Raise the Curtain: 30+ Can't-Miss Shows on Philly Stages This Fall & Winter
The best venues for live theater, dance and more in Philadelphia & the Countryside...
Philadelphia has a rich history of performing arts, including at the Walnut Street Theatre , the oldest continuously operating theater in the United States.
Today the epicenter for live performances is the Avenue of the Arts , the stretch of South Broad Street between City Hall and South Street. There you can feel the energy each night as theatergoers, orchestra fans, and dance and opera lovers funnel into the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts , the Academy of Music , The Wilma Theater and the Miller Theater . After performances, you can see theatergoers, orchestra fans, opera lovers, dance aficionados and artists themselves spill onto the street to make their way to their next stop: dinner, drinks, dancing, you name it.
Elsewhere, spaces devoted to experimental ventures in both the city and the surrounding region specialize in popular musicals, original creations, children’s theater and more.
For fall 2022 and winter 2023, don’t sleep on ordering tickets to performances of Les Misérables , Jagged Little Pill and Annie , as well as exciting intimate performances at The Drake , Penn Live Arts , Act II Playhouse and more. Plus, get excited for one of the city’s biggest annual theater events: the Fringe Festival (September 8 – October 2, 2022).
Read on for a guide to the best performing arts venues in Greater Philadelphia, as well as the can’t-miss shows and performances slated for fall 2022 and winter 2023.
This gilded, crystal-chandeliered, velvet-curtained, 160-plus-year-old theater plays host to Opera Philadelphia, Philadelphia Ballet, Broadway Philadelphia and others — and is always worth the price of admission.
- Les Misérables: Journey back to the drama and upheaval of 19th-century France in Cameron Mackintosh’s production of this Tony Award-winning musical tour de force (November 2-13, 2022).
- Tina: The Tina Turner Musical: Rock out to Tina’s greatest hits with this rollicking musical from Pulitzer Prize-winning Katori Hall (November 22 – December 4, 2022).
- Jagged Little Pill: Local author (and former Visit Philly staffer!) Eric Smith co-wrote the accompanying book for this powerful Alanis Morissette-infused show , which was nominated for 15 Tonys and recently won a Grammy (January 3-15, 2023).
Noted for both premieres and popular works, the Arden presents a main stage series for adults, as well as captivating productions for children. The theater has garnered much acclaim, including nine “Best of Philly” awards from Philadelphia magazine.
- The Glass Menagerie: Tennessee Williams’ tale of family, dreams and illusions is the play that catapulted the playwright and screenwriter to fame (October 6 – November 6, 2022).
- Clyde’s: In the regional premiere of the Tony-nominated play by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Lynn Nottage, expect redemption and hope in an unlikely place: a sandwich shop for truckers in Reading, Pennsylvania (January 26 – March 12, 2023).
- Death of a Driver: In the regional premiere of this play by Will Snider , a young engineer travels to Kenya to improve the country’s highways — but faces unexpected consequences (October 28 – November 20, 2022).
- The Last Parade: In this world premiere , three generations of a Russian Jewish family living in Kyiv in the ’90s decide if they should risk moving to America (January 27 – February 19, 2023).
A 300-seat theater with retractable seating, FringeArts hosts contemporary performance, experimental concerts and other events throughout the year. The onsite restaurant, La Peg , makes for a great dinner-and-a-show experience.
- Fringe Festival: This annual monthlong celebration showcases more than 1,000 performances throughout the city — all curated by Fringe Arts. Some of the most-anticipated events for 2022 taking place at FringeArts: Spokaoke , a karaoke-like experience that asks brave participants to reenact historic speeches in front of a packed audience; and the U.S. premiere of celebrated French choreographer Jérôme Bel’s self-titled choreographed autobiography . (September 8 – October 2, 2022).
This Shubert-owned theater bears the name of Edwin Forrest, a 19th-century Shakespearean actor and Philadelphia native. One of the city’s premier venues for more than 90 years, the Forrest frequently hosts touring productions of Broadway shows, winter through spring.
