New York theater and Broadway reviews

Looking for tickets to a Broadway show, or want to explore the best off-the-beaten-path New York theater? Use our complete New York theater listings...

Looking for tickets to a Broadway show, or want to explore the best off-the-beaten-path New York theater? Use our complete New York theater listings to find reviews, curtain times and great deals on  New York theater tickets.

Constellations

Critics' pick

Constellations. Samuel J. Friedman Theatre (see Broadway). By Nick Payne. Directed by Michael Longhurst. With Jake Gyllenhaal, Ruth Wilson. Running time: 1hr 5mins. No intermission. Constellations: In brief Jake Gyllenhaal, who proved his stage chops in 2012's If There Is I Haven't Found It Yet, reteams with that play's author, Nick Payne, for a U.S. premiere. Gyllenhaal plays a beekeeper who meets a quantum theorist (The Affair's Ruth Wilson), and their romance unfolds in a dazzling series of what-if scenarios. Constellations: Theater review by Adam Feldman Jake Gyllenhaal and Ruth Wilson are the stars of Constellations, and as that implies, they must make themselves multiple. Inspired by quantum mechanics, Nick Payne’s captivating play, directed crisply by Michael Longhurst, explores the idea of parallel universes in a mosaic of scenes that often restart and branch off in new directions, skipping forward and backward in time. “Every decision you’ve ever and never made” creates a different reality, and the play shows us fragments of some of them. It puts narrative in a house of infinite shattered mirrors. Beekeeper Roland (Gyllenhaal) and cosmologist Marianne (Wilson) are on-again, off-again lovers: in some worlds on, in some worlds off. Their relationship and its challenges—infidelity, illness, death—vary in ways that sometimes reflect nuances of their behavior and sometimes stem from forces beyond their control (which may not be such different things). Informed by author

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Samuel J. Friedman Theatre, Midtown West Until Sunday March 15 2015

Honeymoon in Vegas

Critics' pick

Honeymoon in Vegas. Nederlander Theatre (see Broadway). Book by Andrew Bergman. Music and lyrics by Jason Robert Brown. Directed by Gary Griffin. With Rob McClure, Brynn O’Malley, Tony Danza. Running time: 2hrs 30mins. One intermission. Honeymoon in Vegas: In brief Rebounding from the sadly short run of his Bridges of Madison County, composer-lyricist Jason Robert Brown is back with a bouncy and bright musical adaptation of the 1992 movie comedy. Rob McClure, Brynn O’Malley and Tony Danza star, alongside several Elvis impersonators. Honeymoon in Vegas: Theater review by David Cote How to answer snobs who denounce Broadway as a cultural wasteland of gaudy lights, musical cheese and tacky titillation, a place where suckers from around the world flock to get fleeced? You could say at least it’s not…Las Vegas? Well, the Great White Way has now become Sodom of the Southwest, and whatever happens there is definitely not staying there: Honeymoon in Vegas is too damn fun to keep secret. Jason Robert Brown’s big and brassy score borrows gleefully from the obvious sources—Sinatra, Mancini and Liberace—and splices that swingin’ lounge vibe with his own bouncy, wryly neurotic voice. For those who loved and mourned The Bridges of Madison County last season, they know Brown as a serious composer-lyricist who writes keenly about passion and loneliness. So it’s a thrill to see his musical craft and depth in the service of so much splendid silliness. Because let’s face it: Andrew Bergman’s bo

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Nederlander Theatre, Midtown West Until Thursday December 31 2015

"Henri Matisse: The Cut-Outs"

Critics' pick

The explanatory text on the wall at the beginning of MoMA’s blockbuster of around one hundred of Henri Matisse’s cut-outs notes that these well-known works attempted to resolve the “eternal conflict of drawing and color.” Epic though that reconciliation may have been, it feels faraway and quaint these days. Despite his immense popularity, Matisse’s emphasis on formal innovation and aesthetic pleasure may make him the modern master most alien to the dry, over-intellectualized “conceptual” maneuvers that fill so many New York galleries. Thus, this rather glorious exhibition feels tonic. Matisse first took scissors to paper in the 1930s to work out figural compositions for murals and theater curtains, representing dancers with schematic forms alternately sinuous and angular, and counterintuitively achieving a remarkable feeling of movement and gravity with ostensibly unwieldy materials. During World War II, he used the technique to create the great artist book Jazz (1947). The book’s circus theme, bright hues, and delightfully recognizable flat shapes evoke picture books for children, masking its suggestions of wartime violence: Starbursts in red and yellow on and around bodies evoke open wounds and exploding shells. The 20 maquettes, all of which are on view, appear wonderfully handmade compared to the final stenciled pages, a fact noted by the artist himself, which led him to consider the possibilities of the cut-outs as independent works of art. During the decade before his d

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Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), Midtown East Until Tuesday February 10 2015

Sleep No More

Critics' pick

To untimely rip and paraphrase a line from Macbeth: Our eyes are made the fools of the other senses, or else worth all the rest. A multitude of searing sights crowd the spectator's gaze at the bedazzling and uncanny theater installation Sleep No More. Your sense of space and depth---already compromised by the half mask that audience members must don---is further blurred as you wend through more than 90 discrete spaces, ranging from a cloistral chapel to a vast ballroom floor. Directors Felix Barrett and Maxine Doyle, of the U.K. troupe Punchdrunk, have orchestrated a true astonishment, turning six warehouse floors and approximately 100,000 square feet into a purgatorial maze that blends images from the Scottish play with ones derived from Hitchcock movies—all liberally doused in a distinctly Stanley Kubrick eau de dislocated menace. An experiential, Choose Your Own Adventure project such as this depends on the pluck and instincts of the spectator. You can follow the mute dancers from one floor to the next, or wander aimlessly through empty spaces. I chose the latter, discovering a room lined with empty hospital beds; a leafless wood in which a nurse inside a thatched cottage nervously checks her pocket watch; an office full of apothecary vials and powders; and the ballroom, forested with pine trees screwed to rolling platforms (that would be Birnam Wood). A Shakespearean can walk about checking off visual allusions to the classic tragedy; the less lettered can just revel in t

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McKittrick Hotel, Chelsea Until Thursday December 31 2015

Nutcracker Rouge

Critics' pick

[Note: The review below is from a previous run of Nutcracker Rouge. The revived production is at XIV, Company XIV's new home in the East Village, and the current cast does not include Marisol Cabrera and Jeff Takacs.) Nutcracker Rouge. Minetta Lane Theatre (see Off Broadway). Directed and choreographed by Austin McCormick. With ensemble cast. Running time: 1hr 50mins. One intermission. Nutcracker Rouge: In brief Austin McCormick and his risqué neobaroque dance theater Company XIV present a lavish erotic reimagining of a classic holiday tale (adapted by Jeff Takacs), complete with circus performers, operatic singers and partial nudity. Nutcracker Rouge: Theater review by David Cote Around this time of year, the word nutcracker conjures so much innocent wonder: Tchaikovsky’s beloved score, the dance of the sugarplum fairy, glitter pasties, stripper poles, comically large stuffed penises.… Oh, did I lose you there? Director-choreographer Austin McCormick has taken the Christmas staple and given it a NSFW spin. Nutcracker Rouge is the perfect hot date: a rated-R riff on the tale of Clara and an enchanted appliance—which may require batteries. Our wide-eyed heroine is now an adult named Marie Claire (Laura Careless, agog and breathing heavily), and the world she discovers is a wintry realm of half-naked dancers and acrobats, gyrating and performing physical stunts that send her into ecstasies of arousal. They get the audience riled up, too. Decked out in Zane Pihlstrom’s eye-po

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XIV, East Village Until Saturday January 31 2015

The Book of Mormon

Critics' pick

If theater is your religion and the Broadway musical your sect, you've been woefully faith-challenged of late. Venturesome, boundary-pushing works such as Spring Awakening, Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson and Next to Normal closed too soon. American Idiot was shamefully ignored at the Tonys and will be gone in three weeks. Meanwhile, that airborne infection Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark dominates headlines and rakes in millions, without even opening. Celebrities and corporate brands sell poor material, innovation gets shown the door, and crap floats to the top. It's enough to turn you heretic, to sing along with The Book of Mormon's Ugandan villagers: "Fuck you God in the ass, mouth and cunt-a, fuck you in the eye." Such deeply penetrating lyrics offer a smidgen of the manifold scato-theological joys to be had at this viciously hilarious treat crafted by Trey Parker and Matt Stone, of South Park fame, and composer-lyricist Robert Lopez, who cowrote Avenue Q. As you laugh your head off at perky Latter-day Saints tap-dancing while fiercely repressing gay tendencies deep in the African bush, you will be transported back ten years, when The Producers and Urinetown resurrected American musical comedy, imbuing time-tested conventions with metatheatrical irreverence and a healthy dose of bad-taste humor. Brimming with cheerful obscenity, sharp satire and catchy tunes, The Book of Mormon is a sick mystic revelation, the most exuberantly entertaining Broadway musical in years. The high q

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Eugene O'Neill Theatre, Midtown West Until Thursday December 31 2015

Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park Rink

Critics' pick

Bryant Park’s 17,000-square-foot outdoor rink is free and open late. Don’t get too excited—the admission may be gratis, but you’ll have to shell out $19 to rent skates (or BYO). Still, it’s a veritable winter wonderland: After your time on the ice, warm up at spacious rinkside restaurant Celsius. If you want to practice your lutzes and axels with ample spinning room, try visiting during off-peak hours. Through Mar 1. RECOMMENDED: More rinks for ice skating in NYC

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Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park, Midtown West Until Sunday March 1 2015 Free

Sugarcube

The winter pop-up art venue has free live music, film screenings, dance parties and craft workshops all month. Enjoy a weekly happy hour (Fri 16), screenings of films like Little Fugitive (Thu 15), art workshops such as Euphoria Records Presents: Paint the Music (Sat 17) and musical performances including Sun Ra Arkestra (Jan 31).

