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August 29, 2014, 4:19 pm

Essence of Entertainment series begins with Fantasia

On July 12 at 7 p.m., Fantasia, the vocal powerhouse who has appeared on Broadway and won her first Grammy Award since becoming the “American Idol” grand champion in 2004, will open the 2012 “Essence of Entertainment” series at the Dell Music Center, 33rd St. & Ridge Ave. The evening of R&B will also feature soul sensations Raheem Devaughn and Avant.

As the fourth largest performance venue in the city, The Dell has provided entertainment to Philadelphia residents for the past 40 years. In 2008, the popular outdoor venue in Fairmount Park underwent $6 million in major capital improvements and reopened for the 2010 summer concert season.

“The Dell is back and it’s better than ever,” Mayor Michael A. Nutter said upon completion of the project. “After a $6 million investment — including new seating, reconstruction of the parking lot, major renovations to the Dell stage complex and much more — we’re here to announce the opening of what really is a new facility.”

The 2012 summer season under the stars features a diverse roster of family entertainment that ranges from the classic R&B of the Manhattans and Bloodstone to the comedy of Deray Davis, who was a scene stealer in the feature film “Jumping the Broom,” and Philly’s own Turae.

“We have a great lineup of accomplished musicians coming in this summer and we are excited about our 2012 season and look forward to showcasing our artists and welcoming everyone to The Dell Music Center,” said Susan Slawson, first deputy commissioner of recreation and programs. “Special thanks to this season Dell Music Center sponsors, The Philadelphia Tribune, Rita’s Water Ice and Clear Channel Radio for their support.”

The 2012 Essence of Entertainment Concert Series schedule. Showtime is 7 p.m.

July 12: Fantasia, Raheem Devaughn, and Avant

July 19: New Birth, Bloodstone, Heatwave and The Manhattans

July 26: Comedy Explosion w/Philly’s Own Turae, Deray Davis, Aries Spears & Dominque

August 2: Gospel Show – The Clark Sisters, Rev. Dr. Alyn E. Waller, Vicki Yohe & E. Daniels

August 9: George Benson, Boney James & Pamela “The Saxtress” Williams

August 16: Robin Thicke, Chrisette Michelle & Leah Smith

August 23: Will Downing with Kelly Price & Lao Tizer

August 30: Funk Show – War, George Clinton, Dazz Band, Ohio Players & Barkays

To purchase tickets, call (215) 685-9564 or visit


Contact entertainment reporter Kimberly C. Roberts at (215) 903-5753 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .