The Free Library of Philadelphia and Philadelphia Shakespeare Theatre partner with many other cultural organizations to celebrate the rich legacy of William Shakespeare with "Year of the Bard: Shakespeare at 450." The fun kicks off this month with a year's worth of programs and events designed to appeal to Shakespeare buffs and newcomers alike. The idea for the celebration was inspired by a copy of Shakespeare's First Folio, published in 1623, one of only 40 complete iterations in the world, that is held by the Rare Book Department at the Parkway Central Library. Every month throughout the year, look for activities including lectures, an insult contest, digital and live exhibitions, pop-up and theatrical performances, film screenings, craft sessions, and a big birthday bash on April 23.
Jazz Orchestra of Philadelphia celebrates jazz in the "City of Brotherly Love" with Comin' Home, Tuesday, January 7, 7:30pm, Verizon Hall, Kimmel Center, Philadelphia. The concert, dedicated to honoring, presenting and continuing Philadelphia's jazz legacy through performance and education, is emceed by Bill Cosby, under the direction of trumpet player and Director of Jazz and Instrumental Studies at Temple University, Terell Stafford. Musicians include Wynton Marsalis (pictured), Jimmy Heath, Kenny Barron, Randy Brecker, Odean Pope, Larry McKenna, Bootsie Barnes, and Tony Williams, featuring a program of Benny Golson, John Coltrane, Duke Ellington, Thelonious Monk, and much more.
Tony Braithwaite and Jennifer Childs reunite again for a limited run of "Let's Pretend We're Famous," January 7-26, at Act II Playhouse, 56 E. Butler Avenue, Ambler, PA. Their newest comedy cabaret features unique interpretations of songs and dissections of American celebrity, along with new material, including an improvised section that changes every night. Braithwaite is the Artistic Director for Act II. The show was originally produced in 2012 at 1812 Productions, where Childs is Artistic Director.
Wilma Theater continues its commitment to collaborate directly with theater artists, playwrights, and nationally-renowned directors to bring new work to Philadelphia with the World Premiere of "Cherokee." The camping comedy, by Obie Award-winning playwright and Pulitzer Prize finalist Lisa D'Amour, about getting lost - or found - in the woods, is a follow-up to her popular play "Detroit." Starring Ashley Everage, David Ingram, Kevin Jackson, Kalani Queypo, and Marcia Saunders, and directed by Anne Kauffman January 8 through February 8, 265 S. Broad Street, Philadelphia. Special events include behind-the-scenes Onstage Conversations, Young Friends Evening, and Pre-Show Wine Tasting. The show is the first of two world premieres to be produced during this season at the Wilma. The next is "Don Juan Comes Home from Iraq," written by Pulitzer Prize winner Paula Vogel and directed by Blanka Zizka.