Who has time this time of year for a night out at the theater? We do, if it means catching one of the final performances of Phillip Brown in The Royale, or reveling in the schmaltz of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella, or laughing our buttocks off at Jen Childs and company in the annual return of This is the Week that Is. It’s also First Friday, both in Old City and, for the first time ever, along W. South Street. And, of course, the holidays.
Or, if you’re feeling less self-indulgent and more selfless: Here are many, many big and small ways to help make Philadelphia the city we all deserve.
🎭 THINGS TO DO THIS WEEK & WEEKEND IN PHILLY
FIRST FRIDAY ON SOUTH STREET. This is the first-ever First Friday among iconic and newer South Street bars Bob & Barbara’s, Rex, Tio Flores, Jet, Founding Fathers and more businesses takes place December 2, 6 – 8pm. Don’t miss classic and fancy Citywide Specials (where Prosecco stands in for Pabst Blue Ribbon and R. Jelenik Fernet for Jim Beam), live music, giveaways, shopping. Free. W. South Street from 15th to 17th Street.
DRAMA AT THE ROYALE. Philadelphia actor (and theater teacher) Phillip Brown stars as Jack Johnson in Marco Ramirez’ drama inspired by the first African American heavyweight world boxing champion, set in the early 20th century. Through December 11. $29-$39. St. Stephen’s Theater, 923 Ludlow Street.
THIS IS THE WEEK THAT IS. From December 1 through 31, 1812 Productions’s always hilarious, ever-updating, annual end-of-the-year news comedy show feels a bit like SNL’s Weekend Update, with a splash of Mama’s Family, by way of Philly. Jennifer Childs is the genius behind this LOL fest, with close assists from Sean Close, Pax Ressler, Jackie Soro, Lexi Thammavong, Brenson Thomas and Robyn Unger. $40-$45. Plays & Players Theater, 1714 Delancey Street.
THE TINA TURNER MUSICAL. Wondering What Love’s Got to Do with It? Find your answer in a Broadway musical that delivers Tina Turner’s life story, set to her greatest hits, through December 4. (ASL performance December 2.) Tickets $20 to $159. Academy of Music, 240 S. Broad Street.
REVISIT … ZIPPERHEAD. The iconic 80s punk emporium at 4th and South reopens as an homage to what it once was: effing cool. On November 30 from noon to 5pm, the new South Off Center becomes a flexible space for office space, gathering, and exhibitions like Keep an Open Mind: A Zipperhead Retrospective. (If you don’t know who the Dead Milkmen are, Google them.) 407 South Street.
RODGERS AND HAMMERSTEIN’S CINDERELLA. Not the Disney version — any of them. Instead, the revamped Cinderella at the Walnut Street Theatre has music from the 1950s (courtesy Richard Rodgers, and Oscar Hammerstein II) and a new book (credit Douglas Carter Beane), and, yes, the same outcome. But don’t you love a princess fairytale romance? Through December 31, times vary.
$25-$117. 825 Walnut Street.
❄️ WINTER FUN STARTING THIS WEEK
🎄 CHRISTMAS TREE LIGHTING AT CITY HALL. Philadelphia City Hall Christmas tree lighting ceremony takes place around nightfall on December 1, on the building’s North Apron. Broad Street and JFK Boulevard.
🕎 VISIT PHILADELPHIA HOLIDAY PARADE. It’s the second year for this after-dark Center City procession, which includes both Mr. and Mrs. Claus and floats for Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and the Lunar New Year. Balloons and marching bands, too. December 3, 5 p.m. Free. 2nd and Market streets to City Hall.
🎅🏽 PHILLY POPS CHRISTMAS. Sadly, it’s the last year for this born-in-1979 orchestra to play popular holiday tunes for Philly, as the POPS plan to shut down after this season. Catch their rollicking Christmas finale, December 3 through 17 at the Kimmel. Conductor David Abell, Hamilton’s Mandy Gonzalez, Jordan Donica, the Philadelphia Boys Choir, St. Thomas Gospel Choir, and Santa will be there. $35-$167. 300 S. Broad Street
🎁 MAKERS MARKETS
- WINTER MARKET AT THE GATEWAY GARDEN. The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society puts on a market of local makers on the edge of West Philly, December 1, 11am – 2pm. Handmade accessories, ceramics, skincare … warm drinks, too. 32nd and Market streets.
- HOLIDAY MARKETS AT THE PIER. For three Saturdays, Cherry Street Pier hosts extra artisans, vendors and makers to help you get the whole list checked off. December 3, 10 & 17, noon – 5pm. 121 N. Columbus Boulevard.
- TRANS ART MARKET. The TransArtMart gathers some of Philly’s top trans makers in the West Gym of the Bok Building, December 3 & 4, noon – 5pm. A shopping experience to be proud of. 821 Dudley Street.
- HOLIDAY BIZARRE & FLEA MARKET. On December. 4, noon – 4pm, a purposely misspelled sale of new and gently used holiday decorations, jewelry, games, more benefits local animal rescue and shelter efforts. S. 9th and Christian streets.
- 🎅🏽 CHRISTMAS VILLAGE IN LOVE PARK + CITY HALL. Vendors line City Hall on two sides and fill LOVE Park through December 24, selling irresistible German and Ukranian ornaments, mugs of spiced wine, open-faced raclette sandwiches on crusty bread, Belgian fries, sweets … gifts galore: pottery, jewelry, candles, pet things, Eagles stuff. At City Hall only: a double-decker carousel, Ferris wheel and kiddie train. 15th Street and JFK Boulevard.
MORE WINTER — HOLIDAY — FUNChristmas Village. Photo by J. Fusco for Visit Philadelphia.