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South Street Seaport, Financial District Until Sunday February 1 2015 Free

"El Greco in New York"

Critics' pick

Romantics and Modernists alike treasured the old master El Greco (1541–1614) for the skewed perspectives and strangely distorted figures that fill his paintings—that is, when they weren’t blaming those aesthetic quirks on drugs, madness, or astigmatism. For the 400th anniversary of his death, three New York institutions have gathered their substantial holdings of the painter’s works—at 19 paintings, more than anywhere outside of the Prado in Madrid!—in two concise exhibitions. While “El Greco at the Frick Collection” comprises three canvases, the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s “El Greco in New York” features contributions from the Hispanic Society of America, as well as its own collection. The larger Met show allows us to trace the artist’s trajectory. Born Domenikos Theotokopoulos in Crete, then a Venetian possession, El Greco painted Byzantine icons before leaving to study in Italy. The early Christ Healing the Blind, ca. 1570, a fairly typical late-Renaissance religious scene, shows the influence of his artistic training in Venice in its impressive if imperfect approximation of the modes of artists such as Veronese. In 1577, El Greco moved permanently to Spain. Subsequent devotional pictures show the artist’s increasing mastery of Renaissance idiom. Christ Carrying the Cross, ca. 1580–85 (watery-eyed, but with a perfect manicure), and The Holy Family, ca. 1585 (the Madonna charming, with an up-do and a gauzy mantilla; the nursing baby Jesus beady-eyed, with an oddly shaped h

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The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Upper East Side Until Sunday February 1 2015

"The Butterfly Conservatory: Tropical Butterflies Alive in Winter"

Critics' pick

Temperatures climb to a balmy 80 degrees in the 1,200-square-foot vivarium, returning for its 16th year. The 500 specimens flying around include monarchs, zebra longwings and iridescent blue morpho butterflies.

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American Museum of Natural History, Upper West Side Until Monday May 25 2015

The Woodsman

Critics' pick

Even before writer, codirector, set- and puppet-designer star James Ortiz asks the audience to “imagine” in a brief prologue, we’ve already been thrust into a dark corner of Oz, where gnarled branches loom and unsettling noises signal danger. Strangemen & Co.’s immersive and practically wordless adaptation of the writings of L. Frank Baum uses low-tech stagecraft like evocative Bunraku puppets (the wicked witch is chilling), haunting vocal sound effects and a lone violinist to tell the backstory of Dorothy’s cherished Tin Man (Ortiz), once a mortal axman who sacrificed an arm and a leg and a whole lot more in the name of love. Emotions are communicated through simple gestures, grunts and glances, not one wasted. Touching on mortality, futility and fate, The Woodsman is a grown-up fairy tale that proves happiness is a worthwhile goal, even if it doesn’t last ever after.—Theater review by Raven Snook The Woodsman. 59E59 (see Off Broadway). By James Ortiz. Based on the writings of L. Frank Baum. Directed by Ortiz and Claire Karpen. With ensemble cast. Running time: 1hr. No intermission.

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59E59 Theaters, Midtown East Until Sunday February 22 2015

Sam Falls, "Light Over Time"

Critics' pick

A process-oriented Los Angeles artist who works in a variety of media, Sam Falls has transformed Downtown Brooklyn’s MetroTech Commons into a playground for his interactive art. Exploring the passage of time through light and color, Falls displays several sculptural works that are activated by the viewer and will physically alter over time. His Untitled (Thermochromic bench), for example, changes color due to heat generated by sitters or the intensity of sunlight. A maze has been painted with multicolored layers of powder-coated aluminum; one side has protective UV coating while the other doesn’t, so that the piece will partially fade from exposure. But as it does, another layer of paint will eventually emerge and regenerate the original color. A set of teeter-totters feature geometric forms that collect rainwater, thus changing the distribution of weight. A giant wind chime is too big for an ordinary breeze to move it, so visitors do the job instead by pushing the chimes around. A more solitary experience is provided by a pair of white, aluminum shelters with tiny entrances and stained-glass skylights. The ambience within each of these “light rooms,” as the artist calls them, will change with the weather. Playful and thought-provoking, these laboratories of fun seek to engage the curious child inside all of us.—Paul Laster

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Public Art Fund at MetroTech Center Commons, Downtown Until Friday May 29 2015 Free

A Beautiful Day in November on the Banks of the Greatest of the Great Lakes

Critics' pick

A Beautiful Day in November on the Banks of the Greatest of the Great Lakes. New York City Center Stage II (see Off Broadway). By Kate Benson. Directed by Lee Sunday Evans. With ensemble cast. Running time: 1hr 20mins. No intermission. A Beautiful Day in November on the Banks of the Greatest of the Great Lakes: In brief Kate Benson's high-concept play treats a Midwestern Thanksgiving dinner as a spectator sport, complete with announcers. Lee Sunday Evans directs for New Georges, which mounted a smaller production of the show last year. A Beautiful Day in November on the Banks of the Greatest of the Great Lakes: Theater review by Helen Shaw It’s a canny bit of programming to bring the surreal Kate Benson comedy A Beautiful Day in November on the Banks of the Greatest of the Great Lakes uptown. Last year it did nicely at the downtown New Georges festival, but now it’s arrived, further polished, in front of postholiday audiences, ones primed to see family functions as ritualistic and eerie. Short, darkly funny and distinctly unsweet, A Beautiful Day… follows the doings of the Wembly family on Thanksgiving. Sisters jockey for position as turkeys are turned, yams are plated and the black sheep (Kristine Haruna Lee) undergoes the traditional humiliation. Benson lacquers this familiar banality with formal devices: Sports commentators (hilarious Ben Williams and Hubert Point-Du Jour) offer a sly play-by-play from their booth, and the gorgeously multiethnic cast moves like Robert Wils

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New York City Center Stage II, Midtown West Until Saturday February 7 2015

Mariinsky Ballet

Critics' pick

The world-renowned artists of the Mariinsky grace Brooklyn in a season of classic and contemporary works. The run begins with the company's Swan Lake (choreographed by Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov and revised by Konstantin Sergeyev) and Alexei Ratmasky's Cinderella. To conclude, the troupe offers two performances of works to Chopin: Michel Fokine's Chopiniana (1908), Jerome Robbins's In the Night (1970) and Benjamin Millepied's Without (2011).

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BAM Howard Gilman Opera House, Fort Greene

Comedy at the Knitting Factory

Critics' pick

The smooth and delightfully understated Hannibal Buress—who fans will recognize as Broad City's Lincoln—introduces fellow stand-ups.

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Knitting Factory, Williamsburg Until Sunday December 27 2015 Free

Wicked

Critics' pick

This musical prequel to The Wizard of Oz addresses surprisingly complex themes, such as standards of beauty, morality and, believe it or not, fighting fascism. Thanks to Winnie Holzman’s witty book and Stephen Schwartz’s pop-inflected score, Wicked soars. Currently, the cast features Christine Dwyer as Elphaba and Jenni Barber as Galinda.—David Cote

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Gershwin Theatre, Midtown West Until Thursday December 31 2015

Wael Shawky, Cabaret Crusades

Critics' pick

Marionettes are the tool of choice for this Egyptian artist, who, since 2010, been working on a video trilogy recounting the history of the Crusades as seen through Arab eyes. The first two installments depicted events from 1096 to 1145 (the period of the first and second Crusades) as puppet pageantry, and they're joined here by the debut of final segment, completing a saga that takes a literal look at how the strings of history are pulled.

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MoMA PS1 , Long Island City Saturday January 31 2015 - Monday August 31 2015

Savages

Critics' pick

Savages first made waves with their scorching 2013 debut Silence Yourself. Last year the thrillingly intense postpunk revivalists followed it up with Words to the Blind, a Dada-inspired “sonic poem” made with Japanese psych-rockers Bo Ningen. At this series of small club dates, the U.K. group unveils new tunes—a super-enticing prospect for those lucky enough to score tix.

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Saint Vitus, Greenpoint Until Saturday January 31 2015

Gazillion Bubble Show

Critics' pick

Self-described “bubble scientist” Fan Yang's blissfully disarming act (now performed by his son, Deni) consists mainly of generating a dazzling succession of bubbles in mind-blowing configurations, filling them with smoke or linking them into long chains. Lasers and flashing colored lights add to the trippy visuals.—David Cote

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New World Stages, Hell's Kitchen Until Sunday December 27 2015

Kenny Rivero, "I Can Love You Better"

Critics' pick

Garbage accumulates like repressed urges in Kenny Rivero’s show “I Can Love You Better,” where paintings with assemblage elements are installed alongside sculptures made from discarded debris. The former blends collage, Surrealism and folk art into cartoonish compositions, while the latter piles shards of glass, bits of broken records and scraps of paint into quasi-shamanistic objects. In both, art history is treated like a trash can to be picked through. Rivero, a Yale MFA graduate, grew up on the mean streets of Washington Heights in the 1980s, and memories of life there provide a theater where psychologically charged narratives play out. In three large paintings, It Happened on the Corner, El Pique and The Fire Next Time (all from 2014), confrontations, beatings and fires dissipate into pictorial snippets. Sidewalks are transformed into sacrificial altars, slabs on which figures are dismembered. But Rivero also employs a comic touch that blunts the impact of his images. He mixes body parts, architectural fragments, letters and numbers to create a playful confusion, complicating our relationship to urban brutality. Evocations of violence within the aesthetic realm are nothing new; they informed the figurative mutations of early modern art. But Rivero understands that actual assault isn’t symbolic or a mere transgression of someone’s space: It can leave wounds that are mortal. Rivero links the shedding of blood on the pavement to the smearing of paint on canvas and in doing

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Shin Gallery, Lower East Side Until Saturday February 28 2015 Free

Diana Thater, "Science, Fiction"

Critics' pick

Scenes from the natural world often factor into the multi-channel work of this L.A. video artist, the installations here being prime examples. In them, Thater explores Earth's relationship with the cosmos, focusing, for example, on the lowly dung beetle—the only insect known to use the entire Milky Way as a navigation tool as it goes about its Sisyphean task of rolling animal feces into large balls.

