Field Guide: The 28 Concerts, Shows, and Events to Put On Your Calendar Now

Our comprehensive guide to all the stuff you shouldn't miss.

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Living legends, world premieres, international talent and Justin Bieber: You’ll find all of these (and more) here in the City of Brotherly Love this winter and spring. It can actually be a little overwhelming, if you don’t know where to start. So here, we present a well-edited (but wildly diverse) list of the very best bets in music, theater and the arts this season. If you can’t find something to do here, we don’t know what to tell you. 

Pop Music and Concerts

Brian Patterson Photos / Shutterstock.com

Brian Patterson Photos / Shutterstock.com

Top Pick: Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band’s River Tour: Guaranteed to cost some mega-bucks, since you can only catch Mr. Springsteen in Philly for one night this February … but hey, if The Boss isn’t worth it, who is? Plus, the newest concert coincides with the release of The Ties That Bind: The River Collection, which Rolling Stone calls “Springsteen’s best archival release yet.” February 12, Wells Fargo Center.

Macklemore and Ryan Lewis: Best get your tickets quick for this pair; one show is already sold out. January 23 and 24, Tower Theater.

Carrie Underwood: There’s no denying that Underwood is a force to be reckoned with (that voice!), and she’s bringing her Stories in the Round tour to Philly. It will be the first time she’s playing with the stage in the middle of the auditorium floor. February 22, Wells Fargo Center.

Rihanna: You know that intrigue-queen Rihanna, who holds the record for having the most music video views on YouTube/Vemo, is going to put on an amazing show for the Anti World Tour, which comes to Philly this spring. April 3, Wells Fargo Center.

Ben Folds: The incredible Mr. Folds will present his innovative style of “chamber rock,” a fusion of pop and classical sounds, for one night only in Philadelphia this May. May 6, The Fillmore.

Justin Bieber: Grab whatever teenager you know as cover and check out the child star turned tatted CK underwear model, whose stock seems to be rising. He’ll be playing two shows in town; the second set was added due to popular demand. May 7 through May 8, Wells Fargo Center.

Classical Music

Via The Philadelphia Orchestra.

Via The Philadelphia Orchestra.

Top Pick: John Williams with The Philadelphia OrchestraHere’s your rare opportunity to watch the legendary composer in action as you hum along to his scores: Star Wars, the Indiana Jones films, E.T., Harry Potter and more. John Williams will lead members of The Philadelphia Orchestra for one night only. May 4, Kimmel Center’s Verizon Hall.

Eric Owens and Friends: Opera superstar Eric Owens comes home to Philly for an intimate concert featuring pianist Mikael Eliasen and members of Curtis Opera Theatre. January 17, Kimmel Center’s Perelman Theatre.

Woman Pioneers of Music: Dolce Suono Ensemble presents an afternoon of female composers, including the world premiere of a new work by Jennifer Higdon, featuring soprano Sarah Shafer and flutist Mimi Stillman. January 24, Field Concert Hall at Curtis.

Cold Mountain: Opera Philadelphia presents the East Coast premiere of Jennifer Higdon’s newest work, featuring Nathan Gunn, Isabel Leonard, and Jay Hunter Morris. February 5 through February 14, Academy of Music.

Yannick Conducts Symphony of a Thousand: Nezet-Seguin leads the Orchestra along with some of opera’s hottest talent, including Angela Meade, Lisette Oropesa, Stephanie Blythe, and Anthony Dean Griffey, in this remarkable large-scale work. March 10 through March 13, Kimmel Center’s Verizon Hall.

Yo-Yo Ma: The iconic cello master Yo-Yo Ma joins forces with The Philadelphia Orchestra for a weekend of concerts celebrating John Williams, leading up to Williams’ appearance. April 28 through April 30, Kimmel Center’s Verizon Hall.

Theatre

Tom Stoppard's "The Hard Problem."

Via The Wilma Theatre.

