Sun., Jan. 20
No theater company in Philadelphia presents a greater variety of genres and styles than the Arden Theatre Company. However, even for a company that prides itself on its diversity (the troupe’s mission is to tell stories on stage), the Arden’s production of Samuel Beckett’s absurdist comedy Endgame is a bit of a departure. A chilling portrait of a post apocalyptic world, the show’s two characters differences are so acute that on the surface they are at odds. In truth though the pair complement each other: Hamm (Scott Greer) can’t stand up; Clov (James Ijames) can’t sit down; Hamm is aggressive; Clov is passive. Alone they couldn’t survive. Artistic director Terry Nolen says the Arden selects classic plays “when there seems to a perfect match of actor and role.” In Greer and Ijames he would seem to have his actors, and if director Ed Sobel is at ease as he was with Superior Donuts and Clybourne Park, Endgame should be a winner. —J.C.R.
2pm. $36. Arden Theatre Company. 40 N. Second St. 215.922.1122. ardentheatre.org
Average Superstar Films
Jonesing to see a movie tonight and watching Netflix on your laptop just won’t do the trick? Grab a water ice, and find a seat as Average Superstar Films presents 10 short films tonight at the Troc. It will be a mix bag of genres including comedy, mockumentary, blaxploitation, animation and horror, all conceived, shot, and edited right here in Philadelphia. (OK, one filmmaker is from San Francisco and another is from Jersey but you get the idea). Film-buffs will get to see the premiere of The Visitation, along with Flesh Eaters, Wicked Wicked World, Setting Them Straight and Moronocaust. Still need more motivation to leave your house? After the screening, you’ll get a chance to score an autograph from the guest of honor, New Jack of Extreme Championship Wrestling. —Jessica Foley
6:30pm. $6. The Trocadero, 1003 Arch St. 215.922.6888. thetroc.com
Mon., Jan. 21
MLK Day of Service
Since the hard-won battle to make Martin Luther King Day a national holiday, many have been disappointed with the results. It seems a day of remembering great works for humanity has turned into just another day to sleep in. But we can do better—and Philly, at least, does. In 1996, U.S. Senator Harris Wofford and Todd Bernstein organized more than 1,000 MLK Day volunteers in Philadelphia, executing projects like the restoration of a Habitat for Humanity house. Since then, Philadelphia has set the standard, making MLK Day not just a holiday, but a day of service. Last year, Philly led the nation with 109,000 volunteers participating in 1,500 projects. This King Day, help Philly set the example of making a difference. Sign up to volunteer for a project at mlkdayofservice.org. You can even create your own project (guidance is available) for others to participate in. Rather than sleep in, why not live the dream? —Brad Forbes
Various locations. mlkdayofservice.org
Johnny Goodtimes has made quite a name for himself as one of Philadelphia’s foremost entertainers, the Quizmaster Laureate. Owing to this fact, he’s been featured at notable venues such as World Cafe Live, the Palestra, the TLA, and the Franklin Institute. However, Goodtimes is perhaps best known for hosting his renowned quizzo games at local bars throughout the city, which he’s been doing for over 10 years now. Come see what all the hype is about and enjoy dinner, drinks, and of course, fun. All players will get to indulge in three-dollar Kenzingers, as well as half off Prince Edward Island Mussels and fresh hummus. For the competitors amongst us, prizes will include gift certificates for North Star dining and concert tickets. All details aside though, let’s be realistic, who wouldn’t want to spend an evening with Philly’s self-proclaimed only true man of leisure? —A.T.
7pm. Free. North Star Bar. 2639 Poplar St. 215.787.0488. northstarbar.com
Tues., Jan. 22
Iris DeMent has plenty of patience. This fall, she released Sing the Delta, her first album of new material in 16 years. During that hiatus, music lovers had to be content with a few tongue-in-cheek duets DeMent recorded with folkie John Prine and a set of gospel tunes. It was well worth the wait. Faith is the record’s theme: having it, losing it and appreciating how it sustains loved ones, even when you don’t share their beliefs. DeMent’s primary instrument is her voice, but here, her demonstrative twang is accompanied by her piano-playing, which swells and rolls beneath most songs, lending them a churchy feel. Pedal steel guitar and Hammond B3 organ add embellishments, and low-key drumming lends a welcome bit of oomph. DeMent is unlikely to garner airplay on country radio, and that’s a shame, because songs like “If That Ain’t Love,” which is about faith, family and getting by, deserve a big audience. For this show, fans can see DeMent up close and personal. Don’t miss her; she might not make it to these parts again for awhile. —Raymond Simon
7:30pm. $32. World Cafe Live at The Queen, 500 N. Market St., Wilmington, Del. 302.994.1400. queen.worldcafelive.com
Philadelphia Theatre Company begins 2013 by looking back to 1968 in Katori Hall’s The Mountaintop. Mountaintop focuses on the final year of Dr. Martin Luther King’s life. In fact the time fame is far more compressed. It’s April, 3, 1968, and Dr. King is at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tenn. having just delivered his oratorical masterpiece, “I’ve been to the Mountaintop.” We expect him to be adrenalized following this monumental address, but his sagging body suggests otherwise. Exhausted from travel and the stress of constant death threats, Hall succeeds in her efforts to present King not as a savior, but as a man. Mountaintop is an intimate play that relies heavily on capabilities of the production’s designers. PTC’s Suzanne Roberts Theatre is much smaller than the giant Broadway house that dwarfed Hall’s play, and with local legends Jorge Cousineau (projections) and Matt Saunders (set) teaming with Broadway hotshots ESOSA (costumes), Ben Stanton (lighting) and Bart Fasbender (sound) the epic storm raging outside may make Sandy seem like a passing spring shower. —J.C.R.
6:30pm. $46. Suzanne Roberts Theatre, Broad and Lombard sts. 215.985.0420. philadelphiatheatrecompany.org
Calendar: March 25-April 1
PW's 2015 Philly Spring Guide