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David Zwirner, Chelsea Until Saturday February 21 2015

Whiplash

Critics' pick

This wildly popular show is known for its surprise special guests—comics like Chris Rock, David Cross and others have appeared.

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Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre, Chelsea Tuesday January 27 2015 - Tuesday December 29 2015 Free

"Pheromone Hotbox"

A group of female artists (Amanda Charchian, Aneta Bartos, Shae Detar, Olivia Locher and Marianna Rothen) challenge the concept of post-feminist ideologies by each presenting 10 of their most recent photographs that portray womanhood. All five photographers are known for often including nudity and illustrating elusive stories in their work.

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Steven Kasher Gallery, Chelsea Until Saturday February 28 2015

New York City Ballet Winter 2015

Critics' pick

With the New Year comes new opportunities to delight in masterworks like George Balanchine's timeless Serenade and La Valse and his two-act comedic story ballet Harlequinade. The season also includes Jerome Robbins's The Goldberg Variations and The Cage, a premiere by resident choreographer Justin Peck set to Aaron Copeland's Rodeo, last season's Pictures at an Exhibition by Alexei Ratmansky and the return of ballet master-in-chief Peter Martins's Romeo + Juliet. And for the third season, the company hosts its art series, in which it commissions an artist to create works inspired by its dancers. This season features Brooklyn's Dustin Yellin, whose glass scultptures of multidimensional human forms will be on view in the theater. On art series performances (Feb 12, 19 and 27), all tickets are $29, and audience members take home a comemorative, original artwork by Yellin.

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David H. Koch Theater (at Lincoln Center), Upper West Side Until Sunday March 1 2015

The River

Critics' pick

The River. Circle in the Square (see Broadway). By Jez Butterworth. Directed by Ian Rickson. With Hugh Jackman, Cush Jumbo, Laura Donnelly. Running time: 1hr 25mins. No intermission. The River: In brief Hugh Jackman may not be singing and dancing, but we still can't wait to see his new gig on Broadway. The charismatic Aussie stars in a mysterious new piece by Jez Butterworth (Jerusalem) about a fisherman in a remote cabin and the two women (Cush Jumbo, Laura Donnelly) he entertains there. Ian Rickson directs. The River: Theater review by David Cote Jez Butterworth’s elliptical chamber drama is a mystery play in the purest sense: no answers, no closure. As Hugh Jackman (identified only as the Man) interacts with Cush Jumbo (the Woman) and Laura Donnelly (the Other Woman), you may worry over the gals’ well-being: Is Jackman playing a serial womanizer—or something more sinister? Next moment, your heart goes out to the lonely guy, connected more to the stream outside his cabin than his appealing houseguests. Then there’s the fact that the ladies switch places midscene with the Man, making the action seem both continuous and fractured. Crime thriller? Erotic memoir? Ghost story? Yes and no. Wriggling slickly through all these categories, The River is a metaphysical piece, despite visceral business (the Man guts and cooks a trout). The language often grows heightened, with aria-like monologues about water, fish, the weather and furious lovemaking (“It was beyond hunger, beyond need

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Circle in the Square , Midtown West Until Sunday February 8 2015

Cabaret

Critics' pick

[Note on this review: Emma Stone has replaced Michelle WIlliams as would-be femme fatale Sally Bowles (through Feb 15), and is terrific in the part.] Cabaret. Studio 54 (see Broadway). Book by Joe Masteroff. Music by John Kander. Lyrics by Fred Ebb. Directed Sam Mendes and Rob Marshall. With Alan Cumming, Michelle Williams. Running time: 2hrs 30mins. One intermission. Cabaret: In brief A decade after closing their hit revival of the Kander and Ebb classic, the Roundabout and director Sam Mendes reopen the Weimar-era Kit Kat Klub. Alan Cumming reprises his sinister-slinky turn as the Emcee and Michelle Williams plays nightclub crooner Sally Bowles. Linda Emond, Bill Heck and Danny Burstein costar. Cabaret: Theater review by Adam Feldman Cabaret is on Broadway again: Willkommen home, you magnificent beast. Originally staged in 1966, then brought to a sordid cinematic life in Bob Fosse’s (heavily adapted) 1972 film, the Kander and Ebb classic was revived and reconfigured anew in Roundabout Theatre Company’s triumphant 1998 account. Now that version has returned with its original star: the supreme Alan Cumming as the Emcee of the Kit Kat Klub, a decadent nightclub in Berlin’s Weimar period. Why so soon? A better question might be: Why not? This Cabaret is a superb production of one of the great Broadway musicals of all time—an exhilarating, harrowing masterpiece. In Sam Mendes and Rob Marshall’s staging, Cumming is the corroded soul of the show; he haunts it and intrudes on it,

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Studio 54, Midtown West Until Sunday March 29 2015

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

Critics' pick

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. Ethel Barrymore Theatre (see Broadway). By Simon Stephens. Based on the book by Mark Haddon. Directed by Marianne Elliott. With Alex Sharp, Francesca Faridany. Running time: 2hrs 30mins. One intermission. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time: In brief Based on the 2003 best-seller about an autistic teen’s search for the killer of his neighbor’s pooch, this stage thriller comes to Broadway on a wave of acclaim from England. The adaptation is by the prolific Simon Stephens, and the spectacular staging is by Marianne Elliott (War Horse). The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time: Theater review by David Cote Despite the Sherlock-derived title and gruesome crime scene it opens with, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time solves the case relatively quickly. By the end of the first act we know whodunit (that is, impaled a pooch with a pitchfork) and we’ve gotten another revelation, this one having to do with the hero’s mother. But there’s a broader mystery raised by this dazzling and pulse-pounding drama: “How on earth did they do that?” By “that,” we mean how the British import translates Mark Haddon’s tricky 2003 novel—narrated by a 15-year-old boy who’s clearly on the autism spectrum—to the stage. Christopher John Francis Boone (Sharp) is a math savant with a fondness for the color red, who has difficulty interacting with people—he screams if you touch him. The strain of raising such a gifted but

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Ethel Barrymore Theatre, Midtown West Until Thursday December 31 2015

"Fetching Blemish"

Critics' pick

Following modern art's proud tradition of making the beastly beautiful, this show offers a top-notch roster of contemporary artists, whose works—portraits mostly—make references to defects, deformities, blemishes and just plain old butt-ugliness. Wolfgang, Nicole Eisenman and Amy Sedaris (!) are among the contributors.

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Invisible-Exports, Chinatown & Little Italy Until Saturday February 14 2015 Free

Jack White

Critics' pick

Jack White's genius is undoubtedly bolstered by an uncompromising workaholism—evidenced by a long series of sharp side projects (The Raconteurs, the Dead Weather), collaborations (Wanda Jackson, Insane Clown Posse) and the prolific output of his Third Man label—as well a recent solo LP, Lazaretto, that handily sums up his patented roots-punk eccentricity. Hear White work his magic at this Madison Square Garden victory lap.

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Madison Square Garden, Midtown West Friday January 30 2015

"Jean Dubuffet: Soul of the Underground"

Critics' pick

Assembled from MoMA’s holdings of work by Jean Dubuffet (1901–1985), this beautifully realized exhibition illustrates how Dubuffet’s rebellion against conventional good taste and artistic hierarchies was enacted through his materials and techniques. Comprising pieces from the 1940s to the mid-1960s, “Jean Dubuffet: Soul of the Underground” includes wonderful figurative sculptures assembled from slag and tree roots, as well as paintings and drawings depicting people—wandering through deserts, packed into subway cars—crudely scratched into thickly impastoed canvases or inked paper. But its primary focus is on Dubuffet the printmaker, using the medium as “an incomparable laboratory and an efficacious means of invention.” Central to the show is a selection of lithographs from Dubuffet’s series “Phenomena” (1958–1962), a compendium of 362 allover compositions, created by scuffing, scratching and staining lithographic stones, sometimes with stuff like fruit peels and tapioca. Often, he would cut up the finished results to produce new works. For the most part, Dubuffet’s recycled prints are representational. In the collage Black Earth (1955), the three figures occupying a nocturnal patch of gray and black landscape are fashioned from the same white-spattered paper as the starry sky above. Elsewhere, characters such as The Sleepwalker and Carrot Nose (both from 1961) sport hats and clothes seemingly made out of cosmic dust. But other pieces are more confounding: paintings with phra

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Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), Midtown East Until Thursday March 5 2015

Mike Nelson, Gang of Seven

Critics' pick

Ambitious installations underpinned by narrative conceits are the stock-in-trade of this British artist, a two-time short-lister for the Turner Prize who was also Britain's representative at the 2011 Venice Biennale. His mix of storytelling and elaborately crafted interior settings owe more than a small debt to the work Ilya and Emilia Kabakov, though he adds a bit of dour British stoicism to their dour Russian resignation. His current installation consists of assemblages created out of driftwood and washed-up detritus; in Nelson's backstory, they were collected along the shores of British Columbia by a fictional beachcomber who imagines the ocean as an inchoate yet sentient being.

