December 14, 2018

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The Week in Arts: ‘Wildlife,’ Terrence McNally, American Ballet Theater

The Week in Arts: ‘Wildlife,’ Terrence McNally, American Ballet Theater
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Oct. 19.

Paul Dano — his face unconventional, his demeanor unassuming — is often the most interesting actor in a scene. And with “Wildlife,” his directorial debut, he unveils a craft and vision gleaned, in part, from his many years on stage and set that prove nearly as mesmerizing.

Adapted from Richard Ford’s novel by Dano and his partner, Zoe Kazan, “Wildlife” takes place in 1960 Great Falls, Mont., where 14-year-old Joe Brinson (Ed Oxenbould) becomes a sensitive if occasionally bewildered observer to his parents’ disintegrating marriage. His father, Jerry (Jake Gyllenhaal), a sweetly irresponsible golf pro, has just racked up the latest in a string of lost opportunities that have sent the family relocating across the Northwest. His mother, Jeanette (Carey Mulligan), the steady one, holds things together with an upbeat practicality until Jerry abruptly takes a low-paying job fighting a forest fire near the Canadian border — and she, tapping into her repressed femininity with barely contained fury, seduces an older, richer man (Bill Camp). Leaving Joe to watch, in painful close-up, what he may not be able to understand. “Wildlife” opens on Friday, Oct. 19, in New York and Los Angeles before a national rollout. KATHRYN SHATTUCK

Oct. 21; 92y.org.

In 1991, as the AIDS epidemic raged, Terrence McNally offered the balm of laughter and understanding in “Lips Together, Teeth Apart,” a comedy about homophobia and the fear of contagion. In a review for The New York Times that praised the first-rate cast, Frank Rich singled out a pair of extraordinary actors — Christine Baranski and Nathan Lane — as “a little more equal than the rest.”

On Sunday, Oct. 21, they’ll both be on hand to perform a scene from the play when the 92nd Street Y hosts an 80th-birthday celebration for McNally. Beginning with a screening of “Every Act of Life,” a new documentary about his career, the evening will include live extracts of McNally works: Michael Urie, in an excerpt from “Love! Valour! Compassion!”; and Christy Altomare, singing a number from “Anastasia.” (Mr. McNally wrote the musical’s book.)

Chita Rivera — who got a Tony Award for starring in “Kiss of the Spider Woman,” which won McNally one of his own four Tonys — is among the others slated to be there, taking part in an onstage chat with Mr. Lane, Ms. Baranski and the birthday man. LAURA COLLINS-HUGHES

Through Oct. 28, abt.org.

American Ballet Theater is known for its renditions of full-length ballets at the Metropolitan Opera House, but there are more rewards to be had during its fall season at the David H. Koch Theater. One reason? The repertory gives the dancers — especially those in the corps de ballet — more opportunities to, well, really dance.

This season unveils one-acts by choreographers, including George Balanchine, Twyla Tharp, Alexei Ratmansky and Jerome Robbins. Ms. Tharp’s 1986 “In the Upper Room” will put some fire in your blood. And a revival of Balanchine’s spectacular 1947 “Symphonie Concertante,” set to Mozart, continues with new casts. On Sunday, Oct. 21, the curtain raises on debuts by Christine Shevchenko, Devon Teuscher and Thomas Forster.

And commemorating the centennials of Robbins and Leonard Bernstein lives on. For its part, Ballet Theater presents “Fancy Free,” Robbins’s first ballet and the precursor to the Broadway musical “On the Town.” He created it for Ballet Theater in 1944, and it remains as timeless as a sailor’s crisp uniform. GIA KOURLAS

Oct. 24; netflix.com.

“Bodyguard,” British television’s biggest drama since “Downton Abbey” first unleashed the hounds, debuts on Wednesday, Oct. 24, on Netflix, giving Americans a chance to witness the fuss for themselves.

And not a little of it comes from the casting of the “Game of Thrones” star Richard Madden as David Budd, an Afghan War veteran who is teetering on the precipice of full-blown post-traumatic stress disorder when he’s assigned to protect the Conservative home secretary Julia Montague (Keeley Hawes). He’s no fan of her hawkish, civil liberty-annihilating war on terror. But when she is rattled by a string of assassination attempts, Budd becomes her savior and her lover — and well as a prime suspect.

Created by Jed Mercurio (“Line of Duty”), “Bodyguard” vacillates between the thrilling and the ludicrous, sometimes in the same scene. But the series has solidified the leading-man status of Madden, prompting fantasies that he’ll be the next James Bond. Not a fan, of the story line at least: Prime Minister Theresa May — a onetime home secretary herself — who apparently switched off the first episode after 20 minutes. KATHRYN SHATTUCK

Oct. 24-Sept. 29, 2019; si.edu.

The centerpiece of “Good as Gold: Fashioning Senegalese Women,” the first in a yearlong series of shows focused on Western African women at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African Art in Washington, is a gift of more than 250 pieces of gold jewelry from the art historian Marian Ashby Johnson. It also has newly commissioned haute couture by Oumou Sy, as well as hundreds of photographs of women, dressed to the nines on the streets of Dakar and St. Louis, which explore the deceptively complicated social function of what the Wolof call sañse or “looking good.” But you’ll also be satisfied just to gawk at the craftsmanship of pieces like this ornate midcentury necklace by an unidentified Dakar artist. WILL HEINRICH

Oct. 27; ticketmaster.com.

“You can look but you can’t touch/I don’t think I like you much,” sings Garbage front woman Shirley Manson on “I Think I’m Paranoid,” a single off the Scottish-American group’s 1998 album “Version 2.0.” Twenty years later, the lyric’s message is both prescient and dispiriting: Conversations about sexual harassment and assault seem more polarizing than ever. Manson’s lyrical frankness helped make the quartet pioneering even in an era when women-fronted rock bands were in vogue; their fusion of pop, rock, and edgier electronic music remains influential today.

Even as the band celebrates two decades of “Version 2.0” by performing the entire album at the Kings Theater in Brooklyn, it has no interest in playing solely to nostalgia. It has continued to release music (most recently 2016’s “Strange Little Birds”) and tour, and Manson remains as outspoken as ever. “I’ll be really internally furious, but I just decide that I will meet that sexism,” Manson told Vice’s Noisey in 2016. “I will crush those testicles, and I will keep crushing until blood is gushing between my fingers, and then I will cast them aside and move forward.” NATALIE WEINER

Oct. 23; lincolncenter.org.

The violinist Hilary Hahn waited 21 years between releasing her first and second recordings of Bach’s sonatas and partitas. In the intervening period, she transformed from a brilliant teenage prodigy into one of the most celebrated soloists of our time, maintaining a singular presence in the traditional repertory while continuing to explore new terrain.

Her latest Bach album, spacious and commanding, marks a new phase. “This is a portrait of how I play Bach in my 30s,” she told The New York Times recently. “When I play those earlier pieces now, the tempi are faster, but the structure within the phrase is more stretched. It’s a little bit more of a push and pull.”

That elasticity will be on display on Tuesday, Oct. 23, at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall, where Hahn will perform the album’s Sonata No. 1 and Partita No. 1 as well as the Partita No. 2, with its spellbinding, wrenching “Chaconne.’ WILLIAM ROBIN



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