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

AMERICAN PSYCHO

(photo © Jeremy Daniel)

AMERICAN PSYCHO will close after only eighty-one Broadway performances (photo © Jeremy Daniel)

Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre
236 West 45th St. between Broadway & Eighth Aves.
Through June 5, $69-$148
americanpsychothemusical.com

The musical version of Bret Easton Ellis’s popular but controversial 1991 novel, American Psycho, which was also made into a popular but controversial 2000 film, has posted an early closing notice on Broadway, ending its short run at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre on June 5 after a mere eighty-one performances. So what went wrong with the show, a sold-out smash in London? The Broadway production looks great; the set, designed by the always innovative Es Devlin (Machinal, Chimerica), is often breathtaking and thrilling, with blinding whites everywhere, gorgeous minimalist furniture, and ultracool lighting by Justin Townsend (The Humans, The Other Place), pulsating with fast-moving projections by Finn Ross (The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night). When a plexiglass front comes down, the stage turns into Dexter’s dream kill room, as New York City investment banker and ahead-of-his-time metrosexual Patrick Bateman (Benjamin Walker) uses a number of techniques to dispose of people standing in his way. But director Rupert Goold (King Charles III, Enron), Walker (Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof), book writer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa (Based on a Totally True Story), and composer and lyricist Duncan Sheik (Spring Awakening) can’t quite decide whether American Psycho is a tongue-in-cheek satire of 1980s Wall Street, a black comedy about greed and desire, or a psychological exploration of obsession and violence. Much like Martin Scorsese’s overrated The Wolf of Wall Street, which also takes place during the Reagan era, American Psycho is filled with characters you either strongly dislike or just don’t care about, people you don’t want to spend even a few hours with on Broadway (including Alice Ripley as Mrs. Bateman, Drew Moerlein as Paul Owen, Theo Stockman as Timothy Price, and Heléne Yorke as Evelyn). Meanwhile, the music shifts between hits of the time by such bands as Tears for Fears, Phil Collins, the Human League, and New Order alternating with Sheik’s new songs (“Selling Out,” “Cards,” “I Am Back”) that don’t stand up in comparison. There were significant changes made for American audiences, including adding, deleting, and shifting around numbers, which might not have been the best idea. The show, which garnered a mere two Tony nods (Best Scenic Design and Best Lighting Design of a Musical) but a hefty eight nominations from both the Drama Desk and the Outer Critics Circle, closes with an $8.8 million loss, something that would probably send Bateman looking for yet more people to take out his anger on.

MANHATTANHENGE 2016

Manhattanhenge will light up crosstown traffic May 29-30 and July 11-12 (photo by twi-ny/mdr)

SUNSET ON THE MANHATTAN GRID
East side of Manhattan
Half Sun: Sunday, May 29, 8:12 pm
Full Sun: Monday, May 30, 8:12 pm
Full Sun: Monday, July 11, 8:20 pm
Half Sun: Tuesday, July 12, 8:20 pm
www.amnh.org
manhattanhenge slideshow

One of our favorite events of the summer season, the first of two Manhattanhenges takes place this weekend, when the sun aligns with Manhattan’s off-center (by thirty degrees) grid to send spectacular bursts of sunlight streaming across the streets. It’s a real bummer when the sky is obscured by clouds and bad weather, ruining the effect, so hopefully that won’t be a problem, as it has been in recent years. Coined by master astrophysicist and Hayden Planetarium director Neil deGrasse Tyson in 2002, Manhattanhenge takes place twice a year; for 2016, those dates are May 29-30 and July 11-12, when the sun (half the disk one night, the full disk the other) will create “a radiant glow of light across Manhattan’s brick and steel canyons, simultaneously illuminating both the north and south sides of every cross street of the borough’s grid,” Tyson explains on the planetarium website. “A rare and beautiful sight. These two days happen to correspond with Memorial Day and Baseball’s All Star break. Future anthropologists might conclude that, via the Sun, the people who called themselves Americans worshiped War and Baseball.” Photographers will once again line up along the city’s wider thoroughfares on the east side, including Twenty-third, Thirty-fourth, Forty-second, and Fifty-seventh Sts., risking their physical safety against oncoming traffic as they try to capture that exact moment when the sun is half above the horizon, half below it. Wrongly called the Manhattan Solstice, the event “may just be a unique urban phenomenon in the world, if not the universe,” Tyson explains. It’s quite a sight when everything is alignment; don’t miss it.

