The 20 Best Shows in Philly This Fall

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fall events shows philadelphia

Le Super Grand Continental returns to the front steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art for an even larger spectacle of dance on September 8th at 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. as well as September 9th at 4 p.m., as a part of the FringeArts Festival[1] | Photograph by Robert Torres, courtesy of FringeArts[2]


Amy Schumer and Friends

Funny lady, indeed.
From Last Comic Standing contestant to Tony and Golden Globe nominee, Emmy winner, one of Time’s “100 Most Influential” people, and the first woman ever to make Forbes’s Highest Paid Comedians list. Check out her new Spotify podcast, Amy Schumer Presents: 3 Girls, 1 Keith.

September 1st at Hard Rock Atlantic City.

Sebastian Maniscalco

A new king of comedy.
One year ago, you’d probably never heard of him. Now, this 45-year-old paisano is everywhere, recently selling out 10 shows at the Borgata.

September 13th at the Wells Fargo Center.

Kevin Hart

Hometown hero.
Perhaps the funniest guy ever to come out of the Philly area. (Funniest person? Sorry, that would be Tina Fey.)

November 24th at the Wells Fargo Center.


The Philadelphia Orchestra

Yannick and Co.
Our favorite symphony’s kickoff weekend includes a little Rachmaninoff, a bit of Rossini, and a “surprise chamber music performance.”

September 13th through 16th at the Kimmel Center.

Sting & Shaggy

The odd couple.
When I heard that the Police legend was touring with the Jamaican singer-rapper known for “It Wasn’t Me,” a WTF? thought-bubble appeared over my head. But then I saw them on Good Morning America. Trust me, it’s the perfect way to bid adieu to summer.

September 21st at the Borgata.


Bring earplugs.
WMMR marks its 50th anniversary by presenting these heavy metal gods, all of whom were kids when the station was born.

October 25th at the Wells Fargo Center.

Elton John

Bon voyage.
A retirement party for the man who loves to write long songs. (Anybody want to defend the double chorus in “Rocket Man”?) Still, he is a legend, and this might be your last chance to see him in Philly.

September 11th and 12th at the Wells Fargo Center.

Made In America

I’m glad that’s settled.
So Mayor Kenney evicted Jay-Z and friends from the Parkway. But the big two-day event—headlined this year by Nicki Minaj, Post Malone and Meek Mill—is back. Go to the Shore if you don’t like it.

September 1st and 2nd on the Ben Franklin Parkway.


Way beyond Figaro.
Opera Philadelphia presents 11 days of innovative performances that will make you rethink the genre.

September 20th through 30th at various locations.

David Byrne

Still talking.
If you missed the Talking Heads mastermind’s awe-inspiring XPoNential Festival back in July (all the cool people were there), you’re in luck. On this visit, he’ll be joined by indie wunderkind Tune-Yards.

September 20th at the Mann Center.


“Vikings: Beyond the Legend”

Take note, GoT fans.
The National Museum of Denmark has lent us more than 600 of its treasured artifacts from Viking history, including full-size re-creations of awesome Viking ships.

October 13th through March 3rd at the Franklin Institute.

“Fabulous Fashion: From Dior’s New Look to Now”

Paging Carrie Bradshaw.
If you like pretty things, you’re going to love this examination of haute couture, with designs by Dior, de la Renta, Balenciaga and more.

October 16th through March 3rd at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.


Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

The golden ticket.
The touring version of the Broadway musical, based on Roald Dahl’s iconic tale.

November 6th through 18th at the Academy of Music.

The Johnny Shortcake Show

For the Minecraft set.
Normally, South Philly musician David Sweeny puts on a sexed-up, not-safe-for-children funk party known as Johnny Showcase, but a couple of times a year, he goes all PG—although parents love it just as much.

October 27th and 28th and November 3rd and 4th at the Kimmel Center.

How the Grinch Stole Christmas

He’s a mean one.
Sure, you could just watch the 1966 TV show—narrated by Boris Karloff! — but I suggest taking in this stage version; the New York Times called it “100 times better than any bedside story.”

December 19th through 29th at the Merriam Theater.


Creed II

The legacy continues.
Don’t make the mistake of throwing this Philly-shot movie into the bad-sequels bin.

Opens November 21st.


Ira Glass

As heard on the radio.
Yes, the This American Life personality is just as entertaining in person.

October 21st at the Merriam Theater.



Let’s get weird.
From dance spectacles on the Art Museum steps to a tale about Bon Iver’s seminal debut album as seen through the eyes of a grizzly bear, a lack of variety is one thing that the Fringe Arts Festival definitely doesn’t suffer from.

September 6th through 23rd at various locations.

A Doll’s House, Part 2

A sequel (of sorts).
Earlier this year, the Arden blew audiences away with the Ibsen classic. This time, they’ve chosen the bitingly funny unofficial 2017 follow-up. (Bonus points if you get to PMA for the not-unrelated Victorian dolls exhibit, which opens November 11th.)

October 24th through December 9th at the Arden.

Mr. Burns, a Post-Electric Play

What happens to Lisa?!
New York playwright Anne Washburn took The Simpsons and set it 75 years after the Apocalypse. This dark comedy (I saw its world premiere in D.C.) is hilarious, in a kind of disturbing way.

October 23rd through November 11th at the Wilma.

» See also: 5 Philly Artists You Need to Watch This Fall[3]

Published as a part of “Fall Arts Preview: Turn Off the Netflix” in the September 2018 issue of Philadelphia magazine.

  1. FringeArts Festival:
  2. FringeArts:
  3. 5 Philly Artists You Need to Watch This Fall: /news/2018/08/25/philadelphia-artists-dancers-actors-singers/

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