This Week in New York Insider's Guide to Arts & Culture in New York City Since 2001


The Met Cloisters hosts a Middle Ages–themed family festival this weekend (photo courtesy the Metropolitan Museum of Art)

The Met Cloisters hosts a Middle Ages–themed family festival this weekend (photo courtesy the Metropolitan Museum of Art)

Met Cloisters
99 Margaret Corbin Dr., Fort Tryon Park
Saturday, May 27, and Sunday, May 28, free with museum admission of $12-$25 (children under twelve free with an adult), 12 noon - 4:00

The Met Cloisters is hosting a family festival this weekend, featuring workshops, a self-guided art hunt, craft projects, and more. Children will be able to make a medieval spice box or goblet in the Pontaut Chapter House, begin an art hunt in Cuxa Cloister, searching for food-related items in paintings and sculptures (with a certificate of achievement available for those who find all the items), and learn about many of the ingredients and utensils used in medieval cooking for feasts and special occasions — and see some of them in the Bonnefont Herb Garden. The events are recommended for children ages four to twelve and will not include any food tastings, although participants will be able to see, touch, and smell certain ingredients (and even take home a sprig of fresh herbs). Visitors are encouraged to come in medieval costume but it is not a requirement.


(photo © Brigitte Lacombe)

Nora (Laurie Metcalf) returns after fifteen years in A Doll’s House, Part 2 (photo © Brigitte Lacombe)

Golden Theatre
252 West 45th St. between Broadway & Eighth Ave.
Tuesday - Sunday through July 23, $39 - $147

It’s the most famous door slam in theatrical history and a symbolic touchstone of the women’s rights movement. At the end of Henrik Ibsen’s 1879 play, A Doll’s House, Nora Helmer declares her freedom and walks out on her banker husband, Torvald, and their three young children, in order to figure out who she is and what she wants out of life. In his book From Ibsen’s Workshop: Notes, Scenarios, and Drafts of the Modern Plays, Ibsen wrote of A Doll’s House: “A woman cannot be herself in the society of the present day, which is an exclusively masculine society, with laws framed by men and with a judicial system that judges feminine conduct from a masculine point of view.” Playwright Lucas Hnath delves deeper into those rules of conduct between men and women in his audacious, decidedly contemporary follow-up, A Doll’s House, Part 2. It’s also extremely intelligent and very, very funny, more than worthy of its title. Hnath and director Sam Gold attack the story with relish, beginning with Miriam Beuther’s set, a large room with two high walls that meet at the back, while the front corner angles into the first few added rows; the feet of the audience members in the first row can actually reach under the stage. To the left is the door, big and brown and austere; a few chairs and a table are arranged around the room sparsely but neatly. A glowing yellow neon sign hangs from the ceiling, boldly announcing the name of the play, rising up and out of view shortly after the show starts, with a knock on the door; Nora (Laurie Metcalf) has returned. “Nora, I can’t believe it’s you!” proclaims an excited Ann Marie (Jane Houdyshell), the nanny who first raised Nora, then Nora’s children. “It’s good to see you,” Nora responds calmly, but she can’t wait to tell Ann Marie what she’s been up to these last fifteen years, during which she has had no contact whatsoever with anyone in the house. She proudly informs Ann Marie that she’s become a successful writer, using a pseudonym, publishing controversial books that argue against the institution of marriage and monogamy, which she calls “self-torture.” When Torvald (Chris Cooper) unexpectedly arrives, he doesn’t even recognize Nora. “Who’s your friend?” he asks Ann Marie before looking a little closer. “Are you . . . You aren’t . . . You are,” he says. “I am,” Nora responds. “I have to go to the bathroom,” Torvald declares, and leaves the room. It’s a scintillating exchange, 15 years in the making in the play itself, but 138 years since Ibsen first wrote Nora’s exit.