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303 Gallery, Chelsea Until Saturday February 21 2015 Free

"Submerged"

Critics' pick

Experience the life of a sub pilot at “Submerged,” an interactive exhibit where you’re encouraged to explore the Growler, the only strategic missile submarine in the United States open to the public. The 40-foot-long sub is located in the museum’s hands-on gallery, the Exploreum Interactive Hall. Climb onto the bunks where sailors slept, check out the old mess hall, and act like you’re navigating in the engine room by using the periscope. Visitors also get a lesson in how submarines submerge and move through water.

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Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, Midtown West Until Friday January 1 2016

Chicago

Critics' pick

This John Kander–Fred Ebb–Bob Fosse favorite—revived by director Walter Bobbie and choreographer Ann Reinking—tells the saga of chorus girl Roxie Hart, who murders her lover and, with the help of a huckster lawyer, becomes a vaudeville star.—David Cote

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Ambassador Theatre, Midtown West Until Thursday December 31 2015

Frantic!

Critics' pick

The Stand's free weekly show, hosted by Aaron Berg, presents a rotating lineup of the club's regulars each Monday.

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The Stand, Gramercy & Flatiron Monday January 26 2015 - Monday December 28 2015 Free

2nd Whimsical Winter Wonder...Exhibition

Critics' pick

Enjoy this park exhibit featuring 14 artists' interpretations of winter through paintings, sculptures, photography and other creative mediums.

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Poe Park, Fordham Until Saturday January 31 2015 Free

"The Forever Now: Contemporary Painting in an Atemporal World"

Critics' pick

A dispiriting show that doesn't do its participants any favors, “The Forever Now” brings together 17 painters, the youngest born in 1986 and the oldest in 1955. All are current market favorites. Commendably, over half of them are women. Organized by MoMA’s Laura Hoptman, the exhibition is premised on the notion that our culture is characterized by the reprise and the mash-up and that contemporary painting follows suit (The show’s catalog essay quotes science fiction writer William Gibson and media theorist Douglas Rushkoff, among others, on the end of progress and the atemporality of modern cultural artifacts in the digital age.) In support of this contention, Hoptman subjects some very good artworks to reductive readings while including too many mediocre examples. Which isn’t to say that there aren’t any terrific pieces on view. German artist Michaela Eichwald’s newly scaled-up abstractions—particularly a long horizontal work in which fetus-like forms and painterly passages in dirty whites, yellows, pinks and reds march across a matte black ground—are some of the best things in the show. Hoptman suggests that Eichwald is referencing Abstract Expressionism, completely missing the artist’s origins in the 1980s Cologne art scene, where doubts about historical relevance mixed with deliberately awkward painting—a approach that was also employed by Martin Kippenberger, Albert Oehlen, Michael Krebber and other members of that milieu. Elsewhere, a wall is given over to Joe Bradl

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Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), Midtown East Until Thursday March 5 2015

"Judith Scott—Bound and Unbound"

Critics' pick

The artist Judith Scott (1943–2005), born deaf and with Down syndrome, was the author of a body of extraordinary abstract fiber sculptures, which she made during the last 18 years of her life. Some 60 of Scott’s pieces are being shown at the Brooklyn Museum’s Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art, and in Scott’s case, the choice of venue is as important as the work itself. Scott usually began with one or more found objects—an electric fan, a picture frame, a bundle of sticks—that she’d then wrap in yarn, string, fabric strips and other materials such as candy wrappers and plastic tubing. The final, cocoonlike forms are often organic and crystalline at once, with bulges resulting from successive layers of padding, and faceted effects produced by the line of knots that Scott used when changing colors or joining one part to another. Forms might be open or closed. One creation, executed mostly in shades of turquoise, sports a series of exuberant, intersecting loops. Another is a gray-green ovoid with blues and pinks streaking one side. Her color sense was sophisticated and grew more so over time—most notably in a late work featuring a tangle of bluish-white plastic hose bound together with yarn dyed blue, orange, olive, lime and ocher. Scott’s art is original, powerful and consistent. It evolved over the course of her life and is of its own time. This show positions Scott and her oeuvre in the context of the feminist movement, and by doing so, has far-reaching implications

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Brooklyn Museum, Prospect Heights Until Sunday March 29 2015

The Lion King

Critics' pick

Director-designer Julie Taymor takes a reactionary Disney cartoon about the natural right of kings—in which the circle of life is putted against a queeny villain and his jive-talking ghetto pals—and transforms it into a gorgeous celebration of color and movement. The movie’s Elton John–Tim Rice score is expanded with African rhythm and music, and through elegant puppetry, Taymor populates the stage with an amazing menagerie of beasts; her audacious staging expands a simple cub into the pride of Broadway, not merely a fable of heredity but a celebration of heritage.—Adam Feldman

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Minskoff Theatre, Midtown West Until Thursday December 31 2015

A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder

Critics' pick

A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder. Walter Kerr Theatre (see Broadway). Book and lyrics by Robert L. Freedman. Music and lyrics by Steven Lutvak. Directed by Darko Tresnjak. With Jefferson Mays, Bryce Pinkham, Lauren Worsham, Lisa O’Hare. Running time: 2hrs 20mins. One intermission. A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder: in brief The mercurial Jefferson Mays (Tony winner for I Am My Own Wife) plays multiple members of an aristocratic clan in this new musical by Steven Lutvak and Robert L. Freedman, based on the same novel that inspired Kind Hearts and Coronets. A distant and disinherited member of the D'Ysquith family slays his way to the earldom. Darko Tresnjak directs. A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder: review by David Cote Since it turns on the niceties of aristocratic succession, why not start the coronation early: A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder is the new undisputed king of musical comedy. Filled with lunatic sight gags and the wittiest, loveliest show tunes in years, there’s not a weak link in the lively cast, and Darko Tresnjak’s antic, cartoonish staging is ideal. But without a doubt, the jewel in GGLM’s crown is an eight-faceted gem: Jefferson Mays as a gargoylish gallery of doomed twits, snobs and prigs, members of the seriously inbred and outré D’Ysquith clan. These various scions and heirs must fall so that distantly related and mostly disinherited Monty Navarro (Pinkham) can rise. Mays is a bloody comic genius (with an ace backstage costume crew

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Walter Kerr Theatre, Midtown West Until Thursday December 31 2015

Fuerza Bruta: Wayra

Critics' pick

Fuerza Bruta: Wayra. Daryl Roth Theatre (see Off Broadway). Conceived and directed by Diqui James. With ensemble cast. Running time: 1hr 20mins. No intermission. Wayra: In brief Fuerza Bruta returns in the third installment of the De La Guarda trilogy. If it's anything like the first two, you can expect a visually impressive dance-rave thrill ride that merges striking imagery with techno music and aerial showboating. Wayra: Theater review by David Cote When the sensory-wraparound rave known as De La Guarda swung into town 16 years ago, it was the only show of its kind. Even in 2007, when environmental-kinesthetic mastermind Diqui James unveiled a sequel, Fuerza Bruta, there was no Sleep No More, Then She Fell or Queen of the Night. So has James tried to reinvent the wheel and beat the competition—say, by introducing narrative or literary allusions? Not a chance. Fuerza Bruta: Wayra is of a piece with its predecessors, still offering unique thrills for a remarkably young and diverse audience that, I’m guessing, doesn’t get to Playwrights Horizons very much. And there’s nothing wrong with that. As a palate cleanser for theatergoers tired of living rooms and family secrets, Wayra is a bona fide thrill ride. Immersive theater may be more common now, but no one blasts through boundaries like these guys. As usual, James’s nonverbal episodic spectacle (with an eclectic score by Gaby Kerpel that glides from techno and drum ’n’ bass to world) is a direct challenge to we poor critics’

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Daryl Roth Theatre, Gramercy & Flatiron Until Thursday December 31 2015

Jiří Georg Dokoupil

A presence on New York's art scene during the ’80s, this Czech-born German painter hasn't shown here in 20 years—an absence this show remedies. Dokoupil was one of the founders of Cologne's Junge Wilde ("Wild Youth") of the late 1970s, a group who, like the Pictures Generation, rejected the austerity of Minimal and Conceptual Art. Interestingly, Dokoupil's approach wasn't entirely dissimilar to Postminimalism's process approach. He'd suspend canvases from the ceiling, using soot rising from burning candles to render photo-based subjects. Similarly, he used soap mixed with pigment to blow colored bubbles onto canvas, popping them to leave gossamer forms that oddly resembled condoms or jellylike creatures from the deep ocean. The latest iterations of the latter are on view here.

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Paul Kasmin Gallery, Chelsea Until Saturday February 7 2015 Free

Chinese American: Exclusion/Inclusion

Critics' pick

This exhibit investigates the elaborate backstory of trade and immigration between China and the United States starting from the late 18th century to present. "Exclusion/Inclusion" delves into Chinese-American history from all over the country and will include less-publicized narratives like the Exclusion Act of 1882, which blocked many Chinese people from entering the U.S. for many years.

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The New-York Historical Society , Upper West Side Until Sunday April 19 2015

Beautiful—The Carole King Musical

Critics' pick

Beautiful—The Carole King Musical. Stephen Sondheim Theatre. (see Broadway). Book by Douglas McGrath. Music and lyrics by Carole King, Gerry Goffin, Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil. Directed by Marc Bruni. With Jessie Mueller. Running time: 2hrs 30mins. One intermission. Beautiful—The Carole King Musical: In brief Recently minted Broadway star Jessie Mueller finally gets a vehicle specially crafted for her gorgeous voice and her innate warmth. She plays the great singer-songwriter Carole King in a retrospective about King's early life and career. Playwright Douglas McGrath provides the book. Beautiful—The Carole King Musical: Theater review by David Cote Beautiful—The Carole King Musical shares several virtues with its titular singer-songwriter, among them humility, earnestness and dedication to craft. If Douglas McGrath’s book never achieves the dramatic grit or comic zip of Jersey Boys, at least director Marc Bruni’s production avoids being a brain-dead, self-satisfied hit parade à la Berry Gordy’s Motown. Still, it does seem that stretches of Broadway’s newest jukebox musical consist of situations such as this: “Carole, you’ve got to write us a hit!” “I’ve written something.” “It’s a hit!” Yes, Beautiful loves its diligent, long-suffering pop genius, and invites you to do the same. It’s quite an easy task when you have the phenomenal Jessie Mueller in the lead. The effortlessly appealing star cut her teeth on Broadway flops (the mis-reconceived On a Clear Day You Can See Fore

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Stephen Sondheim Theatre, Midtown West Until Thursday December 31 2015

Eat, Drink & Be Literary

Critics' pick

This series of casual literary evenings features a buffet dinner, including wine and dessert, and a reading from a noteworthy writer, followed by a moderated Q&A about the author's creative process. The 2015 season kicks off with Dinaw Mengestu, journalist, MacArthur "Genius" grant recipient and author of, most recently, All Our Names. Editor Deborah Treisman moderates.