- A Soldier’s Play: This 2020 Tony-winning Best Revival of a 1982 Pulitzer Prize-winning thriller centers on the murder of a Black seargeant on a ’40s-era Louisiana Army base (January 24 – February 5, 2023).
- 1776: Catch a riveting new production of this Tony-winning musical about the birth of America, from American Repertory Theater at Harvard University and Roundabout Theatre Company (February 14-26, 2023).
Architect Rafael Viñoly designed this Avenue of the Arts’ gem , home to The Philadelphia Orchestra and more regional and international masters of world, pop, jazz, classical, theater and dance.
- Rachmaninoff 150 featuring Yuja Wang: In 1927, Rachmaninoff premiered his Piano Concerto No. 4 with The Philadelphia Orchestra. Now, see Yuja Wang, one of the world’s best pianists, bring the concertos to life in a celebration of Rachmaninoff’s 150th birthday. (January 26 – February 5, 2023).
- A Modern Carmen Fantasy: Feel the drama in an energetic exploration of famed Russian composer Rodion Shchedrin’s Carmen Suite as interpreted by powerhouse local dance company Brian Sanders’ JUNK (March 10-12, 2023).
- Annie: Get ready to laugh and cry in this rendition of the classic musical about a charming redhead orphan finding her way, directed by Jenn Thompson (October 1-16, 2022).
- CATS: Even if the movie was (understandably) panned, the live show — which won seven Tony Awards — is still an unmissable cultural event . (March 14-19, 2023).
One of the nation’s most honored Black professional theater companies, New Freedom Theatre has staged productions from James Baldwin, Ossie Davis, Charles Fuller, Ntozake Shange, August Wilson and Leroi Jones, and been instrumental in the theatrical formation of hundreds of young Black Philadelphians, including Hamilton star Leslie Odom Jr. With a new CEO, local hip-hop artist Dice Raw (real name: Karl Jenkins), the theater heads into a new era. With producer, songwriter and entrepreneur CEO Karl “Dice Raw” Jenkins now at the helm, the theater heads into a new era.
- The Last Jimmy: This stage play unflinchingly investigates the failures of the criminal justice system, issues of mass incarceration and the modern prison industrial complex (virtual).
- Forgotten Founding Fathers: This production explores the untold story of the many pivotal contributions made by former slaves before, during and after the Revolutionary War (virtual).
Formerly known as The Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, Penn Live Arts is one of the nation’s top urban university performing arts centers, putting on all genres of cultural performance. Jazz, world music, contemporary dance, touring theater and more make the venue a place to explore what the organization describes as “adventuresome perspectives on contemporary issues.”
- Ravi Coltrane Quintet: The Music of John & Alice Coltrane: Soak in the sounds of the saxophonist Ravi Coltrane, son of Alice and John, in the Philadelphia premiere of his Cosmic Music program (Saturday, October 22, 2022).
- Dance Theatre of Harlem: Don’t miss the world premiere of William Forsythe’s inventive Blake Works IV (The Barre Project) , which began as a digital endeavor at the height of the pandemic (January 20-21, 2023).
The home of the Philadelphia Theatre Company is a hotspot for theater, dance and accessible performances for adult audiences.
- The Tattooed Lady: This production, with music and lyrics by Max Vernon, explores the vast disparities and deep connections between generations of women (October 28 – November 20, 2022).
- Empathitrax: This sci-fi story by Ana Nogueira is a dark comedy about a couple turning to futuristic pharmaceuticals to save their relationship (February 10 – March 5, 2023).
One of the oldest continuously running theaters in the United States, the Plays & Players Theatre opened as The Little Theatre in 1913. Its location on a quiet, residential street adds to its charm — as do the comedic antics of theater troupe 1812 Productions, whose annual holiday romp, This Is the Week That Is…, has been a Philly favorite for more than a decade. Upstairs, Skinner Studio offers additional programming and access to Quig’s Pub.
- Broads: Grab your tickets for a fun and lively cabaret which honors legendary comedic ladies like Mae West, Moms Mabley and Sophie Tucker from the ’20s through ’60s (January 26 – February 26, 2023).
