One of the city’s most thrilling multi-arts events, Lincoln Center Festival offers stunning plays, dance, operas and visual art from around the world. There’s no shortage of arts festivals in New York each summer. But they tend to be niche affairs, catering to Off-Off theater fans (the Fringe Festival), outdoor concertgoers (SummerStage) or classical-music buffs (Mostly Mozart).
Lincoln Center Festival is different: Spanning nations and artistic disciplines, it brings a wealth of top-notch work to various stages each July and August. Ace curator Nigel Redden and his producers rack up frequent-flier miles trekking across the globe to discover live acts to thrill local culture vultures.
Tickets can be expensive and go fast, but unless you want to break the bank on airfare and hotels, the festival is a great way to see music, dance, theater and opera from around the world—without leaving home. Where else but in New York can you see the National Ballet of China dance pirouettes one night and Druid Theatre Company give a Celtic spin to Shakespeare the next?
When is Lincoln Center Festival?
Lincoln Center Festival runs from Monday July 6 2015 to Sunday August 2 2015.
In previous summers, the Galway-based Irish troupe has presented marathon retrospectives of writers John Millington Synge and Tom Murphy. Now they take on the Bard in this version of Richard II, Henry IV Parts I and II and Henry V. Expect a Celtic twist on Shakespeare's so-called Henriad. Verse dramatist Mark O'Rowe does the adaptation, and Garry Hynes directs.Read more
Alfred Jarry's 1896 outrage begins with the cry, "Shit!" and gets crazier from there. British director Declan Donnellan and designer Nick Ormerod take on the proto-Absurdist classic in the original (scatological) French. The story—borrowing motifs from Macbeth and Hamlet—concerns a king's rampage against the Polish royal family, the Russians and, eventually, his own people.Read more
Acclaimed Japanese director Yukio Ninagawa returns to New York with his staging of the 2002 Haruki Murakami novel (adapted by Frank Galati). Two storylines intertwine: that of a teenage Franz Kafka fleeing an "Oedipal curse" at home, and a retired man who has an uncanny ability to find lost cats. Myth, banal reality and magical realism collide in fascinating ways.Read more
Russian writer-director Rezo Gabriadze returns to Lincoln Center Festival with a family-friendly puppet drama billed as "a tragic tale of two trains in love." At a rural train station, a small locomotive that can only go 300 yards at a time waits for her true love. For those enchanted by low-tech spectacle, handcrafted objects and whimsical storytelling, note that this one is not just for kids.Read more
German director Thomas Ostermeier—always good for a smart, provocative update of a classic—applies his modern sensibility to Strindberg's fraught 1888 tale of sex and class. The production by Russia's Theatre of Nations features Evgeny Mironov, Chulpan Khamatova and Julia Peresild.Read more
Lincoln Center Festival hosts the National Ballet of China, formed in 1959 and led by Feng Ying. The first of the company's two offerings is The Peony Pavilion, choreographed by Fei Bo in 2008, which melds ballet with traditional Chinese opera and folk dance to tell a love story about a young woman who dreams of meeting a scholar.Read more
A farmer's daughter joins the Communist revolution as a soldier in the second of National Ballet of China's two productions at Lincoln Center Festival, a 1964 work with choreography by Li Chenxiang, Jiang Zuhui and Wang Xixian. Popular during the Mao era, it is famous as the ballet performed for Richard Nixon on his groundbreaking 1972 visit to Beijing.Read more
Composer Danny Elfman has written many tunes that are now a permanent part of our collective cultural conscience, like the theme songs for The Simpsons, the Batman animated series theme and Pee-wee’s Playhouse. He’s also worked on many films with iconic filmmaker Tim Burton—hear his infectious score, from The Nightmare Before Christmas to Beetlejuice, live onstage featuring a full orchestra and choir. Don’t forget to dress up as your favorite character!Read more