Zappa wrote a fair amount of orchestral music, including this 1993 collection of pieces with curiously irrelevant Dada-ist subtitles — "Dog Breath Variations," for one. It's outsider music with symphonic grandeur. In this Sunday's show at World Cafe Live, Orchestra 2001 plays several selections from the 19-movement work, along with pieces by some modern composers Zappa looked to as influences. On Saturday at the Fillmore Philadelphia, the ensemble plays Yellow Shark almost in its entirety.
7 p.m. at World Cafe Live, 3025 Walnut St., $15 to $35, 267-687-6243, orchestra2001.org. Additional show at the Fillmore on Saturday.
The New York Times columnist speaks on his work and our times. It's free, but an RSVP is required. There's a 10 a.m. brunch with Blow the next day, also free with RSVP.
6:30 p.m. Kelly Writers House, 3805 Locust Walk, 215-746-7626, writing.upenn.edu/wh
Lancaster's Jill-Christine Wiley stars as Fräulein Maria (the future Frau von Trapp), as memorialized by Julie Andrews in the film. Audience members be warned: Your kids will disown you should you be unable to resist singing along.
7:30 p.m. with additional shows through next Sunday, Merriam Theater, 250 S. Broad St., $65 to $95, 215-893-1999, kimmelcenter.org
Joseph Heller's comic masterpiece is a rich feast of language, which makes the tales of Yossarian, Major Major Major Major, Clevinger, and the gang a good fit for the stage.
8 p.m. with additional shows through May 19, Curio Theatre Company, 4740 Baltimore Ave., $15 to $25, 215-921-8243, curiotheatre.org
Artistic director Roni Koresh will premiere two new works. Matters of the Heart is a collaboration with multidisciplinary artist Karl Mullen, who will provide spoken word for the dance. Inner Sun examines the connection between the Earth and the human spirit.
7:30 p.m. with additional shows through next Sunday, Suzanne Roberts Theatre, 480 S. Broad St., $20 to $40, 215-985-0420, koreshdance.org
After all of its ceaseless innovation, Opera Philadelphia returns to Bizet's Carmen, the original Fatal Attraction opera. It's earned its place in the repertoire with unforgettable characters and a score that hasn't a wasted note. Velvet-voiced Daniela Mack is reason alone for revisiting the opera, though the rest of the cast and creative team is indeed reputable.
8 p.m. Friday with additional shows through May 6, Academy of Music, 240 S. Broad St., $20 to $280, 215-732-8400, operaphila.org
If you were a fan of Carlos Mencia's ill-fated Mind of Mencia on Comedy Central back in the day, you might remember Brad Williams as the leader of a dwarf basketball team, or as a jester at the Renaissance Faire. But Williams has since grown into an accomplished stand-up, whose most recent special, Daddy Issues, came out in 2016.