Thrills and chills In Ira Levin's intricate comic thriller Deathtrap, a playwright with writer's block plots to kill his protege and steal his idea for a hit play. The show goes on at 2 p.m. Sunday at the Hedgerow Theatre, 64 Rose Valley Rd., Media, and continues on a varied schedule to Sept. 23. Tickets are $10 to $32. Call 610-565-4211. . . . An adaptation of Alfred Hitchcock's adaptation of John Buchan's novel, Patrick Barlow's The 39 Steps adds a bit of slapstick and requires four actors to play 150 characters in the tale of an ordinary guy pursued by a secret cabal. The Tony Award-winning show goes on at 8 p.m. Sunday at Cape May Stage, 31 Perry St., Cape May, and continues on a Tuesday-through-Sunday schedule to Sept. 7. Tickets are $35. Call 609-884-1341.
Deft singer-songwriters Christopher Michael and Kevin Killen play an acoustic double bill at 8 p.m. at the North Star Bar, 2639 Poplar St. Admission is free. Call 215-787-0488.
William Wyler's 1959 version of Ben-Hur stars Charlton Heston as the betrayed prince who seeks revenge after being forced into slavery in Rome but finds redemption in religion. It's still an epic spectacle worthy of its then-record 11 Oscars. The film screens at the Bryn Mawr Film Institute, 824 W. Lancaster Ave., Bryn Mawr. Tickets are $10; $7 seniors and students. Call 610-527-9898.
Alfred Hitchcock's 1959 thriller North by Northwest stars Cary Grant as a man caught up in murder and espionage after being mistaken for a spy. The film screens at 7 p.m. at the County Theater, 20 E. State St., Doylestown. Tickets are $9.75; $7.25 for seniors and students. Call 215-345-6789. The film also screens at the Ambler Theater, 108 E. Butler Ave., Ambler, at 7 p.m. Wednesday. Tickets are $9.75; $7.25 for seniors and students. Call 215-345-7855.
In Alexander Payne's 2011 dark comedy The Descendants, a Honolulu lawyer (George Clooney, great as always) finds his life - and plans for selling his family's land on Kauai - complicated when an accident puts his wife in a coma and he must start paying attention to those around him. The film screens at 8 p.m. at the Great Plaza at Penn's Landing, Columbus Boulevard and Market Street. Admission is free. Call 215-922-2386.
From his chaotic, neglected childhood, Christopher Titus has created comedy - he calls his current act "Scarred for Life." Hey, if you can't laugh at it, what's the alternative? He performs at Helium Comedy Club, 2031 Sansom St., at 8 p.m. Thursday, and 7:30 and 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Tickets are $22 to $35. Call 215-496-9001.
Punk progenitors the Anti-Nowhere League and the Meatmen play at Union Transfer, 1026 Spring Garden St. Tickets are $15. 215-232-2100.
Friday & Saturday
She may have been a key part of Prince's paisley revolution in the 1980s, but the foundation of Sheila E.'s career is her talent as a great drummer and percussionist. She plays at RiverStage on the Great Plaza at Penn's Landing, Columbus Boulevard and Market Street, at 7:30 p.m. Friday. Admission is free. Call 215-922-2386.
The improvisational double-bass duo Sean Ali and Pascal Niggenkemper - performing as PascAli - augment their instruments with found objects including kitchenware, cans, balloons, mallets, and lampshades to create new soundscapes. They perform at the Dalet Gallery, 141 N. Second St., at 7:30 p.m. Friday. Admission is free. Call 215-923-2424.
The beloved Philly Fringe opens this year's festival with Haygen Walker, Tyler Henry and Beth Hyland's Barbie Blended: A Pop Rockin' Musical, the story of a young girl trying to make sense of her first love in an age of social media, beauty pageant images, and reality TV. The Theatre Underground production show goes on at the Gershman Y's Blackbox Theater, 401 S. Broad St., at 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday and next Sunday, 8 p.m. Sept. 6 and 7, 2 and 8 p.m. Sept. 8, and 2 p.m. Sept. 9. Tickets are $15. Call 215-413-1318.
Wrapping her ethereal vocals in electronica effects, Julia Holter creates exquisite chamber pop. She performs at Johnny Brenda's, 1201 Frankford Ave., at 9:30 p.m. Saturday. Tickets are $12. Call 215-739-9684.