(photo © Brigitte Lacombe)

Ann Marie (Jane Houdyshell) and Nora (Laurie Metcalf) discuss responsibility and more in “sequel” to Ibsen classic (photo © Brigitte Lacombe)

The reason why Nora has returned is brilliant; she has not come back to explain herself to Torvald or to see how her children are doing. Avoiding all sentimentality, Nora explains that Torvald never filed the divorce papers, so she desperately needs him to finally sign them, which will at last legally set her free of all attachments, allow her to sign contracts on her own behalf, and save her reputation as an anti-marriage crusader — all the dilemmas that ensue from women’s lack of the rights that men enjoy. “I think it’s to be expected that a person would think that after I left this house and my husband and my children that I’d have a very difficult time,” she tells Ann Marie, who says, “The world is a hard place.” Nora adds, “So we’re trained to think. I mean, I think there’s something in our time and place and culture that teaches us to expect and even want for women who leave their families to be punished.” It’s a statement that wittily comments on the audience’s own expectations, displaying how inequality remains very much in force today; Nora might be flaunting her independence and her career triumphs, but she has not yet broken free of society’s rules, many of which have continued into the twenty-first century. Over the course of the swiftly moving ninety-minute play, Nora goes one-on-one with each character, the next bout announced by a projection of that character’s name on the wall in huge sans-serif block letters by Peter Nigrini. The interactions are superbly staged, as Ann Marie gives Nora a piece of her mind, Torvald is not keen on granting her the divorce, and Emmy shows she has matured into a fine, albeit traditional, young woman. The dialogue in each scene is razor-sharp and unpredictable, as Hnath (Red Speedo, The Christians) explores the age-old battle of the sexes with surprisingly modern language. In researching the project, Hnath sought advice from numerous feminist scholars, including Carol Gilligan, Elaine Showalter, Toril Moi, Susan Brantly, and Caroline Light, resulting in a play that never is condescending or didactic and instead is illuminating and wholly believable.

(photo © Brigitte Lacombe)

Mother (Laurie Metcalf) and daughter (Condola Rashad) meet for the first time in fifteen years in new play by Lucas Hnath (photo © Brigitte Lacombe)

The cast is divinely exquisite, all four earning Tony nods. Four-time Tony nominee Metcalf (The Other Place, Domesticated) is sensational as Nora, following in the door-slamming footsteps of Julie Harris, Claire Bloom, Jane Fonda, Dorothy McGuire, and Joan Crawford. Wearing a gorgeous art nouveau shirtwaist and ladies’ suit by costume designer David Zinn, she’s utterly magnetic as she moves around the stage, completely unafraid to face the realities of Nora’s situation, many of which she did not expect. Oscar winner and Tony and Emmy nominee Cooper (My House in Umbria, Adaptation.), last seen on Broadway in the short-lived 1980 drama Of the Fields, Lately, is gentle and understated as Torvald, who is not sure how to react when he abruptly has to confront something he has tried to put past him. Three-time Tony nominee Rashad (The Trip to Bountiful, Stick Fly) is adorably charming as Emmy, a confident woman who holds no grudges and has an infectiously positive view of life. And Tony and Obie winner Houdyshell (The Humans, Follies), who played the nurse to Rashad’s Juliet in David Leveaux’s 2013 Broadway version of Romeo and Juliet with Orlando Bloom, is, as always, a marvelous delight, holding nothing back as Ann Marie defends the choices she made and delivers the funniest, most direct, and totally un-Ibsen-like line of the play. Tony winner Gold (Fun Home, John) again proves he is one of the theater’s most inventive directors, allowing Hnath’s sparkling words to shine on a sparse but powerful set. One door closes; one door opens. Entrances and exits are the way of life, and the way of theater, and they come together beautifully in this electrifying and masterful production.


kevin geeks out about famous monsters

Nitehawk Cinema
136 Metropolitan Ave. between Berry St. & Wythe Ave.
Friday, May 25, $16, 9:30

Film fan and historian extraordinaire Kevin Maher will be taking a scary look at monster movies for the May entry of his monthly Kevin Geeks Out presentation at Nitehawk. On May 25 at 9:30, he’ll be joined by Amber Dextrous, Jon Abrams, Kevin Rice, Kevin Harrington, Chris Smith, and Jack Theakston, who will each discuss their favorite monster. There will be rare footage of classic films, not-so-classic remakes, and other strange versions of well-known and not-so-well-known behemoths. The trailer includes clips of numerous hellions — if you can recognize most of them, you need to be at this event — from Count Chocula to the Creature from the Black Lagoon, so clearly anything goes.


(photo by Monique Carboni)

Derrick (Jonny Orsini) and his brother, Patrick (Noah Bean), argue over baseball, beer, and more in The Whirligig (photo by Monique Carboni)

The New Group at the Pershing Square Signature Center
The Alice Griffin Jewel Box Theatre
480 West 42nd St. between Tenth & Eleventh Aves.
Tuesday - Sunday through June 18, $75-$120

When the audience enters the Alice Griffin Jewel Box Theatre at the Pershing Square Signature Center, the curtain is up, exhibiting a young woman lying on a hospital bed. She is hooked up to an IV drip and revolving slowly around the stage, surrounded by thick horizontal tree branches on either side, bursting with green leaves. She is twenty-three-year-old Julie Evans Tyler (Grace Van Patten), who is dying in the Berkshires. She is joined by her divorced parents, Kristina (Dolly Wells) and Michael Tyler (Norbert Leo Butz), who are trying their best to face the reality of the situation but are not succeeding very well. “Do you think it’s your fault?” Julie asks her mother. Actor and writer Hamish Linklater’s The Whirligig, a New Group world premiere that opened last night at the Griffin, is an emotionally powerful drama about love and addiction, friendship and responsibility, and what encompasses “fault,” as the truth about how Julie arrived at death’s door is gradually revealed. The tale is told by her tightly enmeshed group of friends and neighbors — and just how tightly bound they are to one another is gradually revealed as well. “I know specifically when it turned, when things got really bad for her — and it wasn’t the mom, it wasn’t the dad — I know the exact day it happened,” Derrick (Jonny Orsini), the brother of Julie’s doctor, Patrick (Noah Bean), tells Julie’s former best friend, Trish (Zosia Mamet), who has yet to visit the hospital or talk at all to Kristina and Michael. Trish is married to Greg (Alex Hurt), a former acting student of Michael’s and a bartender in Great Barrington who regularly serves Mr. Cormeny (Jon DeVries), a bloviating former high school teacher who waxes not-quite-poetic about the Russians but occasionally does pick up on human emotions. “I just hope Mr. Tyler’s OK,” Patrick says after Michael falls off the wagon and Greg helps him outside. “Him? Oh no. That poor gentleman is in a whirligig of grief,” Mr. Cormeny says as he heads behind the bar. “There is a silver lining, howsomever: I’m de facto barkeep. Tipple?” the septuagenarian offers.

(photo by Monique Carboni)

A bar is one of several rotating sets by Derek McLane in Hamish Linklater’s world premiere for the New Group (photo by Monique Carboni)

Linklater’s narrative weaves seamlessly between the present day, where, among other things, Trish and Derrick spy on Julie from a high branch in a tree, and fifteen years earlier, as carefree teenagers Julie and Trish talk about sex and drugs, Michael battles the bottle, and Kristina tries not to lose her grip. It’s quite fitting that Michael and Kristina met at the Edgar Allan Poe Museum in Virginia and that their favorite poem is “Annabel Lee.” As Julie deteriorates, her friends, relatives, and acquaintances, each connected, whether they know it or not, like the branches of a tree, argue over how and why it has all come to this. The torrent of revelations could overwhelm the story but instead helps everything fall into place, although there are no simple answers to the main questions. Linklater, who was born in Great Barrington to a mother named Kristin (a theater professor and cofounder of Shakespeare & Co.) and a father whose last name was Cormeny, is better known as an actor, appearing in such films as The Big Short and 42, such television series as The New Adventures of Old Christine and The Crazy Ones, and such Shakespeare in the Park productions as Cymbeline and Much Ado About Nothing. He has previously written The Vandal for the Steep Theatre in Chicago and The Cheats for the Flea in Lower Manhattan, and he has made a significant jump now with his third play.

(photo by Monique Carboni)

Julie (Grace Van Patten) and Trish (Zosia Mamet) share a sweet moment before it all came crashing down in The Whirligig (photo by Monique Carboni)

“And thus the whirligig of time brings in his revenges,” Feste tells Malvolio in the fifth act of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night. The title of Linklater’s play could refer to a pinwheel, time, or even a medieval torture involving a revolving cage used to discipline “trifling misdemeanors,” particularly committed by women. The Whirligig investigates punishment and revenge, as well as forgiveness and making amends, told with a clever circularity, with well-developed characters and a tightly written script that, despite some bumps and bruises — the scene in which Kristina celebrates her thirty-fifth birthday in the bar with Michael could use some rethinking — bring it all together, complete with unexpected twists and turns. Director Scott Elliott (Evening at the Talk House, Mercury Fur) successfully circumnavigates through the rotating set and two time periods, which occasionally appear to merge, as past and present clash. The cast is excellent, with standout performances by DeVries (Sweet and Sad, The Wayside Motor Inn), Orsini (The Nance, Incident at Vichy), Wells (Blunt Talk, Doll & Em) and Mamet (Girls, Really Really). So whose fault is it that Julie is in the situation she’s in? “Everyone knows everyone tonight, and I don’t recognize a soul,” Mr. Cormeny says at one point. The Whirligig is populated with people who have some serious soul searching to do of their own, and it’s about a lot more than just who is to blame.


