Reviews

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The book cover: title above in black & white text, over a slow-shutter image of a Barnes gallery with a blurry walking figure

The Barnes Then and Now: Dialogues on Education, Installation, and Social Justice, edited by Martha Lucy

Putting the collection in context

A new book edited by the Barnes Foundation’s deputy director for research, interpretation, and education gathers perspectives on the famous (and famously polarizing) collection of Albert Barnes in its 21st-century home. Pamela J. Forsythe reviews.

Pamela J. Forsythe

Reviews 6 minute read
Conallen, in plaid jacket, and Stanley, in sweater vest, lean with gentle smiles across a desk looking at each other’s phones

Theatre Exile presents Samuel D. Hunter’s A Case for the Existence of God

God is in the details

Despite its weighty title, Samuel D. Hunter’s A Case for the Existence of God at Theatre Exile considers questions of humanity and friendship, and it's among the first must-see shows of the year. Cameron Kelsall reviews.
Cameron Kelsall

Cameron Kelsall

Reviews 3 minute read
Cann, a Black woman, poses with one hand on her hip, wearing a flowing black and floral-printed wrap shirt.

The Philadelphia Chamber Music Society presents BalletX with pianist Michelle Cann

A welcome collaboration

For its second collaboration with BalletX, PCMS welcomed choreography by Matthew Neenan and Jamar Roberts alongside pianist Michelle Cann. Camille Bacon-Smith reviews.
Camille Bacon-Smith

Camille Bacon-Smith

Reviews 4 minute read
In front of a black & white backdrop of cheering fans, the 5 singers pose in dark blue velour jackets with black lapels.

The Kimmel Cultural Campus and the Shubert Organization present Ain’t Too Proud: The Life and Times of the Temptations

A jukebox musical worthy of a standing ovation

Ain’t Too Proud, on its first national tour and getting its Philly premiere, follows the lives, loves, and moves of the Motown-hitmaking supergroup the Temptations, but questions about gender representation linger. An Nichols reviews.

An Nichols

An Nichols

Reviews 6 minute read
On a city rooftop, Shaham, a white man with gray hair, smiles and holds his violin, the blurry gray cityscape behind him.

The Philadelphia Orchestra presents All Mozart with Gil Shaham

A leading soloist

Top American violinist Gil Shaham joined the Philadelphia Orchestra for two Mozart violin concertos, plus two rarely performed short works, combining technical wizardry with personal grace and good humor. Linda Holt reviews.
Linda Holt

Linda Holt

Reviews 3 minute read
Book cover: title above a sepia photo of a worn sculpture of a hand holding another pair of clasped hands.

Frume Halpern’s Blessed Hands, translated by Yermiyahu Ahron Taub

An American writer, in English for the first time

Blessed Hands: Stories, a collection of 20th-century writer Frume Halpern translated into English for the first time, is a treat for Yiddish literary scholars, but leaves a general reader still hungry. Helen Walsh reviews.
Helen Walsh

Helen Walsh

Reviews 4 minute read
Book cover: gold and orange split on a rough halfway diagonal, over an ancient fresco of a winged man holding a gold helmet

Homer’s The Iliad, translated by Emily Wilson

The Odyssey’s bloodier cousin

Philadelphia-based translator and UmPenn professor Emily Wilson follows her acclaimed English translation of The Odyssey with a similarly lucid and lean new Iliad. Kiran Pandey reviews.
Kiran Pandey

Kiran Pandey

Reviews 5 minute read
In the show, Scammell, on stilts with a large fake head, plays a giant holding Money’s hand. She looks up at him in wonder.

Arden Children’s Theatre presents The BFG

Puppets and people

The Arden presents The BFG, an adaptation of the Roald Dahl classic, in a production fit for both kids and the young at heart. Jill Ivey reviews.
Jillian Ashley Blair Ivey

Jillian Ashley Blair Ivey

Reviews 4 minute read

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Baca, with arms spread, supports Dolan’s body as she swoops in a downward curve, a knee around his waist. They wear white.

How do three popular Philly versions of The Nutcracker compare?

Beyond Balanchine

In December, the Philly dance calendar seems to become nothing but Nutcrackers. Dance writer Camille Bacon-Smith heads to three different productions, to see how this enduring ballet looks in 2023.
Camille Bacon-Smith

Camille Bacon-Smith

Reviews 6 minute read
In a nighttime gallery room next to a large window, an airy, dramatically lit large sculpture of white bamboo strips.

The Museum for Art in Wood presents FLOE: A Climate of Risk

Cold, hard fiction

If we won’t engage with the bare facts of climate change, is there another way in? Interdisciplinary artist Stephen Talasnik wonders in his FLOE: A Climate of Risk, which imagines the aftermath of an icebound shipwreck. Pamela J. Forsythe reviews.

Pamela J. Forsythe

Reviews 4 minute read