YVONNE RAINER — THE CONCEPT OF DUST: CONTINUOUS PROJECT-ALTERED ANNUALLY

Yvonne Rainer

“The Concept of Dust, or How do you look when there’s nothing left to move?” at MoMA, with Emmanuele Phuon, Patricia Hoffbauer, David Thomson, and Yvonne Rainer, 2015 (photo by Julieta Cervantes © 2015 The Museum of Modern Art, New York)

The Kitchen
512 West 19th St. between Tenth & Eleventh Aves.
June 2-4, 8:00
212-255-5793 ext11
thekitchen.org
www.americandance.org

The new American Dance Institute initiative ADI/NYC at the Kitchen kicks off June 2-4 with the Performa presentation of legendary dancer, choreographer, and avant-garde filmmaker Yvonne Rainer’s “The Concept of Dust, or How do you look when there’s nothing left to move,” an ongoing work-in-progress that combines body movement and spoken text to examine aging and mortality. The eighty-one-year-old Rainer, who has created such dances as Terrain and Two People on Bed/Table and such films as Kristina Talking Pictures and A Film About a Woman Who . . . , will perform in the work, along with dancers who are given the freedom to improvise in order to heighten the unpredictable, personal nature of the forty-five-minute piece, set to British minimalist Gavin Bryars’s “The Sinking of the Titanic.” The opening-night gala includes a champagne reception with Yvonne and the Raindears. ADI/NYC continues through July 2 with Brian Brooks’s Wilderness, Jane Comfort & Company’s You are here, Susan Marshall & Company’s Chromatic, and Jack Ferver’s I want you to want me.

MAY BRUNCH AND MIDNITE — THE WASTE LAND: CHILDREN OF MEN

CHILDREN OF MEN predicts a bleak future for humankind

Alfonso Cuarón’s CHILDREN OF MEN predicts a bleak future for humankind

CHILDREN OF MEN (Alfonso Cuarón, 2006)
Nitehawk Cinema
136 Metropolitan Ave. between Berry St. & Wythe Ave.
Saturday, May 28, and Sunday, May 29, 11:30 am
718-384-3980
www.nitehawkcinema.com
www.childrenofmen.net

It’s 2027, and there hasn’t been a baby born in the world in eighteen years. For some unknown reason, women have become infertile, leading to chaos around the globe. Only England perseveres, but it is on the brink of destruction as warring factions prepare for doomsday. Onetime revolutionary Theo (an as-even-keeled-as-ever Clive Owen) has settled down into a mundane life, but he’s thrust back into the middle of things when he is kidnapped by a radical organization run by his ex-wife, Julian (Julianne Moore), and her right-hand man, the hard-edged Luke (Chiwetel Ejiofor). Theo is forced to escort Kee (Claire-Hope Ashitey), a young fugee (refugee), through the danger zone and to the Human Project, a supposed safe haven that might not actually exist. Also staring extinction in the face are Theo’s brother, Nigel (Danny Huston); Theo’s hippie friend, Jasper (a longhaired Michael Caine); and homeland security officer Syd (Peter Mullan). Inspired by the novel by P. D. James, the chilling Children of Men is a violent, prescient, nonstop thrill ride, moviemaking of the highest order, cowritten and directed by Alfonso Cuarón (Y Tu Mamá También, Gravity) and photographed in vibrant filth and muddiness by Emmanuel Lubezki (Birdman, The Tree of Life). Nominated for three Academy Awards (Best Cinematography, Best Film Editing, Best Adapted Screenplay), Children of Men is one of the best of the dystopian science fiction films of the twenty-first century, predicting a future that is not as impossible as one might think. Stay through the credits for a tiny but critical coda. Children of Men is screening May 28 and 29 at 11:30 am as part of the Nitehawk Cinema series “May Brunch and Midnite: The Waste Land,” which also features Shaun of the Dead at 12:20 am Friday and Saturday night.

