Six kids and two adults at podiums play recorders on stage. Audience members hold up their phones, taking pictures

The BSR Weekly Arts and Culture Roundup, April 11-17, 2024

Spring Fest, Difficult Grace, and the annual Freedom Seder

Philadelphia Film Society hosts a selection of Philly premieres, Piffaro’s Recorder Fest returns, an evening of cabaret at Rittenhouse, and Freedom Seder invites everyone to dinner. Kyle V. Hiller rounds up.
Kyle V. Hiller

Kyle V. Hiller

Previews 3 minute read
Three performers on stage—two on saxophone, one on drums—white muslin wall behind them, audience in front

Vox Populi Gallery presents Victor Vieira-Branco’s World Again

Curating surprise with improvised music

In 2023, Victor Vieira-Branco began presenting World Again, a monthly series for improvised music in the black box at Vox Populi Gallery. The music sounds a bit like jazz, a bit classical, but with more surprises. Thomas Hagen profiles.
Thomas Hagen

Thomas Hagen

Profiles 3 minute read
Two teenagers, one in a black hoodie and the other in a yellow hoodie, sit at a table side by side reading a script aloud.

The BSR Podcast, Season 8, episode 4: Talking Philly Theatre Week 2024 with Sabriaya Shipley

Celebrating seven years of Philly's spring theater festival

Podcast host Darnelle Radford sits down with Theatre Philadelphia executive director Sabriaya Shipley to talk all things Philly Theatre Week 2024, and the issues facing our modern arts scene.
Darnelle Radford

Darnelle Radford

Podcast 1 minute read
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Painting of 9 Black women in dresses around the edge of a sunflower quilt with Van Gogh beside, sunflowers all around them.

Delaware Art Museum presents There is a Woman in Every Color: Black Women in Art

A better picture of Black women in American history

Current representations of Black women in American history are improving, and a traveling exhibition now at Delaware Art Museum is a welcome addition to the trend. An Nichols reviews.
An Nichols

An Nichols

Reviews 4 minute read
Bergen, in the foreground, shares a park bench with DaPonte. Both men look outward with worried, contemplative expressions

Plays and Players presents Edward Albee’s The Zoo Story

Paper tiger

Plays and Players presents Edward Albee’s The Zoo Story, in a flat restaging that fails to capture the play’s primal power. Kiran Pandey reviews.
Kiran Pandey

Kiran Pandey

Reviews 4 minute read
A person in all black attire on stage, with light hoops swirling around their arms. A DJ is behind them on elevated platform

Marie Curie's Radiant Ball at the Mütter Museum

Fancy, jazzy science

The Mütter Museum is inviting Philladelphians to put on their best scientific chic to celebrate Marie Curie’s legacy. Crystal Sparrow previews.
Crystal Sparrow

Crystal Sparrow

Previews 2 minute read
Zion, in a gray tee, sits on a couch by Hodge, in a plaid bathrobe. Satie, in white sheath & headwrap, stands behind them

InterAct Theatre Company presents Deborah Zoe Laufer’s The Last Yiddish Speaker

Imagining life for Jews after a successful insurrection

Deborah Zoe Laufer’s The Last Yiddish Speaker, getting its world premiere at InterAct, offers a striking glimpse into the specificity of Jewish generational trauma, but it needs something more. Josh Herren reviews.
Josh Herren

Josh Herren

Reviews 3 minute read
Against a white backdrop, Jeter, a Black dancer, poses on tiptoe, bending & gesturing to a black wicker object on the ground

Gary W. Jeter II presents Filaments

A Philly dancer becomes a choreographer of note

Philadelphia dancer and choreographer Gary W. Jeter II presents Filaments, a work exploring connections between humans and the structure of the universe. Melissa Strong reviews.
Melissa Strong

Melissa Strong

Reviews 4 minute read
Parkinson, in a strapless bodice, pulls Miller, wearing a green & blue plaid kilt, seductively toward him face to face.

As a trans actor, I’m dismayed by the “testosterone-driven” concept of the all-male Macbeth at Quintessence

If we don’t break down gender barriers in casting, Philly theater will continue to stall.

A promotional note from Quintessence Theatre Group artistic director Alex Burns about why he’s staging an “all-male” Macbeth drew a strong response from the Philly theater community. Bruce Baldini speaks up as a trans male actor.
Bruce Baldini

Bruce Baldini

Essays 6 minute read
Ngo, in a white embroidered dress & veil, sits looking thoughtful while a multiracial ensemble crowds around in various poses

The Wilma Theater presents Bertolt Brecht's The Good Person of Setzuan

Reversing Orientalist tropes

Kindhearted Shen Te invents a ruthless businessman alter-ego when her generosity overtakes her wallet in The Good Person of Setzuan, presented in this “radically reclaimed” production at the Wilma centering Asian artists. Mina Reinckens reviews.
Mina Reinckens

Mina Reinckens

Reviews 3 minute read
Unsettling oil painting of a skinny boy in shorts, shirt, tie & black cape pointing down toward his wooden hand-lettered sign

The Brandywine Museum of Art presents Jamie Wyeth: Unsettled

A Wyeth who casts his own shadow

A bold, chilling, and magnetic new Brandywine Museum of Art exhibition disentangles Jamie Wyeth from the legacies of his father and grandfather. Gail Obenreder reviews.
Gail Obenreder

Gail Obenreder

Reviews 5 minute read
On the edge of the stage, Zion leans sadly against Elmore, who puts an arm around her shoulder. They wear casual clothes.

