From April through June, visitors are invited to step to the tune of Wednesday Nights at the Philadelphia Museum of Art where one of the world's great art museums provides an incomparable setting for a season of inspiring evening performances, film screenings, gallery talks and culinary delights. Drawing inspiration from the brio and élan of Italian, Irish, Israeli, Cuban and Chinese traditions, among others, the menu of upcoming events is a lively medley of world culture promising to be stimulating to the ear and appetite, just as the collections are to the eye. Each Wednesday Night, 5:00-8:45 p.m., galleries throughout the Museum are open for evening strolls as the Great Stair Hall becomes the stage for music, theater, storytelling and lots of dance-even salsa lessons on Singles Night-all under Augustus Saint-Gaudens's towering bronze figure of Diana, goddess of the hunt. The season wraps up on June 27 with an evening of Motown grooves.
Among the season's highlights, Standing Room Only (April 25) brings four of Philadelphia's most ambitious theater companies to the Museum for a sneak peek at upcoming productions. The Opera Theater of Philadelphia presents an excerpt from Madama Butterfly; The Arden Theatre Company showcases the Philadelphia premiere of The Baker's Wife; Prince Music Theater provides a teaser of Candide; and The Wilma Theater seduces with a little Passion. Additionally, students from The University of the Arts preview sections of Carousel. For film lovers, Christopher Guest's hilarious community theater spoof Waiting for Guffman is a must-see. Michael Taylor, Assistant Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, rounds off this dramatic evening with a gallery talk entitled "Twombly and Tragedy."
Shalom Israel (May 2) introduces the powerful stage presence and unique choreography of Koresh Dance Company, exhibiting a technically superior blend of ballet, modern and jazz dance. A superb trio performs a classical and opera repertoire and new Israeli music. In conjunction with the Israeli Film Festival 2001, the Museum will premiere the award-winning film The Komediant, a documentary taking a loving glimpse at the history of Yiddish Theatre through the epic saga of the remarkable Burstein family.
The Museum will turn up the Latin Heat (May 30) with a concert by Chilean and Canadian guitarist Oscar López-Prairie Music Award-winner, three-time Juno Award-nominee and the hit of last year's Philadelphia Folk Festival. A daring artist, creating music without boundaries, López presents a vibrant fusion of jazz and classical, rock and rhumba, flamenco and blues, all with a Latin flair. The performance begins at 7:00 p.m. in Van Pelt Auditorium. Tickets are free with Museum admission and available on a first-come, first-served basis.
It's Mellon Jazz Night (June 13) with an evening of Elío Villafranca's Afro-Cuban Ensemble and vibraphonist Tony Miceli performing original and traditional Afro-Cuban songs, chant mixed with jazz and a sampling of popular Cuban music styles such as danzón, guajira, son and montuno. A beer tasting, courtesy of Origlio, Inc. and a chef's special of smoked chicken rolls add extra flavor. The film is Ella Fitzgerald: Something to Live For, narrated by none other than Tony Bennett.
An evening of fun for the whole family, School's Out (June 20) features the music of John Flynn, winner of an American Library Association award for excellence in family recordings. A Philadelphia-based singer-songwriter, Flynn shares tales of daily life and personal relationships ranging from the deeply sensitive to the highly amusing. The zany theatrics of Quiet Riot include comedy, mime, storytelling, sound effects and engaging audience interaction. A performance by the African American Stilt Ballet will take the art of dance to a higher level. The 1993 version of The Secret Garden, perennial film favorite for young and young-at-heart, stars the fabulous Maggie Smith. Welcome in summer with ice cream courtesy of Richman's Ice Cream Company.
To receive more information about Wednesday Nights at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, call (215) 684-7860 or visit the Museum's Web site, at www.philamuseum.org; to receive a free brochure, call (215) 684-7506. Performances are held in the Great Stair Hall; Gallery Talks are given at 6:00 and 7:00 p.m.; and films are at 7:10 p.m. in the Van Pelt Auditorium.
Admission to the Museum is $8 for adults and $5 for children age 5-17, students with valid I.D., and senior citizens age 62 and over. Unless otherwise noted, all activities are free after Museum admission. Please note: programs are subject to change.
Wednesday Nights at the Philadelphia Museum of Art are made possible in part through support and contributions of many sponsors and vendors. For the Spring 2001 season, the Museum thanks Borders Books and Music, Bryn Mawr; the Community College of Philadelphia; Southern Wine & Spirits of PA; The Opera Theater of Philadelphia; Prince Music Theater; The Wilma Theater; The Arden Theatre Company; The Consulate General of Israel, Philadelphia; Cibucán; the African American Museum of Philadelphia; Origlio, Inc.; and Richman's Ice Cream Company.
The Philadelphia Museum of Art thanks Philadelphia Weekly for its advertising support.