DanceAfrica — SENEGAL: DOORS OF ANCIENT FUTURES

WAATO SiITA will be celebrating its native Senegal at DanceAfrica at BAM this weekend (photo courtesy of the artist)

WAATO SiiTA will be celebrating its native Senegal at DanceAfrica at BAM this weekend (photo courtesy of the artist)

Brooklyn Academy of Music
BAM Howard Gilman Opera House, BAMcafé, BAM Rose Cinemas
30 Lafayette Ave. between Ashland Pl. & St. Felix St.
May 27-30, free - $60
718-636-4100
www.bam.org

For its thirty-ninth season, BAM’s extraordinary DanceAfrica program takes audiences to Senegal, celebrating “Doors of Ancient Futures.” The Memorial Day weekend festivities, under the leadership of new artistic director Abdel R. Salaam (from Forces of Nature) and beloved artistic director emeritus Chuck Davis, feature performances in the Howard Gilman Opera House by the Senegalese troupes Les Ballets de la Renaissance Africaine “WAATO SiiTA” and Compagnie Tenane, Senegalese legend Germaine Acogny (“the Mother of Contemporary African Dance”), and Brooklyn’s own BAM/Restoration DanceAfrica Ensemble, joined by Forces of Nature founding member Dyane Harvey-Salaam and Reverend Nafisa Sharriff. Be on the lookout for both traditional and contemporary movement, including krumping, popping, and breakdancing. There will also be a late-night dance party May 28 in the BAMcafé with DJ Tony Humphries, workshops on May 30 with WAATO SiiTA choreographer Pape Moussa Sonko, a FilmAfrica series consisting of ten films screening in BAM Rose Cinemas (including Nicolas Cissé’s Le Terreau de L’Espoir, Yared Zeleke’s Lamb, and Jason Silverman and Samba Gadjigo’s Sembene!), and the oh-so-fab outdoor DanceAfrica Bazaar (May 28-30), chock-full of vendors selling African products, from clothing and music to jewelry and food.

1986 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP 30TH ANNIVERSARY WEEKEND CELEBRATION

Many members of the 1986 championship New York Mets will be at Citi Field for special festivities this weekend

Many members of the 1986 championship New York Mets will be at Citi Field for special festivities this weekend

Citi Field
123-01 Roosevelt Ave. at 126th St.
May 27-29, $25-$525
newyork.mets.mlb.com

On October 27, 1986, I was fortunate enough to find myself at Shea Stadium, watching the Amazin’s come back from a 3-0 deficit to beat the Boston Red Sox 8-5 and win their second World Series title, with such stars as Ray Knight, Keith Hernandez. Ron Darling, Darryl Strawberry, Howard Johnson, Dwight Gooden, Jesse Orosco, Lenny Dykstra, Mookie Wilson, and the late Gary Carter. Although the Mets have since made it to the Series in 2000 and 2015, their third championship has proved elusive. However, maybe celebrating the past will inject more victories into their future, as they honor that 1986 team this weekend as the 2016 Mets take on the Los Angeles Dodgers. On Friday night, currently scheduled to be Jacob deGrom against Alex Wood, all fans will receive a replica jersey with the number 86 on it. On Saturday at 6:15, before Noah Syndergarrd takes on Kenta Maeda, there will be a special pregame ceremony on the field, featuring many members of the 1986 team. And on Sunday, when the one and only Bartolo Colón faces off with Clayton Kershaw, the first fifteen thousand fans will get a replica 1986 world championship ring.

THE JUDAS KISS

(photo by Richard Termine)

Oscar Wilde (Rupert Everett) contemplates what might be his last night of freedom in THE JUDAS KISS (photo by Richard Termine)

Brooklyn Academy of Music
BAM Harvey Theater
651 Fulton St.
Tuesday - Sunday through June 12, $30-$125
718-636-4100
www.bam.org

