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


Who: Joyce Carol Oates, Zibby Owens
What: Livestreamed conversation
Where: The Temple Emanu-El Streicker Center
When: Tuesday, March 9, free with RSVP, $25 with book, 11:00 am
Why: On February 16, mother of four and creator and host of the podcast “Moms Don’t Have Time to Read Books” Zibby Owens was introduced as the moderator for the Temple Emanu-El Streicker Center’s new virtual conversation series, “Women on the Move.” Owens, whose Moms Don’t Have Time To: A Quarantine Anthology (Skyhorse, February 2021, $24.99) was published last month, spoke with Jeanine Cummins on February 23 and Nicole Krauss on March 3. On March 9 at 11:00 in the morning, Owens will Zoom in with eighty-two-year-old living legend Joyce Carol Oates, the New York State native who has written more than a hundred novels, novellas, short stories, essays, and plays. The latest collection from the winner of two O. Henry Awards, the National Book Award, the Jerusalem Prize, and the National Humanities Medal is The (Other) You: Stories (HarperCollins, February 2021, $26.99), which, among other things, is about the act of reading itself. “Bought a bookstore. Mostly secondhand books,” the title story begins. Admission to the live webinar is free with RSVP, although you can receive a copy of the book for a $25 fee.



Since May 2001, twi-ny has been recommending cool things to do throughout the five boroughs, popular and under-the-radar events that draw people out of their homes to experience film, theater, dance, art, literature, music, food, comedy, and more as part of a live audience in the most vibrant community on Earth.

With the spread of Covid-19 and the closing of all cultural institutions, sports venues, bars, and restaurants (for dining in), we feel it is our duty to prioritize the health and well-being of our loyal readers. So, for the next several weeks at least, we won’t be covering any public events in which men, women, and children must congregate in groups, a more unlikely scenario day by day anyway.

That said, as George Bernard Shaw once noted, “Without art, the crudeness of reality would make the world unbearable.”

Some parks are still open, great places to breathe in fresh air, feel the sunshine, and watch the changing of winter into spring. We will occasionally be pointing out various statues, sculptures, and installations, but check them out only if you are already going outside and will happen to be nearby.

You don’t have to shut yourself away completely for the next weeks and months — for now, you can still go grocery shopping and pick up takeout — but do think of others as you go about your daily life, which is going to be very different for a while. We want each and every one of you to take care of yourselves and your families, follow the guidelines for social distancing, and consider the health and well-being of those around you.

We look forward to seeing you indoors and at festivals and major outdoor events as soon as possible, once New York, America, and the rest of the planet are ready to get back to business. Until then, you can find us every so often under the sun, moon, clouds, and stars, finding respite in this amazing city now in crisis.


Javier Muñoz in A Sign of the Times

Javier Muñoz asks audiences to slow down, stop, and take a look at the world in A Sign of the Times (photo by Russ Rowland)

Theater 511
511 West 54th St.
Thursday - Tuesday through April 4, $51-$71

Writer-director Stephen Lloyd Helper’s A Sign of the Times was inspired by a twenty-second interaction with a road worker whose job was flipping a sign that said “Slow” on one side and “Stop” on the other. Helper (Smokey Joe’s Café, Syncopation) turned that into a poignant one-man comedy about depression and the state of the planet that is currently in previews at Theater 511. The ninety-five-minute play stars Brooklyn-born actor and activist Javier Muñoz, who brings his unique personal experiences to the show; Muñoz, who took over for Lin-Manuel Miranda first as Usnavi in In the Heights, then in the title role of Hamilton, was raised in East New York, is HIV-positive, and has battled cancer. “1st yr of conservatory I was asked why I chose this profession. I said cuz I wanted to help both light meet dark in us all. We exist w/in 1 another w/ every breath. Stand in defiance. Never stop listening to why you stand in defiance. There lay truth,” he recently posted on Twitter. In A Sign of the Times, his character references Albert Einstein, William Shakespeare, Greek mythology, theater, literature, and more as he searches for hope in a pain-filled world. The play features costumes by Soule Golden, lighting by Caitlin Rapoport, projections by Kristen Ferguson, and sound and original music by David Van Tieghem.

