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Sentimental education Oxford and Cambridge ("Oxbridge") are the centers of English learning, responsible for producing some of the greatest minds of our time. But the universities are also the source of some of the funniest Britons ever, from Monty Python to the Goodies to Fry & Laurie to Beyond the Fringe. A key member of Beyond the Fringe, Alan Bennett (Oxford '57, medieval history), went on to become one of England's most acclaimed playwrights, renowned for his trenchant humor and clear-eyed nostalgia. His play The History Boys follows the sexual and intellectual pursuits of teachers and students in Sheffield preparing for Oxbridge entrance exams. The show goes on at 2 p.m. Sunday at the Arden Theatre Company, 40 N. Second St., and continues on a Tuesday-through- Sunday schedule to Nov. 1. Tickets are $29 to $48. Call 215-922-1122.
Chamber music, Part 1 In a memorial concert for harpist Karin Fuller Capanna, guitarist Marisol Rampolla performs a recital of works by Leo Brouwer, Máximo Diego Pujol, Carlo Domeniconi, Manuel M. Ponce, and Juan Manén at 3 p.m. at Settlement Music School's Curtis Branch, 416 Queen St. Admission is free. Call 215-320-2686. . . . The great pianist Claude Frank plays works by Mozart, Schubert and Beethoven at 3 p.m. at the American Philosophical Society, 427 Chestnut St. Tickets are $23; $10 for students. Call 215-569-8080.
Chamber music, Part 2 The outstanding Emerson Quartet plays works by Schubert, Beethoven and Mendelssohn at 8 p.m. at the Kimmel Center's Perelman Theater, Broad and Spruce Streets. Tickets are $23; $10 for students. Call 215-569-8080.
Distinctive voice Winner of both the Pulitzer and a MacArthur "genius" grant, playwright Suzan-Lori Parks is one of our most inventive and protean writers, looking at issues of identity and creativity (her epic 365 Plays/365 Days resulted from a writing project producing plays daily for a year). She will perform her work at 7:30 p.m. at Bryn Mawr College's Goodhart Theater, 101 N. Merion Ave., Bryn Mawr. Tickets are $18; $15 for seniors; $10 for students. Call 610-526-5210.
No shtick Caustic, cerebral and coarse he may be, but one thing comedian David Cross never does is play down to his audience. Come prepared. Best known for his work on TV (Mr. Show) and the movies (Men in Black), Cross performs his stand-up at 8 p.m. at the Merriam Theater, 250 S. Broad St. Tickets are $35. Call 215-893-1999.
Dance trio To open its season, Pennsylvania Ballet matches the premiere of Matthew Neenan's At the Border, featuring music by John Adams, with George Balanchine's Russian ballet tribute Theme and Variations and Agnes de Mille's Copland-powered Rodeo. The program goes on at the Academy of Music, Broad and Locust Streets, at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday, and 2 p.m. next Sunday. Tickets are $24 to $129. Call 215-893-1999.
Scary stuff Starting with his 1979 masterpiece Ghost Story, Peter Straub has built a distinguished oeuvre examining horror, not always of the supernatural variety. Straub discusses his work at 8 p.m. at Temple University's Gladfelter Hall, Room 13, first floor, 115 W. Berks St. Admission is free. Call 215-204-1796.
Classics three The conductor of the Orchestre National de France and the Zurich Opera, Daniele Gatti leads the Philadelphia Orchestra in a classic classical program - Rossini's Overture to The Barber of Seville, Mendelssohn's Symphony No. 4 ("Italian") and Brahms' Symphony No. 1 - at the Kimmel Center's Verizon Hall, Broad and Spruce Streets, at 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday. Tickets are $10 to $125. Call 215-893-1999.
The dance aquatic The athletic, challenging troupe BodyVox brings bungee cords, trapezes, and tractors to Jamey Hampton and Ashley Roland's Water Bodies, a typically intrepid multimedia piece. Performances are at the Annenberg Center's Zellerbach Theatre, 3680 Walnut St., at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, 8 p.m. Friday, and 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday. Tickets are $24 to $48. Call 215-898-3900.
Friday & Saturday
World beat Argentine guitarist and songwriter Federico Aubele easily mixes bolero and the Beatlesque in his work. He plays on a double bill with one-man band DePedro at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, 26th Street and the Parkway, at 5:45 p.m. Friday. Tickets are $16; $14 for seniors; $12 for students (includes museum admission). Call 215-684-7506.
Super group The quartet Go Home teams clarinetist Ben Goldberg, guitarist/bassist Charlie Hunter, drummer Scott Amendola, and trombonist Curtis Fowlkes. The result is a winning avant-groove mix. They play at Chris' Jazz Cafe, 1421 Sansom St., at 8 and 10 p.m. Saturday. Tickets are $30. Call 215-568-3131. 10/18/09 >> go there