Monday, May 27, 2024

Teresita Fernández’s Shifting Sculptural Landscapes

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In an early scene of “The Outsiders”—the new Broadway musical based on S. E. Hinton’s 1967 novel and on Francis Ford Coppola’s 1983 movie, directed by Danya Taymor, with a book by the always-busy Adam Rapp, with Justin Levine, and music and lyrics by Levine, Jonathan Clay, and Zach Chance—a young, searching kid looks up adoringly at Paul Newman’s face beaming out from a movie screen. He’s Ponyboy (Brody Grant), and his life in Tulsa, Oklahoma, is circumscribed by constant skirmishes between his group of outsiders, the Greasers, and the town’s semi-fascist preppies, the Socs. The story is dense with the kind of tragedy that leaves audience members sniffling in their seats. Even when individual lines of dialogue swing dangerously close to corniness, Taymor’s painterly direction and Rick and Jeff Kuperman’s choreography give the show a glow of hard-earned authentic reminiscence.—V.C. (Bernard B. Jacobs; open run.)


Classical Music

With more than fifty concerts over three days in Brooklyn, this year’s Long Play Festival, organized by Bang on a Can, celebrates contemporary music in general and minimalism in particular. The latter includes Steve Reich’s “Music for 18 Musicians,” David Lang’s haunting “the little match girl passion,” and Philip Glass’s Piano Études (in new arrangements for accordion). The programming honors past path-breakers while making space for newer ones, such as the microtonalist Peter Adriaansz and the jazz experimentalist Josh Johnson. The flutist Claire Chase, who is on a multiyear odyssey stretching her instrument’s possibilities, elegantly bridges the two worlds, with excerpts from a new piece by minimalism’s white-bearded forefather Terry Riley.—Oussama Zahr (Various venues; May 3-5.)


Jazz

Kamasi Washington Face Head Person Photography Portrait Adult and Fashion

Photograph by Vincent Haycock

Since Kamasi Washington’s appropriately titled 2015 album, “The Epic,” a hundred-and-seventy-three-minute triple disk of far-reaching, mind-expanding spiritual jazz, the saxophonist has only grown more tremendous, in sound and stature. He was already a fixture on the L.A. music scene, committing to the jazz collective West Coast Get Down and working with the experimental label Brainfeeder, when he played a pivotal role as a key session musician for Kendrick Lamar’s “To Pimp a Butterfly.” These days, Washington is one of the most ambitious bandleaders out there, and his playing is as forceful as his vision. This show kicks off the release of his new LP, “Fearless Movement,” which he has referred to as his “dance album,” shifting focus from celestial bodies to physical ones.—Sheldon Pearce (Beacon Theatre; May 4.)


Movies

The director Jane Schoenbrun is making a notable career dramatizing young people losing and finding themselves in mass-media rabbit holes. In their previous feature, “We’re All Going to the World’s Fair,” from 2021, a teen-ager seeks freedom and faces danger in an all-consuming interactive video game. Schoenbrun’s new film, “I Saw the TV Glow,” set mainly in the nineteen-nineties, is centered on two lonely suburban adolescents, Owen (played younger by Ian Foreman and older by Justice Smith), and Maddy (Brigette Lundy-Paine), who are obsessed with a TV series about teen superheroes. Owen, an introvert who craves a feeling of belonging, riskily imagines himself into the series—which inspires the rebellious Maddy to take reckless action. Schoenbrun tells their stories in images that blend eerie chills and tender warmth while keeping the object of their obsession in skeptical perspective.—Richard Brody (In theatrical release on May 3.)


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Pick Three

Every theatre in town seems to be opening a show; here are Helen Shaw’s top picks.

1. Amy Herzog’s oddly buoyant slice-of-dying play, “Mary Jane,” is on Broadway at last. A single mother (Rachel McAdams, still feeling her way) raises a child with terrible medical burdens; wry and humorous women—played by theatrical treasures like April Matthis, Susan Pourfar, and Brenda Wehle—help her maintain her spirit. The show (at the Samuel J. Friedman) is full of grief, but the sensation of it goes up and up.

2. In Shaina Taub’s rip-roaring musical “Suffs” (at the Music Box), Taub herself plays Alice Paul, who rallied American suffragists in a new, “unladylike” fashion; Nikki M. James plays Ida B. Wells, who decried the stifling whiteness of Paul’s movement; and Jenn Colella plays Carrie Chapman Catt, an older leader whose more conciliatory tactics also helped secure the 19th Amendment. The musical succeeds at a thrilling, all-hands-on-deck level: “Suffs” readies you to both look inward and march on.

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Illustration by Bene Rohlmann

3. Virginia Woolf’s novel “Orlando,” in which an Elizabethan nobleman (Taylor Mac) lives for centuries, changing in their course from man to woman, is a bear to adapt, but Sarah Ruhl’s 2010 play manages it with a skater’s grace. She’s abetted immensely by Will Davis’s gorgeous, gender-liquid production, for Signature Theatre, and Mac’s laughing delivery, but I was most moved by Nathan Lee Graham’s Queen Elizabeth, half in emerald tracksuit, half in golden farthingale, gliding forward out of death for one last kiss from her favorite.


P.S. Good stuff on the Internet:



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