Penn Live Arts Blog / May 2021

The Month of Moderns 2021

Posted May 25, 2021

New Music U.S. Premiere World Premieres

The Crossing is grateful to be presented by Annenberg Center, our frequent partner.

Entering our second summer of a global pandemic, it could be easy to feel things are quickly returning to “normal,” due to the amazing efficiency of scientists, a surprisingly responsible government (we’d come to expect the opposite), and vigilance on the part of our singers. Yet, the wounds are deep, and the virus lingers nearby, worse than ever in parts of the world that are not able to invest the extraordinary resources available to us in the United States.

I say this because our festival this summer - while being a full Month of Moderns, with three different programs in three weeks – is anything but “normal.” Entirely outside, designed for distance and safety during the pandemic, and capturing this moment in time – a moment when we are confused in balancing hope and caution, fear and defiance, all couched in humility. So, the works we sing this summer address these emotions head on, and that makes me more excited than ever for a Month of Moderns because not only will we be together, but we’ll be mining every bit of what we’ve been through. Read more...

5 Questions with Matthew Neenan

Posted May 19, 2021

Dance World Premieres

A former principal dancer and Choreographer in Residence at Pennsylvania Ballet as well as the co-founder of Philadelphia’s beloved BalletX, Matthew Neenan has been called “fresh, touching, musical, original” with choreography that makes “dancers look vulnerable, openhearted and, above all, marvelously free.” (The New York Times) We can’t wait for Neenan to come to the Annenberg Center to explore intimacy in isolation in a site-specific world premiere on May 27. But first, let’s get to know more about him through just five questions. Enjoy!

What first got you into dance?
I was the stereotypical story for a young boy. My two older sisters danced at Boston Ballet School, therefore I was dragged to their ballet class almost every afternoon. I did not mind though, I was obsessed. I loved it so much and couldn’t wait to start classes once I was old enough. Read more...

Behind the Lens

Posted May 11, 2021

Did you know that our Bruce Montgomery Theatre was originally designed for film screening? Or that the Harold Prince Theatre, which is now our popular black box theatre space, was built as a TV studio? Film and media has a long history here at the Annenberg Center, and we are proud to be part of a University with a dynamic cinema and media studies program, not to mention many well-established alumni who have succeeded in the film industry!

If you have ever been curious to know more about what it was like for film students during the pandemic, we are pleased to share Sunday Night at the Movies: Behind the Lens with Penn Student Film Festival Winners. Featuring the top three student winners, Penn Cinema and Media Studies faculty members and alumni who worked on projects ranging from TV’s Reading Rainbow to films like Cruel Intentions, The Fast and The Furious and 13 Going on 30, it is a lively discussion of filmmaking during unusual times.

Checking in on #MyAnnenbergStory

Posted May 4, 2021

On April 8th, the 50th anniversary of the dedication of the Annenberg Center, we kicked off #MyAnnenbergStory, a multi-year celebration of 50 years of innovative artists and performances, our diverse, loyal audiences, and our Penn and greater Philadelphia community. We asked you to share what you love or remember about the Annenberg Center and we have greatly enjoyed seeing everything you’ve sent our way.

Chaz fondly remembers his time singing on our stage with Penn student a cappella group The Inspiration, while avid dance fan Linda is still amazed to have seen Twyla Tharp sitting three rows back, taking in her own company’s performance. Michael Novak, Artistic Director of the Paul Taylor Dance Company, remarked that since the company’s debut on our stage in 1984, Philadelphia audiences have experienced 35 beloved Taylor works, including two world premieres. Pamela feels like part of the family here, having sought the comfort of live music in difficult times and always leaving with smiles of joy. PHILADANCO’s esteemed founder, Joan Myers Brown shared of the company’s long history here and the pleasure of our continued partnership. Read more...