The best in arts & culture this week, as curated by our editors. For all upcoming events click here.
Best known as the composer/lyricist behind hit musicals such as “The Full Monty,” “Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown” and now “The Band’s Visit” (his acclaimed adaptation of the similarly titled Israeli film), David Yazbek is also a talented pianist and singer in his own right. In a concert The Times hailed as “a raucous evening of unclassifiable musical comedy,” Yazbek performs tunes from his many musicals. Joining him will be violinist-oudist George Abud, whom Yazbek calls the musical’s “secret weapon.”— Monday, Feb. 12, 7 p.m., 54 Below, 254 W. 54th St., (646) 476-3551, 54below.com. $50-$85.
FRANK LONDON AND JOHN ZORN
With less than a month left on the lease on its East Village digs, The Stone — a vital venue for experimental music — is gearing up for its swan song. First up is a six-day residency (Tuesday-Monday, Feb. 13-18, 8:30 p.m.) for Frank London, the Klezmatics’ trumpeter and ever-collaborating musician. Then, John Zorn — the forward-thinking saxophonist, composer, improvisational maestro and avid promoter of experimental music who founded The Stone — will star in a six-day improv marathon, alongside a revolving cast of stellar avant-gardists. (Tuesday-Monday, Feb. 20-25, 8:30 p.m.) — The Stone, Avenue C and Second Street, thestonenyc.com. (Beginning in March, The Stone’s new address is The New School’s Glass Box Theater, at 55 W. 13th St.)
In his acclaimed one-man play, writer-actor Aaron Davidman portrays 17 characters from far-flung subgroups of Israeli society. Deftly shifting between male and female, Jewish and Muslim, Israeli and Palestinian, he offers a glimpse of the personal stories and contradictory political views and identities that make Israel what it is. In the play’s adaptation to film, filmmaker Dylan Kussman moves seamlessly through three locations — a live theater, the open expanse of a vast desert and a small dressing room. The result is a unique hybrid of stage and cinema. Followed by a Q&A with Dylan Kussman. — Thursday, Feb. 15, 7:30 p.m., Symphony Space, Leonard Nimoy Thalia Theatre, 2537 Broadway, (212) 864-5400, symphonyspace.org.
BAR MITZVAH BOY
Based on a 1976 teleplay of the same name written by Jack Rosenthal, with music by legendary Broadway composer Jule Styne, “Bar Mitzvah Boy” is a bittersweet musical comedy about a young Jewish boy who runs away from home to escape the pressures of his upcoming ritual, and the trials of the adult world that follow. Part of York Theatre’s “Musicals In Mufti” series celebrating Jule Styne. — Saturday, Feb. 10-Sunday, Feb. 18, York Theatre Company, 619 Lexington Ave., (212) 935-5820 yorktheatre.org..
THE ART OF LOSS
Known for their ferocious physicality, the theater/dance troupe Bryn Cohn + Artists presents its first evening of repertory. The program includes a premiere of Cohn’s “A Perfect Union,” a mash-up score sourced from inaugural and political speeches by Jimmy Carter, Barack Obama and Donald Trump. — Friday-Saturday, Feb. 16-17, 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, Feb. 18, 3 p.m., The Theater at the 14th Street Y, 344 E. 14th St. For tickets call (646) 395-4310 or visit 14streety.org.
A WALK WITH MR. HEIFETZ
A new James Inverne play focuses on a 1925 concert in pre-state Palestine given by violin virtuoso Jascha Heifetz. People flocked from far and wide to hear him, including Yehuda Sharett, composer and brother of future Israeli Prime Minister Moshe Sharett. Legend has it that after the performance, Heifetz and Yehuda walked together and shared a conversation that ended up changing the world. — Through March 4, Cherry Lane Theatre, 38 Commerce St., (212) 352-3101, primarystages.org.
The avant-garde theater group Talking Band debuts its musical “Fusiform Gyrus – A Septet for Two Scientists and Five Horns,” whih explores intellectual bromance between scientists Daniel Kahneman (who won a Nobel in economics) and Amos Tversky, the two Israeli psychologists’ whose theory on cognitive biases became the basis for modern-day behavioral economics. — HERE, 145 Sixth Ave., (212) 352-3101, here.org.
Currently starring in the Israeli TV show “Osim Tzchok Me’HaAvoda” (Making a Mockery of the Job, in Hebrew), comedian Kobi Maimon performs a one-man show of observational humor — in Hebrew. — Sunday, Feb. 11, 8:30 p.m., Symphony Space, 2537 Broadway, (212) 864-5400, symphonyspace.org.
CUBA’S FORGOTTEN JEWELS: A HAVEN IN HAVANA
“Cuba’s Forgotten Jewels” cinematically weaves the tale of Marion Kreith who evades Nazi capture, escaping Europe to Havana as a young girl with her family. Marion’s story mingles with the personal accounts of other refugees placed in unfamiliar lands. — Thursday, Feb. 15, 7 p.m., Center for Jewish History, 15 W. 16th St., (212) 294-8301, cjh.org.