fleet week

Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum and other locations in all five boroughs
Pier 86, 12th Ave. & 46th St.
May 24–29, pier activities free unless otherwise noted

The U.S. Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard will be pouring into New York City for Fleet Week, which takes place May 24-29 at the Intrepid and other locations. The annual celebration, which began in 1982, leads into Memorial Day weekend, reminding everyone that the holiday is not just about barbecues and beaches. Below are only some of the highlights; all pier events are free and open to the public. Admission to the museum is $17-$33 but free for all U.S. military and veterans.

Wednesday, May 24
Parade of Ships, New York Harbor, 8:15 am - 1:00 pm

Fort Wadsworth Fleet Week and National Park Centennial Celebration, Fort Wadsworth Overlook, Staten Island, 9:00 - 11:30 am

U.S. Navy Divers, New York Aquarium, 10:00 am - 3:00 pm

Thursday, May 25
U.S. Coast Guard Silent Drill Team Performance, Metropolitan Museum of Art, 11:00 am

U.S. Coast Guard Silent Drill Team Performance, 9/11 Memorial Plaza, 1:00

Thursday, May 25
Friday, May 26

Public Tours of Visiting Ship Research Vessel Neil Armstrong, end of pier 86, 10:00 am – 12:30 pm

Thursday, May 25
Friday, May 26
Saturday, May 27

U.S. Navy Dive Tank in Times Square, plaza between 43rd & 44th Sts., 10:00 am - 5:00 pm

Thursday, May 25
Monday, May 29

General Public Ship Tours, Brooklyn Cruise Terminal, Homeport Pier in Staten Island, Pier 92 in Manhattan, 8:00 am - 5:00 pm

Friday, May 26
Movie on the Flight Deck: Top Gun (Tony Scott, 1986), introduced by former NASA astronaut and T-38 pilot Gregory C. Johnson, 7:00

Navy Band Concert, with Navy Band Northeast Rhode Island Sound, Military Island, Times Square, 8:00

Friday, May 26
Monday, May 29

Giant Leaps Planetarium Show, Intrepid, Hangar 3, Rotunda, 12:15 – 3:15

Saturday, May 27
Marine Day, with a formation run, military static displays, demonstrations, and a performance by the USMC Battle Color Detachment, 8:00 am - 4:00 pm

Broadway Showcase: Cats, Kinky Boots, School of Rock, Ernest Shackleton Loves Me, The Imbible: A Spirited History of Drinking, and Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812, emceed by The Play That Goes Wrong, Pier 86, Main Stage, 12 noon

U.S. Coast Guard Search & Rescue Demo, Homeport Pier, Staten Island, 12 noon

CAMMO Voices of Service, Pier 86, Main Stage, 1:30 & 4:30

American Military Spouses Choir, Pier 86, Main Stage, 3:30 & 5:00

Navy Band Concert, with Navy Band Northeast Rhode Island Sound, Military Island, Times Square, 6:00

Battle of the Big Bands, with Harlem Renaissance Orchestra, Glenn Crytzer Orchestra with guest vocalist Hannah Gill, Gunhild Carling with the Swingadelic Big Band, Jason Prover and the Sneak Thievery Orchestra, swing dancing lessons, the Bathtub Ginnys, the Intrepid Swing Dance Brigade, contests, MC Dandy Wellington, DJ VaVa Voom and Odysseus Bailer, Flight Deck, $55-$95, 7:00 pm – 1:00 am

U.S. Marine Corps Battle Color Detachment Performance, Father Duffy Square, Times Square, 8:00

Fleet Week will feature celebrations, commemorations, and memorials May 24-30 in all five boroughs (photo courtesy Fleet Week New York)

Fleet Week will feature celebrations, commemorations, and memorials May 24-30 in all five boroughs (photo courtesy Fleet Week New York)

Saturday, May 27
Sunday, May 28

Activities, displays, demonstrations, tours, and more, including “Dive into Density,” U.S. Coast Guard Silent Drill Team, SeaPerch Pool Demonstrations, antique military vehicles, “Signal Flags,” CEC/Seabee Historical Foundation’s STEM activity, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers North Atlantic Division, “Catch a Cable,” 10:00 am – 6:00 pm

