While many productions have primarily gone virtual or paused altogether, there are glimmers of hope for an afternoon looking at paintings, listening to a comedian or hearing a bit of music – maybe outside and 6 feet away from the next family.
This list has a few ideas throughout the state, wherever you might find yourself this fall and early winter to take in a live (or live-ish) show.
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Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens
This is an immersive art environment completely covered with mosaics by artist Isaiah Zagar. He used handmade tiles, bottles, bicycle wheels, mirror, and international folk art. The Gardens have two indoor galleries and a bi-level outdoor sculpture garden.
- Dates: 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Wednesday through Monday. Tours at 10 a.m. Wednesdays and Fridays.
- Tickets: Reserve in advance. $15 for adults; $12 for students, military and seniors; $8 for ages 6-12; free for 5 and under.
- Address: 1020 South St., Philadelphia
Wharton Esherick Museum
Set on 12 wooded acres on Valley Forge Mountain, the museum campus is comprised of multiple buildings with paintings from the famed American artist Wharton Esherick.
- Dates: 2 p.m. Thursday through Sunday
- Tickets: Reservations need to be made in advance (maximum of four people). Adults: $15; 65 and older: $13; students: $12; children 12 and younger: $8; members: free.
- Website: whartonesherickmuseum.org
- Address: 1520 Horseshoe Trail, Malvern, Pennsylvania
Institute of Contemporary Art
The Milford Graves exhibition, “A Mind-Body Deal,” celebrates the jazz musician’s groundbreaking work with artists like Lou Reed, Min Tanaka and John Zorn. As a young drummer, he performed at John Coltrane’s funeral.
- Dates: The Milford Graves exhibition runs through Jan. 24, 2021.
- Tickets: Free
- Website: icaphila.org/visit/
- Address: University of Pennsylvania, 118 S. 36th St., Philadelphia
Museum of the American Revolution
“When women lost the right to vote” is a special exhibit at this 118,000-square-foot museum, which holds an expansive collection of art, manuscripts and printed works from the nation’s Revolutionary period. A must-see piece is General Washington’s headquarters tent.
- Dates: Special exhibit is Oct. 2 to April 25, 2021
- Tickets: adults: $21; youth (6-17): $13; children (5 and younger): free; seniors, students, military and teachers: $18. To manage capacity, tickets are limited; advance purchase recommended at 215.253.6731 or online.
- Address: 101 S. Third St., Philadelphia
- Website: www.amrevmuseum.org
Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts
The Samuel M.V. Hamilton Building (one of two buildings making up the academy) will close for more than a month for new exhibits, reopening Nov. 19. The Historic Landmark Building will remain mostly open during the installation. New shows will be “Taking Space: Contemporary Women Artists and the Politics of Scale” and “Only Tony: Portraits by Gilbert Lewis.”
- Dates: 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Thursday and Friday; 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. The galleries will close from Oct. 3 to Nov. 19 for installation of new exhibits.
- Tickets: $8 for youth; $15 for adults. Reserve in advance.
- Address: 118-128 N. Broad St., Philadelphia.
- Website: https://www.pafa.org/
Miller Symphony Hall
While the Allentown Symphony Orchestra’s scheduled has been cancelled through the end of the year, the Jazz Upstairs Series is in full swing, with Don Braden on Oct. 16; Viktoria Gecyte with Gene Perla Trio on Nov. 20; and Craig Thatcher and Nyke Van Wyk holiday performance on Dec. 18.
Curiosity Haunt is a seasonal event with a bonfire, investigations with SBT Paranormal Group and food vendors held on the historic 110-acre farm with open space, old growth forest, wetlands, agricultural land, wildlife habitat and a defunct quarry, hosted by Playwicki Farm Foundation.
- Dates: 5 p.m.-midnight Sept. 26; rain date is Oct. 24.
- Address: 2350 Bridgetown Pike, Feasterville.
- Website: www.playwickifarm.org
Octoberfest at Playwicki
Ethnic foods and beverages and live entertainment held on the historic 110-acre farm. (And there’s a holiday open house on Dec. 5 with Santa.)