Javier Muñoz in A Sign of the Times

Hamilton alum Javier Muñoz stars in one-man show A Sign of the Times (photo by Russ Rowland)

TICKET GIVEAWAY: A Sign of the Times runs through April 4 (with a February 27 opening) at Theater 511, and twi-ny has three pairs of tickets to give away for free. (At the March 2, 3, 5, 6, and 9 performances, the role usually played by Javier Muñoz will be played by Greg Brostrom.) Just send your name, phone number, and favorite play, television show, or movie with a star from Hamilton in it to by Wednesday, February 26, at 3:00 pm to be eligible. All entrants must be twenty-one years of age or older; three winners will be selected at random.


miracle in rwanda

The Lion Theatre, Theatre Row
410 West 42nd St. between Ninth & Tenth Aves.
April 4 – May 11, $39-$90

“This is my story, told as I remember it . . . and I remember it as though it happened yesterday,” Immaculée Ilibagiza writes in Left to Tell: Discovering God Amidst the Rwandan Holocaust, about her experience trying to stay alive during the 1994 Rwandan genocide of the Tutsi people by the Hutu government. Leslie Lewis and Edward Vilga have adapted her harrowing tale into a one-woman show, Miracle in Rwanda, which begins previews April 4 at the Lion Theatre at Theatre Row. Rwandan actress, poet, and activist Malaika Uwamahoro (Measure Back, Our Lady of Kibeho), a Fordham grad, portrays Ilibagiza and two dozen other characters in the play, including a pastor, a machete-wielding murderer, refugees, friends, family members, soldiers, and more. The role was originally played by cocreator Lewis on its world tour.

TICKET GIVEAWAY: Directed by George Drance, Miracle in Rwanda runs April 4 through May 11 (with an April 9 opening) at the Lion Theatre at Theatre Row, and twi-ny has three pairs of tickets to give away for free. Just send your name, phone number, and favorite one-woman show to by Wednesday, April 3, at 5:00 pm to be eligible. All entrants must be twenty-one years of age or older; three winners will be selected at random.



Cherry Lane Mainstage Theatre
38 Commerce St.
Tuesday - Sunday through April 7, $55-$95

If you’ve been paying attention at all to what’s going on around the globe these days, you might very well think that the world has finally, truly gone to hell in a handbasket. That’s the theory behind Actually, We’re F**ked, debuting at the Cherry Lane this week. Mairin Lee, Keren Lugo, Ben Rappaport, and Gabriel Sloyer star as millennials who want to do something about it — until a surprise changes their future. The play is written by Emmy nominee Matt Williams (Bruce Lee Is Dead and I’m Not Feeling Too Good Either, Jason and the Nun) and directed by Obie winner John Pasquin (Moonchildren, Landscape of the Body); the two men have previously collaborated on the Tim Allen television series Home Improvement, with Williams one of the creators and Pasquin a producer and director on the first two seasons. Williams was also the creator of Roseanne and a writer and producer for The Cosby Show, while Pasquin’s working relationship with Allen continued on the movies The Santa Clause and Jungle 2 Jungle and the current series Last Man Standing. Williams is the secretary of the Cherry Lane, which is owned by his wife, artistic director Angelina Fiordellisi. The set is by Robin Vest, with costumes by Theresa Squire, lighting by Paul Miller, sound by ML Dogg/MuTTT, and projections by Brad Peterson.

TICKET GIVEAWAY: Actually, We’re F**ked runs February 26 through April 7 (with a March 7 opening) at the Cherry Lane, and twi-ny has three pairs of tickets to give away for free. Just send your name, phone number, and favorite play or movie with a curse in the title to by Thursday, February 28, at 3:00 pm to be eligible. All entrants must be twenty-one years of age or older; three winners will be selected at random.


Austin Meier on Robinson's Mac-Nett's El Presidente at NYC Times Square final five showdown PBR. Photo by Andy Watson.

