The 13th annual Roots Picnic lineup has been trimmed to suit its virtual format, but there’s still a lot to love, including performances by H.E.R., SZA, Kirk Franklin, Lil Baby, DJ D-Nice, and more. Former first lady Michelle Obama teams up with the Roots to host the event, which will include a voter-registration drive. Janelle Monáe, Tracee Ellis Ross, Kerry Washington, Tom Hanks, and other celebrities will make appearances throughout the night. The event will stream on YouTube at 8 p.m. Saturday. RSVP at rootspicnic.com/philly/ for digital access to the free show.
— Brandon T. Harden
Blues-rock singer-guitarist Cotton has a new six-song EP out called A Different War, and the New Jersey native is promoting it with a virtual tour of area venues in which she’ll play live with her band to an empty club and online audience. She starts off with a show at the Sellersville Theater in Bucks County. Friday at 8 p.m. at facebook.com/sellersvillethewashingtonhouse.
— Dan DeLuca
Brooks’ last appearance in the Philadelphia area was an extremely not socially distanced small club show at a line-dance bar in Mount Laurel in December. This weekend, the country superstar will be doing something a little bit larger — performing a concert that will be shown on big screens at over 300 drive-ins around the country, including the Delsea Drive-In in Vineland, N.J., and Becky’s Drive-in Walnutport, Pa. It’s $100 per carload. Info at ticketmaster.com/garthbrooks.
Jon Stewart wrote and directed this political comedy/drama about a Democratic strategist (Steve Carell) looking for a candidate to help his party relate to rural voters. When he finds farmer Jack Hastings (Chris Cooper), a small-town mayor’s race becomes a hotbed of D.C. politics. With Rose Byrne as Carell’s political rival. Rated R, available on demand and on streaming services Friday.
— Howard Gensler
Leave it to Will Ferrell to come out with a movie bursting with silliness in this solemn spring turned summer. He and Rachel McAdams play a singing duo (think half of ABBA, with added ridiculousness) who get a chance to perform in the world’s biggest music competition, and, of course, prove their talent to everyone who made fun of them. Directed by David Dobkin (Wedding Crashers). Rated PG-13, available on Netflix Friday.
A family comedy/action vehicle for professional wrestler Dave Bautista. He plays an undercover CIA tough guy assigned to follow a family and finds his biggest antagonist is their 9-year-old daughter (Chloe Coleman). Directed by Peter Segal (Get Smart). Rated PG-13, available on Amazon Prime Friday.
In honor of Pride month, Billy Porter and Mj Rodriguez and other stars and producers of FX’s Pose are participating in an hour-long, commercial-free special to raise money for the charitable LGBTQ+ organizations GLSEN, Hetrick-Martin Institute, and Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund. 10 p.m. Friday, FX, Freeform, poseathon.com.
— Ellen Gray
The first feature-length animated adventure about Scooby-Doo makes its subscription-service debut. It reveals how those “meddling kids” and the Great Dane first got together to solve mysteries and shows them trying to avert a “dogpocalypse.” Will Forte voices Shaggy, Gina Rodriguez is Velma, Amanda Seyfried is Daphne, Zac Efron is Fred, and Frank Welker reprises the role of Scooby. Friday, HBO Max.
The 20th annual BET Awards are being staged virtually and the show will be simulcast for the first time on BET’s corporate sibling CBS. Amanda Seales (Insecure) is hosting, and scheduled performers include Alicia Keys, Chloe X Halle, DaBaby, D Smoke, Jennifer Hudson, John Legend, Jonathan McReynolds, Kane Brown, Lil Wayne, Megan Thee Stallion, Roddy Ricch, SiR, Summer Walker, Usher, and Wayne Brady. 8 p.m. Sunday, CBS and BET.
The late Michelle McNamara’s harrowing best seller about the man she dubbed the “Golden State Killer” becomes a six-part miniseries. Directed by Liz Garbus, it takes the story further than McNamara, who died in 2016, was able to, including the 2018 arrest of Joseph James DeAngelo. DeAngelo was charged with multiple counts of murder and rape. McNamara’s husband, comedian Patton Oswalt, worked with others to help finish his wife’s book after her death, and is seen in the series. 10 p.m. Sunday, HBO.
Ava DuVernay produced this POV two-night documentary series highlighting women of color who are working to transform politics across the country. 9 p.m. Monday and Tuesday, WHYY12.
Did Andrew “Sandy” Irvine, a 22-year-old student who, along with George Mallory, lost his life in a 1924 attempt to summit Everest, make it to the top before dying? That’s the long-asked question explored in this special, which has journalist and climber Mark Synnott and National Geographic photographer and mountaineer Renan Ozturk lead a team trying to figure out the answer and determine if either Irvine or Mallory might have been the first man to make it to the top. 9 p.m. Tuesday, National Geographic Channel.
