Considered to be one of the top showstopping theater cities around the U.S. with the oldest theater in America built in 1809, Philadelphia continues to entertain audiences centuries later with magical musicals, spectacular shows and outstanding orchestras and operas.
A Guide to Onstage Shows in Philadelphia:
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., by Opera News as establishing itself as “a model for innovation in the classical-music industry,” and by The New Yorker as “the most vital alternative to the Met on the East Coast.” Opera Philadelphia mixes traditional and new repertoire that engages the public – taking opera out of the opera house and onto the streets, into parks and museums and other interesting venues throughout the city. The season opens each September with a Festival, featuring world and company premieres, partnering with the Philadelphia Fringe Festival. In 2020, the opera company launched the Opera Philadelphia Channel, allowing fans to stream performances from home.
Upcoming performances: Opera Philadelphia’s untraditional 2021-2022 season included performances that fans could enjoy from the comfort of their homes by streaming new works created for the Opera Philadelphia Channel, including performances that celebrate Philadelphia’s historic pipe organs, an art film of Francis Poulenc’s La voix humaine and the cinematic adaptation of Henze’s El Cimarrón, and more. To learn more about the season’s digital offerings, click here.
Opera Philadelphia’s 2022-2023 season launches in September 2022. In February 2023, Opera Philadelphia Chorus and Orchestra will take center stage for a rarely-performed masterpiece, Carmina Burana + Credo (February 3 & 5, 2023). Then in the spring of 2023, a new production of La bohème (April 28 & 30 and May 5 & 7, 2023) will serve as a reminder that opera is a living, breathing art form.
The Philadelphia Orchestra
The legendary Philadelphia Orchestra is one of the finest music ensembles in the world with leaders such as Leopold Stokowski, who developed the “Philadelphia Sound,” and Eugene Ormandy, who toured the orchestra in China as global ambassadors. The “Fabulous Philadelphians” continue to break new ground under the direction of Yannick Nézet-Séguin.
Upcoming performances: The Philadelphia Orchestra continues to present works via their Digital Stage, which allows audiences from around the world to enjoy the sound of Philadelphia from the comfort of their homes.
The Philadelphia Orchestra’s 2022-2023 season includes performances for the holidays with Children’s Holiday Spectacular (December 10, 2022), The Muppet Christmas Carol in Concert (December 17 & 18, 2022), and The Glorious Sound of Christmas (December 21-23, 2022). Ring in the New Year with the Orchestra at the New Year’s Eve Celebration (December 31, 2022), then celebrate the Lunar New Year (January 6, 2023). The first half of 2023 is jam-packed with stellar performances including Brahms’s Piano Concerto No. 2 (January 19-21, 2023), Rachmaninoff 150 featuring Yuja Wang (January 26 & 27, February 4 & 5, 2023), Shaham Plays Brahms (February 9-11, 2023), Rachmaninoff’s Symphony No. 3 (February 23-25, 2022), and Emanuel Ax Plays Mozart (March 3-5, 2023). Don’t miss Marvel Studios’ Black Panther (March 17-19, 2023), as the Orchestra performs Ludwig Göransson’s Oscar-winning score from the groundbreaking film. Spring shows include Blessed Earth (March 30, April 1 & 2, 2023), Beethoven’s Symphony No. 3 (April 20 & 22, 2023), Symphonie fantastique (May 11-13, 2023), and many others. To explore the rest of the 2022-2023 season, click here.
The Kimmel Cultural Campus
The state-of-the-art performance venue, the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts is home to the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia and Philadelphia Chamber Music Society concerts and also hosts touring Broadway productions and world-renowned artists at historic venues and theaters including the Academy of Music, Miller Theater and Forrest Theater.
Upcoming performances: Shows at The Kimmel Center Cultural Campus include FRIENDS! The Musical Parody (April 19-20, 2023) which will bring the beloved TV sitcom to life on stage.
The Kimmel Center Cultural Campus’ 2022-2023 Broadway Philadelphia series kicks off in October 2022 and runs through September 2023. Tina – The Tina Turner Musical (November 22-December 4, 2022) and Blue Man Group (December 27-31, 2022) round out the year. The season picks back up in 2023 with Jagged Little Pill (January 3-15, 2023), A Soldier’s Play (January 24-February 5, 2023), Come From Away (February 7-12, 2023) and 1776 (February 14-26, 2023). Rolling into the spring are CATS (March 14-19, 2023) and SIX (March 21-April 9, 2023). Other shows include Jesus Christ Superstar (May 2-7, 2023), Beetlejuice (May 30-June 11, 2023), and Moulin Rouge! The Musical (July 5-30, 2023). The 2022-2023 Broadway season finishes strong with Disney’s The Lion King (August 16-September 10, 2023).
For the youngest of arts lovers, the Kimmel’s Family Discovery Series returns for its seventh year. With kid-friendly favorites and re-envisioned family classics, shows in 2022-2023 include Bluey’s Big Play (December 2–3, 2022), Blue Man Group (December 27–31, 2022), Divi Roxx Kids (February 25, 2023), KODO (March 7, 2023), Cats (March 14–19, 2023), Disney’s Winnie The Pooh: The New Musical Stage Adaption (March 23–26, 2023), and Step Afrika! (April 28, 2023).
Walnut Street Theatre
Founded in 1809, the Walnut Street Theatre is America’s oldest theater and 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 WST for Kids series and Independence Studio on 3 season.