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BAMcafé, Fort Greene Tuesday January 27 2015

Agustin Fernandez

Critics' pick

Algus has committed himself to showing forgotten or underappreciated artists, and Fernandez (1928–2006) is no exception. A Cuban artist who sojourned in New York, Paris and San Juan, Puerto Rico, he created paintings and drawings in a style mixing abstraction and Surrealism, with nonobjective forms rendered in an illusionistic manner. The result recalls the sort of ’50s sci-fi paperback illustrations that owed a heavy debt to Yves Tanguy. His work was engrossingly weird enough to attract the attention of director Brian De Palma, who featured one of Fernandez's pieces in his creepy classic Dressed to Kill.

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Mitchell Algus Gallery, Lower East Side Until Sunday March 1 2015 Free

KATSU, "Remember the Future"

This street artist takes a dystopian view of the rapidly evolving technologies (digital and not) that are both changing the world and enforcing its globalist order. But rather than simply inveigh against them, he employs them to create a sort of virtual graffiti, placing his tag, for instance, into the world-building game, Minecraft, and also creating a completely convincing—and totally fake—video of himself tagging the White House fence. He's also piloted small drones to spray-paint canvases. His gallery debut continues apace with candy-colored, 3-D–printed guns and drone-painted takes on Warhol's Marilyn.

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The Hole, Chinatown & Little Italy Until Sunday February 22 2015 Free

Radio City Stage Door Tour

Critics' pick

This hour-long tour of the Art Deco theater includes a look at the Roxy Suite—created for vaudeville producer Samuel Lionel "Roxy" Rothafel when the stage opened in 1931—a meet-and-greet with a Rockette and a glimpse at the VIP-signed guest book. Attendees can even pose in a digitally re-created version of the vaunted Rockette kick line. Tours leave every half hour.

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Radio City Music Hall, Midtown West Until Tuesday June 30 2015

Nolan Simon, "Portraits"

Critics' pick

Simon's off-center paintings would have fit right in with MoMA's "Forever Now" show. They employ a light, ironic touch to depict random images—faces, cute animals, boats—in a series of realistic watercolors on canvas. Resembling stock photographs or commercial illustrations, these pictures are sometimes ganged together on a single canvas to enhance their weird sense of disconnection. Simon edges them with strips of trompe l'oeil masking tape, as if to suggest that they're fastened to a studio wall. But they could just as easily represent the result of a Google image search and the impermanence of the Internet age.

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47 Canal, Chinatown & Little Italy Until Sunday February 15 2015 Free

"Francesco Clemente: Inspired by India"

Critics' pick

Twenty works spanning 30 years have been collected here to explore the impact of Indian art and culture on the career of the veteran Italian Neo-Expressionist.

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The Rubin Museum of Art, Chelsea Until Monday February 2 2015

World B-Boy Battle #1

Xtreme Breakdancing Sports Inc. hosts the final round of a sports event for break dancing. Featuring the top 16 B-boys, the competition is part performance and part wrestling match with a host, five judges, a referee, sportscasters, "ring models" and a halftime show.

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Queens Theatre, Jackson Heights Sunday January 25 2015

Irish Arts Festival

A new festival this year, Irish Arts explores the Emerald Isle’s culture through jig lessons, mythical animations, and storytelling and knitting workshops. All ages.

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Children's Museum of the Arts, Soho

The Poetry Brothel

Critics' pick

This interactive performance series constitutes a literary cathouse, where male and female “whores” provide poetry readings behind closed curtains. VIPs enjoy private listening sessions and gift bag.

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The Back Room, Lower East Side Sunday January 25 2015

Joe Fyfe, "make me one with everything"

Critics' pick

Fyfe's pieces are both formal and throwaway, made of fabrics and found objects ranging from felt and flags to broken umbrellas and cracked automobile bumpers. Some of his materials, including vividly graphic ads in Korean, were rescued from markets in Asia, where he spent some time on a Fulbright scholarship. Hints of Rauschenberg and Tuttle can be seen in Fyfe's work, but it's uniquely and magnetically his own.

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Longhouse Projects, Soho Until Saturday February 7 2015 Free

I'm Gonna Pray for You So Hard

Critics' pick

I’m Gonna Pray for You So Hard: Theater review by Adam Feldman Is Reed Birney the best stage actor in New York? The case for that claim continues to grow in Halley Feiffer’s brutally effective I’m Gonna Pray for You So Hard, in which the protean Birney plays David, a truculent egotist who has drawn from his traumatic working-class Brooklyn background to reach great success as a playwright. For the first hour, David subjects his tremulous young daughter, Ella (Nurse Jackie’s Betty Gilpin), an early-career actor, to a viciously funny harangue about all that is wrong with the theater: the hacks, the queers, the cowards and (all three of those combined!) the critics. Fueled by booze, pot and coke, he builds Ella up one moment, then rips her down the next, like a predatory pickup artist at a bar. And Ella—scrunched, simpering, pathetically eager to agree—hangs on his words until she nearly chokes. In the play’s shorter second scene, set five years later, both characters have undergone radical changes. Hard and mean, in a tight red dress that makes her look like a thin knife dipped in blood, Ella has written a play of her own, also based on past trauma. Like father, like daughter—and you may well find you don’t like either of them very much. But under the direction of Trip Cullman, who has a well-honed ear for social cruelty, the two excellent actors aren’t playing for sympathy. In the imitative structure of abuse that Feiffer’s tragicomedy depicts, David and Ella are figures of al

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Atlantic Stage 2, Chelsea Until Sunday March 1 2015

Jersey Boys

Critics' pick

A star is reborn in Jersey Boys when the puppyish John Lloyd Young takes vocal wing, channeling the legendary thrills and trills of Four Seasons frontman Frankie Valli. As Young's bright falsetto rings through the air, the August Wilson Theatre becomes a rejuvenation room, transforming baby boomer women into screaming Valli girls in the throes of Young love. With Jersey Boys, the Broadway musical has finally done right by the jukebox, presenting the Four Seasons' infectiously energetic 1960s tunes as they were intended to be performed. True, the script adheres closely to the dramatic beats of a VH1 biopic: building bridges in the first act, delving into tunnels in the second. But under Des McAnuff's sleek direction, the result feels canny instead of canned. And Bob Gaudio's music, as sung by a dynamic cast and shaped by Steve Canyon Kennedy's exemplary audio design, sounds as good as it ever did (and sometimes---blasphemy!---even better). That the audience responds to the actors as though they were the Four Seasons themselves is testament to Jersey Boys' equanimity in its treatment of its lead characters, who include the affable Gaudio (Reichard) as well as the incorrigibly delinquent Tommy DeVito (Hoff) and the inscrutable Nick Massi (Spencer). As each of these men---clean-cut singers with rough-hewn pasts---tells his side of their history, it becomes clear that although Young may lead the pack, this is a ultimately a show for all Seasons.---Adam Feldman

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August Wilson Theatre, Midtown West Until Thursday December 31 2015

Between Riverside and Crazy

Critics' pick

[Note: This review is for the production that played at the Atlantic in 2014. The cast of the 2015 Second Stage transfer is largely unchanged, with Ron Cephas jones replacing Ray Anthony Thomas.] Between Riverside and Crazy. Atlantic Theater Company (see Off Broadway). By Stephen Adly Guirgis. Directed by Austin Pendleton. With ensemble cast. Running time: 2hrs. One intermission. Between Riverside and Crazy: In brief An ex-cop and his ex-con son try to hang on to their rent-stabilized apartment in a new play by conflict king Stephen Adly Guirgis (The Motherf**ker with the Hat, Our Lady of 121st Street). Austin Pendleton directs a cast that includes Michael Rispoli, Ray Anthony Thomas, Liza Colón-Zayas and the great August Wilson veteran Stephen McKinley Henderson. Between Riverside and Crazy: Theater review by David Cote It’s hard to tell the sinners from the saints with Stephen Adly Guirgis. The earthy playwright—whose profanity-laced urban yarns were often directed by the late (still cannot fucking accept it) Philip Seymour Hoffman—likes his justice rough and his morality slippery. So don’t be fooled by Stephen McKinley Henderson’s teddy-bear profile or his low, honeyed voice in Between Riverside and Crazy. A homebound ex-cop who drinks at 10am, Walter “Pops” Washington is not here to save anyone’s ass, including his own. Salvation has always been a red herring with Guirgis. His people talk about how they want to clean up and fly right but always fall back on vices, grudg

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Second Stage Theatre, Midtown West Until Sunday March 8 2015

Tal R, "Altstadt Girl"

Critics' pick

This Danish artist born in Israel has described his work a boiling pot into which he throws all kinds of materials, and as with many contemporary painters today, materials in the case means assorted references to 20th-century modernism couched in a naive or folkloric style. His work is often based on his personal experiences and Jewish identity, unfolding as dreamscapes (picture a cross between Chagall and Picasso). This show focuses on portraits of women in confined compositions.