Top Pick: The Hard Problem: The Wilma Theater has become almost synonymous with the work of Tom Stoppard, and this winter the Broad Street venue gets the U.S. premiere of his newest play that examines the fine line between consciousness and human behavior. Now through February 6, Wilma Theatre.

Pippin: The national tour of the Broadway circus-themed revival is going to be a huge hit, featuring the popular tunes crafted by the composer of WickedFebruary 23 through February 28, Academy of Music.

Local Girls: The newest from Orbiter 3’s Emma Goidel, author of this fall’s hit A Knee That Can Bend, gets a staging at Azuka Theatre, and it’s a “scream rock fantasia.” February 24 through March 13, Proscenium Theatre at The Drake.

Two Trains Running: August Wilson’s tale of a neighborhood diner in the midst of the civil rights movement in 1969 promises to be a gripping production at the Old City playhouse. March 10 through April 10, Arden Theatre Company.

An Octoroon: The highly anticipated Philly staging of Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’ play features local favorites James Ijames and Ed Swidey. March 16 through April 10, Wilma Theatre.

Beautiful: The Carole King Musical: One of the buzziest shows on Broadway. Featuring dozens of King’s songs, the musical tells the real life tale of King’s rise in the music biz. March 22 through April 2, Academy of Music.

Dance

PA Ballet, Photo by Alexander Iziliaev.

Via PA Ballet, Photo by Alexander Iziliaev.

Top Pick: Don Quixote: Angel Corella’s new vision for Cervantes’s classic tale invades the Academy of Music this March. A fusion of Spanish-flavored dance, comedy and romance, the Pennsylvania Ballet production will almost certainly draw much critical acclaim. March 3 through March 13, Academy of Music.

Koresh 25th Anniversary Premiere and Gala: The renowned dance company has a full weekend of festivities planned in March, including a world premiere of new work and their popular Koresh Kourture fashion-themed gala. March 10 through March 12, Suzanne Roberts Theatre.

Ballet X Spring Series: The famously innovative dance theatre presents its 10th Anniversary retrospective and a world premiere by esteemed choreographer Kevin O’Day. April 20 through April 24, The Wilma Theatre.

Cirque Du Soleil’s OVO: The fanciful and family-friendly production returns to North America this spring, featuring a world of insects as well as its signature amazing acrobatics. May 11 through May 15, Liacouras Center.

Visual Arts and Museum Exhibits

Untitled by Pauline Boty; From Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Untitled by Pauline Boty; Via Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Top Pick: International Pop: More than 120 works—including paintings, sculptures, prints, and collage by Andy Warhol, Jasper Johns, Roy Lichtenstein, and more—will make up this pop-driven exhibit. Expect a focus on both American and international art from 1956 to 1972. February 24 through May 15, Philadelphia Museum of Art.

La Maladie: Not for the faint of heart, this exhibition of Betsy Stirratt’s illustrations feature maligned bodies with sores and raw flesh, crafted into gilded portraits. January 15 through July 8, The Mütter Museum.

#StreetsDeptTurns5: The popular urban art website, which has created quite a stir in Philly, throws a huge bash to celebrate five years this winter. January 22, Paradigm Gallery and Studio.

Tarantulas: Alive and Up Close: Get a chance to see these creepy-crawlies in person, and learn about one of the most misunderstood creatures on the planet. (You’ll even be able to see a live feeding, if that’s your thing.) January 30 through May 30, The Academy of Natural Sciences.

Picasso: The Great War, Experimentation and Change: The Barnes will present over 50 works from the master (pulled together from American and European museums) that examine Picasso’s awareness of the political associations with Cubism during World War I. February 21 through May 9, The Barnes Foundation.

The Science Behind Pixar: If the kiddos enjoy Toy Story or Monsters, Inc. or UP, this new Pixar-themed interactive exhibit at the Franklin will blow some little minds with more than 40 hands-on elements that explore the film-making process from behind the scenes. March 12 through September 5, The Franklin Institute.