It’s back. Kind of. This new streaming reboot is from the producers of the original docu-series as well as the producers of Stranger Things. Here’s how Netflix is describing it: “The new episodes are rooted in the experiences of ordinary people who have lived the unthinkable — from the trauma of a loved one’s unexplained disappearance or horrific death, to the shock of a bizarre paranormal encounter.” Robert Stack, sadly, died in 2003, and the six-episode premiere won’t have a host. Wednesday, Netflix.
The grounds at Longwood Gardens are now open — for members only, at the moment — and the fountains are operating, but there are no fountain shows. Some other new restrictions: All visitors must make timed reservations online. The gardens are only open Thursday through Monday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and all indoor areas — the conservatory, the restaurant, the pump house, and the tree houses — remain closed. Details at longwoodgardens.org.
— Stephan Salisbury
East Fairmount Park’s kiddie paradise has reopened, with new rules. Smith is allowing 100 guests at a time, taking temperatures at the entrance, and requiring everyone age 2 and up to wear a mask. After that, you’re welcome to swing, spin, explore a little nature, and ride the giant wooden slide — for which you can either use your own pillowcase/blanket or borrow a burlap sack. Hours are 10 a.m.–4 p.m. Tuesday–Sunday, free. Full reopening details at smithplayground.org/smithisopen.
— Lauren McCutcheon
You’ll need to wait until next week to ride the rides at Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson, N.J., which will open to members and season pass holders July 3 and start admitting the general public July 4. But the Six Flags’ Wild Safari Drive-Thru Adventure is already up and running following a seven-year hiatus. The theme park said it aims to reintroduce its Safari Off Road Adventure guided truck tours soon.
— Rob Tornoe
How to Live Through a Police Riot, a 2018 work by Hank Willis Thomas that documents and comments on the 1968 occupation of Wilmington by National Guard troops, will be a centerpiece of the Delaware Art Museum’s July reopening, for members only starting July 1 and the general public starting July 15. Two other shows of local artists that were interrupted by the shutdown will also be on display. Information at delart.org.
— Thomas Hine
Pennsylvania Ballet has canceled this year’s Nutcracker and won’t be back live until 2021. But the show must go on — online. The company is now presenting a digital season free on Vimeo, with nine pieces plus some interviews with dancers. Most are available for a week, but artistic director Angel Corella’s Don Quixote will continue through July 20 and his Giselle, through July 24. Other pieces include Christopher Wheeldon’s DGV, Jerome Robbins’s Glass Pieces, and Jorma Elo’s Trigger Touch Fade. See the full schedule and register for a password to access the festival at paballet.org/2019-2020-season/front-row-festival.
— Ellen Dunkel
Probably the shortest viewing experience we’ll ever recommend, this 4-minute, 35-second video made for Juneteenth is a powerful watch. Thirty Black actors and actresses perform Shakespeare’s “To Be or Not to Be” in the context of the Black Lives Matter protests. Performers include Sterling K. Brown, Don Cheadle, Andre De Shields, Renee Elise Goldsberry, Audra McDonald, Patina Miller, Joe Morton, and Jordin Sparks.
College prof Mac and freshman student Nessa, both African American, share a love for Homer’s The Odyssey. They discover that Homer came from Africa, setting off a chain of events in their very white academic department in their very white school. Who gets to control the story? Theatre Exile presents a reading of Alexandra Espinoza’s play at 7 p.m. Mondayas part of its Studio X-hibition New Play Development 2020 series. Pay what you wish with proceeds donated to the Black & Brown Workers Cooperative Philadelphia. Register at theatreexile.org/on-stage-original/studio-xhibition
— Jane M. Von Bergen
It’s knight-and-day different from the usual Ren faire, but the Hum’n’bards Theater Troupe promises stage combat, aerial gymnastics, drag, Shakespeare, and singing at its #Knightlife Renaissance Faire on Saturday streaming live via Facebook @humnbards. The three-hour show, starting at 7 p.m., follows a 5 p.m. craft show with artisans demonstrating their wares, then raffling them off. Free, but tip the performers and artists via Venmo.
Judith Kalaora is former first lady Dolley Madison and Philadelphia’s Kyle Jenks is her husband James Madison, the nation’s fourth president, in this live theatrical piece that will be followed by the couple taking questions from the audience. Pay-what-you-can tickets are $5-$25 and must be purchased by 1:30 p.m. Friday for a 7:30 p.m. performance. Streaming information on History at Play’s Facebook page.