 million YouTube views.) With a background in classical violin, Stirling may be the only musician out there creating powerful combinations of Celtic folk music with futuristic electronic beats. Monday, June 23rd, 8 p.m., Electric Factory, 421 North 7th Street.
Platinum-selling singer-songwriter Ben Folds brings The Ben Folds Orchestral Experience to Philly this Tuesday as part of his 2014 tour of collaborations with renowned orchestras across the globe. Join Folds and our own Philadelphia Orchestra for an evening of his successful pop hits and new piano concertos. Tuesday, June 24, 8:00 p.m., The Mann Center, 5201 Parkside Avenue.
Granddaughter of Woody Guthrie and grand-nephew of John Steinbeck: Not only have they formed a genius folk-rock group, but they're also husband and wife. The dynamic duo brings together their folk roots with creative new sounds in their most recent album, Wassaic Way, produced by Wilco's Jeff Tweedy and Patrick Sansone. Wednesday, June 25th, 8:30 pm., Boot & Saddle, 1131 South Broad Street.
Say Anything has had some rough patches over the years, but lead singer Max Bemis seems to have the rock band back on track with the recent release of their album Hebrews. The tracks on Hebrews are reflective of Bemis's own life, with the songs written after his daughter's birth bringing a tone of redemption rather than worry. Thursday, June 26th, 8:30 p.m., Electric Factory, 421 North 7th Street.
Friday: Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, $16
In 2005, indie rock group CYHSY proved that fame can still be attained without a record label or press agency. Their self-titled, self-produced album gained the attention of prominent music websites and blogs, and the rest was history. Lead singer Alec Ounsworth also gives CYHSY a Philly connection — while the other band members reside in Brooklyn, Ounsworth remains in Philly, and has released collaborations with Philly's Dr. Dog and Mazarin. Friday, June 27th, 9:30 p.m., Johnny' Brenda's, 1201 Frankford Avenue.
Saturday: Lady Gaga ($49.50-$225)
Lady Gaga has launched her fourth world tour, "Lady Gaga's artRave - The ARTPOP Ball." While her "Born This Way Ball" tour was abruptly abandoned in early 2013 due to a hip injury, Lady Gaga has set out to reconnect with her fans with an evening full of everything you'd expect from a Gaga show — outrageous, eccentric outfits, and an emphasis on being "1000 percent you." Saturday, June 28h, 8:00 p.m., Boardwalk Hall, 2301 Boardwalk, Atlantic City.
It's impossible not to enjoy the upbeat, feel-good tune of "Keep Your Head Up," the single that brought attention to Andy Grammer in 2011. His newest song "Back Home," released in April, captures the same sweet vibes and catchy lyrics, telling fans to "raise your glass" to "nights that you can't take back." Sunday, June 28th, World Cafe Live, 8:00 p.m., 3025 Walnut Street.
This summer, the Mann Center will house the Philadelphia Orchestra for a three-week summer residency that kicks off with an awesome-sounding collaboration with singer-songwriter Ben Folds on Tuesday, June 24th.
Ben Folds is no stranger to tinkering with new ways to present his music — remember the whole Chat Roulette thing in 2010? — and this new blending with classical orchestras is apparently a winning combo. Described as “part piano concerto, part pop hits,” The Ben Folds Orchestral Experience was recently tried out with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra. Here’s what one reviewer from the St. Louis Post Dispatch had to say about that performance:
The centerpiece of the concert’s first half was Folds’ newly written piano concerto. Folds performed its first movement, which he said is designed to “kick ass” before giving way to a more sedate second movement and then going out with a bang during the third. More than anything, he seems determined not to reinvent the wheel in terms of composition. The piece draws on Folds’ pop sensibilities while also offering an opportunity to show off his digital dexterity: clearly, he’s been practicing.”
His romp with the Philly orchestra will be conducted by Steven Reinke. Tickets, ranging from $15 to $49.50, can be purchased here.