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Cheim & Read, Chelsea Until Saturday February 14 2015 Free

"David Weiss: Works, 1968-1979"

Critics' pick

Better known as half of Fischli/Weiss, the wry conceptualist duo whose work often questioned the nature of things, David Weiss (1946–2012) pursued his own art throughout his 33-year partnership with fellow Swiss artist Peter Fischli. Largely unseen during his life, Weiss's solo efforts are characterized by the same spirt of ironic whimsy found in the videos, sculptures and installations produced by Fischli/Weiss. The works on paper presented here provide a rare look at this aspect of his career.

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Swiss Institute, Soho Until Sunday February 22 2015 Free

Winners and Losers

Critics' pick

Winners and Losers. Soho Rep (Off Broadway). By Marcus Youssef and James Long. Directed by Chris Abraham. With Youssef and Long. Running time: 1hr 30mins. No intermission. Winners and Losers: In brief Longtime friends Marcus Youssef and James Long stage a dramatized, quasiautobiographical game of mutual assessment that turns from comic to nasty. Chris Abraham directs the local premiere of a production that has toured extensively. Winners and Losers: Theater review by Adam Feldman Marcus Youssef and James Long, a pair of amiable Canadian theater artists, track mud into a parlor game in their slyly unassuming autobiographical two-man show. On a nearly bare stage, they sit at a spare wooden table, and argue amusingly and digressively about whether various things (microwave ovens, Sylvia Plath, Mexico) should be considered “winners” or “losers.” Some of these exchanges are improvised nightly, but most are not—you can spot the difference fairly easily—and as the rounds of conversation proceed, marked by dings from metal call bells, the subjects get more explicitly pointed: class, ethnicity, their families, their values. But the opinions they punch out, in some essential way, have been personal and competitive all along; the shaggy-dog style of the presentation has just been disguising, for a while, its dog-eat-dog underpinnings. Winners and Losers is set in a frame of friendly banter, but also in a chalk-drawn box that suggests a more violent struggle between Youssef, whose Egypti

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Soho Rep, Tribeca Until Sunday February 1 2015

A Month in the Country

Destination-TV eminences Peter Dinklage (Game of Thrones) and Taylor Schilling (Orange Is the New Black) star in a revival of Ivan Turgenev's 19th-century study of lust, longing and ennui at a Russian country estate. The cast also features Anthony Edwards, Annabella Sciorra and Elizabeth Franz, directed by Mark Wendland.

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Classic Stage Company, East Village Until Sunday February 22 2015

Movement Research at the Judson Church

Critics' pick

Judson Mondays are here again. Pop by for a free evening of movement experimentation, curated by Neal Beasley, Bradley Ellis, devynn emory, Malcolm Low and Molly Poerstel.

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Judson Memorial Church, Greenwich Village Monday January 26 2015 - Monday February 9 2015 Free

Every Brilliant Thing

Critics' pick

Every Brilliant Thing. Barrow Street Theatre (Off Broadway). By Duncan Macmillan. Directed by George Perrin. With Jonny Donahoe. Running time: 1hr. No intermission. Every Brilliant Thing: In brief In Duncan Macmillan's solo dark comedy, performed and cowritten by Jonny Donahoe, a young man devises a list of his favorite things to ease his mother's depression. George Perrin, who directed the show's acclaimed U.K. runs, also helms the U.S. premiere. Every Brilliant Thing: Theater review by Adam Feldman Just in time for winter, with its complement of affective disorders, comes Duncan Macmillan’s Every Brilliant Thing, a theatrical candy cane: very sweet but tempered by sharpness and striped with bright nostalgia. The affable, gregarious British comedian Jonny Donahoe is our narrator, who begins by telling of a childhood disturbed by his mum’s suicidal depression. We learn nothing else about the woman—sadness seems to have erased her—but the experience inspires her son to try to cheer her, à la “My Favorite Things,” with a growing list of the world’s virtues. (First entry: “ice cream.”) He resumes this exercise in college (No. 1655: “Christopher Walken’s hair”), with limited success in curtailing his own darker tendencies. Canes made of candy, it turns out, provide only so much support. But Macmillan’s slim, hour-long show works a gentle magic, thanks to Donahoe’s skill as a host. Staged in the round by George Perrin, Every Brilliant Thing is built on audience participation, and

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Barrow Street Theatre, West Village Until Sunday March 29 2015

Queen of the Night

Critics' pick

Queen of the Night. Diamond Horseshoe at the Paramount Hotel (see Off Broadway). By Randy Weiner. Directed by Christine Jones. With ensemble cast. Running time: 3hrs. No intermission. Queen of the Night: In brief Nightlife impresario Randy Weiner refashions the old Diamond Horseshoe Nightclub (below the Paramount Hotel) into a wild hotchpotch of food, drink, circus, theater and dance. The cast of 33, directed by Tony-winning designer Christine Jones, includes Katherine Crockett as the ball's hostess and Steve Cuiffo as a magician. Queen of the Night: Theater review by Adam Feldman Divine decadence is on the table at Queen of the Night, an almost absurdly deluxe dinner-circus-nightlife experience by immersive-theater king Randy Weiner. Set in the Paramount Hotel’s gorgeously refurbished Diamond Horseshoe nightclub—shuttered since 1951—the show takes the form of a grand party held by the Marchesa (Katherine Crockett, an elegant dancer). Designed and directed by Christine Jones, it borrows vague themes from The Magic Flute; there is also a continual swirl of circus elements by Shana Carroll, of the neocirque troupe Les 7 Doigts de la Main (several alums of which are in the ensemble). Attractive performers take you aside for interactive micro-adventures; lissome acrobats perform on the very banquettes at which you feast on things like lobster and suckling pig. It’s not unlike a cruise-ship version of Eyes Wide Shut, but in a pleasantly indulgent way. If it rarely seems quite like

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Diamond Horseshoe at the Paramount Hotel, Midtown West Until Thursday December 31 2015

The Metropolitan Museum of Art Store sale

Critics' pick

Design lovers shouldn't skip out on this sale, where you can shop 50 percent off select items at the Met’s store. Highlights include Herakles knot link bracelets, halved from $150 to $75, Art Color Magic wall clocks (were $95, now $47) and decorative Adolf Dehn Spring in Central Park tea towels, nicked from $40 to $20.

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The Metropolitan Museum of Art Store, Upper East Side Until Saturday January 31 2015

Trevor Noah

Critics' pick

The South African comedian has left audiences in stitches with jokes about politics, race and class. If earlier shows are any indication of what's in store for his run at Gotham, expect Noah to push the envelope just far enough.

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Gotham Comedy Club, Chelsea

"Killer Heels: The Art of the High-Heeled Shoe"

Critics' pick

People—women and men alike—can't seem to get enough of high heels, and the higher the heel, the more likely that it will attract attention. That ability to captivate is the driving principle behind this show, which argues that, whatever the sexual connotations of high heels, they are also art objects. To illustrate this very sharp point, the exhibit trots out examples of fetishy footwear from the 16th century to the present, courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute and the Bata Shoe Museum in Toronto.

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Brooklyn Museum, Prospect Heights Until Sunday February 15 2015

You Can't Take It with You

Critics' pick

You Can’t Take It with You. Longacre Theatre (see Broadway). By Moss Hart and George S. Kaufman. Directed by Scott Ellis. With ensemble cast. 2hrs 20mins. Two intermissions. You Can’t Take It with You: In brief George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart's classic 1936 comedy chronicles the eccentric, freethinking Sycamore family, whose members follow their bliss—no matter how much chaos that creates. The dream cast includes James Earl Jones, Elizabeth Ashley, Reg Rogers and Kristine Nielsen. Scott Ellis (The Mystery of Edwin Drood) directs. You Can’t Take It with You: Theater review by David Cote We know about happy families being alike and unhappy ones being different, but Tolstoy was mum on the weird households. What about the clan that sticks together through chaotic, leaderless folly, that seems more closely bonded because each member inhabits another planet? The extended Sycamore ménage of the whirling and whimsical You Can’t Take It with You (1936) is a madcap tribe of passionate amateurs. Mother Penny (Kristine Nielsen) hammers away at unfinished plays; father Paul (Mark-Linn Baker) perfects fireworks in the cellar; daughter Essie (Annaleigh Ashford) aspires to the ballet corps: She cannot cross from kitchen to stairs without a galumphing pas de chat. And then there’s Grandpa (James Earl Jones), who has cheerfully retired from the rat race to enjoy his pet snakes and commencement ceremonies at nearby Columbia University. You get the idea: Everybody is chasing his or her bliss wi

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Longacre Theatre, Midtown West Until Sunday February 22 2015

Melissa Brown, "Four Play"

This show of new works by Brown—a painter and animator who often refers to money and games of chance in her work—was inspired by a trip she took to Foxwoods Resort Casino in nearby Ledyard, CT.

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Essex Flowers, Lower East Side Until Sunday February 22 2015 Free

ABC Carpet & Home sale

Critics' pick

Deck out your crib in style, thanks 
to this annual winter blowout sale. Most home goods are marked up 
to 70 percent off, so items like multicolored flat-weave wool rugs ($499, instead of $999) and glass Italia pink calice side tables ($649, originally $12,588) are now finally in your budget range.

