22 Things to Do in Philly This Weekend

A couple naughty holiday shows, a winter Love Letters tour, Star Wars events and more to do this last weekend before Christmas.

It’s official, folks: We’ve made it to the last weekend before Christmas. There are still plenty of festive ways to celebrate — from Peek-A-Boo Revue’s burlesque show to the elegant performances of the Philadelphia Orchestra. Be sure to see Hedda Gabler — a luxe costume drama staged in the Physick House mansion — and Orbiter 3’s A Knee That Can Bend this weekend; they both close on Sunday. We’ve also got a list of happenings for the Star Wars fans to check out in honor of the debut of The Force Awakens. Check out all our picks below, or just click ahead to the categories that strike your fancy.

Holiday (Nice) | Holiday (Naughty) | Star Wars | Murals, Magic, Markets | Comedy Theater | Music

Holiday Events (Nice Version)

Photo by Pete Checchia

The Philadelphia Orchestra presents the “Glorious Sounds of Christmas” throughout the weekend. | Photo by Pete Checchia

Philadelphia Orchestra’s Glorious Sounds of Christmas

Grammy-winning conductor and composer Bramwell Tovey is bringing a unique blend of Christmas cheer with the Philadelphia Orchestra, with classic holiday songs like “Silent Night” and Tovey’s own original “The Rittenhouse Carol.” Through Sunday, December 20th, various times, various prices, Kimmel Center.

PSPCA Fishtown Center’s Santa Paws

PSPCA is offering you one more chance to get a picture of your fluffy friend with Santa. Saturday, December 19th, 12 pm, $5 donation, PSPCA Fishtown Center, 1546 Frankford Avenue.

Shooting Stars’ Holiday Spectacular

In Glee and Broadway fashion, the performance group Shooting Stars will celebrate the holiday with song, dance, and fun costumes and sets. The talented crew has performed their holiday special everywhere from Longwood Gardens to Walt Disney World. Through Saturday, December 19th, various times, $7-$10, Upper Darby Performing Arts Center.

Trans-Siberian Orchestra: The Ghosts of Christmas Eve

This performance by TSO tells the tale of a runaway youth who breaks into an old vaudeville theater on Christmas Eve to stay warm. She finds that the ghosts of the theater’s past are still very much alive on the night before the holiday. Saturday, December 19th, 3 pm and 8 pm, $32.50-$72.50, Wells Fargo Center.

Holiday Events (Naughty Version)

Tribe of Fools Holiday Burlesque

Local physical comedy troupe Tribe of Fools presents its annual holiday show complete with song, dance and off-color holiday characters like Dirty Santa and Nasty Frosty. Their Rudolph the Horny Reindeer performance in 2014 was a hoot. This is one not to miss — if you can handle all the blushing. Saturday, December 19th, 8 pm, $15-$50. 

Peek-A-Boo Revue’s Slay Belles

Catch one of two showings from Philly’s neo-burlesque troupe Peek-a-Boo Revue for a different way to get into the holiday mood, at Trocadero (21+) and World Café Live (18+). Through Sunday, December 20th, various times, $25, various locations.

Star Wars Events

Artwork by Mike Hague

Philly celebrates the premiere of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” through the weekend. | Artwork by Mike Hague

Franklin Square Star Wars Night

Darth Vader and Baba Fett are joining the Franklin Square holiday celebrations this year. Yet, have no fear; their dark forces are bound to be overpowered by the over 50,000 lights on display in the Square. Take a break from the lights to peruse the Holiday Market for gifts, warm your belly with some hot beverages and indulge in some comfort foods offered by local vendors. Friday, December 18th, 5:30 pm, free, 200 6th Street. —Caralyn Dienstman

Jedi Journey: Dinner and Movie Outing for Special Needs Dads

Join MyGOAL Autism and take dad on an interstellar excursion through the Market Fair Mall. The journey includes a TGIF dinner that could satisfy Jabba the Hut followed by the exciting feature presentation of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Be sure to register here. Friday, December 18th, 6 pm, pay as you go, Market Fair Mall, 323 US-1, Princeton, NJ. Caralyn Dienstman

Star Wars Art Show

Bucketheads will be placed on pedestals at the 12 oz. Studio art show this weekend. Artists from across the region have been invited to showcase their Star Wars themed art. Over 15 artists have already signed up to participate. Each artists at 12 oz will also paint vinyl storm trooper helmets to be sold and raffled off at the end of the night. Sunday, December 20, 2 pm, free, 300 Crescent Boulevard, Brooklawn, NJ. Caralyn Dienstman

Magic, Murals and a Market

Mural Arts hosts a train ride tour of Stephen Powers Love Letter murals in West Philadelphia on TK.

Mural Arts hosts a train ride tour of Stephen Powers Love Letter murals in West Philadelphia on Saturday.

