Devoted parents will want to treat their well-read youngsters to the Arden Children’s Theatre production of
Ferdinand the Bull, which runs April 11-May 13. As timely today as it was back in 1936, The Story of Ferdinand
the Bull (written by Munro Leaf and Robert Lawson) celebrates the power of individuality while subtly conveying a
message of non-violence. The peace-loving Ferdinand—a bull who prefers taking care of his flowers to bullfighting—
comes to life in this vibrant flamenco-flavored musical rich in comical characters, witty wordplay and lively music.
Created by nationally acclaimed playwright Karen Zacarias and composer Deborah Wicks La Puma, this version of the
popular story gains emotional depth by paralleling the saga of a young boy, Duquito Danilo, who dreams of being a dancer while his
father has plans to make him a great Spanish bullfighter. The story is told through dynamic songs and dialogue, vivid backdrops and plenty
of Spanish flavor. Kids and adults will be carried away by the lively beats of “Toro Tango,” “Bully Is What A Bull Should Do,” “Bootiful
Flowers” and other numbers. Initially, a colorful fabric backdrop depicts a rural setting where Ferdinand enjoys tending to his flowers.
Then elements of the story seem to slide or float in and out of the set—Ferdinand’s beloved tree, a cityscape of Madrid. And in a visual
effect sure to delight youngsters, flowers magically “sprout” from the set. Performances feature a post-show Q&A with the cast. Recommended
for children ages 5 and up.
$26-$30. Arden Theatre Company, 40 N. 2nd St., Philadelphia. Call (215) 922-1122 or visit ardentheatre.org.
Choral and cultural harmony will ensue April 14, when the Philadelphia Songwriters Project presents Beyond Measure at Church of the Savior in Wayne. Two years in the making, the event features a unique convergence of choirs and vocal ensembles performing songs composed by a number of locally and not-so-locally grown talents. The bill includes the Anna Crusis Women’s Choir, SheWho, Tribe 1 and The Monica McIntyre Ensemble, the Neo Men’s Choir, and more. Covering the spectrum of jazz, rock, folk, blues, gospel, country and pop, the dozen songs were selected out of almost 200 submissions. 8 p.m. $25-$35. Church of the Savior, 651 N. Wayne Ave., Wayne. Visit phillysongwriters.com or call (610) 896-7664.
Caught on Film
Roll out the red carpet and hold back the paparazzi—the 16th annual Philadelphia Film Festival is coming to the ’burbs. April 9-12, the Bryn Mawr Film Institute will serve as an afternoon and evening venue, showcasing many of the works that appeared at Sundance earlier this year. To jumpstart the festival, BMFI hosted “An Evening With the Curators” last month. The special preview event spotlighting the curators who will help navigate festival-goers through the approximately 300 features, documentaries, shorts screened during the 14-day event, which in the past has welcomed Susan Sarandon (pictured) and other Hollywood heavyweights. Curators spoke about their areas of expertise, from animation and documentaries to Asian action films and locally produced independent. For show times and tickets, call (267) 765-9700 or visit phillyfests.com.