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Things to do in New York this Friday

It’s time to punch out, wind down and start your weekend off right with the best things to do in New York this Friday

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There are too many incredible things to do in New York this Friday to spend it on the couch. Whether you want to rage at one of the best parties in NYC or if you’re interested in checking out free comedy shows, you have unlimited options. That’s why we decided to make the planning process easier for you by selecting the very best events that are guaranteed to show you a good time. Forget road trips, the best way to spend your Friday night is right here in NYC.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to things to do in NYC this weekend

Popular things to do this Friday

  • Dance
  • Contemporary and experimental
  • price 2 of 4
  • Chelsea

The 87-year-old Yvonne Rainer, a founding member of Judson Dance Theater, continues to blur the boundaries between daily movement, text and dance—and, now, film—in a piece that she has said will be her final choreographic work. Projections from the 1941 musical Hellzapoppin’ and the 1933 French boarding-school drama Zero for Conduct form the backdrop for an investigation of systemic racism in America, performed by nine dancers. 

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Theater
  • Drama
  • price 4 of 4
  • Midtown West

Broadway review by Adam Feldman  Reducio! After 18 months, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child has returned to Broadway in a dramatically new form. As though it had cast a Shrinking Charm on itself, the formerly two-part epic is now a single show, albeit a long one: Almost three and a half hours of stage wizardry, set 20 years after the end of J.K. Rowling’s seven-part book series and tied to a complicated time-travel plot about the sons of Harry Potter and his childhood foe Draco Malfoy. (See below for a full review of the 2018 production.) Audiences who were put off by the previous version’s tricky schedule and double price should catch the magic now.  Despite its shrinking, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child has kept most of its charm. The spectacular set pieces of John Tiffany’s production remain—the staircase ballet, the underwater swimming scene, the gorgeous flying wraiths—but about a third of the former text has been excised. Some of the changes are surgical trims, and others are more substantial. The older characters take the brunt of the cuts (Harry’s flashback nightmares, for example, are completely gone); there is less texture to the conflicts between the fathers and sons, and the plotting sometimes feels more rushed than before. But the changes have the salutary effect of focusing the story on its most interesting new creations: the resentful Albus Potter (James Romney) and the unpopular Scorpius Malfoy (Brady Dalton Richards), whose bond has been reconceived in a s

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  • Dance
  • Ballroom and Latin
  • price 3 of 4
  • Chelsea

The Cuban ensemble returns to the Joyce with a program comprising four works: Mats Eks's woman with water, Robyn Mineko Williams's Elemental, Aszure Barton's commissioned Stillness in Bloom and troupe cofounder Daileidys Carrazana's solo Nana Para un Insomnio (Lullaby for Insomnia). The latter is accompanied live on piano by Grammy winner Arturo O'Farrillo on October 4 and by Gabriel Chakarji on October 5–9.

Hamilton
  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Theater
  • Musicals
  • price 4 of 4
  • Midtown West

Hamilton: Theater review by David Cote What is left to say? After Founding Father Alexander Hamilton’s prodigious quill scratched out 12 volumes of nation-building fiscal and military policy; after Lin-Manuel Miranda turned that titanic achievement (via Ron Chernow’s 2004 biography) into the greatest American musical in decades; after every critic in town (including me) praised the Public Theater world premiere to high heaven; and after seeing this language-drunk, rhyme-crazy dynamo a second time, I can only marvel: We've used up all the damn words. Wait, here are three stragglers, straight from the heart: I love Hamilton. I love it like I love New York, or Broadway when it gets it right. And this is so right. A sublime conjunction of radio-ready hip-hop (as well as R&B, Britpop and trad showstoppers), under-dramatized American history and Miranda’s uniquely personal focus as a first-generation Puerto Rican and inexhaustible wordsmith, Hamilton hits multilevel culture buttons, hard. No wonder the show was anointed a sensation before even opening. Assuming you don’t know the basics, ­Hamilton is a (mostly) rapped-through biomusical about an orphan immigrant from the Caribbean who came to New York, served as secretary to General Washington, fought against the redcoats, authored most of the Federalist Papers defending the Constitution, founded the Treasury and the New York Post and even made time for an extramarital affair that he damage-controlled in a scandal-stanching pamphle

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  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Theater
  • Musicals
  • price 3 of 4
  • Midtown West

Broadway review by Adam Feldman A Strange Loop is a wild ride. In a Broadway landscape dominated by shows that often seem designed by corporations for audiences of focus groups, Michael R. Jackson’s musical is the defiant product of a single and singular authorial vision. This wide-ranging intravaganza takes a deep dive, often barely coming up for breath, into a whirlpool of ambition and frustration as Jackson's seeming alter ego—a queer, Black writer-composer named Usher (Jaquel Spivey)—struggles to define himself amid traps of sex, race, family, body image, religion and entertainment. It’s screamingly funny and howlingly hurt, and it’s unmissable.   Smartly directed by Stephen Brackett, the show caused a sensation in 2019 when it premiered at Playwrights Horizons; now, after multiple top-ten lists and an armful of honors (including the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and a New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award), it has reached Broadway without compromising its conflicted, challenging, sometimes actively family-unfriendly content. The songs are welcomingly tuneful and clever, but as Usher warns us in the opening number: “A Strange Loop will have Black shit! And white shit! It’ll give you uptown and downtown! With truth-telling and butt-fucking!”  All of that is true—including, graphically, the last part—but it barely begins to describe the show’s discombobulating melange of anger, joy, neurosis and honesty. In this very meta musical, Usher is the only real character: the unstable “I

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Theater
  • Musicals
  • price 4 of 4
  • Midtown West

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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  • Things to do
  • price 1 of 4
  • Coney Island

One of the last of its kind, this ten-act extravaganza of human oddities aims to satisfy nostalgic and progressive temperaments alike. Finally returning after a year of closure, the iconic spectacle adds a footnote to the controversial freak-show conversation by celebrating the talents of those “born different.” The lineup includes contortionists, sword swallowers, fire eaters and escape artists.

