Penn Live Arts Blog

Celebrating our 50th Anniversary – Announcing the 22/23 Season

Posted May 5, 2022

A Legacy of Innovation

In 1971, the Annenberg Center opened as a gift to Penn and Philadelphia, aiming to promote innovation in the performing arts. Now, over 50 years later, we joyously reflect on our legacy, the thousands of artists that enlivened our stages and the millions of people brought together by the transformational power of live performance. It’s a history we are incredibly proud of, one that championed icons and rising stars, amplified diverse voices and illuminated adventuresome perspectives on our world. As we celebrate, we look back and forward in the same moment, seeing our past reflected in the vision for our future, our next 50 years and beyond.

A Year of Celebration

World and Philadelphia premieres, local debuts, commissioned works and amazing artists from around the globe – our 22/23 season honors this major milestone. Read on for some highlights from this exciting season:

  • Dance @ 50 – For decades, our renowned dance series has brought the very best to our city, and this year is no exception, with some of the world’s greatest companies and most extraordinary choreographers. From Martha Graham Dance Company and Dance Theatre of Harlem to Paul Taylor Dance Company and Pilobolus, next year’s 50th anniversary celebration offers 10 amazing dance performances.

  • Alice & John: A Coltrane Festival – With rising star saxophonist Lakecia Benjamin serving as our Artistic Advisor, our Coltrane Festival explores the immense impact this iconic duo had on American music, with a particular emphasis on Alice’s significant and often underrepresented contributions. World premieres, Penn Live Arts commissions and an impressive line-up of artists bring the timeless music of the Coltranes into the present day.

  • Artists-in-Residence – We further our commitment to elevating Black storytelling in two significant residencies: the legendary Negro Ensemble Company, featuring a one-act play festival and a world premiere theatrical work, and Philadelphia’s brilliant hip hop choreographer, Rennie Harris, offering a re-mounting of his most celebrated work, Rome & Jewels, a hip-hop-meets-Shakespeare journey through the streets of Philadelphia.

  • ListenHear – This new series profiles important contemporary musical voices. Featuring numerous Philadelphia premieres, we spotlight multiple Grammy® Award-winning jazz icon Arturo O'Farrill; prolific jazz, film and opera composer and five-time Grammy® Award-winner Terence Blanchard; Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Caroline Shaw; and Argentine classical composer Osvaldo Golijov, who studied at Penn himself.

  • Accelerator Program – This new program formalizes our distinguished history of investing in our artists and their future by offering the resources to finish new works and bring them to our stage for Philadelphia audiences to enjoy first. The inaugural Accelerator artists are The Crossing, Dance Theatre of Harlem, Negro Ensemble Company, Pam Tanowitz Dance and Rennie Harris Puremovement.

Further cementing our role as a catalyst for innovation, diverse artistry and meaningful experiences, it’s a 50th anniversary for the record books. Delayed by a year due to the pandemic, our 22/23 celebratory season is well worth the wait. Come celebrate with us!