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ABC Carpet & Home, Gramercy & Flatiron Until Monday January 26 2015

Entang Wiharso

Critics' pick

An Indonesian artist who splits his time between his homeland and Rhode Island, Entang Wiharso explores social, cultural and political issues in a variety of mediums. Since 1995, Wiharso has exhibited his work internationally, which has cropped up with greater frequency in the last several years at such prestigious events as the 2013 Venice Biennale. For his first solo show in New York, Wiharso presents a solid selection of figurative paintings, sculptures and metal reliefs, all blurring boundaries between expressionism, surrealism and traditional storytelling. One large painting from 2014, Double Protection: Invisible Threat, depicts a man and woman coupling at the center of a nightmarish whirl of levitating bodies, severed heads and machinery with tubes snaking out of them, suggesting some sort of medical equipment. His massive 2013 aluminum relief, My Heart Is Bigger than You Think, connects contorted figures, weapons and word balloons (with texts like your brain is very delicious) into a modern-day version of Hieronymus Bosch’s hellish 16th-century masterpiece, The Garden of Earthly Delights. While these works recall the oppression that Wiharso’s family suffered while the artist was growing up in Jakarta during the regime of former Indonesian strongman Suharto, his life-size sculpture from 2014, Inheritance, offers a different vision. A family portrait, it shows Wiharso with his American wife and child around a table, which is surmounted by a gigantic carp. Magical but th

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Marc Straus Gallery, Lower East Side Until Sunday February 8 2015 Free

Steve Earle

Critics' pick

A true American original from deep in the heart of Virginia, Steve Earle has made his mark as a righteous roots troubadour, author, actor (that was him playing Walon, Bubbles's N.A. sponsor in The Wire) and political activist. Here, Earle gigs as part of his annual winter residency at the Winery.

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City Winery, Soho Monday January 26 2015

The Imbible: A Spirited History of Drinking

Critics' pick

[Note: The review below is for the version of The Imbible that played at the 2014 New York International Fringe Festival.] Remember Bill Nye the Science Guy? Great! Now imagine him as a bartender who is deeply interested in the history of ethanol alcohol, really likes wigs and costumes, and just joined a coed barbershop quartet. That description of Anthony Caporale’s The Imbible: A Spirited History of Drinking may sound far-out, but the show is both educational and entertaining. (It's also a fine showcase for a cappella classics arranged by Josh Ehrlich and performed by a gifted ensemble that includes the show's director, soprano Nicole DiMattei.) Mixing whimsy and information, Caporale makes the story of our relationship with alcohol remarkably compelling. And the show's lessons—on subjects like the drinks served at Prohibition-era speakeasies, the origin of the gin and tonic, and the difference between a cocktail and a mixed drink—can be washed down with complimentary, thematically appropriate beverages. As Caporale says, “Trust me, I get funnier with every sip.” That makes the show a must-see for anyone who enjoys free booze, which is probably nearly everyone.—Amelia Bienstock Click here for full TONY coverage of the 2014 New York International Fringe Festival.

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SoHo Playhouse, Soho Until Saturday January 31 2015

Mommy

Cinema doesn’t come much more exuberant and raw than French-Canadian filmmaker Xavier Dolan’s Mommy. It’s the tale of Steve (Antoine-Olivier Pilon), a wild teen with severe ADD, his love-hate relationship with his mother, Die (Anne Dorval), and their stuttering new neighbor, Kyla (Suzanne Clément). Songs by Dido and Oasis boom out over the brilliant musical interludes, but they never drown out the very real compassion and love that Dolan shows for the flawed but lovably irrepressible characters at the heart of his unkempt melodrama. As Die fights to keep Steve out of trouble and Kyla becomes a secondary mother figure to him, Dolan fits everything but the kitchen sink into the confines of his cell phone–style screen ratio. Mommy may feel crass and bombastic, but Dolan finds joy in the most unexpected places. You simply can’t ignore his heartfelt and winning belief that there’s no one definition of what makes a real family. This is Dolan's fifth feature – he's still only 25 – and he does terrific work again with the actresses Dorval and Clément, both of whom appeared in his 2009 debut I Killed My Mother as well as in some of his subsequent films. This is melodrama and then some, and songs by Dido and Oasis boom out over musicial interludes and montages. It's anything but minimal, but none of this drowns out the very real compassion and love that Dolan shows for all these characters, none of whom behave brilliantly all the time but who all struggle to get along in life as best

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Now Showing

Comedy as a Second Language

Critics' pick

Sean Patton's weekly show takes place in the back of an East Village dive bar, but don't be deceived by appearances: It's home to some of the best up-and-coming comics and is frequently visited by the biggest names in stand-up. Guests including Louis C.K., Bonnie McFarlane and Murderfist have dropped by.

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Kabin, East Village Thursday January 29 2015 - Thursday December 31 2015 Free

Disgraced

Critics' pick

Disgraced. Lyceum Theatre (see Broadway). By Ayad Akhtar. Directed by Kimberly Senior. With ensemble cast. Running time: 1hr 30mins. No intermission. Disgraced: In brief Ayad Akhtar's Pulitzer Prize–winning play will be topical for the foreseeable future: A Pakistani-American lawyer finds that his wife and friends are not as tolerant as he thought. At a dinner party where the chat turns ugly, the characters show their true selves. The cast includes Gretchen Mol, Josh Radnor, Karen Pittman and British actor Hari Dhillon. Disgraced: Theater review by David Cote As a friend and I left Ayad Akhtar’s Disgraced­—which premiered two years ago, nabbed the Pulitzer Prize and recently moved to Broadway—he mused that you don’t see a lot of in-depth “issue” fare in pop culture. Even Homeland’s ripped-from–Al Jazeera realism is a cover for spy-versus-spy melodrama, and the vast majority of movies favor the tentpole over the bully pulpit. I told him that issue plays are scarce in theater, too, especially on the Great White Way. Maybe that’s why I liked Disgraced more this time around. In truth, this is a superior production to the one that opened at Lincoln Center in 2012, with a more charismatic cast and a better sense of the rising ideological stakes. In the lead role of proudly assimilated lawyer Amir Kapoor, Hari Dhillon cuts a handsome, graceful figure (different to the simmering suavity of original Amir, Aasif Mandvi). He has an easy chemistry with his pretty wife, Emily (Gretchen

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Lyceum Theatre, Midtown West Until Sunday March 1 2015

Drunk Shakespeare

An actor drinks heavily (in the vein of Comedy Central's Drunk History) and then tries to corral others into enacting a story by the Bard. Bibulous excess is encouraged.

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Roy Arias Stages, Midtown West Until Thursday December 31 2015

"Madame Cézanne"

Critics' pick

Although Paul Cézanne’s wife was his most frequently painted subject, she’s been given short shrift by art historians, who have tended to focus on the artist’s still lifes, landscapes and figurative studies of bathers. As a remedy, the Met gathers paintings, drawings and watercolors, featuring Hortense Fiquet (the spouse in question), from its collection, as well as from others in Asia, Europe and the United States.

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The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Upper East Side Until Sunday March 15 2015

Then She Fell

Critics' pick

[Note: Since this review was written, Then She Fell has moved and reopened; it now plays on three floors of a church building in Williamsburg.] At first blush, Then She Fell seems to be a small-scale cribbing of Punchdrunk’s Sleep No More. Yes, you wander solo through intricately dressed rooms in a creepy building; yes, that man in a cravat is crawling up the wall in front of you. But you begin to realize that Third Rail Projects’ interactive riff on Lewis Carroll’s Alice books is using a similar language to give you a different experience: When you peer into the looking glass, it stares right back at you. Performed in the former Greenpoint Hospital, the show only permits 15 audience members a pop—making for a distinctly intimate experience. You’re given a shot of mulled wine and a set of keys before nurses, Carroll characters and even the psychotropic author himself usher you through a combination Wonderland–psych ward. As in Sleep No More, no two individuals will have the same evening. You may find yourself taking dictation for the Hatter (the mesmerizing Elizabeth Carena), painting cream-colored roses red with the White Rabbit (Tom Pearson) or sitting down to the infamous tea party with the whole gang. The experiences that director-designer-mastermind Zach Morris and his company offer are stunningly personal. You don’t have a mask to hide behind here—when you peep in on the Red Queen (Rebekah Morin) having a private breakdown, she catches you watching through the two-way m

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Kingsland Ward, Williamsburg Until Thursday December 31 2015

Linkin Park + Rise Against + Of Mice and Men

Early-aughts juggernauts Linkin Park and Chicago's long-running hooky hardcore outfit Rise Against join together for a winter trek. The former support their new LP, The Hunting Party, while the latter plays behind 2013's The Black Market. California metalcore outfit Of Mice and Men supplies heavy bombast in the opening slot.

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Barclays Center, Prospect Heights Sunday January 25 2015

Wang Jianwei, Time Temple

Critics' pick

Installation, painting, film and live theater are all part of this Chinese artist’s exhibition, his first in America and the first of three major works commissioned by the Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Chinese Art Initiative for the Guggenheim. The piece, which will become part of the Gugg’s permanent collection, is the latest example of the artist’s ongoing examination of social order and the individual’s relationship to it. His work also often alludes to China’s modern history.

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Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Upper East Side Until Monday February 16 2015

Helmut Lang

Critics' pick

Back in 2005, the famed Vienna born designer of minimalist fashion announced that he was hanging up his scissors to pursue his dream of being an artist. People in the fashion industry were understandably skeptical, as were some in the art world. However, he's stuck to his guns, and now he's having his first solo show in New York with a presentation of sculptures made of resin and pigment. Taut pillar-shaped forms are exhibited along with flat, sheetlike pieces resembling plankton. According to Lang, it's all about exploring materials "with a certain history, elements with irreplaceable presence and with scars and memories of a former purpose."

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Sperone Westwater, Lower East Side Until Saturday February 21 2015 Free

Taylor Mac: A 24-Decade History of Popular Music—1900s-1950s

Critics' pick

A Fabergé radical—beautiful, ridiculous and full of hidden tricks—the sublimely freakish Mac pilots audiences through fantastical journeys, guided only by the compass of his magnetic individuality. In this Under the Radar festival offering, he trains his legs for an upcoming marathon 24-hour concert spanning the past 250 years of American music. (The Jan 25 show will last six hours.)

