What To Do: Hindu dance, opera & a celebration of women

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Spring has sprung, but iffy forecasts mean having a few indoor options is a good thing

By Denny DyroffStaff Writer, The Times

respect-----marissa-barnathan

Marissa Barnathan of Haverford leads the cast of “Respect: A Celebration of Women” now running through May 31at the Penn’s Landing Playhouse in Philadelphia.

The vagaries of April weather in this area make it difficult at times to decide what to do in your spare time. Some outdoor events may be very attractive and then quickly become unattractive when the weather takes a turn for the worse.

One safe alternative is to attend a stage presentation — a play, a musical, a dance performance or even an opera. Fortunately, many good options are available right now.

A new show that is guaranteed to be a hit with the ladies — and also appealing to the gentlemen — has just opened for a multi-week run in Philadelphia.

“Respect: A Musical Celebration of Women” has arrived for an eight-week engagement now through May 31 at the Penn’s Landing Playhouse (211 South Columbus Boulevard, Philadelphia, 855-448-7469, www.plplayhouse.com). The popular, high-energy smash-musical celebrates the exciting story of women in the 20th century through more than 60 Top 40 songs.

The show looks at the journey of women told through Top-40 music —  from the codependence of  “I Will Follow Him” to the anger of “These Boots are Made for Walking,” to the cynicism of  “What’s Love Got to Do with it,” and finally to the strength of “Hero.”

It features excerpts of 60 songs with women’’ own stories about finding dreams, lost love, relationship issues, entering the workforce and gaining independence. For more than the first half of the last century, the voice of women in Top-40 popular music has been one of neediness and dependency. By the end of the century, things were quite different.

Vanderbilt professor Dr. Dorothy Marcic created the show based on her book “RESPECT: Women and Popular Music,” in which she analyzed all Top-40 female song lyrics since 1900.

There are four characters in the show — Diva, Ingenue, Narrator and Leading Lady. The role of Ingenue is performed by one of the Delaware Valley’s top young actresses — Marissa Barnathan. Ironically, Barnathan recently played the role of another strong, independent woman when she was Hodel in “Fiddler on the Roof” at the Candlelight Theatre in Arden.

“I didn’t know anything about the show prior to my audition,” said Barnathan, during a phone interview this week. “I did two songs for my audition — ‘Tears on my Pillow’ by Little Anthony and the Imperials and ‘Cowboy Take Me Away’ by the Dixie Chicks.

“Once I got the role, I did my research. There was no script available because it’s mostly music. We started rehearsals on March 17.”

“Respect: A Musical Celebration of Women” has been presented in theaters all across the country for the last three years and has been met with great critical acclaim.

“The show starts in the 1900s,” said Barnathan, a Haverford High alumna who graduated from Washington University in St. Louis with a theater and dance major. “The first song is a piece of music from the 1901 World’s Fair — ‘Bird in a Gilded Cage.’

“I do four solo numbers in the show and a number of group songs. My solos are ‘Sixteen Going on Seventeen,’ ‘These Boots are Made for Walking,’ ‘As Long as He Needs Me’ and ‘It Must Be Him.’

“There is a thread in Ingenue’s track. I have a journey. Actually, all four of us have journeys. We all wear basic black costumes in Act I and we each add color in Act II. My color is pink.”

Show Times are 2 and 7 p.m. on Wednesdays, 7 p.m. on Thursday and Fridays, 2 and 8 p.m. on Saturdays and 2 p.m. on Sundays. Ticket prices range from $45-$65.

hindu-dance

On April 11, the Hindu Temple of Delaware hosts the Grand Concert “Maha Shakti — Soulful Dances.”

On April 11, the Hindu Temple of Delaware (760 Yorklyn Road, Hockessin, Delaware, 302-235-7020, http://www.hindutemplede.com) will host the Grand Concert “Maha Shakti — Soulful Dances.” The show, which is performed by Salangai School of Performing Arts, depicts various Goddesses of India through different dance styles.

The performance takes the audience on a trip that includes visits to various temples in India and features unique costumes and props. There will be performances of Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Hindi and Kannada devotional songs.

This show, which will get underway at 2 p.m., is a fundraiser for the Mahalakshmi Temple in Hockessin. Tickets are $13.

