Arts Options Abound This Spring

FLOE: A Climate of Risk installation. Photo by John Carlano

Stephen Silver

The calendar may have just turned to February and the temperatures aren’t supposed to break 50 this week, but take heart that the local spring arts season is getting ready to bloom.

Here are some highlights of what to expect for Jewish-oriented arts events in the Philadelphia area this spring:

FLOE: A Climate of Risk — The Fictional Archaeology of Stephen Talasnik
Museum of Art in Wood (141 N. Third St., Philadelphia) through Feb. 18
Jewish artist Stephen Talasnik, a native of Southwest Philadelphia, has returned to his hometown with this exhibit, which is described as “a fictional account of a Philadelphia whose civilization was buried by a natural disaster brought on by climate change; the only evidence of this society is through the ‘archaeological collection’ presented in the exhibition.”

“The Girl From the North Country”
Forrest Theatre (114 Walnut St., Philadelphia)
Feb. 7-March 10
This musical features “reimaginings” of 20 different songs by Bob Dylan, including “Hurricane,” “All Along the Watch Tower,” “Like a Rolling Stone” and the title song. Featuring orchestrations by Conor McPherson, the show debuted on Broadway just before the pandemic, but this is its first production in Philadelphia, under the auspices of Ensemble Arts Philly, formerly known as the Kimmel Center.

John Williams and Yo-Yo Ma
The Philadelphia Orchestra’s Verizon Hall
(300 S. Broad St., Philadelphia), Feb. 20
The 91-year-old legendary composer and Steven Spielberg collaborator John Williams may have retired from composing new music, but he’s still conducting performances of his work, including this Philadelphia performance with the Orchestra and the equally legendary cellist Yo-Yo Ma. In addition to aspects of his scores from “Star Wars” and “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” Williams will be conducting parts of his score of the 2013 Holocaust film “The Book Thief.”

White Supremacy and Antisemitism, with Talia Lavin
Rodeph Shalom, (615 N. Broad St., Philadelphia), Feb. 21
Journalist Talia Lavin, author of “Culture Warlords: My Journey into the Dark Web of White Supremacy,” comes to Philadelphia for a talk, as part of its Broad Perspectives series, also presented by Temple University’s College of Liberal Arts and Feinstein Center for American Jewish History.

Alex Edelman’s “Just For Us”
Miller Theater (250 S. Broad St. Philadelphia), March 3
The Jewish comedian brings his one-man show, previously on Broadway, out on tour, including a Philadelphia stop. Amid rising antisemitism, Edelman decided to infiltrate a group of white nationalists in New York, and then tell the story on stage.

“Rose” screening (for International Women’s Day)
Weitzman National Museum of American Jewish History (101 S Independence Mall E, Philadelphia), March 7
For International Women’s Day, Philadelphia Jewish Film and Media presents a showing of filmmaker Aurélie Saada’s 2021 film “Rose,” described as a “lively film about family, grief, and being the creator of your own adventure.”

Emmet Cohen. Courtesy of Ensemble Arts Philly

Emmet Cohen Trio
Perelman Theater (300 S. Broad St., Philadelphia), March 14
The American jazz pianist and composer Emmet Cohen comes to Philadelphia in March as part of Ensemble Arts Philly’s Jazz Series. Cohen has described his approach to jazz as “about communicating the deepest levels of humanity and individuality; it’s essentially about connections, both among musicians and audiences.”

“What’s Wrong With This Picture?”
410 Montgomery Ave., Wynnewood (March 9 and 10)
1001 Remington Road, Wynnewood (March 16 and 17)
Theatre Ariel presents Donald Margulies’ play, about a man who “lost his wife to a terrible moo shoo pork tragedy,” and that tragedy’s aftermath.

Michael Beschloss
Verizon Hall, March 25
The presidential historian and best-selling author, whose father fled the Nazis, is appearing for a Philadelphia talk that will include a Q&A session, as part of the Philadelphia Speaker Series.

Philadelphia Museum of Jewish Art Open Call Exhibition
Congregation Rodeph Shalom (615 N. Broad St., Philadelphia), April 1-June 24
The PMJA has announced a call for “diverse artists across faiths and beliefs” to submit art for a new exhibition, to run from April through June. Those submitting are asked to reflect on the theme of “Renewal and Hope.” The deadline is Feb. 19.

Yossi Klein Halevi
Weitzman National Museum of American Jewish History, April 3
The acclaimed author will appear for a talk at the Weitzman, where he’ll be interviewed by Sandee Brawarsky, and they will discuss “the current state of affairs in Israel, chances for peace, what it means for Israelis and American Jews to share the experience of vulnerability and the future of American Jewish-Israeli relations.”

Lindy Springfest
Weitzman National Museum of American Jewish History, April 4-7
Philadelphia Jewish Film and Media will again present its spring film festival, although the lineup has not yet been announced.

Courtesy of Penn State University Press

Phish book event
Weitzman National Museum of American Jewish History, April 11
Ariella Werden-Greenfield (of Temple University) and Oren Kroll Zeldin are the authors of last year’s book “This is Your Song Too: Phish and Contemporary Jewish Identity,” and they will appear for a talk and book signing, along with Rodeph Shalom’s Rabbi Eli Freedman.

Evgeny Kissin
Verizon Hall, May 15
The Russian-Jewish pianist will perform selections from Beethoven, Brahms, Rachmaninoff and Prokofiev at Verizon Hall, as part of the Spotlight Series.

Dinnerstein Plays Mozart
Perelman Theater, May 17-19
The American Jewish pianist Simone Dinnerstein will perform Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 23, as well as Walker and Beethoven, as part of a weekend series of concerts in May, with the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia.

The Dead Man, by Sholem Asch
Theatre Ariel (location TBD),
May 18-19
Theatre Ariel presents what it calls “an exciting new translation of one of Yiddishkeit’s greatest playwrights,” presented along with the Yiddish Book Center. T
Stephen Silver is a Broomall-based freelance writer.


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