David Hare’s The Judas Kiss is a tale of two plays in more ways than one. The inaugural production in 1998 in London and on Broadway, starring Liam Neeson as Oscar Wilde, was such a critical flop that even Hare (Plenty, Skylight) himself admitted it was a failure. However, seeking to gain support for a film he wrote about Wilde, English actor Rupert Everett helped mount a 2012 revival of The Judas Kiss that has been garnering significantly better reviews as it tours the UK and Canada and has now settled in for a one-month run at the BAM Harvey through June 12. Everett (My Best Friend’s Wedding, An Ideal Husband) is triumphant as Wilde, but the disconnect between the first and second acts still prevents the play from being a complete success. (Interestingly, Hare made no changes to the script for this revival.) The Judas Kiss opens on April 5, 1895, at the Cadogan Hotel, as the staff, randy hotel employees Arthur Wellesley (Elliot Balchin) and Phoebe Cane (Jessie Hills) under the guidance of the staid and proper valet Sandy Moffat (Alister Cameron), prepares for the arrival of Wilde, who is being tried for “acts of gross indecency” by the Marquess of Queensberry, the father of Wilde’s lover, Lord Alfred Douglas (Charlie Rowe), affectionately known as Bosie. Wilde’s manager and former lover, Robert Ross (Cal MacAninch) soon arrives and the conflict is set in motion: Ross wants Wilde to leave England immediately in order to escape prosecution, while Bosie wants him to stay and fight the charges, as a way for the young lad to stand up to his father. “It appears that the whole of London is fleeing. I looked from my coach. Every invert in the metropolitan area is now packing his bags and heading for France,” Wilde says. “It is a veritable mass migration. I’d never imagined diaspora could be on this scale. The takings at certain fashionable restaurants will tonight be counted in pennies. At a single stroke, the opera will be stone-dead as an art form.” But before choosing his course of action, Wilde explains what is most important. “Let us be realistic. In the name of our common humanity, let us get our priorities straight. Let us pause, let us make the seminal decision: it seems that I still have time for my lunch.” Slapstick comedy mixes with graver matters of freedom and love as Ross and Bosie argue over Wilde’s fate and a phalanx of reporters attempts to storm the hotel. Through it all, Wilde is both witty and effete, courteous and haughty, but time is clearly running out on him, as evidenced by the clock in the room, which has no hands.

(photo by Richard Termine)

Bosie (Charlie Rowe) and Oscar Wilde (Rupert Everett) face some harsh realities in David Hare revival at BAM (photo by Richard Termine)

The second act is dreary and dour, set two years later in a ramshackle hotel in Naples. Recently released from Reading Gaol, Wilde looks decades older, barely able to move out of his chair. He is joined by Bosie and Bosie’s latest lover, local fisherman Galileo Masconi (Tom Colley), who casually walks around completely naked before sitting on the floor and eating a sugared bun still au naturel. “Oh, it’s wonderful, it’s like a child, isn’t it?” Wilde says, staring lustily at Galileo. “Who said one can never go back? If only I could go back to that! If I ever was like that! Like an animal, like a cat. Truly, one should throw him a ball of string. Look at the little fellow.” But there is no going back for Wilde, now a sad, nearly penniless recluse, wasting away in Italy. “There is no morality in what is called morality; there is no sense in what is called sense; and least of all is there meaning in what is held to be meaning,” he tells Bosie. Director Neil Armfield (Diary of a Madman, Exit the King) can’t quite find the right balance between the engaging first act and the more stationary second act, relying too much on Everett’s towering presence even as he shrinks away. But Everett’s performance makes this Judas Kiss more than worthy; he plays the role with relish and panache, breathing exciting life into a familiar figure, bringing humanity to an often caricatured personality. (In preparing for the role, he even slept in Wilde’s old room at the Cadogan.) You can’t take your eyes off him, whether he’s enjoying champagne and lobster, trapped in his chair, or seen in an enveloping shadow on the wall. (The lighting is by Rick Fisher, sets by Dale Ferguson.) Alan John’s soundtrack is relatively unnecessary; at times it was so soft and distant that it appeared to be a cell phone going off in the audience. But the play remains as relevant as ever, with the continuing controversies and bullying over gay marriage and LGBTQ discrimination. “Just a century ago a man — Oscar — could be imprisoned and ruined — killed off, basically — simply for being gay,” Everett wrote in a recent column for the New York Times, referring to the legalization of same-sex marriage in England. “But tonight a homosexual stood on equal ground with the rest of society, and I was, quite unexpectedly, extremely moved.” So it’s a genuine treat to have Wilde, in the personage of Everett, back at BAM, where, in 1882 in the institution’s original home on Montague St., Wilde spoke as part of his North American lecture tour.

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