On April 12, Delphi Opera will present Giuseppe Verdi’s masterpiece “La Traviata” at Padua Academy’s Roberto Hall (905 North Broom Street Wilmington, Delaware, 302-384-8075, http://www.delphiopera.com).

“The Delphi Opera is sponsored by the Wilmington Friends of Italian Culture,” said founder Eve Edwards during a phone interview this week.”Two years ago, we produced our first opera. We did ‘La boheme’ in 2013 and ‘Madame Butterfly’ last year.

delphi opera eve edwards

Eve Edwards of the Delphi Opera.

“We want to educate audiences about opera. The show this Sunday will have narration, super titles, a pre-opera mini-talk about the composer and a Q-and-A session after the performance. It’s a high quality performance with wonderful singers and musicians.

“It can be very difficult for audiences unfamiliar with opera to listen to a two-and-a-half hour performance. We’re doing all three acts but are judiciously cutting a few things. We cut some of the large-scale choruses and other reiterations. But, all the story line is in and all the action is in.”

“La Traviata” It is based on “La dame aux Camélias” (“The Lady of the Camelias”), a play adapted from the novel by Alexandre Dumas.

“It’s a very accessible story,” said Edwards. “Violetta Valéry is a courtesan. She gets introduced to a young man who is truly in love with her so she decides to live with him. Then, his father tells her to leave. She goes back to her old life as a courtesan and begins living with a baron. Another factor is that she has consumption (tuberculosis) and is dying.”

The performance is scheduled for April 12 at 2 p.m. The pre-opera mini-lecture will be held at 1:30 p.m. All tickets are $10.

The Candlelight Theater (2208 Millers Road, Arden, Delaware, 302- 475-2313, www.nctstage.org) is presenting “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.” The show won seven Tony Awards, the New York Drama Critics Circle Award, and the 1962 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.

The musical is a comedic story that was also a hit film. A satire of big business and all it holds sacred, it follows the rise of J. Pierrepont Finch up the corporate ladder from lowly window washer to high-powered executive. Tickets, which include a tasty buffet dinner, are $59 for adults and $33 for children (ages 4-12).

Rainbow’s Comedy Playhouse (3065 Lincoln Highway East, Paradise, 800-292-4301, http://rainbowcomedy.com) is presenting “The Hallelujah Girls” now through May 23. Matinee performances are every Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and selected Saturdays with an 11:30 a.m. lunch and a 1 p.m. curtain.

Evening performances are every Friday, Saturday and selected Thursdays with dinner at 6:30 p.m. and the show following at 8 p.m. There will also be “Twilight Performances” on selected Sundays with dinner at 2:30 p.m. and the show at 4 p.m. Ticket prices range from $30-$55.

The Playhouse on Rodney Square (1007 North Market Street, Wilmington, Delaware, 302-888-0200, www. http://duponttheatre.com) will be presenting “Camelot” from April 14-19. Tickets for the musical set in King Arthur’s time range from $20-$79.

ardmore beer festOn April 11, the Ardmore Music Hall (23 East Lancaster Avenue, Ardmore, 610-649-8389, www.ardmoremusic.com) will present its inaugural Craft Beer Festival beginning at 1 p.m.

There will be unlimited tastings of more than 60 craft beers. That means you need moderation or a designated driver. Live music will be performed by The Kalob Griffin Band and Bird Watcher (who will be doing a Beatles set). Tickets are $40.

The annual Subaru Cherry Blossom Festival (http://subarucherryblossom.org), which is known in Japanese as Sakura Matsuri, is now in full swing. The event gets underway on April 4 at a variety of locations around the Philadelphia area.

The Subaru Cherry Blossom Festival offers visitors the opportunity to explore the best of Japanese culture including delicious cuisine, delicate craft displays, intriguing performances and demonstrations of traditional customs.

“Dine Out Japan” will run from April 5-10 at several area Japanese restaurants with special three-course menus at discounted prices. Participating restaurants are Yakitori Boy, Shiroi Hana, Gyu-Kaku, Fuji Mountain and Morimoto.

The centerpiece event is Sakura Sunday, which is billed as “a celebration of all things Japanese.” It will be held on April 12 from 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m. at Fairmount Park’s Horticulture Center (100 North Horticulture Drive, Philadelphia). Tickets are $10 for adults with children (12 and under) admitted free.