Love Letters Tour

Street artist Stephen Powers, in collaboration with the Mural Arts Program, created a series of 50 rooftop murals that express love from one person to another, an artist to his hometown, and West Philadelphians to their neighborhood. Take a guided train tour that explains each of these works and the history of the Mural Arts Program. Each tour guest will also get $5 off for their next visit to PAFA. Saturday, December 19th, 10:30 am, $20, Hamilton Building, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.

Barbershop Quartet: A Magic Show

Join John the Barber as he welcomes four internationally known magicians on stage for an entertaining performance. One of these acts includes Philly’s own Francis Menotti, who has appeared on TV, cruises, and at the Presidential Inaugural Ball. Saturday, December 19th, 8 pm, $20, Society Hill Playhouse.

Make Sew Weave Sale and Exhibit

The Southeast by Southeast store went from an out-of-commission property to a lively arts center for immigrants and refugees. This shopping event embraces Philly’s multicultural identity and highlights the work of local women who participated in stitching, weaving, and silk-screening workshops. Sunday, December 20th, 2 pm, Southeast by Southeast Storefront.


Comedian Clint Coley performs at Helium Comedy Club on Sunday night.

Comedian Clint Coley performs at Helium Comedy Club on Sunday night.

Impractical Jokers’ Comedy Tour

If you have that one friend that can’t seem to stop doing ridiculous public pranks, maybe they’ve been emulating these guys. The stars of Impractical Jokers, truTV’s hit hidden camera series, return as the comedy troupe The Tenderloins for their Where’s Larry? tour. Saturday, December 19th, 8 pm, $39.50-$100, BB&T Pavilion (formerly Susquehanna Bank Center).

Clint Coley

One of Philly’s homegrown comedians returns to town this weekend for a night of laughs. His comedy series Chill, It’s Just Jokes debuted in 2011 at the Helium Comedy Club, and since, he’s been crowned“The Prince” by King of Comedy D.L. Hughley. Sunday, December 20th, 8 pm, $15, Theatre of Living Arts. 


Laurel Tree Theatre’s Hedda Gabler

Reviewer David Fox says he has never seen the sense of containment at the heart of Ibsen classic Hedda Gabler more vividly depicted than in Laurel Tree’s production. It’s a unique treat for theater lovers. The luxe costume drama is staged in the historic Physick House mansion. Through December 20th, various times, $25, Physick House.

Orbiter 3’s A Knee That Can Bend

When a lesbian sociology student from America travels to Dakar to study the queer community in this performance, the result is a riveting exploration of queer identity and national pride. For our Bryan Buttler, the thought-provoking and engaging play is a must-see before it closes this weekend. Through December 20th, various times, $10-$20, Studio X.

The Three Maries

Described as a blend between Cinderella and Pygmalion, Michael Ogborn’s musical and “Philadelphia Phable” lovingly pokes at the City of Brotherly Love. In this story, the Queen of Romania visits South Philly in 1926 for the 150th anniversary of the United States’ founding. Through January 10th, various times, $27-$52, Prince Theater.


From top left going clockwise: We Are Scientists, Kenny Rogers, TK and TK all play in town this weekend.

From top left going clockwise: Circa Waves, Kenny Rogers, The Sixties and Dirty Dollhouse all play in or near town this weekend.

Kenny Rogers at Valley Forge Casino

The country legend sings holiday classics on his Once Again Its Christmas Tour, featuring guest vocalist Linda Davis. Friday, December 18th, 8 pm.

Dirty Dollhouse at Bourbon & Branch

This soulful Philly folk trio joins the lineup at Bourbon & Branch as a part of the venue’s “Big Damn Holiday Brawl.” Songwriter Chelsea Mitchell projects powerful vocals that create beautiful harmonies with the help of Vanessa Winters from The Lawsuits, and Amber Twait. Listen before you go: “25 Shades of Blue.” Friday, December 18th, 9 pm.

Circa Waves at Union Transfer

Inspired by the Strokes, and with an energy fit for the well-established English indie scene, Liverpool’s Circa Waves is melodic and up-beat even when reminiscing. The group will open up for fellow English band and labelmates Foals for their sold-out show at Union Transfer. Listen before you go: “T-Shirt Weather.” Saturday, December 19th, 8:30 pm.


In the spirit of the season, the Queens punk band named for one of the boro’s towns is celebrating by performing their self-titled album in full for their holiday tour, which is making two stops at Underground Arts this weekend. Through December 20th, 7 pm doors, $22, Underground Arts.

The Sixties at Bourbon & Branch

The alternative Landsdale and Philly band The Sixties draws on different influences from The Whigs to We Are Scientists and Arctic Monkeys. Their 2014 full-length album, There It Isn’t, puts driving guitar licks and gritty vocals to good use. Listen before you go: “Philadelphia Calm.” Sunday, December 20th, 8 pm.

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