Considered to be one of the top Showstopping Theater Cities around the U.S. according to Budget Travel Magazine with the oldest theater in America built in 1809, Philadelphia continues to entertain audiences centuries later with magical musicals, spectacular shows and outstanding orchestras and operas.
NOTE: Effective August 12, 2021, masks are required to be worn inside all Philadelphia businesses and institutions that do not require vaccination for employees and patrons. The Kimmel Center Cultural Campus and their resident companies (The Philadelphia Orchestra, Opera Philadelphia, Philadelphia Ballet, The Philly POPS, PHILADANCO, The Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, The Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, and Curtis Institute of Music), require proof of full COVID-19 vaccination for all attendees of public events. Theatre Philadelphia has also announced a proof of vaccine requirement for several of their venues, while others are accepting proof of full vaccination against COVID-19 or proof of a negative COVID-19 test.
Philadelphia’s opera company has been hailed by the New York Times as “one of the most creative and ambitious companies” in the U.S. and by Opera News as establishing itself as “a model for innovation in the classical-music industry.” Opera Philadelphia mixes traditional and new repertoire that engages the public – taking opera out of the opera house and onto the streets, into parks and museums and other interesting venues throughout the city. The season opens each September with a Festival, featuring world and company premieres, partnering with the Philadelphia Fringe Festival. In 2020, the opera company launched the Opera Philadelphia Channel, allowing fans to stream performances from home.
Upcoming performances: Opera Philadelphia’s untraditional 2021/2022 season of performances, which is entertaining audiences at multiple venues and from their comfort of their homes, includes in-person performances of Verdi’s Rigoletto at the Academy of Music (April 29, May 1, 6 & 8, 2022). The season will also stream new works created for the Opera Philadelphia Channel, including performances that celebrate Philadelphia’s historic pipe organs, an art film of Francis Poulenc’s La voix humaine and the cinematic adaptation of Henze’s El Cimarrón, and more. To learn more about on-stage performances during Opera Philadelphia’s 2021/22 season, click here. For the season’s digital offerings, click here.
The Philadelphia Orchestra
The legendary Philadelphia Orchestra is one of the finest music ensembles in the world with leaders such as Leopold Stokowski, who developed the “Philadelphia Sound,” and Eugene Ormandy, who toured the orchestra in China as global ambassadors. The “Fabulous Philadelphians” continue to break new ground under the direction of Yannick Nézet-Séguin.
Upcoming performances: The Philadelphia Orchestra’s January – June season includes shows such as The Princess Bride in Concert (February 24 – 26, 2022), Fiddler on the Roof (March 3 – 6, 2022), and world-renowned conductor Gustavo Dudamel’s Philadelphia Orchestra debut (March 24-27, 2022) with Yannick and the Orchestra set to close the 2021–22 season with Bruckner’s Seventh Symphony. Don’t miss Brahms V. Radiohead (May 3, 2022) as conductor Steve Hackman leads the Orchestra and vocalists for a mashup of Brahm’s First Symphony and Radiohead’s album OK Computer – each iconic in its own right. The Orchestra will also continue to present works via their Digital Stage, which allows audiences from around the world to enjoy the sound of Philadelphia from the comfort of their homes. To learn more about the 2021-22 season, click here.
The Kimmel Center Cultural Campus
The state-of-the-art performance venue, the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts is home to the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia and Philadelphia Chamber Music Society concerts and also hosts touring Broadway productions and world-renowned artists at historic venues and theaters including the Academy of Music, Merriam Theater and Forrest Theater.
Walnut Street Theatre
Founded in 1809, the Walnut Street Theatre is America’s oldest theater and is also the official State Theatre of Pennsylvania and a National Historic Landmark. Walnut Street Theatre produces an exciting season of Broadway-quality musicals and plays, along with its acclaimed WST for Kids series and Independence Studio on 3 season.
Upcoming performances: Now in its 213th season of live entertainment, the Walnut Street Theatre’s ‘Season of Celebration’ continues through May of 2022 with a world premiere adaptation based on a classic Sherlock Holmes tale, The Adventure of The Speckled Band (February 22 – March 27, 2022), Always…Patsy Cline (April 12 – May 15, 2022), and the supernatural and comedic Noël Coward’s Blithe Spirit (May 31 – July 3, 2022). To learn more about the ‘Season of Celebration’, click here.
Arden Theatre Company
Since 1988, Arden Theatre Company, a professional theatre in Old City, brings to life great stories by great storytellers. Productions include classics, new works, musicals and children’s theatre.
Upcoming performances: Arden Theatre Company returns to the stage in January 2022 with a five-show, in-person season. Other 2022 season performances include a world premiere play, Backing Track (February 17 – March 27, 2022), a yet-to-be-announced Children’s Theatre production (March 23 – April 24, 2022), School Girls; Or, The African Mean Girls Play (May 5 – June 12, 2022) and Into the Woods (June 2 – July 3, 2022). For more information, click here.
Philadelphia Ballet (formerly Pennsylvania Ballet) was started in 1963 by George Balanchine protégée Barbara Weisberger and is considered one of America’s leading ballet companies, performing at the Academy of Music, the oldest opera house in the United States.
