Over the next few weeks, Christmas trees and menorahs will be lit all over the city, accompanied by live performances, seasonal treats, special guests, and family-friendly activities, all free. Below are only some of the many highlights as the Big Apple prepares for the holidays.
Park Slope Holiday Tree Lighting
Fifth Ave. at Third St.
Saturday, November 29, 6:30
Live music by Amy Miles, carols by Opera on Tap, crafts, puppet shows, cookies, marshmallows, hot chocolate, popcorn, children's activities, Santa and Frosty the Snowman
Fifteenth Annual Winter’s Eve at Lincoln Square
Dante Park, Broadway between 63rd & 64th Sts., Time Warner Center, David Rubenstein Atrium
Monday, December 1, 5:30 - 9:00
Emcee Billy Porter, ice sculpting, live performances by Arlo Guthrie and family, Alice Farley Dance Theater, Golem, Spuyten Duyvil, Batala NYC, the Lucky Chops Brass Band, M.A.K.U. SoundSystem, the N’Harmonics, Uptown Vocal, the Cafe Wha? House Band, the Jazzmeia Horn Quartet, Bach Vespers, Annika, Hungry March Band, Raya Brass Band, Shinbone Alley Stilt Band, Dylan Meek, Elena Ayodele Pinderhughes, the Hot Sardines, Yaz Band, Mariachi Real De Mexico, the Suzi Shelton Band, the Big Apple Circus, Chinese Lion Dancers, Kinky Boots, Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella, dance groups, WNET characters, a screening of Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, food tastings ($1-$4), Sesame Street’s Digital Playground & Walkaround Abby Cadabby
The South Street Seaport’s Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony
Fulton St. at Front St.
Tuesday, December 2, 5:45
Live music, family-friendly activities, more
Winter Village Tree Lighting
40th - 42nd Sts. between Fifth & Sixth Aves.
Tuesday, December 2, 6:00
Details to be announced
Eighty-Second Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting
Rockefeller Plaza, between West 48th and West 51st Streets and Fifth and Sixth Avenues
Wednesday, December 3, 7:00 - 9:00
Musical guests to be announced; tree will remain lit through January 7
Central Park Conservancy’s Eighteenth Annual Dana Holiday Lighting
Charles A. Dana Discovery Center inside the park at 110th St. & Malcolm X Blvd.
Thursday, December 4, 5:30 - 6:30
Flotilla of more than twenty illuminated trees on Harlem Meer, live ice carving, photos with Santa and his elves, Christmas carols, and hot cocoa and cookies
Christmas in Richmond Town: Traditional Tree Lighting
Historic Richmond Town, Staten Island
441 Clarke Ave.
Sunday, December 7, 5:00
Festivities begin at 11:00 am ($2 per person, six and under free) with shopping village, carolers, storytelling, Santa Claus, tours, Bell Choir, horse & carriage rides ($2, two and under free), free Christmas tree lighting at 5:00
Carl Schurz Park Holiday Tree Lighting
East 86th St. at East End Ave.
Sunday, December 7, 5:00
Christmas carols, Cantori choir, Orbital Brass, candlelight, candy canes, and hot chocolate
The Park Avenue Tree Lighting
Outside Brick Presbyterian Church, Park Ave. at 91st St.
Sunday, December 7, 6:30
Annual lighting of trees along Park Ave. Malls between 54th & 97th Sts., starting with tree outside Brick Presbyterian Church
Mad. Sq. Holiday 2014
Madison Square Park
23rd - 26th Sts. between Madison & Fifth Aves.
Tuesday, December 9, 3:30
Live performances by Audra Rox and cast members of Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella, horticultural workshop with a red twig dogwood planting led by Gardener Steph, Reading Rangers storytelling, Gingerbread Boulevard, seasonal treats from Hill Country Chicken, SD26, and Frittering Away, tree lighting at 5:00
The Washington Square Park Tree Lighting
Washington Square Park Arch at Fifth Ave.
Wednesday, December 10, 6:00
Live music by the Rob Susman Brass Quartet, songbooks for caroling, Santa Claus
Holiday on the Hudson
West Harlem Piers Park, West 125th & Marginal Sts.
Saturday, December 13, 5:00
Live music by the All-City High School Chorus, holiday decorations workshop, more
Zuccotti Park Holiday Lighting
Broadway & Liberty St.
Saturday, December 13, 5:30
Live music by the Manhattan Dolls and Metropolitan Klezmer, sweet treats, more
World’s Largest Menorah
Grand Army Plaza, Brooklyn
December 16-23, 6:00
Live music, hot latkes, gifts for kids
World’s Largest Hanukkah Menorah
Grand Army Plaza, Manhattan
Fifth Ave. between 58th & 59th Sts.
