Best Things to Do in Philly in January

Our picks for what's worth doing in Philly this month, including James Brown's saxophonist, Once at the Kimmel and the planet's largest known spider comes to the Academy of Natural Sciences.

January 6

Sarah Gliko stars in Tom Stoppard's "The Hard Problem," opening January 6th at the Wilma Theater. | Photo by Jauhien Sasnou

Sarah Gliko stars in Tom Stoppard’s “The Hard Problem,” opening January 6th at the Wilma Theater. | Photo by Jauhien Sasnou

The Hard Problem at the Wilma Theater

For years, Philadelphia actress Sarah Gliko longed to perform at the renowned Wilma Theater under the directorship of its co-founder, the peerless Blanka Zizka. “But I was off of Blanka’s radar,” says the 36-year-old Point Breeze resident. “And then she saw me in Lantern’s production of The Liar, and things changed.” That was in 2013. Since then, Gliko has been cast in the Wilma’s critically acclaimed Don Juan Comes Home from Iraq in 2014 and last year as Ophelia in the theater’s intriguing adaptation of Hamlet. Then, for her third Wilma play in as many years, she landed the lead in Tom Stoppard’s first work in a decade, The Hard Problem, which opens January 6th. “This role is a real challenge,” she admits. “There’s so much material, and it’s loaded with some very heavy and heady ideas. I have to find the passion and movement underneath these big ideas and elevate the human story that is pulsing below. It’s not going to be easy.” Through February 6th. 

January 8-10

Shen Yun at Academy of Music

The Chinese classical dance and orchestral ensemble has built a loyal local following with 10 consecutive annual appearances.


Maceo Parker plays Ardmore Music Hall on January 9th.

January 9

Maceo Parker at Ardmore Music Hall

The sax player who made James Brown’s horn section sound so damn good.

January 12

A Moon for the Misbegotten at Walnut Street Theater

Eugene O’Neill’s sequel to his better-known Long Day’s Journey into Night. Through February 7th. 

January 14

Funnyman at Arden Theater

Matt Pfeiffer directs this world premiere from Bruce Graham, who gave us the much-beloved Philly Fan. It’s about an aging vaudeville performer struggling for relevancy in the late 1950s. Through March 6th.

January 14

Oscar Wilde: From the Depths at St. Stephen’s Theater

Lantern Theater Company examines the life of the 19th-century writer in this new play. Through February 14th. 

January 15

Nels Cline at Boot & Saddle

Since 2004, he’s been the guitarist—and some would say the defining sound—behind Wilco.

January 15

Bridget Everett at The Troc

The hilarious self-described “alt-cabaret provocateur” brings her popular New York-based show to Philly for one night only.

January 15

Once at Kimmel Center

As in the play that won eight 2012 Tony Awards, including Best Musical. Through January 17th.

January 16

Lamb of God at Electric Factory

A rare local appearance by the heavy-metal veterans, joined by Anthrax.

January 17

Eric Owens and Friends at Kimmel Center

The New York Times has raved about the operatic voice of the Philadelphia-bred bass-baritone.


Joel McHale plays Harrah’s AC on January 22nd.

January 22

Joel McHale at Harrah’s AC

From the good old days of The Soup.

January 22

Joanna Pascale at World Café Live

The South Philly jazz chanteuse, accompanied by the Curtis Institute of Music’s 20/21 Ensemble.

January 23-24

Macklemore and Ryan Lewis at Tower Theater

A two-night run on 69th Street.

January 26

Oh Wonder at Union Transfer

The star is rising for this London pop duo. Their New York and L.A. shows sold out in October, and when promoters put their Philly show on sale at Boot & Saddle, it sold out in mere minutes, so they’re now playing the larger Union Transfer. Tickets may still be available.

January 29-30


“Tarantulas: Alive and Up Close” comes to town for four months starting January 30th.

Joey DeFrancesco Trio at Chris’ Jazz Café

Philly-born master of the Hammond B3 organ.

January 30

“Tarantulas: Alive and Up Close” at Academy of Natural Sciences

We’re gonna say this exhibit featuring the giant, hairy spiders makes for an excellent first date. Through May 30th. 

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