Foreign Film Series “Pan’s Labryinth,” 2006 Spanish film will show at Newtown Theatre. The film will be screened in the original language with English subtitles on Oct. 22. “In the Mood for Love,” a 2000 Chinese film will show Nov. 12.
- Dates: 7:30 p.m. Oct. 22; 7:30 p.m. Nov. 12
- Tickets: $12 per person; $10, seniors and students; $8, children age 12 and younger; $6, theater members
- Address: 120 N. State St., Newtown Borough
- Website: TheNewtownTheatre.com
Comedian Ron White will appear for one night in a show that was postponed from March. Patrons are asked to arrive 45 to 60 minutes early because of security enhancements. The theater will only allow bags/backpacks that are 12”x12”x6” or smaller and clear 1-gallon bags.
The antique auto museum has several rotating exhibits and vehicles on loan to go with its six permanent displays. “Yes, we drive these cars” will be exhibited through Oct. 18 and “Look … They gave me a map! The enduring appeal of road maps” will be shown through Oct. 30. “Yeah, it’s got a Hemi” and “Minibike mania” began in mid-September and their closing dates are to be determined. Guests are required to wear face coverings, temperature checks will be conducted at entry and there are capacity limits.
- One-time events: Bus and motorcoach show on Oct. 17; Corvette racing weekend on Oct. 23-24
- Tickets: Adults, $12.50; Seniors (61 and over), $11.50; Children (4-12), $9.50; Children under 3 are free
- Address: 161 Museum Dr., Hershey
- Website: www.aacamuseum.org
The Hershey Story Museum
The museum tells the story of Milton Hershey, from “failed entrepreneur to chocolate king and philanthropic benefactor.” The facility also offers a chocolate lab, where guests can learn how to pour and decorate chocolate, and taste their results. Guests are encouraged to purchase tickets online for contactless entry. The museum is following all face covering and social distancing guidelines.
- Hours: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily, closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas
- Tickets: Various prices by age, including combination tickets for the museum/chocolate lab.
- Address: 63 West Chocolate Ave., Hershey
- Website: www.hersheystory.org
Pennsylvania State Police Museum
Learn the history of the Pennsylvania State Police at the site of the training academy. Visitors are not able to tour the inside of the academy because of the pandemic, but they are able to walk the grounds and visit the museum. Visitors must wear face coverings and have their temperature checked upon entry.
- Tickets: adults, $7; students (6-18 years), $4; children (5 and under), free
- Address: 187 Police Academy Dr., Hershey
- Website: www.psp-hemc.org
National Civil War Museum
A lessons in history speaker series is held monthly at the museum, in addition to its regular self-guided tours. A mixture of digital video, sound and light shows, life-size dioramas and a top-notch Civil War collection fills the tour. Visitors are required to wear a face covering and maintain social distancing.
- Hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday; noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday
- Tickets: starting at $11
- Address: One Lincoln Circle at Reservoir Park, Harrisburg
- Website: www.nationalcivilwarmuseum.org
Susquehanna Art Museum
“Project: Pattern” is the featured exhibit through August 2021. It features artists Nate Ethier, Nicole Herbert and Luke Murphy whose works feature multimedia displays of photography, painting, sculpture and digital languages. Other exhibits include “Picturing the Body” through Oct. 25; “Historic Memory” through Nov. 8 and “Separate and Unequaled: Celebrating the 100th Anniversary of the Negro League” through Oct. 18.
- Hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday; 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday; noon to 5 p.m. Sunday
- Address: 1401 North 3rd St., Harrisburg
- Website: www.susquehannaartmuseum.org
Gettysburg Battlefield Tours
In addition to traditional bus tours of the battlefield, the company also offers several paranormal experiences. Visitors can tour the National Soldiers Orphanage Homestead (called one of the “Top 10 Freakiest Places in the USA” by the Ghost Adventures website), Jennie Wade House (she was the only civilian killed in the Battle of Gettysburg) or go on a Ghostly Encounters tour of several sites. Group size for all tours have been reduced because of COVID-19. Masks are required inside buses and are encouraged during all tours.
- Hours: Vary by tour and day. Most walking tours last approximately 90 minutes.
- Tickets: Vary by tour, time and date. Combination packages are available.