December 16-23, 6:00
INNER VOICES: GRACE / THE OTHER ROOM
The TBG Theatre
312 West 36th St. between Eighth & Ninth Aves., third Floor
October 4 - November 1 (official opening October 11)
In 2008, Premieres NYC expanded its mission to support the expansion of new music theater in New York City by starting the Inner Voices program, in which specially selected teams collaborate on original monologues told through song. Over the last several years, the participants in Premieres NYC projects have included Hunter Foster, Shuler Hensley, Laura Osnes, Jack Cummings III, Nilo Cruz, Michael John LaChiusa, and Arielle Jacobs. The fourth Premieres presentation is another eagerly awaited double bill, beginning October 4 at the TBG Theatre. Grace, written by Tony nominee Charlayne Woodard (Ain’t Misbehavin’, The Night Watcher) with music by Kirsten Childs (Miracle Brothers), stars Andrea Frierson (Once on This Island, Me & Ella) as an award-winning novelist facing a critical moment in her life. The show is directed by Shirley Jo Finney, with music direction by Rona Siddiqui and live bass by Marc Schmied. Grace is paired with The Other Room, written by librettist Mark Campbell (The Inspector, Songs from an Unmade Bed) with music by Marisa Michelson (The Lovers, Tamar of the River), musical direction by Ian Axness, and live cello by Brian Sanders; in the show, directed by Ethan Heard, Phoebe Strole (Spring Awakening, The Madrid) plays Lena, a woman who deals with a crisis in a positive way when learning that a dear friend has AIDS.
TICKET GIVEAWAY: Inner Voices runs Monday through Saturday, October 4 to November 1, at the TBG Theatre, and twi-ny has three pairs of tickets to give away for free. Just send your name and daytime phone number to email@example.com by Thursday, October 2, at 5:00 to be eligible. All entrants must be twenty-one years of age or older; three winners will be selected at random.
Since August 2008, photographer Ari Seth Cohen has run his Advanced Style blog, focusing on the fashion trends of senior citizens in New York City. “I roam the streets of New York looking for the most stylish and creative older folks,” Cohen, who grew up in San Diego, writes on his blog. “Respect your elders and let these ladies and gents teach you a thing or two about living life to the fullest. Advanced Style offers proof from the wise and silver-haired set that personal style advances with age.” In May 2012, he released the Advanced Style book, and next up is a documentary that Cohen and Lithuanian-born director Lina Piloplyte financed via Kickstarter. On September 22, City Winery will host a celebration of the many aspects of Advanced Style, hosted by Barneys creative ambassador Simon Doonan, featuring a discussion, a slideshow of Cohen’s photographs, and an exclusive preview of the film, which follows seven fashionably eclectic New York women between the ages of sixty-two and ninety-five, with no topic off limits; the documentary opens in theaters September 26 and will be available on VOD and DVD October 7. Tickets for the City Winery event begin at $15; the $40 VIP seats earn you a gift bag complete with a DVD of the film. “The soul of Advanced Style is not bound to age, or even to style, but rather to the celebration of life,” Maira Kalman writes in the introduction to Cohen’s book. “These photos offer proof that the secret to remaining vital in our later years is to never stop being curious, never stop creating, and never stop having fun.”
TICKET GIVEAWAY: “A Celebration of Advanced Style” takes place at City Winery on September 22, and twi-ny has a pair of VIP seats to give away for free. Just send your name, daytime phone number, and all-time favorite stylish older woman to firstname.lastname@example.org by Wednesday, September 17, at 5:00 to be eligible. All entrants must be twenty-one years of age or older; one winner will be selected at random.
Scott Organ’s Phoenix, a play about a one-night stand that gets rather complicated, has been extended for four more performances at the Cherry Lane through August 28, and we have a pair of tickets to give away to this poignant one-act drama. Julia Stiles stars as Sue, a traveling nurse who has set up a meeting with James (James Wirt) to let him know that there has been an unexpected result of their previous coupling. What follows is a verbal cat-and-mouse game as they each try to figure out who they are and what they want out of life — and whether there is any kind of future for them together. (You can find out more about the show here.)
TICKET GIVEAWAY: There are only a few nights left to see Phoenix, which concludes its limited engagement at the Cherry Lane on August 28, and twi-ny has a much-coveted pair of tickets to give away for free. Just send your name, daytime phone number, and favorite play with the name of a city in the title to email@example.com by Monday, August 25, at 3:00 to be eligible. (Yes, that’s today.) Please also include two preferred dates to see the show. All entrants must be twenty-one years of age or older; one winner will be selected at random.
