The Week in Arts: Alvin Ailey Goes Back to School; ‘Younger’ Returns to TV Land
Dance: A Salute to Education
June 12-16; alvinailey.org
As Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater wraps up its 60th season, the company turns its attention to another milestone: the 50th anniversary of the Ailey School, where many a star in the company has been nurtured. For the Ailey Spirit Gala on June 13, students from the school join forces with dancers of the main company and its junior troupe, Ailey II, as well as former members of the nationwide AileyCamp, in a new work by Troy Powell. The piece tells a story that mirrors Powell’s own, of rising through the Ailey ranks to become a professional dancer.
The company’s Lincoln Center season also features some of the most exciting works to join (or re-enter) the repertory in recent years: Ronald K. Brown’s “The Call” and Jawole Willa Jo Zollar’s revived “Shelter” — on a program with a new piece by Darrell Grand Moultrie — and Rennie Harris’s two-act “Lazarus,” inspired by Alvin Ailey’s life and legacy. SIOBHAN BURKE
Art: Horses, Monkeys and Elephants
Through Aug. 18; nga.gov
The horses, monkeys and elephants romping through “The Life of Animals in Japanese Art,” at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, come in ink, lacquer and ceramic, date from the fifth century to 2016, and seem to cover a range of styles too wide to spring from any single tradition. But what does run through all of them is a distinctively playful intimacy: Unlike the alien beings fit only for scientific analysis or service as metaphors that we find in the West, Japan’s animals come across as friends — to be attended to, delighted in, or, on occasion, made fun of. WILL HEINRICH
Pop: The National and Courtney Barnett at Prospect Park Bandshell
June 12-13; eventbrite.com
The National may have played on some of the world’s biggest stages, but their anxiety-ridden songs lend themselves more to the intimacy of headphones than to mass singalongs. The group’s most recent project, an album titled “I Am Easy to Find” — with a corresponding short film directed by Mike Mills — is less internal than their previous work, cracked open by a new pool of collaborators, including a cadre of female vocalists who often sing in the frontman Matt Berninger’s stead. Still, it retains much of the group’s signature angst (in early stages of the recording process, Mills jokingly likened it to “‘Lemonade’ for depressed white people”).
This week, these native Ohioans will perform at the Prospect Park Bandshell in their adopted hometown, raising money to support BRIC Arts Media’s free summer programming. Joining them is Courtney Barnett, the Australian songwriter known for her quick wit, as heard on songs like “Avant Gardener.” Wednesday night is sold out, but tickets remain available for Thursday. OLIVIA HORN
Classical: The Philharmonic Fills City Parks With Music
June 11-16; nyphil.org
This week’s tour of New York City’s parks by the New York Philharmonic should prove particularly enticing, beyond simply the prospect of hearing a top orchestra for free in the great outdoors. Although the annual affair is often overseen by guest conductors, the orchestra’s new music director Jaap van Zweden will take the reins for five concerts in all five boroughs, including on Central Park’s Great Lawn this Wednesday. Moreover, the outdoor concerts do not exclusively feature standard fare — in this case, the likes of Rossini’s “La Gazza Ladra” overture, Copland’s “Hoe-Down” and Rachmaninoff’s Symphony No. 2. It also includes, as the concerts did last year, works written by two young people: Nilomi Weerakkody and Mack Scocca-Ho, both 12 and participants in the Philharmonic’s Very Young Composers program. WILLIAM ROBIN
Film: Giving a Voice to Those Who’ve Been Silenced
June 13-20; hrw.org
In March 2018, Sergei V. Skripal, a former Russian spy, and his daughter, Yulia, were found poisoned on a park bench in Salisbury, England. Six months later, Bellingcat — a collective of hypervigilant armchair sleuths established in 2014 by Eliot Higgins, a British blogger working from home while caring for his infant daughter — began to unmask those behind the attempted assassinations.
“Bellingcat: Truth in a Post-Truth World” — Hans Pool’s exploration of the use of open-source investigation by citizen journalists — will close the Human Rights Watch 30th Anniversary Film Festival, with its focus on the rise of authoritarianism and legalized oppression. The lineup, starting Thursday and presented by Film at Lincoln Center and the IFC Center, includes Rachel Leah Jones and Philippe Bellaiche’s opening-night “Advocate,” about the Jewish-Israeli lawyer Lea Tsemel’s representation of Palestinian clients; “One Child Nation,” Nanfu Wang and Jialing Zhang’s examination of China’s fight for population control; and Ritu Sarin and Tenzing Sonam’s “The Sweet Requiem,” which follows a Tibetan refugee on her search for the truth about her past. KATHRYN SHATTUCK
TV: Liza and Charles, Together at Last on ‘Younger’
June 12; tvland.com
The older I get, the crazier I am for “Younger,” especially with Liza and Charles locked in each other’s arms.
But fans of Darren Star’s romantic romp through the publishing industry know not to get too comfortable for when he invariably rips the rug out from under them.
Sure, their relationship is now an open secret, albeit one that Charles (Peter Hermann) had to forfeit his kingdom to keep. And as the sixth season begins on Wednesday, the pieces wobble into position — advancing the ever-capable Kelsey (Hilary Duff) into the corner office as publisher under the purview of the narcissistic billionaire investor, Quinn (Laura Benanti); prompting an emotionally wounded Diana (Miriam Shor) to seek a new home for her marketing expertise; and forcing a cautiously elated Liza (Sutton Foster) to navigate the early blush of love with a man who has way too much time on his hands.
And leaving us to wonder and to worry whether our happy couple’s bliss — or anyone’s, really — will last for more than a few beguiling episodes. KATHRYN SHATTUCK
Theater: From Moscow, a ‘Masquerade’
June 13-16; cherryorchardfestival.org
Some classics would be much shorter if the fragile, emotional creatures at their center would pause to collect themselves, then calmly ask their wives: “Hey, honey, you’re not really cheating on me, are you? Why is someone saying that you are?”
Like Shakespeare’s Othello, who murders the faithful Desdemona, the jealousy-crazed Arbenin — the central character of Mikhail Lermontov’s 19th-century Russian verse drama “Masquerade” — plots to kill his innocent wife, Nina, a victim of gossip and mistaken identity.
On Thursday, the Moscow-based Vakhtangov State Academic Theater of Russia brings its version of that play to City Center, where the company has become a familiar presence at the Cherry Orchard Festival. Expect dreamy, glamorous stage tableaus by the director Rimas Tuminas (“Eugene Onegin”), and an extraordinary troupe of actors performing in Russian with English supertitles. “Masquerade” opens in New York fresh from Toronto’s Luminato festival (June 9-10), and will finish its North American tour in Boston (June 18-19). LAURA COLLINS-HUGHES