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.
3. Neil Young
Hard to know what to expect when the eccentric and unpredictable rock legend performs at our historic symphony hall, but you’ll surely hear some songs from his latest album, the deeply personal A Letter Home. Academy of Music, October 8th and 9th.
6. Cirque du Soleil
The Montréal-based troupe performs one of its most popular touring shows, “Varekai.” The woman who does the aerial hoop routine is amazing. Wells Fargo Center, September 10th to 14th.
7. “Disney on Ice: Frozen”
Sadly, Idina won’t be on skates singing “Let It Go.” Still, some little (or not so little) lady in your life will burst out in joy. Wells Fargo Center, December 25th to January 4th.
8. “Alex Da Corte and Jayson Musson: Easternsports”
For their first collaboration, the two renowned Philadelphia contemporary artists have developed an in-the-round video installation, described as a “four-channel multilingual soap opera starring the artists.” Probably one that you’ll just have to see to understand. Institute of Contemporary Art, September 19th to December 28th.
10. “David Lynch: The Unified Field”
Forty-seven years after the filmmaker was a student there, he returns to the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts for an exhibit of his drawings and paintings—his first major museum exhibition in this country. PAFA, September 13th to January 11th.
12. “Body Worlds: Animal Inside Out”
Remember that fascinating and creepy “Body Worlds” exhibit—the one where cross-sections of human bodies and organs were “plastinated”? Well, it’s back ... but this time with animals! Franklin Institute, October 4th to April 12th.
13. Postmodern Jukebox
Hear some of your favorite songs reproduced as jazz, swing and ragtime tunes by this Queens ensemble. Their recent covers of Miley Cyrus, Lorde and Guns N’ Roses have a combined 20-million-plus views. TLA, October 26th.
15. William Glackens
The Barnes Foundation might not exist if not for William Glackens, the influential American realist painter who helped Albert Barnes acquire many of the most famous works in his collection. The museum presents nearly 70 of his paintings and drawings in his first retrospective in almost 50 years. Barnes Foundation, November 8th to February 2nd.
16. The Sincerity Project
The awesome Team Sunshine Performance Corporation presents its long-in-development play about millennials. There’s a choir, picnicking and some nudity. Weird, good stuff from an up-and-coming force in the local theater scene. FringeArts, December 4th to 14th.
17. La Bête
The biting Molière-inspired comedy, which debuted on Broadway in 1991, stars Scott Greer (Best of Philly Theater Talent 2014) and Dito van Reigersberg (see here), features James Ijames (Best of Philly Theater Talent 2013), and is directed by Emmanuelle Delpech (Best of Philly Theater Talent 2011). So it better be good! Arden Theater, September 11th to October 12th.
18. Philadelphia Orchestra with Lang Lang
For the season opener, maestro Yannick Nézet-Séguin has called in flamboyant pianist extraordinaire Lang Lang, one of the most prominent graduates of the Curtis Institute of Music. Kimmel Center, September 26th to 28th.
21. Rapture, Blister, Burn
If you enjoyed the Wilma’s 2010 hit Becky Shaw, by Gina Gionfriddo, check out the playwright’s new work, about a mother who begins to think about and regret some of the choices she’s made. The New York Times called it “intensely smart” and “immensely funny.” Wilma Theater, October 8th to November 2nd.
22. “Constituting Liberty”
You’re probably familiar with the Bill of Rights (a.k.a. the first 10 amendments to the U.S. Constitution: free speech, bear arms, etc.), but have you ever seen the document? Now you can, along with the Constitution and Declaration of Independence, thanks to the Constitution Center’s exhibit. National Constitution Center, October 30th through October 2017.
24. “Paul Strand: Master of Modern Photography”
Almost 250 of the finest prints available from the prolific 20th-century American photographer. Philadelphia Museum of Art, October 21st to January 4th.
25. The Barber of Seville
We know you’ll be tempted to sing along when they get to “Figaro,” but you probably shouldn’t. An Opera Philadelphia production. Academy of Music, September 26th to October 5th.
28. This Is the Week That Is
1812 Productions’ hilarious and always changing political comedy—based on current events—is now in its ninth year. Expect to laugh. A lot. Plays & Players Theatre, November 28th to December 31st.
30. Rachael Yamagata
On the 10th anniversary of Happenstance, she’ll be playing the album in its entirety. But you’ll have to find tickets on Craigslist or StubHub, because this show sold out a long, long time ago. Boot & Saddle, November 14th.