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


must see week

Multiple venues
January 21 - February 10

The rising price of admissions in New York City got you down? You can check out some big-time Big Apple institutions January 21 to February 10 during Must-See Week, when tickets to many cultural stalwarts go BOGO, offering two-for-one discounts. Among the participating attractions are the 9/11 Tribute Museum, the Bronx Zoo, the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, the Brooklyn Museum, the Cooper Hewitt, the Empire State Building Observatory, the Intrepid, the Mount Vernon Hotel Museum & Garden, the Museum at Eldridge Street Synagogue, the Museum of Chinese in America, MoMA, the Museum of the City of New York, the New York Botanical Garden, the New York City Ballet, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, the Rink at Rockefeller Center, the UN, and more. While you can get some tickets in advance, others require in-person vouchers.


(photo by Adele Wilkes)

Joshua Pether’s Jupiter Orbiting is part of First Nations Dialogues festival (photo by Adele Wilkes)

Multiple venues
January 5-12

The First Nations Dialogues Lenapehoking/New York festival takes place January 5-12 with live performances, community gatherings, discussions, and other special programs focusing on Indigenous cultures in the US, Canada, and Australia. The centerpiece is KIN, a series of events curated by Emily Johnson that includes three conversations with Paola Balla, Genevieve Grieves, and Johnson; a fabric workshop with Spiderwoman Theater cofounder Muriel Miguel; the play-reading series “Reflections of Native Voices,” with Muriel Miguel, Gloria Miguel, Carolyn Dunn, Ed Bourgeois, Henu Josephine Tarrant, Rachael Maza, and Nicholson Billey; presentations by Joshua Pether and S. J. Norman; and the outdoor ceremonial fire gathering “Kinstillatory Mappings in Light and Dark Matter.” Kicking off the Global First Nations Performance Network, First Nations Dialogues is held in partnership with the Lenape Center, Amerinda, American Indian Community House, Abrons Arts Center, American Realness, Danspace Project, La MaMa, Performance Space New York, Safe Harbors Indigenous Collective, Under the Radar, the Association of Performing Arts Presenters, and the International Society for the Performing Arts. Below are some of the highlights.

Saturday, January 5
Tëmikèkw, an honoring and welcome gathering, with Muriel Miguel, Gloria Miguel, and Deborah Ratelle of Spiderwoman Theater, Diane Fraher (Osage/Cherokee) of Amerinda, the SilverCloud Singers led by Kevin Tarrant of the Hopi and HoChunk Nations, Laura Ortman of the Apache Nation, and fancy shawl dancer Anatasia McAllister of the Colville Confederated Tribes and Hopi Nation, Danspace Project, free with RSVP, 12:30 – 4:00 pm

Saturday, January 5, 7:00
Sunday, January 6, 3:00

Jupiter Orbiting, by Joshua Pether, immersive movement-based work about dissociation and trauma, Performance Space New York, $15

Tuesday, January 8, 7:30
Cicatrix 1 (that which is taken/that which remains), by S. J Norman, four-hour durational ritual, Performance Space New York, $15

Wednesday, January 9, 10:00
Thursday, January 10, 10:00
Friday, January 11, 1:00

Serpentine, by Daina Ashbee, performed by Areli Moran to music composed by Jean-Françoise Blouin, La MaMa, Downstairs Theater, $20-$25

Friday, January 10, 2:00, 6:00, 8:00
Footwork/Technique, by Mariaa Randall, incorporating contemporary Aboriginal footwork and dance legacies, Performance Space New York, $15


Jojo Abot’s Power to the God Within will kick off National Sawdust Ferus Festival

Jojo Abot’s Power to the God Within will kick off National Sawdust Ferus Festival

National Sawdust
80 North Sixth St.
January 4-8

National Sawdust’s annual Ferus Fest: A Showcase of Untamed Voices takes place January 4-8 at the Williamsburg venue, presenting unique voices transcending traditional genres. The 2019 edition consists of Jojo Abot’s Power to the God Within, an immersive experience about the divinity of blackness; multi-instrumentalist Angélica Negrón’s opera Chimera, starring Alexis Michelle, Miz Jade, Desmond Is Amazing, and members of the Knights, preceded by a performance by Kayla Cashetta and maenu; Huang Ruo’s multimedia opera Resonant Theatre: The Sonic Great Wall, which investigates the barrier between performer and audience; Folds, a collaboration between violinist Miranda Cuckson, intermedia artist Katharina Rosenberger, and projection designer John Burnett; and Brooklyn Youth Chorus’s Amplify, performing compositions by National Sawdust cofounder and artistic director Paola Prestini, National Sawdust artist-in-residence Angélica Negrón, National Sawdust curator Daniel Bernard Roumain, David Lang, Olga Bell, and others.


Train with No Midnight, (photo by Maria Baranova)

Joseph Keckle’s Train with No Midnight is part of 2019 Prototype festival (photo by Maria Baranova)

Multiple venues
January 5-13

Now in its seventh year, the Prototype festival pushes the bounds of experimental music and opera, presenting world premieres and works-in-progress at multiple venues in Manhattan and Brooklyn. Below are some of the highlights.