  • Dance
  • Ballet
  • price 3 of 4
  • Upper West Side

New York City Ballet leaps back to Lincoln Center for a month of shows that are packed with works by company cofounder George Balanchine: 12 of them in all, including two all-Balanchine bills and two that are shared with dances by Jerome Robbins. Also on the lineup are pieces by Alexei Ratmansky and current NYCB resident choreographer Justin Peck, plus premieres by Kyle Abraham and Gianna Reisen. The company's current constellation of étoiles comprises Jared Angle, Tyler Angle, Harrison Ball, Ashley Bouder, Chun Wai Chan, Adrian Danchig-Waring, Megan Fairchild, Jovani Furlan, Joseph Gordon, Anthony Huxley, Sterling Hyltin, Russell Janzen, Sara Mearns, Tiler Peck, Unity Phelan, Taylor Stanley, Daniel Ulbricht, Andrew Veyette, Peter Walker and Indiana Woodward.

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  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Theater
  • Circuses & magic
  • price 4 of 4
  • Chelsea

Review by Adam Feldman  The low-key dazzling Speakeasy Magick has been nestled in the atmospheric McKittrick Hotel for more than a year, and now it has moved up to the Lodge: a small wood-framed room at Gallow Green, which functions as a rooftop bar in the summer. The show’s dark and noisy new digs suit it well. Hosted by Todd Robbins (Play Dead), who specializes in mild carnival-sideshow shocks, Speakeasy Magick is a moveable feast of legerdemain; audience members, seated at seven tables, are visited by a series of performers in turn. Robbins describes this as “magic speed dating.” One might also think of it as tricking: an illusion of intimacy, a satisfying climax, and off they go into the night. The evening is punctuated with brief performances on a makeshift stage. When I attended, the hearty Matthew Holtzclaw kicked things off with sleight of hand involving cigarettes and booze; later, the delicate-featured Alex Boyce pulled doves from thin air. But it’s the highly skilled close-up magic that really leaves you gasping with wonder. Holtzclaw’s table act comes to fruition with a highly effective variation on the classic cups-and-balls routine; the elegant, Singapore-born Prakash and the dauntingly tattooed Mark Calabrese—a razor of a card sharp—both find clever ways to integrate cell phones into their acts. Each performer has a tight 10-minute act, and most of them are excellent, but that’s the nice thing about the way the show is structured: If one of them happens to fall

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Theater
  • Musicals
  • price 3 of 4
  • Hell's Kitchen

Theater review by Adam Feldman  [Note: Rob McClure currently plays the role of Seymour and and Andrew Call plays Orin. Lena Hall takes over as Audrey on September 6; Brad Oscar and Bryce Pinkham step into the roles of Mushnik and Orin, respectively, on September 27.]  Little Shop of Horrors is a weird and adorable show with teeth. Based on Roger Corman’s shlocky 1960 film, Howard Ashman and Alan Menken’s 1982 musical tells the Faustian story of a dirt-poor schlub named Seymour (Jonathan Groff), a lowly petal pusher at a Skid Row flower shop, who cultivates a relationship with a most unusual plant. What seems at first a blessing—a way for the lonely Seymour to earn money and to get closer to his boss, Mushnik (Tom Alan Robbins), and his used and bruised coworker, Audrey (Tammy Blanchard)—soon turns sinister. The plant, whom he names Audrey II (designed by Nicholas Mahon and voiced by Kingsley Leggs), requires human blood to grow, and Seymour doesn’t have enough of his own to spare. He doesn’t want to feed the beast, but he can’t resist the lure of the green. Arguably the best musical ever adapted from a movie, Little Shop does for B flicks what Sweeney Todd does for Grand Guignol. Librettist Ashman and composer Menken—who, between this show and their Disney animated films, did more than anyone to return musical theater from its mass-culture exile in the late 20th century—brilliantly wrap a sordid tale of capitalist temptation and moral decay in layers of sweetness, humor, wit

Featured things to do this Friday

  • Things to do
  • price 1 of 4
  • Coney Island

One of the last of its kind, this ten-act extravaganza of human oddities aims to satisfy nostalgic and progressive temperaments alike. Finally returning after a year of closure, the iconic spectacle adds a footnote to the controversial freak-show conversation by celebrating the talents of those “born different.” The lineup includes contortionists, sword swallowers, fire eaters and escape artists.

Movies to see this Friday

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  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Movies
  • Action and adventure

Joaquin Phoenix is devastating as a monster-in-the-making in this incendiary tale of abuse

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