Music, Theater And Dance You Can't Miss
By Victor Oren
As our daily dose of summer sun gives way to the foliage-friendly fall, it seems as if further leisure and amusement is postponed until next year. Yet, this autumn has something new and exciting in store for New Yorkers—from casual concert attendees to theater fanatics.
While some can shake their hips to the nightclub’s rhythmic beats, most have lost touch with the majesty and grace of authentic dance. Fortunately for them, the Big Apple has a few revitalizing spectacles to offer. The American Ballet Theatre, one of the world’s most highly regarded and innovative dance companies, is kicking off its new season at the New York City Center, located at Manhattan’s W. 55th St., Oct. 18.
“ABT performs some of the most awe-inspiring displays of dance I have ever seen,” said Yoko Callegari, a dancer in her second season with the Washington Ballet. “They are so culturally influential in the world of dance that it shouldn’t be missed.”
Nicole Graniero, apprentice at ABT, had attended five years at ABT’s Summer Intensives Program before finally joining the company.
“To dance with the level of talent here is just surreal,” Graniero said. “I’m living my dream and couldn’t be happier.”
Graniero has performed in Flames of Paris, The Nutcracker, gained the leading role in Giselle and will perform in ABT’s fall production of Le Corsaire.
The world-class performing arts center Sadler’s Wells of London has teamed up with the New York City Center to present works by celebrated choreographers and dance companies. The collaboration is called PUSH and features the French ballerina and dance star Sylvie Guillem, one of the most remarkable dancers of this generation, blended with the contemporary choreographer and dancer, Russell Maliphant.
Yet, for an all-inclusive barrage of top-notch dance, the third annual Fall for Dance Festival delivers it all. For just $10 a ticket, dance companies from countries including Hungary, Canada, France and Spain will enthrall attendees with their standout arrangements. Two of New York City Center’s resident companies, Paul Taylor Dance Company and ABT, will perform as well.
From Broadway to way-off-Broadway, New York City theatre is both eclectic and enthralling this Fall. Hundreds of original performances grace long-standing stages each year, but far fewer actually satisfy the finicky art critics. And this fall the theater is packed with such anticipated works.
Some, like Tavia Nyong’o, professor of performance studies at New York University, claim that “humor, precision, and unexpectedness” are the fundamental elements of an impressive performance that both charms and entertains, whereas others like Mel Marvin, a resident composer and director at NYU, favor a performance that invokes a “passionate, provocative, or political” response from the audience. So, what may be the formula for crafting a theatrical hit? See for yourself.
Shortly after declaring its Carnegie Hall performance as its last, one of New York City’s longest-standing performances, Kiki and Herb are Alive and Well, has unexpectedly rolled into the Broadway lineup this fall. The quirky musical comedy is a drunken cabaret interspersed with political satire and musical parodies that induces laughter from beginning to end. Catch one of the most bizarre Broadway performances to date, now playing at the Helen Hayes Theatre in Times Square for $87.50 per ticket.
On the other side of the spectrum Doubt, John Patrick Shanley’s Pulitzer-prize winning work of 2005, embraces a more somber, suspenseful tone. The title itself and its opposite, certainty, shape each face on stage, revealing the anger, passion, and intensities of life in a 1964 Bronx Catholic School.
“I’ve always been fascinated in how a play breaks the fourth wall, that imaginary boundary between the actors and the audience,” remarked Stephen Wangh, an acting professor at NYU. “Shanley, as Shakespeare often did, achieves this in Doubt, which is central to what differentiates theater from film.” Doubt has continued to maintain its prominent post among the Broadway elite and is a must-see this fall.
Not feeling the Broadway scene? Indulge in the hundreds of other productions the city has to offer. Catch the notable The Coast of Utopia, Tom Stoppard’s new trilogy at Lincoln Center Theater or watch the much-anticipated The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, headlined by the Tony Award-winner and Sex and the City star Cynthia Nixon. For a more conventional theatre experience, the world famous National Theatre of Greece returns for a six-performance run of Aeschylus’ The Persians starting September 16th.
If it were not for the melodic, tone-setting tunes in the backdrop of a ballet or the accentuating, brassy notes behind a slapstick theatrical performance, the ambiance would surely be lacking. The integral role of music must not be overlooked. This is especially true in a city like New York, which supplies music choices ranging from operas and orchestras to concert cruises and rock shows.
Head to New York’s fifth annual Rocks Off Concert Series, a “rock n’ dock” music festival aboard a two-level boat. The Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra, a thirteen-member orchestra of horns and bass that infuses polyrhythmic beats and funky melodies with English and Spanish lyrics, is just one of nearly two dozen bands that jam out on the Hudson.
Take it down a notch and head to the New York City Opera and see Carmen, the famous 19th century tragedy set in Seville, Spain. First time opera-goers should not miss the Time Out New York Intro to Opera Series—a group of select operas including discussions with City Opera insiders that “are designed to demystify opera by exploring its basic components,” according to an NYC Opera press release. Carmen plays within this special series at the New York State Theater at Lincoln Center on Oct. 3. Seating tickets range from $25 to $115, but you can stand for as little as $16.
For a genuine avant-garde experience, stop by The Kitchen, a multi-disciplinary performance venue and powerful cultural force within the arts-infused West Village. Here for $8-12 a ticket this fall, music-lovers witness audio-visual works from around the globe. Jazz pianist and composer Matthew Shipp generates original compositions that form a synthesis of free jazz, bebop, pop, and contemporary classical music, while Alarm Will Sound, a twenty-member new music ensemble flaunts its own innovative, genre-bending harmonies.