Upcoming performances: Philadelphia Ballet’s 2021-22 season will mark the ballet company’s triumphant return to the stage and will feature live, in-person performances, which began in October 2021. Look for world premieres and all-time classics throughout the season, including Swan Lake (March 3-13, 2022). Philadelphia Ballet is also teaming up with Mural Arts Philadelphia to offer Behind the Stage Door, a series of free, live ballet performances incorporating art during pop-up outdoor performances throughout the city. Behind the Stage Door kicks off April 29, 2022 at Cherry Street Pier with performances set throughout May 2022 at various locations. For more information on the 2021-22 season, click here.
Penn Live Arts (formerly Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts)
Founded in 1971, the Annenberg Center — now Penn Live Arts — is one of the nation’s foremost urban performing arts centers on the University of Pennsylvania campus and serves as a cultural destination in Philadelphia, offering a broad range of programs in theatre, music and dance. Rebranded as Penn Live Arts in 2021, the performing arts presenter seeks to continue the Annenberg Center’s 50-year history of being a multidisciplinary performing arts leader in Philadelphia while also deepening the connection with the University of Pennsylvania and upholding a commitment to presenting innovative national and international artists both inside the Center’s walls and beyond.
Upcoming performances: Beginning what will be a multi-year 50th anniversary celebration, Penn Live Arts’ 2021/22 season will feature dance companies, a family-friendly cirque series, jazz greats, and innovative works outside of the Center’s walls. Don’t miss Mark Morris Dance Group (May 5-7, 2022) and Kalabanté (May 1, 2022). Notable 2021/22 jazz performances include Ravi Coltrane (March 26, 2022), all performing at the Annenberg Center’s Zellerbach Theatre. For a full list performances for the 2021/22 season, click here.
The Philly POPS
The largest standalone pops orchestra in the United States, the Philly POPS is a 65-piece orchestra, under the direction of Todd Ellison, performing at both The Kimmel Center and the Met Philadelphia.
Upcoming performances: Tickets are available now for the Philly POPS’ 2021-22 season, Lights Up! Showtime!, which continues to delight audiences with live, in-person concerts at Verizon Hall in the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts. The season kicked off with Sinatra: A Man and His Hat (September 24-26, 2021) and also features Dancin’ in the Streets: The Music of Motown (February 18-20, 2022), POPS Rocks: Let It Be (March 11-13, 2022), and S’Wonderful! S’Gershwin! (May 13-15,2022). The season concludes with a performance that will transport audiences to a galaxy far, far away, as the Philly POPS present John Williams’ classic Star Wars scores in Star Wars: A Galaxy of Music (June 17-19, 2022). For the full season overview and to view all upcoming performances, click here.
The Met Philadelphia
Formerly the Philadelphia Metropolitan Opera House, The Met Philadelphia was originally built in 1908 by opera impresario Oscar Hammerstein. The grand venue now hosts a variety of local, national and international touring acts, including comedians, solo artists, and chart-topping musical groups.
Upcoming performances: The Met Philadelphia is set to welcome performers such as Judas Priest, Sting, Ringo Starr, and Philadelphia’s own Boyz II Men all scheduled to perform in the first half of 2022. For a full schedule of events at The Met Philadelphia, click here.
Philadelphia Theatre Company
Founded in 1974, Philadelphia Theatre Company has presented over 150 world and Philadelphia premieres, many of which have moved on to New York and other major cities, helping to earn Philadelphia a national reputation as a hub for new play development. The theater is housed in the Suzanne Roberts Theatre on the Avenue of the Arts.
Upcoming performances: Philadelphia Theatre Company’s 2021-22 season features two world premiere plays and a Broadway hit written by Academy Award®-winning writer Tarell Alvin McCraney. The season opened on November 11, 2021 with buddy comedy The Garbologists by Lindsay Joelle, a Co-World Premiere with the City Theatre in Pittsburgh, and continues with Choir Boy, a Broadway sensation filled with energizing gospel and R&B performances (February 18 – March 13, 2022). The season concludes with Where We Belong (opening April 15, 2022), a dramatic solo piece by Madeline Sayet that questions one’s place in an increasingly globalized world. Looking ahead to fall of 2022, fans can expect to enjoy a full production the new musical The Tattooed Lady, Philadelphia Theatre Company’s first commission under the leadership of Artistic Director Paige Price.
The Curtis Institute of Music
The renowned, exclusive conservatory, the Curtis Institute trained the likes of Leonard Bernstein and Samuel Barber and offers student recital series, Curtis Symphony Orchestra, Curtis Opera Theatre, Family Concerts, and more.
Upcoming performances: For the first in-person orchestra concert in two years, the Curtis Symphony Orchestra returns to the stage with Strings, Symphonies, and Strauss (February 20, 2022) to reveal the remarkable musical variety of the modern era. The Curtis Institute also presents digital performances, including student recitals and ensembles, online via its Facebook page. For the latest calendar of performances, click here.
For more arts and culture experiences in Philadelphia, click here.
Cover photo: Hadestown. Photo by T Charles Erickson.