The Week in Arts: ‘Gentleman Jack,’ Bad Bunny and a Musical About Psychoanalysis

Dance: Spring at New York City Ballet

April 23-June 2;

If you were looking forward to an immediate fix of George Balanchine, you’re out of luck: The company opens its spring season with works by contemporary choreographers. But there are some gems, including Justin Peck’s dashing “Rodeo: Four Dance Episodes,” William Forsythe’s handsome two-part “Herman Schmerman” and Alexei Ratmansky’s soulful “Pictures at an Exhibition,” which features stunning costumes by Adeline André and projections of Wassily Kandinsky’s watercolors.

In May, expect a set of premieres by Peck, City Ballet’s resident choreographer and artistic adviser, and the contemporary choreographer Pam Tanowitz. A ballet for 10 set to Bela Bartok’s String Quartet No. 5, it marks Tanowitz’s first work for this company. It’s fitting that one of Tanowitz’s heroes, Jerome Robbins, will be celebrated this season, notably with the anniversary performances of “Dances at a Gathering,” his 1969 masterpiece. And there’s plenty of Balanchine, too: The last week is devoted to “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” It’s spectacular. GIA KOURLAS

TV: Meet ‘Gentleman Jack,’ a Modern Woman

April 22;

Anne Lister walks like a man — assertive strides in waistcoat and top hat, with all the panache of a swashbuckler.

She talks like one, too, whether collecting rent from tenants on her British estate or seducing the ladies.

“Nature played a challenging trick on me, didn’t she, putting a bold spirit like mine in this vessel, in which I’m obliged to wear frills and petticoats?,” Lister, broadly considered to be the first modern lesbian, confides. “Well, I refuse to be cowed by it.”

In “Gentleman Jack,” the new HBO-BBC historical drama from Sally Wainwright (“Happy Valley”), Lister (Suranne Jones) cuts a wide swath through 1832 Halifax, West Yorkshire, where she’s determined to rejuvenate her shabby ancestral home, Shibden Hall, reopen its coal mines and marry well; her eye is on the neighboring heiress, Ann Walker (Sophie Rundle).

The series, debuting on Monday, April 22, on HBO and its platforms, is inspired by Lister’s diaries, comprising some four million words — with the most intimate details of her romantic liaisons written in a secret code based on algebraic symbols and Ancient Greek, and deciphered in the 1930s. KATHRYN SHATTUCK

Theater: ‘Tootsie’ Morphs Into a Broadway Musical

Opens April 23;

In the race for Broadway accolades, this is crunch week, when the last productions of the season open just in time to meet the cutoff date for Tony Award eligibility — ensuring, in the process, that they’ll be extra fresh in Tony voters’ minds. Timing is crucial.

One of those shows, now in previews for an opening on Tuesday, April 23, at the Marquis Theater, is “Tootsie,” a musical comedy remake of Sydney Pollack’s hit movie from 1982, which starred Dustin Hoffman as an arrogant, unemployed actor who masquerades as a woman to land a part.

The dependably delightful Santino Fontana (“Crazy Ex-Girlfriend”) leads the cast of the stage adaptation, which has a score by David Yazbek (“The Band’s Visit”) and a book by Robert Horn (“13”). Directed by Scott Ellis (“Kiss Me, Kate”), it got largely enthusiastic reviews in Chicago last fall, though some sensed a cringe factor in a plot about a self-centered man feigning femaleness to nab a woman’s role. Will that register on Broadway? It should be interesting to see. LAURA COLLINS-HUGHES

Pop Music: Bad Bunny at Madison Square Garden

April 27;

Two years after the summer of “Despacito,” and two decades after the Latin pop wave led by Ricky Martin, it’s clear that the prevalence of Latin music in the United States is far from a passing trend. Among the Top 40’s most essential personalities is Bad Bunny, the Puerto Rican rapper whose music fuses elements of trap and reggaeton, and whose voice graced some of 2018’s biggest hits, including Cardi B’s “I Like It” and his Drake collaboration, “Mia.”

Bad Bunny’s success speaks to the globalization of American music, but also to a rap narrative that’s grown familiar in this age of virality: Just three years ago, he was bagging groceries and casually posting tracks to SoundCloud. His solo debut, “X 100PRE” dropped last year on Christmas Eve, and already the 25-year-old has nearly completed his second headlining arena tour in the United States. His Saturday show at Madison Square Garden marks the final date of this leg. OLIVIA HORN

Art: Don’t Smack the Canvas

Through May 12;

The painted tambourines that the artist Paul Lee incorporates into the shaped-canvas abstractions of his latest show, “I see with my body now,” at Karma Gallery, function as visual punctuation. In the bottom corner of a large black square, a round white tambourine is a full stop, telling your eye that the picture is over and its maker has nothing more to say. In red or yellow pairs, at opposite corners of simple, two-tone designs, the instruments are both quotation marks and parentheses, emphasizing the intentional, communicative nature of any art work, even the most opaque, while also insisting on its provisionality: The pieces can express only what viewer and artist, for a passing moment, agree on. WILL HEINRICH

Classical Music: Back to the Analyst’s Couch

April 25–27;

When “Lady in the Dark,” an all-star collaboration of the composer Kurt Weill, the lyricist Ira Gershwin and the playwright Moss Hart, first debuted on Broadway in 1941, it was heralded by The New York Times as “the finest score written for the theater in years” and ran for several hundred performances. Built on a somewhat-dated midcentury conceit, the musical tells the story of an editor for the fashion magazine “Allure” and her forays into psychoanalysis, which unfold in a series of dream episodes led by Weill’s characteristically cutting music. It’s been a quarter-century since the musical was last heard in New York, but it will return in a welcome revival this week by the group MasterVoices at New York City Center. This new concert staging stars the Tony winner Victoria Clark, with the Orchestra of St. Luke’s in the pit, new choreography by Doug Varone, and glamorously surreal costumes provided by a team of designers. WILLIAM ROBIN

Film: At Last, Alice Guy-Blaché Gets Her Due in ‘Be Natural’

April 19 and 26

She witnessed the birth of cinema with the Lumière brothers in Paris in 1895 then directed one of the world’s first narrative films, “The Cabbage Fairy,” the next year; made her own movies that took on immigration, labor conflicts and anti-Semitism; wrote a screenplay about Planned Parenthood; and assembled the first all-black film cast.

So why have most of us never heard about the first female filmmaker? That’s what “Be Natural: The Untold Story of Alice Guy-Blaché” wants to know.

Hired in 1896, at 22, as a secretary to the motion-picture pioneer Léon Gaumont, Guy-Blaché went on — with the encouragement of her boss, who thought cinema was a young woman’s adventure, as long as the mail didn’t suffer — to make some 1,000 shorts and features. Eventually moving to the United States, she founded the Solax studio, where her mandate to actors was, “Be natural.”

But in 1922, Guy-Blaché divorced and returned to France, where she sank into obscurity — her accomplishments often credited to men or erased entirely in historical accounts of the industry she helped to create.

Directed by Pamela B. Green and narrated by Jodie Foster, also an executive producer, “Be Natural” opens in Los Angeles on Friday, April 19, and New York on April 26, before a national rollout. KATHRYN SHATTUCK

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