Saturday, May 27
Sunday, May 28
Monday, May 29

Explosive Ordnance Disposal Navy Divers, New York Aquarium, Coney Island, $11.95 - $14.95

Meet the Author: Julia Maki, My Mom Hunts Submarines, Hangar 2, Stage, 11:00 am, 12 noon, 1:00

Sunday, May 28
Performance by Tap Life, Pier 86, Main Stage, 12:30

Performance by America’s Sweethearts, Pier 86, Main Stage, 1:00 & 3:00

Performance by Deployed: A New Musical, Pier 86, Main Stage, 1:30 & 4:30

Performance by the 78th Army Band, Pier 86, Main Stage, 2:00

Performance by Exit 12 Dance Company, Pier 86, Main Stage, 3:30

Navy Band Concert, with Navy Band Northeast Rhode Island Sound, Military Island, Times Square, 4:00

Theater of War, with Zach Grenier, Kathryn Erbe, and Reg E. Cathey, Allison & Howard Lutnick Theater, free with RSVP, 7:00

Monday, May 29
Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Memorial Day Observance, commemorating the seventy-fifth anniversary of the Battle of Midway, Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument, Riverside Dr. & 89th St., 10:00 am

Activities, displays, demonstrations, tours, and more, including Minus 5 Ice Sculpting Experience, CEC/Seabee Historical Foundation’s STEM activity, FDNY Fire Safety Experience, Dina Parise Racing 3,000HP Fallen Heroes Cadillac and Porta Tree display, Veterans Vision Project and Arizona State University, U.S. Air Force Auxiliary, Veteran Artist Program, Hudson Valley Paws for a Cause, Intrepid former crew members, “Dive into Density,” SeaPerch Pool Demonstrations, “Signal Flags,” “Catch a Cable,” “What Floats Your Boat?,” Pier 86, 10:00 am – 6:00 pm

Memorial Day Ceremony, Pier 86, 11:00 am

Search & Rescue Demonstration by the U.S. Coast Guard, end of Pier 86, 2:00

Bubble Garden by the Gazillion Bubble Show, Pier 86, 2:00 – 6:00


Museum of Food and Drink event  brings Brooklyn, Poland, and vodka together

Museum of Food and Drink event brings Brooklyn, Poland, and vodka together

62 Bayard St., Brooklyn
Thursday, May 25, $30, 6:30

The Spring Spirits series at the Museum of Food and Drink continues May 25 with “The Vodka Contract: Rediscovering Vodka in the Heart of Polish Brooklyn,” in which curator and artist Elizabeth Koszarski-Skrabonja tells how her father, Kazimierz Koszarski, brought the vodka brands Zubrówka, Wisniówka, and Wyborowa to America in August 1939, distributing them through the Austin-Nichols building in Williamsburg. Promising “a dramatic story of love, herbs, and vodka,” the evening, which is copresented by the Polish Cultural Institute of New York, will also feature Polish bites from Karolina Gumpert, live entertainment (the tango!) from Azuz Ensemble, and the introduction of the new cocktail the Kosciuszko Bridge, designed by Joel Lee Kulp. After the event, attendees will be able to get drink specials around the corner at Pete’s Candy Store, including the vodka-based Greener Pastures.


theater of war

Who: Zach Grenier, Kathryn Erbe, Reg E. Cathey
What:Free performance of scenes from ancient Greek play, followed by Q&A
Where: Allison & Howard Lutnick Theater, Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, Pier 86, West Forty-Sixth St. & Twelfth Ave.
When: Sunday, May 28, free with RSVP, 7:00
Why: In conjunction with Fleet Week, Theater of War is presenting a dramatic reading of scenes from Sophocles’ Philoctetes, translated, directed, and facilitated by Brooklyn-based artistic director Bryan Doerries, author of The Theater of War: What Ancient Greek Tragedies Can Teach Us Today. The event, part of a project that “is designed to promote understanding, compassion, and positive action,” features Tony nominee Zach Grenier (The Good Wife, 33 Variations), Tony nominee Kathryn Erbe (Law & Order: Criminal Intent, The Speed of Darkness), and Emmy winner Reg E. Cathey (The Wire, House of Cards). The dramatic reading will be followed by a Q&A with community panelists.