Pancho Villa from a Safe Distance, by composer Graham Reynolds, librettists Lagartijas Tiradas al Sol (Luisa Pardo and Gabino Rodríguez), and directed by Shawn Sides of Rude Mechs, BRIC House, January 5-8, $30-$75

Train with No Midnight, written, composed, and performed by Joseph Keckler, HERE, January 5-8, 10-13, $30-$75

4.48 Psychosis, US premiere, adapted by Philip Venable from the play by Sarah Kane, directed by Ted Huffman, Baruch Performing Arts Center, January 5, 6, 8, 9, 11, 12, $30-$75

Out of Bounds: Partita for 8 Voices, by Caroline Shaw, new vocal work inspired by Sol LeWitt, square dance calls, Inuit hocketing, and American folk hymn “Shining Shore,” Times Square, January 7, free, 4:00 & 7:00

Stinney: An American Execution, by composer-librettist Frances Pollock and co-librettist Tia Price, directed by Emma Weinstein and Jeremy O. Harris, conducted by Alexander Lloyd Blake, Florence Gould Hall, FIAF, January 12-13, $30


(photo by Maria Baranova)

Jack Ferver’s Everything Is Imaginable was one of the best shows of 2018 (photo by Maria Baranova)

Abrons Arts Center and other venues
466 Grand St. at Pitt St.
January 4-13

Since 2010, Abrons Arts Center has presented American Realness, a multidisciplinary festival of dance, music, theater, discourse, literature, and more. The 2019 lineup features a stellar lineup of creators, including Marjani Forté-Saunders, Jack Ferver, nora chipaumire, Reggie Wilson, Julian F. May, Miguel Gutierrez, Gillian Walsh, and the Royal Osiris Karaoke Ensemble staging works across four boroughs, at such venues as Performance Space New York, the Chocolate Factory, Danspace Project, La MaMa, and Gibney. Below are only some of the highlights.

Moon Fate Sin, by Gillian Walsh, location and ticketing TBD, January 4-6

100% Pop / Shebeen Remix, by nora chipaumire, Jack, January 4-6 and 10-12, $25

Everything Is Imaginable, by Jack Ferver, New York Live Arts, January 7-12, $15-$25

The Bridge Called My Ass, by Miguel Gutierrez, Chocolate Factory Theater, January 8-19, $20

Folk Incest, by Juliana F. May, Abrons Arts Center, January 9-12, $21


(photo by Alejandro Fajardo)

Eva von Schweinitz’s The Space between the Letters is part of Incoming! section of Public Theater’s Under the Radar Festival (photo by Alejandro Fajardo)

Public Theater and other venues
425 Lafayette St. by Astor Pl.
January 3-13

The Public Theater’s annual Under the Radar Festival invites adventurous theatergoers to experience cutting-edge, experimental theater and music from around the world. The 2019 iteration features works from twenty-one artists from nine countries, with most tickets costing a mere thirty bucks. Below are some of the highlights.

Hear Word! Naija Woman Talk True, by Ifeoma Fafunwa, January 3, 5, 6, 7, Public Theater, Martinson Theater, $30

Frankenstein, by Manual Cinema, concept by Drew Dir, January 3, 5, 6, 7, 10, 11, 12, Public Theater, LuEsther Theater, $30

Minor Character, New Saloon adaptation of Anton Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya, January 4-13, Public Theater, Martinson Theater, $30

BITCH! DYKE! FAGHAG! WHORE! The Penny Arcade Sex and Censorship Show, by Penny Arcade, January 3, 6, 10, 12, 13, Joe’s Pub, $35

Incoming! Macbeth in Stride, by Whitney White, Public Theater, Shiva Theater, $25


(photo by Charlie Gross)

Meshell Ndegeocello is artist-in-residence for 2019 Winter Jazzfest (photo by Charlie Gross)

Multiple venues
January 4-12

Winter Jazzfest is celebrating its fifteenth anniversary with special tributes, talks, listening sessions, and events supporting social justice. As always, it’s highlighted by amazing marathons, taking place January 5, 11, and 12 at such venues as LPR, the Bitter End, Subculture, Zinc, the Sheen Center, the Bowery Ballroom, and the Mercury Lounge. This year’s artist-in-residence is Meshell Ndegeocello. Below are only some of the highlights.

We Resist!, with Fandango at the Wall with Arturo O’Farrill & the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra, with special guests Marc Ribot’s Songs of Resistance, Samora Pinderhughes Transformations Suite, Word*Rock*Sword: A Musical Celebration of Women’s Lives featuring Toshi Reagon, Allison Miller, Ganessa James, and others, Le Poisson Rouge, January 6, $25, 7:00

The Bad Plus, Terence Blanchard featuring the E-Collective, Terri Lyne Carrington & Social Science, Le Poisson Rouge, January 7, $30-$35, 7:00

Medeski Martin & Wood, Alarm Will Sound, Brooklyn Steel, January 9, $55, 8:00

Meshell Ndegeocello Catalog — An Intimate Set, with Chris Bruce, Jebin Bruni, and Abraham Rounds, Nublu, January 10, $35-$45, 7:00

Winter Jazzfest Marathon, multiple artists at numerous venues, January 11-12, $50-$60 one day, $90-$105 both days, 6:00