NEW YORK COMIC CON / NEW YORK SUPER WEEK
Jacob K. Javits Convention Center
655 West 34th St. (11th Ave. between 34th & 39th Sts.)
Thursday, October 9, $35, 12 noon - 7:00
Con continues through October 12; New York Super Week runs October 3-12
New York Comic Con continues to get more and more popular every year, with bigger and bigger guests and longer and longer lines. Tickets for the ninth annual event, running October 9-12 at the Javits Center, are already sold out for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, and the organizers haven’t even announced the full slate of activities for any of the days. So your only chance for getting in will be to go on Thursday, when there will be appearances by such spotlight guests as Giancarlo Esposito of Breaking Bad, Hollows series author Kim Harrison, and Kristian Nairn (Hodor) and Natalia Tena (Osha) of Game of Thrones and such featured guests as Jason David Frank of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, Ben Templesmith, Bob McLeod, Dustin Nguyen, Jimmy Palmiotti, Peter David, Stuart Moore, and Terry Moore, and dozens of special guests as well. In conjunction with NYCC, New York Super Week runs October 3-12 at various locations throughout the city, consisting of related events, including a thirtieth anniversary screening of The Karate Kid at the 92nd St. Y with Ralph Macchio, William Zabka, and Martin Kove; metal monsters X Japan at Madison Square Garden; Neil Gaiman as the subject of host Ophira Eisenberg’s “Ask Me Another” live show at the Y; “Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog Sing-Along and Whedonverse Party” at Union Hall; “The First (and Probably Last) Annual New York Feline Film & Video Festival for Humans” at Galapagos Art Space; a “Dr. Who Trivia and Costume Contest” at the Way Station; “Cure You or Kill You: 19th Century Medical Science and Quackery” at the Museum of Morbid Anatomy; and “Rave of Thrones,” a DJ set by Nairn with special guests Zedd Stark and Trance Rayder at B. B. King’s.
In June, Micheline Auger’s provocative The Feminism of a Soft Merlot, or (How the Donkey Got Punched) had a brief but successful run at the Tada Theater. The Ivy Theatre production about sex and friendship has now made a big move to SoHo Playhouse and shortened its name to the much more simple and direct Donkey Punch, a reference to a controversial sexual position. In the dark comedy, directed by Ivy cofounder Audrey Alford, the adventurous Kareena (Cleo Gray) is considering settling down with Teddy (Michael Drew) while setting up her prudish best friend, Sam (Lauren Dortch Crozier), with Kyle (Stephen Stout), a pornographer she found online. As their lives and relationships intersect, everyone is faced with a decision: Punch or be punched?
TICKET GIVEAWAY: Donkey Punch runs Wednesday through Sunday through August 31 at SoHo Playhouse, and twi-ny has three pairs of tickets to give away for free for performances through August 28. Just send your name, daytime phone number, and favorite play with an animal name in the title to firstname.lastname@example.org by Wednesday, August 20, at 3:00 to be eligible. All entrants must be twenty-one years of age or older; three winners will be selected at random.
Culture Project, Lynn Redgrave Theater
49 Bleecker St. near Lafayette St.
Thursday - Tuesday, May 20 - July 5, $33-$99
“It is a sin to write this. It is a sin to think words no others think and to put them down upon a paper no others are to see. It is base and evil,” begins Ayn Rand’s 1938 novella about a bleak dystopian future following the Great Rebirth. “It is as if we were speaking alone to no ears but our own. And we know well that there is no transgression blacker than to do or think alone. We have broken the laws.” It’s hardly the stuff of musical theater, but who ever thought Les Misérables would keep packing them in on Broadway? Indeed, The Anthem is headed to the stage in a “radical new musical,” complete with circus acrobatics, at the Lynn Redgrave Theater. In a near future overrun with social media, Prometheus fights the system, headed by Tiberius, battling for individuality. The Anthem features a book by Gary Morgenstein (Right on Target, Ponzi Man), music by Jonnie Rockwell (Brave New World and grandson of Leoš Janáček), and lyrics by Erik Ransom (Coming: A Rock Musical of Biblical Proportions), with Rachel Klein (Symphony of Shadows, The Tragedy of Maria Macabre) serving as director, designer, and choreographer. Jason Gotay (Spider-Man Turn Off the Dark) stars as Prometheus, with the Village People’s Randy Jones playing Tiberius.
TICKET GIVEAWAY: The Anthem — not to be confused with Drew Robert Puzia and Katherine Toussaint’s Anthem the Musical, which was also inspired by Rand’s novella — begins previews May 20 at the Lynn Redgrave Theater at the Culture Project on Bleecker St. prior to a May 29 opening, and twi-ny has three pairs of tickets to give away for free. Just send your name, daytime phone number, and favorite play or book about a dystopian future to email@example.com by Friday, May 9, at 12 noon to be eligible. All entrants must be twenty-one years of age or older; three winners will be selected at random.