How will Philadelphia keep the fun going, now that the Super Bowl is won and done? Birds fans, we’ve got you covered.
While you were out on Broad Street getting confetti on your head, our Inquirer and Daily News arts and entertainment writers were toiling in their cubicles (pity party accepted) to put the finishing touches on our big annual Spring Arts Guide, with hundreds of great things to do between now and summer. You can dip into the riches online now. Then pick up a keepsake edition for your coffee-table in Sunday’s Inquirer and Monday’s Daily News.
To get you started, here are our top 10 happenings between now and Memorial Day.
ON STAGE: Philly Theatre Week (Feb. 8-18). A celebration of Philly’s best stage work, with the other arts (dance, music, film) in there, too. All tickets are either free, $15, or $30. That’s this month’s big event. Next month, the musical School of Rock comes to the Academy of Music (March 27-April 1) via Broadway Philadelphia. Meanwhile, on Broadway itself, the musical Mean Girls, from Upper Darby’s own Tina Fey, opens April 8 (previews start March 12.) Read here for our full list of top plays and musicals this spring.
AT THE MOVIES: Black Panther (Feb. 16). From the Marvel Universe comes the first superhero movie featuring a cast of mostly black actors. It’s led by Chadwick Boseman as T’Challa, a.k.a. Black Panther and directed by Ryan Coogler, who has cast his Creed buddy Michael B. Jordan as a character named Erik Killmonger. We’ll go out on a limb and guess Eric Killmonger is a bad guy. Also starring Lupita Nyong’o, Daniel Kaluuya, Forest Whitaker, Angela Bassett, and Andy Serkis. Gary Thompson has all of the season’s best movies here.
FOR FLOWER POWER: Philadelphia Flower Show (March 3-11, Convention Center). Inspired by rainforests and stumping for conservation, this year’s show features waterfalls aplenty, lush tropical greenery, even a rope bridge. Come peep at the blooms on a weeknight to avoid crowds. Read here for other major special events in Philly this spring.
BEST BEST IN DANCE: Pennsylvania Ballet “Swan Lake” (March 8-18, Academy of Music). Artistic director Angel Corella continues with his re-creations of the full-length story ballets, this time reworking the classic Petipa choreography. Find all of Ellen Dunkel’s hot dance picks here.
HOT SPRING TV: “Rise” on NBC (10 p.m. March 13, moving to 9 p.m the following week). Creator Jason Katims (Friday Night Lights) has adapted Michael Sokolove’s book Drama High, about Levittown’s Truman High School and its legendary drama teacher Lou Volpe into a fictional series. Josh Radnor (How I Met Your Mother) stars as the fictional Lou Mazzuchelli. Rosie Perez plays his often antagonistic — and more practical — assistant. Ellen Gray has all the best new TV shows and returning faves here.
FAMILY FUN: “Game Masters” at Franklin Institute (March 31-Sept. 3). As though kids needed more reason to accumulate screen time, this video-gaming visitor promises 100 playable diversions, old-school to brand-new. Sure, there’s science, too, mostly design-centric. But let’s face it: This one’s about beating the high scores. Another hot happening on the museum scene this spring: the Penn Museum’s Middle East Galleries reopen April 21 after a major update. Read here for other big shows at Philly museums this spring. And read here for dozens of other fun things to do with your kids.
SPRING’S TOP CONCERT: Pink at the Wells Fargo Center (April 13). Doylestown’s own Alecia Moore comes back home-ish, touring behind Beautiful Trauma, the 2017 album that reaffirmed her status as Philly’s biggest pop star. Two other major Wells Fargo concerts this spring: Lorde (April 2) and Bon Jovi (May 3). Dan De Luca’s other picks are here for the season’s hottest concerts and its most anticipated new albums.
BIG NAMES IN ART: Renoir: Father and Son / Painting and Cinema (May 6-Sept. 3, Barnes Foundation). Dad’s a beloved Post-Impressionist painter. Son’s a storied filmmaker. This exhibition explores connections between their art, in part by showing clips from Jean Renoir’s films adjacent to Pierre-Auguste Renoir’s paintings — including visiting works from France, Los Angeles, elsewhere. The Philadelphia Museum of Art’s big spring show is Modern Times: American Art 1910–1950, opening April 18. Read Thomas Hine’s picks for the top exhibitions this spring. Edith Newhall has highlights of the art gallery scene.
KING OF COMEDY: Jay Leno at the Academy of Music (May 19, Academy of Music). Leno hasn’t been on late-night TV with any regularity since he left The Tonight Show, but that doesn’t mean he has slowed down. He’s still a dogged touring comedian, on the road almost constantly throughout the year. Now, Philly finally gets a taste. The Academy of Music brings in Jerry Seinfeld, too, on April 7. Girls’ Trip star Tiffany Haddish is at the Borgata March 9. Read here for all of spring’s best comedy at clubs and casinos.
RIVERFRONT FUN: Sail Philadelphia Tall Ships (May 24-28, Delaware Riverfront). Catch a glimpse of gorgeous vessels from the United States and abroad during the opening-day Parade of Sail up the Delaware. With the ships in town for deck visits and “sail away” excursions, Memorial Day weekend should be extra memorable. Spring 2018 also sees the return of the Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts (May 31-June 10), which comes around every two years. Mark your calendar for the big PIFA Street Fair on June 9. Read here for more major special events in Philly this spring.
ALSO IN OUR BIG SPRING ARTS PREVIEW: The season’s hottest books — including a thriller co-authored by James Patterson and Bill Clinton, of all people — and spring 2018’s most-anticipated author visits, including Junot Diaz, Jake Tapper and Madeleine Albright. We’ve also got the highlights of spring’s huge classical music calendar, including an important new song cycle about being a black male in America that Opera Philadelpia’s Lawrence Brownlee with premiere here before it goes on to Carnegie Hall.