Upcoming performances: The Walnut Street Theatre’s 2022-2023 Mainstage Shows include Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella (November 22, 2022 – January 1, 2023), Last of the Red Hot Lovers (January 10 – February 12, 2023), Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (February 14 – March 19, 2023), and Jimmy Buffett’s Escape to Margaritaville (March 28 – April 30, 2023). To learn more about the 2022-2023 lineup, click here.
Arden Theatre Company
Since 1988, Arden Theatre Company, a professional theatre in Old City, brings to life great stories by great storytellers. Productions include classics, new works, musicals and children’s theatre.
Upcoming performances: Arden Theatre Company is celebrating its 35th Anniversary during its 2022-2023 season. The season includes Every Brilliant Thing (November 3 – December 18, 2022). Productions in early 2023 include Clyde’s (January 26 – March 12, 2023) and August Wilson’s Radio Golf (March 16 – April 16, 2023). The season rounds out with performances of Violet (May 25 – June 25, 2023). For more information, click here.
Philadelphia Ballet (formerly Pennsylvania Ballet) was started in 1963 by George Balanchine protégée Barbara Weisberger and is considered one of America’s leading ballet companies, performing at the Academy of Music, the oldest opera house in the United States.
Upcoming performances: Philadelphia Ballet’s 2022-2023 season will feature 65 performances across six productions, including George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker (December 9-28, 2022), New Works (February 3-11, 2023), The Sleeping Beauty (March 2-12, 2023), Balanchine (March 16-19, 2023), and Coppélia (May 11-14, 2023).
Penn Live Arts (formerly Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts)
Founded in 1971, the Annenberg Center — now Penn Live Arts — is one of the nation’s foremost urban performing arts centers on the University of Pennsylvania campus and serves as a cultural destination in Philadelphia, offering a broad range of programs in theatre, music and dance. Rebranded as Penn Live Arts in 2021, the performing arts presenter seeks to continue the Annenberg Center’s 50-year history of being a multidisciplinary performing arts leader in Philadelphia while also deepening the connection with the University of Pennsylvania and upholding a commitment to presenting innovative national and international artists both inside the Center’s walls and beyond.
Upcoming performances: Continuing its multi-year 50th anniversary celebration, Penn Live Arts’ 2022-2023 season includes major residencies with the Negro Ensemble Company and Rennie Harris Puremovement. Shows and performances throughout the season include Dance Theatre of Harlem (January 20-21, 2023), and Paul Taylor Dance Company (April 21-22, 2023). The 2022-2023 season wraps up with Sw!ng Out (June 9-10, 2023), a high-energy show featuring swing dance and tap. To learn more about Penn Live Arts’ 2022-2023 season and for a full list of performances, click here.
The Philly POPS
The largest standalone pops orchestra in the United States, the Philly POPS is a 65-piece orchestra, under the direction of Todd Ellison, performing at both The Kimmel Center and the Met Philadelphia.
Upcoming performances: The Philly POPS and Comcast NBCUniversal presented Memorial Salute, the sixth annual free public Memorial Day Concert on May 27, 2022. The event kicked off the POPS’ popular Salute Series, which includes programs performed on American holidays which recognize those who serve our country, its cities, and communities. For the full season overview, click here.
The Philly POPS’ 2022-2023 season includes shows like A Philly POPS Christmas: Spectacular Sounds of the Season (December 3-17, 2022). In 2023, shows include Ella & Louis Sing Porgy and Bess & More! (February 17-19, 2023), POPS Rocks Paul Simon, James Taylor & Billy Joel (March 24-26, 2023), A Sondheim Celebration (April 21-23, 2023), and lastly POPS Rocks Hollywood: Bohemian Rhapsody, Rock of Ages & Tommy (May 19-21, 2023). The season will conclude with Star Wars: A Galaxy of Music (June 23-25, 2023). For the full 2022-2023 season overview, click here.
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.
Upcoming performances: For a full schedule of events at The Met Philadelphia, click here.
Philadelphia Theatre Company
Founded in 1974, Philadelphia Theatre Company has presented over 150 world and Philadelphia premieres, many of which have moved on to New York and other major cities, helping to earn Philadelphia a national reputation as a hub for new play development. The theater is housed in the Suzanne Roberts Theatre on the Avenue of the Arts.
Upcoming performances: Philadelphia Theatre Company’s 2022-2023 season called Song & Liberation includes shows Empathitrax (February 10 – March 5, 2023) by local writer and actress Ana Nogueira, who appeared on “The Vampire Diaries” and originated the role of Eliza in early workshops of Hamilton, and Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill (April 7-30, 2023), a modern classic about one of Billie Holiday’s final performances in the City of Brotherly Love. To learn more about the 2022-2023 season, click here.
PHILADANCO! The Philadelphia Dance Company
Celebrated around the world 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 most successful dance training programs in the nation, along with captivating performances at the Kimmel Center.
Upcoming performances: PHILADANCO! returns to the Kimmel Cultural Campus Perelman Theater stage in spring 2023 for Moving… Beyond Forward (April 21-23, 2023). For a full list of upcoming performances, click here.
The Curtis Institute of Music
The renowned, exclusive conservatory, the Curtis Institute trained the likes of Leonard Bernstein and Samuel Barber and offers student recital series, Curtis Symphony Orchestra, Curtis Opera Theatre, Family Concerts, and more.
Upcoming performances: The Curtis Institute of Music presents digital performances, including student recitals and ensembles, online via its Facebook and YouTube pages. For the latest calendar of performances, click here.
For more arts and culture experiences in Philadelphia, click here.
Cover photo: Philadelphia Orchestra, Yannick. Photo by C. Kendig.