MY DEAR CHILDREN
Told through the firsthand account of Feiga Shamis, a Jewish mother of 12, this new documentary explores the history of anti-Jewish massacres in Eastern Europe following WWI. After the film, director and co-producer LeeAnn Dance will speak about the film’s making. — Monday, Feb. 12, 7 p.m., Museum of Jewish Heritage, 36 Battery Place, (646) 437-4202, mjhnyc.org
THE PROMISED BAND
This film tells the true story of a fake rock band, comprised of Israeli and Palestinian women, who have decided that despite their dubious musical talent, creating a band was the best cover story to allow them to meet and interact with each other. Followed by a Q&A with director Jen Heck and band member Viki Auslender. — Monday, Feb. 12, 7 p.m., Institute for Israel and Jewish Studies (IIJS), 1140 Amsterdam Ave., 617 Kent Hall, , iijs.columbia.edu.
The world-renowned violinist Itzhak Perlman recounts tales of growing up as the child of Polish survivors, and how his mastery of the violin takes him from his small neighborhood in Tel Aviv to the world’s most prominent stages. Followed by a Q&A with Itzhak Perlman and director Alison Chernick. Presented by the ReelAbilities Film Festival. — Tuesday, Feb. 13, 7 p.m., Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan, 334 Amsterdam Ave., (646) 505-4444, jccmanhattan.org.
BOMBSHELL: THE HEDY LAMARR STORY
Hedy Lamarr, the 1940s screen siren, was also the inventor of a groundbreaking communication system that underlined modern encryption. Following the starlet through her turbulent marriage and career, this documentary gives a sympathetic look into Lamarr’s struggle – and ultimate failure – to be recognized for something other than her beauty. — Sunday, Feb. 18, 5 p.m., Symphony Space, 2537 Broadway, (212) 864-5400, symphonyspace.org
EARLY YIDDISH THEATER AND VAUDEVILLE
Zalmen Mlotek, the Folksbiene’s artistic director, conducts an evening of rarely heard songs, from the earliest stirrings of Yiddish theater through 1920s. The repertoire includes hits by Goldfaden, Rumshinsky, Ellstein and others. — Sunday, Feb. 11, 2 p.m., Museum of Jewish Heritage, 36 Battery Place, (646) 437-4202, mjhnyc.org.
ISRAELI SONGBOOK: THE MUSIC OF NAOMI SHEMER
Experience the music of Naomi Shemer, the “first lady” of Israeli song and poetry, through a live performance by Elad Kabilio and an ensemble of musicians from MusicTalks. Interspersed with stories and historical background, the program is part of Yeshiva University Museum’s series musically celebrating Israel @ 70. — Tuesday, Feb. 13, 7 p.m., Center for Jewish History, 15 W. 16th St., (212) 294-8301, cjh.org.
The recorder (yes, recorder!) player draws upon her classical training, jazz inclinations and Israeli and Middle Eastern upbringing. Rubinstein “[lays] to rest the notion of the recorder as a beginner’s toy,” said JazzTimes. — Sunday, Feb. 18, 8:15 p.m., Rockwood Music Hall, 196 Allen St., (212) 477-4155, rockwoodmusichall.com.
BRET STEPHENS IN CONVERSATION WITH THANE ROSENBAUM
Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Bret Stephens, who has taken his Never Trumpism and steadfast support of Israel from the Wall Street Journal to The Times (and angered readers there with his views on climate change), talks with novelist and law professor Thane Rosenbaum, as part of the “Thane Rosenbaum Talk Show.” — Tuesday, Feb. 13, 8 p.m., 92nd Street Y, 1395 Lexington Ave., 92y.org.
POP UP CLASS WITH DR. AVIVAH ZORNBERG
The author of six books and with a grand rabbinical lineage, Avivah Zornberg is a giant in the filed of biblical commentary. In a series of pop-up classes, she offers insights into the man who was Moses — drawing on her latest book, the critically acclaimed “Moses, a Human Life.” — Monday – Thursday, Feb. 12-15, Temple Emanu-El Streicker Center, 1 E. 65th St. (212) 507-9580, emanuelstreickernyc.org/events/pop-class-dr-avivah-zornberg/.
SCENES FROM THE COLLECTION
Following the renovation of its third floor, The Jewish Museum reopens its permanent collection galleries with a serious makeover. Where the old collection aimed to chronicle 4,000 years of Jewish history with a single, linear narrative, the new one is divided into seven different scenes, each revealing various ways in which history and art are shaped by context. — The Jewish Museum, 1109 Fifth Ave., (212) 423-3200, thejewishmuseum.org
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