Penn Live Arts Blog / Page / 17

Danú vocalist Nell Ní Chroinin keeps our fond memories of live performing arts going strong

Posted May 18, 2020

Penn Live Arts Recommends World Music

With only a handful of days left in May, it has now been about 10 weeks since we had to close our doors for the rest of the season. Before COVID-19, we were looking forward to announcing our 20/21 season in April and then finishing out the spring semester with a vibrant series of diverse, exciting performances. The annual joy of closing out one great season to then start another one feels like a distant memory now.

But it is times like this when we need artistic expression the most. Read more...

From Penn Today: Celebrated Penn alumnus John Legend surprises the Class of 2020 at the University’s virtual Commencement ceremony

Posted May 18, 2020

Special Features

Penn live-streamed its “first” 264th Commencement (an on-campus ceremony will be held for the Class of 2020 in May 2021) for graduates and their families across the city, nation and world. The celebration concluded with a stunning performance by graduating students in Penn’s A Cappella Council, and featured a special surprise guest: EGOT winner John Legend, C'99. Legend played piano while singing the iconic “The Red and Blue.” No doubt graduates will remember the performance, and the unprecedented occasion, for the rest of their lives.

Read the full story on Penn Today.

Spotlight on Priscilla Felten, Wharton '20

Posted May 14, 2020

Special Features

Photo courtesy of Priscilla Felten
The universe of performing arts is going to need talented and committed people like Priscilla Felten, W’20, when it emerges from the pandemic.

With a degree from the Wharton School and years of hands-on experience as both performer and highly-motivated intern, Felten will be uniquely positioned to figure out new ways for the entertainment industry to carry on when we return to the “new normal.” “There are a lot of open questions,” she says. “How can it be cost-effective for those that must sell a lot of tickets to survive? Will people even want to go into theaters or will they prefer to consume entertainment and culture from home? Will there be a hybrid of live performances and online streaming? How will artists stay safe onstage and off? How might policies and contracts change?” Read more...

Master the art of doodling with Mo Willems

Posted May 14, 2020


Parents of young children might recognize the name Mo Willems, but if you aren’t familiar, Willems is a beloved author, illustrator, animator and playwright. He is most recognized as a New York Times bestselling author, a Caldecott Medal recipient, an Emmy® winner for his work on Sesame Street and the inaugural Kennedy Center Education Artist-in-Residence. If you’re looking for fun yet simple ways to be creative at home, Willems is one of the top resources for engaging the whole family.

Currently, as part of his Kennedy Center residency, Willems and Disney Publishing Worldwide are producing a special video series called Thank You Thursdays!  Read more...

Penn honors composer Henry Threadgill with an Honorary Doctor of Music

Posted May 13, 2020

Special Features Penn Live Arts Recommends Jazz

Photo by Caitlin Ochs / The New York Times
Last year, Annenberg Center staff clocked in to work very early in the morning on Monday, May 20. The caterers wheeled in the continental breakfast at 4:30 AM. By 7 AM, Facilities had set up chairs and flags throughout the main lobby, and the Penn Bookstore arrived to begin setting up their regalia stations. Faculty members arrived around 8:30 to robe and mingle over bagels and coffee, and by 9 AM, President Gutmann made brief remarks to the 390 people that had gathered. By 9:30, everyone exited the Annenberg Center in an orderly fashion, and the 263rd Commencement Procession began, complete with marching bands blaring down Locust Walk. It was one of the most important celebrations of the academic year.

This year, the 264th Commencement will be held Monday, May 18th at 11 AM. Like every year since 2003, the event will be live-streamed; however, due to the unprecedented circumstances of COVID-19, this year’s celebration will take place exclusively on-line. Read more...

Stream Kun-Yang Lin/Dancers' Faith Project/The Door for a limited time

Posted May 13, 2020

Penn Live Arts Recommends Dance

This weekend, we recommend streaming Kun-Yang Lin/Dancers’ (KYL/D) 2018 original dance work Faith Project/The Door. From Saturday at 9 AM to Sunday at 11:30 PM, enjoy free access to KYL/D’s full-length performance that took place at the Esperanza Arts Center on Mar 6 of this year.

We chose to recommend Faith Project this week for several reasons. First, we had the pleasure of presenting KYL/D just last season as part of our dance series. The company performed an exciting mix of past and present favorites as well as the world premiere of Spring 101, a piece celebrating Kun-Yang Lin’s 101st choreographic work. Lin’s signature hybrid of Asian philosophies and Western culture was truly an 18/19 season highlight and we can always count on KYL/D for performances of beauty and grace. Read more...

ListenUp: World Music Playlist

Posted May 13, 2020

ListenUp World Music

Listen up to the styles and rhythms of an array of different cultures reflected in this week’s world music playlist. We showcase outstanding artists we welcomed in our 19/20 season—Angélique Kidjo, Sweet Honey in the Rock and Danú, as well as 47SOUL, who made their Philadelphia debut, and Jesse Cook, who made his Annenberg Center debut. And we bring you the brilliant blend of traditional and contemporary Mexican music of Annenberg Center favorite Lila Downs and Jarana Beat (who would have made their Annenberg Center debut), artists we were sorry to miss hearing this spring. Get ready to experience this colorful mix of some of the best artists that cross our stages!

Celebrate our Philadelphia Children's Festival's 35th birthday from home

Posted May 7, 2020

Penn Live Arts Recommends Children's Festival Family

From our 2019 Children's Festival
Photo by Mark Garvin
Even though we can’t be together for our Philadelphia Children’s Festival’s 35th birthday, we’re still celebrating from home with some of the best virtual content from this year’s performers. We look forward to seeing you at the 2021 Children’s Festival. Please enjoy! Read more...

Spot Gourmet Burgers owner Josh Kim responds to the COVID-19 pandemic by giving back to communities in need

Posted May 6, 2020

Children's Festival Special Features

Photo by Steven Falk / Philadelphia Inquirer
If you’ve been to the Philadelphia Children’s Festival in recent years, you know the Spot Gourmet Burgers food cart, which serves up the best burgers, fries and hot dogs, hands-down. Spot Burgers is owned by Josh Kim, and his food cart is one of the most well-loved additions to the Festival. In fact, Spot (and Kim’s companion hot dog cart, Winky’s) quickly became the Annenberg Center’s official, exclusive food vendor of the Festival. While he opened an actual brick-and-mortar restaurant on Girard Avenue in 2016, Kim still continues going out to events and festivals because he loves the human and community connection that has always been part of his work. Read more...

ListenUp: Children's Festival playlist

Posted May 6, 2020

Children's Festival Family ListenUp Music

This week, listen to one of our most lively playlists yet. Every year, the excitement of our Children’s Festival goes beyond our theatres with a fun mix of popular, kid-friendly songs playing in our lobby and outdoor plaza all day. From “Can’t Stop the Feeling” to “I’m a Believer,” get on your feet and dance to some of the best songs you would have heard at this week’s event.