Performing Arts Talks and Events Coming Up in NYC

By Alison Durkee

New York is home to one of the greatest performing arts scenes, from its concert halls to Broadway stages. Whether you’re looking to catch a performance or learn more about the artists behind the work, here are some upcoming performing arts events to discover.

Go behind the scenes of the performing arts world with upcoming talks centering on artists both past and present. Music fans can delve into Childish Gambino’s searing hit “This is America” at a talk August 19, or go further back in time to think about the connections between the music of Beethoven and The Beatles at a talk during Symphony Space’s One Day University September 15. Film lovers can get a taste of classic Hollywood at West Fest, which includes a full day of talks on Mae West August 18 in honor of the witty star’s 125th birthday, or hear from one of today’s top stars as Reese Witherspoon appears in conversation September 17. Learn more about one of the top film moguls, Walt Disney, at a play reading of Disney and Fujikawa August 26, which will be followed by a discussion about the play.

Theatre fans can also discover more about New York’s dramatic scene with upcoming talks on BAM’s Next Wave Festival (September 26) and the research process behind the upcoming concert Show Time! The First 100 Years of the American Musical (August 20), which debuts at the York Theatre September 13-16. In conjunction with the current all-Yiddish production of Fiddler on the Roof, the Museum of Jewish Heritage will offer upcoming events exploring the “tradition” of the iconic musical (August 29) and the man behind its story, the “Yiddish Mark Twain” Sholem Aleichem (August 22).

Performing arts fans in all genres can also learn more about upcoming productions at the Guggenheim Museum’s Works and Process series, which features talks and performances with artists presenting work in New York City and across the country. The series’ 2018-19 season will kick off with offerings for music and dance fans alike; dancers can learn more about choreographer Emma Portner’s Hubbard Street Dance Chicago commission and new dance film FEMME DEBOUT on September 9-10, or discover Pacific Northwest Ballet’s celebration of choreographer Jerome Robbins October 2-3. Opera buffs can get a sneak peek of the Metropolitan Opera’s new work Marnie October 1, or hear from opera legend Renee Fleming and the other creators behind the new film Bel Canto on September 16.

New Yorkers can also learn more about the city’s performing arts scene through the city streets themselves, thanks to upcoming walking tours. Discover the history behind Lincoln Center’s development on August 19, or delve into Brooklyn’s Cultural District, which includes BAM, Theatre for a New Audience, and BRIC Arts Center, on a tour September 1. For a look at the city’s less mainstream performance history, meanwhile, discover New York’s punk rock past on the History of Art, Crime, Drugs and Punk Rock on the Lower East Side walking tour August 26.

Of course, there’s no better way to discover the performing arts world than to check out some performances for yourself, and there are plenty of offerings coming up that go beyond the city’s best-known stages. Upcoming music performances to look forward to include the Noguchi Museum’s concert with koto player and computer sound artist Yumi Kurosawa (September 9); composer-performer Charlemagne Palestine’s performance alongside poet Steve Dalachinsky (September 15); and the continuation of Green-Wood Cemetery’s classical music series in their catacombs with a concert by twin sister piano duo Christina and Michelle Naughton August 25-26. Dancers can discover the Italian dance scene and the country’s dance connection to New York at the Fini International Dance Festival August 30, or see BalaSole Dance Company take on “Mezcla,” a program of solos showcasing a variety of dance styles and artists, August 17-18.

Theatregoers can go beyond Broadway this August and September with a wide variety of upcoming performances. The Waterfront Museum in Brooklyn will go from “Canal to Coast” with two upcoming performances: 15 Miles on the Erie Canal, a folk operetta exploring the canal’s history (August 24), and a staged reading of performance art piece Noah’s Arc, which presents the biblical story through a contemporary lens (August 26). Performance art fans can also see iconic performance artist Karen Finley at work September 12, as she performs new works Grabbing Pussy and Parts Known. National Sawdust in Brooklyn will shine a light on developing works August 31 with their Summer Labs presentation, as they showcase experimental chamber opera Sunday Supper and multidisciplinary company TREES’s new work Watching Sound. In Manhattan, meanwhile, the Players Theatre will present a new movement theatre piece, Chaos/Absolute Zero from August 27-28.

Those looking for a fun-filled evening can also head to upcoming comedy shows in the city. Caveat in Brooklyn has a full slate of comedy events coming up, including CoW SummerSlamTacular, where stand-up comedy and professional wrestling meet (August 18-19); Electoral Dysfunction, which collides politics and comedy (August 22); All Rise, a comedy show about the law (August 23); and Reductress’s upcoming comedy/variety show that will make you go, “Haha…Wow!” (August 28). Comedian Benel Germosen will also introduce a slate of comedians for an evening of jokes at the We Can Be Friends Comedy Show, which takes place at Brooklyn’s Branded Saloon on August 30.

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