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Performing Arts in Philadelphia

January 10, 2024

Home to the Avenue of the Arts and the oldest theater in America, built in 1809, Philadelphia — considered to be one of the top show-stopping theater cities in the U.S — continues to entertain audiences centuries later with magical musicals, spectacular shows, and outstanding orchestras. Here’s your guide to performing arts in Philadelphia.

Ensemble Arts Philly

Neighborhood: Center City
Address: 300 S Broad St.

The outside of the Kimmel Center. Cars drive by on the street below. The night sky appears blue and purple. Street lights light up the exterior of the building.

Kimmel Center. Photo courtesy of The Kimmel Center.

The state-of-the-art performance venue, the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts is home to several performing arts organizations, including the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, and Opera Philadelphia. The Philadelphia Chamber Music Society also holds its concerts at the Kimmel. Touring Broadway productions and world-renowned artists grace the stages within Ensemble Arts Philly‘s historic venues and theaters, including the Academy of Music, Miller Theater, and Forrest Theatre.

Opera Philadelphia

Neighborhood: Center City
Address: Ensemble Arts Philly, 300 S Broad St.

Philadelphia’s opera company has been hailed by The New York Times as “one of the most creative and ambitious companies” in the U.S. and a “hotbed of operatic innovation.” Opera Philadelphia mixes traditional and new repertoire that engages the public – taking opera out of the opera house and onto the streets, parks, museums, and other exciting venues throughout the city. Opera Philadelphia opens its annual season each September with a Festival, featuring world and company premieres, partnering with the Philadelphia Fringe Festival.

The Philadelphia Orchestra

Neighborhood: Center City
Address: Ensemble Arts Philly, 300 S Broad St.

The Philadelphia Orchestra performs on stage. Musicians are shown holding instruments and reading music off of black and white stands.

The Philadelphia Orchestra and Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin were awarded the Grammy for Best Orchestral Performance in 2022 for their recording of Florence Price’s First and Third Symphonies. Photo by J. Griffin for the Philadelphia Orchestra.

Led by revolutionary conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin, the Philadelphia Orchestra is one of the United States Big Five orchestras that led the field in musical excellence. Each season, world-renowned musicians perform works by iconic composers of the past and the leading innovators of today.

Philadelphia Ballet

Neighborhood: Center City
Address: Ensemble Arts Philly, 300 S Broad St.

Four rows of ballerinas in white costumes perform on stage with a moon and night sky as the backdrop in a production of Swan Lake.

Philadelphia Ballet Swan Lake. Photo by A. Iziliaev.

Considered one of America’s leading ballet companies, Philadelphia Ballet was founded in 1963 by George Balanchine protégée Barbara Weisberger. The ensemble performs at the Academy of Music, the oldest opera house in the United States, and the Perelman Theatre, both a part of Ensemble Arts Philly.

PHILADANCO! The Philadelphia Dance Company

Neighborhood: Center City
Address: Ensemble Arts Philly, 300 S Broad St.

Celebrated worldwide for its innovation, creativity, and preservation of predominantly African American traditions in dance, PHILADANCO! The Philadelphia Dance Company is known for breaking barriers and building bridges across cultural divides. Founded in 1970, the West Philadelphia-based non-profit organization provides one of the nation’s most successful dance training programs, along with captivating performances.

The Met Philadelphia

Neighborhood: Fairmount
Address: 858 N Broad St.

A silhouette of a woman is shown to the right. She stands with her left arm and hand in the air. A band is on stage performing in the distance. In front of the stage, seats are packed with people attending the live music event. Bright lights are overhead the performers. People watch from gold theater boxes off to the left and right.

View from Grand Salle Box Seating. Photo courtesy of The Met Philadelphia.

Formerly the Philadelphia Metropolitan Opera House, The Met Philadelphia was originally built in 1908 by opera impresario Oscar Hammerstein. The grand venue now hosts a variety of local, national and international touring acts, including comedians, solo artists, and chart-topping musical groups.

Walnut Street Theatre

Neighborhood: Center City
Address: 825 Walnut St.

The exterior of the Walnut Street Theatre is shown. Above Walnut St Theatre, it reads America's Oldest Theatre. American flags are hung on flagpoles outside of the theater and wave in the wind. A man and a woman are shown standing outside of the theater.

The Walnut Street Theatre is America’s oldest theater and is found just a short walk from Independence Hall along Walnut Street. Photo courtesy of Walnut Street Theatre.

Founded in 1809, the Walnut Street Theatre is America’s oldest theater. It is also the official State Theatre of Pennsylvania and a National Historic Landmark. Walnut Street Theatre produces an exciting season of Broadway-quality musicals and plays, along with its acclaimed Walnut Street Theatre for Kids series.

The Curtis Institute of Music

Neighborhood: Center City
Address: 1726 Locust St.

A piano is shown in the middle of a stage. A seat is shown to the left of it. Empty chairs are shown in front.

Curtis Institute of Music. Photo by D. Swanson.

The renowned, exclusive conservatory, the Curtis Institute of Music trained the likes of Leonard Bernstein and Samuel Barber. The school offers student recital series, Curtis Symphony Orchestra, Curtis Opera Theatre, Family Concerts, and more.

Philadelphia Theatre Company

Neighborhood: Center City
Address: 480 S Broad St.

The front of a theater is shown at night. Nearby street lights are on. The street is clear in front of the theater. Large windows show inside the space. Stairs are shown leading up.

Suzanne Roberts Theater. Photo courtesy of Philadelphia Theatre Company.

Founded in 1974, Philadelphia Theatre Company has presented world and Philadelphia premieres, many of which have moved on to New York and other major cities. Through these successes, Philadelphia has earned a national reputation as a hub for new play development. The performing arts organization performs in the Suzanne Roberts Theatre on the Avenue of the Arts.

Arden Theatre Company

Neighborhood: Old City
Address: 40 N 2nd St.

A large sign hangs overhead the entrance and reads Arden. A street sign is off to the right reading Filbert St. The building is made of bricks and appears to be a brownish red with a window on the side and a glass door.

Photo courtesy of Arden Theatre Company.

Since 1988, Arden Theatre Company, a professional theatre in Old City, has brought to life great stories by great storytellers. Productions include classics, new works, musicals and children’s theatre.

Penn Live Arts

Neighborhood: University City
Address: 3680 Walnut St.

This photo is taken from the stage, looking out to the empty theater. There is a faint purple glow on the stage and the empty seats in the space.

Zellerbach Theatre. Photo by Mark Garvin.

Founded in 1971, Penn Live Arts (formerly known as the Annenberg Center for the performing arts) is one of the nation’s foremost urban performing arts centers. Located on the University of Pennsylvania campus and serving as a cultural destination in Philadelphia, Penn Live Arts offers a broad range of theatre, music, and dance programs.  Penn Live Arts also strives to deepen the connection with the University of Pennsylvania community and uphold a commitment to presenting innovative national and international artists both inside the Center’s walls and beyond.


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