Sakura Sunday features live music and dance performances, martial arts, cultural demonstrations, arts & crafts, karaoke, and much more. Some of the featured attractions are the Kodomo Corner, Little Akiba Anime & Cosplay Area, Subaru Sushi Samurai of the Year, Prettiest Pet in Pink Parade, Harajuku Fashion Show and Shofuso Tours.

The Morris Arboretum (100 East Northwestern Avenue, Philadelphia, 215-247-5777, http://www.business-services.upenn.edu/arboretum/index.shtml) is presenting its Japanese Cherry Blossom Festival on April 11 and 18. The arboretum staff expects that some of the earliest cherries, such as the Okame, could be blooming by April 11. The later blooming cherries, including Higan and Yoshino, could be in bloom by April 18.

On April 11, The Pennsylvania Bonsai Society will be displaying trees and doing demonstrations of bonsai maintenance from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. There will be a “Cherry Walk” at 10:15 a.m. and again at 12:15 p.m.

The Kyo Daiko Drumming Crew will perform at 10:30 a.m. and noon and the will be an Origami Workshops for Kids at 1 p.m. and again at 2 p.m. The final event of the day will be a Japanese Elements Tour from 2-3 p.m.

The same schedule will take place on April 11 and April 18. Admission is $16 for adults, $14 for seniors and $8 for students and youth (ages 3-17).

The Philadelphia Invitational Furniture Show at the 23rd Street Armory (22 S. 23rd Street, Philadelphia, 215-387-8590, www.philaifs.com) has become the most popular shows of its type in the area. This weekend, the event is celebrating its 21st anniversary and solidifying its claim as the longest running craft furniture show in the country.

The popular annual event, which is running from April 10-12, is a nationally-acclaimed exhibition of studio-made products for the home and office. Most of the 200-plus juried professionals, who have traveled to the show from a variety of locations across the United States, are furniture makers.

Additionally, many of the exhibitors are also showing home furnishings such as handmade paper lighting, modernist patterned rugs, sleek silverware, glass and ceramic vases and intricately inlaid boxes.

In recent years, high quality furniture has become a desirable collectible investment. Visitors to this weekend’s event will be able to purchase limited-production and one-of-a-kind items for the bedroom, garden, home office, boardroom and kitchen.

The only activity on April 10 will be the “Preview Party,” which runs from 6-9 p.m. and costs $40. Regular show hours are 10 a.m.-6 p.m. on April 11 and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. on April 12. Tickets are $12 in advance and $15 at the door.

bead fest

Bead Fest Spring is taking place this weekend at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center in Oaks.

Believe it or not, beads are more than somewhat insignificant little plastic orbs of various colors. There is a lot of significance in beads if you trace their history. Historians have discovered beads that date back almost 40,000 years.

The name “bead” is derived from “bede”, which meant “prayer” in Middle English. Beads have been made from a variety of materials and have been used as prayer items, ornamentation, money, decoration and amulets.

Now through April 12, you can attend an event dedicated to beads — Bead Fest Spring at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center (100 Station Avenue, Oaks, 610- 232-5718, www.beadfest.com). This is an event that claims to be the largest bead and jewelry show on the East Coast.

Billed as a “bead and jewelry extravaganza”, the huge annual event will feature hands-on jewelry making classes, informative seminars, beading competitions and a large vendors’ area where visitors can purchase everything from beading supplies to hand-crafted jewelry.

Bead Fest will have close to 180 booths and over 70 workshops which will be presented by experts in the bead and jewelry fields. A number of special techniques will be demonstrated, including, wire weaving, bead stitching, lampworking, metal clay, chain maille, wire and metal, kiln fusing, wire knitting, design, wire and beads, bead crocheting, metal smithing, bead stringing and wire wrapping.

The hours for Bead Fest Spring are 30 a.m.-8:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday and 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m., Sunday. Tickets are $15.

longwood spring blooms

Spring is in bloom at Longwood Gardens.

Longwood Gardens (Route 1, Kennett Square, 610-388-1000, www.longwoodgardens.org) has just what you need to get in the spirit of the new season — “Spring Blooms,” which just opened and is running through May 23. Visitors can enjoy hundreds of lush acres featuring burgeoning gardens of daffodils, tulips, magnolias, azaleas, flowering cherries and more than 240,000 flowering bulbs.

