Cirque du Soleil
The high-flying Quebec-based troupe is presenting its signature show Varekai for one last tour. The story of a young man wandering in a magical forest mixes circus arts, acrobatics, and dance in the company’s distinctive kinetic style. As always, expect gorgeous costumes, stunning feats, and dazzling effects. — Michael Harrington
4 and 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 1:30 and 5 p.m. Sunday, at the Liacouras Center, 1776 N. Broad St., $34.50 to $150, 800-298-4200, cirquedusoleil.com
Wild Wizarding Weekend
The Academy of Natural Sciences, already a pretty magical place, turns up the abra-cadabra a notch for a spellbinding experience. Who’s it for? Ask one of the owls living on the premises. Take in stories of “bad beasts” with examples from fantasy and fiction; practice dragon training with lizards (and contemplate the dinos on display); choose your animal avatar (snake, raven, badger, or lion); learn how to read tea leaves (and some botany); practice spells; and hop into a rousing game of Bunnies and Broomsticks. Wear a costume (maybe something with glasses?) and get $2 off admission. — M.H.
10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday through Sunday, Academy of Natural Sciences, 19th and the Parkway, $19.95; $16.95 seniors; $15.95 ages 3 to 13; ages under 3 free, 215-299-1000, ansp.org
Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood: A Grr-ific Exhibit
The star of the PBS show and his friends Miss Elena, O the Owl, Prince Wednesday, and Katerina Kittycat help wee ones explore their world with songs and make-believe in an exhibit created by Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh in partnership with The Fred Rogers Company. Mr. Rogers, of course, had the original neighborhood, and Daniel is based on the puppet from his show, so you know the lessons will make for a special day. The neighborhood includes a post office, a music shop, a clock factory, a tree for posting thank-you notes, and a stationary climb-in version of the Neighborhood of Make-Believe’s trolley. — M.H.
To Jan. 15, at the Please Touch Museum, 4231 Avenue of the Republic, $19, 215-581-3181, pleasetouchmuseum.org
Gary Barlow and Eliot Kennedy’s musical, an adaptation of the film about writer J.M. Barrie and his relationship with a family who inspired him to create Peter Pan, offers a new perspective on a classic tale. — M.H.
2 and 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 1 and 6 p.m. Sunday, at the Academy of Music, Broad and Locust Streets, $24 to $144, 215-893-1999, kimmelcenter.org
The found-film collector screens industrial, promotional, and educational flicks including 1967’s 20 to the 3rd Power, a student work produced by the Documentary Film Laboratory of Penn’s Annenberg School showing fashionable undergrads enjoying Philly; footage of Atlantic City in the 1970s; clips of Mr. Rivets, a “mechanical man” (actor Joe Earley) who was the goofy sidekick on a local TV afternoon show; and a 1976 promo for the cultish self-help program EST, featuring founding Werner Erhard (who got his start as Philly-born car salesman John Rosenberg). — M.H.
8 p.m. Friday, Horticulture Center, West Fairmount Park, North Horticultural Drive and Montgomery Avenue, 215-685-0096, thesecretcinema.com
Since 2004 and its debut album Juturna (the Roman goddess of wells and springs), Doylestown’s Circa Survive — powerful whiner/stream of consciousness ranter Anthony Green, jackhammering guitarist Colin Frangicetto, a prog-rock rhythm section that makes Yes sound like Selena Gomez in comparison — have made emo mean more than a haircut and teardrop. Their heartbroken emotional hardcore, tinged with sometime-silly philosophical conceits — to say nothing of Green’s newly formed sensitivity as a dad and acoustic-based solo artist — and cranky rhythmic overdrive continue to make Circa Survive brilliant and even important beyond their original sphere of influence. Plus, they put out a new album this autumn, The Amulet, which you should own, so hit the merch table when Thrice, CHON and Balance and Composure are on stage. — A.D. Amorosi
6:45 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Electric Factory, 421 N. Seventh St. $34.50-$40. 215-627-1332, electricfactory.info
Masseduction, the fifth St. Vincent album, is both deadly serious and seriously fun. Annie Clark — who records as St. Vincent — downplays her guitar heroics this time in favor of M.I.A.-like provocative pop on songs such as “Pills” and “Los Ageless,” foregrounding beats and quick-cuts and abrupt noises to soundtrack her apocalyptic messages. The songs veer from the personal to the political, and they’re often delivered with a winking extravagance. She’s dubbed this tour “Fear the Future,” and it’s a theatrical, multi-media affair, with a solo Clark first playing a retrospective set — expect her guitar-shredding on favorites such as “Rattlesnakes” — followed by Masseduction’s savvy pop, from start to finish. — Steve Klinge
8 p.m. Tuesday, Electric Factory, 421 N. Seventh St. $41.50 advance; $44.50 day of show. 215-627-1332, electricfactory.info
The 73-year-old jazz guitarist whose remarkable recovery from brain surgery in 1980 is as miraculous as his fleet-fingered virtuosity, just released Formidable, his first studio album as a bandleader in 11 years. Featuring saxophonist Adam Niewood, trumpeter Alex Norris, Hammond B3 organist Pat Bianchi, and drummer Carmen Intorre, the quintet recalls at times Martino’s soul jazz work from the sixties, most overtly in a new version of the title track of his 1967 classic El Hombre. Formidable, which lives up to its title, is the impetus for two nights at Chris’ Jazz Café this weekend. Although he still lives in Philly, Martino doesn’t play here often, so count this one as a hometown treat from a living legend. — S.K.