- Address: 778 Baltimore Street, Gettysburg
- Website: www.gettysburgbattlefieldtours.com
Battlefield Paranormal Excursions
With a battle as devastating as Gettysburg, it’s understandable why fans of the paranormal flock to the area. This excursion company provides the “tools and expertise” to groups of no more than 10 people so each person can become a paranormal investigator and ghost hunter. They offer two-hour night tours in one of two locations, “depending on activity.” Tools include ghost meter, EMF detector, spirit box, dowsing rods, temperature gauge, digital recorder and more.
Civil War Ghosts
This tour will take visitors on a walking tour of the downtown, where “tragic tails and the ghosts they left behind litter the many downtown inns and buildings where soldiers took their last breaths.” Three of the most haunted stops on the tour are the Farnsworth House, which served as a sniper’s nest for Confederate soldiers to shoot Union troops; Jennie Wade House, complete with bullet holes that show how Jennie was caught in the crossfire; and Gettysburg Hotel, which can be added to the extended tour and tells the story of romantic spirits caught on opposite sides of the conflict. Guests must wear face covering and group sizes are limited.
- Tickets: Start at $21 per person
- Hours: Tours are held nightly, hours may vary. Tour typically runs 60-75 minutes.
- Address: 37 Lefever Street, Gettysburg
- Website: www.civilwarghosts.com
American Music Theatre
“MasterChef Junior Live!” is the first and only show to hit the stage since March. The family friendly show features head-to-head cooking demonstrations and sometimes messy challenges. The show is 7 p.m. Oct. 16.
- Tickets: Starting at $29
- Address: 2425 Lincoln Highway East, Lancaster
- Website: www.amtshows.com
Sight & Sound
“Queen Esther” is showing at the theater that “brings the Bible to life.” Seating capacity has been limited and modifications have been made to seating, lobby and staff interaction with customers. Face coverings are required. The show runs through Dec. 31, with varied days and times.
Dutch Apple Theatre
The popular dinner theater is in its 33rd year and is located in the heart of Amish Country. Gone is the buffet-style of the past, in favor of plated meals and desserts. Two shows will be featured through the rest of the year. “Million Dollar Quartet” runs through Nov. 7 and features the music of Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins. “Elf the Musical” is good for theater fans 8 and up and runs from Nov. 12 to Jan. 3.
Strand Theatre at the Appell Center for the Performing Arts
Gordon Lightfoot is celebrating his 50th anniversary in music and his 80th birthday this year, and he is bringing that celebration to the York stage. It is the only in-person show on the schedule through the rest of the year. The singer is known for songs such as “If you could read my mind,” “The wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” and “Rainy day people” among others.
Three buildings make up the complex, and reflect the private and public lives in early York. Golden Plough Tavern was built in 1741 and displays the role a tavern played in a community as hotel, restaurant and source for news. General Gates House (c. 1751) reflects the year 1778, when Gen. Horatio Gates occupied the house as the Continental Congress met in York. A reconstruction of the Colonial Court House completes the complex.
- Hours: Tours run 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday
- Tickets: adults, $15; students (6-17), $7; children 5 and under, free
- Address: 157 West Market St., York
- Website: www.yorkhistorycenter.org
The 10th season kicks off with “Live from Dramashop: An Evening with Kate & Patrick Thiem” featuring music, laughter and more streaming live from the Dramashop stage.
- Dates: Sept. 18 and 19, 8 p.m.
- Tickets: $15
- Address: 1001 State St., Erie
- Website: www.dramashop.org
“Erie Lore 2020 Quarantine Edition Show” features new work created by local artists during the 2020 COVID-19 lockdown. See each artist’s interpretation of the world on lockdown. A portion of the sales will be donated to The Crime Victims Center. Live music and refreshments.
- Dates: Opening Sept. 25, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
- Address: 3406 W. Lake Rd., Erie
- Website: www.facebook.com/Artlorestudio
“The Erie Playhouse Musical Marathon” will be streamed on Facebook Live. Favorite Playhouse performers will sing six continuous hours of songs from the LECOM stage.
Encore Drive-In Nights
Kane Brown with special guests Granger Smith, Jimmie Allen and Lauren Alaina will air at drive-in theaters across the United States and Canada. The show was recorded live for this one-night-only event. In Erie County, it will be at Sunset Drive-In.
