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September 11, 2015

Fall Arts Preview: Where to get your culture fix in Philly

21 shows, festivals and concerts you can't miss this season

Remember that celebrity-filled ad campaign "You're Going to Love the Arts in Philadelphia?" Well, Kevin Bacon and friends were not wrong. If you don't know that Philly's arts community is world class, then you've been living under a rock. Luckily, the arts scene reaches its peak during the fall season, with new exhibits and shows opening every week. Peek below for a list of the performances, festivals and more that we are just itching to see, then go and support your local artists by checking them out. 

Related Read: 15 Philly area festivals to visit this fall

Of course, the list below is just a smattering of what's going on this season; if we missed your favorite, give it a shout out in the comments. 



Pearl Street Passage
A rendering of Pearl Street Passage. (Groundswell Design Group)

"SHIFT" is this year's festival theme and the over 130 events include the Pearl Street Passage, a transformation of the 1100 block of Pearl Street via 10 temporary multidisciplinary installations.

October 8-16
Hours and prices vary 

Philadelphia Film Festival

Eleven days of movies returns for its 24th year. Previous festival lineups have included films like "12 Years a Slave," "Birdman," "Philomena" and "The Artist."

October 22-November 1
Schedule TBA

First Person Arts Festival

Storytelling, food, workshops and more combine for a unique festival that will see appearances from Sonia Sanchez, the "Welcome to Night Vale" crew and more. 

November 4-15
Hours and prices vary

Philadelphia Jewish Film Festival

Featuring 24 films from nine countries, this year's festival opens with a showing of "Dough," starring Jonathan Pryce as an aging Jewish baker who looks to a teenage refugee to help save the bakery. Director John Goldschmidt and star Jerome Holder will join the screening.

November 7-21
Showtimes vary | $7-13

Philadelphia Museum of Art Contemporary Craft Show

PMA Craft Show
Visitors enjoy the Contemporary Craft Show. (Philadelphia Museum of Art)

This isn't your typical craft show. This show features the work of 195 high-end artists from all over the U.S. working in metals, fiber, mixed media, ceramics, wood and more.

November 12-15
Hours vary |$15 for one day, $20 for two
Pennsylvania Convention Center
1101 Arch St.

Live Music

Kelly Clarkson

The indomitable songstress is finishing the American leg of her "Piece by Piece" tour in Camden and she's sure to play some killer covers. Pentatonix will perform, too.  

Sunday, September 20
7 p.m. | $25-89.50
Susquehanna Bank Center
1 Harbour Blvd., Camden NJ

An Acoustic Evening with Yo La Tengo

Indie cult favorite Yo La Tengo will be joined here by Dave Schramm, who was their lead guitarist in the mid-80s and joined back up with the group in recent years.

Thursday, September 24
7:30 p.m. | $29-39
Keswick Theatre
291 N. Keswick Ave., Glenside, PA 19038

Audra McDonald

Audra McDonald holds her 2015 Tony Award for best actress in a play. (Charles Sykes/Associated Press)

Six-time Tony winner and two-time Grammy winner Audra McDonald is star of stage and screen. Entertainer and radio host Seth Rudetsky will join her on the piano. 

Wednesday, October 7
8 p.m. | $29-125
Merriam Theater
250 S. Broad St.

Everybody's Protest Music

Dr. Guy’s Musiqology’s, an ensemble led by Penn professor Guthrie Ramsey, will perform original jazz compositions about power and love mixed with spoken word, vocals and instruments.

Friday, October 16
8 p.m. | $20
Harold Prince Theater, Annenberg Center
3680 Walnut St.

Gary Clark Jr.

Gary Clark Jr. performs in Las Vegas May 8, 2015. (John Davisson/Associated Press)

Fast becoming one of the best guitarists in the industry, Gary Clark Jr. is bringing his bluesy rock to the brand new Fillmore Philadelphia for The Story of Sonny Boy Slim Tour.

Sunday, November 1
8:30 p.m. | $35
Fillmore Philadelphia
1100 Canal St.


Philadelphia's own Vacationer is spending the fall touring the nation with Great Good Fine Ok before landing back home. They've previously toured with Bombay Bicycle Club and The Naked and Famous.

Saturday, November 28
8:30 p.m. | $17
Union Transfer
1026 Spring Garden St.


La traviata

A contemporary production of "La traviata." (Bucharest National Opera)

Opera Philadelphia's production of Giuseppe Verdi's classic tragic tale is mashed together with midcentury clothing and Baroque settings, making for one spellbinding performance.

October 2-11
Showtimes vary | $19-239
Academy of Music
Broad and Locust Streets


Jennifer Kidwell in "Antigone." (Matt Saunders/The Wilma Theater)

The Wilma is collaborating with Attis Theatre of Athens, Greece, for this original adaptation of Sophocles' classical text using both English and ancient Greek with an international cast.

October 7-November 8
Showtimes vary | $25
The Wilma Theater
265 S. Broad St.

Underneath the Lintel

Philadelphia's own Peter DeLaurier takes on the role that won him a Barrymore Award in 2003 as The Librarian solving the mystery of a book returned 113 years late. 

November 5-December 6
Showtimes vary | $10-56
Lantern Theater Company
923 Ludlow St.

Black Nativity

Featuring the words of Langston Hughes, this Theatre Horizon production includes modern and West African dance and church choirs performing holiday songs like "Joy to the World." Theatre Horizon has been nominated for 19 Barrymore Awards this year, too. 

November 12-December 6
Showtimes vary | $22-43
Theatre Horizon
401 DeKalb St., Norristown PA

Matilda The Musical

The cast of "Matilda The Musical." (Joan Marcus/Broadway Philadelphia)

The Tony-winning adaptation of Road Dahl's classic novel about a magical little girl comes from Broadway to Philadelphia.

November 17-29
Tickets on sale Saturday, September 12
Academy of Music
Broad and Locust Streets

The Book Of Mormon

Remember that show all of your friends have seen that you still haven't caught yet? Well it's coming back. Don't miss this musical comedy when it comes back to Philly. 

November 24-December 27
Tickets on sale Friday, September 18
Forrest Theatre
1114 Walnut St.


In the Studio with Koresh Dance Company

Go behind the scenes with the minds behind Koresh. Artistic Director Roni Koresh and the dancers themselves join a discussion after a performance of the company's works. 

Saturday, October 10
8 p.m. | $25-30
Koresh Dance Studios
2002 Rittenhouse Sq.

Urban Bush Women

Urban Bush Women
Modern dance troupe Urban Bush Women. (Ayano Hisa/Annenberg Center)

This seven-woman dance troupe combines modern dance with the history and culture of the African diaspora, using their work to challenge beliefs about women and people of color. 

October 22-25
Showtimes vary | $20-50
Zellerbach, Annenberg Center
3680 Walnut St.

Speed and Precision

To kick off the Pennsylvania Ballet's new season, they'll perform works by George Balanchine, Christopher Wheeldon and Wayne McGregor, featuring orchestrations of songs by The White Stripes.

October 22-25
Showtimes vary | $29-135
Academy of Music
Broad and Locust Streets

BalletX Fall Series

BalletX's Andrea Yorita. (Alexander Iziliaev/BalletX)

Opening up their 10th anniversary season, BalletX presents a full-length world premiere by Nicolo Fonte exploring the sociological debate over nature versus nurture. 

November 18-22
Showtimes vary | $22-35
The Wilma Theater
265 S. Broad St.