8 and 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Chris’ Jazz Café, 1421 Sansom St. 8 p.m. shows sold out; $35 for 10 p.m. shows. 215-568- 3131, chrisjazzcafe.com
Emily Haines & the Soft Skeleton
Emily Haines is the front woman of Toronto rock quartet Metric, and she’s also a contributing member of Canadian indie supergroup Broken Social Scene, who released Hug Of Thunder this past summer. But Haines also makes a solo album every 10 years or so, going back to Cut in Half and Also Double in 1996, Knives Don’t Have Your Back in 2006, and now this year’s Choir Of The Mind. The new 13-song set does rev up itself on the likes of the slow building “Fatal Gift,” but mainly it’s a subtle and sedate piano-centric affair, with Haines’ breathy vocals paired with stately melodies. At Union Transfer, she’s playing an all-ages seated show. — Dan DeLuca
8 p.m. Wednesday, Union Transfer, 1026 Spring Garden St. $26-$85. 215-232-2100, utphilly.com
Black Friday Comedy Marathon
If you missed Philadelphia’s long-distance run last weekend, make up for lost time at a different type of marathon: a comedy marathon. For the fourth year running, the Philly Improv Theater (PHIT) gathers entertainers and comedians for a show lasting no fewer than 40 hours. The event features stand-up comedians, sketch performers, improvisers, musicians, clowns and more. If that seems like whole lot of comedy, remember that it’s a whole lot less of a time commitment than preparing for a 26.2-mile endurance contest. — Thea Applebaum Licht
9 a.m. Friday to 1 a.m. Sunday, Philly Improv Theater, 2030 Sansom St. $12, or free with a receipt from a local business. 267-233-1556, phitcomedy.com.
In this all-American program, James Gaffigan leads Samuel Barber’s First Symphony (in One Movement), Antonin Dvorak’s “American” Suite (a Czech view written in Manhattan) and George Gershwin’s Promenade (a.k.a. “Walking The Dog”). Gershwin’s jazz-tinged Piano Concerto in F will be played rousingly by one of its champions, pianist Jon Kimura Parker. — Tom Di Nardo
8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Kimmel Center’s Verizon Hall. $56-$158. 215-893-1999, philorch.org.
Temple University Concert Choir and Project HOME Choir
The choir from Project HOME, a organization whose mission is to break the cycle of poverty, teams with Temple’s choir and conductor Paul Rardin for a special program. Temple prof and composer Jan Krzywicki’s Lute Music and Two Elegies shares the bill with John Corigliano’s Fern Hill and “We Are Home,” composed by Rardin and Project HOME’s Annette Jeffrey. — T.D.N.
7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Temple Performing Arts Center, 1837 N. Broad St. Free. 215-204-7609, temple.edu/boyer
This enterprising troupe begins its 12th season with one of this century’s real dance highlights, Nicolo Fonte’s Beautiful Decay, celebrating the aging process. The company’s 10 dancers will perform with four guest senior artists (on different nights), with original sets and music by Vivaldi, Max Richter, and Olafur Arnalds. — T.D.N.
8 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, plus 10 more performances through Dec. 10, Wilma Theater, 265 S. Broad St. $55, 215-546-7824, balletx.org.