In the indoor part of “Spring Blooms”, lilies, delphiniums, hydrangeas and other spring blossoms fill the conservatory with color. Also featured are Longwood’s grand treehouses, whimsical Topiary Garden, and colorful Idea Garden.

Daily visitor programs, including gardening demonstrations, behind-the-scenes tours, and talks add to Longwood’s charms. Children will enjoy the many activities in the outdoor Children’s Area, and the imaginative fun of the Indoor Children’s Garden.

Admission to Longwood Gardens is $20 for adults, $17 for seniors and $10 for students.

Jazz fans from around the area travel to Berks County this time each year with a singular mission. It is an annual early spring ritual that involves a trip to the Reading area to attend highly-regarded Berks Jazz Festival.

This year’s Berks Jazz Festival (http://www.berksjazzfest.com) runs from April 10-19 at a variety of venues around the Reading area.

The acts slated to perform on Opening Night are the Pat Martino Trio featuring Pat Bianchi and Carmen Intorre , Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis, Dance Hall Docs with special guest Brent Carter, Boney James, Greg Haza and Tim Price Organ Quartet and Gerald Veasley’s Midnight Jam.

The roster for April 11 includes Randy Hansen, Mindi Abair and the Boneshakers featuring Sweetpea, Pieces of a Dream, Brian Bromberg, The Soul of Jazz, the Jazz Orchestra of Philadelphia, Bootsie Barnes and Larry McKenna, Tommy Katona and Texas Flood, Incognito, Andrew Neu and Gerald Veasley’s Midnight Jam.

On April 12, there will be performances by the Urban Jazz Coalition, Live at the Fillmore, Gerald Albright, Jazz Funk Soul, Brian Culbertson and Dianne Reeves. The lineup for April 13 features the U.S. Army Jazz Ambassadors featuring special guest Eric Marienthal.

The U.S. Army Jazz Ambassadors will also perform on April 14 along with the Berks Big Bop Band. April 15’s roster includes the Berks Big Bop Band, 20 Feet from Stardom and Billy Cobham’s “Spectrum 40” Band.

Concerts on April 16 will include Djangoholics Anonymous, the Pat Travers Band and the Berks All Star Jam Band. The lineup for April 17 features Masters of Fusion, Will Downing with Phil Perry, Larry Coryell & Strings Attached, James Hunter Six, Mikey Junior Band, the Original Groovemasters, Reggie Brown & Bunch A Funk, the Tedeschi Trucks Band, Jazz Attack, Sax Summit

The long list of acts slated for April 18 includes Craig Thatcher Band, Nick Colionne, Marion Meadows & Paul Taylor, Marc Antoine, Fourplay, Kind of New, the Royal Scam,  Lou Dotoli, Royal Southern Brotherhood, “Remembering Joe Sample,” The Jost Project and Gerald Veasley’s Midnight Jam.

On April 19, the scheduled performers are Frank Vignola & Vinny Raniolo, Elon Trotman, Jeff Bradshaw, Joey Somerville, New York Voices and the Reading Pops Orchestra and “Gospel According to Jazz Celebration.

On April 12, the Fourth Annual Philly Farm & Food Fest will be held at the Pennsylvania Convention Center (11th and Arch streets, Philadelphia, phillyfarmfest.org) from 11 a.m.-4 p.m.

It is a one-day event that promises to inspire and connect consumers, farmers, and food artisans in our region. The Philly Farm &Food Fest was created as a unique opportunity for local farmers and food artisans to connect with thousands food-loving area residents.

Attendees will have the opportunity to taste hundreds of delicious samples of local food and find new ways to buy, cook, grow and share local food every day. The event will feature more than 150 exhibitors and approximately 50,000 square feet of local food.

Other attractions include ongoing free workshops and cooking demonstrations, free shopping totes from presenting sponsor, Whole Foods Market, a Local Libations Lounge, a book nook with local cookbook authors, interactive contests for attendees and homesteading and urban farming demonstrations and workshops.

Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 at the door. Proceeds benefit Fair Food and PASA (Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture) whose work supports local farms and food.

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