The Professional Bull Riders will Unleash the Beast in New York City for annual season kickoff at the Garden (photo by Andy Watson/BullStock Media)

Madison Square Garden
31st - 33rd Sts. between Seventh & Eighth Aves.
January 4-6, $28-$226 ($551 for PBR Elite Seats)

There are a lot of traditions in New York City tied to the New Year, and one of the most exciting is the Professional Bull Riders opening its season at the World’s Most Famous Arena the first weekend of January. The sport’s twenty-sixth season, dubbed Unleash the Beast, gets under way January 4-6 with the Monster Energy Buck Off at the Garden, as thirty-five riders attempt to hold on to hard-battling bulls for eight damn-tough seconds. Among the anticipated competitors are PBR legend and two-time world champion J. B. Mauney, a three-time MSG winner and all-around badass cowboy; 2016 world champ Cooper Davis, who we introduced you to three years ago; and 2017 Garden victor and world champion Jess Lockwood. Due to injuries — bull riding is one of the most dangerous sports on the planet — 2018 world champion Kaique Pacheco and 2018 MSG winner Gage Gay will have to sit out the contest.

PBR riders and bulls first invaded New York City in 2007, and the event keeps getting bigger and better, with pyrotechnics, cowboy hats worn the wrong way by Brooklyn hipsters, and a barrel of laughs from PBR “Exclusive Entertainer” Flint Rasumussen, who we interviewed in 2017. In addition to the competition, PBR will be hosting a Cowboy Brunch on January 5 at the Renaissance Hotel ($75, 10:00 am), with Rasmussen, such riders as Stetson Lawrence, and other special guests; you can also join PBR and Boot Barn as it rings the morning bell at the New York Stock Exchange on January 4 at 8:00 ($225), including a continental breakfast and photo ops with PBR CEO Sean Gleason and Canadian superstar Tanner Byrne, who we profiled with his brother Jesse two years ago. (Yes, we kind of have a thing for this crazy event at the home of the Knicks and Rangers.)

Fire and Pyro in the opening during the first round of the New York City Built Ford Tough series PBR. Photo by Andy Watson

Professional Bull Riders are all fired up for the Monster Energy Buck Off at the Garden January 4-6 (photo by Andy Watson/BullStock Media)

TICKET GIVEAWAY: PBR Unleash the Beast bursts through the gates of Madison Square Garden January 4-6, with such participants as Ryan Dirteater, Chase Outlaw, Dakota Buttar, Stetson Lawrence, and Keyshawn Whitehorse, which are their real, given names, and twi-ny has a pair of tickets to give away for free for Sunday afternoon’s finale. Just send your name and what your cowboy alias would be if you were insane enough to get on a one-ton bucking bull to by Monday, December 17, at 3:00 pm to be eligible. All entrants must be twenty-one years of age or older; one winner will be selected at random.


David Arrow plays Bobby Kennedy in one-man show he also wrote (photo by Russ Rowland)

David Arrow plays Bobby Kennedy in one-man show he also wrote (photo by Russ Rowland)

Theatre at St. Clement’s
423 West 46th St. between Ninth & Tenth Aves.
Wednesday - Sunday through December 9, $55-$85 (use code KNDYGEN for discount)

On June 6, 1968, Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated by Sirhan Sirhan at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles during a presidential campaign stop. This month Bobby, the former US attorney general and, at the time of his death, New York senator, would have turned ninety-three. The new one-man show Kennedy: Bobby’s Last Crusade honors the legacy of the man known as RFK upon the fiftieth anniversary of his murder. The world premiere at the Theatre at St. Clement’s was written by and stars David Arrow as Kennedy; “The Kennedys are a political dynasty and have had a lasting effect on America, and fifty years later the words of Bobby Kennedy need to be repeated so that we as Americans can remember that politics used to be about ideas and ideals, not about us versus them,” Arrow notes in a statement. The story focuses on Kennedy’s 1968 presidential campaign and is drawn from his public speeches and lesser-known private events; Arrow previously portrayed Kennedy in Jack Holmes’s solo show RFK, winning the San Francisco Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle Award for his performance, topping Anna Deavere Smith, Steven Abbott, and Geoff Sobelle. The play is directed by Eric Nightengale, with set design by Jim Morgan and lighting by Miriam Crowe.

TICKET GIVEAWAY: Kennedy: Bobby’s Last Crusade runs through December 9 (with a November 8 opening) at the Theatre at St. Clement’s, and twi-ny has three pairs of tickets to give away for free. Just send your name, daytime phone number, and favorite play involving a real-life politician to by Wednesday, November 7, at 3:00 pm to be eligible. All entrants must be twenty-one years of age or older; three winners will be selected at random.