Monday, September 9, 2013

The New Arts Season

Are you like me, do you get a little thrill when you see the September preview of the new Arts Season in New York? The New York Times publishes this special feature every year at about this time and it always gives me a little jolt of excitement and anticipation for what is coming up in the world of theater, dance, music, fine arts, and film. I make a mental wish list of what I would see if I were in New York in the upcoming season. And then I plot how to get there!

Well, it may or may not happen this time, but I still make a list of my favorites. And, of course, there are new arts season previews to read about in every city. I will be scouring my sources for what is coming up in L.A. But I do have a soft spot for the New York arts scene. Maybe because my mother took me there when I was a teenager to see the Broadway production of "Funny Girl" with Barbara Streisand. The experience left me with a life long love of Broadway. So here goes, my top ten things to see in New York this fall and winter, if I am lucky enough to get there!

I read this fascinating book on Harold Pinter and Antonia Fraser last year


1.  Betrayal by Harold Pinter is being revived on Broadway this fall. It stars Daniel Craig, Rachel Weisz and Rafe Spall and is directed by Mike Nichols. "Betrayal" premiered in London in 1978 with Penelope Wilton (from "Downton Abbey") and Daniel Massey as the married couple Emma and Robert. In 1980, Blythe Danner and Roy Scheider played the married couple on Broadway with Raul Julia as Jerry, Robert's best friend with whom Emma has a long-term affair. Do you remember the film with Jeremy Irons, Patricia Hodge and Ben Kingsley? I loved it. The story moves backwards chronologically and ends with the beginning of the affair. The play examines different levels of betrayal in life as well as the ways people can damage each other and love each other at the same time. It is the sort of deep and intense topic that I love to see in a play combined with witty and literary dialogue. Harold Pinter is considered one of the great playwrights of the twentieth-century and won the Nobel prize for literature. An opportunity to see this play with an incredible cast and talented director would be thrilling.

2.  Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett is also being revived on Broadway this fall. It stars Ian McKellan, Patrick Stewart, and Billy Cruddup. "Waiting for Godot" will play in repertory at the Cort Theatre with No Man's Land, another play by Harold Pinter. Putting these two plays together in repertory is interesting since Pinter was hugely inspired by Beckett as an artist. This theatre season seems to be the season of Harold Pinter!


3.  The world premiere of Shakespeare's The Tempest by the American Ballet Company is set to the music of Sibelius. I saw an excellent production of this play in London a few years ago and would love to see it adapted into a ballet.

"Swan Lake" by the New York City Ballet
Photo via here

4.  Swan Lake by the New York City Ballet. I have seen this one before and would definitely see it again. The production by the New York City Ballet is one of the best you will ever see.

Art Exhibitions

Photo via here

5.  Vermeer, Rembrandt and Hals: Masterpieces of Dutch Painting from the Mauritshuis at the Frick Museum will include Vermeer's "Girl with a Pearl Earring" and 14 other works from the Royal Picture Gallery Mauritshuis. I will see any exhibition at this exquisite jewel-box of a museum, but this one is a must! It has been traveling around the country while the Mauritshuis is being renovated and this is the last chance to see it in this country.

6.  The Armory Show at 100: Modern Art and Revolution at the New-York Historical Society Museum. This exhibition revisits the famous 1913 Armory Art Show on its 100th anniversary. In 1913, the International Exhibition of Modern Art came to New York and introduced the American public to European avant-garde painting and sculpture. It included bold innovators from Cezanne to Picasso. This exhibition will examine the ways that the 1913 Armory show influenced American culture, politics, and society. It would be interesting to compare the reactions of the Americans and the Europeans (the French and the British) to this avant-garde art. I wonder which group was more shocked?

7.  Chagall: Love, War and Exile at the Jewish Museum examines the artist's personal and artistic response to the suffering he observed in Europe from the 1930's to 1948. This covers the years leading up to the war as well as the actual war years. The Jewish Museum is another wonderful, small museum  that I always try to visit. I saw a beautiful Pissarro exhibition there a few years ago.


The Morgan Library and Museum
Photo via here

8.  Edgar Allan Poe, Terror of the Soul at The Morgan Library and Museum. This exhibition explores Poe's poetry and fiction and how his work influenced writers such as Dickens and Nabokov. There are many events planned around this show such as screenings of films based on Poe's books as well as readings of his work by other writers. Paul Aster is one of the writers involved in these events. The Morgan has had fabulous exhibitions on writers in the past, such as Charles Dickens and Jane Austen. It would be so much fun to see this Edgar Allan Poe exhibition around Halloween!


Cafe Carlyle
Photo via here

9.  There are many wonderful Cabaret performances in New York. I love the ones at the Cafe Carlyle. It is such a special part of the New York music scene and I try to go whenever I am there. This place is just filled with history. Woody Allen plays the clarinet at the Carlyle on Monday nights. I would love to go to one of Steve Tyrell's shows. He performs there every December.


The High Line
Photo via here

10.  Though not part of any arts calendar, a walk on the High Line in New York is a special treat and almost a necessity after all the indoor arts events. The gardens are lovely and it is a wonderful place to see the art of landscape design.



In placid hours well-pleased we dream
Of many a brave unbodied scheme.
But form to lend, pulsed life to create,
What unlike things must meet and mate;
A flame to melt -- a wind to freeze;
Sad patience -- joyous energies;
Humility -- yet pride and scorn;
Instinct and study; love and hate;
Audacity -- reverence.  These must mate,
And fuse with Jacob's mystic heart,
To wrestle with the angel -- Art.

-- Herman Melville

It is inspiring to see what is going on in the art world in a place like New York City. And, fortunately, most cities have exciting new arts calendars at this time of the year. Fall always kicks off the best of the best in theater, film, music, dance, and art exhibitions. It is a feast for the senses and a great time to celebrate the arts. What arts events are you looking forward to this fall?


  1. Sunday, you are the best Arts clipping service around. Brilliant!

  2. We're going for a wedding in early October and hoping to be able to squeeze in "Betrayal". I miss the easy accessibility of all of the arts in NYC. Great choices Sunday.

  3. as soon as I saw Rafe Spall on the cover I knew I was about to get insanely jealous that I'm not in NY! shall have to live vicariously through you, from over here in england! :) xx

  4. Thank you Sunday. "The family" may go to NY for Christmas and this so inspires me. i love Pinter and would love to see this production. I am sad that the revivals are the only really good choices. We need more new playwrights.

  5. I am going to NYC in early October. Too early for Betrayal or Waiting for Godot but I would like to visit the Frick and the Jewish Museum. Thanks for so much interesting cultural information.

  6. There is nothing quite like seeing a play in NY. The cozy theaters, always promise a good seat anywhere in the house. Your post makes me eager to make travel plans.

  7. Dear friend,
    just to tell you that your posts are more than interesting, beautiful, a deligtful breather during a busy day.
    Many hugs from here and wishes for a lovely month and new season.

  8. These are wonderful ideas for a visit to New York - I just spent three days there with family visiting from Germany and really enjoyed walking along the High Line. Don't miss out on Chelsea Market - a redeveloped former cookie factory which now houses an interesting mix of restaurants and stores catering to foodies (check out "spices and tease" featuring loose teas and spices set up like the Spice Bazaar in Istanbul!)

  9. Sadly I won't get to New York, but I'm going to see the Royal Ballet in London and hoping to squeeze in a bit of Christmas shopping!

  10. I just saw The Girl with the Pearl Earring at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta. I guess it's the same traveling exhibition you're talking about. I got choked up when the Rembrandts came into view and by the time I saw the Vermeer, I was into full-fledged crying. I found it very touching.