- Date: 8 p.m. Sept. 26
- Tickets: $76 per car, including up to six people
- Address: Sunset Drive-In, 808 Route 97, Waterford
- Website: www.facebook.com/sunsetflea
“The Canterville Ghost”: The Mercyhurst University Theatre Program opens its 2020-21 season with a world premiere Zoom adaptation of Oscar Wilde’s tale of the ghost of Sir Simon de Canterville, who has rattled around his ancestral castle for more than 300 years, alone and content. But his quiet life is upended when an American family – a diplomat, his wife, and their two children – moves into the house.
- Dates: 7:30 p.m. Oct. 1-3 and 2 p.m. Oct. 4
- Tickets: Free, but registration is required
- Address: 501 E. 38th St., Erie
- Website: miac.mercyhurst.edu
“In Your Home” will be broadcast on WQLN-TV and online. The first four performances of the season will showcase a 19-person string orchestra, led by Music Director Daniel Meyer, and feature a musical journey around the world.
- Dates: “Oktoberfest,” Oct. 8.; “The British Isles,” Oct. 29; “Americana,” Nov. 19; and “Holiday Special,” Dec. 17. All concerts will be at 8 p.m. and rebroadcast the following Sunday at 2 p.m.
- Tickets: Free
- Website: www.wqln.org
The Mercyhurst Institute of Arts and Culture has four remaining fall virtual performances to be broadcast via Zoom.
- Dates: Oct. 11, 2 p.m.: “Angélique Kidjo: Artist as Activist: A Passion for Freedom and Social Justice”; Oct. 28, 7:30 p.m.: Melissa Errico; Nov. 12, 7:30 p.m.: Rascasuelos; Dec. 3, 7:30 p.m.: “Natalie MacMaster & Donnell Leahy present A Celtic Family Christmas”
- Tickets: Free. Registration is required, and attendance will be limited to 500 registrants
- Website: miac.mercyhurst.edu
“The Blue Bowl Monologues”: A collection of original monologues written by members of the community. They have nothing in common except that they were derived from the same prompt: a blue bowl. This production is being designed for remote delivery. Conditions closer to the production dates will dictate whether actors perform live on the Dramashop stage, with or without an audience, with a hybrid in-house/remote audience, or if actors and audience are all remote.
- Dates: 8 p.m. Oct. 16, 17, 23, 24, 30, 31 and Nov. 1. They will be livestreamed from www.dreamashop.org.
- Tickets: Check the website for details
- Website: www.dramashop.org
Led by the Erie Art Museum, downtown Erie galleries, restaurants and shops will stay open from 7 to 10 p.m. Dec. 4. It’s like a pub crawl, but with art. Shop, eat, listen to music and spend time with friends and family visiting as many local galleries as you can.
- Dates: 7 to 10 p.m. Dec. 4
- Tickets: $3 cover charge for Erie Art Museum non-members and free for members.
- Website: https://erieartmuseum.org/
Crawford County Historical Society and Meadville Community Theatre
“Plastered Performances” features livestreaming performance of the Shakespearian classic “The Tempest” with the cast of actors getting steadily more intoxicated.
Baldwin Reynolds House Museum
Fezziwig’s Christmas Dinner is almost ready. With the help of the Scrooge, the ghosts, and the rest of the cast of this Christmas classic come to life, enjoy a glass of wine and a delightful meal surrounded by the atmosphere of a by-gone era.
Baldwin Reynolds House Museum
New Years Eve at the Baldwin means you must dress your best or even dress Great Gatsby style and dance to live jazz, enjoy a wine and Voodoo Brewery beer, enjoy hors-d’oeuvres by Venango Valley Inn, and count down to midnight with a Champagne toast.
Struthers Library Theatre
Music at Struthers is on tap in October and November with “The Floyd Concept: Tribute To Pink Floyd” Oct. 9 and Gin Blossoms on Nov. 13.
Kraynak’s Santa’s Christmasland
Enter a world of make believe with more than 75 decorated Christmas trees and animated figures.
