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5 Questions with Thomas Kraines & Kinan Abou-afach

Posted February 22, 2021

New Music

Cellist Thomas Kraines and cellist/oudist Kinan Abou-afach are joining forces on our stage on March 4. Kraines has graced our stage numerous times with the Daedalus Quartet, Penn’s quartet-in-residence. Abou-afach, whose musical output champions Arabic and Syrian traditions, was supposed to perform for us alongside the Daedalus Quartet back in April 2020 but that show was cancelled due to the pandemic. We are so excited these excellent musicians will share our stage soon, but first, let’s learn more about this duo in a special 5 Questions double feature. Read more...

Laughter, Love and a Lobby

Posted February 22, 2021

Nearly 50 years ago, the first chapter of a love story was written in our Zellerbach Theatre when our Board member Rick Feintuch, W’74, PAR’05, PAR’08 and his wife Merry Feintuch, W’74, PAR’05, PAR’08 went on their first date, leading to a long-lasting love and friendship. We are happy to share that with a recent gift from the couple, the new Feintuch Family Lobby at the Annenberg Center will officially be dedicated this spring as part of our 50th anniversary celebration.

Explore Rick and Merry's story >>

Digital dance abounds in February

Posted February 19, 2021

Penn Live Arts Recommends Dance Virtual Stage

Photo of Dance Theatre of Harlem by François Rousseau
We’re always eager to watch more dance. Luckily, companies near and far are continually producing new works and sharing past treasures. There’s particularly lots to love this month as virtual dance offerings are plentiful. Join us in enjoying these while they’re available!

Mark Morris Dance Group
Dance On! Video Vault archives
Available now

The Mark Morris Dance Group has reprised its Dance On! series from the summer which features archival collections of Morris’ rarely performed works. This month, two former company members have selected clips and excerpts from Rock of Ages (2004), I Don’t Want to Love (1996), Rhymes With Silver (1997) and V (2001).

Watch now


Checking in with some family favorites

Posted February 16, 2021

Circus Family Theatre World Music

Photo of MUMMENSCHANZ by Marco Hartmann
For decades, our family programming, Student Discovery Series and annual Philadelphia Children’s Festival have featured artists from around the world for performances that are at once entertaining and educational. As we miss hearing the delighted giggles and exuberant applause from our youngest audience members, we thought we’d check in with a few family favorites from the past two years and bring the show to you virtually. Enjoy a mesmerizing swing act in the Las Vegas desert by Cirque Mechanics; a vibrant exploration of Mexican music, dance and costuming by Mexico Beyond Mariachi; or a classic appearance by MUMMENSCHANZ from The Muppet Show in 1976. We can’t wait to see bright, smiling faces of all ages in our theatres again soon! Read more...

5 Questions with Michael Novak

Posted February 9, 2021


We continue our series aiming to discover more about Annenberg Center artists and others whom we find interesting in only five questions. Today, we hear from Michael Novak, Artistic Director of the Paul Taylor Dance Company. Novak danced with the company from 2010-2019 and became the second Artistic Director upon the death of Paul Taylor in 2018, working to continue Taylor’s vision and nurture the future of modern dance. Read on to learn more and join us for this beloved company’s performance on February 18, including an interactive, post-show Q&A with Novak himself!

1. What is your earliest memory of dancing?

My earliest memory of dancing was "choreographing" (a term I use loosely) a dance with a friend to a song in their basement to some great tunes from the 80s. We were probably seven or eight years old. I don’t think we had any clue what we were doing, but I remember we had a lot of fun. Read more...

Paul Taylor: A Video Retrospective

Posted February 2, 2021


Photo by Paul B. Goode
The Paul Taylor Dance Company has graced our stage many times over the years. So, while we eagerly await the company’s performance on February 18, we’re taking a look at the amazing breadth of Taylor’s choreography over the years. Enjoy!

Esplanade (1975): Footage from 2020

See this performed live on our stage on February 18!


5 Questions with Samara Joy & Pasquale Grasso

Posted January 28, 2021

Penn Live Arts Debuts Jazz Virtual Stage

She just won the prestigious Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Vocal Competition. His guitar technique has garnered high praise from jazz great Pat Metheny. Together, with astonishing talent that belies their youth, Samara Joy and Pasquale Grasso will make their Annenberg Center debut on February 4. In this special double edition of our 5 Questions series, let’s learn more about Samara and Pasquale.

Samara Joy:

1. Name a few artists you love that everyone should check out.

Everyone should check out Sarah Vaughan, Phineas Newborn, and Ben Webster, just to name a few.


Remembering Julia Lang Mally W’83

Posted January 26, 2021

Ed Mally, W’83, and sons, David Mally, ENG’15, GEN’16 (center), and Adam Mally, ENG’13, GEN’14, GR’25 (right)
As we move into 2021 and look towards a brighter future with in-person performing arts, we are also reflecting on where we were at this time last year: all together, in our Zellerbach Theatre. One year ago, on January 31, 2020, we gathered with our board member Ed Mally W’83, along with a group of his family and friends, to honor the memory of Ed’s late wife on her birthday. The evening was the official dedication of the Julia L. Mally, W’83 Stage, and a prelude to Spanish Harlem Orchestra’s performance on the newly named stage. Since then, we have presented many more artists on the Julia L. Mally, W’83 Stage, from before we temporarily closed our doors for the COVID-19 pandemic through now, as we continue to stream live, real-time performances. Read more...

Join Pilobolus to connect through balance

Posted January 20, 2021


Balance is an important aspect of our daily lives. Most people don’t notice an issue with balance until they fall, but it begins to decline between the ages of 40 and 50. There are simple, accessible exercises you can use now to maintain and even improve your balance and stability before it becomes a problem.

There are several reasons to begin balance training:

  • Age-related loss of balance – Falls are the leading cause of injuries in older adults, and most don’t think about balance until they fall. Improving balance increases independence and quality of life.
  • Recovering from injuries – Rebuilding balance is an often overlooked but crucial component in recovering from injury.
  • Living a sedentary lifestyle –Too many of us sit all day staring at screens, dissociating from our creativity and body. Read more...

Adapting and optimizing live performance for the virtual stage

Posted January 15, 2021

Dance Music Virtual Stage World Premieres

Pam Tanowitz Dance performing Annenberg Solos: Sites 1-4 in the empty Zellerbach Theatre
Last September, when we first announced our fall digital season, I was overjoyed that after months without live performances, the Annenberg Center would be joining the world of livestream events. Within our line-up, I was especially interested in what Pam Tanowitz Dance, a company known for its “fascinating uses of stage space” (The New York Times), would do with our completely empty Zellerbach Theatre. Tanowitz did not disappoint with her fascinating world premiere of Annenberg Solos: Sites 1-4. The piece featured four solos performed in unconventional areas of the theatre such as backstage and the wings or alongside empty audience seats. Even the audio for the piece was interesting as it included moments of silence, discordant “soundscapes” rather than actual music and the sounds of Tanowitz herself calling out stage cues, intentionally patched into the livestream as part of the work. One might argue that it was a piece built only for livestream and only for an empty theatre, which made me consider the art of a livestream performance and explore creative ways that venues and artists have adapted spaces for other uses. Many, like Tanowitz, have even optimized their work specifically for digital viewing. Read more...