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New York Live Arts, Chelsea

Philip Taaffe

Critics' pick

Taafe's latest paintings follow the same approach he's taken over a 30-year career, creating works marked by vivid colors, dense decorative patterns (with shapes often borrowed from nature) and mixed-media techniques ranging from collage to silkscreen. Emerging in the 1980s, he's become one of New York's most reliably engaging artists.

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Luhring Augustine Bushwick, Bushwick Until Sunday April 26 2015 Free

"Witness at a Crossroads: Photographer Marc Riboud in Asia"

Critics' pick

Photographer Marc Riboud documented his travels through Asia during the 1950s and '60s with over 100 black-and-white pictures illustrating the cultural changes in Japan, China, Nepal and other countries in relation to their postwar modernity.

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The Rubin Museum of Art, Chelsea Until Monday March 23 2015

Rent the Runway sample sale

Critics' pick

The online dress-rental brand—which typically lends gently used frocks from the likes of Badgley Mischka, Diane von Furstenberg and Nicole Miller—is having a megasale with everything marked up to 90 percent off. Peek through the racks filled with long-sleeved stretch dresses by Nha Khanh (were $425), sleeveless sapphire crewneck chiffon gowns as well as black matte jersey dresses from Mark & James by Badgley Mischka (were $295) and then scoop up an accessory, like a sparkle gray-leather clutch from Halston Heritage (once $295).

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260 Sample Sale

Squirts

Critics' pick

Songwriter, playwright and anticool activist Dan Fishback (The Material World) curates and hosts another two-week exploration of emerging young queer talent, joined by a different local gay luminary each night.

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La MaMa E.T.C., East Village

The Phantom of the Opera

Andrew Lloyd Webber’s iconic, bombastic musical goes on. Directed by Harold Prince, Phantom is lavish and engaging enough to draw tourists more than two decades into its run. Although the score often strikes a cheesy 1980s synth-pop note, the spectacle and romance remain more or less intact. Norm Lewis now plays the Phantom.—David Cote

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Majestic Theatre, Midtown West Until Thursday December 31 2015

Live from Outer Space

Critics' pick

The endearingly histrionic John F. O'Donnell joins understated absurdists Ben Kronberg and Erik Bergstrom to host this weekly night of stand-up.

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The Cobra Club, Bushwick Until Friday December 25 2015 Free

Benjamin Fredrickson

Critics' pick

In this new exhibit, the local artist documents his time as a sex worker in the Midwest with stark, unflinching Polaroids, including several self-portraits as well as shots of other young men engaged in similar professions.

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Daniel Cooney Fine Art, Chelsea Until Saturday February 28 2015 Free

Round-Up

Critics' pick

BAM Next Wave Festival. Sufjan Stevens adds to his body of conceptual works with this evocation of the rodeo. Some slo-mo footage shot at Oregon's Pendleton Round-Up helps set the scene, though the main attraction should be Stevens's score, which he'll perform along with members of the piano-plus-percussion group Yarn/Wire.

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BAM Harvey Theater, Fort Greene

Smoke

Critics' pick

Smoke. Flea Theater (see Off-Off Broadway). By Kim Davies. Directed by Tom Costello. With Madeleine Bundy and Stephen Stout. Running time: 1hr 15mins. No intermission. Smoke: In brief A privileged college student and a cynical artist push the boundaries of BDSM in a new play by Kim Davies, directed by Tom Costello with a cast drawn from the Flea's resident young company, the Bats. Smoke: Theater review by Helen Shaw Outlines of other plays flicker in Smoke, Kim Davies’s erotic one-act: obviously Strindberg’s Miss Julie (Davies uses it as armature) but also Venus in Fur and even Fool for Love. As in those pieces, a couple maneuvers through a fog of flirtation and power, an atmosphere so sexually frank some watchers will be embarrassed or even repelled. As others before her, Davies repurposes discomfort, making Smoke a cynical, magnetic miniature about consent itself. Jaded Julie (Bundy) dashes into the kitchen of her first BDSM-sex party, dying for a cigarette; John (Stout) is there, already puffing moodily (smoking: illicit at an orgy). Julie’s father is a famous artist; John, coincidentally, is his assistant. Any danger here would seem to be to his career. Her self-assurance wavers, though, on finding John’s set of knives, and her own wishes go suddenly opaque. Davies and director Tom Costello tease us with violation (Bundy strips, Stout doesn’t), aided by the intense intimacy of the Flea stage. Andrew Diaz’s naturalistic set forces us into its deep corner, where we are pres

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Flea Theater, Tribeca Thursday January 29 2015 - Sunday February 1 2015

Araya Rasdjarmrearnsook

Critics' pick

This show represents the first U.S. retrospective of Rasdjarmrearnsook, a Thai artist who has a major reputation in Southeast Asia. In recent years, she's focused on film and video, mainly to capture performances involving herself and others. In one piece, she can be seen delivering an academic lecture to a line of corpses laid on the floor. In another work, a group of peasants try to make sense of Jean-Francois Millet's 1857 painting, The Gleaners. Both seem to evoke the all-too-frequent gaps between information and understanding.

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SculptureCenter, Long Island City Until Monday March 30 2015

"MoMA PS1 and Bob & Roberta Smith Invite You to Throw Your Art Away"

Critics' pick

Are you an artist who's finally had it with being ignored by the art world? Are you someone who has been given a work of art that you know perfectly well is without value, and may even be ugly as far as you're concerned? Are you an artist who's actually successful to some degree, but are embarrassed by an earlier work? Well, London's Bob and Roberta Smith (a.k.a. Patrick Brill) have a solution. Dumpsters in MoMA PS1's courtyard are being provided for all of the above and more to dispose of their art. For those having a hard time letting go, you can bring in your work to display in the second-floor gallery. The catch is that you must sign a pledge saying you never want to see the work again; if you prefer to up the ante, you can also promise to never make art again. If you opt for the latter, you get an official "I am no longer an artist" badge. Committing career suicide has never sounded so fun.

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MoMA PS1 , Long Island City Until Sunday March 8 2015

Juan Muñoz

Critics' pick

Muñoz (1953–2001) was a self-professed storyteller, and indeed, the Spanish artist's monochromatic, figurative sculptures do contain narrative elements, even if they are inconclusive. The installations in this show, for example, include a large set piece of identical, desaturated gray figures in matching baggy uniforms, standing and conversing with each other even though they're missing their feet. Questions like what they may represent (a cocktail party? diplomatic reception?) elude answers; the work is really a monument to impenetrability, as are the other pieces here.

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Marian Goodman Gallery, Midtown West Until Saturday January 31 2015 Free

The Sherry Vine Show

Critics' pick

New York drag institution and brilliant comedian Sherry Vine brings you her song parodies, viral videos and acid wit every week at this popular Hell's Kitchen drinkery.

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Industry Bar, Hell's Kitchen Wednesday January 28 2015 - Wednesday June 24 2015 Free

Avenue Q

Critics' pick

After many years, the sassy and clever puppet musical doesn’t show its age. Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx’s deft Sesame Street–esque novelty tunes about porn and racism still earn their laughs. Avenue Q remains a sly and winning piece of metamusical tomfoolery.—David Cote

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New World Stages, Hell's Kitchen Until Thursday December 31 2015

Into the Woods

Into the Woods: Theater review by Adam Feldman Into the woods we go again in Fiasco Theater’s cozied, modestly pleasing revival of Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine’s 1987 musical. Since the production arrives hot on the gold-slippered heels of a 2012 Central Park revival and a new motion picture, there’s not much shock left in what Into the Woods itself does with such folktale icons as Cinderella (Claire Karpen), Little Red Riding Hood (Emily Young) and the beanstalk-climbing Jack (Patrick Mulryan): The mash-up of the first act becomes a squash-up in the second as an angry giant wreaks havoc, and everyone’s happy endings turn out to be built on sand (or burial grounds). The element of surprise now stems mainly from Fiasco’s ingenuity, as 11 performers (including Jennifer Mudge as the Witch) divvy up all the roles and narration and also play the instruments. The trees are ropes, arranged to suggest the innards of a piano; Rapunzel’s hair is yellow yarn; the Princes double as Cinderella’s stepsisters, with window-curtain dresses still on their rod. This Into the Woods looks like it was officially sponsored by Etsy and has the vibe of a college show put on by friends who have cast themselves in parts they might not otherwise play: Jessie Austrian makes a gutsy Baker’s Wife, but her directors and fellow Fiasco leaders, Noah Brody and Ben Steinfeld, are less effective. Still, the show’s dorm-spun style is often amusing, even if most of the humor happens to the side of the materia

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Laura Pels Theatre, Midtown West Until Sunday March 22 2015

Fred Hersch

Critics' pick

Piano veteran Fred Hersch returns to the Vanguard with bassist John Hébert and drummer Eric McPherson—collectively one of the quintessential NYC piano trios. As demonstrated on 2014's Floating, the band manages to sound at once archetypal and individualistic, qualities that should only intensify thanks to the additions of saxophonist Mark Turner and trumpeter Ralph Alessi through 18. The following week, from Jan 20 through 25, Hersch performs solo—a no-less-enchanting prospect.

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Village Vanguard, West Village

DJ Questlove presents: Bowl Train

Critics' pick

The beloved Roots man is a musical genius and, luckily for us, a Brooklyn Bowl institution: He runs the weekly Bowl Train soiree. Expect a boogie-inducing mix of hip-hop, house, ’80s jams and rare grooves—augmented with Soul Train videos, duh—to ensure you don't run out of moves.

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Brooklyn Bowl, Williamsburg Thursday January 29 2015
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