I’m a Jewish dramaturg, and The Last Yiddish Speaker taught me a lot about the spaces we need to develop Jewish plays.

Why does culturally specific play development matter?

As Deborah Zoe Laufer’s The Last Yiddish Speaker premieres at InterAct, Philly dramaturg and writer Alix Rosenfeld shares her role in developing the play, and why culturally specific spaces matter for marginalized artists, including Jewish ones.
Alix Rosenfeld

Alix Rosenfeld

Essays 5 minute read
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A woman of Asian descent appears to yell, looking at cam, in b&w except for her red floral shirt and plant leaves behind her

The BSR Weekly Arts and Culture Roundup, April 4-10, 2024

Picks for Philly Theatre Week 2024

The seventh annual Philly Theatre Week is back, and here’s what’s on our radar. Kyle V. Hiller rounds up.
Kyle V. Hiller

Kyle V. Hiller

Previews 3 minute read
Simpson in sparkling sequin vest and a wizard-like hat holds a guitar above his torso, stands in front of a mic on stage

E.J. Simpson presents Jesus Christ Superstar

Rising through tradition

An 18 year tradition rises differently this time around, as local musician E.J. Simpson prepares to perform their solo rendition of Jesus Christ Superstar. David Block previews.
David Block

David Block

Previews 3 minute read
A dozen or so players at instruments packed on stage, highlight cast mostly on the conductor. Ambient light fills the rest

BSR Classical Interludes, April 6-14, 2024

Rarefied Airs, (In)Mortality, music of Steve Reich, and more

Gail Obenreder rounds up the first part of April’s classical music events happening in and around the city.
Gail Obenreder

Gail Obenreder

Previews 3 minute read
Two performers in all black formal wear cheers with the host also holding a mic at a small table on stage.

Philadelphia Orchestra presents Orchestra After 5: Haydn and Mozart

A Haydn happy hour

The Philadelphia Orchestra experiments with a new, casual concert format in its Orchestra After 5 series. Cameron Kelsall previews their latest event.
Cameron Kelsall

Cameron Kelsall

Previews 3 minute read
Lee, a Black man, in gold pants & patterned gold tank, poses with arms gracefully outspread with a colorful starry backdrop

Roger Lee Dance Company presents Galaxy

Turning outer space into a family affair

Roger Lee Dance Company presents Galaxy, a timely new family-friendly performance inspired by the Milky Way. Melissa Strong reviews.
Melissa Strong

Melissa Strong

Reviews 4 minute read
A white woman squats on a brown rock surface, using a wet sponge to reveal an ancient Indigenous carved medicine wheel.

Three free road trips from Philadelphia offer a treasure-hunting trifecta

Hit the road (or the river) to discover fossils, Jersey diamonds, and petroglyphs

Writer Bart Stump is a seasoned local adventurer. He recommends three summer destinations for all kinds of Philly-area treasure hunters, with itineraries in Maryland, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.
Bart Stump

Bart Stump

Essays 4 minute read
Book cover: with red bars above & below, the focal image is a collage-like illustration of an owl in flight.

The History of Temple University Japan: An Experiment in International Education, by Richard Joslyn and Bruce Stronach

An American first in Japan

A new book about the surprising history of Temple University’s expansion to a Japanese campus is full of diplomatic intrigue, political ambition, last-ditch rescues, frenemies, and heroes. Pamela J. Forsythe reviews.

Pamela J. Forsythe

Reviews 5 minute read
An urban garden area, with lights beaming, hanging from wooden deck ceiling. PHS logo is projected on a wall

The BSR Weekly Arts and Culture Roundup, March 28-April 3, 2024

Miniball, ‘The Last Yiddish Speaker’, and the return of Pop Up Gardens

Miniball arrives this weekend with both new and familiar performances, catch April Fool’s Day inspired slasher films with PFS, and drink for a cause with the Pennsylvania Horticulture Society. Kyle V. Hiller rounds up.
Kyle V. Hiller

Kyle V. Hiller

Previews 3 minute read
A grainy film photo/still of a 1930s Polish family

The BSR April 2024 repertory movie roundup

‘90s action, a Philly classic, and youth rebellion in Japanese film

Classic action flicks from the 90s, a Philadelphia-shot film from the 80s, and a new film series from Lightbox. Stephen Silver rounds up.
Stephen Silver

Stephen Silver

Previews 4 minute read
Miller, in a velvet jacket & gold crown, pauses in thought. Behind, Parkinson wears a strapless dress, holding a wine glass

Quintessence Theatre Group presents Shakespeare’s Macbeth

A rare expansion of the Scottish play

Quintessence Theatre Group stages a blockbuster Macbeth with an expanded script and an all-male cast, thrilling even when its reach exceeds its grasp. Kiran Pandey reviews.
Kiran Pandey

Kiran Pandey

Reviews 5 minute read