- Dates: Sept. 10 through Dec. 31 except Dec. 25; Mondays through Saturdays, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Sundays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- Tickets: Free admission
- Address: 2525 E. State St., Hermitage
- Website: www.kraynaks.com
Live music, food, crafts, children’s activities, parades, races and drawings.
- Dates: Sept. 25-27
- Address: Route 66 Town Square, Marienville
Christmas in the Village
Hosted by the Tionesta Market Village and held annually on the first Saturday in November, it features live music, food and a visitor from the North Pole. There will be free coffee, free cookies, a free wine tasting and unique gifts.
- Date: Nov. 6
- Website: Find details on Facebook
The Johnstown Symphony Orchestra is offering a virtual wine-tasting experience in a four-part wine education series. Must be at least 21 years old. Wine expert J. Austin Bitner is leading the wine tasting video conferences. Prior to the Zoom call, attendees will be sent a bottle of the wine for that event’s tasting, so that they can experience it together and follow along with the class. The Nov. 7 wine tasting features a French Beaujolais, Jan. 23 features a Washington state merlot and the series ends on March 20 with a crisp Sauvignon Blanc.
- Dates: Nov. 7, Jan. 23 and March 20
- Tickets: Special pricing for series or individual a la carte classes.
- Website: johnstownsymphony.org
Frostburg State University’s festival will use its website as a launching off point for all festival-related programs. Artisans will be featured on Facebook. Mountain Traditions Film Festival Thursday, symposium, “African Americans in Appalachia,” with keynote speaker Frank X Walker, founder of the term and movement, Affrilachia, on Friday, and workshops, presentations and musical performances on Saturday.
- Dates: Sept. 17 to Sept. 19
- Website: www.frostburg.edu/events/afestival
The Community Arts Center of Cambria County
Social Distant Concerts 2020 Coffee House Series: Midnight Acoustic. Fifth season of the Coffee House Series with seven outdoor musical events on the center’s scenic 2.5 acres with social distancing, plenty of ventilation, and masks optional. The Coffee House Series will be providing coffees, teas and baked goods for purchase during the event.
- Date: Oct. 16. Rain date Oct. 23
- Tickets: Donations encouraged
- Address: 1217 Menoher Boulevard, Johnstown
- Website: www.caccc.org
Altoona Symphony Orchestra
The Fall Musician Spotlight Series to be held at the Historic Mishler Theatre beginning Oct. 4. Concert Master Genaro Medina, along with pianist Hugh Sung, will kick things off. The second performance Nov. 1, will feature the Alabaster Trio. Dec. 6 is a Holiday Brass Concert with an Altoona Symphony Brass Quintet. Attendance is limited to no more than 250 audience members.
- Dates: Oct. 4, Nov. 1, and Dec. 6
- Tickets: Adults: $35; students: $15. Guests must maintain a safe social distance and are required to wear a mask. Masks may be removed only when seated and the concert begins.
- Address: 1208 12th Ave., Altoona
- Website: www.altoonasymphony.org
Fall Fright Nights
The “Fall Fright Nights” series by Off Pitt Street Theater Co. in Bedford, will present five different casts of five to six actors for each week in the month. “Atomic Radio” is a live performance, where actors present stories through dramatic reading — like the widely popular radio shows of the 1940s and 50s.
Atomic Radio-September Sci Fi
Based upon the famous radio shows of the 1940s and 50s, the audience will enjoy a theatrical presentation of two, highly engaging, radio broadcasts complete with costumes, lighting and live Foley sound effects. This “Atomic Radio” features two famous Science Fiction stories: “The Lifeboat Mutiny,” by Robert Sheckley and “Tunnel under the World,” by Frederik Pohl. Seating is extremely limited. Masks are required.
- Dates: Sept. 25 and Sept. 26
- Tickets: Donation only
- Address: 110 W. Pitt St., Suite 2, Bedford
- Website: www.offpittstreet.com
The Bedford Arts Cooperative
October art show, “Haunted,” will be available to view both in-person and online in the new, virtual “Imagine Gallery.” Registration is online, email or via postal mail, and there is a cost to register for up to two pieces. There will be a cash prize for the “Peoples’ Choice” award. Masks required.
This article originally appeared on York Daily Record: The show must go on: Here are the biggest shows, concerts and museum showings this fall