Founded in 1808, the oldest continuously operating theater in the country is a National Historic Landmark that produces musicals on its main stage and indie productions in its Independence Studio.
- ROCKY, the Musical: Yo, Philly. Get yourself a seat for the highly anticipated Broadway musical version of the ROCKY movie at its premiere — and get majorly pumped to Eye of the Tiger (opens October 4, 2022).
- Rodgers and Hammerstein’s CINDERELLA: Pack your glass slippers for the latest Broadway adaptation of the classic featuring the book by playwright Douglas Carter Beane (opens November 22, 2022).
The Wilma is known for adventurous live art that engages audiences in imaginative reflections on the complexities of contemporary life.
- Those With 2 Clocks: This irreverent, adults-only variety show featuring Tall Order (a theater collaboration between Jenn Kidwell, Jess Conda and Mel Krodman) is a comedic send-up of the patriarchy (October 6-23, 2022).
- Kiss: In this compelling cross-cultural play , directed by Syrian-born University of the Arts professor Fadi Skeiker, a group of American actors attempt to perform a Syrian soap opera (January 31 – February 19, 2023).
Ambler’s award-winning ACT II Playhouse regularly draws patrons from Philadelphia and beyond for its eclectic theater productions in an intimate setting.
- Eleanor: Check out the regional premiere unspooling the major events and behind-the-scenes details of the life of First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt (October 25 – November 20, 2022).
- Steel Magnolias: Take a spin at the beauty salon chair in this charming Southern tale of friendship overcoming hardship in Louisiana (January 31 – February 26, 2023).
Overlooking the Delaware River, this 300-seat Bucks County theater , housed in a former movie theater, stages hundreds of shows each year, including Mainstage productions, a summer music fest series, a Christmas show and special events.
- A Leg Up: This silly, slapstick comedy by Ken Kaissar follows the dysfunctional world of wealthy Charles as he attempts to navigate a divorce, a pregnant mistress and the fact that his family money has run out. All his hopes rest on the “XR3000,” an intelligent prosthetic leg that’s running amok (September 20 – October 9, 2022).
- Clue: In this classic comedic whodunnit , spend some time with your faves Mrs. Peacock and Professor Plum as they attempt to solve a murder — before it’s too late (November 1-20, 2022).
Three Broadway producers have taken over this historic theater housed in an 18th-century gristmill. Together, they’ve revived the storied scene by opening year-round and arranging for original plays, world premieres, musicals, solo performances, live music, youth programs and more, including the Deck Restaurant & Bar.
- Evita: This spectacular musical with tunes by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice explores the life story of the former First Lady of Argentina (September 23 – October 30, 2022).
This nearly 500-capacity theater was built almost a century ago and served as Media ’s largest movie theater. Fast forward 100 years, and The Media Theatre produces musicals and hosts comedy shows and kid-friendly performances.
- Rent: This hit rock musical centered around artists in the East Village won the Tony Award for Best Musical and the Pulitzer Prize for Drama (September 28 – October 30, 2022).
- The Sound of Music: This enchanting Rodgers & Hammerstein drama set in Salzburg features some of the most beloved musical theater songs of all time. (November 16, 2022 – Jan 8, 2023).
Since 1974, People’s Light has produced an eclectic mix of shows, from Macbeth and Pride and Prejudice to the world premieres of Such Things as Vampires and The Harassment of Iris Malloy . In addition to staged shows, People’s Light also hosts classes for adults and kids.
- Mushroom: In a world-premiere play from Pulitzer Prize-finalist and Mare of Easttown cast member Eisa Davis, the lives of the immigrant community in Kennett Square are thrown into upheaval (September – October 16, 2022).
- Alice in Wonderland: A Musical Panto: In this high-spirited musical “panto,” the performers of People’s Light create a brand-new interpretation of the classic children’s tale, featuring well-known local drag performer Eric Jaffe as The Cheshire Cat (November 16, 2022 – January 1, 2023).