The Best Performing Arts Talks & Shows Coming to NYC This Spring

By Alison Durkee

Enjoy everything the city’s actors, dancers, and musicians have to offer with these upcoming spring performing arts events.

The centerpiece of New York’s theater scene, of course, is Broadway, and with the Tony Awards just around the corner, this spring is the best time to check out one of the new shows opening on the Great White Way. Musical lovers can delight in the classics with revivals of My Fair Lady and Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Carousel, or take in something new with the adaptation of Tina Fey’s hit film Mean Girls or Summer: The Donna Summer Musical. Playgoers, meanwhile, can enjoy revivals of Tom Stoppard’s Travesties, The Iceman Cometh, or George Bernard Shaw’s Saint Joan, while the Broadway debut of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is sure to excite any Muggle.

As Angels in America returns to Broadway, learn more about the iconic work as playwright Tony Kushner appears in conversation at the 92nd Street Y on May 4. Dominique Morisseau (above), playwright of Paradise Blue, which opens at the Signature Theatre April 24, will be the focus of a talk at the New York Public Library on April 30.

The Birds/Stavros Habakis

Fans of theatre’s classic works have much to look forward to this spring, including a staged reading of Pale Sister, a play from the voice of Antigone’s sister Ismene (April 22), and The Folio Is Female (April 23), a birthday party for the Bard focused on Shakespeare’s great female characters. As Aristophanes’ classic comedy The Birds makes its way to St Ann’s Warehouse in Brooklyn this spring (May 2-13), the Greek playwright and his political work will be the focus of several talks, including a panel discussion on Aristophanes and political satire at the Brooklyn Museum (April 25), a look at the play through the lens of contemporary mass incarceration (May 1), and a discussion on the Nature of Justice, a contemporary art exhibition being shown in conjunction with the classic play (May 7). Political theatre will also be in the spotlight on April 24, as French director, actor, and political journalist Christophe Barbier gives his thoughts on dramatics and politics in a conversation with journalist and French TV personality Olivier Barrot.

Television junkies and cinephiles have in-depth looks to enjoy this spring, including conversations with actresses Ali Wentworth and Debra Messing (April 25) and Rachel Weisz (April 23); an examination of love and heartbreak through the lens of 80s and 90s television (April 26); the launch of web series Assault and Other Stages (April 21); and the Vulture Festival (May 19-20), a two-day series of events with top pop culture stars. Comedy fans can also look forward to comic monologue The Immaculate Big Bang by Bill Santiago, which will run at QED in monthly versions.

New York is home to some of the world’s best dance companies, including New York City Ballet and American Ballet Theatre, who will both be offering seasons at Lincoln Center this spring. To discover some lesser-known dance artists, meanwhile, check out “newsteps(April 21), an evening of works by emerging choreographers, or bring the family to the New York Theatre Ballet’s production of the Alice in Wonderland Follies (April 28-29). From May 17-19, Ariel Rivka Dance collaborates with Amy Marshall Dance Company and guest choreographer Chanel DaSilva for a series dedicated to empowering women creatives at New York Live Arts.

Upcoming talks and screenings this spring will also give a more personal look at dance and this spring’s performances. The Guggenheim Museum’s Works and Process series will continue with conversations based on American Ballet Theatre’s AFTERITE (April 29), a new ballet based on Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring, and Odeon (May 6), a new work by Ephrat Asherie Dance. The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts will also offer their own dance events, including a look at the work of Haitian choreographer Jean Léon Destiné (April 25) and screenings of the films Black Ballerina (May 3) and Great Feats of Feet (May 30), a film on jazz and tap dance featuring the Copasetics.

Music fans, too, have much to anticipate this spring. Delve into jazz music with jazz pianist and composer Jason Moran at the Cooper Union on April 30, or learn more about musical titan Duke Ellington through the lens of aesthetic realism on April 29. On April 26, discover the work of guitarist Pascal Valois (above), who will present a Salon/Sanctuary concert on La Guitare Napoléonienne: French Music for Early Romantic Guitar. Other concerts will offer a more explicitly spiritual experience, as Symphony Space presents Peace of Mind, an evening of “contemplation and music,” on April 23, and music combines with the Fluxus art movement in the performance art piece FluxBuddha on April 21. Music lovers can also spend their Earth Day taking in the sounds of The Marble Choir and various soloists at a concert on April 22. New York City Center’s ¡Adelante, Cuba! Festival offers an up-close look at the work of the inspiring Cuban and Latino dance artists, musicians, and performers of our time. Guests, including Arturo O’Farrill and Ayodele Casel, discuss What Is Afro-Latin Culture? with CBSN anchor Tanya Rivero on April 23. In The Great Cuban American Songbook, O’Farrill and all-female string orchestra Camerata Romeu music director Zenaida Romeu explore the history of Cuban American musical collaborations (April 25).


New York moves fast. Don’t miss a thing. Sign up for Thought Gallery’s weekly Curriculum, the best of smart NYC delivered right to your inbox.